Moka’s Favorites No. 3

Dntel(This is) The dream of Evan and Chan
Life is full of possibilities (Plug Research / 2001)

With Ben Giddard’s penchant for pop hooks and Tamborello’s ear for crafting intricately accessible and credible pop songs from the most abstract of electronic music soups, ‘evan and chan’ was ripe to be magnificent. The result is a gorgeous, kaleidoscopic dream, all textured sound washes, and electronic dynamics at the service of Giddard’s keen lyrical edge. One of the most refreshing and fascinating pop songs, turn of the century.

TV on the RadioStaring at the sun
Young Liars Ep (Touch & Go / 2003)

This song is all about the sexual tension. Tunde filling up space with sex metaphors while an expanding wall of sound keeps building up as a promise of a trembling, suffocating orgasm, and just when you think it’s finally at the door, the actual climax never arrives. It’s all dry sex, oscillating on a plateau. I find it exquisitely frustrating, and oddly enough, satisfying.

Mazzy StarFade into you
So tonight that I might see (1993)

Fade into you is arguably one of the most gorgeous and affecting musical portraits of 90′s youth, driven by Hope Sandoval’s sublime laconic delivery, the song is a sort of passive response to teenage angst of a vainly introspective generation and their very often illogicaly confused relationships. Personally speaking, I like it because I find it extremely sexy, I think it makes an ideal soundtrack for languid, passionate fully clothed make-out sessions on snug couches.

Radiohead - Fake Plastic Trees
The Bends (1995)

Such a well adressed-ache. Fake Plastic Trees is a song that perfectly captures the opposing traits of radiohead’s music: maudlin lyricism spiralling around modern society’s decay and impotence countered by an uplifting melodic structure and textural arrangement. I don’t think Thom’s voice has ever sounded as good and straight as it does on this particular song, played in a certain mood, it pierces right to the bone. The way he sings “it wears me out” never fails to have an impact upon me.

The MFAThe difference it makes
The difference it makes (Border Community / 2001)

Fueled by a heavily compressed pentatonic synth and an unstoppable groove, I really can’t even begin to describe the immense delight that I get when lost into its musical sehnsucht with a good pair of headphones. Like beer being poured over a 100-proof hangover, this feels so warm and soothing.

Red House PaintersAll Mixed Up
Songs for a Blue Guitar (1996)

When I was around 7 years old I used to accompany my father to his work and he’d play his ‘the Cars’ tapes while I layed on the floor drawing pyramids and animals. Later on I discovered Mark Kozelek’s sullen voice and his rendition of ‘all mixed up’ and fell in love. Whereas the Cars original was one of the least memorable singles on their catalogue, Kozelek works unbelievable beauty out of it. A song that triggers memories both from my childhood and my highschool years, what more could I possibly ask for?

Chavela VargasPaloma Negra
Con el cuarteto Lara Foster (1961)

Born in Costa Rica, Chavela escaped to Mexico when she was 14 and spent the following 15 years singing on the streets dressed like a man, carrying a gun, smoking constantly and drinking till the last drop. When she recorded this song at 30, her voice, cracked and mournful, by the persistent corrosion of tequila and tobacco is nonetheless dripped in fiery passion. She sings from the entrails. His rendition of this traditional mexican composition stands as one of the most well-known performances in latinamerican grounds.

Lhasa de SelaDe cara a la pared
La llorona (1998)

I first heard Lhasa in a hotel room in New York. The city had left me exhausted and I felt extremely lonely during that particular season in my life. I felt I was suffering from Stendhal’s syndrome when I first heard her voice. I left my room and went to every record store that I could find open at that time of the night looking for the album. When I finally found it, I came back to the hotel, and I think I must have repeated this opening track at least 7 times before listening to the rest of the album. That was 4 years ago, and to date I still turn back to this album whenever I feel soulburnt. It soothes like no other.

Nick DrakePink Moon
Pink Moon (1972)

I’ll admit I fail to make any sense of the lyrics to this particular song yet, Drake voice transmits such a unique warmth and human emotion on this one, it could be sung in finnish for all I care.

Claude Debussy - Clair de Lune
This particular rendition by Peter Schmalfuss.

Out of every song on this list, this is the first one I’d save from the fire. Clair de Lune sums up afterglow,  its beautiful melody lifting its sleepy head to the silent piano notes soaring over it all, imbued with sublimely romantic melancholia.  When played at the right time and the right moment this song is magic.

Paintings: Henri Matisse.

And with this I conclude this exposition on my favorite songs. I apologize for any ortographical or contextual mistakes. Here’s Part 1 and Part 2.

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Category: Electronica, Folk, Pop, Rock

15 Responses

  1. squashed says:


    the sound build up is getting bigger and bigger with each post. No wonder people is having difficulty catching up constructing list. This one is really large. The kind that I build last year.

    Well you are on a roll. what’s next series? (I don’t have anything except little sketches. my brain is still frozen.)

  2. cas says:

    hi there, i listened here a song from Olavi Virta, “sinitaivas” and i loved it. i spent days searching for more of his music but i can’t find it, do you know any site to download it or have more songs??

  3. Marilyn says:

    Great collection of tracks! I full heatedly agree on many, and have new music to explore with the others. Thank you for your effort!

  4. Moka says:

    Sq: Next… I dunno, I think I might buy myself a bunch of barbiturates for the weekend. Feel like listening to some techno?

    Cas: A pesar de que es muy famoso en Finlandia (es algo así como el equivalente a Sinatra por allá), es muy complicado encontrar sus canciones en internet. La mayoría de sus canciones las he escuchado mediante youtube (ahí si tienen un monton de ellas). Te puedo contar que hace unos días me encontre una liga para bajar un compilado basado en los soundtracks de peliculas de kaurismaki y hay dos canciones de Olavi Virta incluidas. Aquí te paso el link:


    Las canciones las desconozco entonces no se que tan buenas sean, tampoco vayas a pensar que todas sus canciones estan en el estilo de ‘sinitaivas’, Virta grabó una cantidad considerable de canciones en su vida y no todas eran precisamente buenas, la mayoría de sus canciones son reversiones de tangos populares en Argentina y en Italia traducidas a Finlandes.

    Marylin: Thanks for the kind words :)

  5. Lucía says:

    “Fade into you” es genial, qué bueno encontrármela en medio del día de trabajo, gracias!. Además, siempre que la escucho me acuerdo del video, que era en blanco y negro y bien 90s, en algún sentido.

  6. Zahir says:

    Moka! I love The Difference It Makes, of course I got it from you.
    If you like that check out the Superpitcher remix, it should still be on hype machine, if not let me know and I’ll find it for you.

    And Clair de Lune, I love your description: the afterglow. I love how they use it in the end of Ocean’s Eleven, its brilliant. I’d love to see a blog entry from you on songs “in the afterglow”

  7. jack says:

    Thank you for introducing me to Chavela Vargas and her haunting take on ‘Paloma Negra’.

    Also, I’d like to echo Zahir’s comment, above. A blog on ‘Afterglow’ music would take us into Fall and leaves falling ‘just like embers, like moonbeams in our eyes’

  8. cb says:

    i had to search it up to understand what nick drake is singing

    I saw it written and I saw it say
    Pink moon is on its way
    And none of you stand so tall
    Pink moon gonna get you all
    Its a pink moon
    Its a pink, pink, pink, pink, pink moon.

    either way if i understand it or not, great song

  9. Moka says:

    Zahir: Yes, of course I’ve heard the superpitcher remix, it’s the b-side to the single and I have a physical copy of it. It’s a great approach to the song, more akin to the Kompakt aesthetic.

    An afterglow playlist is on the works at the moment ;)

    cb: It’s a bit tricky to hear the first times, but when you know the lyrics it’s impossible not to recognize them afterwards. What I actually meant that I don’t really understand the meaning of the lyrics, not the words per se. I think the problem is that it’s a very short and simplistic song, so Drake doesn’t leave much context inside the lyrics to really decipher what does ‘pink moon’ really stands for. The most convincing interpretation that I’ve read so far is that the pink moon is a catholic sign of the apocalypse, I wouldn’t know because I’m not very familiar with catholic symbolism but the lyrics kind of fit in with the idea… and yet, I feel Drake’s delivery kind of contradicts this interpretation, not doomful but serene. If true, this has got to be the lushest song about the end of the world I’ve ever heard.

  10. wombat says:

    I love your blog, thanks! Clair de Lune’s not a song, though. It’s a piece or composition. A song is sung by a singer.

  11. cas says:

    merci beacoup :)

  12. andré says:

    You write so well, so simply and with such engagement I could read you all day Moka..

  13. Aixa Lomello says:

    I agree with andre’i could read you all day . you are so smart original and simple.

  14. nity says:

    hola! no sé por que siento que son españoles y que me van a poder leer, mi nombre es Nity y soy de Caracas, Venezuela (Latinamerica) soy licenciada en comunicación audiovisual y estoy en el mundo del cine, la música y la fotografía, he llegado a este site a través de dadanoias a ella la encontré en google… tengo mucho tiempo bajando música de ustedes.. y de verdad el estilo con el que escriben, la música que postean, las fotografías que cuelgan, los colores, todo me encanta y me parece calido y delicioso… Les escribo por un post en especifico… este es el link: http://www.moteldemoka.com/2008/10/08/mokas-favorites-no-3/#comments cuando hablan de Lhasa de Sela, nombran que la persona que estaba escuchando esa canción sufrió de Stendhal’s syndrome, investigando su significado en el link que dan me he enamorado totalmente, estoy por empezar un programa de radio en mi ciudad y me encantaría colocarle por nombre alguno de los que está en esa pagina pero.. no he conseguido más información y en la RAE no está registrada la palabra hyperkulturemia.. quién escribió ese post? sabrá algo más respecto a eso? yo puedo ponerle el nombre que desee a mi marca, pero… como no existe no sabría exactamente como explicarlo.. me encantaría que me ayudaran.. un beso grande desde Venezuela y sigan así que con estos post hacen que me del el sindrome de Stendhal… saludos!

  15. molly says:

    This is such a beautiful mix of songs. I honestly loved each one but in a completely different way. Your descriptions are so airy and dreamy to read. I really really enjoyed this. Nice work, i look forward to seeing (and hearing) more from you :)

The song makes its imprint
in the air, making itself felt,
a felt world. Here, there,
the stunned silence

of knowing I will not remember
what I heard;

futures that will never happen,
a fluidity we cannot achieve
except as a child
creating possibility.

This is the untranslatable song
hidden in the earth.

-Untranslatable Song [1]