Mixtape
November 2020
EXPERIMENTAL / ELECTRONIC / AMBIENT / SOUL
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Monthly mixtape artwork collage cover.
Mixtape
November 2020
EXPERIMENTAL / ELECTRONIC / AMBIENT / SOUL

A bit about last month.

With COVID numbers skyrocketing again in Berlin and pretty much everywhere else, November was an insightful month. Having spent the majority of my days at home with occasional walks here and there to reconnect with the outside world, I found myself exploring the themes of solitude, self-reflection, uncertainty, clarity, fragility, stability, contemplation and new beginnings.

A paradigm shift is defined as "an important change that happens when the usual way of thinking about or doing something is replaced by a new and different way”. Whether correlated to this pandemic or a recent change in my personal life to dedicate more time to photography, this shift is reflected in the sounds you’re about to hear. And without further due, let’s proceed with the usual tracklist walkthrough.

That was the personal update. On to the music.

With COVID numbers skyrocketing again in Berlin and pretty much everywhere else, November was a month for self-reflection. Having spent the majority of my days at home, with occasional walks here and there to reconnect with the outside world, I found myself exploring the themes of solitude, uncertainty, clarity, fragility, stability, contemplation and new beginnings.

That being said, the November mixtape is confused and confusing - an ebb and flow of agitation and serenity. Clocking in at just over 2 hours, it includes songs that alternate between softness and harshness, sometimes within the same song, sometimes across adjacent ones.

Recommended Setting

Recommended setting: when in the mood for boundary-pushing, experimental music, coupled with more accessible ones here and there.

CHAPTER 1

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Spinning Song (Live at Alexandra Palace) - Nick Cave
2020

We start with the poetic and evocative 'Spinning Song', the intro track to Idiot Prayer, Nick Cave’s latest album performed alone in the deserted concert hall of London’s Alexandra Palace.

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The Light - Abfahrt Hinwil
2002

Soft ambient sounds follow on 'The Light' by Abfahrt Hinwil, a German duo known for their emotional, sad and uplifting frequencies.

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Phaenon Ono - Monolake
2020

Berlin-based Robert Henke takes us on an aural journey with brilliant sound design and fantastic granular action. The whole album is wonderful. Carefully tailored sounds, a world in itself.

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Aralkum - Galya Bisengalieva
2020

Next is 'Aralkum' by composer and violonist Galya Wisengalieva, released a couple of weeks ago on Berlin Atonal’s More Light compilation. It's taken from her album of the same title, a poignant work that sheds light on the shrinking of the Aral sea, one of the worst environmental disasters on the planet.

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Fundamental Values - Nils Frahm
2020

We continue with the one and only Nils Frahm. Following the announcement of his new live album and concert film, he just shared a first excerpt titled 'Fundamental Values' (check out the video too).

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Agalma II (ft. Caterina Barbieri) - Drew McDowall
2020

A month ago, post-industrial pioneer Drew McDowall released Agalma, a liturgical and devotional body of work featuring an impressive spectrum of collaborators. On 'Agalma II', a song McDowall describes as a lament for the lost, Italian synthesist Caterina Barbieri drags us gracefully into a whirlpool of melancholy.

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Modality Transporter - Sote
2019

Sote’s distorted and abstract sounds fuse Persian classical traditions with electro-acoustic arrangements. Absurd and dazzling, 'Modality Transporter' is a great testament to the originality of his synthetic soundscapes.

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A Jingle *2 - John Foxx
2007

We take a very short break with this interlude from Crepuscule Compilation Tracks, Vol. 1, one of the many great compilations by Les Disques du Crepuscule. This independent label was founded in Brussels in 1980 and boasts a cosmopolitan roster of excellent musicians. Check out their catalog here.

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Spin and Loops - Mana
2020

Mana’s unpredictable sonic compositions whip us into a frenzy. Extreme agitation, derangement, rage, wild excitement? What do you feel listening to this one?

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Tales From The Trash Stratum - Oneohtrix Point Never
2020

Synth drifts, scrambled sound collages and Cocteau Twins' Elizabeth Fraser on Oneohtrix Point Never’s latest album.

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Freak, Go Home (Live in D, July 17, 2014) - DARKSIDE
2014

The defunct duo of Nicolas Jaar and Dave Harrington recently made an unexpected reappearance on social media and dropped a 2014 archival recording from a live performance in Belgium, one of their final shows together. Listen to this incredible 17-minute extended version of 'Freak, Go Home' by DARKSIDE.

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Without Bodies - Paul Jebanassam, Roly Poter
2020

Next is the futuristic and cinematic 'Without Bodies' by Paul Jebanassam and Roly Poter, 2 contemporary composers who recently united under ALTAR to merge their technical and creative abilities.

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A Jinge *1 - John Foxx
2007

A second interlude (from the same compilation) concludes the first chapter of the mixtape. From this point onwards, we leave the electronic realm and transition to different sounds.

CHAPTER 2

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Yalla Tenam Reema - Fairuz
1967

After a dozen songs devoid of vocals, legendary Lebanese singer Fairuz soothes us with her voice on 'Yalla Tenam Reema'.

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Lazarus Man - Terry Callier
1998

Mystic and visionary Terry Callier picks it up again with smokey and entrancing folk-jazz on 'Lazarus Man'.

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The Mysterious Vanishing of Electra - Anna Von Hausswolff
2018

Cranking it up a notch, Sweedish Anna Von Hausswolff (Jan 2022 mixtape) opens the floodgates and unleashes her extraordinary vocal range on us. Black metal atmosphere, sorcery and eeriness on this superb track taken from her 2018 album Dead Magic.

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Natural High - Bloodstone
1972

We start cooling down with a light oldie from Bloodstone, an American R&B, soul, and funk group that was most popular in the 1970s / early 1980s.

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Everything Must Change - Nina Simone
1978

A musician needing no introduction, Nina Simone knew how to pour emotional depth into almost every song she ever sang. This is her soul-stirring rendition of 'Everything Must Change'.

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Subterraneans - David Bowie
1977

Ethereal and haunting 'Subterraneans' by David Bowie, a piece of unparalleled nocturnal beauty.

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Moonchild - King Crimson
1969

“We’d run out of material. And we didn’t want to put a cover tune on our first album. So we were left with gap; we needed another seven to nine minutes. So once we’d recorded the basic track [the front section, with the vocals], Mike, Robert and I went back into the studio, set the tape rolling and just improvised for about 10 minutes. And I think it’s alright." - Ian McDonald

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Proper Time - Julia Gjertsen, Nico Rosenberg
2020

We end with a mesmerizing, undulating track by Julia Gjertsen and Nico Rosenberg.

Happy listening

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