I’m a big fan of Volume 10. There’s a nice breeze flowing through this latest edition of the Never Ending Internet Mixtape—a shaft of sunlight hitting the living room floor. It’s a happier, friendlier than the last volume, sunny, but not-yet summer. It’s the beginning of spring. There is still the occasional storm but it’s always followed by that perfect rain-smell 70 degree day. Setting our clocks forward an hour is finally paying off—there’s just a bit more daylight to play with.
Download the Mix as a 93 MB zip file. Now using sendspace to deliver these massive files. Sendspace was undergoing maintenance so I opted for CloudApp for this one. Email us if the file expires.
The tracklist is as follows:
01. Quitter’s Raga by Gold Panda
02. They Made Frogs Smoke ‘Til They Exploded by Múm
03. Catching Butterflies with Hands by Mouse on Mars
04. Thank You Caroline by The Avalanches
05. I Think It Is Beautiful That You Are 256 Colors Too by Black Moth Super Rainbow
06. Let’s Build A Fire by +/-
07. Yeti by Caribou
08. Alike by Afterklang
09. Smile Around The Face by Four Tet
10. Les Jours Heureux by Yann Tiersen
11. Lovely Allen by Holy Fuck
12. What Do You Think Will Happen Next? by Final Fantasy
13. Clowne Towne by Xiu Xiu
14. I Love The Weekend by No Kids
15. Don’t Give Up by Lake
16. I Don’t Know What I Can Save You From (Röyksopp remix) by Kings of Convenience
I like the idea that as this volume of the Never Ending Mixtape draws to a close our choices are returning to something a bit more distilled, stripped-down. My instinct was to push it even further—something acoustic, maybe even an a cappella. What I found is something I think sits in this mix even better. Kings of Convenience are masters of stripped down acoustic pop and with just the subtlest mix of beats and edits from Royskopp this remix is a nice distillation of everything we’ve heard this chapter of the NEIMT: straight-forward songwriting, smart electronic flourishes and a bittersweet emotional duality.
32 seconds into “Don’t Give Up” is the sound of a tambourine shaking exactly twice, then going silent. The tambourine starts back up later as a percussive track throughout the rest of the song, but this stray moment is quite clearly the work of a human being making a small but delightful error. Here’s my thesis statement: this moment is the climax of this volume. The last 14 tracks have been a slow but steady determination to show how musicians control their power of machines and instruments. Track by track we’ve shown more of that power—Yann Tiersen kills on the harpsichord; only H-bombs rival the destructive capacity of Caribou’s drumming; even Múm knows when to replace the glitchy samples with actual singing.
It wasn’t hard to pick out Lake to follow No Kids; we’re back to the sound of a handful of people playing live in a room, and—like us neverending mixers—excited to hear what comes out of it.
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.
I’m working on a hunch, a feeling, and a free association here. As I listened to the Final Fantasy track (<3 by the way) I could hear the faintest song in the back of my head. Something that shared What Do You Think Will Happen Next?’s off-kilter timing and layered arrangement. It was something upbeat but ultimately melancholy, sophisticated but captured on a crude tape machine, it was….my…cell phone ringtone.
Thankfully, being the sophisticated post-goth that I am, my cell phone ringtone is Xiu Xiu’s brain-crushing Clowne Towne. I love Xiu Xiu completely. They are perhaps the only band that I like the way you liked bands when you were 13—with everything, nonsensically. And perhaps that’s because Xiu Xiu makes you 13—by sharing every dark thing, every sadness, every odd thought of their own you are instantly best friends, family, blood brothers. Though lyrically I’m throwing us off track with this—musically, spiritually it feels on the same page—and I’m hoping it’s a bold answer, literally, to What Do You Think Will Happen Next?
What I love about “Les Jours Heureux” is that it pretty much catapulted us into the next volume. Not literally, of course, but I have to admit that I was feeling in a rut with regards to electronic music. It was really nice to hear something so human and warm—and jaunty! Never forget the jaunty—even though I wager Mr. Woodford would himself say that his leap ended up being further than perhaps he anticipated.
But no matter. My favorite mixes are circular, rather than linear. They force you to listen for details that’ll come back later, little notes or melodies or time signatures that might be easily forgotten and uncovered several listens later. “What Do You Think Will Happen Next?,” aside from its awesomely on-target title, brings back around the cosmopolitan good humor of Yann Tiersen, the curious horns from Efterklang and the joyous victory of Holy Fuck. I’m glad to be able to use one of Final Fantasy’s most cheery songs and thrilled that we’ve entered yet another uncharted sea for the Neverending Mix.
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.
I’ve spent the last few days circling a handful of disparate tracks in an attempt to match the catchy curiosity and meandering optimism of Smile Around the Face. After curating a small selection, trashing it to refocus my energy, only to find myself with the same list again, I’ve realized there is no magic bullet. To that end, I’ve decided to pull the trigger anyway with Les Jours Heureux.
Yann Tiersen—more notable for his soundtrack for the film Amélie, than his ability to incessently break violin strings on stage—is a French minimalist who organizes a mandolin, piano, violin, accordion, and guitar into energy, passion, personality, indulgence, and curiosity. While I abhor the brevity of this track, I appreciate the focused intensity as I struggle through inner conflict.
Mike’s words instantly conjured the music of one of my all-time favorite musicians: Kieren Hebden, aka Four Tet. Four Tet’s work is ever so slightly desaturated, faded. Like an old 16mm reel of The Joshua Light Show; the images are still psychedelic, colorful but weathered with age.
Hebden has an uncanny ability to adhere to song-form just enough to keep you smiling while meandering down so many twisted avenues and near-formless spaces that when it’s all over you often wonder how you’d ever explain what you just heard. Is it space-jazz? Mushroom addicted rave music? Smile Around The Face is Hebden at his poppiest, which is still weird as hell, but this track is just catchy enough, just technicolor enough, just happy-with-a-tinge-of-sad enough to keep this mix on track.
While I love the party time Mssrs. Smigielski and Caribou threw down, I found myself more and strangely attracted to the previous two tracks for the ways they seemed to approximate shifts between black and white to CMYK. “Yeti” is kind of at the far end of the scale—it’s Technicolor, possibly on shrooms—but something about the way the others shifted from crackling hesitation to bursts percussion and instrumentation drew me in. Meeting in the middle led me to “Alike” and its blossoming widescreen color. Efterklang doesn’t try to balance genres; they’re a band that seems to beg you to not use that word to describe them. Here, everything is a delicate balance: fragility and confidence, horns and drums, hooks and catharsis. Why I couldn’t follow the blistering fun of “Yeti” with something even more frenetic and playful is beyond me. I must be getting older.
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.
+/-’s ambidextrous personality begins with their moniker, extends into displaced song structures and lyrical extremities, and lands somewhere in the thematic elements of their artwork. It persists at every level of the American indietronic trio.
As an independent case study, Let’s Build a Fire eloquently describes this ambidexterity. On one hand, we have the aesthetic of an old-fashioned arrangement that is riddled with crackly faux-vinyl skips, a lonely horn solo, and muted vocals. And, on the other, we’re presented with a fuzzy guitar on top of warm vocals, creating a structure that supports a full band with a swinging horn section.
The heart of the track lies within the subtle, yet appropriate, transition between the two. While it feels like a compositionally consistent track, if you heard each part of the song in isolation, you wouldn’t assume they belonged together. Yet, the meat of the track seems to get its livelihood from the muted undertones in the intro and outro.
Like any good movement, +/- proves that no one would ever be able to truly appreciate the latter without the former.
If you’re an avid NEIMT follower you might have noticed my most recent track disappeared shortly after I posted it. That’s because in my Sunday morning haze I posted a track by an artist that we featured in our last mix—a no-no. Sorry folks! The good news is my backup selection is maybe even better.
I honestly woke up with this song in my head this morning. Few bands have a more consistent output both in mood and quality than Black Moth Super Rainbow. This is music you can see. We’re standing in a field. The year is 1976. Through the soft-focus filter on the end of our Super 8mm camera we see an attractive young girl, backlit by the setting sun, blowing the seeds off a dying dandelion.
Or we’re at my house trying to remake Kid A on my Commodore 64.
I was born without the gene that censors self-doubt, so I’ll start by saying that I’m not entirely certain this is the right track to follow Mouse on Mars. But after two days of ransacking my house for an appropriate response, this one worked its way to the top. Mainly because I was both repelled by and attracted to the way that “Butterflies” felt like several songs in one. While I liked the idea of finding something that would isolate a portion and move into a more streamlined theme, I also liked the idea of finding something equally complex.
So I turned to the guys who put the “yeesh!” in “pastiche,” The Avalanches. Whole subcategories of music criticism have been created to discuss how they’ve twisted the entirety of pop music around their fingers. But while their songs are usually hyperkinetic and hyperaware, when in the hands of a skilled remixer, they turn into something else entirely. Hence this Andy Votel remix, which strips away any impulse at sampling and focuses on live instrumentation. True, a lot of the band’s sense of pure joy is gone, but in its place is a more straightforward groove, turned downward in the same way as every track I’ve ever seen him get his hands on. And just when you find yourself wanting a change, the track revs up for the last 90 seconds into something that resembles a jam, albeit one for vaguely dour librarians.
In other words: it may not be a smart choice, but I love that it’s a smart track.
There’s nothing like a bit of serendipity to start off the volume; prior to Mr. Immer’s post, I had Gold Panda on repeat for a week straight in an effort to inject a bit of optimism into my day-to-day.
Although Múm generally tends to broadcast more of a quiet confidence than anything else, something about the Icelandic ensemble reminds me of the first day of Summer. Maybe it’s the glitchy experimentation wrapped in soft, often indecipherable pronunciations. Perhaps it’s the intentionally awkward transitions between catchy non-vocals, and instrumental ephemera. More than likely, it’s a distant memory of a weekend roadtrip to Logan Square with an old friend to see a band from another continent play tracks that we often enjoyed with our windows down in the peak of the warmer months.
Whatever it is, They Made Frogs Smoke ‘Til They Exploded, emits an air of optimism—as well as a hint of schizophrenia—around an otherwise dismal season.
Ah, the dubious honor of setting the tone for a new volume of the illustrious Never Ending Internet Mixtape. Let’s hope I don’t screw this up.
Ever hear a song that sounds exactly like you? I’m not talking about lyrics that resonate with your spirit or current life condition—I’m talking about music that sounds like the inside of your brain. For me, Quitter’s Raga is that song. Everything is just a little off, a little psychedelic, a little manic. The uh, “lyrics” are pure nonsense but still manage to get stuck in my head for days after I listen to this track. Every track on Gold Panda’s Companion is beautiful, but none capture the sheer hyperactive-3rd-grader-just-recieved-a-Nintendo-for-Christmas energy that lies in my heart the way Quitter’s Raga does.
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.
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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.