As noted earlier in the week, Kid Shirt tagged me in the Seven Songs Meme that’s doing the rounds:
"List seven songs you are into right now. No matter what the genre, whether they have words, or even if they’re not any good, but they must be songs you’re really enjoying now, shaping your spring. Post these instructions in your blog along with your 7 songs. Then tag 7 other people to see what they’re listening to."
These things circulate like a dose of the intellectual clap. "I fucked this disease into your brainmeat. Confess your shame in public and then fuck it into seven other people." You find yourself looking at your friends and fellow-travellers, wondering which of them you hate enough to infect.
1: "Denaissance" – Kemper Norton Collective
I once played this on a podcast, but I’m listening to it again since Kemper included it on his recent CD-R. Again and again. Because it’s joyous, in its own doomed and drunken way. It’s big and it stomps and there are lots of instruments and lots of people singing and playing and just fucking daring the sun to go down.
2: "Live at ICC, Tokyo" – Philip Jeck
Do not listen to Philip Jeck on earphones in a darkened Oslo hotel room at three in the morning. Philip Jeck’s association by others with the emergent field/passing game of sonic hauntology is half-founded on the fact that he can haunt a room. I never really "got" Jeck until I saw him live — he creates a thoroughly supernatural chill in acoustic space — and I found this recording afterwards. Put it on my phone to listen to during my recent trip back to Norway. Usual hotel room insomnia brought on by sleeping alone. Pushed in the earbuds and pressed play. Fuck me, that was a mistake.
3: "Late Night" – Belong
Someone else playing with haunted audio: the sound of an obscure cover version playing on an AM car radio as you walk past it at night. Washed out by the ambience of 21st Century life. Almost but not quite lost in it: that gorgeous sad-smile chord change at the top of the chorus still comes through. It’s a thing that makes me pensive.
4: "Ghosts IV 32" – NIN
My favourite piece from GHOSTS I-IV. That prowling, pulsing rhythm has a real motorik feel to it, that slightly sleazy driving-at-night propulsiveness. It’s the piece on GHOSTS that I can slip into and go with.
5: "Reed Sodger" – Clive Powell
Yes, still obsessed with this, a couple of months after I first wrote about it here. It probably comes out of my current fascination with "haunted music/music that haunts." With the weird accompaniment of distorted and filtered instruments, it’s almost like the clearest Electronic Voice Phenomenon you ever heard — the strong, sweet voice of Northern Britain of decades and centuries past coming back to us through the DOCTOR WHO time-tunnel howlaround effect.
6: "Guest Informant" – The Fall
Ancient, I know. I’m in the process of replacing all my crumbled old Fall tapes and unusable Fall vinyl with CDs. The "Brix years" of the Fall tend to be looked down on a bit, these days, and my own favourite Fall is still HEX ENDUCTION HOUR… but I rediscovered my love of this garagey bit of impenetrable twanging madness off FRENZ EXPERIMENT. I spent a significant chunk of winter 1988 trying to work out what the hell Brix was yelling in the background all through the song. Turns out it was "Baghdad/ Space Cog/ Analyst." The new album’s not bad, either, Mark E Smith full on as The Last English Psychotronic Bluesman…
7: "We’re Gonna Rise" – The Breeders
Weird thing. This came up on my mp3 player just as I was finishing the last page of Cormac McCarthy’s THE ROAD in the departure lounge in Oslo Gardermoen the other week. It’s insidious like "Fortunately Gone," the opening song on their very first album, but in a different way. It creeps up slowly, winds its way into your head, and before you know it you’re just kind of looking out the window wistfully.
Looking back, it’s all very quiet stuff. It’s been a very quiet spring. I just downloaded the new Ladytron, let’s see if that sets me up for summer.
Maybe I’ll try and sling all these, sans the Jeck, up on a muxtape tomorrow.
Now, the horrible part. I have to fuck this tag into seven other people.
Matt Fraction, of course, because I know that it’ll nag at him and he’ll eventually produce a masterpiece of obsession. Eliza Gauger, because it occurs to me that I have no idea what she’s listening to right now. Wil Wheaton should do one of these. I think Patton Oswalt should, too, but I doubt he’ll have time. Kieron Gillen is an obvious tag. I’m really kind of interested in how Susannah Breslin would respond. And I’m going to tag Ariana Osborne, to force her to write more. Heh.
EDIT: Simon Reynolds tagged me after the fact.