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Not to toot my own horn, but—beep beep—I really like this mix! I’ve tried to set it up as a number of small movements with some songs serving as transitional moments and others as centerpieces. I have my own opinions of which is which, but feel free to decide for yourself.
The mix opens with Kalaparusha Maurice McIntyre’s “Humility in the Light of the Creator,” a lush and heavy tenor sax invocation. Though not a solo piece, it has little embellishment from a rhythm section, only small hints of drums and bass that serve as encouragement for McIntyre to push ahead. It’s incredibly intimate, with the feeling of being face to face with McIntyre, a private outpouring of emotion from artist to listener.
Where do you go from there? “Charles Ewanje’s “A Simon” is a delightful track that begins deceptively simply, with shimmering guitar and softly seductive singing. But then it ends in a percussion jam? A fun surprise.
Then there is first block of songs, two meditative tracks. I am taken with “Lyla” by ESP who, based on their Bandcamp profile, appear to be two cool teenagers from Massachusetts. Their age would explain the au courant hyperpop-y vibe of the track, but not its ambient leanings. They look too young to be bummed enough to need a steady diet of Brian Eno.
The next block is a one-two punch of dub and dancehall. I love the Sikka Rhymes track, which is a particularly chaotic beat for the Jamaican MC. Despite regularly listening to this song regularly for the past few years, it occurred to me this week that I had no idea who produced it. It turns out it’s some guy named Alex from California who occasionally goes under the name DJ Tribal Shitshow. Not what I was expecting! The Nice Girl track is a pivot out of that block and into one of my more consistent interests: weirdish techno. Takuya Matsumoto’s “Drafting Under the Stars” is maybe less weird and more funky. It has mouth percussion. Maybe too corny for the purists, but that is pretty clearly not where I stand.
We go back to a meditative moment with the Moin track. It’s repetitive, like the techno, but it’s made up of live instruments, albeit ones that are cut up. This trio, made up of the dark duo Raime and the drummer Valentina Magaletti, give a unique take on what a band can be. A neat experiment from two guys that usually make severely grim shit.
Is there a word that means the opposite of an invocation? An exvocation? Things end with a spiritual exhale. Mira Calix has a minute of crackle, Oliver Leith a couple minutes of iridescent dissonance. Meemo Comma’s album has confused and intrigued me, but I’m very into “End Credits,” which absolutely delivers the cinematic denouement it promises. The final track is a piece of solo piano, “Elita,” by Girma Yifrashewa. It’s a lovely piece of music that emits the same long tail warmth that you get from seeing a puppy in the street. Yes, you quickly go your separate ways, but now down a much brighter path.