Perhaps its simply the swelter of the midwest summer and the unending drought in the air, but I could not shake the buzzy campfire imagery every time I listened to All Washed Out. There’s something distinctly American about it. And by American I mean Appalachian. And by Appalachian, I mean to suggest it’s like a scene out of the soon to be made Wes Anderson version of Coal Minor’s Daughter.
To build on that mystique, I offer up the Akron/Family. No one in my mind delivers the atmosphere of cicada buzz and country sweet melodies quite like them. Yet it never veers into parody and always maintains a unpredictable, modern edge.
There is something delightfully rubbery about this incredible song. It’s mostly a frenetic wash of rhythm and textures, yet the acoustic guitar and vocal exist in some half speed counter universe. It’s more like a really deft remix than it is a song that was written purposefully this way. It’s very organic feeling, however with its Animal Collective-like background vocals, it’s still hanging to elements of the sampling universe we’ve just emerged from. I really can’t of a better way to build on Vol 10 and infuse this next volume with a rush of blood to the head and heart. Oh the places we’ll go.
It’s just fascinating where this has gone. We’re coming close to the end, and in a totally different sphere then we began. Yet till a totally linear progression. You can trace every step to where we are from where we began. Fascinating. If there were a thread that I think might be woven through this particular volume. It’s restless naiveté. It really came through the last couple of tracks, but really it’s been there all along. All the songs feel like they were composed by some brilliant ingenue, ignored by their parents, trapped in a room full of instruments, old records and a Wes Anderson film crew. Fascinating.
So I’ve been in a bit of denial this week. Two songs ago, the mix was playing right into the hands of a particular song I’ve been hanging onto for a little while. A song I love dearly and hoped to use in the mix eventually. And it looked like it was finally going to happen.
Then Yann Tierson showed up. With all it’s Frenchy quaintness, and doe eyed Amelie smirk. It’s lovely. Just not where I thought we’d be. So I waited for inspiration to strike. And it struck exactly where I started.
Having relistened to the last two tracks, I noticed an interesting theme emerging that I hadn’t before. They are increasingly singular in their melodic focus. They are essentially songs of a one track mind. Songs with perfect melodies. So perfect that complicated structures of chorus’, verses, and bridges are not necessary. The song is content to meander in and out of it’s one idea, milking it for all it’s worth, relishing it’s highs and lows.
It’s a theme that’s been hinted at before but only now do I think it’s the station we’ve actually arrived at. And my original track fits perfectly. Enjoy.
An interesting transition is afoot. Where we once may have been exploring two songs exiting in simultaneity, now if feels more like two genres coexisting.
The introduction of a more classic sensitive indie boy sound led me up and down my collecting, looking for the perfect song that paired that with the fuzzy, layered found sound with cut and paste beats things we’ve been circling wonderfully for several tracks now. After much laboring and sampling, I finally struck gold with probably the most obvious choice, Caribou. A one man empire that’s made killer record after killer record completely mining the gold in the hills of the exact genre pairing I just described. This particular tracks has a wonderful single minded focus but layered with a myriad of instruments (holy bagpipes!) play through a transistor radio. So good.
Sometimes finding the perfect song feels like climbing up a waterfall. And sometimes it doesn’t. Interested to see where this current takes us.
Right now, this song is conjuring up in my mind the final scene in Children of Men. Go with me here. Not really because of it’s literal reference to a “boat” but in it’s humanity rising up within a glitch tech context. A river of hopeless static brought on by a future ridden with despair. Yet inside this boat remains a soul-laden hopefulness. Thoughts of freedom, birds in the sun, and wind in the trees. None of which is a part of this sonic industrial landscape. There is a unmistakable current lifting us from horror, into a foggy but enlightened future.
Loving where this is going. Krautiness. The essence of music that is equally minimal and maximal. Both direct in its focus but going nowhere in particular.
And who knew one of the best purveyors of modern Krautiness would be three Japanese ladies, playing wildly eclectic unpredictable rock music, that while guitar centric, is so full of electro flourishes, counter melodies, and atmosphere galore.
This track from Buffalo Daughter’s first record has been a favorite for a long time. The guitar sounds shimmer and crunch at the same time. And the drum texture is just lovely. A round smooshy kick thump balances beautifully with one of the thinnest snare pops on record. This track is incredibly directed, driving at one speed the entire time. It’s not going anywhere but I’m along for the ride regardless.
For me, James Blake is literally an enigma. A critically acclaimed artist that, for the most part produces music so impossibly stripped down and minimal, it’s barely recognizable as music at all. Every minute is the beginning of a pop song. Instruments layer in. But never coalesce. Pure texture and emotion. It’s quite an achievement.
The Wilhelm Scream, a haunting case in point. An absolutely tortured treatise of soulful minimalism. I encourage you to look it up, and listen to it with the lights off. A good wind down the day experience. It was almost my selection for track 6. But I feared it might bring us to a screeching halt right when we should be picking up steam. So I give us CMYK. A bewildering remix/mashup of Aaliyah and Kelis, but distorted and rearranged so much, all that we have left is uniquely James Blake.
I’ll only add, that the addition of two new authors to the mix train has already changed the dynamic considerably. In a refreshing way. Mr. Joosse and I can perhaps beat ourselves up a little less over whether or not we are posting the most perfect next song and enjoy this new diversity.
Got it together Again had a wonderful sunny swagger and romantic disposition to it. It’s deft combination of co-lead vocals, electronic hum and warm toned classiness, proved to be a really hard combination to build on. Once, again the second track of each volume is one of the toughest to post. It requires an ability to understand the zag is track 1 building from the previous volumes zig. There are so many options. More synthyness? Warm grooviness? Vintage Americana?
Hopefully this track satisfies at least the last two—being a great example of something fairly American sounding coming from a bunch of swedes.
Mr. Joosse commented at the last volume how interesting it was that the last track usually differs so much from the first in each volume. And I now find it equally interesting at how generally consistent this one was throughout. Perhaps he and I were just perfectly happy to lounge in this lush synth pop territory for a while and use up all the tracks, i’ve been obsessing over for years now. Heck, I didn’t get to use nearly half the tracks I had set aside along the way. I can only hope we keep on the path and create a sister volume with number 9. However I am sure we will take a left turn here pretty soon, and ending up digging up equally fertile ground elsewhere. We always do.
I hope you dear reader, fully understand how absolutely GOLD this volume is. The hits just keep coming for fifteen tracks straight. Nary a hint of mediocrity any where in its vicinity. I know we say this every time, but this volume just might be my favorite one yet.
Download the Mix as a 126 MB zip file.
Now using sendspace to deliver these massive files. Email us if the file expires.
The tracklist is as follows:
01. Nightcall by Kavinsky
02. Never Known Love by Thieves Like Us
03. Night Drive by Chromatics
04. Claudia Lewis by M83
05. Dream Cars by Neon Neon
06. Bring Us Closer Together by Hooray for Earth
07. Feel the Love by Cut Copy
08. Matter of Time by The Chain Gang of 1974
09. Still Sound by Toro Y Moi
10. Bad Street by Twin Sister
11. VCR by The XX
12. Leak at the Disco by Baxter Drury
13. California by EMA
14. Barnacle by Lovers
15. Sinking Feeling by Mixel Pixel
So many things all coming together with this last track in a most satisfying mix thread. The male female vocals ala The XX. The narrative of Mr Baxter. The mix of organic and electronic instrumentation from Cut Copy. The quirk of Bad Street. The love-lorn longing of M83 and the Chromatics. And the sweet hummability from the stand out Barnacle. All wrapped in the bow of warm optimism that Mr. Joosse longed for.
A narrative vocal style. Heavy atmospherics. Minimalist, analog-at-heart instrumentation. EMA straddles an interesting line between naked raw emotions and cooler than hip detachment – all swimming beneath a sea of fuzzy, white-out static. EMA has made a sound out of making the absolute most out of almost nothing. Lone piano notes pierce and drone their way through 4 minutes of rambling beauty about displacement, alienation, and frustration. This is one of the few artists to emerge on my radar in 2012 and actually leave a lasting impression.
Frankly, I don’t know how Mr. Joosse does it. Responding with a reply song in a day or sometimes in a matter of hours. I have spent the better part of a week listening to Bad Street and three solid contenders for the next track, paralyzed by indecision. I kept hoping that percolating on it for another day would make the choice suddenly obvious. Only to uncover other possible contender. So with this I am just jumping in going with my gut.
The Mercury Prize winning The XX are the synth pop band only the “aughts” could produce. Combining traditional organic instruments with mechanical beats and synth touches, they produce some hauntingly beautiful pop that is perfect for the dreamy quality of the mix thus far. And VCR is proof positive. I feel like it delivers on the 80′s urban vibe in spades. When I listen to it I can only imagine walking the rain soaked streets of NYC late into the night.
There is much to love about this song— the MJ style quick rap vocals, the staccato bass line, the wonderful soprano melody in the second half, the 70′s hammond organ solo—all completely awash in glossy production. Yet it still feels very much human. Passionate. A product of yearning. It’s not going to be a top 40 pop hit, but it’s unassuming nature is a sly creature that will get you in the end.
There are several reasons this post has taken so long. Many of which I’ll not get into, but the primary one was simply how confoundingly good the previous track was. While not a synthpop uber fan, I feel like I have a pretty good pulse on the genre as of late. But that track was in some ways impossible to respond to. It just had so much diversity and each done so well, which would I focus on? There would be no other track that would do as much with as little I was sure.
The only track for the longest time I thought I could post was Fascination by Alphabeat. A track that has an identical melodic undertone. It is a simply breathtaking track that Mr. Joosse exposed me to a couple years ago. It is sublime. Go find it.
But I couldn’t possibly post that. That would be like Joosse responding to himself. I have more self respect than that. So I give this really great ditty by Cut Copy. Wonderful 80′s references that start off a little rock pop but end up a whole lot synth pop.
Again, sorry for the delay. Let’s get this mix going again.
Things have taken a bright and shiny stainless steel turn here. We’ve made to through the desert and landed in sunny and crisp LA. This is what happens when “super” frontman Gruff Rhys teams up with Boom Bip to make an album about the life of John DeLorean. We get to ride around in dream cars. Now let’s see if these bastards can do 90.
Sometimes when a song has the ability to perfectly encapsulate it’s theme/title, real synesthesia is palpable. I hear this song by Portland’s Chromatics, and I immediately imagine myself driving through the warm Mojave desert at night. The dashed lines of the road visible in my headlights syncopate with the beat as blueish black desert brush whisks by my peripheral. I am perhaps on the way to get “my baby” and bring her back home. I’ll probably have to rough some dudes up in the process. They probably had it coming. So it goes.
You see there is this little sleeper hit of a movie out right now called Drive. It’s really amazing. Beautiful, romantic, violent and musical. That’s right. It’s got the most memorable use of music and soundtrack since… The Royal Tenenbaums probably. Created by Cliff Martinez, whose pretty much done every great minimalist transcendent score in the last 10 years, the Drive score and soundtrack are poised to really revitalize the role of music in movies. It feels like 1992 and I just saw Pulp Fiction. In addition to the score by Martinez, the soundtrack has five original songs that just ooze the best attributes of the 80′s. Synths. Reverb. Great pop melody. See the movie. Hear the music. And enjoy the ride on wherever Vol 8 takes us.
I’m a real sucker for dance music that’s played like rock music. Music that is undeniably hedonistic and unselfconscious but with the passion, anger and presence of punk rawk. The Mercury Prize winning Klaxons give us a delicious dose of it on 2006′s Atlantis to Interzone. Stuck inside all of it’s bombast are some nice juicy details—in-unision harmonized vocals, rave inspired sirens and samples and a very undisco, abrupt composition change at the 1:00 mark. Enjoy where this takes us.
Every couple of days, one of the NEIMT authors will post a song that is in some way a reaction to the previous song posted by another author. Every 15 songs will be packaged up with cover art and presented for download as a complete mix. The only rule is that no artist can appear more than once in the same volume.
The best way to be informed of NEIMT posts is to subscribe in the field in the upper right. You can also follow the page on facebook. We longer maintain an email list. Email is dead to us. We'd love to hear your feedback in the comments of this blog, but if you'd like to contact the NEIMT directly, email to: robb (at) agrayspace (dot) com.
You can still see the old mixes at neimtarchive.blogspot.com. Some of the old download links might still even work.
We freely admit that this blog is probably a violation of artistic copyright law. We put together these mix "tapes" as way to share great music in a way that encourages artist support and utilizes grassroots promotion by purposefully violating those copyrights. We would like to imagine that no artist in their right mind would oppose such altruistic intentions despite its bureaucratic insubordinance.