07 June 2007


October 2006: CD-R

01. Paul Giovanni, “Lullaby”
02. Belle and Sebastian, “Dress Up In You”
03. The Zombies, “A Rose for Emily”
04. Calexico, “Crumble”
05. Sun Ra, “Space Loneliness”
06. TV On The Radio, “A Method”
07. Luscious Jackson, “Take a Ride”
08. Brian Eno, “The Big Ship”
09. Kings of Convenience, “Summer on the Westhill”
10. Nancy Sinatra, “Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)”
11. The Velvet Underground, “Jesus”
12. Stereolab, “Metronomic Underground”
13. PJ Harvey, “The Life and Death of Mr. Badmouth”
14. Space Needle, “Never Lonely Alone”
15. Laura Nyro, “Billy’s Blues”
16. John and Beverly Martyn, “Auntie Aviator”
17. Animal Collective, “Loch Raven”
18. Beth Gibbons and Rustin’ Man, “Mysteries”
19. CAN, “Spoon”

Some mixes are tossed off in a week or two (or one particularly obsessive evening); others take much longer to finish. I started this one on a Greyhound bus bound for Manhattan in late April of last year and completed it nearly six months later for a friend’s birthday. Since then, I've played it often, mostly on road trips.

I wanted to craft something that would be ideal for listening to after dark, preferably in the wee, deep hours of the night. I thought back to the 11:00 PM to 3:00 AM shift I worked as a residence hall desk receptionist in the summer of ’95; I also remembered when I used to drive all over Milwaukee at night just to listen to music in the car. My working title for this mix was “Subterranean”, which I thought aptly described the groove I was going for: moody, subdued, hypnotic, chill.

“Lullaby” is a suitably mystifying minute-long snippet from THE WICKER MAN soundtrack (the original, not the negligible Neil LaBute remake); here it’s a prelude, an opening theme song. “Dress Up In You” gently fades in from some seemingly secret, special place, and so it goes, its indie pop bleeding into The Zombies' chamber psychedelia, Luscious Jackson’s stretched-out jam barely separate from Brian Eno’s momentous crawl, the quietly dramatic, a capella finale of VU's “Jesus” giving way to Stereolab’s blips and bleeps. While some mixes are aptly just that—a true blend, all over the map—here I aimed for something coherent, a simmering whole with more flow.

I was in no rush to finish it, knowing I had the time. I'm glad I let it gestate; otherwise, I never would've included the title song, which I owned but barely noticed until it appeared, quite strikingly, in the film RUSSIAN DOLLS; nor would I have ever heard the Space Needle song, which popped up at the last minute in an episode of VERONICA MARS. The final track, "Spoon" also re-entered my consciousness via a movie soundtrack. It carries a little jolt that's somewhat out-of-character for the mix, but I get excited every time it comes on—it's a respite, a diversion, a space to suddenly awaken after nearly dozing off.

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