Monday, February 29, 2016

Karl on his 29th Birthday

Since I usually like to relate these things to the weather, consider this a February mixtape in three movements: warm in the winter; cold in the winter; cool in the spring. With interludes of seasonal displacement.

My name’s not Karl and today’s not my birthday, but… close enough. Anita Baker’s Rapture, the best first listen I’ve had in years, way too late and yet clearly meant to be, got me thinking about how the life I’ve lived has ended up roughly adjacent to the ones I didn’t. (Being a pretty boring person I of course relate this phenomenon to music consumption.) So there’s nothing I find too surprising in the world of Karl, but I am jealous of the speed of his response to songs I’m just now learning to hear. Was he listening to Rapture over a decade ago, back when I was straining for a mood with The Blue Nile’s Hats?

And beyond:

Here… A Randy Newman classic I was slow to notice. Why are his songs so often covered, when his singing is so perfect yet so meager as a map for a showier or more emotional vocal? Also, the ticking late-century energy of the music, afraid to expire like something out of the mid-90s, is this one’s defining feature.

There and everywhere… A bunch of 2015 songs looking for a new means of binding to memory: Low, Abra, Lower Dens, Wire, and A Sunny Day in Glasgow (does anyone even know they released an amazing double EP late last year?; one day I’ll tell young people I lived in the time of ASDIG and they’ll shudder with envy), all in a row, and Róisín Murphy and Deerhunter, separately.

Among… The first two great songs of 2016 that aren’t “Formation,” albeit ones that suggest a listener I should have cultivated in myself a while ago. The dreamy R&B listener. The instrumental rock listener (haha, this one has a Georgia Hubley vocal).

Later… “Photographs,” last known outpost of my personal investment in Rihanna’s music, but one I’m returning to now that her new stuff works a similar feeling.

Anyway, here’s your mixtape, Karl. Maybe the length and quality of your relationship with these songs are different than the length and quality of mine, but no one clicking the links below will care or know the difference.

79 minutes. (download/stream)

1. Boards of Canada – “White Cyclosa”
2. Anita Baker – “Mystery”
3. Curve – “Doppelgänger”
4. KING – “The Greatest”
5. Janet Jackson – “When We Oooo”
6. Róisín Murphy – “Hairless Toys (Gotta Hurt)”
7. The Beach Boys – “The Nearest Faraway Place”
8. Randy Newman – “Baltimore”
9. Low – “Congregation”
10. Abra – “Pride”
11. Lower Dens – “Electric Current”
12. Wire – “In Manchester”
13. A Sunny Day in Glasgow – “Jewelry Duty”
14. Koushik – “In A Green Space”
15. Tortoise ft. Georgia Hubley – “Yonder Blue”
16. Rihanna – “Photographs”
17. Deerhunter – “Duplex Planet”
18. Jennifer Castle – “Sparta”
19. Chris Stamey – “Something Came Over Me”
20. Boards of Canada – “Telepath”

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