Sunday, February 23, 2020

Paradoxically Sized World V

"If You Can Remember the Tune"

[This is one post in a series about my music mixes.  The series list has links to all posts in the series and also definitions of many of the terms I use.  You may wish to read the introduction for more background.  You may also want to check out the first volume in this multi-volume mix for more info on its theme.

Like all my series, it is not necessarily contiguous—that is, I don’t guarantee that the next post in the series will be next week.  Just that I will eventually finish it, someday.  Unless I get hit by a bus.]

Can you believe it’s been just over 3 years since we last saw an installment in my LittleBigPlanet-inspired mix?  Perhaps it’s because I don’t actually listen to this volume as much as the others.  As often happens when one gets to a volume five situation—and, given the typical length of my mixes, that means entering hour six of music with the same general theme—we’re starting to run low on the awesome, stand-out tracks, and we’re just hitting solid, dependable tracks.  Definitely still fun to listen to, but there’s nothing here that leaps out and screams “me! me!”  But, nonetheless, I don’t want any of these great tracks to get overlooked, so let’s dive right in.

Who’s back for more?  I see Lullatone is here with their fifth track in the mix so far, which makes sense: due to the nature of Lullatone’s style (which they refer to as “pajama pop,” and which often includes playing an actual toy piano), where else am I gonna put ’em?  KOAN Sound is back for a third appearance, as are both Pantha du Prince and Plaid.  All three—all four, if we include Lullatone—are artists I would never have discovered if it weren’t for LittleBigPlanet, and that’s what this mix really celebrates.

Possibly my favorite run on this volume is the back half of the opening third, starting with Jaga Jazzist’s “One-Armed Bandit,” from the Cloud Caravan level of LBP3, where you first get Swoop (your bird form).  It’s a juicy bit of jazzy electronica that flows right into “Shooby Shooby Do Yah!” from LBP Kart, which is how I discovered Mocean Worker (rhymes with “ocean worker”).  We seen him twice on Salsatic Vibrato (first on V, where I gave a few details on his background, then again on VI), and we’ll see him on other mixes as well, because he’s awesome.  From there, it’s a little tiki-style 60s exotica from Michel Magne, then into the modern, upbeat bossa-nova-inflected “Beach Samba” found in the PSP version of the game.  It’s a perfect lead-in to the middle stretch, which kicks off with the surf-rock-inspired “Crime Scene” from Los Straitjackets, and thence to possibly the least-chill tune Smokey Bandits has yet recorded, “CrackerJack.”  The Bandits have appeared in this series many times,* but it looks like I’ve never told you anything about them.  It’s a side project for two musicians, one from Athens and one from Hamburg, who apparently** like to argue about Tarantino films, drink champagne, and rewatch Smokey and the Bandit.  Typically, they do a jazzy sort of chill—an upbeat style of downtempo, if you’ll pardon the oxymoron—but this tune, with its embedded poice radio and siren sound effects, is a grittier track that works well after “Crime Scene.”

If there’s a focus for this volume, it’s surely the electronica side of LBP’s musical tastes.  Some of these tunes are right on the ragged edge of how far into electronica I go before backing away slowly: there’s nothing here so repetitive as the stereotypical techno, but a lot of these tunes—including opener “Sosacharo” by Ochre, Plaid’s “Squance,” Squarepusher’s LBP2 track “Planetarium,” and the two PS Vita version tracks: “Snatch Shot” by the Emperor Machine and “High Together” by Siriusmo—are pretty solidly electronic tones backed by electronic rhythms, repeated until just slightly before you were going to get sick of them.  I know that’s damning with faint praise, and many of the tracks are pretty cool, despite my snark, but I do have to be in the right mood for them.  In the same mold but showing a slightly more experimental bent, KOAN Sound once again takes that formula and infuses it with a bit of east Asian influence, while Amon Tobin both slows it down and metals it up with a slight industrial touch.  Meanwhile, Pantha du Prince wakes it up, by substituting bells for (most of) the electronic tones, and dispensing with the rhythm altogether.  And our closer by Ratatat takes electronica to an almost minimalist pop that winds us down nicely.

As always, I’ve added a note for each track used in a LittleBigPlanet game: either 1, 2, 3, PSP, PSV, or Kart.  If a track doesn’t have a note, it isn’t from an LBP game (that I know of).

Paradoxically Sized World V
[ If You Can Remember the Tune ]

“Sosacharo” by Ochre, off Lemodie
“Wave” by Pantha du Prince, off Elements of Light
“Snatch Shot” by The Emperor Machine [Single]

“Squance” by Plaid, off Double Figure
“One-Armed Bandit” by Jaga Jazzist [Single]

“Shooby Shooby Do Yah!” by Mocean Worker, off Candygram for Mowo! 

“Come Closer to Me” by Michel Magne & his Orchestra, off The Exotic Sounds of Tiki Tribe [Compilation]
“Bossa na praia (Beach Samba)” by Astrud Gilberto [Single]

“Crime Scene” by Los Straitjackets, off Jet Set 

“CrackerJack” by Smokey Bandits, off Debut
“High Together” by Siriusmo [Single]

“Fantastic Garden” by Bruno Coulais, off Coraline [Soundtrack]
“Dynasty” by KOAN Sound, off Dynasty [EP]
“Planetarium” by Squarepusher [Single]

“Driving Home with a Towel on the Seat” by Lullatone, off Summer Songs [EP]
“Marine Machines” by Amon Tobin, off Supermodified
“Panther” by Monster Rally, off Return to Paradise
“Vision One” by Röyksopp, off Junior 

“Glokenpop” by Spiderbait [Single]

“Flynn” by Ratatat, off LP3
Total:  20 tracks,  78:59

In the “unlikely but it kinda fits anyway” category, I essayed my first use of the Coraline soundtrack on an uptempo mix: “Fantastic Garden” imparts a bit of the wonder that its name implies, and I think it works well here.  The worldmusic-inspired downtempo of Monster Rally (who we’ve thus far seen only on Apparently World) makes a nice interlude that takes us into our final tracks.  And, despite the fact that they’re both actually found in LittleBigPlanet games,*** both Röyksopp’s simultaneously buzzy and smooth “Vision One” and Spiderbait’s absolutely poppy “Glokenpop” do seem somewhat out-of-place.  While I’ve come to love Röyksopp’s downtempo electronica quite a bit, and it was this song which introduced me to them, honestly this is not the side of them that I appreciate most.  This is also the song of Spiderbait’s which introduced me to the Australian trio, and contrariwise I don’t care much for the rest of their œuvre, but this one song is pretty hip.  It’s pure pop glitz (as the name implies), but it’s pretty irresistable in its catchiness.  Besides, as these are the only two songs with any real lyrics in them, “Glokenpop” was the best choice of a song to provide our volume title.

Next time, we’ll expore some more instrumental territory, but in an even more upbeat vein.

Paradoxically Sized World VI


* Specifically, in Shadowfall Equinox II, Shadowfall Equinox IV, and Salsatic Vibrato VI.
** According to their Facebook page.
*** Specifically, LBP2 and the PSP version, respectively.

Sunday, February 16, 2020

Still movin' on into the future ...

This week I achieved a bit of a milepost at $work, so that was nice.  And now I’m in the middle of a 3-day weekend, so that’s pretty nice as well.  Other than that, I’ve got nothing to say this week.  Tune in next time!

Sunday, February 9, 2020

Perl blog post #60

This week, unusually, I’ve done another post on my Other Blog—that’s two in a month!  Unheard of.  So, if you have any interest in the topic of hardcoding unit test data (e.g. whether or not you should), head on over there.  If that sounds totally boring to you, then you’ll just have to wait until next week.  (Or, more realistically, wait for two weeks for something substantial.)  See you then.

Sunday, February 2, 2020

Nothing going on

Nothing to chat about this week.  I’m working on a new Perl module for $work and also for personal use; maybe that’ll become a nifty blog topic in time.  In the meanwhile, you’ll have to get your blog kicks elsewhere.  See you next week.