“Solar on the Rise- summer, summer, summer” (Winter 2015 playl­ist)

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I haven’t felt very fest­ive lately. More winter solstice, fallow time of the year kind of feel­ing.

Kroko­dill- Jóhann Jóhann­son

First of all, a piece of music by Iceland­ic composer Jóhann Jóhann­son. The one time I went to Reyk­javik was in mid winter, when the sun limped above the hori­zon almost at midday, and then hung there feebly until about 3pm when it set again. I didn’t really see any of the fabled tree­less land­scape, because it was covered with snow and dark­ness, and satis­fied myself with a Björk exhib­i­tion in the base­ment of one of the super­mar­kets in the town centre. Although it was incred­ible to go swim­ming in the hot water of the Blue Lagoon while it was snow­ing, I’d like to go to Reyk­javik again when there’s actu­ally some daylight. Maybe this summer.

Abschied- Nico (Farewell)
Nico had a really trau­mat­ic back­ground, and always seems like a deeply unpleas­ant person as a result (as do most of the Fact­ory-affil­i­ated people). The more you find about so many musi­cians from the 60s and 70s, the more awful they all seem to be. I suppose they were allowed to get away with it at the time. I don’t under­stand why people call the Marble Index or Desertshore “unlisten­able”. Sure, you wouldn’t play them at a wedding or some­thing, but they nail a partic­u­lar, unique, atmo­sphere and mood. Lyrics here.

Master Song- Leonard Cohen
Leonard Cohen always makes me think of Budapest, for the simple reas­on that when I was work­ing there I was listen­ing to him a lot. I often listened to this song sitting on the tram line that travels up and down the banks of the Danube, often with the carriage to myself at off-peak times. Budapest is a surpris­ingly empty city. It was built on a grand scale, for more people than currently live there, and a lot of the inhab­it­ants leave at the week­ends to stay at their cabin in the coun­tryside. I miss Hungary, but I could never live there while it’s in the grip of the current far-right govern­ment.

So Real- Jeff Buckley
I suspect there are a fair few people I know who think that liking Jeff Buckley is deeply uncool, and prob­ably shouldn’t be admit­ted to in public. Too sincere, or not macho enough or some­thing, but not cheesy enough that you can like his music iron­ic­ally. What does their opin­ion matter. Being too cool for school is an insec­ure busi­ness.

In Night­mare Room- Merchand­ise
Despite how they sound, Merchand­ise are a current band from Flor­ida, not an 80s band from the UK. When this album came out, they gave away the MP3 version for free. At the time I was housesit­ting for my friend Kate, and I had no money and nowhere much to go. I cooked a lot of veget­able curries, read all her books I hadn’t already read, and listened to this album on repeat pretty much constantly. (When I saw them live though, I was disap­poin­ted that they didn’t have the drum machine on this song)

Закрой за мной дверь, я ухожу- Кино (Close the door behind me, I’m leav­ing- Kino)
An actu­al 80s band, this time from behind the Iron Curtain. Vikt­or Tsoi‘s story is pretty fascin­at­ing, slog­ging away at being an under­ground musi­cian in the USSR for years, getting expelled from art school and having some of his songs offi­cially banned on grounds of polit­ic­al dissid­ence for his troubles, becom­ing a big star (albeit one with no money) under Glas­nost, and then dying in a car acci­dent the year after the Berlin Wall came down, keep­ing a perman­ent grip on Russi­an culture (and also getting denounced last year by a para­noid right-wing Russi­an politi­cian as a tool of the CIA). Trans­la­tion of the lyrics here.

A Line in Wet Grass- Flesh World
Flesh World do what they say on the tin. Twin Peaks, Kenneth Anger and David Hock­ney inspired post-punk. I saw them twice with­in the space of a few days this year, and it was well worth it.

I see,so I see so- Broad­cast & the Focus Group
It made total sense for Broad­cast and the Focus Group to do an album togeth­er. Broad­cast and all the Ghost Box records bands have such a simil­ar eerie 70s public inform­a­tion film aesthet­ic. My friend Vicky was assigned to create artwork based on this album as part of her illus­tra­tion degree- you can see her work here.

REAL­iTi- Grimes
I prefer this demo version to the version that’s on the album. I managed to get a tick­et to the Grimes show in the Spring. Excit­ing!

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