WARMER MIXTAPES #528 | by Tyler Burton [Vyxor]

This is my mixtape.
I’ve been listening to some of these tracks for a couple days, some for years.
I wonder which ones will stick around?

1. Alex Mauer | Gravity Hill
I wish I could put the whole album up here, because Vegavox II is a short, brilliant record that works best when it’s consumed in a single sitting. But Gravity Hill nicely exemplifies the album’s sensitivity to instrumentation, space, and melody. It seems like some Chiptune artists depend on the inherent extramusical baggage of their medium to connect with the audience: Chiptunes automatically invoke nostalgia, innocence, fun, etc. etc. But the retro glow has worn off; I mean, I hear Nintendo-style synths on top-40 radio nowadays. But Gravity Hill, and Alex Mauer’s work at large, succeeds in spite of its blippy heritage, because you can tell he just loves melody, and he’s amazing at it. Sure, he’s a great technician and programmer, but most importantly, he’s a composer of the highest degree, and this lyric-less song has brought me close to tears so many times. You know what it is… It’s that persistent D natural, with the slightest touch of vibrato, re-asserting itself continually over shifting chords, transitioning seamlessly from hopeful, to bleak, to devastating in less than eight seconds.

2. Capsule | Hello
I listen to this song at least once a day. It is casually sexy/nerdy/catchy/clean/auto-tuned/colorful/MELODY///. It is the perfect length (but I don’t want it to end), and it is the perfect Pop song.

3. Koji Ueno | Overture: Invention, Travel And Adventure
I was ten years old when I first played this computer game, and the experience left an indelible impression on my little child brain. The game was baffling, and the music terrified me. Ueno literally adapts the locomotive-fetishization of the game’s world into his soundtrack, by using musique-concréte train sounds for a chugging, sturdy (but highly complex) rhythmic foundation. Melodic instruments are detuned, manipulated, and used for percussive effect. MIDI string quartets sections are unwieldy, sculptural, and fiercely atonal. In the game, unmoving character models prattle on about their migraine headaches and conspiracy theories. It’s a fantasy world, but colors are muted and sad. As the player wanders through large, empty train stations, the music segues into dull, humming ambient noises: large light fixtures reverberate overhead, heavy machinery idles in the background. The effect is completely oppressive. As a kid, I remember both fearing and looking forward to the next big musical moment.

4. Chrome Sparks | Show You My Way
I can’t put my finger on it. The chords are simple and the melody is functional. It is undersung and modestly produced. But there’s something about the way the synths edge into place with a push of the pitch wheel, the gentle, bubbling arpeggios, and how that lovely, resonant, round bass pummels the track during the chorus. And then of course, the flirtatious, vaguely threatening mantra: I’ll show you my way... Just stick with me. Vocal snippets break apart and form new melodies. It’s oddly moving, but I can’t quantify it; where does the emotion come from? The parts don’t add up. What is that emotion? I don’t have a word for it.

5. Disclosure | Carnival
I listen to this song at least once a day. It is aggressively danceable/sweaty/soulful/jacking/Up-Tempo/MELODY///. It is the perfect length (but I don’t want it to end), and it is the perfect Dance track.

6. Ludwig van Beethoven | Piano Sonata No. 13 In E-Flat major 'Quasi Una fantasia', Op. 27, No. 1 (Second Movement – Allegro Molte E Vivace) (Played by Glenn Gould)
I’m not the biggest Beethoven fan by any stretch. (And generally speaking, large-scale orchestral works exhaust my ears and my patience.) But I love the clarity and focus of LVB’s ideas when he’s restrained by a more modest medium (a piano sonata, in this case), and Glenn Gould cranks out all the possible contrast, nuance, and technical fuckery of this movement. The melody is simple, and is punctuated with unexpected dashes of violence and overextended phrases. Toward the end, the first section returns in a dizzying, syncopated immediate echo… It’s inhuman, compelling, and totally addictive.

7. Finis Henderson | Skip To My Lou
The most immaculate falsetto I’ve ever heard. And a bassline that won’t quit. Everything snaps, but it’s all tempered by analogue warmth. The percussion is effervescent and crisp. There is no irony, no misdirection, no mud. It is earnest and stratospheric. This track lifts pounds from your body; it will make you move, and time will pass by so quickly. It was the only record he ever released. Apparently, Mr. Henderson now has a variety show where he impersonates other celebrities and singers.

8. Bogdan Raczynski | My Love I Love (Track 3)
I want to meet Bogdan Raczynski and give him a big hug.

9. Yamataka Eye And John Zorn | M.S.T.G.L. (Moneysextripgodlove)
Georges Bataille sez: The heterogeneous world includes everything resulting from unproductive expenditure. This consists of everything rejected by homogeneous society as waste or as superior transcendent value. Included are the waste products of the human body and certain analogous matter (trash, vermin, etc.); the parts of the body; persons, words, or acts having a suggestive erotic value; the various unconscious processes such as dreams or neuroses He goes on, but to summarize: When those heterogeneous elements intrude into our homogeneous world-view, we experience a sort of shock wherein function and reason stops, and momentary revelations into areas of non-knowledge are exposed. John Zorn and Yamataka Eye are the only people who have made me laugh, cry, get turned on, and get a little sick all at the same time. They generate fissures; expose gaps in reason by creating friction in logical musical discourse, by destroying the functional and rational modes of taste and structure. Zorn’s saxophone playing creates noise and resonating-body disharmony; a procedure that focuses on the waste elements of the instrument. Eye blurts out indecipherable phonemic mush. Like language, meaning in Music is (arguably) constructed through a series of linguistic signs, wherein ideas are fixed in sound, and these sounds become the signs of ideas; a functioning language depends on the co-existence of many linguistic signs, supporting one another by values of similarity and dissimilarity. Comprehension of a linguistic event involves the syntagmatic grouping of consecutive units (a process of accruing value through closely-arranged linguistic signs). But the sounds coming out of Eye’s mouth, from Zorn’s saxophone, are nonlinear, isolated, and nonproductive. They are grating and inconsequential. They then hammer these sounds over and over again until they accrue a specialized, internal logic. These rough, overlong repetitive actions enact a kind of musical Onanism, an analogue to the physical act of self-pleasuring; sounds without the intent of cohesive musicality, without productivity. A musical frottage that revels in the discharge. Nothing has been made, but the process got us there. Something momentarily emerged, but it was beyond reason, so we forgot.

10. Melt-Banana | Plot In A Pot
I listen to this song at least once a day. It is has volume/volume/power/ NO MELODY /// (finally). It is the perfect length (but I don’t want it to end), and it is the perfect cup of coffee.