WARMER MIXTAPES #1336 | by Jeremy Coubrough [Tlaotlon]
1. Various Artists | No. 3 (Debit)
There was a period a long time ago when I liked to get wasted regularly, and this stuff is perfect for particular narcotic combinations. Nice long days on the couch, just getting fully merged, the whole World transforming to a dim flickering pulse. I'd been aware of Chain Reaction for a sometime before that, for a while I even had a Hardwax mail-order catalogue pinned to the wall right above my bed. I never really bought any of the CDs or records though, they were expensive imports, and of course those Metal cases were notorious for breaking the discs. I remember this one night when I was 14 I went into the city, because I knew there was a rave on at this particular place. I expected to see people on the street outside and to hear Music booming out of the building, but there was nobody around at all. I walked around listening for clues, listening carefully. I thought I could hear a distant bass drum, but maybe it was an extractor fan rattling, or the hum of traffic, or dripping pipes. When I first heard Chain Reaction stuff a while later, it reminded me of that night; the spectre of a party, the ghosted after-burn of the expectation of Techno. (I realized later that the reason there was nobody there was because I arrived at about 9pm - I didn't know parties started later, haha, and my parents wanted me home by 10pm. From that point I had to start sneaking out at night). Once last thing about this - When I met my current girlfriend, much, much later, and went to her place for the first time, she had a pot-plant in her room with the fragments of her broken copy of this disc sitting in the soil like little jewels.
2. Minnie Ripperton | Inside My Love
I hope this doesn't come across as crass, but when I saw the brief for this imaginary mixtape, the word intimate made me think of this straight away... I once met this girl through a flatmate, and there was, well, chemistry straight away. A couple of weeks later she came over, we were hanging out and I put on some Soul mixtapes I'd recently made. We were flirting all evening, but it was during this song that we started touching each other’s hands, then kissing... And so on. It was played out in perfect sync to this track. I couldn't believe it - she didn't seem to notice, and I had to do my best to not start laughing.
3. Anton Bruhin | InOut
There's this scene from an X-Files episode that freaked me out when I saw it on TV. If I recall correctly, Mulder was in a house in the middle of nowhere, worrying about something, when the Fax machine starts spitting out all these faxes of just 1's and 0's, hundreds of pages of the stuff. He's looking through it for ages, trying to crack the code. He spreads them all out across the floor but can't see any pattern. He eventually gives up and heads up the stairs to bed. But when he reaches the top of the stairs and looks down, he sees that from a distance all the pages of 1's and 0's form a picture of a girl’s face, maybe his missing sister or something. Anyway, the first track on this record has a similar effect on me, except that it's as hilarious as it is disconcerting. I feel some heavy innerspace cartography going on with this record.
4. The Jones Girls | Nights Over Egypt
I was obsessed with this song for quite a while. It used to almost bring me to tears, especially the line: Oasis in the sand... Where Life once began... Under the Moonlight. I don't exactly know why it stirred such a reaction in me. One time it occurred to me that they could be singing where Life WAS began. This would have really bummed me out, not just because of the redneck grammar, but because Creationism. I listened over and over again until I was certain that it was definitely once. Of course, the finer lyrical details wouldn't have changed my gut reaction to this track. It's so rich and textural, those cascading harmonies, glistening tonal spaces, and that one slapped bass note, just that one note.
5. Maryanne Amacher | "Synaptic Island" Excerpt "Tower Metals", "Feed2" And "Muse Orchestra 1"
I'm intrigued by the idea of Music that bypasses notions of Sentimentality, Individual Expression, cultural and social standards, Collective Memory, Semiotic Construction, etc. What about stuff which just aims for the raw material of being, that hijacks some of your neural networks to simply address the peculiar assemblage of perceptual apparatus that have evolved in this species? Maryanne Amacher's work is a good example of this. When I first got into her stuff, I was living alone and illegally in a warehouse that also functioned as a rehearsal space and studios for a bunch of bands and artists. The neighbours on one side of the wall were members of one of New Zealand's most notorious gangs, and on the other side a guy whose frequent meth-fuelled escapades eventually got him arrested (for riding a child's motorbike down the main street at 3am with a bottle of vodka and a sawn-off shotgun). Both parties had made it pretty clear that they weren't really into the Music coming from our space, often bashing on the walls when people were playing or working, and on a couple of occasions even threatening to smash all your shit if you don't shut the fuck up. It was in this climate when I became obsessed with Maryanne Amacher, and was spending a lot of time experimenting with generating otoacoustic emissions myself. In short, the way this stuff works is that it vibrates your inner ear in a way that makes the source of the sound come partly from within your own head. And it works best when it is loud. The effect is simultaneously mesmerizing and threatening; like being a possum caught in the light beam of an oncoming vehicle. It becomes difficult to hear sounds that are going on around you - your aural distance perception becomes completely skewed. I find it so exhilarating and beautiful to be basking in the sweet neural overload and yet to be so vulnerable, especially when your maniac neighbours could be bashing the door down metres away. I suppose they just assumed it was faulty fire alarm or something.
6. Drexciya | Surface Terrestrial Colonization
I'm not sure when I first heard Drexciya, but this is certainly the first record of his/theirs that I bought when it was released, and it's still one of the most inspiring records I know. Not really sure what to say about it to be honest. For me Techno is all about misfit attitudes, being speculative and soulful, bold and fresh. I find it helpful and hopeful to think about artists I admire when I'm working on stuff that I think might be a bit risky or challenging, or that makes me doubt myself. I have to remind myself to trust my judgments and intuition, and to keep working on bringing the important stuff into focus. That's what I get every time I listen to Drexciya: Keep it real, you can do whatever the fuck you want.
7. B.R. Posse | Yes, I Can Feel It!
I used to be really into straight up UK Braindance shit and this is a favourite. Keeping the vibe alive in '99 by giving a very belated answer to Larry Heard's rhetorical but vital question. There used to be heaps of copies of this floating around record stores in Wellington, mostly in the under $5 sale bins. It's hard to imagine more than 20-30 copies even made it to NZ, but I feel like I knew everyone who owned it (although that's probably because my mate Jeffrey had about 7 copies himself - he loved it also and kept finding it for super cheap). About 10 years ago I was listening to it and while holding the cover I noticed that the date of birth on the Ravecard was approaching. I set myself a reminder and emailed Rephlex on the day and asked if they could wish Jordan/The Railway Raver a very happy birthday from me. I never got a response but I hope they passed it on.
8. Birchville Cat Motel | Untitled (Track 1 from Blankangelspace, Recorded live at Thistle Hall, 1999)
The first time I saw Campbell Kneale live was in '99 or 2000 at a venue called The Space in Newtown, Wellington. It was my first time going to a DIY venue, and I remember being a bit nervous. Birchville Cat Motel was a 3 piece band that night. There were 4 amps (more than one for each audience member as it turned out) sitting on chairs, facing the audience who sat on couches a couple of metres away. Each performer had a guitar and about 10 effects pedals each, mostly distortion and delay. They started playing, but there was no sound. The amps were turned up to full but they weren't turned on. The pedals were all on, and pretty much every knob was also turned up to full. One of the delay pedals had little lights and I could see them go way into the red as the feedback maxed itself. But still, it was totally inaudible. Just as I was wondering if this was maybe going to be more of a conceptual performance, fuckin' BLAM, the room exploded with sound. They'd had the power for the amps on a timer. I was blown away and completely terrified. One guy in the crowd left after maybe 10 seconds. I didn't really know what to do, it felt and sounded like my ears were getting torn apart. After some time though, I started to feel... I dunno... Something like relaxed and engaged, peaceful perhaps. I started to observe the sound as a physical presence or phenomenon or event, like it was a cubic volume of water that was somehow holding itself together while spiraling through an asteroid belt or a solar storm or something. I often couldn't differentiate between the resonance of the room and the resonance in my own skull - these forces don't care which dimensional zones they gatecrash. After what I guess was 30-40 mins, the power timer went off, and BLAM, the sudden shift back to silence was as explosive and saturating as the sound was at the beginning. It's hard to describe, but it was like this expansive roaring that seemed to go in all directions but didn't seem to mask out any other sound. I swear I could hear a bus parking 5km away, I could hear someone stirring a drink in the next suburb, could hear a bird pick a flake of paint of a roof in Picton. Or maybe had I just become totally deaf and insane? Everyone in the room was silent and still for quite a while, until someone opened a few beers and generously passed them around. That show left a big impact on me.
9. King Asha | Crank Angle Part 2
When I was growing up in Wellington, Reggae and Dub were really ubiquitous, usually in various Rock/Pop hybridizations and crossovers. You'd hear it in every cafe and bar, it was always on the student Radio station, and there were a lot of bands playing it. I couldn't stand the stuff. To me it represented this kind of banal and insipid Everything’s OK Trustafarian leisure vibe, where all the Politics and Spirit of the Music had been erased to make it more acceptable for BBQ's, summer beach holidays and corporate Music festivals. There were some good selectors and sound systems around, so I used to hear some amazing stuff occasionally, but it was a zone I didn't really want to dip into. In the summer of 2000 I moved back to Wellington after a year living in the South Island. I had no job, few friends, a fucked up living situation and 3 ounces of weed. I heard some of King Tubby's digital productions and it was the perfect musical companion for the time, especially Crank Angle and Tempo by Anthony Red Rose. Heavy, paranoid, creeping proto-Drexciyan basslines, helicopter samples, vocoders and spiky digital delays that sounded like goosebumps and cold sweats. Don't get me wrong, I'm a positive person. It was a good summer.
10. Salvatore Sciarrino | Se Non Ora, Quando (Performed by Klangforum Wien with Otto Katzameier; Conductor: Sylvain Cambreling)
Quaderno Di Strada... I saw this piece performed a few years back and it blew me away, it was totally captivating. All these perfectly orchestrated beautiful little bursts across the Stereo field and Frequency Spectrum, fragmented gestures right on the border between the Sonic and Melodic, strange little forms and objects coalescing into scattered reactions and interactions, unexpected textures and enigmatic causal relationships. This Music seems super futuristic to me, like birds, insects and marine creatures that have harnessed advanced digital telecommunications technologies. Not what I would typically expect from a Chamber Music performance. One of my favourite things to do is to sit in front of a nice Stereo system and blast some Sciarrino or Xenakis or Parmegiani and just fucking listen.