WARMER MIXTAPES #1466 | by Joshua Leeds Eustis [Sons Of Magdalene/Telefon Tel Aviv] of Tropic Of Cancer and Second Woman
Photos by Ashley Klich
1. Wendy & Bonnie | Children Laughing
Mike Jones from Belong made me an absurdly long mix of 60's stuff, mostly very Psych-oriented. I was way into it. But this song came on and froze my heart, made my skin ache. It's one of the most beautiful things I've ever heard, and it reminds me vividly of the time period after Katrina when I was relocating to Chicago (see number 10 below), and kind of bouncing around New Orleans, Los Angeles, and Chicago. I was rootless, but this held me down. I was also very much in love with a girl who didn't seem very interested in me, so it was the sound of me feeling sorry for myself while also being essentially homeless and crashing on people's couches.
2. Choice | Acid Eiffel
In 1996 or so, I was booked to do a live PA at a rave party somewhere in the sticks of Mississippi, which was like a satellite scene of the New Orleans scene. I hitched a ride out there with Dave Jenkins, who was an older and far more experienced DJ and generally a really nice guy, total scene mentor. On the way back at like 6am, passing through the trees that line I-55, headed Southwest towards New Orleans, he put this song on as the Sun was coming up, beams of sunlight firing through the woods... I had a musical epiphany where I truly understood the rapture that amazing Dance Music can cause. It was a very important moment for me and shaped almost everything I feel about Techno and all of its brothers and sisters, and I'm grateful for the lesson. This song transcends Acid, Techno, Trance, whatever stupid sub-genre.
3. Autechre | Eutow
I bought Tri Repetae the day it came out - my friend André and I turgidly awaited the release, and hauled ass to Tower Records where our buddy had two copies held for us. We put this record on and were blown away; it was unlike anything we'd ever heard but exactly what we needed - Musical Sushi. I took it home, put it on, and went to bed, tripping balls on the sound. Track 6 came on, and the swooping melody in the intro figured into my dream like a hawk swooping at me, a mouse. It was beautiful. Then the beat dropped as the kids say these days, and blew my dome clean off. This was the single most inspiring Electronic piece of Music I had ever heard (probably still to this day), and it will always remind me of my bedroom at my parents' house, piled with shitty gear and a total mess, trying to decode the Secrets of the Universe that Autechre clearly understood and for which they had left breadcrumbs for the rest of us to follow.
4. Ken Ishii | Cocoa Mousse
I also got this record pretty soon after it came out, when I was still a total beginner at making Music. I heard Cocoa Mousse in my car one evening, coming home from a fruitless day at my shitty job, and cried like a baby to myself I'll never, ever be able to write a melody that will move people the way Ken Ishii's melodies can. Certainly not the way this melody is making my heart want to explode right now. I think the crybaby part was also exacerbated by the fact that I was hopelessly in love with a girl that definitely didn't want that from me. My grandfather died that same day; we were close. It was February 14th, 1996. Valentine's Day.
5. The Sea And Cake | Do Now Fairly Well
I remember getting deep into this record, The Fawn, while Charlie and I were making Fahrenheit Fair Enough, our first record. I played this in the car so much that all my friends would get pissed at me for not ever changing things up, including Charlie, who had introduced me to this record in the first place. The Sea And Cake were just so stately but blunted at the same time, and I loved that. Weird but beautiful chord progressions started to remind me of 95 degree/100% humidity Summer nights in New Orleans, getting wasted with my friends. This song was just the soundtrack to the face of this girl I went to College with at the time. I didn't know her, not even her name, and she didn't know me; but I saw her often, and she was pretty, probably the most beautiful thing I've ever seen in my life. Tall, svelte, brunette, almond eyes, freckles, polished, perfect. I pictured myself on a shitty motorbike riding off into the sunset with her on the back of it, and the end section of this song blasting as we headed North on an imaginary Pacific Coast Highway during sunset, some Cameron Crowe shit, fuck the World. In fact I was just sitting on a bench outside the library daydreaming and being a loner and a loser and not accomplishing anything meaningful.
6. Belong | I Never Lose. Never Really
I would love this record so much, even if I didn't know the dudes that made it and they weren't blood brothers to me. After Charlie died, I went back to New Orleans from Chicago and stayed for a month after we buried him. I was fucking thrashed, and Life was brutal - my dad was terminal with cancer, it was dark. I had to get back to work, I had tarried too long; so after February passed, I left. Packed up the car and left around 5am, since it was 14 hours to Chicago. I was only several miles out or so, driving over the Bonnet Carre Spillway as the Sun was coming up over the swamps, no one on the road. Miles upon miles of cypress and totally still water, as far as the eye can see, I'm doing 90, the Sun shining on the water, a hail of diamonds, and this song was blasting. I cried pretty hard, one of a very few in my adult life. I missed Charlie really badly then and this song reminded me sharply of him, because we used to listen to this record all the time, but it also somehow sounded like the Voice telling me to fucking chill and stay the course and don't give up.
7. Red House Painters | Have You Forgotten
I came to this late, like '04 or so. I was dating this ridiculously adorable woman who knew everything about dudes and guitars, and I was such an Electronic Music dork, that I learned a lot from her. I heard the first Sun Kil Moon LP in a car in Italy and thought What the FUCK, man, this guy's voice is killing me, this is genius and so when I went home and told my girl about it, she said Yeah, it's good, but it sounds like he has marbles in his mouth now, you should hear his older stuff, Red House Painters. How 'bout this song, do you like pedal steel? Wait 'til it comes in, it's GOR-JESS. FUCK - my head got wrecked by that song; I honed in on Mark Kozelek's lyrics, which are the Highest Art, this guy is a fucking laureate. My girl was beaming at me with her puppy dog eyes, then we fucked. I loved her. I fucked it up. Her parents hated me already. The song reminds me of that so much. My regret, it hurts, and I hope she's happy; we don't speak anymore.
8. Talk Talk | Renée
My Mom loves her some Mark Hollis. I was kind of annoyed by his weird voice when I was a kid, but I tolerated it because the songs were just so good. Never a huge fan 'til later in Life, remembering back on arguing with my Mom, I was being a brat, in her car. She was always listening to something moody like this in the car. I was such an ass hat of a kid sometimes, but I remember my Mom looking really sad one day because I'd said something really shitty that can't be unsaid, I don't remember. This song was on. I realized years and years later, hearing it again for the first time, that the moment stayed with me. We were going to the grocery on Jefferson. What an amazing song! It had successfully bottled that whole episode for me. Now I just hear the song and love it, as my Mom still does.
9. Steve Reich | Music For 18 Musicians
I'm being really cheap putting this in here, because it's over 50 minutes of Music - but hey, it's one thing. A song? I dunno. Dr. James Paton Walsh, my composition teacher at Loyola University New Orleans, introduced me to this piece in 1995 after I had been early on struggling with my own bullshit kind of almost Atonal Minimalism. He said, and in these words: Bro, look, if you want to write some Minimalist type shit, man, that's like, OK, you know? Not everyone can be or has to be Schoenberg. But there's tons of amazing Tonal Minimalist Music out there. Check THIS shit out, man. I was at the tender and malleable age of 18 the first time I heard it, how appropriate. My life has never been the same since. As soon as I heard it, I felt all Despair leave me. Life would get dark again, many times after this; but I could cope with it. I had this majestic piece of Music to get me through anything. It gave me Hope, and gave me a strong fundamental Faith in Humanity. It is to this day the most beautiful thing of any kind that I have ever heard, and I'm jealous of Reich for having made Perfect Music. But at the same time, I'm so glad I didn't write it, because I would really feel like a douche for listening to it all the time.
10. William Basinski | Melancholia II
I was coming back from a day trip to the beach at Gulf Island National Seashore, about a three hour ride from New Orleans. Turk Dietrich was driving, his girl, his girl's gorgeous sister that I was nuts about, we're all piled in his car headed home, exhausted but feeling amazing. The car A/C was arctic so it was nice and cold, and AGAIN the Sun was going down as we were driving, and this song came on. I was already a huge Basinski fan, but didn't have this record, and hadn't heard it. It was a perfect moment of us being totally silent in the car, and the Sun was doing amazing things in the girl's beautiful and perfectly blonde hair, a real Jeffrey Eugenides/Sofia Coppola moment. Wow, was she something. This song stuck that moment in my head forever, like what happens to your eyes when you stare at the Sun for too long; just being silent in the cold air, and looking at this girl who was gazing out the window, her hair was shining and I could see the reflection of her eyes in the windowpane. I wanted to know what she was looking at, or more accurately, what she was seeing. I see it whenever I hear this. I moved back to Chicago the following week; I rarely see this girl, if ever.
+11. Skinny Puppy | Worlock
The first time I ever went to a strip club, I was barely old enough to get inside in the first place, so I felt like an idiot. All these amazing girls everywhere. I had a wad of cash to spend here since it was for a friend's birthday or something, I'd saved up a grip of cash just to make it rain, hard. Anyway, I was throwing around dough pretty hard for a 21-year-old, and we were all balling and having a good time. I was buying lap dances for this one chick that was with us that's into strippers, etc. At some moment, the DJ called out this featured dancer, and I kinda ignored him/her until the opening chords of this song came on. Could he really be playing fucking Worlock right now, no way, man. I looked at the girl, and it was this slightly Goth, but mostly just gorgeous black-haired Persian princess up there, tall, slender, long black hair, eyes like coals. She was amazing. And this song was fucking blasting, and, oooooooooooh, my god, I think I still have a boner from it, it will never go down.
+12. Cocteau Twins | Fifty-Fifty Clown
OK, everyone puts Cocteau Twins on their list, and I'm no exception, in my hackneyed reminiscence. My Mom was big time into the C. Twins when I was in High School, so, by proxy, I absorbed all of their Music almost osmotically. My girlfriend was a perfect match for me, selected by my older sister and HER older sister, who were best friends. This girl was really incredible, I was bananas about her. We were driving around in my beat up Honda looking for a Christmas present for my mom listening to this song, and I remember it was uncharacteristically cold for New Orleans at the time, mid-late December. The heat in the car smelled, well, not bad, but kind of strange; at least very memorable. All of those sentiments are tied to this song for me: the cold weather, the shiny white lights at night, the heat in the car, and this girl and how much fucking we did to this record, my insatiable 17 year-old boner. I'm pretty sure this record has the same effect on her to this day, although we don't talk often. The Sun sets, the World spins, people grow apart. This record is a physical representation of that feeling in the most acute way.
+13. Depeche Mode | Blue Dress
Uuuuuh, this is getting really personal - but there was this girl I knew from the time I was about 18 years old, this gorgeous kinda vamp girl that used to hang out in the same places I did. We had some mutual friends, and eventually I got to know her, but I had it for her pretty bad, and she played it very cool, for years, in fact. We'd hang out from time to time and just play records for each other 'til the Sun came up, but we never got weird. Some years later, I ran into her and it was on. We went out all night, bar hopping, became inebriated playing grabass and hanging out with our friends. We were both single at the time. She has awesome taste in Music, and that is one of the most important qualities I look for in a girl. Went back to her house and fucking annihilated each other while this record played in the background. We both already loved this record so much, front to back; but this particular rotation and this song just lined up right.
+14. Aphex Twin | Rhubarb
I was on the road with Nine Inch Nails in 2000, tagging along with Danny Lohner, so we could work on remixes and stuff together on his off days. We had a week off in Miami in May; it was sublime. We were staying at some absurdly swanky hotel, the likes of which I've never enjoyed since, and working on a portable rig in his hotel room. It was like a fucking Meat Loaf video, I mean the hotel was open air with 40 foot ceilings, white linen curtains blowing in the breeze, the whole back of the hotel a serene poolside scenario. He loaned me this CD to fall asleep - I knew it already, but it was on the whole my least favorite Aphex record, until then. It has since been my favorite, and this song for some reason always reminds me of traveling and the beach and kind of being alone around many people and having this very morose inner monologue with myself, but loving every second of my wayward life, my head was swimming, I was in deep, trying to see through the fog.
+15. The Romantics | Talking In Your Sleep
I was in Second Grade when my parents decided to add on to our house - there were four of us kids just having a fucking romper room all over the damn place and the house was a bit tight, and I think my dad was fed up with the lack of space. So for a few months we stayed with my grandparents, who were pretty well-off, in my opinion. This didn't translate to my family directly, for although we had a nice home by any standards, my grandparents' home was stately. Nine bedrooms, 8 baths, servant wing, Missile-crisis era bomb shelter, etc. Lots of old wood, and a real-for-deal library; crystal chandeliers, a Steinway grand in the parlor downstairs, a bar with very dark wood all imported from Spain, the old country… It was nuts. There were all kinds of little nooks and crannies there, hiding places, and my younger sister and I would snoop around and play Hide And Seek in our footie-pajamas before bed every night. This song was on the Top 5 for the local radio station, and I remember it somehow translated the sense of sneaking around something majestic and hiding, being up past our bedtimes, and generally doing shit we weren't supposed to be doing.
+16. Vangelis | Blade Runner (End Titles) (Blade Runner Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
My Mom, as has been stated, has pretty amazing taste in Music. So when Vangelis did Chariots Of Fire, which was I think '81, she took notice, although I thought it was lame. Moreover, when he did the soundtrack to Blade Runner the year later, she paid further attention. I don't know when I first heard this piece of Music, but I remember she played it for me at some point, and it was the Sound of the Future to me, and I knew I wanted to do this, whatever it was, that Vangelis was doing. I was a child and didn't understand more than keyboard at the time, so she put me in piano classes, I think, because I was obsessed with this kind of shit. But this melody which is just lilting, and the arpeggiated synth bass, the weird clicky hi-hats, the emphatic timpani, everything combined in my mind as a bouillabaisse of the Unattainable, and a perfect expression of Futurist Escapism. I owe my Mom, big time, for playing this for me, because it opened my eyes to what would be the great struggle of my life - Electronic Music.
+17. Queen | Another One Bites The Dust
This might be my first Musical memory - my mother would put me in my crib, but I was old enough to stand up and grab the sides, and I could communicate my needs, vaguely, but with single syllables. There was a little radio in my bedroom, and this song came on one day - I was banging my head into my pillow in rhythm, I was head banging. Then I stood up and grabbed the side of my crib and was trying to rock it back and forth to the rhythm, making a racket, oh, God, I couldn't stop myself. It was so visceral, I was fucking freaking out. I couldn't comprehend what was happening to me, what was taking over my body and causing me to thrash around when I heard this song. It happened a few times, this ecstatic rapture of just going apeshit. It was the first time I was aware of Music and its effect on me, and played a pretty significant role in why Rhythm is such a big deal to me in general.
+18. Air Supply | Lost In Love
Dang, stuck in the car on the way to School in Kindergarten. The car smelled funny, it was new, but someone stepped in dog shit and my mom had to get the thing cleaned like crazy right after, so the car never really smelled right. It was hot; and air conditioners, if they existed then, were a fucking joke. I hated that I had to wear collared shirts to School, First World Problems. I just wanted to wear t-shirts and eat PB&J's, I didn't like ham too much. Craig was the coolest kid in School, but somehow we wound up being best friends. I was smart and could read better than the other kids. My older brother was a brainiac and had taught me how to read in about one day; he had tapped in somehow. This song reminds me of that Kindergarten and my teachers and when that girl Hope stole my stuffed dog and called my drawing scribble-scratch, and I poured Kool-aid in the fish tank because I liked it so much that I wanted to share it with the goldfish, and that one time I just stood up and took a massive shit in my pants.
+19. The Cure | Just Like Heaven
I was in 5th Grade and this came out and my older brother got it, and I heard it and loved it. The single, this song, was on the radio, it was a big hit. Crazy, I'd never really heard anything like it on the radio - I mean, I knew The Cure already because I could hear The Head On The Door playing louder than Hell through my brother's tightly-shut door, the inner sanctum of the Council of the Wise and Great to the searching mind of a 10-year-old. I was madly in love with Donie Villere, she was the prettiest girl around and my older sister and her older sister were pals (not the girl referred to in #12), but she had seriously no fucking clue who I was. Our families were watching the Friday night parades before Mardi Gras, so everyone was kinda hanging out and she was hanging out with her other very lovely friend, Shannon, and I gave them all my beads, I didn't know how to talk to them, so I didn't say anything, I just gave them all my beads. And let's get real, I caught all kinds of shit that they couldn't get, I went buck wild at Mardi Gras parades as a kid. This song was the year-long soundtrack to my endless staring at her 5th Grade yearbook picture, tragically in Love, and wondering if ever in my life I'd have a girl as perfect as she is.
+20. Round Five | Na Fe Throw It (feat. Tikiman)
This came out right around the time Moritz Von Oswald and Mark Ernestus were just annihilating the World of C Minor Dub Techno - they had sort of taken this thing that they invented and brought it back to its roots in more Traditional Dub, but still 100% with their own incredible take on it. I didn't get this 'til 2002 although I think it actually came out BEFORE a good deal of the Rhythm & Sound stuff did. I remember Charlie and I were working on Map Of What Is Effortless in this horrible freezing cold basement in Chicago - I'm not exaggerating when I say Silence Of The Lambs but smaller - and we were pretty morose and miserable. But we'd take breaks and listen to other stuff, specifically what was coming out of Berlin and Cologne at the time, and the whole Basic Channel/Chain Reaction/Rhythm & Sound world was always one of our favorites and I think I can speak for both of us when I say that it always, ALWAYS made us feel a million times better about Life and the state of affairs.