Sacred Songs, Part 5: Darkness Increased by 1

Year: 2016
Original Format: MP3

So here we are again at the great pivot, the Return of Light. It got especially dark this year, and so the turnabout is especially welcome.

But darkness has to culminate before the change can come, and that’s the basic idea here. Heavy stuff man, but light awaits on the other side.

Playlist after the jump.

Continue reading “Sacred Songs, Part 5: Darkness Increased by 1”

Sacred Songs, Part 3: Sing, Cuckoo, Sing

Year: 2016
Original Format: MP3

“Depend upon it, sir, when a man knows he is to be hanged in a fortnight, it concentrates his mind wonderfully.”
– Dr. Johnson

As the days grow shorter and the weather bleaker, one’s mind begins to turn to the big questions: How long do we have left? What do we do with that time? Should we get a pizza?

Playlist after the jump.

Playlist:

What Happens Next? Simon Jones & Geoffrey McGivern
I only just learned that there was a German radio version of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, so I guess now I have to learn German.

Nobody Can Live Forever Tim Maia
Some very definitive answers to the big questions, with a nice big beat behind them.

You’ll Have Time William Shatner (with Ben Folds)
The Shat also seems pretty sure about things. “Live life life you’re gonna die,” he advises. “Because you’re gonna.” He also says that “By the time you hear this, I may well be dead.” But it appears that he is going to live forever, and I for one take comfort in that.

Laugh Till You Cry, Live Till You Die CAN
Sync this up if you can. (If you can… get it?)

Cleaning Windows Van Morrison
Van makes a career in glass sanitation sound romantic.

A Splendid Piece of Descriptive Writing The Goons
The eternal question.

Night Shift Bob Marley & the Wailers
Bob makes driving a forklift sound righteous.

Up All Night The Boomtown Rats
Want to see Bob Geldof cuddle and sing to a snake? Of course you do.

Living on the Ceiling Blancmange
Wikipedia says: “Blancmange performed [this] song on Top of the Pops, but for broadcast on the show as well as on BBC Radio, the track was edited to replace the lyric ‘Up the bloody tree’ with ‘Up the cuckoo tree.’ Which would have been perfect for this mix! Well, too bad.

Simon Invents Language Alan Arkin & Wallace Shawn
From Mashall Brickman’s Simon, finally released on DVD a few years ago, but still one of the great lost classics.

Mangalam Ravi Shankar
“Chants of India was a ‘labor of love’ for [George] Harrison following his participation in the Beatles’ Anthology project…. In Shankar’s recollection, following a playback of some of the tracks, Harrison was so moved that he ‘embraced me with tears in his eyes and simply said, “Thank you, Ravi, for this music.” ’ ” —Wikipedia

Spirit with Me Gong
An invocation of something or other; hopefully something benign.

Journey of the Sorcerer (Enter the Vortex Mix) The Eagles (with Mark Wing-Davey & Valentine Dyall)
For 30-some years I had no idea that the Hitchhiker’s Guide theme song was performed by the Eagles. It’s far from a typical Eagles track, but still, some internal reality adjustment was necessary to account for that fact. This piece mixes the original song with some dialogue from the radio show.

Mighty Man The Alpha Band
This is a T-Bone Burnett joint, and while I don’t always necessarily concur with what T-Bone is saying, I appreciate hearing his viewpoint.

I Don’t Wanna Pray Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros
“Formed in 2007 by Ima Robot frontman Alex Ebert after a brief period of existential crisis, the cultish ten-piece indie rock outfit Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros draw their inspiration from the communal musical communities that peppered Southern California (specifically Laurel Canyon) with positive vibrations during the ’60s and early ’70s.” —Allmusic

Carpe Diem The Fugs
According to their Wikipedia page, “Some 1969 correspondence found inside an FBI file on the rock group The Doors called The Fugs the ‘most vulgar thing the human mind could possibly conceive.’ ” But this song is nice and pretty, however grim the news it delivers.

Eclipse The Beta Band
In which all the questions are answered, wrapped up with a bow and a nice echoing chord at the end.

The Mystery of Consciousness, Side 1

Year: 1989
Original Format: cassette

This is the first proper mixtape I ever made, with a cover and liner notes and everything. The liner notes say 1989, but this was actually a revised version of a tape made a year or two earlier, a little after I transferred from UC Santa Cruz to Berkeley. I think it was the first time I experienced an emotion that could be characterized as “nostalgia,” and so the tape is full of songs I associate with my time in Santa Cruz, as well as field recordings from stony Thursday nights there.

The title comes from the original artwork, now lost, which was a clipping of some flier or newspaper article that I cannot now remember the provenance of. Being both grandiose and vague, it is a most suitable name for a mixtape. And though the sequencing is haphazard and the segues are less than tight, in some ways The Mystery of Consciousness is still my favorite.

Playlist after the jump.

Continue reading “The Mystery of Consciousness, Side 1”