A September Miscellany

With the autumn approaching, the time is right to tend to some of the tasks of maintaining this website, and so readers may notice a few small changes, mainly graphic in kind, here and there. Furthermore, there is an announcement to make: with an eye to extending the sources of the music I’m able to embed, I have opened a Spotify channel, and even though the Spotify embeds are in fact simply fancy links back to that system, still the possibility this membership affords me of putting together compilations which I’d be unable to assemble from Youtube or Soundcloud, and then of featuring them in these pages, outweighs the minor inconvenience to the reader. (Unfortunately, this other kind of embedded material will be accessible only to those who themselves have opened an account with Spotify and are logged into it; but those accounts can easily be set up, and moreover they are free of charge.)

Amongst the wealth of albums available on the Spotify website, I am particularly interested in older recordings which can be found on Soundcloud or Youtube only piecemeal if at all, most often in consequence of the copyright provisions. Classical music and recordings of poets or dramatists reciting their own work, are two of the kinds of albums which I have a mind to draw upon from time to time.

To begin with, and in order to familiarize myself with the workings of Spotify, however, my first of these playlists is devoted straightforwardly to that influential pop-music phenomenon, New Order, from which, after many years, fresh music will soon be forthcoming. How the band will live up to its own singular past, of course, remains to be seen; but in the meantime this playlist is composed of twenty tracks of the music that was like a native element for many of those who first encountered it when they were in their teens and twenties. In assembling it I have drawn selectively from the less well-known numbers, proceeding chronologically, LP by LP, without passing over some of the energetic performances recorded for the recent album Live at Bestival.

Apart from spending the time to learn how to use this additional system (which evidently is no stranger to quirks and bugs), I also have a bit of a miscellany of music, from both Soundcloud and Youtube, which I should like to share.

By way of announcing his new album Some More Terror, issued by the Desire record label in France, the Canadian expatriate in England, Jack Duckworth, whose solo musical project (it is one of several) goes by the moniker Soft Riot, has posted one of its tracks on his Soundcloud page. This eerie piece of improvised electronic music is called “Private Lives at Dawn.”

Some years ago, a one-off collaboration between two Scotsmen (who may or may not have been living in Canada at the time), Paul Massie and Noah Shark, working under the name Le Peep, resulted in an album which is still available on their Myspace page. Yet it was two covers they did which really caught my attention, and because both have been presented more readily on the duo’s Youtube channel, I have put them into a short playlist there. The first is their cover of a mash-up of two different songs with the same title, “Bulletproof,” by La Roux and Radiohead, respectively, and the second is a version of Lady Gaga’s “Paparazzi.” Each is deliberately off-kilter or even a bit eccentric, musically and vocally speaking, but it’s probably on just this account that neither seems to have dated, even after half a decade – which represents nearly an entire epoch according to the official pop-music calendars of today.

A new song by the singer and songwriter Eli Lieb, who is currently pursuing his music in Los Angeles, “Zeppelin,” has been paired with a video on his Youtube channel. In this thrilling performance, as in 2013’s “Young Love,” his engine is roaring – his pipes are even stronger this time – and so Lieb shows us what he can do, and how his career may be moving towards takeoff.

In London and elsewhere in the UK, the young singer Jasmine Thompson has been active on the tour circuit, as an opening act to Cody Simpson, while on her own Youtube channel she continues to make her recordings available to a wide audience. A couple of months ago she covered Beyoncé’s “Halo,” with a notable serenity, and I’ve added this version to the playlist.

Earlier this month, the New York jazz trio which I featured in January, Too Many Zooz, issued a second EP, entitled Fanimals, and like its predecessor it is also offered on their Soundcloud page. Meanwhile, in addition to numerous gigs above ground (they began as a fixture in the Fourteenth Street subway station), the three have also started to travel, performing in Maryland around a week ago, while an appearance in the Rencontres Trans Musicales in Rennes is scheduled for December.

Some months ago, the DJ and producer in Ghent, Oswald Cromheecke, already well-known under the moniker Boogie Belgique for his unique electroswing, which draws copiously – and very wittily – upon the sonic treasury of old Hollywood films, released a second volume of his album Nightwalker on the Bulgarian Dusted Wax Kingdom label. Here are both in full.

Later this week he along with his live band will perform a couple of gigs in Cyprus, while next month an extended Greek tour is planned.