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This Guy Put 39 Different Songs Onto One CD And It Sounds Amazingly Awesome

I am excited to have contributed a new mix to Eric Laska’s expertly curated site, Lateral Addition. In a way this mix is a an attempt to represent “the sound of Media Consumption Today,” and I reflect a bit more on that in the text that accompanies the piece. I’ve copied it below, along with a track list. Direct download here.

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While I still buy records and tapes, increasingly for me, the time I spend Listening To Music has become a part of the more general act of Media Consumption, which is largely grouped under the heading Time Spent on the Computer. There is a permissiveness to mixing content in the new culture of sitting on your couch with your laptop, making your own entertainment. The flatness of more access means we listen to more disjointed content all the time, and has created a feeling of normalcy around collage. “Everyone is a DJ.”
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Art,Main,Mixtape,Music,writing @ 12:17 pm September 10, 2014

Summer Mix 2014 (for Raphy)

Summer Mix 2014 (for Raphy)

My friend and fellow artist Raphy Griswold and I have had an ongoing mail art / cassette exchange going for the past few years. This month I put together my latest contribution, and decided to digitize it before mailing the original copy. I treated my broke self to a $20 cassette deck at the local thrift spot for my birthday, and this came together pretty quickly after that. Freddie McGregor, Style Council, and James Gang records that I picked out of the dollar bins this year, plus a realization that Future is on every rap track I’ve liked in the last three years. The Repo Man Soundtrack cassette cost me three bucks at Amoeba, but was worth it to be pumping Suicidal Tendencies while driving a Volvo sedan around L.A. And the flip side, listening to Mac DeMarco, driving the same Volvo up to a campsite in the Sierra Nevada mountains. Enjoy the pause-edits and the shredding.

Here’s some of the stuff Raphy has made for me in return:

Main,Mixtape,Music,Uncategorized @ 11:08 am July 29, 2014

Americana Rebajada

Last July, I was deep in a pit of intense work stress, when my friend Mikey put a new mix online. Made “on a rare Monday morning I had to myself,” Mikey’s Waiting for Takeout Mix was a fantastic blend of genres, edited as needed, lightly mixed, and peppered with weird interstitial moments. It was perfectly familiar and exotic at the same time, comprised of vinyl and field recordings he harvested while touring the world as a working musician. It made me miss my friend, but it propelled me too. I set it on repeat, lashed it to the rickety stagecoach of my mind, and like a trusty workhorse it dragged me out of work morass and back onto the steady path. I texted him to say thanks, and he replied “U make one now.” So it was on.

I’m always impressed how much the diaspora of used records is a dead-on grassroots indicator of social, ethnic, and populist history of a neighborhood. (Has anyone published a paper on that?) The differences were stark when I relocated from NYC to Los Angeles in November 2011 – goodbye bachata, hello ranchero. Besides the 70s pop, classical music, and “dead white people’s favorite crooners” that makes up the bedrock of all the cheapo bins in this country, Southern California displayed a distinct strata of American Country and Western. For mi gente there were loads of Mexican LPs with each track’s style conveniently notated on the back of the record, making it easy to spot the cumbias and skip the baladas if you want. There were more rare flashes of locally produced New Age music, and a preoccupation with Hawaiian albums, souvenirs of the go-to California family vacation (well, after Disneyland) and reminders of a land beyond the sunset somehow even more chill than our own. And I did catch a few outliers – always makes me curious to think which retiree dropped off a late-career cassette from Mina, Italian pop star who withdrew from public performances for 27 years, at the Angel View Thrift Mart in Palm Springs, or what’s up with the dude selling these homemade noise cassettes and Japanese prog records at an otherwise inconspicuous fancy-pants Pasadena yard sale?

The mix gelled when I started digitizing some straight-to-tape recordings I had been making off my kitchen radio, trying to capture the texture of 2012-13 Highland Park airwaves, just hitting record and trying to catch something live in the moment. The bits of ads, sports radio dudes mouthing off, NPR droll, and a particularly geriatric, marble-mouthed sales pitch that introduced me to SoCal used car colossus and noted marketing stuntman Cal Worthington (R.I.P.) provided the glue for the tracks.

Two months after I finished putting this together in September 2013, a job opportunity had us on the move again, so I shelved it until we’ve had some time to get re-settled in Santa Cruz. Without really meaning to, this mix has become an ode to living in Los Angeles, as well as the promised reply to Mikey. Enjoy.

Americana Rebajada
(stream)

Tracklist below:
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Main,Mixtape,Music @ 6:54 pm March 9, 2014

Adult Piano

This mix is the long-shelved follow-up to Wine Coolers from 2009.

After finishing that mix there was a lot of good stuff on the cutting room floor, and I was still really caught up in r&b album cut close listening. But my interests were getting more granular, focusing on a great bridge, the particular palette of synth drums in a Stock, Aitken & Waterman production, deep interludes, or the breathy whispers of an introductory narrator. I was amassing collage material for another mix, maybe akin to a syrupy version of something the Kon & Amir On Track series – “these aren’t all samples, but they could be.”

I had played Wine Coolers for George Langford of Javelin, who I knew had flipped a million good bad r&b tracks and could appreciate the vibe, and I suggested we work on some edits for the next iteration. At the time I was partially employed, George was off tour and still a few months out from the birth of his daughter, so we spent a couple carefree weekdays at his home studio, drinking too much Chemex coffee and trimming tracks. At some point George found a piano instruction book in his basement with a strong flower vase theme and a soft focus and the title was set.

I took the project files home and there they sat for the next few years. We formatted the mix for release on tape (hence the two sides) but I never got it together and/or didn’t have the money. I moved across the country, and at some point when I was in L.A. and obsessed with screwing everything, I went back and relaxed a few over-zealous edits, exported each side, slowed everything down 15%, and made myself a tape for the car. That kept me happy for a while, but it has been gnawing at me since, so here you go. Enjoy.

Adult Piano
(stream)
edits by bennett4senate and George Langford

Tracklist below.
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Main,Mixtape,Music @ 11:30 am January 28, 2014

Germanic Newish

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Stream | Download

When Josh Dunn came to do a guest set last year on Awesome New Place, he pulled Manual Gottsching’s E2-E4 (1984) out of the record library walls, and recounted to me how Finland’s DJ Anonymous used the record to pre-heat parties, letting Side B play out it’s proto-techno while he set up his second turntable, went to the bathroom, smoked a cigarette, got a drink, and settled into the booth for the rest of the evening.

Learning more about Gottsching was the real genesis of this mix, the impetus to finally listen to Ash Ra Tempel and the nucleus of other mainstay Krautrock bands that I had known were influential, but beyond that, hadn’t really known at all. After a glut of Kraut downloading and record library perusing, I definitely gravitated towards the albums like Zuckerzeit (1974) and Music von Harmonia (1974) that pivoted from the noodling rock band format towards synths, pop, and the ‘Kosmische’ vibe.

When I interviewed Ashra percussionist Harald Grosskopf and his collaborator Axel Heilhecker on Awesome New Place, right out the gate they name checked Mickey Hart and spoke about how kosmische musik was essentially their generation’s attempt at complete, formless, utopian free expression. But the 90s saw their albums reissued on CD with ‘New Age Music!’ stickers on the shrink and their honest hopes for enlightenment redirected towards the mass market for self improvement via a number of vaguely spiritual consumption practices; diets, mellow breathing exercises, Enya soundscapes, pastoral meditation retreats, candles, crystals, rainforest/ocean sounds sleeping aids, etc.
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Main,Mixtape,Music @ 12:55 am June 14, 2011