Every Friday, Dusted Magazine publishes a series of music-related lists compiled by our favorite artists. This week: San Francisco disco producer Hatchback and Albany noise collective Burnt Hills.
Listed: Hatchback + Burnt Hills
San Francisco’s Sam Grawe is one of the new purveyors of cosmic disco. Drawing on the classic sounds of the ’70s by bands like Yellow Magic Orchestra and Popul Vuh, Hatchback’s laid-back tempos rarely leave the moving walkway. Grawe’s 2007 single “White Diamond” was hailed by many and earned him a spot on Lo Recordings, which released his debut album Colors of the Sun in September. When he’s not performing as Hatchback, Grawe makes up one-half of the disco super-duo Windsurf (the other half being Sorcerer, of 2007’s famed “Surfing at Midnight” remix by Prins Thomas). Oh, and Grawe’s also the editor-in-chief of Dwell Magazine. Chew on that one for a second. Windsurf’s new album Coastlines is out now on Prins Thomas’ Internasjonal label.
10 Random Soundtrack Songs
1. Elephant’s Memory – "Old Man Willow" (from Midnight Cowboy)
I put this flea market record on late one night and totally flipped out. I probably listened to it 20 times in a row in complete disbelief that it was from 1969 and not Stereolab’s Sound Dust album. The combination of childlike female vocals, hazy farfisa ostinatos out of the Philip Glass playbook, phased washes of tremeloed guitar, and a rhythm section that sounds like it just got laid off from a gig at Ronnie Scott’s, is simply too much for my little mind to handle.
2. Pink Floyd – "Mudmen" (from Obscured By Clouds)
When I was a kid, we traveled to Papua New Guinea and got to meet some actual mudmen, so this track always held a special place for me in the Pink Floyd canon. In general I’m fond of major-7th chords because they are so dreamy, and this song is as dreamy as they come. Not to get to nerdy about instrumentation on this, but this tune is really perfect production-wise whilst being extremely simple. Gilmour’s guitar descends from the heavens, like rays of light cutting through the lush vegetation of keyboards, vibes and those fantastic plodding drums.
3. Alain Goraguer – "Meditation Des Enfants" (from La Planete Sauvage)
It’s somewhat impossible to select one track from this soundtrack - which in my view is not only a great score, but probably one of the highlights of 20th century music - but this one nails it in 1 minute and 33 seconds. For seemingly much longer, a Rhodes and wah-wah guitar simply trade the same spacey chord back and forth. Eventually a beautiful chorus of female voices introduces one of those rainwashed-lonely-streets-of-Paris melodies which only the French can do. Stunning.
4. The Beatles – "Flying" (from Magical Mystery Tour)
A rare Beatles instrumental. This tune was probably some junk they tossed together in 12 seconds because they needed to have some incidental music for the TV show, but of course, even their castaways are genius. (Incidentally, the first tune with writing credits for all four Beatles). I’ve always wished this song was about 10 minutes longer, or that I could have hung out at Abbey Road and watched jams like this go down. The tape loops at the end are wizard.
5. The Edge – "Island" (from Captive)
Think what you will of U2, but this soundtrack clearly shows the influence Eno was wielding on The Edge circa 1987 and that The Edge was in fact really good at being influenced by Eno. This was just one of those albums I bought on a whim and ended up falling in love with from beginning to end and listen to a lot while reading and working and cooking and stuff like that. This tune has an almost krauty vibe, with the overall effect being like Daniel Lanois jamming in Conny Plank’s studio.
6. Vangelis – "Blade Runner Blues" (from Blade Runner)
No matter how many $1 Vangelis albums I find in the new age bins of the world, they’re never quite as good as Blade Runner. One of the first times I went to Los Angeles, a friend took me up to the Griffith Observatory and we witnessed an incredible sunset which was somehow dark grey, maroon and orange. Through Vangelis’ mastery of the Yamaha CS80 synthesizer, this track takes me back to that very moment.
7. Steely Dan – "FM" (from FM)
No Static at all! Now that I can comfortably accept the ascent into my 30s, I can be completely unapologetic when I tell you that Steely Dan are my favorite songwriters… ever. Does anyone know what "hungry reggae" sounds like? I didn’t think so. Has anyone ever seen this film? I didn’t think so.
8. Paul Simon – "Long, Long Day" (from One Trick Pony)
I’ve always loved Simon and Garfunkel, and Graceland was a tape that my mom and I were both equally pleased to hear during car rides, but even though I saw this movie on VHS way back when, I’ve only been getting into the jazzier CTI-style side of Paul Simon more recently (could have something to do with the Steely Dan thing). Richard Tee’s Rhodes playing slays me, not to mention the unexpected chords on the chorus, which make me pause (and jealous). There’s also a great version of this tune from The Muppet Show.
9. Ennio Morricone w/ Astrud Gilberto – "Argomenti" (from Le Casse)
This is from the first Morricone album I ever came across, and while it’s disguised as a lightweight pop tune, it features all the distinctive Morricone touches - a dissonant fuzzy thing which creeps in from time to time, flurries of harpsichord punctuated by angular strings and horns, and of course really mindblowing contrapuntal harmonic organization. Totally brilliant.
10. Francis Lai – "Theme D’Anne" (from La Baby Sitter)
I went on a huge Francis Lai binge over the last couple of years. You can really strike out on some of his soundtracks, but when you strike gold, it’s solid gold. This tune is about as hard-hitting and funky as anything he ever did (as far as I know), but retains the emotive Francophonic melodies. Christian Gaubert deserves much respect for the ridiculously hip arrangement - mostly the decision to go minimal on the big band and maximal on the phased-out rhodes and copious amounts of analog synths.
Burnt Hills are a collective of noise-rockers from Albany, New York. The band also runs the well-respected Flipped Out Records label and online store. If every member shows up at a Burnt Hills show, the stage can swell to 11 musicians, including a xylophonist, two drummers and an army of guitars. One of Burnt Hills’ most intriguing character traits is the average age of its members – everyone is over 40 years old, and they’ve been running Flipped Out since 1986. That’s a lot of limited edition pysch picture discs. The band’s take on ugly has been compared to the Dead C. and Vermonster, but you can hear a deeper love of hard rock in the Hills’ hard-to-find catalog. Their latest, a legitimate non-limited edition CD called Tonite We Ride, recently came out on Flipped Out. Nine of the bands members took part in this week’s Listed.
1. Suicide – Suicide
The perfect record. No irony, doubt, shame or quarter. Rev’s broken organ and prehensile drum machine; Vega’s space echoed rockabilly assault. It wakes me up, scares me, and makes me hope. Suicide is rock and roll. Suicide is America. America is killing its youth. 31 years later, Suicide’s still screaming the truth. (Fossils from the Sun)
2. John Fahey – America
This record was given to me by my cousin at a time when I thought I had heard everything in its related genre. For me, John’s playing on this record (and in general) was evocative, haltingly articulate, but could be deceptively simplistic as well. America (especially its title track) justified things I had exclusively enjoyed growing up while discovering guitar (alternate tuning’s, drone strings, etc). It was, and still is, stunning to me every time I listen to it. One man, one guitar. (Panda)
3. Jorma Kaukonen w/ Tom Hobson – Quah
First heard from a one-speaker portable tape player, accompanying adolescent weed smoke, circa ‘81. Still helps with heartaches here in the double ‘00s. "What is love, but a prelude to sorrow?" Too true, but, "I’ll be all right, someday." This record is never mentioned, but it’s as good or better than 90 percent of the hyped fingerstyle and/or downer-folk shite out there. (Philthy Rex)
4. Black Sabbath – Black Sabbath
The bedrock upon which all heavy music was written upon. Fingertipless guitar blasts, busted-speaker blower bass, crashing tub drums, and banshee burglar wailing over the top of it all. Stoned blues and late-night, cold November, lone cemetery wanderings. An opening into a cathartic back gate of hell. (Plantweed)
5. The Clash – The Clash
I know I don’t have any fancy records in mind like the rest of this band. Mine is The Clash. I was the youngest of a large family, and had no outlets to the outside world other than my siblings tastes, or the jesus folk my mama listened to. The Clash was the first punk music I heard through my sisters wall -- I didn’t understand the cockney lyrics due to the imprecise cup-against-the-wall listening enviornment, but it instilled in me the fire for dancing. And as soon as Gussie started taking Kung Fu, I would sneak into her room and play her records quiet, with my ear against the speakers. and I can listen to it for eternity. It was a glorious replacement from the only other music that went ‘round my house like my fingers against a fuzzy black light poster, like an endless stairway to heaven. (Pog)
6. Hawkwind – Space Ritual
Tough to pick this over In Search of Space or even Hall of the Mountain Grill, yet it’s the purest distillation of Hawkwind’s deeply energetic and propulsive sound available. Not sure how they’ve been relegated to a footnote in history, but these records are timeless space rock/proto-punk/speed/acid drone masterpieces. The outerspace FX and spoken word interludes may get all the attention, but it’s really Lemmy’s bass playing, Simon King’s krauty drumming, and the songs that do it for me. When all the elements came together in alignment, Hawkwind were unstoppable, creating what was essentially the perfect melding of the Stooges, Can and Sun Ra. (Rambutan)
7. The Velvet Underground & Nico – The Velvet Underground & Nico
The Banana Record. Beautiful, timeless - I could listen to it over and over again, morning , noon or late night! (Sick Llana)
8. The Jimi Hendrix Experience – Are You Experience?
My Dear Friend…Blues Gypsy…Cherokee Mystic….Waves of Beauty…Sheets of Sadness...Feedback Rage…Pure Love.…Electric Salvation…Are You Experienced?....I Am! (Wovoka)
9. John Coltrane – A Love Supreme
The most spiritual music ever, bursting with the vibrations of truth and beauty. Play this for the children in your life (my nephews have heard this hundreds of times). This record hit me like a wall of bricks as a young fool, and I even feebly attempted at guitarding some of the swooping majestic horn lines way back then. These days, I always come back to this one, during good times and bad. We play this at every Burnt Hills house party / basement show that llana and I throw. The air molecules breathe deep and flows the vibe all throughout our house. In the man’s own words, “Elation. Elegance. Exaltation. All from God. Thank you God. Amen.” (Ziamaluch)
By Dusted Magazine