WARMER MIXTAPES #33 | by Kristofer Lecander of Panache
1. Def Leppard | Hysteria
I was a Def Leppard fan before I entered the ever so confusing teen years. Back then it was so simple: if there was a song you liked then you could listen to it, and you didn't have to pay any attention to what hipsters (hah, as if they really existed back then!) had to say and if the music style was compatible with the rest of your musical image. But then you grow older (and perhaps wiser) and neglect your childhood. This song is one that has stayed with me all through these years though. It's got a guitar sound so compelling that even Kent almost ripped it off for their plane crash extravaganza 747.
2. Phil Collins | In The Air Tonight
I'm here to defend Mr. Collins to the bitter end. Much like Def Leppard, Phil Collins is an artist most people wouldn't even dare to touch with tongs. However, if you – like me – grew up with MTV (back when it was good!) you would get the occasional Genesis and Collins video. Although much of Collins' material is crap there are some divine touches here and there, and much of it has to do with technical equipment such as Roland drum machines. Phil's voice complements the electronic sound so well. Take Me Home, One More Night and In The Air Tonight are such examples. The latter of the three sounds (in both the original and extended versions) like the artsy sibling to Peter Gabriel's superb Games Without Frontiers and has aged with much dignity, much thanks to the timeless, powerful combination of analogue and electronic drum sound (and yes, we loved the gorilla and Mike Tyson!). And as we today see the fashion industry scoop up Ray-Bans, pastel clothing and 80s hairdos from Miami Vice we all should thank the underrated Collins in some way, as he is part of Michael Mann's sensational image of 80s flair. Me and my girlfriend watched the entire five seasons of Vice last winter and the most memorable scene for me is in the pilot where Tubbs and Crockett drive through the dark streets of Miami to knock off the drug dealer boss. They don't speak a word during the whole driving scene. Instead, we get informed by Phil on the radio that something's closing in, we can feel it coming, it's in the air tonight.
3. Don Henley | Boys Of Summer
For many many years now this song would define summer's arrival for me. It's another one of those MTV moments where slow motion pictures of beach running in Los Angeles (every young Swedish kid's concept of utopian way of life in the 80s) and just a pair of wayfarers would separate you from the setting sun. It's a track to play on the first day of your vacation as you step out on the sun-drenched balcony with a Passion P drink in your hand and inhale freedom. It makes me nostalgic every time. And Don has always been there in my home, as my father played lots of west coast rock like Boz Scaggs, Hall & Oates, Donald Fagen, Steely Dan, Doobie Brothers and, off course, The Eagles. Henley's song is to me what Springsteen's Born to Run is for many others who just want to escape.
4. Avant Garde | Everybody's Lover
This is a recent favourite. Avant Garde was one of those unknown 80s soulfunkdisco units that fell in love with the new sound technology available to them. There are countless songs that could have taken this spot on the mixtape, but I chose this over, say, Fox The Fox's Precious Little Diamond, The Style Council's Long Hot Summer, Imaginations Just An Illusion, New Edition's Cool It Now or Phil Fearon & Galaxy's Wait Until Tonight just because it has a better bass line. I usually go for melodies first in a song but when it comes to disco I find the bass line has become almost the most important part of any song.
5. Alec Mansion | Dans L'eau De Nice
Wow, this 80s song has taken me over totally for the last couple of years. Hearing it for the first time was an instant love affair as me and my roomie were struggling to write our thesis in libary science. As you listened to Alec's voice you would get transported to a technicolor world where all your troubles burst like bubbles. The song itself compiles lots of elements that just spell out my name. First you've got Alec's Thomas Mars-like voice on top of a backline that might just be backed by the Avant Garde band I mentioned earlier, and they've brought along New Edition to perform Popcorn Love in ze francaise way. Alec is one frog you can't afford to skip.
6. New Edition | Count Me Out
Ralph Tresvant has one of the best child voices I've ever heard. It's smooth like silk, and almost sounds autotuned. It fits perfectly in this song where Bell Biv Devoe and that asshole Bobby Brown (more of those MTV moments, I'm sorry!) wants to play but Ralph – you romantic superlover you – wants to shag his girl instead. The conflict between Ralph and his buddies is a red thread that leaps through a couple of their songs and this one displays the best emotional power as factions duel eachother in a cute rap on top of one of my favorite electronic grooves from the 80s.
7. Frazier Chorus | Ski-Head
Another 80s band that I discovered just a few years ago and this is by far their best and most epic, jawdropping composition. The soundscape is so high tech, lush, bombastic and filled with a diversity of instruments and orchestrations that it makes me dizzy every time I hear it. It's the sound of winter dawning. Glittering drops in space. I think you actually might want to compare it to early Junior Boys (that's Last Exit, before they got boring, y'know).
8. New Musik | Missing Persons
Their Warp album is very inspiring in some odd way. Even though the tracks are very much hit-and-miss the production is cool as fuck. This song is from their early output, when they had more of an oldschool new wave/powerpop sound (the drums!), which is not a bad thing since the melodies come out better that way. In my early twenties I listened a lot to jangly indie music like The Byrds and The Springfields because all the guitar notes felt like falling raindrops that tickled my senses. I've grown pretty fed up with the whiny Sarah Records catalogue since then, but everytime I hear Missing Persons I somehow think back to the days when we were dancing underneath the spotlights in the indie clubs. Fists clenched, arms stretched, no worries, no future. Boy, weren't we all naïve back then?
9. Delia Gonzalez & Gavin Russom | Black Spring
This 12-minute ambient drone kraut track – played entirely on Russom's handmade synthesizer called The Dream Machine – is a hypnotic journey through infinite space and time. Reminds me of when I fell in love with Kraftwerk at the age of 14. Ever since I bought Days Of Mars (the best album yet on my favorite record label DFA) last year, I've been listening to it constantly, even when I invite my parents over for dinner (they off course didn't like it). It's 22nd century porn music, musical art of the highest degree.
10. Woolfy | Pink Champagne
Another DFA gem. The best song of 2009. Sounds like a broken mp3 of a shoegazing ballad. It's the sound of a party that ended aeons sago, silence everywhere, the sun peeks behind the hill and sunkisses knocked-over wine glasses and causing them to reflect light spider webs on walls, sleeping beauties lying entwined in couches , record sleeves are everywhere, love love love, bright future, fast money, life as it should be, glitter dust sprinkle sprinkle endlessly. Then you wake up. And smile at all the chaos.