WARMER MIXTAPES #138 | by Jason Baxter and Kyle Hargus of Universal Studios Florida

Photo by Jennifer Becker.

SIDE A | by Kyle Hargus

1. Brian Eno | Here Come The Warm Jets
As many times as I’ve returned to the monolithic 1/1, Eno’s ambient masterwork, I have to give the edge to the title (and final) track of his 1974 solo debut. After an album’s worth of glam strutting and coked-up art rock experimentalism, the driving hypnotic chords of Warm Jets, given structure by Eno’s indescribably hymnal vocals and a wash of propellant drum work in its second half, really do sound like bliss caught in a jet engine.

2. Yo La Tengo | Our Way To Fall
Our Way To Fall is maybe the best love song I’ve ever heard. It’s playfully narcotic, whispered but totally understood, a perfect fit for an album that stands out, in a terrifically dense and diverse catalogue, as a gracefully sideways glance at growing up.

3. Penguin Café Orchestra | Telephone And A Rubber Band
Penguin Café Orchestra was kind of a forced inheritance from childhood, and also kind of a perfect fit for the process of growing up. They balanced their avant garde orchestration with predicted post-rock sensibilities and emotive, perpetually sunny instrumentation. Telephone And A Rubber Band is particularly interesting because of its use of analog sampling, particularly the three second sample of a telephone, which is fleshed out gorgeously with lush bass lines and coiling strings.

4. King Geedorah | Monster Zero
MF DOOM was my favorite rapper in high school, and if this were a best albums list the edge would go to Madvillainy, but I have to give myself up to even just the concept of narrating an album from the point of view of a three-headed alien dragon Gozilla villain. Plus it’s just obviously DOOM’s most lovingly sample-saturated album, as evidenced by Monster Zero, basically a monster-movie sound collage that rides the album’s most accomplished and complex beat.

5. The Velvet Underground | The Black Angel’s Death Song
I had never heard anything even remotely as raw, bruised, horrifically beautiful and appropriately titled as this song when I listened to VU & Nico for the first time. Except maybe Heroin. But seriously, this song changed how I think about cacophony.

6. The Olivia Tremor Control | Love Athena
This is the most overlooked anthem from the early Elephant 6 camp, and I still don’t understand why people don’t talk about this band more in conjunction with 90’s indie psychedelia. The kind of song you wait until your life is really good to listen to, so it’ll hit harder.

7. The Books | Don’t Even Sing About It
I got into The Books pretty early, before I listened to much electronic music outside of Boards Of Canada. I learned basically everything I think I know about found sound and sound collage and how effective they can be when used properly from their first two albums. This is one of their darkest compositions, and one of their best. The sung get used to hanging if you hang long enough reprise casts it in the direction of, like, a traditional song, but then there’s the clattering percussion, tape manipulation sounds and anonymous moans and muttered phrases that transport it, with a kind of alien sadness, into another aural realm.

8. Silver Jews | Pretty Eyes
The last Joo’s record wasn’t their best, but that won’t make me back down from the claim that Dave Berman is the best lyricist of the last two decades. And as far as the most beautiful, least sarcastic song he ever wrote, Pretty Eyes, the closer from The Natural Bridge, is pretty much the best you could ask for. Over sparse acoustic chords, Berman ponders the elephant and how, despite the shame it feels for its size, its eyes are its prettiest, most vulnerable features, and delivers blow after lyrical blow like I believe the stars are the headlights of angels driving from heaven to save us to save us.

9. The Streets | Empty Cans
A lot has been said about this song already, but as an English major and just a huge fan of Mike Skinner as a person, I’d feel wrong leaving it off my list. From a narrative standpoint, there is no more satisfying way to end the Grand Don’t Come For Free story than ending it twice, and from a production standpoint, it just really doesn’t get any better than the piano and strings that drop out of the glowing sky onto the beat in its second half.

10. Dntel | Anywhere Anyone
I once listened to this song on a loop in the middle of the night sitting on the deck of a cabin on Lake Chelan here in Washington, and I can honestly say I’m hard-pressed to think of any other electronic song I have as strong an emotional attachment to. I’d wager that this is the most affectively beautiful beat-whirlwind that Jimmy Tamborello has ever created. In fact he probably should have pursued a collaborative album with Mia Doi Todd instead, considering how her vocals here wrap up and around the fuzzed melody and slow BPM like strands of silk.

SIDE B | by Jason Baxter

1. Dorau/Köhncke | Durch Die Nacht (Geiger Mix)
Something about this track sucks me in every time. It might be my favorite electronic song ever. Maybe it’s the threefold punch of all the producers/musicians involved, but I just love the way this track evolves over the course of its six minutes and thirty-nine seconds.

2. The New Year | 18
Three or four years ago, I decided this was my favorite song and I still haven’t backed down from that opinion. I’m a real sucker for this kind of slowcore, with its enveloping, richly-distorted guitars and consistent emotional tone. It’s a heartbreaking song, lyrically and musically, and I just flat-out love it even though it bums me out every time.

3. Christopher Willits | Medium Blue
I love the progginess of this song, and I really dig the underlying mathematics behinds its apparent, spazzy chaos. The best part though is undoubtedly the guitar solo which drops at the 3:05. It just totally comes out of left field and knocks me on my ass every time. This song is the sonic high point of an outrageously good album.

4. Psychedelic Furs | India
Back in High School, I used to play Side A of the Psychedelic Furs self-titled over and over again, just to hear the long, droning intro to India. The first half of the song is so much stronger than its eventual payoff. To this day I think it’s a really audacious way to kick off an album, and its influence still colors everything I do. There’s a chance my love of ambient, shoegaze, and drone germinated in my initial fascination with the mellow first half of India.

5. Daft Punk | Digital Love
This song is perfect in every way, never lets me down, and contains one of the best (and least-discussed) guitar solos of all time.

6. Elliott Smith | Bled White
There was one summer where I listened to XO non-stop, and spun almost nothing else. For whatever reason (maybe because of the song’s inherent optimism, or the elasticity of its guitar riff), Bled White was always the standout track for me. This halcyon summer gave way to a really gloomy fall in which Smith died. Epic bummer.

7. Sonic Youth | Sugar Kane
Sugar Kane strikes the perfect balance between jamminess and restraint, and the guitar - oh man, the guitar! - it slays me every time. This song manages to evoke so many broad-stroke concepts for me, it’s almost baffling. I don’t revisit this song too often, but whenever I hear it playing in a clothing store or at a venue, I get the biggest smile on my face.

8. Coralcola | Heath Ledger (demo)
Written in a narcotic haze by a super-talented Bostonian DJ on the day Heath Ledger’s death was announced, this jam is over nine minutes of heavenly Willner-esque IDM. Despite its length, this song never bores me and the beat drops continue to blow my mind. It’s a criminally-underheard epic, and a totally fitting tribute to one of our generation’s greatest talents.

9. Harry Nilsson | Spaceman
Picking just one Harry Nilsson song for this list was one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever had to make. I settled on this cut from Son Of Schmilsson because I think it’s demonstrates all of Nilsson’s strengths: his crazy vocal range, his visionary songwriting, and his irrefutable, all-around insanity.

10. Manual | Summer Of Freedom
Manual might only be matched by M83 when it comes to synthesizing sweeping, remarkably emotive music from an overabundance of sonic parts. This song is straight-up fun to listen to, full of great hooks, and always makes me think of the boardwalk in Santa Cruz for some reason.