Musicophilia Daily

[Audio] – Penguin Cafe Orchestra – “The Sound of Someone You Love Who’s Going Away. . .” (1976)

Posted in Audio by Soundslike on May 29, 2009

Penguin Cafe Orchestra – “The Sound of Someone You Love Who’s Going Away And It Doesn’t Matter” (1976)

Penguin Cafe Orchestra sadly seem to be an anomaly, from some unknown space between prog, the avant-garde, neo-chamber music, proto-post-punk (think Essendon Airport or Durrutti Column) and even RiO.  The later work has achieved some popularity, but their first album remains seemingly unheralded.  To my ears, it is perhaps their best, or at least purest, less cute than later work, more emotionally direct.  The guitar figuring here has a feeling not unlike something from ‘Chelsea Girls,’ but the strings and the electric piano add a slightly off-kilter warmth that is unique.  This music could very easily have been recorded today, in the best possible sense: based in no fads or even prevailing styles, it stands apart from its time or origin. [Penguin Cafe Orchestra are featured in several mixes at Musicophilia.] Update: wrong audio stream when first published, now corrected.  Thanks!

[Audio] – Robert Schumann – String Quartet A Major, O41 N03 “Adagio Motto” (1842)

Posted in Audio by Soundslike on May 8, 2009

Robert Schumann – String Quartet A Major, O41 N03 “Adagio Motto” (1842)

I’ve heard Schumann described as “weepy,” and I guess this piece wouldn’t dissuade anyone who saw that as a pejorative.  But I find the interplay of this chamber orchestra considerably more emotionally diverse than mere maudlin.  On the whole, melancholy is central; but there are moments of elevation, joy, expectation, perhaps hints of anger, and the piece shifts subtly and nimbly between them in a way that rings true and avoids sentimentalism.

[Audio] – Flatt & Scruggs – “We’ll Meet Again Sweetheart” (1949)

Posted in Audio by Soundslike on April 23, 2009

Flatt & Scruggs – “We’ll Meet Again Sweetheart” (1949)

I don’t know much about bluegrass and country music–but I know I tend toward the pre-electric forms that emphasis vocal harmony.  This track from Flatt & Scruggs has always stuck with me.  It has the sweetness and simplicity of earlier Carter Family tracks, wonderful banjo playing, and a nice bit of fiddle.

[Audio] – Karen Dalton – “Katie Cruel” (1971)

Posted in Audio by Soundslike on April 7, 2009

Karen Dalton – “Katie Cruel” (1971)

For me, Karen Dalton is at her best when she’s at her most spare, and this might be my favorite: jittery banjo, bittersweet voice, and aching fiddle, knitting a tale of loss and regret.  This is where she transcends “folk revival” or “singer-songwriter” (or “Billie Holiday of folk music” comparisons) and simply creates pure American music, out of time, beyond any single persona. [Karen Dalton is featured in a wide-ranging ‘Le Tour du Monde’ mix at Musicophilia.]

[Audio+Link] – Tuxedomoon – “Litebulb Overkill” (1978) + Interview

Posted in Audio, Link by Soundslike on March 20, 2009

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Tuxedomoon – “Litebulb Overkill” (1978)

In honor of the interview linked below, here is an early track from San Francisco’s Tuxedomoon (who incongruously appear in the wonderful NYC film/document ‘Downtown ’81’).  It’s not necessarily representative of their work, which tends more toward a Eurocentric, American take on a Deutsche Neue Welle-esque noir-synth-pop.  But it is a lovely little piece, somehow blending a violin melody that reminds me a little of Laurie Anderson with the little “starburst noise” one often hears in electro-disco.  [Tuxedomoon are featured on the ‘Computer‘ mix from the ‘1981’ box set at Musicophilia.]

Interview with Steven Brown (Tuxedomoon) by Simon Reynolds

Another interview from Simon Reynolds‘ research for his post-punk tome ‘Rip It Up,’ a “runner up” excised from the recently issued (and thoroughly enjoyable–perhaps a review coming soon) collection of interviews and short-form articles ‘Totally Wired: Post-Punk Interviews & Overviews‘ (UK only for now, but quite affordable and worthwhile as an import).  This one delves into the enviably fecund art-music-theatre-noir fusion that was San Francisco in the punk/post-punk years.

Read it Here.

[Audio] – Laurie Anderson – “It’s Not the Bullet That Kills You…” (1976)

Posted in Audio, Link by Soundslike on March 4, 2009

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Laurie Anderson – “It’s Not the Bullet That Kills You, It’s the Hole” (1976)

Very early Laurie Anderson in a very “accessible” mode, pulling together a reggae-zydeco-pop thing that foreshadows the Raincoats, Animals & Men, the Pretenders, maybe even Scritti Politti.  Available for free download along with a number of other early/rare Anderson tracks at the always-compelling Ubuweb. [Laurie Anderson is featured here and here in mixes at Musicophilia]

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