Light Sleep

Phew, 2017

I've been collecting Phew's discography for years now. Given how long her career has been, there are relatively few records, all of which are difficult to find and harder to afford. (A fact I find shocking in this era of reissue-mania.) Her discography starts in the late-70s with the archetypical post-punk band, Aunt Sally, then quickly veers off to a wide-ranging solo career—crossing paths with members of Can, Einstürzende Nuebauten, and Boredoms while joining forces with Bill Laswell and Otomo Yoshihide. Luckily, Light Sleep is a new release, by a US label, making it far easier for me to attain. (If only I could have been in NYC to catch her rare live appearance commemorating the occasion…)

On Light Sleep, she's completely solo, singing against her own abrasive, minimal electronics. I've not heard an album so thoroughly channel—or so fully appropriate—Suicide's early cage-rattling. The drum machines sound cheap but pulse with such martial relentlessness it never comes off as campy. Atonal blasts of compressed electricity worthy of Pan Sonic puncture the mix, while Phew's vocals are spoken with anxious urgency. The listening isn't easy but still essential.

Amazonia 6891

Pit Piccinelli / Fred Gales / Walter Maioli, 1986

While I don't have much (though, still some) use for unadulterated field recordings, I've found if those same sounds are manipulated or mixed with instrumental elements the end result is an irresistible siren call. I've trained myself to impose mandatory waiting periods on purchasing records like this (a precaution I both respect and resent).

Records like Amazonia 6891 occupy a space between environmental, documentarian recording and music that simply samples natural sounds. It has to do, with letting the events retain some of their original essence, spilling out of artificial rhythmic grids and occupying ambiguous keys. There's a point where the music is no longer using the field recordings so much as collaborating with them as an equal partner—or even subordinate.

Created as a collaborative project between three distinct disciplines, Amazonia 6891 moves in contrary directions. Fred Gales' raw recordings of the Brazilian Amazon are edited, collaged and manipulated. They're augmented with studio recordings the of 'natural objects' from Pit Piccinelli's collection. Lastly, discreet musical accompaniment is interwoven by Walter Maioli. Electronic sweeps sit as alien companions to already-exotic bird calls and insect drones. Nothing about these recordings is New Age or palliative. You are immersed but destabilized, leaving little corner for the easy understanding relaxation demands.

field report no.041917

LOCATION: the Mothlight AVL.NC
SUBJECT: New Rain Duets by Mac McCaughan & Mary Lattimore

OBSERVATIONS:
Such a little thing can make such a difference…Billing this concert by Mac McCaughan and Mary Lattimore as 'an evening of semi-improvised music for harp and analog synthesizer' set all the wrong expectations. It might seem trifling to prefer a more accurate variation, like 'post-rock-tinged, ambient instrumentals', but the distinction matters. The tools to judge improvised music and ambient composition are vastly different. As the latter, it was a surprisingly successful set.

Mac McCaughan is indie-rock royalty: leader of Superchunk and Portastatic and co-founder of Merge Records—one of the most stalwart independent labels around. His latest release was a swell set of synth-driven, lower-case pop tunes. Here, he manned a handful of analogue synthesizers. I was not familiar with Mary Lattimore going into the evening, but she's featured on labels from small cassette outfits to the established electronica purveryor, Ghostly International. Their structures allowed some spontaneity—they managed to surprise each other a couple of times throughout the evening. While the format, perhaps, didn't play squarely into either artists' strengths, it's especially rewarding to see established artists willing to work outside their lane. 

NOTES: Mac McCaughan / Mary Lattimore duet; Oriana
PRESENT: AMS

Sizzle

Sam Rivers, 1976

Collecting music is at best, meandering. I was busy collecting everything I could associated with Circle, the advanced jazz quartet in the early 70s of Chick Corea, Dave Holland, Barry Altschul and the great Anthony Braxton. Circle was short-lived, essentially lasting only 1 year. Shortly, three-fourths of the group reconvened for Dave Holland's classic, Conference of the Birds—replacing Chick Corea with a second firebrand saxophonist, Sam Rivers. Thereafter, with Braxton too busy to come around, Rivers, Holland and Altschul cut a number of records together in througout 70s.

Which led to Sizzle, which contains that same trio at its core. By 1976, we are far afield from the calculus-complexity of Circle, and instead deep into free-wheeling skronk funk worthy of Ornette Coleman and Prime Time. Filling out the group is electric guitarist Ted Dunbar and vibist / second drummer Warren Smith. Even if everyone isn't soloing, no one is ever straight-comping. The busy bass lines are mixed up front to compete with the guitar. Sizzle swirls, a vortex of collective energy. 

field report no.041817

LOCATION: the Mothlight AVL.NC
SUBJECT: Acid Mothers Temple and the Melting Paraiso UFO

OBSERVATIONS:
Any given show by Acid Mothers Temple is less a discreet performance and more a random sampling, an excerpt of an unending one. That's not to say each concert is identical. Those scorched guitar ecstasies may be cut from the same cloth, but it's like wading into a ever-shifting cascade of sound—the same river twice, and all that. Halfway through this particular night, the group began leaning hard into disco-vamp rhythms. When merged with their trademark heavy psych excesses, their throbbing groove of metallic rock scaled peaks the likes of Hawkwind were trying to climb in the early 80s.

NOTES: Acid Mothers Temple; Babylon
PRESENT: AMS

TM404 / Compuriddim

TM404, 2013 / Tilliander, 2017

The essence of techno is utilitarian. Go back to rave or early acid house tracks and you'll hear just what a blunt an instrument they were. What would happen if you slowed it all down to an ambient pulse? Could it survive, or would it be a tool without a function? It's a question I'm fascinated with enough, that low-BPM electronica seems to always catch my ear among any list of new releases, which is how I found Compuriddim, by [Andreas] Tilliander.

To my surprise, I had known his work before: he was among the Mille Plateaux era of Clicks and Cuts, but I'd lost touch with him since the early 2000s. This EP of slow motion dub workouts was enough to send me into a tailspin of playing catch-up—which is when I found the 2013 album he recorded as TM404. That self-titled album relied even more on the iconic, acid house pulsations of a TB303.

Both these works lean heavily on the signifiers of the very genres they're actively distending. Two decades of evolved production techniques are brought to bear to crack the utilitarian shell of each style, to reveal a wealth of nuance and subtlety underneath the veneer. He doesn't add extraneous frills or fills, instead each individual sound contains its own microcosm of textural activity. We're given ample time to admire each blossoming sonic in the pitched-down tempos of this un-dance music.

No Perfect Wave

C.Diab, 2016

Life is rife with small, personal zeitgeists. As I fall into fandom of some new artist, they begin to appear everywhere, in unexpected places. For example, Take C.Diab's No Perfect Wave: an excellent album of analogue drones that sound too earthy to be purely electronic—perhaps guitar… maybe organ? Only after purchasing it and dwelling with it a few days, did I find out it was recorded and mixed by one of my tastes-du-jour, Ian William Craig. Which makes sense: it's easy to hear Craig's deft hand at decaying audio on the hissing distortions of No Perfect Wave. All the sounds are clouded as if from a badly oxidized cassette. Even it was my excitement for Craig's production that brought me to No Perfect Wave, the patient construction and focused playing are it's truest traits.

field report no.033017

LOCATION: Mercury Lounge, NY.NY
SUBJECT: Boss Hog

OBSERVATIONS:
The week started in uncharted territory but ended in a warm bath of pure nostalgia. While Jon Spencer has remained active, it isn't until the last few years that his projects have seem carry a shadow of his original spark. Since he's on a roll, it was high time to bring that lifeblood back home to his wife, Christina Martinez, and their band Boss Hog. The interplay between Martinez on lead vocals and Jon as bandleader and hype man is ruthlessly effective.

This night, at the intimate Mercury Lougne, was a release part for their first new album in 17 years, Brood X. While it might not touch their peaks of the early 90s, it's far stickier than their last, the fun-but-forgettable White Out. At this point, it's seeming like Boss Hog will go down in history as another electrifying stage act who who were never quite captured on tape, in full. Stage craft and presence go a long way in winning back that teenage feeling missing on the records.

Martinez is purposefully sultry and threatening at once as she sneers and swaggers across the stage in a slinky dress topped at the shoulders in clutch  of black feathers, less boa than mod-armor. Spencer knows to stay out of her way and keep the band in formation, barking responses on her command. It all rides atop the jagged propulsion of the rhythm section of Jens Jurgensen and longtime member Hollis Queens. 

Seeing the show actually gave me a much greater appreciation for the new album going back to it (more than once) the next day. If only I could have caught them on the White Out tour too.

NOTES: Boss Hog; Surfbort
PRESENT: AMS; Jared E.

Kompakt_ed 3

A long-simmering, highly distilled collection of electronica of all stripes: banging, trippy, trance-inducing… If you want to subscribe to future episodes and series of the sndlgc podcasts, you can search for 'sndlgc' in the itunes store, or copy this link.

Kompakt are titans of techno. The Köln collective are more than a record label—they're a store, a distributor, but most of all, tastemakers. For over a decade I've followed their lead, scouring weekly recommendations of new releases, looking for new tracks.

I especially like trolling their list of new 12-inches (particularly by bands I don't already know). I'll purchase maybe one song (digitally) for every 3 or 4 singles, then file it away in my library. Once I've collected about 30+ hours of these random tracks, I'll go through and pick about 2½ hours worth to represent the best of it. That will run through my usual editing process, whittling those tracks down to fit into an 80-minute mix. So by my count, this podcast is quadruple-distilled.

This particular episode represents over four years of collecting. In 80 minutes and 23 songs, it covers a lot of ground: funky to technical; four-to-the-floor bangers to trippy, fucked-up stumblers.

The entire mix is meant to play as a time-lapse of an entire night's worth of DJ sets. It builds to a rallying cry of cowbell-happy minimalism, digs deep into psychedelic sonics, takes a chill breather at the peak, then announces last call with a goofy digital-horn fanfare.

This mix represents the best electronic music I never knew before Kompakt Records clued me in. God bless Kompakt, and all who sail with them. Now turn it up and move.

Moebius / Neumeier: Jiro (Prins Thomas mix, part 2)
Freska: Mountain Ash
BNZO: Agbadza (Meerkat mix)
Luv Jam: Circle
Incyde: Sykle
Ryan Davis: Sideways (Morris Cowan mix)
ISO68: RunRunRun
Metaboman: Ergo Pure
Cupp Cave: Coke Owls
Maelstrom & Louisahhh: Hurry (Lurka mix)
Mia Dora: Un.Sub
Vitalic: Film Noir
Joakim: Would You Give Up?
Berk Offset: Gretchen und das Oszillophon
Dave Aju: RSHT
The Marx Trukker: Tape Be Good to You
DJ Tennis: Chirality (Plaid mix)
Fairmont: They Live in the Moon
Vai: Get Away from It All
Il Est Vilaine: Surf Rider
Dominik Eulberg: Unechte Wendeltreppe
Ada: Robotica
Peter Presto: Wiedersehnsucht

Dub Housing

Pere Ubu, 1978

Pere Ubu Dub Housing

Pere Ubu was a band I'd heard about (often in hushed tones) years before I would hear their music. Not many bands could survive the accumulated weight of such expectation but Pere Ubu still managed to surprise. It could be, in part, that their bracing style is so hard to put into words. Also, despite being so influential, they're damnably hard to imitate. So they remain a unique right of passage for all who follow.

field report no.032717

LOCATION: Le Poisson Rouge NY.NY
SUBJECT: Supersilent

OBSERVATIONS:
While I've followed Supersilent since stumbling upon their debut nearly 20 years ago, chances to see them live (stateside) have been nearly nil. (I've watched their live DVD, titled '7', repeatedly, though). Having to miss them this year, at the Big Ears festival—when they played the same day I was there—stung all the more for it. Luckily, the very next week I was traveling to NYC for work and they scheduled a stop the Greenwich Village stalwart, Le Poisson Rouge, on their way home to Scandinavia.

The New York audience was rewarded for their patience, as the trio played 3 extended sets in one sitting totaling nearly 2½ hours. The focused narrative of their improvisations renders their unscripted nature unbelievable. Each member multitasks across different instruments charting a dynamic range from heavenly to hellish. A number of years ago, the departure of their drummer left them as a trio but not without power. More than once, each member settled into trading blows with concussive electronics—creating choppy, unpredictable percussive patterns. Arve Henriksen's falsettoss and breathy trumpet glided atop the most serene passages. Helge Sten could coax clouds of ambience out of thin air by cupping his hand over a small mic and leaning in to illicit feedback from the stage monitor—using filters and faders to control its sound and shape.

Supersilent are in a class unto themselves: masters of their tools and in command of a singular, inimitable sound, crossing boundaries between jazz, progressive rock, noise and ambient electronica. I'd had almost 20 years of anticipation leading up to this one night, yet Supersilent exceeded all expectation.

NOTES: Supersilent- Arve Henriksen, Helge Sten, Ståle Storløkken; Matan Roberts, solo
PRESENT: AMS, Jose A

Dub Feast

The Congos, 2006(?)

There are some artists and styles of music that I only manage a cursory interest in. Their only commonality is their histories are tough to untangle and upsets the librarian portion of my brain. The provenance, lineage and history of most Jamaican music is like a black box to me. Certainly it's (at least, in part) knowable, but it's more work than I can expend. It took some serious digging just to figure out that Dub Feast is not a vintage recording, but is in fact, rather recent.  More accurately, the original album—called Feast (or, alternately and much more expressively, Cock Mouth Kill Cock)—was new.

The Congos' history reaches back to the classic reggae era of the 70s, but they fell off the map early only to swing back around the turn of the century, when recorded a fresh album… or at least new vocals for a collection of rhythm tracks dating from the late-70s / early-80s. Of course, Dub Feast is the dub version of that album, so even the Congos' freshly recorded vocals are largely excised from the original dusty backing tracks and we are left with newly-dubbed vintage riddims. The producers stuck to traditional dub stylings, keeping the feel of the album classic. No wonder I was so convinced of the albums antiquity.

field report no.032517

LOCATION: KNX.TN
SUBJECT: Big Ears Festival

OBSERVATIONS:
Work and life conspired to keep me to just one day of the 4-day Big Ears Festival in Knoxville. I poured over the early schedules, debating which day to choose—no easy task with lineups that were both eclectic and packed with experimental star power. Ultimately it made sense to choose Saturday, the 25th.

I wanted to arrive early, so as to not miss anything due to unforeseen logistics. I needn't have worried. Big Ears proved to be a well-organized and expertly managed event. Picking up my pass as the proverbial gates opened, I had time to catch the showing of Jonathan Demme's late-90s documentary on Robyn Hitchcock. As an avid Hitchcock fan, I've seen the movie (repeatedly), but never on the big screen. Robyn himself was there to give a cheeky introduction. The theatre was enormous (especially for the small, early-riser crowd) and lavishly baroque.

From there, it was just down the street to the next theatre to see Meredith Monk. For Monk's revered status, I'd yet to spend much time with her repertoire, so this hour-and-a-half presentation was something of an immersion course. My first impression was sheer bravery: a small woman, alone on stage, commanding a good-sized room of fans and curious onlookers with wordless, a cappella songs and strange ululations. Her songs were playfully challenging, wrapping NYC, avant garde formalism in sing song nursery patterns. She has a commanding knowledge of musics of the world—displaying techniques from Southwestern Native Cultures as well as Chinese and Indonesian flourishes. I'm not 'woke' enough to gauge if these strains in her music constitute learned influence or appropriation.

Then a few blocks up to standing-room only room, to see Xylouris White. The duo of Greek-born lutist, Giorgis Xylouris, and the legendary Australian post-punk drummer, Jim White, are often lauded for merging Mediterranean folk with a driving krautrock motorik. Their range is much more dynamic than their press—taking in atmospheric chants and tunes with a far more subtle, jazz-tinged percussion—but it's understandable. Those wild flights of abandon that music feel transcendent: White chasing an ever-higher crescendo and Xylouris giving a full-throated rallying cries. 

Just across the tracks, in a cavernous, modern event space, Musica Elettronica Viva gathered a crowd for a concert in the round. The trio of Richard Tietelbaum, Alvin Curran and Frederic Rzewski are elder statesmen of experimentalism, playing together on and off for over 50 years. While MEV's pops and fizzles of improvised electronic sounds are no longer quite as alien, their restraint and broad palette belie a wizened experience. It's hard to imagine any young, Brooklyn synth group incorporating Biblical passages in their work without a heavy dose of ironic detachment. In Rzewski's hands, these Abrahamic fragments were a springboard for calls to Freedom and Resistance.

I couldn't get into see a folk performance by Joan Shelley, but honestly, it was the only thing that felt like filler in my schedule for the day. I had only read about her music, and have a narrow interest in folk forms. Instead I took the opportunity to catch a lunch. The cafe where Shelley performed seemed to be only space small enough to regularly run out of room, which speaks again to the festival's planning. Big Ears by no means seemed sparsely attended but nor did it seem oversold, devolving into a line-cutting mob-scene.

Back to the club to see Horse Lords. I'd heard them first at a Pioneer Works showcase, in Brooklyn. Since then, I've more thoroughly explored their mash-up of King Crimson's dextrous bravado and Steve Reich's pattern-based minimalism. Their infusion of process music with raw rock muscle is riveting at full-force volume.

The main reason I chose Saturday, and made the two hour drive to Knoxville, was Gavin Bryars. I first heard his music in the early 90s, because Tom Waits was a featured soloist on the Point Records release of Bryars' Jesus Blood Never Failed Me Yet. I quickly became a devoted follower. While the performances of Jesus Blood… and his Sinking of the Titanic on Sunday were surely going to be divine, I wanted a chance to dwell in his works I wasn't quite as familiar with.

Where his early work split the difference between classical minimalism and Brian Eno's Discrete Music, his newer material draws more heavily on ancient songforms. Many of the pieces were 'Laudas', which he described as small chorales sung outside churches, to coax people in, "who would otherwise be on their way to the pub". Even still, he has a patience as a composer to include only what is absolutely necessary. The chamber group performed in a small cathedral just off the old-town square. The stone church provided appropriately stately and reverberant acoustics for the atmospheric performances.

I snuck out of Bryars' show a touch early to catch a Steve Lehman and his Sélébéyone group. Their abstract combination of hip hop and spiky, downtown jazz had been on repeat for months and I was keen to squeeze one last show in before I drove home to Asheville. I shouldn't have bothered. Their set started nearly one hour late (due to some technical difficulty or other). The crowd sat impatiently through repeated sound checks (that all sounded the same to us), increasingly worried we were going to miss something else if this dragged on. It was hard not to let that anxious impatience spill into actually listening experience. They seemed a little put off too, dispirited but not disinterested. The performance seemed flat, and overly reliant on pre-recorded material. Entire sections saw the whole septet standing around listening to Lehman's laptop with the audience. The album is phenomenal, but there's definitely distance left to run for the live set, yet.

There was much more, even that one day, I left to early to see Phillip Jeck, Deerhoof, Roedelius, Nels Cline and Yuka Honda, or Supersilent. Alas, safety first. Next year I am definitely going to make a weekend of it.

NOTES: Robyn Hitchcock (film); Meredith Monk; Xylouris White; MEV; Horse Lords; Gavin Bryars Ensemble; Steve Lehman Sélébéyone
PRESENT: AMS
 

Disruptive Muzak

Sam Kidel, 2016

How do you turn an album of prank calls into artistic social commentary? I thought it a dubious proposition, before listening to Disruptive Muzak, by Sam Kidel. It was boomkat's pick for album-of-the-year (and if I'd heard it in time, it would have made my list, as well). If you to start on side two, you'd find an exquisitely crafted ambient work. It's all hovering, subtle tones, pivoting unexpectedly, punctuated with clipped, intermittent percussion. It's unstable nature imbues a narrative thrust, without any need to build and crescendo.

On side one, you'll hear the same ambient piece—but this time, collaged with voices of the call-center employees it was played to. Kidel would dial a help line to play this music down the wire, without saying anything. Those abrupt swings in tone are now recast as conversation between the machine music and employee.

Since the call-center workers are unaware of being recorded, Disruptive Muzak reprises the voyeuristic pleasures of Scanner's first albums. The unwitting listeners are by turns, non-plussed, weary or even friendly and persistent. In other words, entirely human—except the few times Kidel reaches an automated menu that tries to make the pre-recorded music choose decipherably from a multiple-choice menu. At that point the album feels darkly futuristic, as two machines carry on a conversation without us.

ƒin

John Talabot, 2012

While the analog electronics revival has altered the surface texture of electronic music, John Talabot's ƒin is a step beyond. The sound of this record is so positively warm and human, it sounds more played than programmed. Fancifully, I listen to it imagining fingers rolling furiously to sustain all the pulsing arpeggios. It makes ƒin, a mostly instrumental record, feel more electronic-rock than electronica. That would put Talabot in company with M83, I suppose, but ƒin never sinks to such trite pastiche.

field report no.032217

LOCATION: Grey Eagle AVL.NC
SUBJECT: Blackalicious

OBSERVATIONS:
I have a special place in my heart for bands that seem to persevere in the face of indifference and obscurity. Though never outpacing their closest peers, Jurassic 5, Blackalicious has steadily held their course and outlasted and outdistanced them. It must be tiring, and this night, it showed a little—as Blackalicious looked they'd just run a marathon. Even the hype man, Lateef the Truth Speaker had a hard time making his "Yes Yes Y'all's" too convincing. 

This is not to diminish the immense craft and skill on display. Gift of Gab has an unrivaled, old-school hip hop delivery. Even that seems unfair to say, though, as it's less old school, and more 'what-old-school-might-have-grown-into-in-a-parallel-universe' kind of way. He's built upon a legacy of rapping that reaches to the earliest days of hip hop but refined it. He's a master of what I call rhythmic phonetics—marked by a careful attention to how words break down syllabically, and using them to keep a lively interaction with the beat. Nothing in his flow is four-square or hemmed in by the meter, but still always making beat more dynamic and elastic.

Unfortunately, I have to give a special mention to the opening act, which was so annoying it bordered on offensive. If you can imagine stumbling into a bar to find it's live-band karaoke night, and a handful of frat boys are hogging the stage, doing ill-advised, poorly practiced takes on hip hop classics, you get the general idea.

NOTES: Blackalicious; FTO x King Garbage
PRESENT: AMS; Angela F; Angela F.(2); Eric H.

Precious Systems

MJ Guider, 2016

Kranky records—longtime champions of ambient pop and slowcore—is the perfect home for MJ Guider, whose debut, Precious Systems, navigates channels between driftpop and cold wave electronics. Like a meeting between Grouper and Cold Cave, MJ Guider's songs slip into being as amorphous clouds of tone, gaining a pulse from geiger-counter drum machines. Laminal melodies are hinted at with mumbled lyrics buried within echoes. It's chilliest aspect derives from the artificial feel of the reverb, which renders the most naturally acoustic element in the mix—a human voice—the most distant.

Purified by Fire

Outside of summer, you will often see so-called-heirloom tomatoes in the grocery store. While memories of summer delicacies dance in your head, you'll buy some, only to inevitably be disappointed. Silly rabbit, it's just not time for such things. The impulse is easy to understand; it's like wearing shorts on that first, almost-warm day of the year, you're gonna regret it.

Since I'm by no means immune, I've concocted this cheat: Fire-Roasted Tomato Caprese. Roasting will turn bland early spring imposters into robust, flavorful delights. To match the altered palette of the cooked tomatoes, I pair it with a smoked mozzarella and use crispy, fried sage leaves in place of the traditional basil.

2 large, fresh heirloom tomatoes, cut into ½-plus slices, crosswise
1 small ball smoked mozzarella (approx. 6oz), cut into thin slices
2 cloves garlic, slivered
1 pinch crushed red pepper
olive oil
coarse sea salt
handful of large, whole, fresh sage leaves (washed and dried well)
½ cup (or more) grape seed oil
fresh pepper

FIRE
Preheat the oven to 375˚. Cut some parchment paper into squares slightly larger than the tomato slices and arrange them on a cookie sheet. Sprinkle each with a little coarse sea salt. Place a tomato slice onto each square, dress it with olive oil, crushed red pepper and slivered garlic. Place the cookie sheet on a high rack in the oven for 15-20 minutes, until the sides are crinkled and the tomatoes are bubbling or even very lightly charred around the edges. (Side note, to sliver garlic, hold the bottom of a peeled clove and cut slices in it just short of all the way through. Then, cut once or twice in the opposite direction. Lastly, cut off the slivers loose at the base.)

MORE FIRE
Heat the grape seed oil over medium high, in a cast iron skillet—one small enough to give the oil a little depth (you want about ¼-inch deep). I use a pan lid that fits snugly over my cast iron skillet to try and contain the splatter. Make sure your sage is dried well, too: the more water the more it will spit violently in the hot oil. Once it's up to temp, add a few sage leaves, one at a time, using tongs to keep your hands away from any splatter. I'll lift the pan lid just enough to drop it in and close it immediately afterwards, dropping the leaves in from different sides of the pan, as I don't want them to get stuck together. They will spatter for 5-15 seconds. When they calm down, flip 'em 'round. If they don't cause much fuss on that side, pull them out with the tongs and set them aside, on a plate lined with paper towels to absorb excess oil.

If the sage is browing, turn the heat down a touch and work a bit quicker. They're fine brown—just a tad less herbaceous  and, frankly, less visually appealing on the plate.

PURITY
When the tomatoes are done, carefully lift a square and set it on the plate. You should be able to hold the tomato in place and slide the parchment paper out from underneath it smoothly—like a magician with a tablecloth. On to each tomato, add a slice of smoked mozzarella, then dress them with a couple of sage leaves and cracked pepper—maybe drizzle a tiny bit of the oil from the the skillet around the plate. I would probably leave the last hits of salt to each one's taste, as there's already some salt in the mix. 


Given the recurring theme here, it only seemed appropriate to soundtrack this with Fire Music: the ecstatic meeting of point free jazz, black nationalism and gospel spirituals.

Survival Techniques

Bay B Kane, 1995

Like many people I only really started collecting vinyl in earnest once I'd already transitioned to a mostly digital library. The tactile qualities of vinyl, the physical presence of it—frankly, the actual relationship with the object and what it contains—made owning an album a sort of place of honor for an artist in the collection. Given that timing, though, there are some things I would have more of had I been buying vinyl all along, like drum-n-bass. This double-12" reissue of Bay B Kane's Survival Techniques stands in for that era, then. It popped up in Boomkat's weekly, new-release round-up. This is exactly what Luke Vbert is recreating on those retro, Amen Andrews LPs. Hearing Kane, even for the first time, I immediately recognized archetypical ur-jungle. The breaks are constantly rolling, giving you an exhilerating sense of endless acceleration. There's rude boy samples, wobble bass… all the hallmarks of the genre. I may not have known Bay B Kane's work back in 1995, but if I had, there's no way I wouldn't have been into it.

Patio Stations 9

Last Call: the final installment of my annual Memorial Day BBQ mix. It's been a great run. If you want to check out the rest of the series or the others in this podcast you can copy use this link.

Patio Stations has been a series that is near and dear to my heart. There's something about these gentle rockers and laid back electronic grooves that speaks to me. Despite that, I realize it's time to bring this series to a close. There may yet (eventually) be a 10th episode, but the series is certainly moving from annual to infrequent.

Nine episodes and a total twelve hours—that's enough for any single concept. Besides, when sequels get into the double digits, you're in real danger of barrel scraping. I don't want to see a series that's received some of the most enthusiastic responses, run aground.

I saw plenty of signs: normally, when I finish a Patio Stations mix, I have almost an hour's worth of tracks I just couldn't fit in (which becomes the basis for the next year's episode). Not so this time 'round. I had exactly what I needed; nothing less or more. The tracks I picked for this edition, inadvertently, ended up having a sort of late-night, last call kind of twilit vibe. In so many ways the end just seems appropriate.

This begs the question: how did Patio Stations last so long, so well (volume 8 was one of the best of the series to date). One factor is how flexible a concept it is—not committed to any style, sound, or era so much as a mood. I've always wanted to capture the vibe of hanging out with your oldest and dearest friends—the ones you don't have to posture with or explain much of anything to. Where you're at ease and most yourself. These songs try to capture that feeling, for me.

This might be the last of the series, so maybe plan yourself a Memorial Day bash. Spend some time with the ones there's never enough time for. Char some food on the grill and enjoy some drinks in the outdoor sun. 

This is the Patio Stations, signing off.

Benoît Pioulard: The Sun Is Going to Explode but Whatever, It's OK
Phew & Sei-ichi Yamamoto: Sonouchi
Motorpsycho: My Best Friend
Sarah Cracknell: In the Dark
Alison Statton & Spike: In Time
David Grubbs: Two Shades of Green
The Pogues: Small Hours
Tom Verlaine: Old Car
Monade: Change of Destination
Rework: Moon
Lightning in a Twilight Hour: Night Traveller
School of Language: Suits Us Better
Mark Ernestus' Ndagga Rhythm Force: Simb
HTRK: Chinatown Style
Xao Seffcheque & Der Rest: Unfamous Last Words
Post-Industrial Boys: Sometimes
Magic Castles: Lost in Space
United Waters: Our Beat
Spacemen 3: Sometimes
Teenage Fanclub: Steady State
Lambchop: A Day Without Glasses
The Hive Dwellers: Moanin'
Lake: We Can Work It Out
Morgan Delt: Obstacle Eyes
Dean Wareham: Babes in the Woods
Wire: An Alibi
Sons of the Morning: The Way that Wind Moves, pt.1
John Talabot featuring Ekhi: Journeys
Michael Mayer featuring Joe Goddard: For You (DJ Koze Kalimba mix)
Nightmares on Wax: There 4U
Depeche Mode: Goodnight Lovers
Brian Eno: I'm Set Free