Resident Dev Sherlock tells us he’s been putting tracks aside every so often with this return set in mind, his first transmission in nearly two years. The resulting 80-minute drift threads various styles and eras in service of high-altitude mood. We begin with the ’60s radiophonics-inspired work of Throbbing Gristle founder Chris Carter, then enter an Ethiopian orthodox hymn (and recent guest-mix motif) from Sosena Gebre Eyesus. Next, we pan over a high resolution sunrise from London’s Yamaneko, into Christophe Chassol’s birdsong-filled ulstrascore and the improvisational healing tones of Chicago’s Natalie Chami aka TALsounds. Makoto Matsushita’s “September Rain” and plenty more October language follow, cutting a trail across the sky.
Chris Carter – Cernubicua Roedelius – Wahre Liebe
Sosena Gebre Eyesus – ድንግል ባንቺ አፍሬ – Dengil Banchi Aferie
Yamaneko – Oslo House Sunrise 4K
Chassol – Birds, Pt. I Arve Henriksen – Bird’s-Eye-View
Fools – Aeg Old Truly Holy – Always Wanna Go
TALsounds – Muted Decision eventual infinity – purity (good night)
Makoto Matsushita – September Rain (Japanese Version) Orlando – Free 2 B Whoever stillefelt – Half Life Raaja Bones – Lightlids vcr-classique – ecco transmission (excerpt)
Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac – Albatross Hesitation – Etruscan Rooking Laura Allan – Passage Rejoicer – Neo Drive Knows You Leon Thomas – The Creator Has A Master Plan (Peace)
Sui Zhen sent us this mix last month; we have migrated inside since then, and are finding ways to exist, to create, to adapt and hopefully thrive within limited and uncertain formats. May this mix offer a spacious place to lean into.
Sui Zhen is a musician and performance artist based in Melbourne. Her latest album, Losing, Linda (released last fall on Cascine), examines the disembodiment of digital life and internalizes loss across a series of surreal and highly inventive experimental pop songs. Zhen has a knack for arranging myriad musical ideas into singular moments while never losing hold of the rhythm. Like the way flute & clarinet mingle with bossa-nova bass lines on “Being A Woman,” emphasizing her candid questions about gender expectations, which toggle between melodic phrases, self-harmonies, and robotic sing-speak.
“Over the last couple of years my listening tastes have moved toward more textural, expansive, contemplative soundscapes that could accompany me whilst I am thinking & reflecting about all manner of things at home. Or whilst I am preparing my studio space. Trying to quiet the mind. This could be because I’ve been creating soundscapes and music for listening in art galleries for work in this time period. But I think it also has to do with the rise of internet radio and mix series reaching a point where there is so much choice. Mixes can be life-changing or just a really positive way to collect musical ideas and references into an hour-long listening experience. Ambient is not the right word, but there is a sparseness and fragmentation to a lot of the pieces here in this mix. I love to try and continue a thread and draw links between other artists working with similar sounds or techniques. For me, this kind of music is highly evocative and good for the soul. It doesn’t always sound familiar and you might not know where it is leading you, but it can open the mind and be a cleanse of sorts to all the noise elsewhere in the world. I am always so impressed and in awe of the power of sound and music. What a privilege to have my hearing and to be able to participate in this way.”
Since closing the metaphorical doors to Patient Sounds Intl. on the last day of the decade, Chicago-based “ambient humorist” Matthew J. Sage has refocused his open hours into a new hobby: ceramics. Somewhere around the edges of spinning clay, recording, and teaching college students about cinema, he put some time towards this somnolent turntable set designed for winter. As he frames it:
“This mix — 100% vinyl — is a postmeridian fantasy suite built to transport you, fair listeners, out of your bundled days and woolen dens through your ears and into an after-hours reverie. The holidays are long over, but we are still in the throes of winter here in Chicago — Late-January/February is by far the cruelest time in the Midwest, having just wrapped a record-challenging stretch without the sun breaking through cloudcover, and now descending into a week of cold and snow — so I created what could be considered a fairytale. A story built to be heard near a crackling hearth (or the 4k facsimile of a hearth). This is what narrative is for in some cases, a flash of escapism. Consider it starting in a leather-couched living space where, after a rich meal of fresh bread and baked root vegetables from the cellar, and maybe a strong glass of wine or two, you float off into the words of a kind friend about their wanderings in the woods of those past warmer months. You spiral into an unfamiliar kingdom that is still uncannily comfortable. Light from those flames in the hearth dance about the room, throwing shadows like flitting fairies into your drooping eyelids.”
“Again, if you don’t have a real fireplace, I highly recommend cueing up a little crackling birchwood while you listen (we run this video in our house quite often in the winter and it has become a much loved cold-season tradition!). Stay warm and imaginative out there (or in there), and have a good tale on me.”
The music of Bill Lee (né Gillim) has changed considerably since the dark devotional tones of his experimental project, Megafortress. If Believer, his last record in 2014, glimpsed a songwriter inching out from the abstract, Lee’s debut under his married name reveals him coming into absolute focus, unflinchingly vulnerable, steeped in family life and Americana’s past. His falsetto has grounded down to his chest; his instrument of choice is the guitar; its immediacy shapes to his schedule as a stay-at-home father. Believer’s psychic searching has now settled quietly in a living room in upstate New York. Lee’s mind hasn’t rested, though.
It’s a natural and charming musical pivot, performed across Songs For The Family, his new collection of finger-picked, band-backed noir folk/country songs “populated by lost fathers, exhausted mothers, wayward children, and fearful lovers.” There is a crucial tenderness — as Lora Mathis coins it, “radical softness” — to these songs. Mathis says, “be close to your friends and make sure they know you love them and will fight for them.” These songs are fighting for love. A 21st-century troubadour’s document of what could and should be championed; narratives about dynamic families accessing diverse emotions, flawed characters embracing failures and learning how to “stick close to (their) tenderness.”
In advance of his release show this weekend, Lee shares a slow-moving picture for the sweet generational hymn “Family.”
He also compiles and presents episode 72:
“These are some of the songs that really struck me during the three years I was making Songs For The Family. I found myself returning to them again and again. As you can see from the names on the list, I wasn’t really digging into the obscure. They’re just some of the most beautiful, melancholy songs by some pretty big names.
There’s Elvis’s ode to his recently departed mother. Sinatra’s tale of a small town husband left alone to raise his two young sons. And Willie Nelson’s phone call to his ex detailing the ruins of the happy family life they once shared. There’s a wonderful, heartbreaking melodrama in many of these songs that, for whatever reason, I can’t seem to get enough of.”
J.J. Cale – Starbound
Elvis Presley – That’s Someone You Never Forget
Bobbie Gentry – Courtyard
Mickey Newbury – I Don’t Think Much About Her Anymore
Waylon Jennings – Dreaming My Dreams With You
Willie Nelson – Little Things
John Prine – Sabu Visits The Twin Cities Alone
Fred Neil – A Little Bit Of Rain
Frank Sinatra – For A While
Etta James – I’d Rather Go Blind
Tammy Wynette – My Arms Stay Open Late
Merle Haggard – Train Of Life
Tom T. Hall – Homecoming
Michael Nesmith – Keep On
Willie Nelson – Some Other World
Neil Young – Little Wing
The Neville Brothers – A Change Is Gonna Come