WARMER MIXTAPES #339 | by Samuel Milton Grawe [Hatchback]

1. Interior | Hot Beach
I found this record in a new age crate underneath the 70s Rock section of a record store in Paris. It's on the Windham Hill label, but was produced by Haruomi Hosono of Yellow Magic Orchestra, and features four striking Japanese fellows all dressed in white, with make-up like they just stepped off the stage dancing for David Bowie. Now whenever I see this record, which is fairly often, I have to buy it. I think I've given 6 or more copies to friends, and I have 3 or 4 myself (including the Japanese version, which features different tracks, and has an amazing diagram of their studio recording set-up). Covers, labels, producers, band photos; those are the things that attract me to a record, and make me want to buy it. But obviously what really matters is what it sounds like when you drop the needle into the groove. This track sounds exactly as the name hot beach implies. Distant pads hover as though they were mirage on the sand. A sparkling
melody gathers and drips like condensation drops on a cold can of beer. You can almost feel the warmth of the sand underneath you towel. This track is pretty amazing.

2. Irene Papas & Vangelis | Le Fleuve
I bought this record from out of the same bin in Paris as Interior (what a lucky day for vinyl shopping), but I only started getting into it recently. Actually during the Christmas holidays my family was staying with us and we listened to Odes a couple of times every day--I tried to convince everyone that it was Vangelis' adaptation of Eastern Orthodox Liturgical music, and it worked. This whole record blows me away, Vangelis is at the top of his game and the instrumentation is perfect throughout. Papas adds a distinct flavor to the music, almost like Lisa Gerrard of Dead Can Dance. This track closes out side one by taking you deep into outer space. Cosmic echoes and galactic glitter.

3. Kraftwerk | Ananas Symphonie
It's hard to think of a more perfect piece of music than these 14 minutes our Kraftwerk buddies put together back in the early 70s. The filtered beat boxes, pedal steel guitar, moogs, and everything else they were using add up to way more than the sum of its parts. My friend Craig Steely has a house in a really wild part of Hawaii where we go at least once a year to explore boredom and this track, even on the rainiest San Francisco day, always takes me there.

4. Suzanne Ciani | The Seventh Wave: Sailing Away
Women playing analog synthesizers (other than Wendy Carlos, which is another story) are rare indeed, so whenever I put this on, my wife asks if this is the one by the chick. I had Velocity Of Love, which is the follow-up to this record, but it never really grabbed me. I got this one recently in an overlooked new age bin in Mill Valley, California, and it's easily become one of my all-time favorite records. Seriously, ALL TIME. Ciani's knack for catchy melodies and chord changes is in full effect here, and there's a sort of slow-jam R&B sensuality to the music that isn't really present in, say, a Klaus Schulze album. About half-way through this jam she starts pumping a couple tracks of 808 through vocoders and filters and achieves an effect that sounds so ahead of its time--it blows me away every time. This record is top notch from start to finish.

5. Francis Lai | Les Fantasmes d'Emmanuelle
I don't know what it is, but I'm such a sucker for Francis Lai. I've been collecting all his bits and bobs over the last decade, and some of it is so good, and some of it so bad, but even though some of it is horrible and potentially embarrassing to play around other human beings, I love it all. This synthesizer and marimba track from a very steamy acupuncture scene in Emmanuelle 2 gives me intense goosebumps--nothing to do with the film, I assure you. The synth trombone melody that drops toward the end has sort of a John Barry swoon to it, and moved me so much that my wife and I decided to use it as the processional music at our wedding. It was EPIC!

6. Ashra | Oasis
Manuel Göttsching may be best known for his chess moves on E2-E4, but this little track off Correlations is so, so simple and perfect. A moogy bass obstinate cruises through the whole jam, and Manuel busts the most effortless and gorgeous guitar melodies on top. You can hear the clouds parting.

7. Edgar Froese | Stuntman
Stuntman is really a perfect record... From the mysterious album graphics to the intense analog synth workout Edgar treats us to. Somehow the music has an almost baroque vibe, although it sounds nothing like classical music. It just seems stately and proper, like music for people who still ride in carriages and dine by candlelight. I recently upgraded my HiFi with some vintage JBL speakers, and this album just sounds incredible being played at high volumes.

8. Brain Eno & Harold Budd | An Arc Of Doves
I used to listen to this album a lot when I lived in upset New York, where it snowed a ton. It will always remind me of super cold nights, and that hush that befalls the land when everything gets covered in a fresh layer of snow. This is another of those records that I think is simply perfect from beginning to end--Masters Of The Universe.

9. Gábor Szabó | Breezin'
Dan Judd, aka. Sorcerer, turned me onto to Gábor Szabó a few years back (even though I had some of his records languishing deep in my stacks) and I just can't get enough of the guy. High Contrast, which Breezin' opens, is I think, his most concise and best album. Bobby Womack kills it on rhythm guitar, adding just enough of a soulful edge, while Gábor keeps things loose and jangly. Instead of prescribing antidepressants, doctors should just make their patients listen to this song everyday.

10. Space Art | Welcome To Love
If Love Boat took place in outer space and 3000 years into the future (but somehow still managed to capture a late 1970s vibe), this is what they would play in the cruise ship lounge every night to get people on the dance floor. These french fools only made three records, but they are seriously all so genius. This track is a crazy extended vocoder workout with solos galore while meanwhile the drummer is taking things in an afrotastical Tony Allen direction. Welcome to Love indeed.