Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Two mixes

Mike Pickering and Graeme Park, Hacienda 26-02-1989

I found out about this mix only a couple of weeks ago via one of my news feeds, but it's been making the internet rounds for about two years. There is some faulty info out there regarding this mix -- some sites get the date wrong, and in some places Parts I and II of the mix are identical -- so for a good quality version and a complete track list, grab the mix here.

Anyone who's a fan of late 80's club music simply has to hear this. I mean, shit, they used to drop these slamming sets at the Hacienda every night? No wonder the place was legendary! And I love hearing mixes where the crowd is miked and you can hear their reactions.

If you're ever stuck in one of those technical proficiency vs "personal style" disputes about DJ'ing and are arguing for the latter, just play the section with French Kiss/You Make Me Feel Mighty Real/Pacific State/Sueno Latino. It's definitely not the smoothest job of mixing I've ever heard, but it's one of the most inspired. They take these distinct pieces that have no business interlocking together and they make it sound completely natural.

My ILM shoegaze poll ballot

I was so excited about my ballot that I made it into a Youtube playlist!*

I've been avoiding these clusterfuck polls where everybody nominates an infinite number of songs to be voted on later (what's the point if everyone simply votes for the stuff they nominated, if it's like that, then just let people submit ballots freely, without bothering to nominate) but remembered to get my ballot in at nearly the last minute. Since I didn't nominate anything then I can't really complain about what was on the noms list**, but there were still plenty of my all-time favourite shoegaze tracks to choose from.

As for the order ... well, as I said, I was voting in a hurry, so I missed some songs completely ("Here Come the Warm Jets", "Leave Them All Behind") and in retrospect would extend my margin of ranking error from the usual +/- 2 to something around +/- 5. "Perish" is fantastic, it's probably my favourite Curve song, but #3? Must have been the heat of the voting moment. I also tried to stick to a policy of voting for not more than one song from any band, which I regret somewhat. I didn't want a ballot filled with ten MBV songs, but once my ballot was nearly full I realized I couldn't possibly justify voting for 2nd and 3rd tier bands instead of, say, a second Cocteau Twins song.

I've been caning a lot of the songs on this list lately, along with a bunch of other shoegaze. I included a bunch of live versions that do a better job of capturing what I love about some of these songs. As for the poll itself, the results are here. I can't say I was surprised by #1, it's not my favourite song from them but it's a deserving winner for this kind of poll. Nice work by everyone who posted and voted, and special thanks to Moka for organizing the poll.

My personal experience with shoegaze is fairly warped and twisted. I would have never called myself a fan of shoegaze from '91-'93. I was listening to bands like Ride, Verve, Adorable, and Curve during those years, but didn't think of any of them as shoegaze. This is probably because I didn't start following the UK music press until late '92, when the scene was for the most part over, therefore I never really picked up on the shoegaze "label". I didn't start listening to some of the key bands until many years later -- I didn't hear "Loveless" until '96, for example. This also goes for some of the "associated" bands like the Cocteaus and JAMC, I didn't really become a fan of either until the late '90's. I loved Seefeel and knew that they were stealing from MBV and the Cocteaus, but somehow never investigated those bands. No, it doesn't make much sense, but in my defense, things were more difficult in the days before file sharing and Youtube.

* approximately -- I couldn't find a few of the songs on Youtube (FSA, Th' Faith Healers, Galaxie 500) so I replaced them with even better songs by the same bands. I wanted to cast votes for those bands, but never would have voted for those particular songs if different songs had been nominated. It's a better playlist than it would have been, so we all win.

** so many Ride songs, really? What's with those S3 picks? One Branca track, and it's "Lesson No. 1"?

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