WARMER MIXTAPES #1264 | by Kevin Griffith Sullivan of Earthly Circuits
1. Miles Davis | Blue In Green (with Bill Evans)
I started out listening to this as a kid doing my Math homework in Middle School. It's amazing how much is being expressed just in the chords. This isn't a modal track but it still creates a space that rotates around and doesn't resolve. The ambiance reminds me of a song called Jardin Du Sommeil D'Amour, but less static. Unlike that song, this one doesn't feel like it could go on forever. My band mate Will was a great Jazz pianist in High School. One evening his group played a gig on the slopes of the Huron River in Ann Arbor. I requested this song as the lights on the bridge turned on and with the color of the sky it was very beautiful all together.
2. The Beach Boys | Heroes And Villains
At soccer practice in 2004, my band mate Kyle gave me a CD bootleg of the '67 Smile. It was the first Beach Boys album I'd heard. The mini-suite structures of the songs is a big influence. It's unpredictable but somehow makes sense so I never get tired of hearing it pass through it's changes. I can remember playing this a lot at Halloween after I was too old to go trick or treating but not going to parties yet either. Years later I found out about Van Dyke Parks and fell in love with his solo work as well.
3. Van Morrison | Madame George
This song creates such an overwhelming and specific emotion when I hear it. I can't describe that feeling very well but it still feels vivid, it's full of details but also ambiguous. I don't know if it's a song about youth passing into old age or old age passing into Death or what. The only certain thing for me is that something is slowly going away and 7:30 - 8:07 is one of the moments in Music that gives me goosebumps every time I hear it.
4. Can | Future Days
This song creates a new world in Sound and a new style of Music to inhabit it. I find that pretty astounding. Where did this come from? I love how the bass often just plays one resounding note every other measure. It's so simple and so effective and a good lesson in how building a nice arrangement isn't about having the most interesting thing going on with every instrument but keeping in mind the overall shape and motion. The rhythm section, sound effects, mysterious instruments, constantly changing but repetitive structure, were all really influential characteristics for me. I first heard this record in summer '09, the same time as all the Chillwave stuff was coming out like Warmer Climes and Blessa and also that was when I started hearing Air France. As different as Future Days is from those, they do both really take you somewhere else that has similar colors to me, a lot of nice blue tones. I wrote a song called Spirit Of 2009 with Kyle recently. That was a pretty formative year for me musically and also when I started recording our first album.
5. Gas | Untitled (Track 3 on Pop)
I've listened to this piece of Music more than any other, by a lot. If there's a spectrum of Ambient Music where on the one side you have straight up Field Recordings and on the other you have Impressionistic piano pieces that sound like the Moon, this would occupy a really interesting position. The times I've felt too blue to listen to Music I could always still listen to Gas. Sometimes I can't stand Silence and the wall of sound here is so comforting.
6. S.E. Rogie | Do Me Justice
Every instrument in this song gets me so psyched. The hand clap sound is amazing. I want to do a cover of this someday, it's such sweet Pop Music and the style of the playing is just great. I've had a fun time trying to collect all the stuff I can find by him. I recently managed to get the songbook he self published in 1970 via inter library loan. There's also some great early singles on YouTube that don't seem to have been reissued.
7. Animal Collective | Water Curses
This EP is so concise and coherent visually like a little story. The title track stands out for me aesthetically among their stuff. It took me a long time to absorb what is going on and try to separate out the instruments. The textures are really bright and have nice layers. My favorite thing about this band is their colors and this song has my favorite ones.
8. Talk Talk | New Grass
Some songs set up a system or a world that feel like it always existed and we just stumble upon it for a little while and at the end the song doesn't stop - we just leave the setting. I really like when a song like that also has a lot of emotion in it which is the case here. I can't tell if it's dawn or evening.
9. Joanna Newsom | Emily
Ys and Astral Weeks go together for me. They're both overwhelming and have some kind of hyper-expressive literary quality that is almost like a genre of two. I used to listen to this album while writing but as it seeped into me it became too intense to concentrate. Some times with my favorite records I'll save songs for years before ever listening to them. I finally listened to Cosmia two years ago. Van Dyke Parks, again.
10. Deerhunter | He Would Have Laughed
I am a huge fan of Halcyon Digest and this is as good a climax as I can imagine. Halcyon Digest is very aesthetically precise to me and I find it really unique. The transition into the second section is another thing that does it for me every time. I could hear it coming out of a pocket radio on a busy street and I think it would still give me goosebumps. I love how confused he is, lost in memories. When I first met my girlfriend I played this on guitar and I think it helped me out. If I've noticed a common theme to the songs on my list, they're often built on repetition with lots of variation in the arrangements, and have long shifting structures in a crepuscular environment.