Here’s a story. Ready? So, imagine this. Pretend that you’re a musician. And pretend that you are a musician who writes songs of unrequited love and loneliness and longing. They are bittersweet, but there’s usually a brush of promise. You are deeply aware of the history of popular music and you might have a Peter Pan complex.
And then, you come across a song by another musician, where you happen to be the subject. A much older musician, a veteran of the industry. And this is what she says:
Oh Jens, oh Jens
Your songs seem to look through a different lens
You’re still so young
Love ends just as easy as it’s begun
The subject? Jens Lekman.
The lyricist? Tracy Thorn.
It must be an uncanny feeling to unexpectedly find yourself the subject of a pop song.
Right now, I’m sequestered in a small town in the gorge. Listening to Lee Hazlewood, watching sunlight from one window and blooming black clouds in the other. I’m working on the next radio hour. Songs lead me down endlessly forking paths. It’s an excuse to luxuriate in listening. You might call it an aural bender or even a spree. Hundreds of songs accumulate. When to cut bait?
This is a mix made for friends Karl + Alexis. The foundation of the packaging is a plastic, spring-loaded CD-case. The case is wrapped in green bookcloth I found at Bartleby’s on 7th ave. Gorilla glued to the cover is a primary-colored measuring tape that was mysteriously discovered on a bookshelf. I have no idea who owns the measuring tape. When you pull the tape out, it makes a satisfyingly loud clicka-clicka-clicka sound, like a playing card snapping against bike spokes. We recorded that sound and interspersed it within the mix. The CDR is covered in tiny multi-colored dots, that I borrowed from Eva and Marlena, who were visiting from Austria. I didn’t ask them before borrowing the dots, but I don’t think they will mind. Eva and I traded some scraps we found. I gave her some old engineering draft paper and she gave me some business-card sized transparency paper with random geometric shapes printed on the paper.
A photo by Henri Cartier-Bresson. This is from a recent exhibition at MOMA — I contributed to the creation of their online exhibition. It involves some beautiful interactive maps and a selection from HCB’s portfolio.
Why I love this photograph.
- There is a woman pre-occupied with technology, and it’s causing her to miss the event. Let’s call her Pam.
- This, more or less, is exactly what Henri Cartier-Bresson is doing. He was always more interested in micro-events and reactions rather than the main event.
- The woman next to Pam is very interested in what is happening with the camera.
- Now, look at the face between Pam and her immediate neighbor. This woman is looking directly at Henri Cartier-Bresson as he snaps the photo. This lady is missing the main event and paying attention to the event of the press photographer.
- From the viewer’s perspective, we have no idea what is happening in the parade.
- And here’s the last reason this photograph is so amazing. They are all rooting for Nixon. The year? 1960.
This radio hour covers portuguese guitar, primitive blues, French soundtracks, Argentine chorale music, West coast pop, British chamber pop, French impressionist, and Northern Soul, to name a few. I hope you like it; this one was 4 months in the making. I’d say this radio hour would be a good soundtrack to accompany the study of the anatomy of flight and bird migration patterns.
Andres Chazarreta - Gato Cordobes
Big Bill Broonzy – Nobody Knows The Trouble I’ve Seen
Neil Young – Motion Pictures
Carlos D’Alessio – India song
Josephine Foster – Hells Bells are Ringing
Ariel Ramirez – Misa por La Paz y La Justicia: Credo
Van Dyke Parks – Laurel Canyon Blvd
Blue Boy – Clear Skies
Faure – Pelleas et Melisande: Sicilienne
Roedelius – Le Jardin
Daniel Rossen – Waterfall
Beach Boys – Do You Like Worms
Ella Jenkins – Where Has My Little Dog Gone?
Vivaldi – Concerto for Mandolin and Strings
E.T. Mensah – Day by Day
Bill Callahan – Sycamore
Judee Sill – There’s A Rugged Road
Hardingfeletrioen – Fjell
Little Ann – Deep Shadows
Gino Washinton – Puppet On A String
Kronos Quartet (Foday Musa Suso) – Tilliboyo
Ramblin’ Jack Elliott (George Sibanda) – Guabi Guabi
David Darling & The Wulu Bunun – Ku-Isa Tama Laug
Harry Belafonte – Goin Down Jordan