Axel’s Monthly Mix – September Playlist

​Genres explored: Cool Jazz, Soundtrack, R&B, Ambient Techno, Experimental/Electronic, World/Psychedelic Funk Rock, Psychedelic Pop, Noise-Rock, Soul, Ghetto House.

Three to Get Ready [The Dave Brubeck Quartet]
Another 2014 revelation for me has been the discovery of Dave Brubeck’s “Classic” Quartet. This was the first jazz album to go Platinum in the US ever (over 1,000,000 copies sold), and still remains one of the biggest selling jazz albums of all time. For people like me who are just starting to skim and discover the world of jazz, this record serves as a firm reference point, as much as Coltrane’s Love Supreme, and Davies’ Kind of Blue. The 2009 Legacy Remaster Edition we have at the Central Library contains 3 discs: the first CD is the original Time Out -though pristinely remastered (compared to older remasters); the second CD features live recordings of the quartet from 1961, 1963 and 1964; and the last one is a DVD where we have Mr. Brubeck giving an interview and playing his ol’ piano friend.

Prelude and The Sound of Music [Irwin Costal, Julie Andrews]​​
This soundtrack was the biggest-selling album in the UK in 1965, 1966, and 1968 and the second biggest-selling album of the entire decade (yes, even beating The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper!) Yet, it is not hard to imagine why! How many young souls around the world has the movie touched? The songs, brilliantly arranged and composed, will inevitably connect with the kid inside us, and always live in our memory.

Loving You (Demo) [Michael Jackson]
Xscape is the second compilation released after Michael’s death 5 years ago. I have to admit it took me a while to settle into the fact that more of his material is being excavated and release without him being part of the production, especially considering the perfectionist that he was. To compensate for that, I was happy to find that this deluxe edition includes the original 8 songs of the album plus the original demos of each song. In the sleeve you can find a brief background for each of them, including the recording year and the personnel involved. It is very interesting to compare the the project’s vision for a 2014 pop album -produced by BIG names in the industry (Timbaland, Rodney Jerkins, J-Roc), and the raw material -dating back to the decades of the 70s in some cases. This demo song is my favourite of the album.

Oneiroi [Laurel Halo]
After her praised debut album Quarantine was released through the now well-established Hyperdub record label (Flying Lotus, Code9, Burial) -and was named Album of the Year by the Wire magazine, Halo’s career took an important step forward. We had the immense pleasure to have her perform last year in Wellington at a venue that unfortunately reached its last days earlier this year. I would like to honor the great moments that Puppies owner Blink (same organizer of the unforgettable Camp a Low Hum festivals -also resting in peace) has brought to us in the short-lived yet very successful follow-up to the one and only Happy Bar. Farewell Puppies!

A Sound Like No Other [Various Authors]
This album takes us through a galactic journey of oscillators, experimentation, and electric friends. As Kubrik might have done, the trip starts with the echoing voice of local pioneer Douglas Lilburn who, instead of throwing a bone up to the sky, concentrated all his efforts in a vision which produced the first electronic music studio in Australasia, founded in 1966. This studio is still operational, electrifying the brains of the students of Sonic Arts in the Victoria University of Wellington. Among interplanetary dialogues and cosmic field recordings, we are transported to Lilburn’s early days in the many songs that Wellington artists have produced along the years. This wonderful compilation has just made its way to our shelves thanks to the initiative and curation of our very own librarian John, who also produced this homegrown mix. As he emphasises in the booklet, “Buy the music. Support Local artists”. This CD is also free to borrow!

Henna Henna [The Bombay Royale]
I selected this song because Spotify couldn’t retrieve any of the songs of their very successful debut album. This Australian band toured NZ last year, and I thought it would be nice to give them a shout from our library. Here’s a video that shows how cool they are.

Moth Wings [Pond]
As a preview of ex-Tame Impala bassist Nicholas Allbrook’s new solo release Ganough, Wallis & Fatuna (which of course is on its way to our shelves), I offer you a taste of acid drops from one of his other projects, Pond. I recommend watching this video to cement the experience this young Aussie is channeling.

Chatterboxes [Deerhoof]
I got exposed to this band through a friend who had the amazing experience of watching these guys perform at noise-loving Taipei. Their act was solid, very intense and LOUD. If you are into the sounds of Boris, Lightning Bolt, Stereolab, and appreciate seeing a girl playing a Hofner Bass then I’d encourage you to dig for more of their music.

You and Me [Penny & The Quarters]
This song was brought from the grave into the spotlight thanks to director Derek Cianfrance’s decision of featuring it in a romantic scene for his movie Syndetics book cover Blue Valentine. The rest of the soundtrack is mostly composed by Grizzly Bear, interestingly.

Feel My M.F. Bass [Paul Johnson]
Hardcore Traxx is an overdue compilation that honors one of the earliest and most prolific House labels: Dance Mania. These high-speed beats will still make anyone shake these days. If you manage to play this tune without distorting your headphones or speakers, then consider yourself a happy owner of decent music gear 😉

Axel’s Monthly Mix – August Playlist

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This month I am going to aim the spotlight at tracks from the commonly overlooked Box Set section within our Central Library music collection. Box sets can be found just around the corner from where the two CD Players live (did you know you could borrow headphones and comfortably enjoy any album?), on your right as you walk past the trays of CDs. The bigger box sets (vinyl-sized boxes), are next to the Librarian’s Choice display, which is on your left as you pass through the entrance of this wonderful sound and vision world.

Box sets are for fans, aficionados, collectors and addicts who want to have it all and take an inner dive to the lands of their favourite bands. Another attractive tip: these costly sets (sometimes reaching hundreds of dollars!) can be lying in your bedroom for a week for a mere dollar! This is August’s selection:

Vitamin C [Can]
Can aficionados will be pleased to find this multi-disc boxed-set of the defunct band. After excavating 50 hours of material ranging from jams, live sessions, out-takes and of course, multiple sonic experiments including chainsaws and kitchen paraphernalia, we’re left with a work that must be celebrated as the culmination of Can’s trajectory, packed in a solid vinyl-sized box which features a generous booklet with a lot of photos of their cool studio spaces. The Lost Tapes are not to be missed!

Search and destroy [Iggy and the Stooges]
A punk-rock milestone, this box of Raw Power includes:
CD1: 1973 original Raw Power.
CD2: Live at Georgia, Atlanta, 1973.
CD3: rarities, outtakes & alternate versions from the Raw Power era.
CD4: DVD Documentary on Raw Power.

La Femme D’argent [Air]
This anniversary edition of the band’s debut album Moon Safari includes the original release from 1998, a second CD with live sessions (mainly recorded @ the BBC studios), and a DVD where one can indulge in Video Clips + “Eating, Sleeping, Waiting and Playing”, a documentary produced during Air’s first tour. Here we get to know Nicolas Godin and Jean-Benoit Dunckel intimately as they tour around New York, London and Paris for their first time, while enduring crazy working hours, having funny interviews, and emanating musical insights.
Love-Fantasy-Dream.

Credulidad [Luis Alberto Spinetta]
This is a personal favorite as not only is Spinetta one of the most beloved musical characters from Argentina, but also because I bought this limited release in Buenos Aires in one of my many visits. Once back in Wellington my desires for it to be heard made me approach the library about donating this copy, and to my delight it was kindly added to its amazing musical repertoire. This is the best introduction to South America’s humblest rock star.

Tell Me Why. [Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young]
This invaluable set gives us the opportunity to indulge in a marathonic 137 songs of Young’s early days, 47 of which have never been released. The massive archival effort has won it a Grammy Award for Best Boxed or Limited Edition Package. A must for all those gold-rushers!

I Wanna Be Sedated [Ramones]
In case you haven’t got enough with The Stooges, here are more drilling punk-rock tunes to make your flatmates either bang their heads or bang at your door!
This collection brings 85 songs of broken-jeans, leather jackets and distorted reefs + a documentary filled with music videos, interviews, and a cool comic book telling the story of the band, which is heightened by the 3D glasses that come with it!

X Offender [Blondie]
If Punk Rock is a foreign world for you, then search no further! No thanks! :’70s Punk Rebellion will provide you with a very insightful look back to when this genre was born, and will educate you in the development of the movement into its different grounds. Classics and hidden obscurities, this box contains a 100+ pages book filled with frames that depict the “worst of times and the best of times”, and a thorough text that will fill you up with what you need to know.

Octopus [Syd Barrett]
If bands like Herbal Mixture, Mandrake Paddle Steamer, The Attack, The Smoke, The Virgin Sleep, Orange Bicycle, or Kaleidoscope ring a bell, or if “Acid Drops, Spacedust & Flying Saucers” make you feel warm and giggly inside, then you would know what to expect. If not, then it is time for you to take the magical mystery tour into the land of the Psychedelic Confectionery from the UK Underground and enjoy the trip. This compilation focuses on the years 1965-1969; the peak of psychedelia. A short bio of each featured band is included in this informative volume.

Sir Duke [Stevie Wonder]
If you don’t feel like reading a full-text biography of the Magic Man, here’s a way of getting to know him> through amazing portraits (he was as fashionable as Miles Davies -sunglasses and all!), friends and family’s testimonies, promotional old posters, and much more while enjoying the 4-disc chronological record of his greatest hits.

Slip On Through [Beach Boys]
This is one of my favorites too. We acquired it sometime last year, and I remember it catching me eye straight away, with its yellow, orange and golden lush case. The signatures of the boys on the first page are so real I had to check with the cataloger if they were actually hand written. Though they were not, they certainly give one the sense that this is a limited edition we’re having in our hands. The 6 discs surf around the band’s entire well-known career, with an addition of 60 previously unreleased tracks, which of course are composed of enough rarities to turn anyone on.