Twelve Tracks 2016: Vinyl Only Not-A-Best-Of Mix
by Stephen Kin;Aesthetic
Seeing as a great deal of the music I trawl, seek out and divine is from dusty secondhand racks, charity shops, mysterious online sellers and, well let's face it, anywhere that has the vaguest hint of harbouring a few old vinyl, it might come as no surprise that many of the records I pick-up are from years gawn by.
A few years back I got into the habit of creating end of year 'mix tapes' of some favourite finds and discoveries, and passing them to a few friends and family, drawing on the weekly 'We Change The...' music nights I was constantly scouring for, and they were strictly poly-temporal affairs, so the natural end-of-year selection came from, but-not-necessarily-from that year.
There's also something cathartic about furiously auditing the years' soughts and so I try to keep up the partly self-satisfying ritual, and impose my personal finds and idiosyncrasies on others... This year I thought I'd try to extend my imposition (and enthusiasm) by posting it publicly!
It is then, without a great deal of rhyme or reason, but plenty of considering, that I've honed down and rolled together 12 tracks from 12 records that stood out as some particular highlights for me from last year's digging and gathering, and most importantly, were thoroughly enjoyed during the total pig of a year that was two thousand and sixteen.
1. Ray Conniff - Music To Watch Girls By
[1967, Bell Song]
Gloriously veneered easy pop cover from 1967, upbeat and brassy, joy-filled wonderment with vocal arrangements and reverb to die for. Most bizarre 1967 Taiwanese press on red vinyl, found in a Brighton charity shop.
2. Lionel Hampton - Hava Nagila
Hampton’s vibra-swing-jazz version is so crammed full o’ energy, not moving or dancing to this a logical impossibility.
3. Louis Armstrong and the All Stars - Otchi-tchor-ni-ya
Anything you can do… King Louis lulls with a mournful, slow-swung gravelly lament before giving Hamp a run for his money with that explosive hard-swinging burst.
4. Dionne Warwick - As Long As There’s An Apple Tree
[1968, Scepter Records]
Dionne takes it back down with this brilliant Bacharach/David production; sweet and easy RnB Pop from the entirely sublime Valley of the Dolls OST.
5. Devendra Banhart - Jon Lends A Hand
As distinctive and intriguing as ever, Devendra’s sublime Ape in Pink Marble LP is awash with jet-streamed warmth, delicate offbeat folk intimacy and dusty analogue electronic tones; perfectly tempered soft-psych pop from Devendra, Noah Georgeson and Josiah Steinbrick.
6. The Folk-Art Ensemble “Leigarid” - Burning Gold
[1977?, Мелодия USSR]
Always on the look out for close-harmony folk and choral music, found this lovely 7” of Estonian Folk in the super Raamatukoi Grammofon in Tallinn where I also discovered that soviet 7”s were generally pressed at 33rpm!
7. Burial - Nightmarket
The milestone 100th release for Hyperdub and what a cracker, Burial’s immersive Nightmarket explores further towards field-esque sampling and synth-scaping, panoramic and on the cusp of tangible, an atmospheric drama that draws the imagination.
8. Bambooman - Knox
[2014, Sonic Router]
Shifting into space-cutting beat arpeggiations from the soaring Bambooman, plenty of brilliance from K.Barley in 2016, but this sharp synth rhythm is from his Dulcet 12” back in 2014, with typical sampling precision.
9. Badbadnotgood - Time Moves Slow
[2016, Innovative Leisure]
A timeless soul groove from that unstoppable jazz-beat quartet. While compiling this in December, I realised that BBNG have inadvertently landed in my end of year favourites selection (pulled together in a fairly arbitrary manner) for the 3rd year on the bounce. Relentless.
10. Staff Carpenborg and the Electric Corona - P.A.R.T.Y.
[2008 Reissue, Daily Records]
Super strung-out Kraut-beat from this mysterious one-time trippy outing, curiously entitled Fantastic Party (Heavy Noodles). Free-wheeling early 70’s psych with jazz glances, pinned down by a remarkable and reassuring rolling drum groove, while all else freaks out.
11. Lata Mangeshkar - Babul Tere (Prod. R.D. Burman)
Lata and R.D. Burman on fine form from Jheel Ke Us Paar, quick cycling hand drum rhythms, percussive breaks and leaping strings set-off that voice.
12. S.P. Balasubrahmanyam & Chorus - Hey You You (Prod. Ilaiyaraaja)
The big finish courtesy of Ilaiyaraaja, outstanding blowout 80’s electro-Bolly-funk, this has it all. Absolutely amazing vocal performance from S.P. Balasubrahmanyam with sweet sweet chorus, racing machine drum workout, slap funk bass, 80’s lite keys and horns; happily, you can’t unhear this gloriously fervent track! And search out the video sequence for this song, it really is extraordinarily good.
Well that's that, could easily have been 12 altogether different tracks but these jumped out. I actually planned to do this post with my 2015 selection this time last year but time ran away, other things came up, the moment expired. I'll try and post it up in the coming few weeks as well, so look out for that if you're interestered...
Big thanks to Innov8radio for broadcasting this mix last Sunday; hear this and previous broadcasts from them via their Mixcloud stream here.