A slight wrinkle.

I just had an idea I'm going to implement and utilize here--the idea being to both jumpstart this space a bit and to cut down on all those damn URLs I've stockpiled. It's simple: each time I gather another batch of new songs/podcasts/mixtapes that seem intriguing enough to copy, I will download and listen to the likeliest looking item at that sitting. This way I'm playing one new thing every day, or every weekday, and it's not just something in the shuffle. And I get to do a little real-time crit here, updating as opinions, as they do invariably, shift. I'm picking a busy time to start it--in 36 hours I'm getting on a train to Minneapolis, where I'll spend the 4th with my family, and then on the 6th I board Amtrak for New York, where I'm going to stay with my girlfriend while her folks are in Nova Scotia. I'll be there most of July and August.

Today's batch yielded Woebot's FACT Mix 61, which consists of 54 minutes of circa-'94 ambient jungle and, 13 minutes into it as I type this, sounds wonderful. Matthew Ingram is one of the bloggers who utilizes the medium to its fullest, and he's also a genuinely generous thinker, as in his Ian Dury entry here: "Was Dury really a pub-rocker? I don't think so. Pub-rock is better represented by the R'n'B-flavoured work of Nick Lowe, Rockpile, Dr Feelgood, John Otway, Graham Parker and (yes, sorry) Elvis Costello. Pub-rock tends to be a) Americanised b) all about the Rock, as opposed to dance, dynamic. There's nothing wrong with that, it's just less interesting!"

The era he's mining on this mix is one I know pretty well, but there were so many jungle records made--so many rave records made--we'll be spending a lifetime tracking it all down, from original releases to original DJ cassette mixes to pirate radio to various CD issues. Obviously, plenty has been documented, but there's a lot that hasn't been yet. And I know ambient jungle less well than jump-up or the minimalist stuff. So this is educational as well as a reimmersion in something I cared about a lot at the time, and still do. I do know a handful of tracks already (Jodeci's "Feenin' (LTJ Bukem Remix)," Danny Breaks's "Rollin' (EZ Rollers Remix)," D'Cruze's "Lonely"), but I haven't gotten to those yet.

No, I haven't completely caught up on my backlog. It's about nine hours of stuff from the previous list: 8 Ball, Sunn O))), Freeway, Gucci Mane, Cooly G, some Basement Jaxx remix someone sent me, Cuba Rough Guide, Blank Dogs single and album, Andy Milne. Tomorrow, my last day before I leave, I'll power through them.


How about a li'l status update?

Here's what's in the hopper. It represents all the catch-up listening I have to do, too--got to all the recent Forced Exposure stuff, caught up with old unheard Singles Jukebox items (most sucked), and haven't purchased a physical CD in I can't remember how long. Much of this comes from eMusic.

Giles Smith, RA Podcast 160
Mos Def, The Ecstatic
Todd Snider, The Excitement Plan
The Intelligence, Fake Surfers
Crunc Telsa, "Fire Walk With Us" remixes
Gravious, Futurist EP
Tiye Phoenix, Half Woman Half Amazin'
Walter Jones, "I’ll Keep On Loving You"/"Living Without Your Love"
Syran Mbenza & Ensemble Rumba Kongo, Immortal Franco: Africa’s Unrivalled Guitar Legend
Pocahaunted, Island Diamonds
Jerkin with Jhawk Volume 1
Capracara, "King of the Witches"
8 Ball, Memphis All Stars
Sunn O))), Monoliths and Dimensions (no expectations at all w/this one, I don't care about drone-metal at all, but why not?)
Freeway, Month of Madness
Gucci Mane, Murder Was The Case
Cooly G, "Narst"/"Love Dub"
Basement Jaxx, "Raindrops (Joker & Ginz Remix)"
The Rough Guide To The Music Of Cuba (new edition)
Blank Dogs, "Slow Room"/"Anywhere" + Under and Under
Andy Milne, Where Is Pannonica?



I've pile-drived through a ton of stuff since last update, largely because I've started attacking the URL list in earnest. A lot of it I dumped within a minute. A good amount stuck around, though, and last night I listened through to some stuff I'd kept from a couple months ago--something I almost never do unless I'm replaying something that stuck with me from the beginning, which is always the easiest way to figure out I like it. And most of it hit the trash. One thing that didn't was a hip-hop mix by DJ Rodney Noble called Chispace3, 45 minutes of local Windy City stuff--I have no idea who's on it, haven't looked for a track list, but I like its energy a lot (and toward the end, some of the songs need it: who steals an entire Run-D.M.C. chorus?). Not perfect, but it sounds vital.

The other big listening expenditure has been a box set. I know exactly how extraneous Neil Young's Archives Vol. 1 is, and yes I skipped the two discs I'd already heard (and reviewed, in the case of Live at Massey Hall--also the 1968 show more recently issued as Sugar Mountain, which isn't part of the box, for some reason), and there is a lot of song repetition, but goddamn what riches. The Tugboat concert is you-are-there audience confrontation (the audience barely titters); the albums are heavily represented but reconfigured so thoroughly they take on exactly the kind of weird halcyon flow Young-the-compiler is obviously after, like someone rearranged the family photo album. Is Young rock's greatest melodist?

My previous Young bootleg experience was mostly limited to Rock & Roll Cowboy, a 4CD box from 1994 of live recordings I taped off someone; I went looking for a .rar or .zip and found instead an 8CD thing called Perfect Echo that uses a lot of what's on there already (and some of what's on Archives--five of the six tracks on the 1970 Fillmore East show that was the other previously-released) but goes up to 2001. As with R&RC, this is advantageous because Young is primarily a live musician--over dinner tonight with Robert and Jaq, we talked about how he's got his barn completely set up to record any time he feels like it, which is clearly often. But his sonic perfectionism has nothing to do with getting every note perfect, a la most of his peers, especially as cocaine took hold. He just wants it to sound right while he does whatever. He's committed to the moment, doesn't play stuff he's sick of (apart, I'd guess, from "Heart of Gold" a lot of the time), so a live show is always a good bet. Especially if, as he famously put it, "It's all one song."

Anyway, I'm only partway through Perfect Echo (and disc one of Vol. 4 was unavailable), but it's doing the job for sure. Weirdest moment yet: the flurry of cheers accompanying the beginning of, wait for it, "Ambulance Blues." At an arena. What a strange fucking time 1974 was.