Said the Gramophone - image by Keith Shore
by Emma

Mina - "Piu di'Te"
Adriano Celentano - "Prisencolinensinainciusol"

I think a lot about this one time that Carlo and I got on the subway and he freaked out because he swore he'd glimpsed the train conductor eating a snack out of a bag that just said "HUMBO" on it. I was like, dude, either you misread the bag or it's a snack in another language, one with which we're not familiar. But when we stopped at a station with wifi he looked it up, and there was nothing online anywhere. A misreading, surely, still. But he persisted. "HUMBO IS REAL," he told me. Whatever.

When we stepped off the car, I thought he was behind me, but as I got on the escalator, I turned around and saw him standing next to the front of the train, trying to take a photo of the conductor's mystery snack. There was a pause when the train should have begun to move, but didn't. In that single beat I felt a complicated panic flush through me. What if this man could tell that Carlo was taking a picture of him? What if that was why he wasn't moving?

All day, I thought about this moment, blushing. Months later, I still think about it when the train makes the pictures in our apartment shudder against the wall. Your life is shot through with these kinds of small mysteries, questions to which you might never get an answer: why she left, what he meant, why that strange man took a photo of you through the train window while you were just eating your perfectly normal imaginary snack and trying to do your job. All these open questions just strung through the story of you, glowing their weird light, complicating things. Plus all the other people in the world, carrying around the answers you might never get, not even understanding the value of what they hold. Sometimes the world looks like a complicated piece of circuitry; beautiful and impossible, your understanding of its beauty disconnected from its function, what it actually means.

by Sean


Daniel Romano - "Ugly Human Heart Pt. 2". A silver-screen sheen on you, the streets, your ugly human heart. A whole sky gone backdrop, a whole city gone set. Dashing like a dancer, feeling beer-bittersweet; or if not beery then at least the taste of black liquorice on your tongue. Oh, those silver pinprick stars. Oh, those rainbow oilspots and ruby flashing lights. What a night, what a day, what a loop-the-loop of sorry. Running under lampposts as there's Bowie beside you, or Lennon, and Kate McGarrigle. Running under lampposts like you can outrun your scampering shadow; dart this way, that, and maybe you'll finally lose that midnight thing, be rid of it and loose.

[buy Daniel Romano's wondrous glam-country masterpiece, Modern Pressure]

(photo source)

by Jeff

picture of a floating sauna (Marjo Laitakari Floating Sauna)

e.r. roberts - "large volume of water added to rocks" [buy]

On humid afternoons as a kid I loved the sound of thunder rolling in the distance. Sound travels further through hot humid air, and those far away crashes filled me with a kind of thrill. It was the feeling of being alive, my small life suddenly thrown into relief against the large storm on its approach. Pure anticipation, waiting for the wind to toss back the tree branches, to drop rain so hard that it bounced up from the pavement, to darken the sky nearly the colour of night. It felt electric.

Recording outside of Wakefield, Quebec, e. r. roberts captures the different ways that sound travels through hot, humid air. He's turned into a science. His recently-released Moods for Sauna 1 & 2 harnesses the drowsy yet fully alive feeling of sitting in a hot room for a little too long. Like early Boards of Canada minus the beats or a lost Eno Ambient volume recorded on hissy 4-track in the woods, these synth compositions wobble and weave through the air. Listening to these tracks invites deep relaxation, a sonic space for zoning out. I don't know if there are any properly equipped artist-run centres, but Moods for Sauna played on a loop in a hot wet room would be a rad sound installation.

by Sean


Harmony Trowbridge - "It's Your Funeral".

Sinjin Hawke - "Don't Lose Yourself To This".

The earth is filled with species to which, or to whom, these pieces of music are identical. To a silverfish, a coral polyp, a tulip, these tracks are mostly indistinguishable, interchangeable, the noise of homo sapiens. Don't ask a fern to tell you the differences between Trowbridge's melancholy, with its glinting naked edge, or Hawke's electronica, all jackknifing cascades. Perhaps a whale could tell you something, or a blue jay; perhaps, perhaps not. I could tell you something, I can tell them apart. But there's a strange power in doing the opposite - in telling them the same. Fission is division, fusion is conjoining. "It's Your Funeral" and "Don't Lose Yourself To This" are so unalike - yet go ahead, listen for your minutes, and wherever you find commonality you are also finding might.

Is there a greater power than connecting unconnected things? Turn today into yesterday, lead into gold. The feelings and frameworks linking two sets of sounds: one murmured and acoustic, the other jabbering and artificial. Each of these songs conceals itself from sunlight. Each feels a shiver. Each is a processing, uncovering, not the settling of a thing. Harmony Trowbridge is vividly attentive to her melody, the balancing-act between sternness and sentiment. She wants to say exactly what, and no more. Sinjin Hawke, for all his overflowing, is the same: each beat is counted, each slick crash. The melody's slighter, but Hawke is just as dedicated to it - identifying his motifs, syncing them up, like lining up matching shards of mirror. Each of these songs knows itself sung backward: it has spent time in the rear-view, considering origin and decay.

[buy Harmony Trowbridge's excellent The More We Get Together, finally available as a download (previously) // Sinjin Hawke's magnum opus First Opus can be found here.]


(photo from reddit)

by Mitz

(photo by Coey Kerr)

Cadence Weapon - "My Crew(Woooo)" [Buy]

I've lived here in Montreal for over 10 years now.

I just want to ask people live in different cities about certain things happen/see here.

In your city/town, wherever you are, Do you see people commuting on unicycle? I often see that here.

Do you see people really into medieval things? I see that often.

How are the potholes in your city? Are they size of 18" Extra Large Pizza and can easily bathe small children?

Do you see racoon family eating poutine spilled on the ground late at night and when you take pictures with a flash, their eyes glow and look really awesome?

I've seen more things but the rest, I'll tell you another day.

Here is a video for this song.

by Jeff

The New Year - "Mayday" [bandcamp / buy LP]

Why are all the days on the calendar represented as squares? Neatly stacked in rows uniformly like bricks in a wall. Some days feel as though they should be shaped like stars or dark clouds. Some are fireworks displays, others are kitten paws or ocean waves. Dodecahedrons and spheres. In their defence, the calendar makers of the world don't know which ones will be the many-sided days that give our lives meaning, so they pretend that time is evenly distributed, that all days take up the same amount of space. But the calendars hanging in our minds are triangular and bouncy; textured and uneven, some days stay and others disappear. Each calendar is different. All they know for sure are the holidays and the transits of the moon.

With their calendrical name The New Year feel as though they should be marking out the even beat of days, square after square. But these are indie rock songs of the olde style (feat. members of Bedhead) and just like much of the quiet end of the late nineties, on repeated listening they reveal their spatial complexity. Their new LP Snow captures days of many shapes. It is an emotional calendar filled with desolation and hope, desire and skepticism, explored with a plain-spoken honesty that is deeply resonant.

by Jeff

pile of fox kits lying in the sun

Richard Thompson - "Foxes" [buy]

I saw a clutch of wild baby foxes in a secret location last week. Four of them. They were lying together in a pile in the sun by the entryway to their den. Taking pleasure in each other's closeness and the warm weather. They were probably born on a cold day, when the sky was slate and pouring down rain. Young kits, life has only improved in their short time here. While the world comes alive all around them there is time to lie, drowsy in the afternoon sun.

I wondered where they came from. How did they get there? But they might have asked me the same question, and I certainly wouldn't have had an answer for them. Instead we just looked at each other. Them only a second at me, me a long stretch of time at them. All we could do was acknowledge that here we were, breathing the same air, a brief encounter on our respective adventures.
--
I've loved Richard Thompson's soundtrack to Grizzly Man since it came out years ago and couldn't resist this opportunity to post the fox theme. The whole album is full of Thompson's inimitable folky guitar and the songs shimmer with light.

(photo by Spike)