May 14, 2009
Zoom to Glide -- Watts Club Mix ca. 2007
Zoom to Glide was my first-ever mix CD. I made it for the "Watts Club", a quartet of former colleagues who thought back in 2006 that we might meet once a a season for dinner and music swaps. You can guess how that schedule worked out, but absence makes the heart grow fonder. I look forward to seeing them again before long.
Though MP3 players have killed the habit of listening to a single CD straight through, I arranged the tracks in Zoom to Glide with the assumption that they'd be heard in order. It starts fast and loud, then slows to something less lively. It's good for people like me: I still use a CD player in the car, and I don't enjoy it when my ears go from steady to revved up. Kind of like my clutch doesn't like it, either. Let me know if you'd like a copy. Below, my very first liner notes (which I produced this week, two years after the CD) with many links to the music:
Pacific 3-2-1 Zero [Excerpt] - Phil Dadson. From Gravikords, Whirlies and Pyrophones. I learned only now that this piece "was conceived as a clear and passionate response to nuclear testing and dumping in the Pacific". You'll recognize the opening from the Greek folk song Miserlou (Dick Dale video), which you've heard extracted in other settings.
Pump It - Black Eyed Peas. And again with the Miserlou. I first saw the BEP in some TV commercial that had will.i.am yelling "Louder!" I thought, "Damn, that's impressive stuff for just a TV commercial" but soon learned that it was those "Black Eyed Peas" I'd been hearing about for a year. Cool. I mean, "Louder!" (apl.de.ap is from Pampanga, Philippines, the province next door to my mother's home.) A naval carrier squadron lip syncs. Chuckles.
Sell Out - Reel Big Fish. Do you remember the ska comeback of 1997-1998? No? Hmm. I remember that my friend Brian Rice liked this song and that I saw the video exactly once while hanging out with him and friends in Mountain View (CA) during the early tech boom, right around the time Google incorporated in nearby Menlo Park. Google now owns Mountain View. And many other things. They might even own Reel Big Fish. "Baby don't you sign that paper tonight." Unless Google's buying. For a change, this song does not start with Miserlou. Watch the fun Sell Out video here with the intro skit dubbed in Japanese. (As commenter mayday992 asks "is it possible to be sad listening to reel big fsih")
Happy Hour - The Housemartins. Twenty-three years I've been listening to this song and I still don't know the words. What a shame. By the way, the album this comes from is pronounced "London NIL, Hull 4", not "London Zero..." See The Housemartins play, and dance and sing in a mid-80s pop video from when MTV still let performers run a non-musical skit for 60 seconds before the tune.
Me, Myself and I - De La Soul. They're shilling for Nike now? Remarkable. They play on Arsenio.
Stolen Car - Beth Orton. "You were sitting, your fingers like fuses. Your eyes, cinnamon." I read that this song is a work of Orton's "folktronica" - a fusion of of folk and electronica. Very well, then. It is good. Best friend Dave introduced me to this track and the next. Stolen Car mix.
Central Reservation [Ben Watt Mix] - Beth Orton. Where did I read that opera allows us to sing words we could never just say? And that asked, how does the universe decide who has the skill to put lyrics, voice and music together like Beth Orton? Central Reservation, live.
Oh What a Night - Wyclef Jean. When I was a junior or senior, the Brown Concert Agency announced Wyclef Jean as our headliner for Spring Weekend. Wyclef who? One day I'll know something big before it's been big for five years. Until then, I'll stumble around. I remember listening to this track at the first of September last year, while winding west down the mountains from Yosemite National Park. Before each series of tight curves, the California road managers tell you how many you'll see. "Nine ahead," says the first sign. "Eight more curves" says the second. Oh What a Night remix.
Les Portes Du Souvenir - Les Nubians. "The Doors of Rememberance", according to Google's translation. As this song begins, I can imagine that Wyclef Jean will come in after the intro. Instead we get one of the Faussart sisters. Pulled from Dave's CD collection on a visit to San Francisco. Video.
11:11 - Rufus Wainwright. From the same mix CD that brought me Beth Orton. (It seems that if you like Zoom to Glide you'd also like Dave. Or at least his music.). Once in 2003, model blogger Rebecky mentioned Rufus Wainwright as if we all knew who he was. I didn't. Some of my first Rufus Wainwright listening happened two years later, right here. Live performance from 2006.
Lagrimas Negras - Bebo Valdes and Cachao. What good fortune brought me to Calle 54? Dave and I looked for the street while we were in Havana, the former home of Bebo Valdes and current home of his fantastic son Chucho. We never found the street because of course it is in New York. Dave has declared that Bebo has no dynamic range in this piece, and that he shows his age. Whatever. I believe that I read somewhere that Bebo and Cachao were friends for decades and decades before making this first recording together in 2000. Watch the video (I'm not asking, I'm telling. Music starts around 1'30".) Sometimes when I'm in bed, waiting to fall asleep, this piece enters my head and just plays and plays and plays.Other times, the duet of Bebo and son.
Terra Zona - The Burnt Earth Ensemble. This is another track from Gravikords, Whirlies and Pyrophones. If you're interested in alternative musical instruments but don't already have this album and book, you know what I'd advise. This piece and Pacific 3-2-1-Zero both remind me of Indonesian music though neither one is, so far as I know.
Erang-Erang Subuh - Gandrung Banywangi. On the other hand, this piece is from Indonesia -- more specifically the eastern part of Java. My father's ancestral home. A place I don't visit enough. Read more on this recording (sorry, no music).
Una Notte a Napoli - Pink Martini. See Pink Martini play it here in Italy. And grazie mille to K for introducing this band to me, I think on the first night we ever visited at her home. Not long after, she gave me a beautifully wrapped package that I assumed was a hand-made notepad like the ones I'd seen in her art space. The paper and ribbons were so pretty that I left the package intact for days. It wasn't until she nudged me that I realized I ought open it. Not a notepad but rather the Pink Martini which had impressed me so. "One night in Naples / With the moon and the sea / I met an angel / Who could no longer fly / One night in Naples / We forgot about the stars / And even without wings / He took me to the sky." In cielo mi portò.
Makeda - Les Nubians. Hélène and Célia Faussart traveled from France to Chad to France and then the United States with a Top 10 R&B hit. Good travels. See them sing.
It Must Be Love - Rickie Lee Jones. If I am sometimes sentimental, it is songs like this that feed the mood. I remember bedtimes back in ~'91 when I'd play this song over and over on my cheap stereo, trying to decide whether I'd go to sleep or hear it again. It might have been the last song on one side but I couldn't just let it play out while I drifted off. You remember tape players, don't you -- the strain, squeal, and bam as they shut themselves off? That's no way to fall asleep. No video available, so here is just the music.
Lean On Me - The Housemartins. This is a different Lean on Me than the Bill Withers song that all of us know and most of us love. I won't say that this one is better but I will say that I love it more. Know it for yourself. Music and rest. Peace.
Heck, yeah, De La Soul!
Posted by: ACW | May 14, 2009 1:10:22 PM
There was a piece by Honegger called "Pacific 231" about a steam locomotive. It was covered by the Moog synthesizer arranger Isao Tomita on his Kosmos album which I loved as a kid. I thought you had put that on your mix CD at first glance. It has rhythmic drive. It would work on a mix CD.
Hear the Tomita!
Posted by: Elrond Hubbard | May 14, 2009 8:52:00 PM
Another Miserlou with Korla Pandit on organ.
Hat tip: Sean
Posted by: Phil | Jun 11, 2009 7:11:50 PM