1. Elliott Smith | Christian Brothers
This may be the Most Astonishing Song in the History of the World. I remember so vividly the first time I heard him, at a Club in New York, in 1996, called Fez. It was in a basement, and very close to the Subway, which would rumble loudly beneath the floor. I had never heard of him, and my jaw dropped. The next day, in a snowstorm, I trudged up Avenue A, in the East Village, to a little Record Store, to buy whatever this guy I'd just been exposed to had put out. Snowstorms make New York eerily Quiet, and I could hear my boots crunching in the White stuff.
2. Josh Wink | Higher State Of Consciousness
What a simple Riff, deployed so elegantly. It's so Spare, but so Huge. There's such development to the track, despite that there's seemingly so little to it, in terms of Elements. I remember hearing this song at a Big Beat Night in London, where I briefly lived, in the mid-90s. I smoked a joint on the Dancefloor, and got busted for it, and somehow talked the Security Guard into not tossing me out.
3. Nasty Habits | Shadow Boxing
My regular thing in London was the Metalheadz Night at the Blue Note, in Hoxton Square. A Dirtier, Sketchier Hoxton Square, at the time. Metalheadz, incidentally, was a Drum And Bass Night, and I have no idea why they called it that. Doc Scott was one of the recurring DJs, one of Goldie's crew. What a Huge, Frightening Synth Line, looming over that Spare, killing Beat.
4. Natural Born Chillaz | Rock The Funky Beat
Another that I heard for the first time at the Metalheadz. I couldn't understand the Words for months, and it was played on a White Label 12-Inch by, I think, Grooverider, so you couldn't go out and hear it anywhere else. I kept singing the tune to myself on the tune, with blah-blah-blahs subbed for the Words.
5. Bizarre Inc | Plutonic
That Massive, Grindy Synth! Somebody sent me the Single when I was reviewing Records for the New York Press, circa 1992. Maybe 1991? Anyway. I was all Hip Hop and nothing else at the time, and this thing really pierced my brain in a new way.
6. Bizarre Inc | Playing With Knives (Quadrant Mix)
Actually, I found this track on iTunes when I was trying to find a Better-Quality version of Plutonic, listed above. It's so Strange how these Producers from the earlier Rave Era stayed so Low-Profile. Were they DJs? Bedroom Mixers? Horse thieves? Who knows?
7. Mobb Deep | Party Over (feat. Big Noyd)
So Sinister, so Large. That Bell Sound, spinning around your head in the Stereo field. And the Real Star Verse is from Big Noyd, flossing with the lines about his cellular. Cellular! Which nobody had when this record came out.
8. The Velvet Underground | Sister Ray
What a Horrible thing to listen to when Tripping. Actually, no, that's a total lie, I Loved listening to this when I was Tripping. Maybe I have a High Tolerance for Dissonant Evil Sounds.
9. Prince | Sign "O" The Times
His Scariest Song. I don't know why I'm picking so many Scary songs for this playlist. I guess I'm in a Foreboding Mood.
10. ABBA | Dancing Queen
Because this list is so damned Foreboding that I need something that is the least possible Foreboding thing. Although, for some reason, this Sounds to me like a Sad song. Like the Dancing Queen of the Title is some Ephemeral Person that Will Soon Be Lost To Time.