Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Focus On The Looking Glass

It's difficult to believe it has been seven months or so since I posted here.  Partially it was that I often had very little to say, only posting my mixes here which is somewhat pointless since they are all collected on one site already.  It has always been difficult for me to feel comfortable or confident enough to find a way "in" as far as writing about why I may have chosen songs that I chose, or details about some of the rarer or weirder music, as I always fear what I may have to say is boring or, even (far) worse, pretentious.  Getting personal on a blog I had intended to be about music seemed slightly like a betrayal or at the very least "mission creep."  I often had plans for things to write about and even things to post - rare LPs or songs and the like to share with people.  I still have those plans in mind.  But I won't beat around the bush as to a few real life things that have been going on that have not hindered my making of mixtapes (thank goodness, too, as doing that has kept me tethered through some of this), but have gotten in the way of pretty much everything else.

I had a job where I worked for four years where I worked directly under a supervisor that was a bully (on a pretty much literal daily basis except for the merciful times she wasn't there) and also sexually harassed me.  I don't feel it necessary to go into details about those things here, but suffice it to say that it was often a very difficult situation to find myself in, especially as it escalated over time, especially when I finally, during that last 16 months there, began to speak up about it.  As it became clear that no one was going to put a stop to this (inasmuch as there was an HR department, my boss and myself were it) and the company was going to protect my supervisor over doing the right thing and putting an end to the harassment and bullying, I began, around late September of 2017 after an incident happened on my birthday, to think about an exit strategy.  So as the holidays loomed I began to think of how I would depart this situation.  I had followed all of the things the harassment guides had suggested and even got in touch with more than one lawyer to figure out how to navigate an exit without forfeiting my rights to unemployment benefits.  I enjoyed the holidays as best I could, in fact, I enjoyed them quite a bit, as there was light at the end of the tunnel.  I wanted a good chunk of time on my resume at one job, and I got four years there, albeit four years that also included escalating workplace bullying and harassment.  (And listen: Don't allow that to happen.  As a male, it was very strange for me to even think of it as harassment.  I read some very strange and, I would argue, quite ugly and wrong things about a male being the subject of harassment at the hands of a female.  It can and does happen. At the end of the day, it's a human harassing another human - a human in a place of power over the other human.  If this is happening to you, research it and look into the specifics of your situation and do something about it - for you, for your loved ones, for your life and hobbies and health.  Reach out to whoever you can as well - don't keep it to yourself.)  It became clear to me that I was not progressing in my musical project because I was so often just wrecked, and I also developed an annoying dependence on medication to keep the anxiety at bay, both of which hindered my enjoyment of my life and my hobbies.  So I decided "no more" and planned to figure out a way to leave after the first of the year.

Because I had been so vocal about the harassment once I became less worried about losing my job, they obviously decided they had to cut me loose.  They literally had to separate my supervisor from supervising me (which is alarming: The answer was to keep a person away, not to stop the person from harassing).  So they let me go right after the first of the year, which was sooner than I had wanted (I wanted a little more time to save up money and get myself out there) but it took care of the issue of how to quit without giving up benefits.  I left on "good terms" (recommendations and all that) but after I was gone I will just say I did not just let them breathe a sigh of relief and forget about me.  But then:

I had began to sometimes feel a little tingling in the palms of my hands.  It was not severe, and I tripped going up some stairs and broke my fall with my hands and thought that was it.  In March my right hand escalated from a little tingling to total loss of sensation.  A few weeks (and lots of money) later and I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.  So the past couple of months have been coming to grips with that, looking at what I need to do within my limited abilities at the moment, and physical therapy and exercising to minimize the issues which have been confined to my arms and hands, which is of course a hindrance (though it is no longer constant - it tends to flare up temporarily, usually at night, and goes away with rest and medication).  MS is something that obviously will not get cured or go away.  But - it has not stopped me, I have still been making mixes and collecting music and even playing music.  I have had to relearn a lot of things as far as making music, such as playing guitar and keyboards (I lost some coordination and forming chords and making changes and stretching my hands can bring on some symptoms and or exacerbate them, so I have had to get back on the bike so to speak and slowly regain my balance).  That being said, I have made it part of my physical therapy and am still - slowly, much more slowly and too slowly but still - making music and still excited about it and writing a ton (and in some interesting ways, the project has changed shape a bit I am starting to find, which is probably understandable).  And I still very much have Gear Acquisition Syndrome.

So that's what has been going on. (Oh and some nonsense drama with new owners of the property where I live and where my little "studio" is that I am having to deal with, so it's possible I will be moving shop in the near future but hopefully not.)  I'm still at it and still here and obviously if you go to my Mixcloud station you will see I have still been making mixes and they're still great.  I will be writing more here I hope and slowly but surely the music is getting made, MS or no MS.  And the mixes will keep on coming!  So just to reboot, here are the last two:

1. Christina’s World (Nancy Priddy)
2. A Dream (David Axelrod)
3. Time Will Come (Soundcarriers)
4. Poem of Dead Song (Broadcast)
5. The Great Selkie (Lake Ruth)
6. They Saw The Fat One Coming (Strawberry Alarm Clock)
7. General Confessional (The Electric Prunes)
8. In Again Out Again (LP) (Spoils Of War)
9. Girl On A Swing (Kevin Ayers)
10. Please Excuse My Face (Kaleidoscope)
11. Simple Man (Arthur Brown’s Kingdom Come)
12. Prism (Beautify Junkyards)
13. Motherlight (Bobak, Jons, Malone)
14. How Do They Know (Giles, Giles & Fripp)
15. Where Evil Grows (The Poppy Family)
16. Hey Sparrow (Peaking Lights)
17. Ravenspoint (Jane Weaver)
18. Bloodmoon (LP) (Heather Trost)
19. A Pilgrim’s Path (Belbury Poly)
20. Spiralis (Calibro 35)
21. Picture The Sun (April March & Aquaserge)
22. Cygnet Committee (David Bowie)

This one I love quite a bit, even though it hasn't gotten a great response from listeners apparently.  It skews a bit weird, perhaps, though not nearly as strange as it initially was going to be.  I try to balance what I am feeling and listening to with what I think a person listening might want to actually hear, but sometimes I have to just make the mix I'm making.  This one is named after the amazing and supremely bizarre Spoils Of War track (a band that is largely unknown - their records were initially self released, and only weirdos seem to have heard of this band as they don't end up on comps much etc).  Some great stuff here I think: I love Nancy Priddy ("Ebony Glass" is such an incredible song, an all-time favorite), some good weirdies from Strawberry Alarm Clock (I always love how great and weird and interesting their songs outside of the couple of overly played hits are), Poppy Family, Giles, Giles & Fripp, etc.  Arthur Brown also - always good.  A non-album song from the great Lake Ruth.  David Axelrod.  A track from the amazing new-ish album from Beautify Junkyards (one of my top five for 2018 for sure, along with the Lake Ruth album).  And closed out with a fantastic early Bowie tune!  I love that one.  And Calibro 35!  But perhaps the brew as assembled is a bit stranger than usual?  I don't know.  I don't know anymore!

A bit of a "standard" mix for me but a good and pleasing one I think.  A lot of favorites!  Mixed in a pleasing order!  What more needs to be said?! 

1. Tomorrow Is Already Here (Stereolab)
2. Hiball Nova Scotia (The High Llamas)
3. Salt The Skies (Tortoise)
4. En Kartbild Utan Sand (Testbild!)
5. Nothing New (English Ver.) (April March)
6. Our Hospitality (Komeda)
7. All The Sun That Shines (Peaking Lights)
8. Tia Ha Mor (Gwenno)
9. H>A>K (Jane Weaver)
10. Moonshake (Can)
11. The Dödens Vaniljsås Theme (Death And Vanilla)
12. Queen Of Puddings (Moon Wiring Club)
13. 2002 – A Hit Song (Chris Geddes & Hush Puppy Remix) (The Free Design)
14. Refractions In The Plastic Pulse (D) (Stereolab)
15. We’ve Got Time (7") (Broadcast)
16. Taurus – The Voluptuary (Zodiac Cosmic Sounds)
17. Come Live With Me (Dorothy Ashby)
18. Dorothy Ashby (The High Llamas)
19. Négatif (Benjamin Biolay)
20. Si Loin, Si Proche (LP) (Aquaserge)
21. Bonnie & Clyde (Bonnie Parker Version) (Luna w/ Laetitia Sadier)
22. Soda (Dungen)
23. Le Voyage de Penelope (Air)
24. Just My Daguerreotype (Moon Wiring Club)

Enjoy, please!  And I shall be back soon!

Sunday, October 8, 2017

You Were a Shooting Star

1. My Autumn's Done Come (Lee Hazlewood)
2. The Greenfield Industrialist (Lake Ruth)
3. Cover (Halasan Bazar & Tara King Th.)
4. Hombre Hormiga (Modular)
5. Jane B (Jane Birkin)
6. Prelude en Mi (Roger Bourdin)
7. Lawns of Dawn (Nico)
8. Banana Monster Ne Répond Plus (Stereolab)
9. Hole of Birds (Tara King Th.)
10. So Beguiled (The Soundcarriers)
11. Burning Bridges (The New Lines)
12. New Religion (Trifle)
13. Boy For Sale (Galaxy Lin)
14. Fragment pour le future de l'omme (Laetitia Sadier)
15. Il Serpente (Guess What)
16. Mutuelle Appreciation (Tara King Th.)
17. Kawasaki (Jane Birkin)
18. Communication (Le Futur Pompiste)
19. Shooting Star (The Mamas and The Papas)
20. From Above (Death And Vanilla)

This gets me caught up.  I had been neglecting to post here.  I have made some progress and have some things in the works that hopefully will start to roll out soon.  I'll also as always continue to have (too many?) mixes.  If anyone wants an mp3 of any of these or have any particular requests, comments, death threats, etc., just get in touch!



(w/ Francoise Hardy, Aquaserge, April March, Stereolab, The New Lines, Serge Gainsbourg, Broadcast, Air, Pram, Rachel Zeffira, Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith, John Foxx and the Belbury Circle, Claude Lombard, Death And Vanilla, Gwenno, Benjamin Schoos, Heather Trost, Melody's Echo Chamber, Lake Ruth, and more)

The Patchwork Explains (a mix in tribute to Trish Keenan)

A mix made in honor of the late and dearly missed Trish Keenan of Broadcast, whose birthday was 9/28 (the day after my birthday).

Through a Prism Backwards

(A downtempo, lounge-y palate cleanser.)

L'univers De La Mer (Auvidis Library Mix)

(A mix of selections from the Auvidis music library, specifically their late 70s output.)

I Feel the Air (Of Another Planet)

Between Mirrors

You Must Wake