Sunday, February 8

"Diptychs", Massive music dump

(Olympus Pen EES 1962)

Gchat with Thomas Pierce (2/9/09):

12:53 PM me: hey if you have anything that you think might fit that would be awesome
12:54 PM we might have enough for this issue, but i'd like to see them in any case
pierceta: sure, i can pass along a couple of photographs
i use a 1962 olympus pen-ee...
which takes 4x3 photos...
12:55 PM me: interesting...
pierceta: and then you print 2 to a 4x6
me: ah
pierceta: so you get strange pairs
or diptychs
if you will.
me: heh
i like how you prefaced that
instead of just going out and saying "diptychs"
pierceta: ha
12:56 PM diptychs sounds pretentious
me: yes


Sick, apartment-ridden. Yesterday was spent playing Facebook Scrabble (annoyingly retitled "Lexulous") and listening to the "Lo-fi" station on Accuradio internet radio. This took place over the span of the entire day.

Over the past two weeks or so, I've been downloading and buying copious amounts of nmusic. Being sick and apartment-ridden has brought this music acquisition to a heightened state of activity.

Some of my more notable recent purchases and acquisitions, care of emusic, bittorrent, and the used record store:
  1. Som Imaginario - Som Imaginario (1970). Tropicalia, psychedelic. Imported and for $20. I found this at my local used record store while searching for more music like Os Mutantes. There was a highly enthusiastic review of it on a note card, tucked in the front cover. The word "masterpiece" was used. It was not used lightly. "Nepal" available here.
  2. Billy Nicholls - Selected Hits (2006, compiled from the 1960s). While at work the other week, I came across a shared iTunes that contained perhaps the greatest and most exotic assortment of music I've ever heard. I suspect it belongs to Sasha Frere-Jones, but have yet to confirm and possibly never will. One of the albums I found was Billy Nicholls's terrifyingly good, terrifyingly obscure album of released demos entitled "Snapshot". "Selected Hits" was the next closest thing available to me. The songs "Feeling Easy" and "Being Happy" are great. The story behind Nicholls's talent and obscurity is a disappointing and mysterious one. Why aren't these great songs more known? Who knows.
  3. Beleza Tropical Brazil Classics Vol. 1 (1989) and Vol. 2 (2007). These were put out by David Byrne's label Luaka Bop. It's hard to articulate how beautiful and new this all sounds to me.
  4. Elliott Smith - Self-titled (1995). I can't believe I haven't heard this one until now. Quieter and more sparse than his later material, yet totally urgent and possibly darker and angstier, despite the achingly beautiful and delicate sound. "Music as Attempt at Salvation" or something like that. An achievement. Fourteen years later, this album still sounds as fresh and essential to me (and people like me/you/us) as ever.
  5. Shugo Tokumaru - l.s.t. (2008) and Night Piece (2006). My friend Jess recommended me to Shugo Tokumaru, touting him in a Gchat as "the Japanese Sufjan", which, upon listening, is a fairly accurate encapsulation. Or: "Sufjan, less Christian, more Japanese." His music is sometimes described as "experimental", but in a way that I feel is less angry professor, more child detective or something. "Vista" available for download here.
  6. Vivian Girls - Self-titled (2008). I haven't listened to much of this so far, but the song "Where Do You Run To" is, I think, impossible not to love. Their voices sound good yet diffuse, messy, like showering in the morning after drinking a lot of beer and tea and water the night before. That wasn't what I think I was trying to say, but I won't delete it.
  7. Guided by Voices - Under the Table Under the Stars (1996). Epic, massive, fractured. So, so many good songs on here. Some of them: "Rhine Jive Click", "Lord of Overstock", "Office of Hearts". I could see this one day becoming my favorite GBV album. Catchier than Alien Lanes, angstier and more desperate than Bee Thousand and also more consistent.
  8. The Promise Ring - 30 Degrees Everywhere (1997). "Emo", "power-pop", "pop-punk"... have you stopped reading this yet? Despite those terms, which are, in many ways, fitting for The Promise Ring -- which also, by the way, deserves note as having the worst band name I've maybe ever come across -- the band is fantastic. Found 30 Degrees Everywhere through an AMG review by Blake Butler, found the band through a promotional video by Tao Lin using a webcam, an American Apparel hoodie, and the Promise Ring song "Nothing Feels Good", off the album of the same title.
  9. Heartless Bastards - Stairs and Elevators (2005) and The Mountain (2008)
  10. Serge Gainsbourgh - Initials SG (compilation 1958-1980)
Songs on albums not included but that are awesome nonetheless and also newly discovered (by me, at least):
- "Gila" - Beach House
- "Jorge Regula" - The Moldy Peaches (via Ben)
- "Party and Bullshit (Ratatat remix)" - Notorious B.I.G. (via Lincoln)
*Hopefully I will figure out a way for these will be available for download.

*UPDATE (2/9/09): I have figured out how to upload music files. However, I have also decided that it would make more sense to upload music from the albums I have talked about earlier. So here they are:
-Som Imaginario - "Nepal"
-Billy Nicholls - "Feeling Easy"
-Shugo Takomaru - "Vista"
-Guided By Voices - "Lord of Overstock"


Ben Blum said...


Crispin Best said...

i really love shugo tokumaru too
i do wonder what he's talking about
this has encouraged me to find out

James said...

let me know if you find out. on second thought, only let me know if it's good -- i hate liking something for the way it sounds only to later discover the lyrics are terrible, so bad they throw the entire project into suspicion.

Crispin Best said...


i am going to go with
'maybe japanese is a tough language to sing stuff that sounds cool in'