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Monday August 8 2022
Livwutang’s Cav Empt Cassette came out on (duh) as a tape in January and now it’s up on SoundCloud. It is tricky, to create a mix that both works as a composition and suggests the identity of the DJ as much as that of the musicians. Livwutang does it, though. As usual, the body is activated without the head getting hammered. That’s also what livwutang does!
I loved the summer issue of the Poetry Project Newsletter (Issue #269 for those counting). I didn’t know anything about poet Kenward Elmslie, other than him being Joe Brainard’s partner. The result of eight friends remembering him over the course of four pages is like a very condensed novel or a short documentary. The casual mode of the memorial, outside the setting of a church, brings such a clarity to the selection, just the best bits of a life, feeling spoken even when written: how he sang, how he hated pretension, how he dealt with being rich, and how he approached the very grave commitment of friendship.
Teju Cole made a playlist of (mostly) Jamaican music, steady on, a few months ago, and it is a solid hour of singing and elevation.
Our editor and friend Joe Levy made an existential country playlist after we were talking about Ray Price. He says: “There are lots of existential country songs where guys wake up in a world of pain, can’t recognize themselves, can’t escape the dead zone between their wishes for a better life and their reality. Ray Price makes those kind of songs less about the pain of a specific heartbreak and more about the world itself. In his songs the evening sun has gone down and he’s wandering around someplace he doesn’t belong. What he notices is that the God who made light out of darkness didn’t make this place, or the lights he sees before him here. What he thinks is that this life is no good, but it’s his life. What he feels is a storm brewing in his heart, made worse by the fact that none of this is a dream. He knows it’s real. That’s not me going off. That’s just me listening to the words of songs like ‘City Lights,’ ‘Night Life,’ and ‘Invitation to the Blues.’ ‘Night Life’ was the b-side of ‘Make the World Go Away’ (‘and get it off of my shoulders’) in 1963, though it charted itself. It’s one of those records that wasn’t so much released as it escaped. The key line is ‘mine is just another scene from the world of broken dreams.’ Just another — there are a lot of these scenes out there, a whole world of them, but this one is coming at you for the next two minutes and 32 seconds, and there is no turning away. Sometimes the music of ‘Night Life’ sounds like trap to me, woozy and full of drank; sometimes the guitar sounds weightless and psychedelic. But Ray Price always just sounds like Ray Price. The mellowness of his delivery, the smoothness of his baritone, the way he rolls it around the melodies like a lazy breeze, makes his confrontations with this kind of darkness all the more painful. Because he’s not making any of this a big deal. He’s doing what he does, sharing another piece of an endless story about the world gone wrong.”
Harmonium in California got me into a conversation with my friend, Andy Zax. Andy said (on Twitter, where this started), “The music is insipid, but the spectacular bits of ancillary detail—Rather Ripped Records! The Starwood! The band manager’s office!—make this short film about a Canadian folk-prog group’s visit to California an essential document of late 1970s uncoolness.” We started talking and both unreservedly recommend the NFB app if you would like to get lost in many free films. Andy went on to recommend Arthur Lipsett: “Canadian experimental filmmaker who worked for the NFBC; they’ve made all his stuff available. 21-87 is his most famous film (justifiably).” He concluded, “Actually, if we’re recommending NFBC stuff, this is one of the most extraordinary short films ever made. There’s not a wasted frame and it says more about life in nine minutes than a lot of novelists manage in entire careers.”
I am nuts for this EP by Antonio Sobral, Marulho. The liner notes, via Google Translate, say that the music “was recorded at the height of the pandemic, when the world’s batteries were low.” Sobral is apparently a film person, and a curator, but I can’t find anything else on him. Marulho is exquisite song and sound work. I want a lot more of this music.
Found this Aphex Twin email interview with Dave Burraston from 2014, around Syro, archived. It’s really fucking good (minus the trutherism) and here is a sweet bit: “Have to reccount likkle proud story here, around 1995ish, I was at a reclaim the streets party in London, i usually went to them on my bike and I was in the city of london with about 10,000 people shuffling about around all the banks & office blocks, quite peacefully & casually, a dreadgirl came up 2 me had a bit of a go at me for having a flash bike[ it was pretty dope have to admit, still got it] which got my feathers rustled a bit B U T then this truck which had been sitting innocently at the side of the road, right in the middle of the crowd rolled up the back to reveal large sound system and immediately proceeded to blast out caustic window 'garden of linmiri' !!!!”