Tag Archives: music

Rediscovering The Velvet Underground

Some Apple Music playlists seem bot-made, but its Velvet Underground Essentials is a proper journey, and a masterfully curated introduction for anyone who doesn’t already dig this seminal rock band. (The Velvets are the only hip band I can confidently say I introduced many highschool and undergrad friends to.)

In this playlist — which for some reason made for perfect holiday listening yesterday — the songs are perfectly sequenced (for instance, following “Oh sweet nuthin,” a deeper but critical cut, with “All tomorrow’s parties” is inspired); the versions are judiciously selected (for instance, here’s the proper take of “Sweet Jane,” with the bridge); and if there are some omissions (like “The Murder Mystery” or “Cool it down”) there are more essentials (“Here she comes now”), and even some delightful surprises (how have I never heard “Foggy notion” before?).

I’m sharing a pic of the playlist for those who don’t have Apple Music but can source the tracks otherwise and sequence them this way. For Apple Music users, here is the playlist link.

Leonard Cohen, operating in the night

“Montreal is still small enough to have one or two centres, one or two late night centres, and into this funnel is drawn everyone who happens to be up that night or at least a representation of the various groups operating in the night, and groups operating in the night always have a special kind of interest and a special kind of ritualistic atmosphere. 

“And into these places, these special places in the city, and Ben’s is one of them, is drawn this very urgent cross section of people who have somehow committed the first rebellious act that a man can perform: refusing to sleep. 

“That’s the real rebellion against life and the generative process. That’s the real human idea: I refuse to sleep. I’m going to protest the idea of sleep by turning night into day.

“I’m going to revel and drink and womanize all night and this way I show time, death, the natural process of destruction, decay and regeneration — I show it all with my mind and my will that I, man, triumph. And so they come to Ben’s.”

–Leonard Cohen, quoted in Ladies & Gentlemen…Mr Leonard Cohen (NFB, 1965)

[A thousand thanks to you, Mr Leonard Cohen, for showing us how the light gets in. And for being the light.]

Shrine Like The Sun: Summer 2016 Drum & Bass

“…dance clubs should be safe spaces. Where you can take #pride in yourself and freely express yourself. Where you can #BeYourself. This idea, this ethos has weighed heavily on my mind this week. This mix of newish tracks veers between darkness and light, dread and remedy. The track list titles sketch a kind of story, an all too familiar story. But it starts and ends with tracks that insist what a dancefloor should be: Shrine. Sacred Floor.”

Update: Dan Savage and Carl Craig have written good articles this week about the importance of dance clubs as sanctuaries. See Savage’s “What we find in gay bars and queer clubs” and Craig’s “On the importance of club culture after the Orlando shooting.”

Track list:
00:00 Artificial Intelligence “Shrine”
05:33 Whiney “Guardians”
09:12 Maduk “One way”
12:50 Boston “Conscious”
16:53 S.P.Y. “Hidden fire”
20:23 Alibi, Unreal & Dogface “Drop dead”
23:38 Dan Bowskill & Kalm “Living in the red”
28:12 Nitri “Shiver”
33:34 Bcee “The river runs dry”
38:08 Phase & Whiney “It means nothing”
41:15 Spirit “Interstate”
46:03 Bcee “Back to the street” (S.P.Y. remix)
50:28 Technimatic “Remember you”
55:05 Kid Drama “Red magic”
58:55 Maduk & Veela “Got me thinking”
1:02:22 LSB “Remedy”
1:07:33 Fred V & Grafix “Like the sun”
1:11:12 Bungle & Urbandawn “Sacred floor”

Just published: “The DJ as Critic”

ESC-DJarticle_collage“The DJ as Critic”: my article in the latest issue of English Studies In Canada. Seeing work reach print never gets old, but the design of ESC is always exceptional, from typeface to pull-quotes.
This issue also features work by national treasures like Diana Brydon, Susan Brown, George Elliott Clarke, Smaro Kamboureli & Len Findlay, to name just a few…so I’m thrilled my words get to rub paper shoulders with such a Who’s Who of Canadian literature and literary studies.

This article is presently available only in the print edition of ESC; I will update this post when the article becomes available online.

UPDATE: This issue of ESC is now digitally available via Project Muse. The article is at this link, available to Project Muse users (i.e. postsecondary students and faculty). If you don’t have Project Muse access, but want a copy, just e-mail me a request for it. (That’s one way fair dealing works.) Eventually it will be openly accessible at ESC‘s website, but not for another year or so.

Deliquescence: Drum & Bass March 2016

My new mix of current and recent drum & bass tracks is streamable on Mixcloud. Recently, Mixcloud’s Terms of Service changed so a full track list isn’t shown before playback. (I’m assuming this change was made under pressure from the RIAA.) Which is why I’m providing the track list here.

Track List [artist, “title” (label)]

00:00 Keeno, “Land, Sea and Sky” (Medschool)
05:22 Lenzman & Forren, “Never Enough” (Metalheadz)
09:35 G.H.O.S.T., “Blood Brother” (Goldman)
14:58 Insomniax, “Lunar Dub” (Viper)
19:34 Document One, “Run the Block” (Technique)
23:01 Response & S.T. Files, “Wanna B 3” (Computer Integrated Audio)
28:23 Pola & Bryson, “Music” GLXY remix (Soulvent)
32:36 Semi Sense, “From Stars” (Liquid Tones)
36:49 Urban Dawn feat. Elsa Esmeralda, “Cloudless” (Hospital)
41:25 Keeno, “Bleary-Eyed” (Medschool)
45:15 Anile, “Stay With Me” (Medschool)
48:17 Subwave, “Tell Me” (Hospital)
52:55 Hugh Hardie & Pola & Bryson, “Lifted” (Hospital)
56:22 LSB, “If You’re Here” Luke’s Tangerine Dreaming remix (Hospital)

New DJ mix: Drum & Bowie – a tribute mix

This mix is a tribute to David Bowie, selecting some of his fast music from the 1980s and after, especially his forays into drum & bass, which debuted dramatically on Earthling (1997) but didn’t end there. Despite their common tempo in this mix (about 169 bpm), the musical diversity of these tracks demonstrates the extraordinary breadth and depth of Bowie’s creativity.

The resulting mix is an eclectic, uptempo trip through a vastly eclectic oeuvre.

And it’s a modest way to say: thank you for the changes, and safe travels among the stars.
As a friend remarked, Bowie “taught a few generations how to break norms, dream, just dance, sing out one’s fantasies and imagine a better world. … I think our world will not be the same without him but it is different because of him and maybe this is all one can ask for.”

Track list
1) 00:00 DJ Skratch Bastid, “Let’s Dance” turntablism routine
2) 01:24 Davy Jones, “A Better Future” (Heathen, 2002)
3) 05:11 David Robert Jones, “I’m Deranged” jungle mix (Outside, 2007)
4) 11:27 David Bowie, “The Last Thing You Should Do” (Earthling, 1997)
5) 15:39 Major Tom, “I Took a Trip On A Gemini Spacecraft” (Heathen, 2002)
6) 18:36 Ziggy Stardust, “Dead Man Walking” (Earthling, 1997)
7) 21:48 Aladdin Sane, “I Would Be Your Slave” (Heathen, 2002)
8) 26:14 The Man Who Fell To Earth, “Real Cool World” (Songs From The Cool World, 1992)
9) 30:14 The Thin White Duke, “We Prick You” (Outside, 1995)
10) 34:14 Halloween Jack, “Sue (Or In A Season Of Crime)” (★, 2015)
11) 38:35 Jareth The Goblin King, “Little Wonder” (Earthling, 1997)
12) 43:42 Major Tom, “Dancing Out In Space” (The Next Day, 2013)
13) 46:48 The Man Who Sold The World, “Telling Lies” (Earthling, 1997)
14) 49:06 David Bowie, “Modern Love” (Let’s Dance, 1983)

Fun fact: Mixcloud’s Terms of Service both a) prevent a full tracklist from being displayed before playback, and b) regionally restrict playback of mixes featuring more than 4 songs by any one artist. Conveniently, Bowie was many artists.

Guest DJ mix on Bassport.FM this Saturday, April 4, at 1 pm MDT

DrTeeth_BassportFM_4-4-2015My DJ alter ego Dr Teeth returns to radio this weekend, with a guest mix on London UK’s Bassport.FM, at 1 pm MDT (8 pm UK time), on Saturday, April 4. Listen online at http://bassport.fm/listen.html

The set will feature an hour’s smooth and luxurious ride through new and recent drum & bass tracks by a variety of producers and labels, including @djhazard_playaz, @nutone, Stereotype, @dimension_uk, and @_SpectraSoul_, among others. Some of my current favourite tracks are @ReneLaVice’s “The Calling” (@RAMRecordsltd), Stereotype’s “Lost in Los Angeles” (@intriguednb), and @DJAphrodite’s dub remix of Christina Aguilera’s “Beautiful” (yes, really).

After airtime, the mix will be archived, with its tracklist, at my Mixcloud page: mixcloud.com/sonicfiction

I have blogged previously here about how I view DJing as part of my ongoing research, an argument that perhaps warrants articulating more fully sometime soon.