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.
Love Is the Force of Life Maharishi Mahesh Yogi
I knew nothing about the Maharishi at this time; I’d just come across his album in a used record store. It seemed deep, though.
Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah James Baskett
From Song of the South, which Disney has shoved deep into its vault due to questionable racial content. Some have expressed hope that it may yet see the light of day, perhaps on Disney’s new streaming service. I’ve never actually seen it and have no opinion; I just like this song. It makes me feel good, and I hope that’s not bad.
An American Dream Love and Rockets
Express is now 33 years old, but David, Kevin, and Daniel last played together with Bauhaus, hmm, let’s see… four days ago. Could some L&R shows be in the offing? Maybe? Please?
Out of Touch The Jazz Butcher
From Fishcotheque, still one of the great album titles. (N.B.: The Butcher’s given name is Pat Fish.) The album itself is a mixed bag, but damn, this is one hell of a song.
Pack a Fatty
We used to smoke… marijuana. But never at dusk.
Protest Song Raymond Scum
From Monty Python Live at City Center. Raymond Scum is actually Neil Innes, formerly of the Bonzo Dog Band, also known as Ron Nasty of the Rutles. But here he is clearly doing Dylan, and his parody drips with the “real” musician’s disdain for Dylan’s raggedness. Pretty fucking funny though.
Sticky Jazz Shriekback
Because I threw some money into their Indiegogo campaign, I just yesterday received a download of Shriekback’s 15th and latest album, Some Kinds of Light. We’ve come a long way from that day in 1986 when I walked into Cymbaline Records in Santa Cruz and found, to my complete surprise and delight, a new Shriekback LP I’d heard nothing about. That was Big Night Music, and that was a pretty good day.
Green Onions Booker T. & the MGs
For an enlightening and thorough, if exhausting, look at the career of Booker T. & the MGs, check out Chris O’Leary’s 64 Quartets.
Night of the Silver Veil David J.
I love that David begins his tale of a perfect day by telling us that he was listening to “Sexual Healing.”
The Blue Danube Johann Strauss
At the time everything I knew about classical music I had learned from 2001. Thirty years later… well, never mind. Anyway, I wonder what Johann Strauss would have made of the fact that, a hundred years after he wrote it, people would mostly associate this piece with spaceships. Indeed do many things come to pass.
Three Imaginary Boys The Cure
This segue, from Johann Strauss to Robert Smith, is one of my favorites of all time. It’s slightly random and definitely weird but somehow just works. And “Three Imaginary Boys” always takes me back to a certain bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean.
You Practice That Shit?
Another field recording from a stony walk, circa 1987.
Because The Beatles
At this time I was just beginning to discover the Beatles, starting with Abbey Road, which I bought on CD on my 21st birthday. The same shopping trip netted The Velvet Underground and Nico, Surrealistic Pillow, and Our Beloved Revolutionary Sweetheart. That was also a pretty good day.
Life’s a Gas T. Rex
“I just love him. I wish he was alive. I hope his spirit shines in the sun, the wind, the trees, the rain and our hearts. Hum a Bolan song and smile…. for Marc. Perhaps he will know.” —slikski 2003, YouTube Commenter
The Weatherman John Belushi & Chevy Chase
For the full effect, watch the video. Chevy’s smirk, Belushi’s outfit and hair, they way he throws himself around like a human muppet… they don’t make ’em like that anymore.