28 August 2008


March 2005: CD-R

01. Bebel Gilberto, "Simplesmente"
02. Sam Phillips, "Five Colors"
03. The Free Design, "I Found Love"
04. Rufus Wainwright, "Gay Messiah"
05. Tamas Wells, "Even in the Crowds"
06. The Shins, "Saint Simon"
07. Sufjan Stevens, "Sister"
08. Black Box Recorder, "The New Diana"
09. The Weakerthans, "One Great City!"
10. The Poppy Family, "Free From The City"
11. Steve Wynn, "Morningside Heights"
12. Fiona Apple, "Extraordinary Machine"
13. Ella Fitzgerald, "Black Coffee"
14. Saint Etienne, "Former Lover"
15. Junior Boys, "Teach Me How to Fight"
16. Tompaulin, "Slender"
17. Paul Brill, "Indian Summer"
18. Arab Strap, "Devil Tips"
19. Brian Eno, "Everything Merges With the Night"
20. Ivy, "Back In Our Town"

I already commented on Part One of this double disc mix; I did not intend for two whole years to fly by before writing an entry on Part Two, but so it goes. This disc is the comparatively chilled, come-down cousin to the other disc's frenzied, let's-get-out-of-the-house-and-party soundtrack. I wouldn't go so far to describe myself as a homebody or a wallflower, but I think in personality terms, I'm more Part Two than Part One, although I was aiming for some kind of balance between the two halves.

Listening to it now, Part Two feels a lot like a warm-up to a mix I made the following year, which has the same reasoning behind the song selection, but expands on the continuous flow and unwavering mood. However, like Part One, Part Two opens with a powerful one-two punch: light as air but resounding through its gossamer layers and simple piano chords, Bebel Gilberto's song gives the mix a stark, attention-grabbing first few moments before it effortlessly segues into Sam Phillip's even simpler acoustic strum and impassioned vocal.

From there, it jumps around a veritable cornucopia of themes and genres. The Free Design's vintage sunshine pop sits next to Rufus Wainwright's clever, blasphemous come-on; The Weakerthans snidely love/hate their hometown while fellow Canadians The Poppy Family long for release from an undisclosed locale; Ella Fitzgerald sings the blues but not before Fiona Apple reinvents them as an eloquently warped production number from an alternate universe evil Disney cartoon; Steve Wynn and Paul Brill both sit back and take it all in stride, while Junior Boys use the opposite approach, grafting an impassioned, 1980s-ready dramatic ballad over a busy, intense but pensive rhythm.

I won't argue that everything here sounds like it belongs--after all, what ended up here was basically anything too peppy for Part One. Still, I think it concludes as well as it begins. The Arab Strap song was taken off a compilation I had to review, and it sounds like little else I've heard: a Scotsman slurring over a delicate guitar arpeggios and two exceptionally sinister violins. The Brian Eno song is the second-last one off of ANOTHER GREEN WORLD, and the Ivy song is the closer on their best album, so sue me for putting them in the same sequence on my mix--it works.

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