Once again kids, yours truly is handing over the mixing duties to Jack Feerick — who brought us a mix that “gave the drummer some.” This week’s mix celebrates a season that, at least for me in the Bay Area, lasts from May to October. I’m talking about summer, and all the good (and not-so-good) things that go with it. See ya next week!
–Ted (AKA Py Korry)
There’s a website I like, called One-Minute Vacation. The content is simple enough—an ever-growing collection of digital field recordings donated by the site users themselves—but even more than the clips themselves I love the idea; that sound alone, even out of context, can transport us, can take our heads somewhere else in space and time.
It’s not just ambient sound that does this. We’ve all got our personal pantheon of “summer songs,” and it’s about this time that the blogs and the corporate sites start running polls about our favorites. (Not so long ago, it would have been the radio stations doing that.) But what’s a “summer song,” anyway? Is it a song that sounds best when you hear it in the summertime? Or is it a song that, whatever time of year you hear it, reminds you of summer? Or is it a little of both?
Try this; download this mix, and wait a while. Wait until winter comes to your hemisphere, for a day when the sky is the color of slate and the wind is rattling around your windows. Then listen. Close your eyes, as appropriate; where do you end up?
Open on the sound of the Campo del Principe in Granada, Spain, on a sunny day in May. You’ve got the morning free and you’re meeting your best friend at the cafÃ© across from the park. She’s got a table on the terrace; the day is already hot, and she’s already ordered you iced coffee, sweet and creamy.
“Summer Is Almost Here,” PAS/CAL
When I first heard PAS/CAL a few years ago, their fey garage-pop sound struck me as distinctively British, and I mentally assigned to them the imaginary hometown of Foppington-Upon-Twee. Finding out later that they’re actually from Detroit somehow makes them even better. Loucheness may come naturally to the Brits, but it demonstrates great will in a gang of kids from the Motor City.
“Mr. Blue Sky,” Electric Light Orchestra
Here’s that cocktail of whimsy and energy I’m talking about. To put it in mathematical form:
PAS/CAL – (years x 30) + (millions x $) + (miles x 3800) = ELO.
And the assemblage of overlapping sections make “Mr. Blue Sky” a mini-movie in itself.
Warm night, walking in the woods down by the reservoir, talking, still too shy to kiss; stepping carefully around the broken beer bottles picked out in the moonlight that trickles through the pines; slapping at mosquitoes. At the ghostly edge of hearing, there’s music from the cassette deck of a parked car.
And we’re walking along a side street in the temple district of Jasin, Malaysia; there are motorbikes roaring by, and the kids are chattering and laughing and it’s a beautiful day and anything, anything can happen.
“White Hot Day,” Simple Minds
What was exciting about Simple Minds, during their brief heyday, was the way the songs seemed anthemic while remaining abstract, almost free-form. The rhythm section here throbs and crashes like the inside of your head on those nights when it’s too hot to sleep, and you’re alone, in the dark, with just your spiraling thoughts and the ceiling fan, endlessly circling.
“Just Keep Me Movin’,” k.d. lang
The window is open, and your arm is cocked out of the moving car, tapping rhythm on the window trim. The headwind catches your fingers in mid-tap, and they feel like they weigh 10 pounds apiece; it is not an unpleasant sensation.
“I Go Swimming (live),” Peter Gabriel
What? Another Peter Gabriel track? Well, yeah—because the point, my friends, is that in the summertime, even an egghead gets physical.
Go outside and breathe it in while you can.