At last, we see the light – COVID19 Seems to get out of our lives, and finally, after a year and a half I’m going to travel to my homeland for the first time. Not many words needed to present the next mixtape, hit the Play button for another eclectic journey:
Yep! When the setup is here, the music is just waiting for me to spin on the ‘tables, so I did! With the eclectic appeal, I pulled up diverse titles. You have it all here – Brass Rock to Oum Kalthoum, French Chanson to Israeli folklore, Stravinsky to Dark 1980s, and so forth. This genre-hopping flows really sweet when playing from start to end:
After prolonged hiatus, I’m here again! This time I finally managed to arrange what I planned a long time ago – a modest setup for vinyl mixing! Until now all the mixtapes I’ve created and posted here were made digitally on my PC of sorts.
Now I’m coming back to the roots – using my favorite musical format for an authentic mixing flow. More than this – I used one of my reel-to-reel recorders to document my vinyl mixings, achieving another layer of analog saturation by recording on low-speed: that way crispy higher frequencies are somewhat muffled, in the typical random way, especially when using old tape media.
I didn’t clean the records I’ve used and picked, almost randomly for the following mix so some surface noise, clicks and pops are present, and I like it!
Now I have the place and the urge to weave additional musical tapestries right out of my vinyl records collection. Please – come in:
Yes, yes, I always amazed to see what is the frequency of posts/ mixtapes I’m sharing here…
I love to craft new mixtapes so much, and as always, each time that I find or recall a track that fits into some type of mixtape mood, I add it to the appropriate list. Slowly they add up and eventually a nice musical collage getting its shape.
The excuses are old but true – the lack of spare time to sit and edit these wonderful music nuggets is significant, but I’m happy that finally, I have the chance to share one.
The short summer in Chicago inspired me to weave another Through the curtains mix. The pre-early signs of the upcoming fall bring the obvious melancholic flavors to my palate, but from some reason, the music that typically considered dark, sad or cheerless could give me a lot of hope and inspiration, and definitely deep excitement.
Hit that play button and come with me to another short but accurate musical trip:
In my first years as a music digger, I came across this concept called Progressive Rock. I didn’t understand at all what was behind this term. As a child I always loved when they played Moonlight Shadow on the radio, I didn’t know anything about the performer. I believe that at some point I came across a collection of hits from the ’80s where the song came up and that’s how I went looking for more of Mike Oldfield’s stuff that was classified under Progressive Rock in the Third Ear store which was then located on Nordau street in Haifa’s Hadar neighborhood.
I found that Pink Floyd neighbored in the same bin with Genesis, which until then I had known only as a pop band from the 1980s and had no idea of their activity in the 1970s.
That’s how I discovered more and more artists and was totally caught up in the charms of the genre. A few years later I had a Progressive Rock band of my own.
What caught me, at first without theoretical knowledge at all, is the relative musical freedom of those artists. I do not know if my assumption is correct, but the reason why this musical genre was labeled as Progressive Rock was due to technical reasons – these bands contained the usual core of rock groups – bass/guitars/drums – to which added layers of different musical instruments and other audible effects that were really much more complex and sometimes bolder than what could be found in Classic Rock acts, of course, the music itself is complex and the songs or the pieces are much longer than a regular Rock song.
Even under this umbrella were sub-genres and phenomena, and what I am interested to mention in this context – Progressive Rock, especially in the circles of musicians and music enthusiasts in general, gets a lot of blows and was sometimes perceived as pretentious or ostentatious – sometimes justified – some of the artists belonging to this genre tend to show off their technical abilities with their musical instruments, and sometimes you can find whole albums filled with instrumental pyrotechnics and very little musical content with a statement. I have never been captivated by the technocratic content, and I have always connected to pieces and songs with clear shape and content – one that can be sung or played in the head.
The next mixtape contains pieces, some of which no one would label as Progressive at all, I find they have a straight connection to the genre, at least with their spirit 😉
One of my first musical memories is related to Brazilian music. I do not know if this memory is accurate, but for some reason, I remember many days in the early afternoon after I returned from kindergarten, the radio was on, and there was always a song playing which I loved – always been played at the same time. I later discovered that it was Trem das onze performed by Gal Costa, of course, I had no idea it was Brazilian music.
A few years later, my parents decided to leave my childhood town place for the kibbutz. This kibbutz was one of the last to preserve the collective character, which included the children homes, the shared dining room, and other kibbutz phenomena. Despite my great difficulties in joining the kibbutz as a child who grew up in a city, I found a lot of ‘compensation’ in the form of hobbies and out-of-school activities. My musical exposure to different styles was enormous. It is hard for me to believe that a child who grew up in the city at the time (mid-late 1980s) in Israel, received so much cultural enrichment. This kibbutz (Giv’at Oz) was established by a group of young Jews who came to Israel from Brazil and Hungary.
That’s how I got to listen to more Brazilian music and actually get to know its unique sound.
Leaping nearly twenty years ahead to college time. I was looking for a room to rent, not surprisingly I found one in a kibbutz (Broor Khayil). Most of its members were originally from Brazil. My neighbor Raphael, a door next to me, was a young new immigrant who only arrived two years earlier from Brazil – my Brazilian music spectrum also expanded thanks to him.
A few months ago I decided to start diving into contemporary Brazilian music because all I knew until now was mainly recordings and acts from the 60s and 70s. I was not surprised to discover that the new generation keeps the Brazilian music in the groove, and that’s what you can find in the next mixtape: some of my favorite (and less familiar) old songs performed by the great Brazilian artists, and many new songs by young and interesting folks I discovered.
One of the prominent names of the new generation that impressed me, in particular, belongs to Tulipa Ruiz, I strongly recommend following the things she does. Hit the play:
I gathered some additional music for a second mixtape of the AsymmetricK series. This time I thought about the chance to maybe find what’s the original source of the old radio recordings I found almost 20 years ago. My dear friend, Sagi Sachs, a fascinating musician, lives these days in Leipzig, Germany. I sent him the link for the radio presenter snippets from the first mixtape, then he discovered with one of his friend (Thank you Alex), that the source came from the German SWR3 radio station in Stuttgart. Excited by the discovery I sent immediately an email to the station with an inquiry about my long time riddle – who is the radio DJ that played such interesting music on the radio back in the early 1970s? – I haven’t got a reply until now. Then I gave up my crazy fantasy which was – finding the original radio presenter and ask him to record for me a few snippets in German for this new mixtape.
So then, Sagi took the mission and created these snippets for me – and now I am wholly satisfied with the results. You can listen too, here below.
As a direct link to my last post and mixtape, that dealt with classic Motown and equivalent materials, I’m presenting here an introduction for some contemporary Soul artists and tracks. Yes, I decided to put these selections under the Soul title, cause I do have some difficulties with the R&B definition. As an educated, academic and self-taught music lover, I always referred the R&B definition to simply, Up-Beat Blues, that was popular since the 1940s. I don’t find much relation between the so-called contemporary R&B music and the one I mentioned above. Later I discovered some more reasons for using the R&B definition that I don’t find complimenting for the music and the artists, therefore, I find Soul much more appropriate – literally and historically. Sam Cooke considered being one of the pioneers (if not THE pioneer) of Soul music, with strong roots from the Gospel music, which is the main foundation of Soul.
Now back to our days, I admit I never had a strong affiliation for contemporary Soul, but with almost any kind of music genre, I believe I don’t know much of it. During the last years, I encountered with some contemporary artists that drew my attention, and obviously, I could easily place them under the Soul umbrella. My current residence in Chicago also contributed to the discoveries, and I’m very proud to include some local contemporary Chicagoan Soul artists in the following mixtape.
I tend to include some Israeli presence in the mixtapes that I’m creating, this time I encountered completely unexpectedly with one of the best contemporary Israeli artists, Karolina, featured in one of the songs (American production…) that I found for this mixtape.
As always, I’m trying to find the music that not goes naturally to the Top 40 charts but still has some kind of added value.
The urge to compile Motown-oriented mixtape was there probably since I started to fill this blog with mixtapes more than 5 years ago. But only recently have I had the time to really explore this concept.
Each time that I visited our south Chicago grocery store, I was so amazed to find that the background music contained mainly classical soul songs from the 1960s and 1970s, and of course a respectable chunk of it performed by the Motown artists of the day. My surprise was the result of what I was accustomed to finding in Israel when it comes to background music in public spaces – mainly digital instrumental versions for cheesy pop music, and never original, classical versions of good music like they play in the U.S. in public spaces.
BUT, unfortunately, I must say that after extensive research and long searching I didn’t find much material that really excited me from the Motown albums and artists I admire so much. One of my goals for this blog and my mixtapes is finding and integrating less common materials, whatever genre or subject I chose to explore. Like so many other people, I really like the classical original hits of Motown from the 1960s and the early 1970s. But after I searched and listened to many complete albums from that era I was sad to discover that they didn’t have much exciting material to offer and, I know I’m generalizing, but such innovative complete Motown albums like Marvin Gaye’s “What’s going on” and The Temptations “Solid Rock” are rare, and for my own taste, while they are excellent albums they don’t represent that “Motown sound” that I was looking for. The intensive harmony changes (which I like to call “spicy harmonies”), the sophisticated grooves and production are innovative ideas (for their time, of course), that you could find in the following mixtape. I did chose to add some non-Motown artists that have been directly influenced by the core ideas that I’m trying to elaborate here. I also swung between eras, some completely pre-Motown songs and some newer materials that came long after the golden era of the 1960s and 1970s. I really hope that I could surprise or could bring some new knowledge for you Motown lovers 🙂
I like to challenge myself as much as I can, especially when it comes to music. It would be easy to understand that I have a strong attraction to the past. I like history, and mainly the thrilling and sometimes mysterious and vague phenomenons… but, as much as the past has so much to offer when it comes to music, I still like to ‘fish’ some new, current acts from time to time. Then maybe it’s natural that the current music that attracts me falls under the category of Indie music, once having been related to independent musicians that produced all their music on their own – from A to Z.
Today this concept is much more fluid. There are of course some completely independent artists that do not depend on manager/ label/ booking and so on. Today it is possible to find new music that is produced by record labels and entrepreneurs that still call themselves Indie. I believe they do this primarily to separate themselves from the mainstream. In short, I think that the right way for looking at the Indie stream these days is just as an alternative space rather than dealing with mainstream characteristics.
It took three years since the last time I compiled an Indie nugget, now, during the last months I had the urge to look for some new materials, my ears are wide open, whether I’m browsing the web, getting recommendations from friends, ‘Shazaming’ some tunes in restaurants, barber shops or even some materials from interesting radio stations – this blessed musical treasure is endless… so is the time it demands to filter through it to find what moves me… This time I found some interesting Canadian artists among the featured American majority, the mixtape ends with the Israeli representation of Tatran, a very young and talented instrumental trio.
After a year of absence, I’m coming back to write: This time with a new look and new format. From now on, this blog can be read in English and Hebrew and invites everyone on the globe to be part of my musical world. Last year I experienced a massive upheaval in my life as I knew until now. After a long and intense process, I moved to live with my love in the United States.
I wasn’t ready for the intense emotional experience involved with such a change. And so each time I encounter a new sight, new behaviors, the different seasons – all these raise associations to my fevered brain, and naturally, there are many appropriate soundtracks for these associations. The next mixtape ‘nugget’ features tracks that accompanied me at different times in my life, some of them at very young age, some later and some from recent weeks. Each one of them sparks something very emotional in me.
My first encounter with Indian music started like many others with the Sitar of George Harrison in the song ‘Within Without You’ from Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band of The Beatles. It was at the age of 12, and I remember the first times I listened to the record I just lifted the tonearm and skipped to the next track – it was too hard for me to digest this kind of sound. Not much time went by, I decided to give the song another chance and after several playings of the record, something drew and hypnotized me to this musical mystery. In 2002 I went to India, headed directly to Varanasi, there I started to learn to play the sitar for a few months. One of the first things of the irritating routine there was the absolute flood of current hits from the contemporary blockbuster Indian films. At least in 2002 the pop music that was presented in a typical Indian street was taken from the cinematic musicals (that are famously known as Bollywood movies). Every place you pass, if it’s just on the open road or when you sit to eat in a restaurant; when you walk through shops or in the market – everybody listens to Bollywood songs. That way, as a foreign tourist, love music or not, you can’t get away from them.
Like every new thing you experience in a place like India, and particularly a place like Varanasi, it takes time until you absorb something outside of your Western ‘European’ layers such as I possess. And so, this kind of music trickled slowly to my veins, and in the minute I started to discover some interest in these songs, I realized what drew me so much – to differentiate from the traditional Indian music, the music of Bollywood is incredibly rich with music instruments and especially festive strings. These lush arrangements bring with it harmonies respectively, at least, this is how I recognized it as a western listener. And this is not just harmony, it is sometimes very bold harmony, depicted with very bold chord progressions. If I compare it to the current chord progressions or sequences in a typical western pop song – the Bollywood harmony style will challenge the average western ears. Only in a much later stage, I understood that this “harmony” that I’m addressing to derived because of the use of the traditional Indian music motives (the Indian Ragas). Ragas could be very asymmetric comparing to the ordinary western keys and scales. The arrangers that made the orchestrations for those Bollywood productions composed the orchestral accompaniment in a way that will thicken the melody and the singing in the songs which are usually based on Ragas. When we come and analyze the orchestrations and harmonies with the notion about Ragas, the perception is changing and we could easily see that this “bold harmony” is only a matter of combination between the traditional Indian motives, scales, and musical ornaments and only rarely real chords are played like in western music fashion.
The acknowledgment and the study about the behavior of the music and arrangement of Bollywood songs gave me huge inspiration for my own personal music creation, and if nature will, you could experience some of it too.
Meanwhile, you have here a colorful first sale for a holiday.
Click on the play button: