Mixtape: The Stars Down to Earth

•September 22, 2015 • Leave a Comment


This is a four-part six-part mix in tribute to one of my favorite bands: Stereolab. The first twenty tracks are culled from their vast discography—albums, EPs, singles, collaborations—and separated into the early, harder stuff (Fig. 1) and the later, more loopy stuff (Fig. 2). The last twenty tracks (Figs. 3 and 4) sample their influences, from psychedelia and exotica to the Canterbury Sound and Krautrock. [Update: Figs. 5 and 6 are Stereolab and more of their influences, respectively.] This required a lot of research. Please don’t listen to it on your laptop speakers because it will sound terrible.

Download The Stars Down to Earth Figs. 1-6 (Complete)

(Click the ↓ at the top of the download page.)


Download The Stars Down to Earth, Figs. 1-4. [Alternate download link!]

Fig. 1: Glitter Dispatches
Fig. 2: Kemmermusik
Fig. 3: Long Time Reader
Fig. 4: Console Yellow

If you have any trouble downloading—and you probably will since this is a lot of music and Sauron has many spies—wait and try again or use one of the alternative download links. (Update: I have switched my file-hosting service so this should no longer be a problem.)

If you like what you hear, my favorite Stereolab releases are: Switched On (Vols. 1 and 2), Mars Audiac Quintet, Transient Random-Noise Bursts With Announcements, Peng!, The Groop Played “Space Age Bachelor Pad Music,” Dots and Loops, Emperor Tomato KetchupAluminum Tunes, the Low Fi and Miss Modular EPs, and ABC Music: The Radio 1 Sessions. Hell, it’s all good.

For Figs. 3 and 4, in addition to archival interviews with band members, I relied on various internet forums to help identify their influences, especially a remarkable old thread on the message-board-that-must-not-be-named. Thanks, y’all.

Feel the air (of another planet) with more mixes hereherehereherehereherehereherehere and here.

Layout by Kyle Kabel, with apologies to Gregory Vines.

* * *

The Stars Down to Earth: Figs. 5-6


10/09/15: I’ve added two more figures with twenty more tracks from Stereolab (Fig. 5) and their influences (Fig. 6)

Download The Stars Down to Earth, Figs. 5-6 [Alternate download link.]

(Click the ↓ at the top of the download page.)

Fig. 5: Geometer
Fig. 6: Flywheel

Please let me know if you have any trouble. Enjoy!

Frederick Seidel, ‘Boys’ (2008)

•September 10, 2015 • Leave a Comment

Sixty years after, I can see their smiles,
White with Negro teeth, and big with good,
When one or the other brought my father’s Cadillac out
For us at the Gatesworth Garage.
RG and MC were the godhead,
The older brothers I dreamed I had.
I didn’t notice they were colored,
Because older boys capable of being kind
To a younger boy are God.
It is absolutely odd
To be able to be with God.
I can almost see their faces, but can’t quite.
I remember how blazingly graceful they were,
And that they offered to get me a girl so I could meet God.

I have an early memory of a black chauffeur,
Out of his livery,
Hosing down a long black Packard sedan, sobbing.
Did it happen? It took place
In Portland Place.
I remember the pink-soled gum boots
That went with the fellow’s very pink gums
And very white teeth, while he washed
The Packard’s whitewalls white
And let them dry, sobbing,
Painting on liquid white with an applicator afterward.
Later that afternoon he resumed his chauffeur costume,
A darky clad in black under the staring sun.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt had died.

On the other hand, Ronny Banks was light-skinned.
He worked as a carhop at Medart’s drive-in.
He was well-spoken, gently friendly.
He was giving a party, but I didn’t go.
I actually drove there, but something told me no.
I suddenly thought he was probably a homo.
I drank my face off, age fifteen.
I hit the bars
In the colored section to hear jazz.
I raved around the city in my father’s cars,
A straight razor who, wherever he kissed, left scars.
I was violently heterosexual and bad.
I used every bit of energy I had.
Where, I wonder, is Ronny Banks now?

I remember a young man, whose name I have forgotten,
Who was exceedingly neat,
Always wearing a white shirt,
Always standing there jet-black in our living room.
How had this been allowed to happen?
Who doesn’t hate a goody-goody young Christian?
My father and uncle underwrote the boy’s education.
He was the orphaned son of a minister.
He sang in the church choir.
He was exemplary, an exemplar.
But justice was far away, very far.
Justice was really an ashtray to display
The lynched carcass of a stubbed-out cigar,
Part brown, part black, part stink, part ash.

When I was a little boy,
My father had beautiful manners,
A perfectly haughty gentleman,
Impeccable with everyone.
In labor relations with the various unions,
For example, he apparently had no peer.
It was not so much that he was generous,
I gather, but rather that he was fair.
So it was a jolt, a jolt of joy,
To hear him cut the shit
And call a black man Boy.
The white-haired old Negro was a shoeshine boy.
One of the sovereign experiences of my life was my joy
Hearing my father in a fury call the man Boy.

Ronny Banks, faggot prince, where are you now?
RG and MC, are you already under headstones
That will finally reveal your full
Names, whatever they were?
RG, the younger brother, was my hero who was my friend.
I remember our playing
Catch in the rain for hours on a rainy weekend.
It is a question
Of when, not a question of whether,
The glory of the Lord shall be revealed
And all flesh shall cease together.
A black woman came up to my father.
All the colored people in this city know who you are.
God sent you to us. Thank God for your daddy, boy.

Mixtape: Matterhorn

•July 22, 2015 • Leave a Comment

Arnold Odermatt Matterhorn

Encoded odes to fraternity.

Clean bridges in wasteland Europe.

Click here to download Matterhorna summer mix.

(Click the ↓ at the top of the page.)

[Alternative download link here.]

Temporary note: if you have trouble downloading, reload the page or wait and try again.

Keep the home fires burning with other mixes herehereherehereherehereherehere and here.

Photo credit: Arnold Odermatt, Oberdorf [CH], 1964.

Alfred Hayes, From ‘In Love’ (1953)

•July 22, 2015 • Leave a Comment

She always insisted that she could remember every detail of the very first evening we were together; how, for example, there was snow falling, and how the taxi meter, a little yellow glow above it, ticked, and how she felt, excited, in the interior of the heated cab, touching hands, but sad too, sad inside, the way you feel when you like a man, and when you know that with him it will happen, and you’ve made up your mind even before it happens so that he doesn’t really have to ask you, it’s something (she explained, explaining how a woman in so representative a circumstance feels) you feel and he feels, a pleasurable tension between you, a silken tightness, waiting to get to a place, his apartment or yours or a friend’s room or a hotel or even a deserted country road, so that you sink into a trance of waiting, a deliciousness that’s somehow sad, too, and you feel, because of the sadness, both there and not there, inside the cab and holding hands and not inside the cab at all and not holding hands at all.

* * *

Ah, the roles I played, sitting there in the green armchair of that dwarfed living room, that tiny birdcage with the fruit rotting on the expensive coffee table! For now I was the oracle on sex: experienced, objective, clinical. One had always (this with my serious face) certain difficulties due to such and such; there was a girl in Chicago (height, weight, general characteristics) I’d known during a tour; she had had exactly the same experience, in her case an uncle who owned a laundry; and, of course, I had cured her. Naturally. One always implied that there was nothing like a series of treatments, administered by the doctor at this fortunate moment so near one, this most tender of healers, with the miraculous touch, to cure one of a slight inability to enjoy what was really (of course it was!) the simplest, the most available, the nicest of human pleasures. Or again, I was the charming boy, the rosebud who had grown up in a tough neighborhood; or now, the misunderstood or the too much understood; and now, putting my head into her lap, I’d be grateful for the warmth of her flesh, for I was the tired man then, the exhausted hunter home, now love, like a warm laprobe, covered me, and my weary mind relaxed in this simplest of baths. Alternately, I was moody—what was I doing here? Or gay—let’s do the town! Or loved her—ah, baby, there’s nobody like you! Or mercurial again, did not love her—ah, honeybun, why kid ourselves? Or retreating, like Hamlet, the distance of her arm, found her an enigma—who are you, after all? A stranger… we are all strangers, live, die, breed, stranger with stranger, the unknown copulating with the unknown, mysterious Mr. X, the local man in the iron mask, kissing on her palpable mouth the enigmatic Miss X, the beauty nobody knows!

And was this, we say, later, when it’s over, really us? But it’s impossible! How could that fool, that impossible actor, ever have been us? How could we have been that posturing clown? Who put that false laughter in our mouths? Who drew those insincere tears from our eyes? Who taught us all that artifice of suffering? We have been hiding all the time; the events, that once were so real, happened to other people, who resemble us, imitators using our name, registering in hotels we stayed at, declaiming verses we kept in private scrapbooks; but not us, surely not us, we wince thinking that it could ever have possibly been us.

And I suppose that she, too, in some obscure and difficult way, experienced, in spite of everything, the feeling of her own reality. She, too, knew the words that came easily or fumblingly were never the true words; everything may have been for her, too, somehow suspect. And yet, by all the orthodoxy of kisses and desire, we were apparently in love; by all the signs, the jealousy, the possessiveness, the quick flush of passion, the need for each other, we were apparently in love. We looked as much like lovers as lovers can look; and if I insist now that somehow, somewhere, a lie of a kind existed, a pretense of a kind, that somewhere within us our most violent protestations echoed a bit ironically, and that, full fathom five, another motive lay for all we did and all we said, it may be only that like a woman after childbirth we can never restore for ourselves the reality of pain, it is impossible to believe that it was we who screamed so in the ward or clawed so at the bedsheets or such sweats were ever on our foreheads, and that too much feeling, finally, makes us experience a sensation of unreality as acute as never having felt at all.

* * *

And it seemed then, with the affectionate gesture, the reassuring smile that accompanied it, the pleasant walk home, that the episode was closed, the incident over; but what incident, where flattery, even of a dubious nature, is involved, is ever over for a woman? What episode, in which she’s admired, however obliquely, is ever really ended? She will reopen what seems to you a finished chapter, and manage, somehow, to add a disconcerting epilogue to some drama you assumed was done with some time ago.

* * *

[I]t is hardly natural for a woman to dispose of a man until accident or design has already provided her with the promise of another. […] Of course a woman always seems to choose, with a dismaying instinct, the god-damnedest moments to end a love affair. Her dismissals always seem to come the way assassinations do, from the least expected quarter. There will be a note on the kitchen table, propped up against the sugar bowl, on exactly the day when most in love with her you arrive carrying a cellophaned orchid; or walking along the avenue, arm about her waist, and talking with great enthusiasm about a small house you saw for sale cheap thirty minutes from New York. They seem timed to arrive during birthday parties, when you are apparently happiest, or relaxing in a hot bath when the house is most peaceful, or taking a short walk in the garden, enjoying what promises to be a beautiful evening. She waits until that precise moment you are bending down to sniff the roses, and thinking that, after all, she is a wonderful girl, and you are really absolutely sold on her, and that the life between you has been, for all the small quarrels and differences, really fine, when bang: she fires from behind the rosebush.

Well-Tempered / ‘Personnel’

•June 4, 2015 • Leave a Comment

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Lola. Jacques Demy, 1961.

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La baie des anges. Jacques Demy, 1963.

Mixtape: Stone Gas Relics

•April 26, 2015 • Leave a Comment

Stone Gas Relics

This is the final entry in the Stone Gas series of soul mixes. It’s not upbeat.

Click here to download Stone Gas Relics.

Holler if the link stops working, or try reloading.

Be ready when the hurt comes your way with the mixes hereherehereherehereherehere and here.

Photo credit: Lorna Simpson, Call Waiting (detail), 1997.

James Schuyler, ‘Salute’ (1960)

•December 16, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Past is past, and if one
remembers what one meant
to do and never did, is
not to have thought to do
enough? Like that gather-
ing of one of each I
planned, to gather one
of each kind of clover,
daisy, paintbrush that
grew in that field
the cabin stood in and
study them one afternoon
before they wilted. Past
is past. I salute
that various field.


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