Myxomatosis

Myxomatosis #18: Keep Yourself Warm

Myxomatosis edit‘Tis the season!

Thanksgiving? Beginning of the holidays? No, of course not. Here in Winnipeg, winter has set in with full bone-chilling force and I, among many others I’m sure, have retreated to the warmth of my little apartment and a bottle of whiskey. It’s not a bad way to spend a Friday evening, or even a whole winter, but it has its consequences.

Many of my friends and favourite musicians feel the same way. I certainly turn to both for company during these times when the days become dark just as I’m walking home from work in drifts of glittering snow or patches of treacherous ice. However, sometimes friends’ houses are a too forbiddingly frigid walk away and I am happy to content myself with music for company. There’s something about winter that’s just conducive to drinking alone and wallowing in contemplation.

The inspiration for this mixtape came about during one of my aforementioned walks home from work. At this time of year, the city is still beautiful and we’re only two weeks into snow and cold, so there’s a kind of quiet appreciation that comes over me when I listen to sad songs while walking in the dark. I also feel alone even when surrounded by people and busyness – there’s so many layers of coats and scarves and sweaters separating everyone, and people are in such a rush to get where they’re going, which is back indoors – anywhere indoors – and separated from the perpetual chill.

Once indoors, the drinking songs can begin. (Up until then, they can’t be accompanied by actual drinking, which is important, not to say imperative.) Granted, these are definitely not all straight-ahead drinking songs, but there’s a loose theme of pensive introspection. This includes the stupidity of the destructively drunk; those who want to forget everything, including the workweek, everyone they know, and all of their bad decisions. It’s also about the worn-in habits of the terminally lonely and isolated, the promise of a new night or a new weekend or a new year, and the painfully sharp focus of the morning after, as yet more bad decisions solidify and in addition to dealing with them there’s also the problem of a pounding headache. We’ve all been there.

It’s not all bad, though. It helps us feel like there’s something keeping us together after the time apart. It’s soothing, and winter is a time for a little extra comfort and indulgence.

If you’ll excuse me, I’m about to venture outdoors again. But it’s okay, because the promise of a manhattan on a Friday night is worth it. And besides, I have tunes to keep me warm.

Download Myxomatosis #18: Keep Yourself Warm

Art Brut – Alcoholics Unanimous

Frank Turner – Dan’s Song

British Sea Power – Waving Flags

Depeche Mode – Black Celebration

McCarthy – The Drinking Song of the Merchant Bankers

Augustines – New Drink for the Old Drunk

Japandroids – The Nights of Wine and Roses

Hefner – The Hymn for the Alcohol

The Afghan Whigs – Fountain and Fairfax

Black Flag – Six Pack

LCD Soundsystem – Drunk Girls

Associates – Party Fears Two

Jeff Buckley – Lilac Wine

Lightspeed Champion – Galaxy of the Lost

The Smiths – Stop Me If You Think You’ve Heard This One Before

Patrick Wolf – Vulture

Elvis Costello – I Can’t Stand Up (For Falling Down)

Manic Street Preachers – A Design for Life

Frightened Rabbit – Keep Yourself Warm

The Replacements – Here Comes a Regular

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Myxomatosis #17 – Head to Iceland with Jaz Coleman

With the end of the world looming, it feels like we’ve been here before. If we believe Francis Fukuyama, history already ended in 1989 with the fall of the Berlin Wall. If we believe Arthur C. Danto, art already ended in 1984. And if we believe Prince, the world should have ended in 1999 when the sky was all purple and people were running everywhere. Otherwise known as the sealed weather chamber in Paisley Park. I can’t even possibly include all of the religious sects who thought or think the end times were and are nigh.

I’m more persuaded that we will hit the Singularity before any other types of Armageddon or apocalypse, Mayan-predicted or otherwise. The Singularity is described in Stewart “information wants to be free” Brand’s book The Clock of the Long Now as “a shorthand way of referring to impeding technology acceleration and convergence.” It comes about via Moore’s Law of exponential advances in technological hardware and Metcalfe’s Law of exponential growth of networks, including the Internet. The Singularity, or techno-rapture would lead to a world “comprehensible only to those near the leading edges of technology.” You shall know us by our velocity: our brains will look like taffy.

In case you’re bored of building bunkers and watching television programs in which other people are building bunkers, here are some alternative activities you could do just before the end of the world:

  • Submit some writing to Public journal for their call for papers about The End. Presumably, they’re counting on the end not arriving quite so soon since their publication date is Fall 2013.
  • Read Cory Doctorow and Charles Stross’s Rapture of the Nerds, a novel which uses the Christian idea of the rapture for the techno-rapture, when all of those who embrace technology disappear.
  • Take a ride on the Euthanasia Coaster. This should actually be the last activity.
  • Eat all of the cake and cheese.
  • Download Myxomatosis #17 and dance.

Countdown to Armageddon – Public Enemy

Rapture – Killing Joke

We Want War – These New Puritans

Can You Promise Me the Sky Won’t Fall – The Very Sexuals

No Lucifer (live at Whelans) – British Sea Power

Race to the Self-Destruct Button – The Samuel Jackson Five

Apocalypse Blues – Colorama

The Last Song Ever Written – Stars

End of the World – Anika

The Last Day – Crime + the City Solution

Degeneration Street – The Dears

John the Revelator – The Indelicates

Armageddon Days Are Here (Again) – The The

Tiny Apocalypse – David Byrne

Apocalypse Song – St. Vincent

Countdown (Sick for the Big Sun) – Phoenix

The End of the World – Are You Real?

A Perfect Day to Drop the Bomb – Carter the Unstoppable Sex Machine

Conversations at the End of the World – Kishi Bashi

Yawny at the Apocalypse – Andrew Bird

When the Lights Go Out All Over the World – The Divine Comedy

Last Night on Earth – EP’s Trailer Park

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Myxomatosis #16: Happy 1st Birthday From a High Horse!

Here’s to another year of sporadic posting!

Download Myxomatosis #16

Altered Images – Happy Birthday

Andrew Bird – Happy Birthday Song

Blur – Birthday

Cibo Matto – Birthday Cake

Imperial Teen – Birthday Girl

Junior Boys – Birthday

Microdisney – Birthday Girl

Modeselektor – Happy Birthday!

Pet Shop Boys – Birthday Boy

Spearmint – Happy Birthday Girl

Sufjans Stevens – Happy Birthday

The Desperate Bicycles – It’s Somebody’s Birthday Today

The Smiths – Unhappy Birthday

The Sugarcubes – Birthday

The Twilight Sad – That Birthday Present

The Von Bondies – 21st Birthday

They Might Be Giants – It’s Not My Birthday

Ween – Birthday Boy

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Myxomatosis #15: Quiet Batpeople

I’m so happy that The Thick of It is back for another series. It’s one of the best shows on television, and from what I know of public relations (I had to take some courses for the communications program I was in), it’s fairly accurate in all its absurd logic. I love the grasping cast of always pathetic, occasionally sympathetic, characters, who usually end up racing down a corridor in an ungainly fashion to save their own careers. I love the barrage of ruthless, soul-destroying insults amidst the landmine of f-bombs and twisted mind games. And of course, I love the watery-eyed sociopath, Malcolm Tucker, the Alistair Campbell of Armando Ianucci’s carefully crafted circles of hell.

One of my favourite scenes for this series is during a brainstorming session for a name for good everyday citizens:

Ollie Reeder: You know, the people who deal with the little stuff… um… Wombles, Honest Wombles. Everyday Wombles?
Malcolm Tucker: Sorry, I’ve just got to take a call…
Nicola Murray: Um, ‘straights’ -
Ollie: No!
Nicola: No… no, of course, sorry.
Helen: Commuting champions.
Nicola: Interrailers, human interrailers.
Ollie: Human interrailers? That’s interrailers. Uh, everyday superstars, all… all British supremes -
Malcolm: That sounds like a racist tribute band.
Nicola: Ordinary people, with s-… with… something special about them. With a special power.
Ollie: Please don’t say special. Don’t say special.
Nicola: No but – you know, but like sup… uh… people as superheroes.
Ollie: Iron People… Spider People -
Nicola: They’re just regular citizens, but they have this… p – that one special quality that makes them like Batman, Batpeople. Um… Quiet Batpeople.
Malcolm: [Glaring] Quiet Batpeople?

In honour of this brilliant piece of satirical television, I’ve made a mix of “spin” songs. I could never do the show justice with a description, so I’ll just include this handy YouTube video compilation of the various nicknames bestowed upon the characters.

Download Myxomatosis #15.

Original Spin – Mother Mother

Spinning Top – XTC

Tailspin – The Divine Comedy

Spin the Bottle – The D’Urbervilles

Spin – Darling Buds

Spinning Around – Kylie Minogue

My Head is Spinning – Pet Shop Boys

Spin Spin Sugar – Sneaker Pimps

Sangria Spin Cycles – Flying Lotus

Spinning Away – John Cale and Brian Eno

Spin – Anthony Adverse

Spinning Wheel – Shirley Bassey

Der Spinner – Nina Hagen

You Spin Me Right Round (Like a Record) – Thea Gilmore and Mike Cave

Spin That Girl Around – Euros Childs

(Song For My) Sugar Spun Sister – The Stone Roses

A Spindle, a Darkness, a Fever, and a Necklace – Bright Eyes

As the Bell Rings the Maypole Spins – Dead Can Dance

Spinner – Brian Eno and Jah Wobble

Like Spinning Plates – Radiohead

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Myxomatosis #14: Your Chariot Awaits

*Pokes head around corner*  Hello there!  It’s me, Laura: FAHH’s resident delinquent and all around hooky player!  I do feel quite self-conscious about being MIA from High Horse land for so much of the summer, but hopefully that will now change as the days are getting shorter and cooler and the weather is less conducive to lying on blankets in parks.

This car-themed mixtape is meant as a sort of sequel to my mixtape for summer road trips: said road trips generally don’t happen without them.  Of course, there’s also the freedom that cars represent that makes them such a frequent source of inspiration to artists of all kinds, not just songwriters.  They’re as much a symbol of American nationalism and capitalism as they are symbols of restless wanderlust the world over.  Seeing as how this is a mix by me, though, the songs here don’t focus on cars in their American, cross-country road trip and representation of freedom sense of the word.  Instead, they’re often potentially dangerous status symbols, symbolic of 20th century advances in technology, or metaphors for the loose, nomadic lifestyles favoured by countercultural heroes.  As much as the possession of a vehicle adds another level of staid reliability to mainstream living, cars can serve as little mobile homes, making touring and adventure possible for bands with very few resources to otherwise get out on the road.

Download Myxomatosis #14

Arcade Fire – Keep the Car Running

Associates – White Car in Germany

Beat Happening – Drive Car, Girl

Big Star – Big Black Car

Black Tambourine – Black Car

Buzzcocks – Fast Cars

Captain Beefheart – Dali’s Car

Dalis Car – Dalis Car

Desperate Bicycles – Cars

Eugene McGuinness – Japanese Cars

Gary Numan – Cars

Keith Levene – Very Fast Cars

Kenickie – In Your Car

L’Trimm – Cars That Go Boom

M83 – Car Chase Terror

Neon Neon – Dream Cars

Paul Weller – Fast Car, Slow Traffic

Queen – I’m in Love With My Car

The Cure – Mint Car

The Dirtbombs – Cosmic Cars

The Divine Comedy – Your Daddy’s Car

The Raveonettes – Breaking Into Cars

The Wave Pictures – Long Black Cars

UK Subs – I Live in a Car

Violent Femmes – Gimme the Car

 

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Myxomatosis #13: Home of the Brash, Outrageous and Free

I’m not much of an Olympics spectator. As someone with an aversion to sport and to grand displays of nationhood, I’m not primed to be an audience for them. My parents enjoy them. They are also retired and might otherwise not know which day of the week it was. As Canadians, we tend to pay considerably more attention to the Winter Olympics, regarding it as a chance to alleviate our country’s inferiority complex for a few weeks. No one knows who our prime minister is, but we own hockey. Because this past summer’s Olympic Games were in London, I became marginally more interested. At the very least, I was getting to gaze longingly at shots of London cityscapes and busy streets during primetime television. The BBC also added more London-specific documentaries and “cultural Olympiad” programming to their schedule, including more than I ever needed to know about Shakespeare. Admittedly, I’m nerd enough to have enjoyed the documentary on London’s bridges.

Being the anglophile that I am, I took more than a passing interest in the controversy over Olympic construction in the East End, the mounting costs in the face of a double-dip recession, the kinks of the lottery ticket system, and the security debacle. And I was mildly curious about what Danny Boyle would come up with for the kick-off. I can’t remember if I have ever watched a full opening ceremony before, including that of my home country for the last Winter Olympics; however, this time I was actually sat at home during the live broadcast, which aired in the mid-afternoon where I live, because I was off my head on painkillers two days after my bottom wisdom teeth were extracted. I couldn’t be bothered to move, nor focus on anything more stimulating, so I had time to watch and then think drug-addled thoughts about national identity over the course of the three-hour global show.

To be fair, organizing the opening ceremony is an unenviable position; you have to take account of what the rest of world knows of your country, what you think the rest of the world knows of your country, and what people of your country know and/or believe of themselves. And somehow you have to make that into a spectacular, positive experience for all of them. Spectaculars don’t really tend to work in more than one dimension. Bearing that in mind, I think Boyle was pretty ambitious, and he did make some interesting choices, showcasing a film director’s sense of storytelling alongside the various facets of the English national myth, and to some degree, London mythology itself. The manic film presentation that raced from the arcane source of the Thames to the cheeky aerial view referencing East Enders was an apt introduction to the themes that followed. Through a series of vignettes, Boyle took in aspects of national identity, high and low, serious and ridiculous. You got choreographed entertainment that had a go at synthesizing an overwhelming amount of ideas about England: the island mentality confronted with immigration; the dichotomy of arcadia and industrialization; blitz-proof stoicism; the inexplicably resilient, nostalgic token that is the monarchy; the hardy pliability of the English language, made richer by The Bard; the significance of cultural exports, including England’s pop music legacy; and the swinging 60s, that urban utopia that just won’t die. Even the fairly weak attempt to include all countries of the realm via choir ensembles said something quite telling about margins and centres, and British identity and its fraught relationship with the power of the capital. I could have done without Mr. Bean (where’s Blackadder when you need him?), and the James Bond/Queen scenario, the latter evoking an awkward drama exercise with an octogenarian android. The reveal of Tim Berners-Lee from beneath that house was somehow even weirder.

Perhaps one of the most interesting and noted events of the opening ceremony was the celebration of the National Health Service, which featured a dancing number of actual NHS employees and hospital beds full of children. The conflation of children and the fantasy stories written for them with the socialist ideal of universal healthcare was actually quite savvy. With the army of Mary Poppins swooping in to save the children representing Great Ormond Street Hospital from the fantastical villains of English kiddie lit, I can’t help but see the satirizing of the conservative disdain for a “nanny state.” As other lefties have argued, this gesture isn’t actually going to produce a revolution on its own, but as a bit of subversion in front of a massive audience, it was at least as good as some political sentiment slipped into a pop chart hit. In equating the vulnerability intrinsic to the Victorian conception of “the child” with the more recent vulnerability of the NHS under the coalition government, Boyle made a connection that also seemed to echo even larger themes of English identity. The cultural invention of what childhood should be—Edenic, thus natural, innocent, and good—is a trope found throughout English culture since the threat of industrialization. It is manifest in the children’s literature, including the likes of The Wind in the Willows and Peter Pan, sometimes descending into downright barmy and creepy regression; it is present in the antiquarian fetish for collecting and recording the past; it runs all the way through the tradition of folk, pastoral, and psychedelic music and their outdoor festivals (read Rob Young’s beautifully researched Electric Eden for more information about this last point). As an ancient nation, England appears to rely on heritage both to relive past imagined glories and to stay forever young through rebirth, or more cynically, regeneration.

Turning to a truly younger nation like Canada, we don’t really have the same mentality of child-like arcadia. Perhaps because we still essentially live in the garden of vast wildernesses and seemingly endless space. That’s one of our own myths, mind. The ancient history that we truly have is often ignored because it wasn’t written down and because colonialism tried to destroy it at every turn. We don’t have a lot of broken down abbeys and castles; our ruins are in the people. The difficult, ongoing truth and reconciliation with First Nations peoples is already greatly misunderstood or ignored within our own country, so I suppose I shouldn’t find it surprising that other countries don’t have an inkling of the context. I find myself physically flinching when Stephen Fry off-handedly refers to aboriginal peoples as “Red Indians” on QI. Thankfully, the Vancouver Olympics opening ceremony did, at the very least, acknowledge the First Nations people of the region in a rather respectful way.

I think that the Vancouver Olympics had another particular challenge for their ceremonies because we tend to deny nation and patriotism most of the time. Canadians are hyper-conscious of multiple cultures and identities, an attitude grounded in the complicated, contested concept of multiculturalism; we are everything to everyone and thus a less straightforward spectacle. Between an obnoxious faith in hockey and a brainwashed necessity for Tim Hortons, we’ve developed some sort of innocuous, plastic patina of nationalism. In some ways, I feel safer knowing that. In other ways, it makes for the abysmal segment of the Vancouver closing ceremony that included giant Mounties, beavers, maple leaves, voyageurs, and hockey players. Then again, London’s closing ceremony was also a broader caricature than the opening one.

My own experience of London is still as very much an anglophilic outsider. Last summer I stayed in the capital for an entire week in addition to one day on the way back home, and I feel like I needed another fifty years, if only to feel completely nonchalant on the bus system. Unlike the previous six trips I took to London, I visited a bit longer, and tried to pack in as much as possible this time. Whilst I loved the Tate Britain, Tate Modern, and The British Museum (though the latter also made me feel mortified and uncomfortable to around that much cultural theft), unsurprisingly, I found some of the more valuable, fascinating moments to be outside of the tourist stops. Granted, Laura and I aren’t the type of tourists to zip in and out of cultural institutions to say we’ve seen them; we quite methodically take an entire day to explore any one gallery or museum. However, the flaneur in me got more out of wandering through Hackney, Highgate, Camden Town, Islington, and Vauxhall, most of which I’ve never had the time to get to before. I find myself missing details like the particular sound of the subway trains clacking over the tracks, indie disco nights, Gloucester Old Spot sausages, purchasing my weight in used vinyl at the Music Video Exchange, and marveling at the sheer chaos of the A to Z map book whilst getting repeatedly lost.

It’s that overwhelming unknowability of London that captures my imagination. There are just too many possible routes and too many secret places. I suppose these qualities are what make London a particularly peculiar psychogeographic space, spanning the mysterious occult vibes along the Hawksmoorian ley lines of Iain Sinclair, Peter Ackroyd, and Alan Moore, and the equally dark, but surreal urban wastes tread by Will Self and J.G. Ballard. The parochial past haunts even as it is transformed by dreams of sprawling cosmopolitanism.

There are particular songs referencing London that come to mind quite easily and quickly, some of which were used in the Olympic ceremonies: The Clash’s “London Calling,” The Kinks’ “Waterloo Sunset,” The Smiths’ “London,” Blur’s “London Loves,” The Jam’s “Down in the Tube Station at Midnight,” and The Pogues’ “London Lullaby.” I chose to make a compilation for which I had to work a little harder. I hope it’s a little more nuanced than it might have been. Kind of like the London Olympics opening ceremony.

For more London-based songs, visit the comprehensive The London Nobody Sings. If you want slightly different kind of music, visit the London Sound Survey site. Lastly, for a previous mix about London, see my old blog. Of course, it was more of a mix about London-based bands rather than songs about the city specifically.

Download Myxotmatosis #13 here.

Euston Station – Betty and the Werewolves

London My Town – Anthony Adverse

Up to London – Phil Wilson

Holloway Aviator – Animals That Swim

Up the Junction – Squeeze

Harrow Road – Big Audio

Towers of London – XTC

London Bunker – Simon Bookish

Klub Londinium 20-30 – Sudden Sway

The Aspidistra House – Band of Holy Joy

Berwick Street – Loaded Knife

St. Paul’s Cathedral at Night – Trembling Blue Stars

All the Umbrellas in London – The Magnetic Fields

I Love Lambeth – The Monochrome Set

Love Letter to London – Luke Haines

London’s Brilliant Parade – Elvis Costello

Crossing Newbury Street – Roddy Frame

Trams of Old London – Robyn Hitchcock

Hymn to London – Bishi

London Belongs to Me – Saint Etienne

Emptily Through Holloway – The Clientele

Highgate Cemetery – Roy Harper

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Myxomatosis #12 – The Third Greatest Gift

So, I seem to have concocted a mixtape about, um…laughter.  Certainly, it may seem silly, but ridiculousness is a big part of my life.  According to Kermit the Frog it’s the world’s third greatest gift.  The utter silliness and infectiousness of the laughing scene (along with its corresponding song) in Mary Poppins remains one of the most memorable and joyful parts of that movie.  Perennial FAHH favourite Momus took his name from the Greek god of (mocking, unfair, and censorious) laughter.  It’s essentially what helps me get through my day, whether a complete disaster or merely mind-numbingly dull.  It helps distract from the nihilism and transcend the almost constant anomie that blanket me.  It drives my cultural consumption, from books to theatre to movies, and it helps me define myself and also connect with those around me.  Laughter is important, and I think it deserves its own little moment here.

Download Myxomatosis #12

Neon Indian – Laughing Gas

Bibio – Haikuesque (When She Laughs)

Electrelane – Enter Laughing

Flying Lotus – …And the World Laughs With You

Pere Ubu – Laughing

Secret Affair – Only Madmen Laugh

The Rest – Laughing Yearning

Spearmint – Making You Laugh

Mission of Burma – Laugh the World Away

Josef K – Sorry for Laughing

The Wedding Present – Don’t Laugh

Regina Spektor – Laughing With

Deerhunter – He Would Have Laughed

Orange Juice – Falling and Laughing

R.E.M. – Laughing

 

 

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Myxomatosis #11: Summer in Me

Apologies for the lateness by over a week – I’ve been on some much appreciated holidays. On the bright side, you’ll be getting another mix from Laura this coming weekend as well. MP3s raining down everywhere.

Since I’m in a relatively relaxed state of mind (I’m not sure I can ever be completely relaxed – it may require something like the twenty T3s I took after I got my wisdom teeth out a couple of weeks ago), I’ve decided to make a compilation of some breezy, summery tracks. In a way, it’s a complement to Laura’s last mix. What says summer to me? Genres like twee, indiepop, ambient, chamber pop, folk, yé yé, and its Japanese off-shoot shibuya kei. They’re gentle and soothing, and you can imagine yourself swinging in a hammock, swimming in soft focus 60s film reels, or perhaps riding an old-fashioned bicycle with a basket through a European city whilst wearing a cardigan. Ahh…I feel dozy and shambolic just thinking about it.

You get some 60s cool courtesy of Margo Guryan; an underrated glam ballad from John Howard; neo-yé-yé from Coeur de pirate; light, sometimes trippy shibuya kei stylings from Flipper’s Guitar, Dimitri From Paris, and Hong Kong in the 60s; twinkling indiepop from Richard Hawley’s old band Treebound Story and from Stevie Jackson’s solo work away from Belle & Sebastian; dreamy folk by Breathe Owl Breathe and Nick Drake; the chamber pop whimsy of Owen Pallett; and apparently the most calming song in the world by Marconi Union. And of course, quite a bit more.

Download Myxotmatosis #11 here.

Take a Picture – Margo Guryan

You Can Take a Heart, But You Cannot Make It Beat – Hong Kong in the 60s

Summer Beauty 1990 – Flipper’s Guitar

Watercolours Into the Ocean – Destroyer

The Flame – John Howard

Ava – Coeur de pirate

Swimming in the Heart of Jane – Treebound Story

Dead Man’s Fall – Stevie Jackson

E is For Estranged – Owen Pallett

Reveries – Dimitri From Paris

Champagne Coast – Blood Orange

Swimming – Breathe Owl Breathe

No One Likes a Nihilist – The Most Serene Republic

English Electric Lightning – The Wild Swans

Summer In Me – Gentle Despite

Smiling in Slow Motion – Daniel Land and the Modern Painters

Empties – Rob Britton

Sunday – Nick Drake

Stand Where A Fruit Tree Drops the Things It Doesn’t Need – Snowblink

Weightless – Marconi Union

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Myxomatosis #10 – Summer Road Trip

I’m pretty attached to the platonic ideal of the summer road trip.  My dad has never been a big fan of air travel, so when I was a child our family summer vacations were often spent, at least partially, in the car on the way to a destination.  We took in much of Canada this way; I’ve seen the East and West coasts of Canada as part of summer car trips that stretched up to four weeks in length.  My family, however, are not big music fans, so this time spent in the car, gazing at mile after mile of highway, was also used to listen to a lot of audiobooks and children’s tapes (does anyone else have fondest memories of the Classical Kids series?  My favourites were the Tchaikovsky and Vivaldi stories!).  Nowadays a road trip for me is not complete without a pile of CDs, an FM transmitter to connect my iPod to the car’s stereo, or even just the radio, but the way I listen while driving hasn’t really changed.  Music still seems to sound more transcendent on the road, so much so that I have been know to occasionally drive the car (I don’t own one, but I sometimes borrow them from family) around parts of town I’m unfamiliar with, especially if there’s an exciting electrical storm happening, as a soothing way to spend part of a summer evening.

In my mind, summer songs, too, are slightly different from other songs.  The ones I’ve chosen for this week’s mixtape are sweetly happy, nostalgic, loose and casual, or even just best enjoyed during some time outdoors with friends and drinks.  I picked these songs because they sound to me like the hopefulness of spring dissolving into summer, the promise of more time spent in the company of friends, more moments shared, fewer stresses, and feeling things more intensely.  While I actually am emphatically not a fan of the heat or sun, there’s still something about this season that smacks of freedom and well-being, especially after coming off an infamous Winnipeg winter.  Please enjoy, and maybe under a dusky sky while driving.

 

Download Myxomatosis #10

Evans the Death – I’m So Unclean

Cloud Nothings – Fall In

Pavement – Summer Babe

Jonathan Richman – I Was Dancing in the Lesbian Bar

Spearmint – Isn’t It Great To Be Alive

Boxed Wine – Feral

Japandroids – Younger Us

The Velvet Underground – Sweet Jane

Toots & The Maytals – Pressure Drop

Liechtenstein – Passion For Water

Cheap Girls – Ft. Lauderdale

The Jimi Hendrix Experience – Voodoo Chile

Ween – Ocean Man

The Zombies – Time of the Season

Metric – Stadium Love

Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs – Shimmer

Those Dancing Days – Fuckarias

Yeasayer – 2080

The Pastels – Worlds of Possibility

Young Galaxy – We Have Everything

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Myxomatosis #9 – Like a Monkey With a Miniature Cymbal

Last summer I presented a paper called “MP3 as Contentious Message: When Infinite Repetition Fuses with the Acoustic Sphere” as part of a symposium on repetition, series, and narrative for young people. Yes, I scratched my head about how my paper fit in with narrative, too. However, I was thankful to be invited to participate, and it prompted me to put together some thoughts I had been mulling over for the past four years or so since my thesis on MP3 blogs. And now the hope is that it will be published as part of an essay collection, which is why I’ve been working for a couple of months on the second revision.

My argument uses Marshall McLuhan’s theories about typographic/mechanical media and aural/electronic media to explore the problem of monetary value for MP3s (and other lossy compression audio files for that matter). I contend that the possibility of infinite, exact repetition of MP3s is a hyperextension of the mechanical medium, which McLuhan associates with industrial, linear logic and with abstraction. At the same time, the MP3 is an aural/electronic medium that functions in a non-linear, simultaneous way. This hybridization makes it an object of the postindustrial, postmodern moment of late capitalism, where the increase of immaterial, affective labour challenges a system based on private property. To attempt to assign monetary value to the MP3 often means fetishization of analogue technology and its materials, the replacement of material commodities with access and social experience, and the insertion of human agency, including fans and artists, as content of the medium. In the case of material fetishization, MP3s can precipitate further repetition in the form of parody and nostalgia in their analogue, material counterparts. I specifically look at the examples of Pledge Music, Corporate Records, and Spotify. Along the way, there are references to Walter Benjamin, Jean Baudrillard, Jacques Attali, Frederic Jameson, Jonathan Sterne, Mark Poster, Marcus Boon, Michael Hardt, and Antonio Negri. The essay also features of Montreal, Radiohead, Gang of Four, The Indelicates, Nine Inch Nails, Imogen Heap, Einstürzende Neubauten, Momus, Amanda Palmer, and perhaps the most eccentric rockstar of them all, McLuhan himself.

What better way to take a step back from all of this theory and repetition fatigue than to make a mix about repetition?

Download Myxomatosis #9 here.

Repeat – Manic Street Preachers

Dot Dash – Wire

Don’t Copy Me – Robots in Disguise

Repetition – The Fall

Infinity Guitars – Sleigh Bells

Repeater Beater – Mew

Repetition – David Bowie

Repetition – TV on the Radio

Nothing New Under the Sun – Thomas Dolby

Repetition Kills You – The Black Ghosts

I’m in Love With My Clone – Hyperbubble

Strange Nostalgia For the Future – Cut Copy

Over and Over – Hot Chip

On Repeat – LCD Soundsystem

On ‘n On – Justice

Repetition – The Soft Moon

Repeater (How Does It Feel?) (live) – Spacemen 3

Replicas – Tubeway Army

Repetition – Information Society

Joy in Repetition – Prince

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