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Entries in Music (28)

Friday
Nov132009

Insomnia Mix I

Click here to download (125MB MP3)

Insomnia has been a big deal in my life for nearly fifteen years. I've seen doctors about it and I've taken medication for it, but it never really goes away.

Sometimes insomnia is just annoying. Other times it can be kind of dangerous. But there's a medium level of insomnia that I've found can be pretty cool. It's that state where you're dead tired but still wide awake and your brain has dried up in just such a way that certain things seem quite a lot more significant than perhaps they would otherwise. It's in this mode that I think insomniacs start to feel creative.

I've learned the Internet is home to quite a lot of us. I like the idea of a small community of friends and strangers who all suffer from the same problem, so, being a dedicated music fan, I occasionally share via Twitter and Facebook a download link to what I think is a special nighttime song, just for my fellow insomniacs. I delete the links when I wake up, just to make the whole thing a little more exclusive.

  1. Underworld: To Heal
  2. Goldfrapp: All Night Operator (Part 1)
  3. Freur: Doot-Doot
  4. M83: I Guess I'm Floating
  5. David Bowie: Crystal Japan
  6. IAMX: Missile
  7. Daft Punk: Veridis Quo
  8. Leftfield: Original
  9. Vangelis: Memories of Green
  10. Goldie: Inner City Life
  11. Underworld: Skym
  12. Nine Inch Nails: Leaving Hope
  13. Rob Dougan: Nothing at All
  14. Scissor Sisters: It Can't Come Quickly Enough
  15. Underworld: To Heal (And Restore Broken Bodies)

The songs I choose are ones I think insomniacs will respond to. They're often somber as melancholy is the typical experience for an insomniac, but sometimes they're more upbeat. Really, I try to reach out with my mind and psychically gauge the spirit of the Internet and the people I think might be awake and choose a song accordingly, like I'm DJ'ing somebody's bad mood without knowing who they are or what kind of music they like. 

That last sentence is the sort of thing you could only believe in - even for one second - if you've been awake too long.

I've made several dance mixes and DJ'd a few gigs over the years but never a quiet or ambient mix, so it seemed like a good idea to take the first batch of insomnia songs -- which are largely atmospheric and electronic but not strictly instrumental either -- and create a continuous mix for both insomniacs and regular humans to enjoy, and then do it again when I pile up some more songs on Twitter.

You can download this mix and save it for when you can't sleep, or you can listen to it now if you happen to be reading this in the middle of the night, or whatever. I hope you like it.

Download Insomnia Mix I here.Download my previous mix here.

Monday
Oct262009

Music challenge for serious listeners.

I was working on a compilation of my favorite songs of the decade when the esteemed and annoying Lou O’Bedlam challenged me to rank them in order of preference. I thought it was nuts, but I found myself with some free time and I think I’ve managed to do it. The process was surprisingly enlightening and loads of fun, so I’m putting the challenge to the universe.

This isn’t meant to be a boring, critical look at the “best” songs of the last ten years, but just the tracks you love most from this decade that used to be the future.

Remixes are cool, as are remixes and covers of old songs as long as the remix or cover was released in 2000-2009, i.e. Johnny Cash’s 2003 cover of Nine Inch Nails’ “Hurt” or any of the remixes from The Beatles’ Let It Be… Naked. No live versions of old songs! Everybody’s top 13 tracks would be the entirety of Daft Punk’s Alive 2007.

This sounds daunting but it’s not that hard. If you use iTunes, for example, you can create a Smart Playlist that will compile only songs with a “Year” setting greater than 1999. You should also inspect your physical collection to make sure you didn’t forget anything.

When you’ve got the Master List, pick your favorite songs and dump them into another playlist and just listen to that playlist all the fucking time. You’ll find yourself eliminating the chaff and beginning to sort your Final List. I finished mine in just a couple of weeks. Megan Harris finished hers in just a few minutes.

Upon completion of your Final List, blog it before New Year’s Eve. Embellish in any way you like. I intend to offer close friends an enormous download of all 100 songs re-metatagged into a new album sorted in order from 100-1 with unique artwork so they can play my compilation on any software player or mobile device.

Trust me, it’s fun.

(And I know what you’re thinking, but everyone on the planet thinks the oughties started in 2000 so that’s what we’re working with.)

Sunday
Aug092009

Underworld Trek 2009.

IMG_3037.JPG by you.

My favorite band is Underworld. They were set to play three shows over three days in three different cities, and my girlfriend Stepho and my friend Sam and I followed them to each date: Las Vegas, Oakland and Los Angeles.

It was awesome. Except for L.A., where Underworld was to headline the HARD Summer festival.

Riot Police emptied the Forum last night. We got out just in time. Hooligans got the whole festival shut down before any of the bands played. I am so fucking bummed. This trek was a huge deal for me.

Clusterfuck is really the only appropriate word. Everything about this event went wrong, from the minute you arrived at the venue. I won’t be surprised if this puts HARD out of business, what with refunding all the tickets (i assume), paying the artists and paying the venue. Not to mention the serious damage to HARD’s reputation. This is a class A disaster.

  • There was no order at all to the entrances, it was anarchy — people climbing over walls and shit.
  • Inside, nobody knew how to get down on the floor level. The staff were wall imbeciles, nobody could even tell you were the second stage was.
  • Frustrated with the lack of access, some hooligans started jumping over the wall of the bleacher section and onto the floor.
  • Fire marshall came in and caused some trouble, prompting the organizers to BEG people to sit down and back away from railings. Nearly everybody did but even 1.5 hours later the music still had not resumed.
  • Riot police called in, rumors of a fatality.
  • Finally, everybody noticed the sound guys packing up and Tweets and Texts from the outside said Underworld and Chromeo and the other artists had already left the building.

Total fucking FAIL.

My friends and I did the whole trek: Vegas, Oakland and back home to LA, and it was such a big deal to me to do this. I am crushed and furious. I’m embarrassed for my city.

Underworld were amazing in Vegas and Oakland, though, and seeing them two nights in a row and meeting up with old friends in both cities was an amazing experience.

IMG_2902.JPGIMG_2903.JPGIMG_2904.JPGIMG_2905.JPGUnderworld Live, Las Vegas 2009Underworld Live, Las Vegas 2009Underworld Live, Las Vegas 2009Underworld Live, Las Vegas 2009Underworld Live, Las Vegas 2009Underworld Live, Las Vegas 2009Underworld Live, Las Vegas 2009Underworld Live, Las Vegas 2009Underworld Live, Las Vegas 2009Underworld Live, Las Vegas 2009Underworld Live, Las Vegas 2009Underworld Live, Las Vegas 2009Underworld Live, Las Vegas 2009Underworld Live, Las Vegas 2009Underworld Live, Las Vegas 2009IMG_2992.JPGIMG_2995.JPGIMG_2996.JPGIMG_2997.JPGIMG_2999.JPGIMG_3001.JPGIMG_3002.JPGIMG_3003.JPGIMG_3005.JPGIMG_3006.JPGIMG_3013.JPGIMG_3016.JPGUnderworld Live, Oakland 2009Underworld Live, Oakland 2009Underworld Live, Oakland 2009Underworld Live, Oakland 2009Underworld Live, Oakland 2009Underworld Live, Oakland 2009IMG_3054.JPGIMG_3055.JPGIMG_3057.JPGIMG_3062.JPGIMG_3064.JPGIMG_3065.JPGIMG_3066.JPGIMG_3067.JPGIMG_3072.JPGIMG_3073.JPGIMG_3074.JPGIMG_3075.JPGIMG_3076.JPGIMG_3077.JPGIMG_3081.JPGIMG_3083.JPGIMG_3103.JPGIMG_2429.JPGIMG_2430.JPGIMG_2431.JPGIMG_2432.JPGIMG_2434.JPGIMG_2435.JPGIMG_2437.JPGIMG_2438.JPG

Tuesday
May262009

The Prodigy, live 2009.

 

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Sunday
Dec212008

Underworld says happy birthday to my girlfriend.



Download Underworld’s birthday message to Stepho (MP3 format, 2.5 MB).

This is a picture of Stephanie taken by Jake Riskin a couple of years ago. I’ve uploaded it for Underworld.

If you know me, you know my favourite band is Underworld. I’ve been a hardcore fan since 1996 or so, when I was about 16. It’s one of those fandoms that changes your life and influences directly or indirectly just about everything you see, hear and do henceforth. I’ve seen them live six or seven times all over the U.S. (which works out to basically every time they come here), attended art exhibitions they’ve curated, bought all their music I can get my hands on, and simply sing their praises whenever I can.

I wrote to ask them if they’d give a shout-out to my girlfriend and fellow Underworld fan, Stephanie, during one of their in-studio radio broadcasts that happened to fall on the date of her birthday. You can't imagine how gratified I was that they actually did it!

While the broadcast was on December 11, I waited until her birthday party this past Saturday to play the recording of Underworld’s message. I stopped the party and plugged my iPhone into the stereo so everybody could hear it (lots of UW fans around that night), and Stepho just about died. It was just a fantastic birthday surprise, and perhaps even more special for me to have experienced that kind of interaction with my favourite musicians.

(For more Underworld, you can hear a bit of their music in my latest DJ mix, which I would never have made if not for their influence and inspiration)