Jan 21, 2009 19
[David Stith is a frequent guest at the motel. You can see him walking around the pool, dressed up in a rather extravagant fashion, or sleepwalking on the parking lot at high hours in the morning. Every staff member over here loves him. He never complains when we go out of hot coffee in the morning, he never calls room service at unusual hours with unusual requests, he leaves generous tips and best of all, he creates some of the most gorgeous and carefully arranged music we've ever heard. After years of work he is finally releasing his proper debut entitled, 'Heavy Ghost' on March as well as an accompanying appetizer Ep, 'Curtain Speech' which is currently available on Asthmatic Kitty and has been a constant delight for me at nightly hours. I briefly exchanged conversation with him in the past weeks asking him to curate a playlist for us and as usual for David, he came up with a very extense and thoughtful run of tracks which play along marveously. Dear guests, please give a very warm welcome to Mr. David Stith]
Margaret – Creek Lullaby
A Treasury Of Library Of Congress Field Recordings (Rounder / 1997 )
The best show on TV 2 years ago was undoubtedly, in my mind anyway, Deadwood. I watched the show with a convicted fervor something like a dog staring at a toy lodged somewhere just out of reach, trying to influence nature’s laws with its eyes, wishing the thing nearer, less lodged. It was in this state, a state of almost complete devotion to hope, that this field recording of a native, running over the credits at the end of an episode of Deadwood, kept me from breathing for the 55 seconds it played. I can’t imagine the state the musicologist was in when he or she recorded this, when they heard it for the first time — it inspires in me something like a longing for deeper empathy, which is the best I can hope for in a piece of art.
Castanets – Sounded Like A Train (Actuel Remix)
Tendrils Bonus Ep (Ashmatic Kitty / 2008)
Ray’s voice is that of a reconciled and reformed child, old and abused, scabbed over, somehow beautiful. His songs are full of the borders of day and Actuel’s production has isolated the prism of Ray’s voice, capturing the fractured edges of his song writing. Needless to say, I hope they collaborate more in the future.
Wojciech Kilar – Orawa, for 15 instruments
Kilar: Orawa (Conifer / 1995)
More than any other orchestral piece, I think, I would like to see this one performed. I don’t know the context of this piece — all I know is that somewhere between 6:33 and the end of the piece I get locked into trying to solve the harmonies but I get nowhere because before I realize it I’m dazzled by the texture and the rhythm.. Even after listening to it every day for 3 months, it’s confounding and irresolute.
Oval - Shop In Store
94 Diskont (Thrill Jockey / 1996)
Oval and Nobukazu Takemura have inspired whatever peace I’ve found in the last 6 months — somehow they’ve redeemed all that’s lost to airports, parking lots — they’ve hit on the head what Glass has been aiming at, but missing since “Glassworks”.
Women – Group Transport Hall
Women (Flemish Eye / 2008)
I’m in love with the reel-to-reel tape this was recorded on. This album has become one of my favorites of this season – perfect for road trips through the Mid-West and burning your mouth on hot chocolate.
U.S. Maple – Hey King
Long Hair in Three Stages (Skin Graft / 1995)
I woke up to this song at a friend’s house and didn’t know what I was listening to – whatever it was, a joke, I didn’t want it to stop. Their attention to detail and the most awkward gestures inspire me to be a better listener – I wish I’d heard about this music 10 years ago.
Alfred Brown – SphericalType GasHolder
Habitat (Asthmatic Kitty / 2008)
Alfred is a friend of mine now living in Buffalo, NY, where I grew up. I remember visiting him last year during a very rainy week at his second storey apartment. Fred sat me in a small chair in his living room between two big speakers, and he played me a working version of this track which he was writing for an Asthmatic Kitty compilation. The end reminds me of Holst’s Neptune and the sound of the rain on the piles of snow I ran past on my way out to my car after dinner with Fred.
The Beers Family - The Water Is Wide
1963 Annual Florida Folk Festival (1963)
Whoever the Beers Family are, they’re doing Four Tet better than Kieran Hebden has done.
Bulgarian Radio and Television Choir – Di–Li–Do
Le Mystère Des Voix Bulgares Volume 2 (Nonesuch / 1988)
If I could, I’d include this whole record in this list. There’s something natural about the way this group emotes which I don’t remember coming across in another choir. Typically, emotion necessarily performs as caricature because subtle gestures are so hard for a group to make together. Only the best choirs can pull it off. Maybe it’s just the foreignness of this group that makes it seem this way; maybe in Bulgaria this is heard as brash and indelicate music, but to my ears each gesture is unbelievably precise.
Randy Newman – Living Without You
Randy Newman (Reprise / 1968)
This is from Randy Newman’s first album. It’s one of my favorite songs by my favorite song writer. I would live in Randy’s lucid misery any day.
Diane Cluck – Untitled 22
Monarcana (Very Friendly / 2006)
Monarcana is a collection of incidental recordings and odd songs by Diane Cluck. She’s one of the most mysterious characters I’ve ever come in contact with. While I was living in Brooklyn a few years ago, a friend of mine opened a show for her in NYC. I intended to leave before Diane started playing, but from the sound of her first caw, Diane had command over me. She had this cold and stern stare the whole time she performed. I forgot I had intended to leave. It’s a shame I didn’t choose to include a song she sings on as her voice is something fierce, but this track has a rare magic in it I wanted to share. For some reason, I imagine she records in a plant-filled kitchen, her 4-track resting on a pile of honeydew, microphone in a cactus.
Mary Margaret O’Hara – You Will Be Loved Again
Miss America (1988)
For all the sauce Mary Margaret crams into her performances, she always cuts through it with stunning directness – she can afford just about any gesture she’s willing to make, and she makes near all of them even in a relatively simple performance like this one. This is the last song on the only full album she ever released. Since rediscovering her last winter, I’ve been on a mission to see that she’s heard by as many people as possible. Maybe by clapping for her she’ll reemerge and perform for us again.