Mix Tapes

Mix Tape #31 : Autumn

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For the latest 5:4 mix tape, i’ve opted to explore music associated in some way with this time of year. Autumn is arguably the most poignant of the seasons, the ostentatious eruption of its gorgeous colours militated against by the pointed melancholy of its inevitable transition into the wastelands of winter. My infinitely greater namesake, the poet E. E. Cummings, often indignantly pitted the season against his beloved, despite its beauty:

cruelly,love
walk the autumn long;
the last flower in whose hair,
thy lips are cold with songs

for which is first to wither, to pass?
shallowness of sunlight
falls and,cruelly,
across the grass
Comes the
moon

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Mix Tape #30 : Prime Numbers

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For the new 5:4 Mix Tape, i’m not so much exploring a theme as a conceit. Mathematics has been a recurring feature of both my compositional & recreational activities lately, so for this new mix tape i’ve compiled a selection of music the titles of which incorporate the first 21 prime numbers. It was, i should say, quite a challenge, but the result is, i think, a highly stimulating mixture of exquisite non-sequiturs & unexpected aural connections. The mix is in part characterised by the presence of line, from a host of oblique angles, including jazz (Tartar Lamb II), avant-garde (John Zorn), math rock (Three Trapped Tigers), neo-Wendy Carlos retrosynthtronics (Laibach), indeterminacy (Kenneth Kirschner), counterpoint in extremis (Conlon Nancarrow), bassline-driven electronica (Last Step), post-romantic ecclesiastical dreaminess (Marcel Dupré) & lo-fi intimacy (Kid Koala). Elsewhere texture predominates, either with a harmonic underpinning (Ochre, Celer, Nine Inch Nails (but only just), Dick Mills, V/Vm) or from a percussive/glitch/noise perspective (At Jennie Richie, Ryoji Ikeda, Paul D. Miller, Bass Communion, @c). Read more

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Mystery Mix Tape #3

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It’s been two years since we’ve had one of these, so the new 5:4 mix tape is another of the mystery variety. Once again, no hints whatsoever about the music contained herein—although regular readers really ought to know a few of the tracks—but if anyone sufficiently bright & sparky knows all 28 of them, i’ll gladly dish out some CDs as a prize. & before you fire it up, Shazam really won’t help you very much. Enjoy!

MP3 [1:29:57 | 146Mb]







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Mix Tape #29 : Best Albums of 2013

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A very HAPPY NEW YEAR to you all!

i want to say a big thank you to everyone who’s followed 5:4 in the last year, & especially to those of you who’ve posted comments & tweets in response. There are lots of exciting things planned for 2014, so watch this space.

In the meantime, continuing the 5:4 annual tradition, here’s the new mix tape, celebrating the music in my Best Albums of the Year list. A little something from each album, seamlessly stitched together & lasting a little under 3 hours. Enjoy!—& if you do enjoy what you hear, links to purchase the music can be found on the previous two days’ articles.

Here’s the tracklisting in full:

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Mix Tape #28 : Speech

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For the last Mix Tape of 2013, i’ve decided to explore music in which speech is paramount. Within a musical context, spoken words can jar in much the same way as an actor breaking the fourth wall, unsettling us by (ostensibly at least) withholding abstraction in favour of direct reference. The range of pieces included in the mix is more eclectic than usual, drawing on offcuts, afterthoughts & outtakes (Hecq, Frankie Goes to Hollywood, Kreng, Aphex Twin), filtered renderings, recreations & re-imaginings of speech (Cabaret Voltaire, Charles Dodge, John Hudak, Gregory Whitehead, Marc Behrens, Jean-Michel Jarre) as well as forms of non-singing (AGF & the peerless William Shatner). But most of the tracks exploit the spoken word through fascinating essays in obscure narrative, by turns sinister (Eugene S. Robinson), prosaic (Jóhann Jóhannsson, Anne-James Chaton), sexual (Andrew Liles), wistful (Steve Peters), intimate (Edward Ka-Spel), surreal (Olga Neuwirth, irr. app. (ext.)), poetic (John Wall/Alex Rodgers), combative (Frank Zappa) & philosophical (Adrian Moore). Read more

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Mix Tape #27 : Drone

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It’s 1 July, so here’s the new mix tape, focussing on the intense genre of drone. Drone music suffers the same kind of malaise as more generalised ambient music—immobility & drift as tacet apologias for a dearth of imagination & subtlety of ideas. But these 21 tracks offer an insight into something altogether more profound, plumbing the depths of immobility & stasis, teasing out faint, furtive tendrils of exotica. They represent a broad sonic palette, in terms of colour, dynamic & texture, incorporating elements from dark ambient & noise as well as more experimental electronics.

In all, two hours of droning wonder; here’s the tracklisting in full:

  • The Missing Ensemble – A Long Walk (from Zeropolis)
  • Access To Arasaka – 7.14 : Daedal (from A Sky Now Starless)
  • Shinobu Nemoto – Trip 10 (from Melting Loop Trip)
  • Deaf Center – Close Forever Watching (from Owl Splinters)
  • Ektoise – The Great Perpendicular Path (from Ektoise)
  • Anduin + Jasper TX – A Beam Of Light Bends Back Upon Itself… (from The Bending Of Light)
  • Decembered – “Только пепел знает…” (стихи И. Бродского) (from Ноктюрн)
  • Peter Wright – …And I Live By The River (from An Angel Fell Where The Kestrels Hover)
  • Herzog – Small Loves (from Small Loves)
  • Carbon Based Lifeforms – System (from TwentyThree)
  • The Hafler Trio – Vi-Parīta [excerpt] (from Exactly As I Am)
  • Leah Buckareff – Hypostasis (from Trinitarian)
  • Asva & Philippe Petit – Sweet Dreams Asshole (from Empires Should Burn…)
  • Organum – Horii [excerpt] (from Horii/Volume Two)
  • Benjamin Dauer – Falling Apart I (from Saturation Event)
  • Jonathan Coleclough – Halant [excerpt] (from Halant / Heat / Beech)
  • Charlemagne Palestine & Janek Schaefer – Fables from a Far Away Future [excerpt] (from Day Of The Demons)
  • Freiband – Haze Shrapnel (Remix) (from Haze Shrapnel)
  • Christopher Hipgrave – Heavy And Pulling You (from Slow, With Pages Of Fluttering Interference)
  • Ekca Liena – Sleep (Minimal) (from Sleep Paralysis (Expansion Tracks))
  • The Beautiful Schizophonic – Bambilány (from Erotikon)

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Mix Tape #26: Easy Listening

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For the new 5:4 mix tape i’ve opted for something a little different. i don’t tend to have musical ‘guilty pleasures’ as such, but one of my passions that i rarely talk about is for the plethora of easy listening LPs that were released in abundance during the 1960s & early ’70s. To an extent they were a development from the assortment of effervescent idioms that had exploded in popularity through the 1950s, particularly the Afro-Cuban & Brazilian dances such as the bossa nova, rumba & salsa, but jazz—including mild use of scat—was also central to the easy listening scene, along with instrumental versions of popular hits. Far more sophisticated & imaginative than the relatively restrained parallel ‘beautiful music’ genre that was eventually so heavily promulgated by the Muzak corporation, the similarities nonetheless meant that easy listening unavoidably become intertwined with ‘elevator music’. For this & for other reasons, easy listening has often been judged rather harshly, & it’s true that, charges of commercial exploitation aside, it is music very much of its time, not all of which has aged well. Even i can’t really listen to it without being instantly transported back to the late 1970s when my parents would fill their respective houses with the strains of Herb Alpert, Bert Kaempfert, Mantovani, et al. Yet while nostalgia no doubt plays a part in my love of this music, above all i adore the way it vividly captures the slick, lounging sophistication & late-night sleazy dreaminess that seems so quintessential of the time. The standard of the arrangements, too, was often outstanding, a quality easily overlooked when the genre is dismissed out of hand. Read more

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