Another sensitive show yet again. [shrug] My excuse this time is that I’ve been popping pills all week thanks to horrible toothache which has led to insomnia and migraines. In turn my nerves are shattered and my emotions are a wreck (but hey, when aren’t they, amiright?). My motion is slow, like walking against the wind, and my mind even more so, so I figured I’d get one more show out to you before having dental surgery tomorrow. This time we open with a love letter from Panama, then take a little trip into the past and discover some rock and psych from Turkey, Algeria, Iran and Cambodia (all discovered and acquired while working at Revolver Records); we make a stop at Space Station Berlin with some new wave and electro-pop, and close it off with Sensitive Riffs For Sensitive People, a set inspired by the inconvenient harboring of hope and created for those mornings when all you want to do it stay in bed and cry. Download it here.
A recent discovery I made by accident was the movie Ashik Kerib (Strange Lover), a 1988 Soviet production—directed by Soviet-Georgian and Armenian filmmakers Dodo Abashidze Sergei Parajanov, based on a story by Mikhail Lermontov—which tells the tale of a poor young man by the name of Ashik Kerib who must venture on a journey for 1,001 days and nights to gain his fortune so he can marry the woman he loves. It’s an intriguingly surreal movie with a minimal, voiced-over script and often bizarre scenes that border on visual art, rich in Azerbaijani references, visual metaphors, trick montage and outlandish landscapes. Brilliantly conceived and well worth checking out, with enchanting music by Dzhavanshir Kuliyev.
For those of you who haven’t already fallen for her stunning voice and fiery riffs, Selda is a popular rock and folk singer, guitarist and composer from Turkey. She recently gained some fame in the west for being sampled by Dr. Dre and Mos Def, but she is better known at home for her protest style of music and her satirical, political lyrics, which not only got some of her songs banned from Turkish radio for criticizing the status quo and some for being sung in Kurdish, but it also landed her in jail a couple of times between 1981 and 1984. We also venture to Algeria where we are swept away by mighty horns and delirious drum rhythms, thanks to a killer compilation by Sublime Frequencies, a Seattle-based label that is dedicated to exposing obscure sounds from around the world, be it urban or rural, traditional or modern. We also listen to Mao Sareth off Cambodian compilation Groove Club Vol. 2: Cambodia Rock Spectacular, in a track that’s distinctly darker and rockier than most of the other tracks on this superb collection. Cambodia had a rich rock’n’roll / folk rock scene during the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s, but Mao Sareth—like many musician in Cambodia at that time—was eventually killed by the Khmer Rouge communist regime, who “began wiping out all traces of modernity and Western influence. Intellectuals, artists and musicians were specifically and systematically targeted and eliminated. Thus began one of the most brutal genocides in history, killing an estimated two million people – a quarter of the Cambodian population.” There is a very moving documentary about the Cambodian rock scene that I highly encourage you to track down and watch, called Don’t Think I’ve Forgotten: Cambodia’s Lost Rock and Roll.
Matching the grey skies that loom over Athens right now, the rest of the show is pretty much your expected mix of haunting beats (like Curcuit 7, or The Oppenheimer Analysis and their bleak narrative on ‘Behind the Shades’) gloomy dreaminess (like Belgium’s Autumn and their love song ‘Night in June,’ which can be found on the comp Cold Waves + Minimal Electronics Volume One and a reissue LP on Minimal Wave Records), pop sensitivity straight outta Sarah Records, riffs and vocals that pull at your heartstrings (like the Nivens and their dreamy melancholia on ‘Yesterday’ or the Dogs and their beautiful guitar work on ‘Lovers Again,’ whose opening melody brings to mind the Rolling Stones and which could have easily influenced the Raveonettes) and lyrics that are just waiting to be quoted in a drunken sext… (“Can’t hide my desire when you come around/I’m feeling dizzy, my ego is bound/when I smell you coming I feel like a hound”)
What can I say… sometimes we hang on to hope even though all it does is drag us down. I guess some of us are fools. Until next time, do whatever you want. With numb love from outer space,