WARMER MIXTAPES #1377 | by Ben Jacobs [Max Tundra]
1. Neil & Iraiza | Fez (Men Working)
I first discovered this incredibly joyous piece of Shibuya-Kei after watching a film called Syndromes And A Century, directed by Thai fella Apichatpong Weerasethakul. The song is completely at odds with the languid, contemplative tone of the movie and the jolt it caused made me dance in my flip-up seat. This led me down the fun-fun-funnel of the rest of N&I's chord-progressive works and I am a better person because of it. I recommend this song, this band, their album New School - and the very different film which led me to it/them.
2. Laura Mvula | Can't Live With The World
The most beautiful song ever recorded. Mvula's album came on in a record shop in which I once worked. As the ornate layered vocals of opening track Like The Morning Dew burst into Life, the little hairs inside my ear canals twitched with joy. Several listens in, it was obvious that this ridiculously talented musician had made a work of Art that would stay lodged in my Best Albums Of All Time list for the foreseeable future. Can't Live With The World - a hypnotic, insidious lullaby - is the LP's highlight; a friend that seems to have all the time in the world for you as it unfurls. Play this at my funeral.
3. John Adams | Naive And Sentimental Music: I. Naive And Sentimental Music (Performed by Los Angeles Philharmonic; Conductor: Esa-Pekka Salonen)
Another act whose Music I discovered through Cinema: this time Luca Guadagnino's gorgeous I Am Love. The film's soundtrack is basically a John Adams compilation and introduced me to the works of my now favourite Classical composer. NASM is a suite I have absolutely no idea how a human being could come up with, let alone scribble tadpole-like squiggles all over manuscript paper to create the resultant heavenly racket. For those left cold by the arpeggiocore of Glass, take a warm bath in Adams's Modern Music of the heart.
4. Jensen Sportag | Cocktease
Whenever anyone talks of the Nashville sound I immediately think of these hirsute fellas. Nothing Country about the Music - apart from the bucolic scenery that it conjures up, whipping past in the rear-view mirror of some glossy muscle-car of the mind. JS know that Funk is in the gaps and their spritzy production here is a fine introduction to their sleek catalogue. Imagine a more optimistic sashay-able version of the Drive soundtrack. I'm waffling...
5. The Monsoon Bassoon | 28 Days In Rocket Ship
I have probably attended more concerts by this majestic ex-band than any other. A member of this five-pronged group was once asked in an interview: How do you remember how to play such complex Music? to which he replied: How do you remember your way home?... My remix of their track Commando is probably the most far-out I've done - and it's testament to their adventurous worldview that they didn't request a more palatable version (as the manager of an extremely famous Pop band once asked me). Anyway, this oft-unheard B-side has it all - including a bicycle bell riff.
6. Wigwam | Pedagogue
The entire 1974 album by these Finnish Proggers makes the chord-loving cortex of my brain glow the unknown colour of MacCruiskeen's painted bicycle in The Third Policeman. This particular ditty manages to be simultaneously leisurely, ambitious, delirious, [Stevie] wond[e]rous, warming, scary, comforting, homely, unique and strangely familiar. I would love to see the sheet Music of this piece, if only to become even more confused about how human beings could ever have concocted it.
7. Unknown MIDI Musician | Close To The Edge (Yes Cover)
I do love the extended Pop song that spreads itself out across side one of the Yes album of the same name. It's a beautiful sunshiney afternoon of a tune with one heck of a lot of stuff going on in it. So hats off to the individual(s) who set aside a hearty chunk of their life/lives for the thankless task of converting the complex interplay of the instruments and vocals into MIDI data. This one lends itself particularly well to the shonky sound palette of a built-in soundcard inside a mid-nineties beige PC, evoking the what can this machine do? optimism of the early Computing World.
8. 10cc | Clockwork Creep
Many years before three-chord cliché-ridden busker became the default setting for success-seeking musicians, there was this band called 10cc. They were always masters of Musical Arrangement - see their blissed-out tapeloop-vocalled hit I'm Not In Love - but this showstopper evokes the lysergic grab-bag tendencies of Mr. Bungle. It tells a terrifying story in a gripping, light-hearted way and paints a picture with pianos, whistles and a singing jumbo jet. I Am In Love - with this song.
9. Yeshimebet Dubale | I Remember A Man
I first heard this tricksy little ditty in instrumental form after Ariel Pink recorded a cover version of it. This became one of my fave APHC tunes and I was surprised and delighted to discover he hadn't actually written it, as these discoveries always lead to a fresh, rewarding fork in the path. As soon as I heard the haunting original I fell in love. I have heard a handful of Ethiopian tracks via the wonderful Éthiopiques series of albums and the sounds therein sometimes make me feel that the old Rock and Pop I know and love is perhaps a parallel universe version of this Waltzy threes-loving addictive Music.
10. The Flying Lizards | Lovers & Other Strangers
Talking of parallel universes, The Flying Lizards' skewiff sound is a queasy reimagining of Modern Music, and the way they manage to be peculiar yet somehow catchy is certainly an influence on my own output. This song (and the fantastic video) will disorientate and delight anyone with a curious ear (and eye). Every single song in their back catalogue contains some unusual element or other. True Disco delirium.