WARMER MIXTAPES #1237 | by Nikolas Martin Strugar [Crow Do Not Loiter Here] of Please Deface This Artwork and Plastic Wood
1. The Mars Volta | Goliath
The Mars Volta will probably always be my greatest Musical obsession. Narrowing down a favourite album is hard enough let alone choosing one song to include on a mixtape. Frances The Mute is one of my favourite albums. It was the first Mars Volta album I listened to. It came at a time of Musical Enlightenment, one of those moments when Music just made sense. I also thought Noctourniquet was really good; it strikes an emotional tone they had never really conveyed in their Music before. But the colour and flat out insanity of the album The Bedlam In Goliath was hugely influential to the writing and production of my album. A lot of people (particularly drummers) were up in arms when Jon Theodore left the band, but I think Thomas Pridgen’s drumming is a perfect fit for this album; wild and pretty much one-geared. It’s not hugely dynamic and neither is the album: it’s a headfuck from beginning to end, your ears and heart rate get to rest once its all over. Goliath exemplifies this. Omar’s guitar solos are insane, more energy than melody, and constantly pull at the phrasing of each bar. I also like this song’s earlier and slower predecessor Rapid Fire Tollbooth from Omar’s own catalogue. I love hearing how songs develop over time and seeing a progression of ideas amongst artists.
2. Oceansize | Oscar Acceptance Speech
I often discover bands towards the end of their careers, or even after they have broken up. Probably not going to see an Oceansize concert now… Great songs come in threes and deciding between this song, SuperImposer and Build Us A Rocket Then… from their last record Self-Preserved While The Bodies Float Up, was a tough decision. This song reminds me of a particular part of Brisbane, my hometown. It sounds like somebody giving up, fed up or both, but it’s comforting. If I’m feeling lost, this song usually makes its way into my head. I love how the echoed piano and vocal textures of the first part give way to the big guitar break before the reprise lost syllables, never turned into words, lost the goals of the war, now we’ve lost balance.
3. Floex | Petr Parléř
I discovered Tomáš Dvořák/Floex from the soundtrack to a computer game I’ve never actually played, Machinarium, kind of like listening to the soundtrack to The Piano for years before actually seeing the film. The clarinet was the first instrument I played. But when I was 13 I decided to give it up, grow my hair long and play guitar. I wish that I hadn’t now that I’ve heard this album. Petr Parléř has some of the most beautifully layered Electronic drums and samples and yet it is so Acoustically rich that I hardly think of it as an Electronic piece. This is really inventive and soulful Music.
4. Karnivool | Aeons
Karnivool are a great Australian Progressive Rock act. Though it always takes me a while to really get into a new album of theirs; I think their production ideas test me. Their latest album Asymmetry was probably the last album I brought before I recently left Australia and moved overseas. For me, the sound of Aeons is tied up in the emotions that come with uprooting and leaving the place that’s been your home, your familiarity and your complacency for the last 28 years.
5. Cog | Doors (Now And Then My Life Feels Like It's Going Nowhere)
A really great song from one of the best Australian Progressive Rock/Metal/whatever albums to date. Great guitar loops, tight kick drum and really nice production. It’s one of those songs, like many in this playlist that I often listen to as I fall asleep. Their sound and Flynn Gower’s lyrics remind me of the Australian suburbia where I grew up. I like it when artists sing in their own accent too. The Flynn brothers’ new stuff The Occupants is turning out to be really exciting and also has this Australian sound, which has nothing to do with kangaroos, the Sydney Opera House or the outback by the way…
6. Tool | Disposition
Generally I tend to like bands’ more recent Music more than their earlier stuff, as I appreciate the maturity and development of ideas that come with time, but Disposition takes the slot here. It’s the song I always play for people who have never heard Tool. It’s not particularly representative of their sound but it represents their compositional approach. I still remember the feeling I had listening to this song for the first time and watching a storm roll in. I think it had quite a profound influence on one of my own songs, Hauling Sleepy Cargo. I don’t know, I wrote it more than 6 years ago and it has become its own thing. But perhaps it’s a subtle homage. On the album, the songs Disposition, Reflection and Triad are presented and mixed as three connected songs. But I’ve always preferred Lateralus-Disposition-Reflection,with Disposition a lull in the middle. I’ve fallen asleep to this many times too. Great songs really do come in threes.
7. Fever Ray | Dry And Dusty
I’m a big fan of The Knife, yet I like Fever Ray just a little bit more. This album has a really tight concept and compositional approach. Like most of the album Dry And Dusty is fairly Minimal. Its tone and Karin Dreijer Andersson’s voice evoke imagery of empty landscapes, pine forests, dark nights and snow. But this song also strikes an emotional note with me. It’s like a Love song wrapped up in Loneliness.
8. TesseracT | Of Reality: Eclipse
TesseracT is a recent obsession, that fortunately developed much too late in the process of mixing my record, for me to be able to completely rethink my own production. Sometimes you just need to know when to stop. This whole album is brilliant, and it hasn’t had the life squashed out of it through mastering. The drum fill leading into the final 50 seconds of Eclipse and the way the guitar groove shifts, sends something tingly through my bodyevery time I hear it. I’ve been travelling a lot on trains lately. I find it nearly impossible not to listen to TesseracT when I’m on one.
9. John Frusciante | Saturation
John Frusciante has an incredible catalogue of Music, and it has been hugely inspirational to me in more ways than just musically. I suck at playing other people’s Music: every time I learn a new song it just pushes another one out of my brain. However, Saturation is one that stays. The production quality of this whole album is pretty raw, but that’s an aesthetic that Frusciante explores a lot in his own Music. I remember lying on a beach early one morning and listening to this song. I had been through a tough year, but listening to this, I felt determined that things would pick up. This song has always been the soundtrack to overcoming those kinds of feelings.
10. Nik Bärtsch’s Ronin | Modul 49_44
I discovered Nik Bärtsch’s Ronin on the inflight radio aboard a flight home from Frankfurt. More recently I met Nik Bärtsch after their show in Ljubljana, Slovenia. Live, they reaffirmed everything I love about listening to this album. Even when they play whisper quiet, they still have so much groove. I can’t keep still whilst listening to this piece. On top of all that musical stuff, Nik and I spell our names the same way…
+11. Ludovico Einaudi | Fly
Simply put, one of the most beautiful pieces of Piano Music I have heard. Einaudi is essentially a Classical composer, yet this piece plays to a soundscape of screeching Ambient Industrial sounds and tape delays. I discovered this piece from the film The Intouchables, and have been smitten ever since.
+12. Hildegard Von Bingen | Psalm 92 - Dominus Regnavit; Studium Divinitatis (from 11,000 Virgins: Chants For The Feast Of St. Ursula) (Performed by Anonymous 4: Ruth Cunningham, Marsha Genensky, Susan Hellauer, Johanna Maria Rose)
The oldest piece of Music I have in my collection, and the only thing that calms my nerves when nothing else will.