The Onion On My Internet Belt

Archive for the ‘Records I Own’ Category

Movie Themes, Straits, and the mix for 12-15-17

‘Tis the season for lists of things. One of the popular types of lists is “Favorite of a Thing” such as “Christmas Movies”. A point of contention among those who make lists of Christmas Movies is if the 1988 action classic “Die Hard” qualifies. I believe it does and I’ll type at you why I believe this. Quite simply the story needs Christmas as a condition to happen and the themes of redemption and family are central to the resolution of the movie. The main character, John McClane (Bruce Willis) only finds himself where he does because he is traveling to see his family for Christmas. The central crime is plotted for this night because fewer people will be around due to the holiday. The idea that a man who has gone astray finds redemption happens twice as both McClane and Sgt. Powell (Reginald VelJohnson) both are both restored to a former honorable self by the end. Sure, these redemptions and finding of family (not only blood relatives but those we choose as family as demonstrated by the new friendship between McClane and Powell) come at the cost of something like two dozen lives, but that doesn’t erase that at the heart of it, these themes and plots are prime Christmas movie tropes. I’m not saying you have to like the movie or add it to your “best of” lists, just that it clearly qualifies on these merits.

It was announced this week that Dire Straits will be inducted in to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame this year. While I don’t so much care for the RRHF, I am glad they are receiving recognition. Dire Straits is still one of my all-time favorite bands. Some of this comes from the time in my life I was exposed to them, but as much comes from the quirky lyrics, strong rock rhythms, and the unique tonality Mark Knopfler brings to his guitar work. I’m not going to do an all Dire Straits mix (though I do own all of their albums as well as the rare EPS and one corkingly rare single…) but instead here are four of my favorite tracks of theirs (links below). I honestly wonder if Pick Withers will be at the induction.

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One of my favorite album covers, Dire Straits 1979 release “Communique”. Back cover is the original member line up.

Lions, last track from their eponymous first album
Expresso Love, the opening to the B side of “Making Movies”.
Love Over Gold, title track to the album of the same name.
You and Your Friend, from their final studio album “On Every Street”.

Listen to and/or download this podcast! The Funkomaticjamatron Presents… originally mixed the week of 12.15.17

NOTE: New “The Funkomaticjamatron Presents…” podcasts are generally posted on Fridays. The show archives are around ten shows deep. Beyond that, if the link isn’t active, the mix has been deleted to make way for new material.

Song – Artist – Album
Black Sands (Duke Dumont’s ‘Grains Of Sand’ Reconstruction Edit) – Bonobo – Black Sands Remixed.
Through The Sunlight – Carmen Rizzo – Ornament of an Imposter.
Shark – Juno Reactor – Bible Of Dreams.
Nigu-Jaka – The Sushi Club – Space Night, Vol. V [Disc 2].
Infinite Snow – Monolake – Silence.
In Mind – Amorphous Androgynous – Tales of Ephidrina.
Goodnight Vienna – LFO – Advance.
Garbage (Vietrmx21) – Autechre – Tri Repetae++ [Disc 2].
Optical (Instrumental 24 Bit) – William Orbit – Optical single.
Beautiful Strange (Bedrock’s Ambient Beats) – Bedrock – Beautiful Strange [EP].

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Christmas as a Genre, Office Vinyl, and the mix for 12-8-17

Christmas music is a strange genre. It is also one that I have found myself overly invested in.

Years ago I found a couple record albums in the office storage closet. They were in awful shape, kitschy, and random, but I displayed them with the other decorations. Many (if not all) of my office mates were delighted by these trinkets and started talking about the albums they grew up with. Given that I had the extra equipment around, I brought in a little stereo set up and encouraged people to bring their vinyl in. It turned out to be one of the best (accidental) team building exercises we ever had.

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The every-growing stack of Christmas vinyl in my office.

As the years have gone on, I’ve slowly acquired more and more Christmas records. They are plentiful and usually very cheap. When I worked in consumer electronics, it was always a bit of a head scratcher looking through the seasonal cds when they came in. All Christmas music albums will sell. No idea why, but they do. Consequently, there are a lot of terrible Christmas songs out there and middling albums of lack luster performances of holiday songs you already know.

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Onkyo CP1010A turntable, Pyle PTAU23 amp (with a Pyle PP444 pre amp on top) make and a pair of unpictured Yamaha NSX70 speakers make up the office hi-fi. The bottom black box on the left is an Onkyo stereo tuner, but it doesn’t pick up much beyond static given where I am in the building.

As a public service, here is a short list of really strange yet oddly agreeable Christmas songs (the weird good stuff):
R2D2 We Wish You A Merry Christmas – Meco
Merry Christmas, Santa Claus (You’re A Lovely Guy) – Max Headroom
Mistress for Christmas – AC/DC

Also, here is a list of actually good modern Christmas songs:
Snowfall* – Enoch Light
We Three Kings of Orient Are – The Beach Boys
Merry Christmas Baby – Chuck Berry

*I call this a Christmas song because the only place I have ever encountered it is on seasonal compilations.

This mix has no Christmas songs.

Listen to and/or download this podcast! The Funkomaticjamatron Presents… originally mixed the week of 12.8.17

NOTE: New “The Funkomaticjamatron Presents…” podcasts are generally posted on Fridays. The show archives are around ten shows deep. Beyond that, if the link isn’t active, the mix has been deleted to make way for new material.

Song – Artist – Album
Five In The Morning – Art Bleek – Between Yesterday & Tomorrow.
Solo Sunrise – Chet Faker – Thinking in Textures.
Brand New Morning – Gretchen Lieberum – Brand New Morning.
Chelsea Morning – Joni Mitchell – Hits.
Morning/Midday – Max Roach – M’Boom.
Evening Meditation – Van Morrison – Best Of Van Morrison Volume Two.
The Night Is Still Young – Billy Joel – Greatest Hits Volume II.
The Way You Look Tonight – Billie Holiday – The Essential Billie Holiday [CD2].
The Night We Called It a Day – Dave Brubeck Quartet – Angel Eyes.
Hold On To Midnight – The Freddy Jones Band – Cities 97 Sampler, Vol. 8.
Colours Of The Night – Evi Vine – …And So The Morning Comes.
Sleepy Time Time – Cream – Those Were The Days [Disc 1].
In The Wee Small Hours Of The Morning – Carly Simon – Sleepless In Seattle.

Post, Post-dated, and the mix for 2-17-17

In college, I read Maxine Hong Kingston’s book “No Name Woman”, which was 20 years ago so please forgive any inaccuracy this following description may have. In the opening chapter, the narrator recounts a story her mother told her growing up. In the story an aunt or cousin gave birth out of wedlock and was thereby cast out of her village (more specifically, the villagers dressed in masks and ransacked her family’s house). The woman then threw herself and her newborn child into the village well. The narrator’s mother never names this woman. It is a powerful chapter and I would encourage you to read it if you haven’t. Denying someone a name is a powerful act. I think about this chapter a lot lately as social media has moved to addressing a certain person simply as “45” now. I approve.

Speaking of twenty years ago…

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That’s October 1995, by the way.

This week I received a care package from my friend Barbara that was full of items from our college days and the time just shortly thereafter. It was an amazing box to receive. Items therein contained: Show posters from First Ave, old posters for my radio show, program guides for the college radio station we both worked at, a stack of bumper stickers, and a couple things written by me and even about me. It is always a mixed bag to have such a clear window on to your past self, part sentimental journey, part threnody.

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The KUMM 89.7 FM Fall 1995 Program Guide, art by Barbara Minken.

 

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The KUMM FM Winter 1996 Program Schedule in its full 11×14 glory.

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The Winter 1997 program guide for 89.7 FM with an added music review by yours truly. I think the headline is from Barbara. I often wrote things like this to fill unattended column inches in the University Register.

The newly acquired music worthy of comment this week: Underworld’s limited edition “Born Slippy” twelve-inch 45 rpm single and the Raider’s of the Lost Ark soundtrack.
-With the release of a second Trainspotting movie, Underworld has revisited their massive hit “Born Slippy” from the first film with the “Long Slow Slippy” remix. They didn’t do the original song any favors. Same song it was 20 years ago but slowed down about 10%. That is literally it. The B side is called “Eventually But” and is in the vein of “Blueski” or “Stagger”. This purchase was a good reminder that limited edition collector items are often a suckers game for completionists.
-Decided it was time to pick up some more non-Star Wars John Williams. The Raider’s soundtrack is solid end to end. Highly enjoyable and totally worth it.

Listen to and/or download this podcast! The Funkomaticjamatron Presents… originally mixed the week of 2.17.17

NOTE: New “The Funkomaticjamatron Presents…” podcasts are generally posted on Fridays. The show archives are around ten shows deep. Beyond that, if the link isn’t active, the mix has been deleted to make way for new material.

Song – Artist – Album
First Rays of the New Soma Sunrise (Calmer Remix) – STS9-Peaceblaster (The New Orleans Make It Right Remixes).
On A Clear Day – P.M. Dawn – Of The Heart, Of The Soul And Of The Cross.
Salva Mea (Radio Edit) – Faithless – Renaissance 3D.
Get Thy Bearings – Bonobo – Late Night Tales: Bonobo.
See (Beacon Remix) – Tycho & Beacon – See Remixes single.
Montezuma’s Revenge – Rocket Empire – Om 14.
You Forget A Thousand Things – Tangerine Dream & DJ Shadow – The Music of Grand Theft Auto V.
Set Back – Fluke – Risotto.
Back/Shecomes – Massive Attack – Singles 90/98 [Disc 11].
The Weight Of Darkening Skies – Ulrich Schnauss – A Long Way To Fall.
My Lover’s Gone – Dido – No Angel.
Disappear – Phutureprimitive – Kinetik.

Acquisitions,Good/Weird, and the mix for 12-30-16

It is just after midnight on Friday, Jan 30th. I’ve got to drive 3.5 hours tomorrow through the southwest corner of Minnesota. I should be asleep by some estimations but I’ve been off of work for too long to keep a normal schedule. So it goes.

This is good news for you. It means music!

I realized today that I have added 999 songs to my library this year. I haven’t acquired music at this rate in probably 20 years and so I figured it was worth sharing some of this treasury. I don’t like yearly lists. First off, I don’t frame time that way meaning I have no good sense of what has happened in a set calendar year. Too fluid. Second, “best ofs” require me to explain the parameters of that call and I don’t care to do that. Third, I’m not interested in newly released music like I was. New to me is the new that counts.

A lot of the music I acquired this year was on vinyl. I borrowed around 30 records from Centry College and made digital versions for myself and the school. Those albums ran the gamut: chants, native American music, avante garde (notably a John Cage piece that is 12 minutes of feedback), Spanish guitar, classical (Ravel), and early computer music. I also came into a large collection of legacy vinyl that contained all the James Bond soundtracks up to “For Your Eyes Only”. It was a good year for jazz as well.

So, this mix is the good weird stuff. Mostly from vinyl (that means get ready for some pops and skricks). You’ll notice that the title of the mix implies another of this sort, and you would be right. I’m posting this mix first because I want to start next year off on a more electronic and rock note. This year can end with the human voice, the tumult of jazz, and the blues.

Listen to and/or download this podcast! The Funkomaticjamatron Presents… 2016 in Review pt 2 originally mixed the week of 12.30.16

NOTE: New “The Funkomaticjamatron Presents…” podcasts are generally posted on Fridays. The show archives are around ten shows deep. Beyond that, if the link isn’t active, the mix has been deleted to make way for new material.

Song – Artist – Album
Dies est laetitiae – Capella Antiqua Münich, Konrad Ruhland – Voices of the Middle Ages: Music From the Gothic Cathedral.
Litany Of Easter Eve – Benedictine Monks Of El Calçat, L’Alumnat Boys’ Choir – Gregorian Chants Grand Prix Du Disque.
O Magnum Mysterium (Cristobal Morales 1500-1553) – The Canby Singers – O Great Mystery: Unaccompanied Choral Music of the 16th & 17th Centuries.
Study No. 8 (Villa-Lobos) – Andres Segovia with String of the Quintetto Chigiano – Castelnuovo/Tedesco (Quintet, op. 143).
Madroños (Torroba) – Julian Bream – Popular Classics for Spanish Guitar.
Festival Sketch – The Modern Jazz Quartet – The Modern Jazz Quartet At Music Inn, Vol. 2.
Big Noise From Winnetka – Bob Crosby – Bob Crosby’s Greatest Hits with the Bobcats.
The Shrike – Pete Rugolo & His Orchestra – $64,000 Jazz.
The Face of the Bass – Ornette Coleman – Change of the Century.
No Room For Squares – Hank Mobley – No Room For Squares.
Asiatic Raes – Sonny Rollins – Newk’s Time.
Laura – Coleman Hawkins – The Hawk Flies High.
Zylophone And Drum – Bilal Abdurahman – African Musical Instruments.
Korea Memorial Song – Willie Horncloud, Ben Sitting Up, Frank Afraid of Horses (Pine Ridge, SD, Oglalla Sioux) – The Great Plains Indian Singers and Songs.
Events For Tape Recorder (Powell) – Mildred Dunnock, Lee Bowman, Martha Scott -Music for Electronic & Older Instruments.
Flash’s Theme – Queen – Flash Gordon.
Peter Gunn – Peter Appleyard & His Orchestra – Percussive Jazz.
Fillet of Soul: New Orleans/Live and Let Die/ Fillet of Soul: Harlem – George Martin –Live and Let Die.
Statesboro Blues – Taj Mahal – Taj Mahal.

Drumming, Vinyl, and the mix for 12-22-16

I know it can be a loaded topic and many people have very strong opinions on the matter but I’m just going to come out and say it: I like Christmas Music. In fact, in 1998, when I got a cd burner, the very first disc I made was Christmas music.

When I say that I have to immediately put a few caveats in place and make a few qualifying remarks as there is more bad/soulless/clueless/schlocky Christmas music out there than good stuff to be certain. Anybody can sell a Christmas record. I like choral music for sure. There are very few things in life that bring such deep joy as the human voice. I also like traditional instrumentals (think: Canadian Brass, Boston Pops). I’m also a fan of a number of ‘modern classics’. These are generally simple tunes from somewhere in the mid-40s to the early 70s (Carol Burnett singing “The Christmas Song” or Julie Andrews singing just about anything). I also like some of the stranger tunes that are clearly meant as amusement (Gayla Peevey’s “I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas” and Bob and Doug McKenzie’s “12 Days of Christmas”).

My favorite Christmas track? This very rare remix of Little Drummer Boy called the Exuberant Mix.

My enjoyment of Christmas music has grown over the last decade. I play a stack of records (32 albums at last count) at work over the last month of the term. This started because I found a couple old beat up records in a storage closet at work. Someone asked if I could play them. So I brought in the right gear and people loved it. Everyone in the office brought in an album from their formative years and we had a ball. Some of the records are good. Some not so much. But they are fun and many people comment on how much they like that I do this. Here are a few from the collection:

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Bought for $1 in Pipestone, MN. It sounds like a funeral. But hey, red vinyl!

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Christmas Disco! From 1980. Sounds exactly like you think it does. Bonus: There is a Volume 2!

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Just one variation of the odd marketing of Christmas music. Light, swelling instrumentals. A passable listen.

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A very good album from a very strange source. Volume 18.

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From my friend Drew. A brilliant album end to end.

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This is an all time classic in my collection. It also revealed to me the answer to a lyrical mystery. Thanks Firestone and Julie Andrews!

If you are interested in discovering a few very good, but not well known, Christmas songs I suggest looking these up. They are all in my top tier:
Prince – Another Lonely Christmas
Enoch Light – Snowfall
Chuck Berry – Merry Christmas Baby
The Beach Boys – We Three Kings of Orient Are
Ella Fitzgerald – What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve?

Listen to and/or download this podcast! The Funkomaticjamatron Presents… originally mixed the week of 12.22.16

NOTE: New “The Funkomaticjamatron Presents…” podcasts are generally posted on Fridays. The show archives are around ten shows deep. Beyond that, if the link isn’t active, the mix has been deleted to make way for new material.

Song – Artist – Album
Disappear – Phutureprimitive – Kinetik.
Goto 10 (Kryptic Minds Remix) – Amon Tobin – Box Set.
Bug – Underworld – Second Toughest In The Infants (2015 Remaster Disc 3 Unreleased Demos/Outakes).
Beauty Never Fades (Animatrix Edit) – Junkie XL Feat. Saffron – Animatrix: The Album.
Absurd (Marine Parade Mix) – Fluke – Progressive History XXX (Disc 3).
Fantastique – Carmen Rizzo – Ornament of an Imposter.
The Weight Of Darkening Skies – Ulrich Schnauss – A Long Way To Fall.
Motor City – Xaver Naudascher – Kompakt Label Family August 2009 Sampler.
Moan (Trentenmoller Remix) – Trentemøller – Moan.
The Spectacle (Ott Remix) – STS9 – Peaceblaster (The New Orleans Make It Right Remixes).