My occassional fliratatons with new age music, if you could even call it such, brought me through musicians who today aren’t quite known for that genre even if lasting streams of those influences clearly remain in their subsequent work. And I never quite enjoyed it. Sarah McLachlan’s debut album Touch (1988) surely looked the part with the ornately (and of course slightly eerily) decorated sepia toned cover art. I found myself liking her subsequent albums more, probably owing to their stronger rock and pop leanings, and soon gave away my copy of the album to a friend who appreciated it much more. Another point of contact was probably Brian Eno’s Ambient 1: Music for Airports (1978), which I never got into as much as I know I should have, preferring instead his weightier Discreet Music (1975).
It was thus with some trepidation that I approached Julianna Barwick’sThe Magic Place, released earlier this year on Asthmatic Kitty, a label not impartial to spiritual(ised) music. The album had all the ethereal and flighty aspects of music that I’ve remained rather guarded about (where is it all headed?), but yet it contained such a strong authorial presence that drew me in, even without a discernable lyrical narrative. The difference for Barwick is that focusing on the experiential has not hindered her from producing works of great force and direction, with tracks like “Prizewinning” challenging the “nothing ever happens” stereotype of new age music by first subjecting her own glowing vocals to the discipline of a rigid looping bassline and later setting it free with the gloriously triumphant call of a marching band. – Dan.
Television’s “Marquee Moon” is an epic of a song, bringing together such muscle and grace in its ten-minute form. Compositionally it builds majestically as the guitar solos weave their interlocking lines. Yet, more than the solos, it is the duelling guitars from Tom Verlaine and Richard Lloyd that make the song the achievement it is. The tight interplay between the two guitarists foreshadow the democratic relationship of other guitar duos – Thurston Moore and Lee Ranaldo, Jonny Greenwood and Ed O’Brien – who share the work between lead and rhythm, between melody and mood. Moving between the propulsive rhythms of the verses and the freer wanderings of the solos, Verlaine and Lloyd trade lines that bait, hide, and seek, impressing me even as someone who isn’t particularly interested in guitar solos. “Marquee Moon” is a ten-minute song, but makes me wish it was twenty. – Song-Ming.
SINGAPORE: I’m Waking Up To… Sonicbrat – Bed Of Forty Winks
Sonicbrat is the enduring moniker of sound artist Darren Ng, whose work is characterised by an intricate tapestry of field recordings and found sounds, strung together by subtly processed acoustic instrumentation with a classical bent. Gentle, stirring and complex, Ng’s music is the sort that invites itself into and comfortably inhabits one’s imagination. His latest release, Hana, is his musing on the life of a flowering plant and is available as a free download on the Totokoko label. – Dan.
To download all 36 songs in one file click here. MAP is published on the 15th of every month, featuring a showcase of music handpicked by bloggers from all over the world.
sharon van etten:
Lately, I have been obsessed with this band from Montreal called Automelodi. I work at a record label (Ba Da Bing Records) and my boss, Ben, is constantly getting new records in. He knows I have a soft spot for 80s/90s post punk/early electro, vaguely alternative music... and so one day, he put on a Wierd Records compilation. It was a vinyl set of like 4 pieces or something. There were so many good bands on there... however, Automelodi stuck out in my mind as being an authentic, genuine, NON-cheesy version of the 80s I wish I was a part of. The song in particular that gets me going in the morning is called "Schéma Corporel".
mp3: automelodi - schéma corporel
bani haykal from b-quartet:
often enough, it’s the early morning rush which gets me excited about shutting my eyes. and by morning, we’re looking at the 4 a.m. time frame where all you hear is yourself in a foggy blur, thinking if sleep is really all that important because the early few are storming off for work. in all honesty, there is no ipod nor a single earplugging devicetron which i’d attend to. often enough, it’s someone else’s sonic leak i’m getting addressed by. but, i’m listening to Steely Dan’s “Babylon Sisters”. in my head, at least. sanity ‘from the point of no return’, personally. it’s a breath of fresh air. despite its age. everything is beautiful then.
mp3: steely dan - babylon sisters
naomi yang from galaxie 500:
The perfect song to start the day is “A Tonga Da Mironga Do Kabuleté” – the live recording from 1971 by Brazilian artists Vinícius + Bethania + Toquinho. It is like a beautiful sunrise – although I think that the lyrics are actually some sort of political commentary disguised as a Candomble/Afro-Brazilian curse – but whatever! And then you should just leave the CD on, and listen to the rest of the album while you have your coffee. And you will have a great day.
mp3: vinícius + bethania + toquinho – a tonga da mironga do kabuletê (live in buenos aires, 1971)
jamie stewart from xiu xiu:
i have a nico button on my guitar strap and her excess eyeliner has been burning the dirge "janitor of lunacy" into my waking ears as of late, at least 20 times in the last week. until yesterday we have been on tour in scandinavia, russia, poland, austria, germany and czech. these grey locations held hands with her harmonium perfectly.
mp3: nico - janitor of lunacy
justin ringle from horse feathers:
i have been obsessively listening and waking up to this tune by gillian welch called "annabelle". it's a song about a sharecropper in alabama and it is so sad, beautiful and timeless that I can't help but listen more than once in a row. the harmonies in the chorus make my hairs stand up... beautiful song.
mp3: gillian welch - annabelle
tracyanne campbell from camera obscura:
my favourite song at the moment is called 'one in a million' by steve miller. it's really beautiful. his voice is like honey in the sun and it totally melts my heart. the lyrics are quite simple and i guess
corny but it's a great tune and the production is so good it really doesn't matter. i wish i'd written it. in fact i'd love to do a cover version of it. i was recently in stockholm visiting my friend victoria (bergsman) from taken by trees and we were singing it in the flat and talked about recording it. watch this space...
mp3: steve miller band - one in a million
stuart murdoch from belle and sebastian:
every day when i leave the house and walk over the iron bridge and up to the glasshouses, i listen to “what for” by james. i have a habit of dropping back 20 years in my thoughts, and having a parallel soundtrack running in my head so that i may be walking in a street in 2008, but my head is in 1988. i don’t know why that is. this is an up and hopeful song of the period from a band i used to care for deeply.
as we slip into the autumn here, i am prepared to let my new song of obsession become “the game” by echo and the bunnymen.
“everybody’s got their own good reason why their favourite season is their favourite season”.
mp3: james - what for mp3: echo and the bunnymen - the game
alison eales from butcher boy:
I'm waking up to Labi Siffre, and wondering how I managed to stay asleep for so long. His songs are diverse, unpretentious, and performed with tangible joy. I'm literally waking up to him as well - I have 'It Must Be Love' set as my alarm, and it is proving to be a very nutritious musical breakfast.
mp3: labi siffre - it must be love
who we are
i love music, but i can't play it for the life of me, so i might as well try writing instead. hope you like it. i'm from singapore, where there really is good music if you look hard enough. i'd love to hear from you (yes, you): email@example.com
I'm a four stringing minstrel of doom, and hired gun for the odd band or two. Few things excite me more than music, and whiskey soaked vocals are a definite plus, so please be sure to send some my way. When I'm not contributing to I'm Waking Up To and MAP, you should follow my misadventures at http://litford.wordpress.com And yes! I'd love to hear from you too: firstname.lastname@example.org
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