sleeve notes, january 2006: my left hand


15 fév. 2006, 17h49m

This month's title was originally "my left hand smells of britney spears", a cautionary pronouncement on the dangers of random perfume sampling. (The second, even more worrying, stanza was "my right hand smells of meat"). But over the course of January, the first part of the phrase came to have a significance of its own. The artwork is lifted from Luke Chueh. with the exception of the tray liner, which comes from the splendid Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster; and the disc, which is Greg Simkins' Coyote Trek.

December's mixtape never made it: it was going to be a festive-themed disc, but I wasn't in the mood and Tim from Radio Clash did a much better job anyway. Might take another crack next year. Anyway, welcome to the sleevenotes for for my left hand, a digest of what Sumit was listening to in January 2006. This month, iTunes tells me I played 598 items, totalling 2 days, 2 hours and 42 minutes or 3:57Gb of music. This total doesn't take account of tracks I listened to more than once, some of the tracks I played on my iPod, or any tracks I played on CD; nor does it include streaming audio or radio stations. It's particularly inaccurate this month, since I spent a lot of time listening to CDs, for one reason or another.

(1) If I Didn't Care: The Ink Spots' Greatest Hits was one of the CDs in the house we rented for New Year, and I listened to it in the car for a couple of days. They've been cited as foreshadowing the development of rap; and it's amusing to note the "similarities" - the repeated use of a few extremely similar backing tracks (a good proportion of the Greatest Hits sounds virtually identical bar the lyrics), the tendency to drop spoken passages into their crooning, even a song dedicated to the pleasures of narcotics (albeit caffeine rather than cannabis). This is probably their most famous track: the Ink Spots' official website claims a somewhat unbelievable nineteen million copies sold.

(2) Brand New: Food for Animals are labelmates of Cadence Weapon (below) and I took a chance on their album, Scavengers when I bought his. Turned out to be a good investment. FFA's sound resembles 1990s industrial welded to shout-out, politicised rap; the kind of thing the Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy might have done in a parallel universe. Much of the lyrical content revolves around the themes of collage, cut-up and sampling - references to scavengers, vultures and the rest. I also tried a bit of beatmaster Ricky Rabbit's solo work, but it doesn't quite hang for me without the words.

(3) Fathom: Rollie Pemberton, is the prime mover of Razorblade Runner , one of my favourite mp3blogs, which has pointed me towards all kinds of fine stuff (particularly of the hip-hop variety) that I would probably never have even thought about otherwise. Under the name Cadence Weapon, he also makes fine music; I didn't find his first album, Breaking Kayfabe, as immediate as his mixtape, Cadence Weapon Is The Black Hand (check out The Gorilla Is for Sand Racing, available from his [url=site, but it's a grower. Like Sway (below again), his diversity makes it hard to pick a single track that adequately represents his sound. If you like this at all, I'd suggest you check out him out further.

(4) Primal Understanding: I goofed on the CD sleeve with this one: it's the band that's called The Final Cut. The power of the interwebs: This comes from an album called Consumed that I bought while on holiday in Florida in 1992, thanks to a discography I'd gophered (yes, those were the days) which noted that a couple of notables from the industrial scene guest on it. A couple of standout tracks, but I assumed the band to be just another industrial side-project that folded after its first album. Fast forward more than a decade, and I'm ripping the disc as part of my interminable effort to digitize my entire music collection. But the disc is broken and won't rip. That's a pity, I think. Where am I going to find another copy of an obscurity like this? Amazon, as it turns out: it's available second-hand for a couple of quid. And as I later discover, it's also on iTunes! What's more, The Final Cut turn out to be still going (sorta) and to be on myspace. Long tail? We got your long tail right here ...

(5) A Beast Caged: I like to buy some music whenever I go to a new country, and my recent trip to Edinburgh was no exception. Problem was, there wasn't much Scottish talent that both looked interesting and I hadn't heard of. None of the local stuff I bought was particularly interesting, but I also bought the fourth Dälek album, Absence, which I'd been meaning to pick up for a while. Turned out to be the best purchase I made: heavy-duty industrial rap that welds angrily politicised polemic to clanking samples and sheet noise. It's not the subtlest track ever, but as industrial goes it makes a change from white guys snarling about serial killers.

(6) Aguirre I: I'd never heard any Popul Vuh until this was posted on The Selector. This is actually part of the soundtrack to Werner Herzog's 1972 film Aguirre: The Wrath of God; it must have had quite an impact on cinema-goers of the day. I can't tell if I like this because it's actually good, or just because I'm nostalgic about those old-school synths. What is that, a Prophet or something? Does this count as ? Maybe I should put together a prog electronics compilation sometime, although I'd probably be the only one who'd like it.

(7) 60 Buddhas (for R): Instrumental, a name of dubious wisdom in the Age of Google, is the string sextet who recorded Acoustek, an album of electronica covers, back in 1999. Since then, I've heard nothing of them until this track unexpectedly turned up on a free CD given out at a Classic FM night (!) by Cerebral Sounds, an online music label. This is the title track from their second album, which is available as a paid download. Served well at a particular time earlier this year.

(8) Sing: This is probably one of my favourite Blur tracks, which I had always thought of as being somewhat wasted on the Trainspotting soundtrack. But then, the Trainspotting soundtrack has probably sold quite a lot of copies anyway, so perhaps not.

(9) Black Coffee: Similarly, this was one of many gems on Tricky's "unofficial" second album Nearly God. Nowadays, Nearly God is recognized as a well-loved part of his canon, but when I bought it, it was a somewhat mysterious project whose packaging played down the Tricky connection (presumably for contractual reasons). For my money, it's much better than the "official" second album, Pre-Millennium Tension.

(10) Photographer: It's been interesting to watch Sway's progress over the past year; he's proven very skilful at developing a fanbase using performance, word of mouth and, yes, the internet to achieve his goal of self-releasing his first album amid much media applause. (If I was some wanker from the Guardian, I'd say it he was rap's equivalent of the Arctic Monkeys. But I'm not). Anyway, none of that would be worth mentioning if he didn't have the chops to back it up. UK rap blah talent blah witty wordplay blah as his American cousins blah. Except it's true this time. This is off his blistering mixtape, This Is My Promo; it's hardly representative of the variety showcased on that set (again, no single track could be), but it's the most polished of the tracks that didn't subsequently make it to the album. Though personally, I can't wait for a long-player from his alter-ego, Ghanian MC Charlieboy.

(11) Hindi Sad Diamonds: This popped up in the middle of a smart playlist in iTunes while I was waiting for looking for something else altogether. I'd forgotten how much I enjoyed it.

(12) Not So Distant Drums: I listened to a bunch of hardcore breaks albums in Tower Records late one night, having nothing much better to do. calling the vultures was one of them. Didn't grab me all that much - I'm not so much interested in the sonic terror (cough) end of the genre. But it did remind me that I had this on my hard-drive, from his Bollywood Breaks EP.

(13) Sound of the Underground [poj mix]: So I bought Chemistry, which some critics have raved about as a deliriously clever confection of popular music motifs and barbed lyrics. Others have made the usual noises about soul-dead manufactured pop (check the comments on the first link for two musos fighting it out over the "ironic" or otherwise nature of Girls Aloud fandom). Me, I just like the songs. If only they were a bit glitchier ...

(14) BetterBackBreaker: Most poj masta mixes are golden - or at least, I like his combination of glitch and electro sensibilities - but he also makes his own tracks. This, which I think I got from his find-it-if-you-can website, is a longer version of a more frenetic track called daftpunc64. Which suggests it might not be wholly original, but I don't know what the samples are. Or maybe it's really obviously a mix of something. I don't really care.

(15) Toxic Narcotic (No Good For Me): I spent a bit of time looking for Britney stuff because of the original name for this compilation (see above). As it was, I couldn't find anything better than this one, which is also one of my favourite mash-ups ever; some of the E-Jitz' other work is pretty good too. A perfect example of how to use bunch of good pop songs' hooks to build a great pop song.

Sorry these notes are a bit rushed and there are no Moments of Truth this month, but I'm off on holiday and don't have the time to listen to all of these again. Might put them in later.


  • sumit

    Thanks! The pictures are done this way: [ img ] URLofpicture [/img] Except without the spaces, I just put them in so the code would show up.

    20 fév. 2006, 10h43m
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