Mixtape
August 2021
PYSCHEDELIC ROCK / JAZZ / SOUL
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Monthly mixtape artwork collage cover.
Mixtape
August 2021
PYSCHEDELIC ROCK / JAZZ / SOUL

A bit about last month.

That was the personal update. On to the music.

In August, I was heads down working on putting together my photography exhibition, and didn't end up exploring a lot of new sounds. The flow on this mixtape is therefore less smooth and thought-through than the usual - probably an accurate reflection of my state of mind.

On the menu this month, a couple of narrative-based songs, psychedelic sounds and long jams.

Recommended Setting

Recommended setting: Listen to Chapter 1 when in need of a soft rock dose. Chapter 2... well, just a grouping of random songs.

CHAPTER 1

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Melody - Serge Gainsbourg
1971

Histoire de Melody Nelson is Gainsbourg’s first album concept. Paying tribute to the works of Vladimir Nabokov, its Lolita-esque pseudo-autobiographical narrative is built around a young female character, embodied in reality by his muse Jane Birkin. Original and sounding like nothing else in rock, this genre-defying album is one of Gainsbourg's most influential and accomplished work.

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Juliette - The Limiñanas, Laurent Garnier
2021

With a very Melody Nelson storytelling vibe to it, De Película is a delectable sensual cinematographic pleasure. Strong visuals keep surfacing in my imagination when I listen to this solid collaboration between The Liminañas (July 2020 / April 2021 mixtapes) and Laurent Garnier. ‘Juliette’ is an hypnotic, slow-burning song that’s been on repeat lately, accompanying my late night bike rides home.

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Higher Learning - Patti Smith
2022

Poet and musician Patti Smith is one of the most unconventional and ambitious rock & rollers of all time. In 2002, she released Land (1975-2002), a 2-disc compilation featuring previously published material on the first disc, B-sides and unreleased songs on the second one. ‘Higher Learning’ is a meditative journey on creativity and the passage of time.

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Astawesalehu - Admas
2020

In the 80s, the Derg was ruling Ethiopia and many citizens were fleeing the country in fear for their lives. Admas is a quartet of Ethiopian expatriates who immigrated to the U.S and emerged from extraordinary circumstances to make Sons of Ethiopia, a rare record that sounds like nothing else. A music of exile made by players who performed week in and week out for crowds of their fellow Ethiopians who had lost family and friends to the Derg. You can feel them longing for a past they were forced to leave behind.

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First Communication - Agitation Free
1974

When I came across this song, I initially thought I had landed on some Grateful Dead material, but was positively surprised to learn about this German experimental krautrock band. A fixture of the Berlin art rock scene in the 70s, their music incorporates elements of traditional rock, blues, psychedelic rock, experimental electronic and drone. 2 tracks from their second album 2Nd made it to this mixtape.

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Haunted Island - Agitation Free
1974

The only Agitation Free song featuring some recitation, this 2-part song lives up to its name. Muffled voices lead up to a good old-fashioned blues-based rock jam before vanishing into nothingness.

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These Shadows - Wooden Shjips
2013

Warm textures, woozy freeness and a pleasant psychedelic ballad from SF-based Wooden Ships (August 2020 mixtape).

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Rivers - Föllakzoid
2019

Minimal atmosphere and trance-inducing repetitive patterns by Föllakzoid. This Chilean band believes in some sort of gravitational force that makes South America able to dialogue directly with other places, times, and dimensions. With its krautrock and motorik beat, ‘Rivers’ take us on a serpentine journey through mystical sonic landscapes.

CHAPTER 2

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Serious Drug - Wildcookie, Anthony Mills, Freddie Cruger
2011

Essentially a litany of artists who’ve endured a cocaine problem, this song has a lovely, innocent roll to it, brilliantly carried off by Anthony Mills’ vocals.

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Bones - Fat Freddy’s Drop
2021

Hailing from New Zealand, this humble 7-piece collective is a potent mixture of soul, jazz, reggae, funk and dub. With tunes running a gamut of genre-busting styles, they have cemented their repertoire through must-see live gigs. ‘Bones’ is a loose, spacious and soothing song taken from WAIRUNGA, their 2021 album captured during a secret outdoor performance without audience.

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You Feeling Alright - HNNY
2015

Next is a narrative-based song dealing with the technicalities of audio systems, by Swedish ambient and house music producer Johan Cederberg. This is an interesting one. Make sure you have left and right output channels enabled on your sound system or headphones.

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Memphis Soul Stew - King Curtis
1971

The last of the great R&B tenor sax giants, King Curtis left this world too early when he was stabbed to death at 37 during an argument with a pair of drug dealers who happened to be in his building as he was attempting to carry an air conditioner into this apartment. Contrasting his tragic death, ‘Memphis Soul Stew’ is an energetic and uplifting celebration of his soul. With a witty name and beautifully laid-down arrangements, this song describes the Memphis sound in terms of a cooking recipe, with each instrument introduced by Curtis. An ecstatic 3-minute piece that will leave you yearning for more.

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PRAY - SUUNS
2020

Levitation is the sensation I feel as the bass becomes increasingly heavy on this track by Montreal-based experimental rock trio SUUNS. PRAY is a never-ending ascent elevated by ethereal vocals, dark electro and high-pitched piercing sounds.

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The Chapel - Ishmael Ensemble
2019

A prominent figure in the U.K. contemporary jazz scene, Pete Cunningham’s Bristol collective Ishmael Ensemble (October 2020 mixtape) ventures into lush cinematic soundscapes with instrumental compositions that transport. The Chapel’s delicate intro builds up towards a tipping point that engulfs the listener into an energetic drum-led rhythm before slowly winding down.

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The Voice of Om - Daevid Allen
1990

A beatnik who crossed paths with Allen Ginsberg, Peter Orlovsky, Terry Riley and William S. Burroughs, Australian Daevid Allen was one of the original progressive rock wizards. He founded Soft Machine, and Gong, but also went on releasing solo jaunts that were quite varied from his rock endeavours. Rich in melody and sentiment, this song (taken from his 1990 album Australia Aquaria) extolls positiveness, productive thinking and being.

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Galaxies Like Grains of Sand - Hampshire & Foat
2017

If you’re a regular reader here, you’ve probably noticed by now my obsession with Greg Foat’s flawless craftsmanship (July 2020 / September 2021 mixtapes). On this record, he collaborates once again with multi-instrumentalist Warren Hampshire (Nov 2021 mixtape) to create timeless music of depth and quality. As its title indicates, the mixtape’s ending song is a soft contemplative piece that invites the listener to go inwards and introspect.

Happy listening

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