Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Ethno-religious-musical...: Jason Kohn's Untitled 1 (The Saint)

You may have noticed that these mixtapes are not being presented in chronological order. What order are they being presented in? The order in which I thought they would be most interesting and/or the order in which I grab them off the shelf. So far we've seen my love of 50s classics; my high school friends' taste in late punk; and some widely disparate mixes from some girlfriends. Today, we see the evolution of one high school friend's tastes in college.

Though "evolution" sounds wrong to me, since it implies some sort of progress, as if Lagwagon was something to be outgrown. And, in fact, though there's some serious change from Jason's high school to college mixes, we can even see some continuity, at least in the packaging.

That is, Jason kept up the strong theme-work that went into choosing a title--or in this case, a cover image--and the names of the sides. This mix is untitled, but for the purpose of this exercise, I'm calling it The Saint because this was the cover:

...and these are the tape's sides' names: A:


Honestly, "saint" might be underplaying the religiosity of this theme. Where is this picture from? Brazil, possibly? Anyway, as noticeable as this statue is, the theme doesn't go into the song choice, anymore than Rabbi Shubert Sings was full of Jewish songs. In fact, the songs are less religious than they are... meditative.

Side A:

  1. Al Green, "Take Me to the River"
  2. My Drug Hell, "Girl at the Bus Stop"
  3. Fantastic Plastic Machine, "L'aventure Francaise"
  4. Air, "Kelly Watch the Stars"
  5. Massive Attack, "Teardrop"
  6. Sean Lennon, "Into the Sun"
  7. Cornelius, "Starfruit Surfrider"
  8. Neutral Milk Hotel, "Song Against Sex"
  9. Brian Jonestown Massacre, "Wasting Away"
  10. Dimitri from Paris, "Sacre Francais"
  11. Sea and Cake, "Nature Boy"

Side B:

  1. Uilab, "St. Elmo's Fire (Red Corona)"
  2. Esquivel, "Sentimental Journey"
  3. Cornershop, "Sleep on the Left Side"
  4. Spiritualized, "I Want You"
  5. Air, "Ce Matin La"
  6. Momus, "Space Jews"
  7. Patric Samson, "Basta"
  8. Sweet Robots Against the Machine, "Hello Baby"
  9. Halo Benders, "Love Travels Faster"
  10. Dutronc au Casino, "Et Moi, Et Moi, Et Moi"
  11. Johnny Dorelli, "Arriva la bomba"
  12. Cornelius, "2010"
  13. Fantastic Plastic Machine, "Steppin' Out"
Honestly, Neutral Milk Hotel might've been a religious moment for me; but a lot of this music tends towards the electronic side. (Spiritualized is actually classified as "space rock" by Wikipedia.) Air, Massive Attack, Cornelius, Dimitri from Paris, Fantastic Plastic Machine--that's all on the electronic side of things.

(To talk about with a therapist or neurologist: why do I keep trying to spatialize these genres? Notice, I keep talking about "sides", as if I could push some songs to one genre side or another.)

This tape also shows a turn towards Euro-pop, like Johnny Dorelli (Italy), Jacques Dutronc (France), Esquivel! (Mexico, which for the purposes of genre is considered a part of Euro-pop), etc. 

Or maybe we could put it this way: this mix tape shows a definite turn towards European pop, both mid-century/1960s space-age classics and modern electronica.

Still, as much as I listened to this tape frequently, the only bands I ever spent money on are Neutral Milk Hotel and... No, I guess that's it, since all the Air and Massive Attack I ever listened to was borrowed from friends. For a while Neutral Milk Hotel was a band that I played a lot; and it still is to today my favorite example of a band whose name you have to repeat several times before anyone will believe what you're saying.

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