WARMER MIXTAPES #1329 | by Sam Lea and Matthew Shribman of twin hidden

SIDE A | by Matthew Shribman

These are the ones that have me collapsing out of my own body, hairs pulling me into the air, tears in my eyes; a flickering show-reel of my most formative memories. I don’t allow myself to listen to them often. They might not be the very best songs that I know, but they’re the songs that have framed my life so far; an emotional blueprint that I keep in a box of the most powerful nostalgia; the lucid beginnings of all that I am. I hope that they have even a fraction of the effect on you as they’ve had on me. Maybe then you’ll feel your way through entire chapters of my life. I wanted to use this playlist to celebrate all of the giants whose shoulders I’m trying to stand on, but I haven’t been able to make room for so many: Regina Spektor, Turin Brakes, Genesis, Sufjan Stevens, Tori Amos, Midlake, Elbow to name just a few of my most influential. I’m sure that if I hadn’t discovered Zug Zwang by Dutch Uncles so recently, that would be on here too. Worth mentioning is that Sam and I have played a game, avoiding discussing what we're writing (imagine us back to back, typing on separate laptops, late into the night), so we’re expecting to see pretty different approaches. We've been asked to choose 10 songs each, but I’m old fashioned, so I’m going to do a mix CD’s worth: 80 minutes of Warmer Climes.

1. Josh Pyke | Memories & Dust
Memories & Dust is one of happiest songs that I know; not euphoric happiness; that long, slow-burning contentment, like climbing into a hot shower on a winter’s morning and dissolving into it like cells in a chrysalis. Josh Pyke is an expert in emptying a bottle of sand over your feet and crisping your hair with salt. The lyrical sentiments aren’t entirely positive... But I think the most joyful moments in Life are always bittersweet, and this for me is the pinnacle. To me, the opening timpani are the sound of drifting over the horizon in a tattered and crippled old airship, having been lost to the World, pursuing some disastrous adventure, and finally seeing the place you grew up unfolding beneath you like a giant orange unpeeling in the afternoon Sun.

2. Jeff Hanson | This Time It Will
This is one of my most influential tracks partly because of how unappreciated it is. It's a masterfully crafted Pop song, by an almost unknown artist, without any subscription to the sonic trends that move with the Music Industry. It's naked, it's skeletal and it's glowing with the potential of what could have been if he was still with us. I can't remember how I came across this song, but I remember not knowing its name for a very long time. I used to google the lyrics every few months, always finding nothing... Until finally I found someone else as enchanted as I was and together we tracked it down. We both had to get CDs sent over from North America.

3. Salem Al Fakir | It’s Only You (Part II)
To me, It’s Only You is the whirlwind of Obliviousness when there is only one other person in the World. It’s honest, it’s unassuming; it’s the purest expression of Love that I know. There's a lot that I love about the Nordic countries (I visit whenever I can). Most of all, I love their Music industry, from big names like Björk and José González through to Wintergatan and Kendal Johansson, it's intelligent, it's catchy and most of all, it sounds like they're ahead. Sam and I both came across Salem Al Fakir at the same time and sent one another this song on mix CDs.

4. Frou Frou | Let Go
Imogen Heap has probably been my most influential individual artist. I spoke to her on the phone once; I was supposed to be interviewing her for a newspaper article, but I was so enthralled with every twist and turn of her meandering conversation that I forgot to ask her any relevant questions at all. Sam once recorded a cover of Hide And Seek entirely on kazoos which she named her favourite of all the hundreds of covers that were made. Imogen told me that she wrote the bulk of that song in just a few minutes, experimenting with a new vocoder. I’ve only had one comparable experience, when I put together the main stem of Unconditionally (one of our singles) - I got lucky and it carried me all the way through. I love the unmistakable feeling of rushing air in Imogen Heap’s Music. I want us to sail close to that in the sounds that we make too. Of course, Guy Sigsworth deserves as much credit for this song as Imogen Heap; the producer whose collaborations include another favourite Nord of mine, Kate Havnevik. I usually dream in either sounds or pictures, and rarely both at the same time. Weirdly often, my dreams revolve around the chorus bass line of Let Go.

5. Muse | Stockholm Syndrome
This is where it all began for me. My parents, brilliant as they are, didn’t really introduce me to Modern Music, and as a young, knobbly-kneed, Northern lad, all I knew of it was the occasional Top Of The Pops show. As far as I could tell, it wasn’t really worth searching because all the best Music had already been found for me. But then one day my brother bought Absolution by Muse and, in his infinite wisdom, he made me listen to it all the way through. I decided that the best song on the album was Stockholm Syndrome (Butterflies & Hurricanes a close second)... And no one agreed with me at School, and neither did Top Of The Pops. Flabbergasted, I had a brief crisis before it dawned on me what must be out there. So even though this song doesn’t really fit in with the rest of my selection, it’s important to me because it was the beginning of my Musical explorations. Maybe's it's that arpeggiator synth in the choruses that I learnt to love after Sam introduced me to Fragma's You Are Alive a couple years earlier. It'd make sense that it was Sam who ignited the first spark. I'd probably have a song of his on here if it didn't seem self serving.

6. Everything Everything | Wizard Talk
I think that this is my favourite. Everything Everything are visionaries - one of the few current Mainstream bands trying to do something really profound; from ground breaking soundscapes to polemic Political Activism. To me, Wizard Talk is the only one of their songs that's truly open and honest about themselves an icy savanna of selfdoubt - steppe after steppe of heartfelt self-awareness in a world that champions Audacity and Greed. For some reason Wizard Talk was only released in Japan... Maybe Jonathan Higgs thought he had to release it into the World, but wanted it to be hidden so that only people searching would be privileged to peer inside his mind.

7. DJ Shadow | Blood On The Motorway
Sam and I both learnt to play the drum kit at the same time. Our teacher, Chris Sykes, gave our first band its name. Back then, at the beginning, my obsessions were Drum & Bass and Breakbeat. I could sit and loop Pendulum's Hold Your Colour for hours, inventing new licks and rhythmic combinations. I want to choose Hybrid’s rework of BT's Never Gonna Come Back Down Here, which we used to play at School with all the lights off, sitting on top of the cupboards to maximize exposure to the bass... But I’m so certain that Sam will include it... That I've decided to go for my second favourite Breakbeat track. This is the sound of it all rushing Past - every moment in Life departing as quickly as it arrived. It's the blur outside the car window. It's the space between the Spring and the Sea.

8. Alexi Murdoch | All My Days
One of my favourite things in Music is when a song attempts to encapsulate a lifetime of experience in a single moment – these are the richest immersions, because of the vast space that you can relate to and explore with every new visit. I think I got this from The OC (I'm embarrassed about it now, but I loved watching it when I was younger) playlist which was ludicrously well curated by Alexandra Patsavas; she gave me my first taste of The Album Leaf, Kings of Convenience, Phoenix, The Thrills... At a time when I was still working out how to find New Music. When people ask me what our target audience is, the best answer I can give is probably Alexandra Patsavas. This was my favourite song when I was growing up.

9. Karine Polwart | Daisy
If anyone were to ever write a song about me, I would want it to be this one. Wow, the depth of adoration and understanding between Karine and her subject is like nothing I’ve known. Maybe I feel so much resonance with who she's singing about that I've convinced myself it's me. Whether it is or isn't, no song has ever made me feel so wanted and so understood. I found this song by following a Music trail through Kate Rusby whose song Underneath The Stars Jamie (our guitarist) played to everyone when he left School, bringing a room full of people to tears.

10. The Rumour Said Fire | The Balcony
For words that are so confusing in their meandering and metaphor, this has never made more sense to me than when I’ve been chaotically consumed by a spell of the most cathartic love. Every reckless act and foolish change in direction for the sake of another second with the girl is what this hazy blur of amalgamated carefree beauty is to me. It doesn’t make as much sense now as it has in previous times, but it still makes me glow with the recalled sensations of the past and the dreamt up sensations of the Future. I love how the arrangement manages to be so, so sparse.

+11. Kan | Coriolis
For years I was in love with a girl whose ring tone on my phone was (and still is) this song from 3:20 onwards. The profound need for another, the sweet, innocent longing over immense distance, I’ve never heard so perfectly encapsulated as in this moment. When she calls me I’m still overwhelmed by every perfect moment that we shared. I first heard this when I walked into Sam's house to find everyone silently sitting in arm chairs, listening to the CD that'd just arrived that day. I joined them and we sat through most of it before we said a word. Kan have created countless songs that reduce me to tears. They’re without any doubt my favourite live act.

+12. John Mayer | Stop This Train
I remember when a guitarist pal of mine called Harry introduced me to this at University, and its meta steam-train guitar loop. Just like Alexi Murdoch's All My Days, its ability to condense a lifetime of feeling into a single moment lifts me out of my senses every time. In spite of all the pressures of the Mainstream on a hugely successful artist like John Mayer, he’s still so open and honest; so casually vulnerable. It’s a great inspiration to me that John has remained who he is whilst others seem to crumble around him.

+13. The Tallest Man On Earth | Burden Of Tomorrow
The Tallest Man On Earth, another Nord, always creates the most fantastical world in my mind: a verdant future of overgrown factory machines and rivers along crumbling runways; a post dystopian utopia. Every song of his feels like an adventure in a Land of Ooo. A friend of mine called Ed Beesley and I both retuned our guitars to this tuning and then simultaneously wrote two of our favourites... We only realised we'd done this when we tried to learn one another's songs. His is called Dynamo. Mine is called A Berry Bursts.

+14. Sébastien Tellier | La Ritournelle
La Ritournelle is a Phantasmagorical Expanding Space... Maybe it's that idiosyncratic architecture of 5 bars in every cycle; it’s like a dimension that doesn’t fit with our normal 4. When I open myself up to it, it feels like it's filling all moments at once. I think if this sprawling panorama of beauty makes sense to you then you’re running in the right direction. This song feels like every time I've ever been truly happy with the person that I am. There's also a great mix by Mr Dan, which is like eating the middle of the cake; most of the time you'd want the whole, but sometimes you need that concentrated deliciousness.

+15. Elliott Smith | Angeles
Elliott Smith was the first artist that I collected and cherished all the records of. I very rarely become attached to individual artists, because, shameful as it is, it’s uncommon that I can sit through a whole album and enjoy every song... I’m picky. But Elliot Smith I'm attached to the very idea of; the man huddling over his guitar in the darkness, whispering some sweet genius. Of all the excellent works, Angeles is the finest. Occasionally his Music surfaces with moments of intense joy like Bottle Up And Explode!, but mostly he seems to have lived in a world of tortured hope, crafting his feelings into this serene and fragile beauty that we're left to remember him by.

+16. Nobuo Uematsu | To Zanarkand (Final Fantasy X Original Soundtrack)
Adventure Video Games were an integral part of my growing up; they shaped a lot of my imagination. This song relates to an experience that, to me, was so real even though I know it wasn’t, it’s now a part of who I am. A lost boy is thrown 1000 years forward in time and tries to get home, but never makes it. I’ve been that person. Nobuo Uematsu, Koji Kondo and Yoko Shimomura all have written Music with frighteningly strong links to my childhood through these games. As video games become increasingly immersive, their ability to shape the way we grow up is increasing even more. I think it’s really important that kids are steered towards games of Fantasy Adventure and puzzles rather than games about War, and unjustified Violence. It's also really important that these video games have a story and an end, because Life has an end. I really hate games that never end.

+17. Eric Whitacre | A Boy And A Girl (with Eric Whitacre Singers)
Contained in here are my most blissful moments of Togetherness. I’m going to return to it so many times in years to come, every time wishing that I was still inside all of the memories that it represents. This is what I’m always going to be missing the most when I’m not there. Sam and I both helped with Eric Whitacre's Virtual Choir project (him more than me), bringing together the voices of several thousand people around the World to sing Sleep. Another piece of Music that I could have put here is O Magnum Mysterium by Morten Lauridsen, but I bet that Sam's done it so I won't. Sam showed me that one, and I showed him this one.

+18. Jimmy Eat World | Futures
My favourite song by Jimmy Eat World is easily Your House, but it doesn’t make me feel so totally decimated and reconstructed as Futures. The cover art has been looming over me on my bedroom wall since I was a teenager: a man stands alone at an out-of-order phone box, in an empty world. It’s the middle of the night, he’s waiting for a call, and somehow he knows it’s coming. How does he know? When I hear it, my vision is overridden, I forget who I am, and I fall into step with the long, heavy stride of every living thing that's ever strived for their ideals against bitter adversity, and won.

SIDE B | by Sam Lea

1. Flying Ibex | You Dared Me
Steve Gadd's cavernous, snicketing turn on 50 Ways To Leave Your Lover was the reason I first picked up a pair of drum sticks, and I've been a sucker for 'riddle grooves' ever since. Flying Ibex pack these in, and helpfully provide a welcome vessel for the lingering, very unhealthy obsession I had with another South London guitar trio in my teens - The Police - with their outward-looking International rhythms and gentle, nuanced songwriting. Blonde, angular Barnaby Keen's delivery is more subued, trip-cusping crooner than shrill try-hard Novocastrian, however - a better reference might be the haunting resonances of Grizzly Bear. Either way, the smouldering, echo-chamber laced You Dared Me is a hypnotic eyes-down head-nodder of the best kind.

2. Imogen Heap | Hide And Seek
Literally everyone in the World loves this song, and it feels a bit like cheating to include this vocoder-drenched classic, but Imogen Heap and Frou Frou were quite a big influence on twin hidden when we first started. A really silly version I did of it for 8-kazoos found its way back to her and got played on American radio, which at the time was one of the most exciting things that had ever happened to me. I love the barely-audible ice-cream van right at the end.

3. Salem Al Fakir | It’s Only You (Part II)
The Swedes have been solidly churning out some of the best Pop Music of the last decade, and this polished, Waltzing, saccharine gem is a total delight. Apart from a breathtakingly lush string part, it doesn't feel like a note is wasted in this direct and sparing arrangement, and though Al Fakir's vocal initially leaves you with your fingertips tentatively on the sick-bucket, it quickly charms you over the head repeatedly until you're sort of hoping it really is only you he thinks about. An endearing morsel of Pop perfection.

4. Lxury | J.A.W.S.
I've been counting my lucky stars since the most recent wave of slick, UK-Garage-influenced House and Pop Music started getting Radio play, and this release from Method Records sums up everything I love about the restrained-hyperactivity of that skippy Turn-Of-The-Century sound and its latter-day reincarnation. I'm always impressed by the kinds of tracks that can do a lot with only a bare minimum of resources, as all the best Dance Music does - this track is basically only four chords, flung chewily down your lugholes again and again, but it's perfectly structured and doesn't outstay its welcome. Breathy, subby Summer bliss with a slickly-crooked chug that just fills your gut with Sunshine.

5. Company And Band Of London Road | Everyone Is Very Very Nervous (London Road Original Cast Recording)
A repeated refrain about handing out rape alarms to potential murder victims shouldn't ever become an earworm, but this mind-shatteringly good, ground-breaking Musical from Adam Cork and Alecky Blythe offers up exactly that. (SELECTION FROM A MUSICAL ALERT - we've been told quite often that some of our own material has a tinge of the West End - but London Road is a world away from Wicked and Billy Elliott). Highlights from the soundtrack are up on YouTube, and anyone who's ever heard Steve Reich's spoken-pitch-emulating documentary piece Different Trains will get a kick out of this. The characters' stuttering, verbatim reeling-off of recorded interviews (erms, likes and all) has all the combustible energy of Wiley or Dizzee during their Grime heyday, but the subject matter - that of a local community in the midst and aftermath of real-life serial-killings that took place in Ipswich in 2006 - is so compassionately handled, so compelling, so richly and dynamically presented that it's easily the most astonishingly brilliant show I've ever seen. There's a film version coming out next year starring Tom Hardy and Olivia Coleman that I basically google every day.

6. Phoenix | Bourgeois
I've on-and-off been beguiled by the sunny, chunkily-Electronic smashers that Phoenix have been putting out over the years, but when I first heard Bourgeois on last year's Bankrupt!, my skin bristled in a way it hadn't done in a really long time. It's got a lurching, dreamy, anthemic chorus and a meandering verse that McCartney would be proud of. In short, one massive nostalgic squeeze around the abdomen. Really beautiful.

7. Morten Lauridsen | O Magnum Mysterium (Performed by The Tiffany Consort with Nicholas White)
When we were about 16, the two of us were hiking through a valley in Brecon with a spine-crushing Boombox in a backpack. Suddenly this piece of Choral Music came on and 3 horses, one white, one brown and one black appeared out of nowhere, cantering past as the Sun came out from behind the clouds. It was transfixing, and we didn't say anything to each other for about 10 minutes. We later got utterly pissed on during the night and my tent filled up with water, but not even that was enough to dampen the memory of the trip and that bewitching little coincidence of Mother Nature and the Shuffle button. By turns serene, pleading, glorious, this is a sliver of genius.

8. Kan | One, Two, Three
My Dad is an extremely talented Bodhrán player outside of his day-job as an Orchestral Musician, and Matthew and I have been switched on to records by Lúnasa, Lau and Flook off the back of his collection, but this outfit featuring musicians from the latter two groups is really something special. The thing that makes their 2012 debut Sleeper work so well is the fact that, while all four of these musicians are top-flight technical wizards, there's never anything overtly showy - just beautifully-crafted ideas embedded in well-defined arrangements. Aidan O'Rourke and Brian Finnegan's more familiar-sounding flute and fiddle lines are backed by Jim Goodwin's inventive Post-Rock/Funk/Trip-Hop drums and Ian Stephenson's evocative, playful, more Contemporary-sounding guitar stylings. I saw them at Band On The Wall in Manchester and it was literally the best sound I've heard at a Live venue, full stop. An inspiring, expressive quartet taking the Irish trad sound in a really fresh and Contemporary direction.

9. Everything Everything | Photoshop Handsome
Having grown up in the Rainy City, Manchester's recent Music Scene is something I'm naturally proud of. To turn a corner and suddenly see Dutch Uncles' Duncan Wallis or Synkro or Lone - for example, buying a sandwich from Gregg's - was the stuff of dreams when I was living there; I'm still sort-of kicking myself for not going up to Jeremy Pritchard on the Metrolink and asking him if the end of the bassline at the end of Schoolin' is a subtle Kool & The Gang - Get Down On It reference. (I am actually quite regularly glad I didn't do this.) I could basically list every single song Didsbury's Everything Everything has put out - Man Alive absolutely ruined my ability to write for about a year because I was so totally head-over-heels in love with it, and last year's Arc is an incisive, thoughtful critique on what humans are and where we're headed - but one of their songs that totally electrified me when I first heard it was Photoshop Handsome; like so much of their stuff, it's lyrically pretty fraught (Artificiality and Disposability) while simultaneously mainlining a tsunami of Serotonin into your bloodstream.

10. Sébastien Tellier | La Ritournelle
I used to be a big fan of Finnish Nu-Jazz group Nuspirit Helsinki, and one of their DJs called Hannulelauri made this really enchanting mixtape in the winter of 2005 of gems and Left-Field Belgian House and weird French Pop the likes of which I'd never heard before. There wasn't any way to download it at the time so I e-mailed him telling him how I much I wanted to have a copy - a week later I got a postcard from Helsinki with a hand-sketched CD sleeve with the mix inside. You can find it online now, but it was one of the nicest Christmas surprises I've had, and this, the opening track from it, will always remind me of driving through December fog on the way to my grandparents.