by Emma
Please note: MP3s are only kept online for a short time, and if this entry is from more than a couple of weeks ago, the music probably won't be available to download any more.


Sister Ernestine Washington - "I'm His Child"
1. There was one totally impossible day this past winter where it was somehow 15 degrees and devastatingly sunny, right in the middle of February, like someone had spliced the season out of order and didn't notice their mistake. A gift. This was in the beginning, when C. and I did not yet live in the same place but something was happening. He'd made me a mixtape and sent in the mail; pre-/post-war gospel+blues, the label said. A tape! The mail! Imagine! I had to go into the sunroom and dig out my cassette player to listen. The machine at this point is held together mostly by electrical tape and nostalgia and when I plugged it in and hit play - sun streaming in through my half-open window, trees listing in the small breeze, the whole world outside a dream about the world - these were the first notes I heard. Between the tape-warble and dust-static it sounded like I was tuning into a radio station from another planet. That piano! Those voices! A feeling so enormous and generous and sure of itself it seemed impossible that it could have come from people at all, let alone to me. All of history, recording, churches, choirs, a tangle of wires encased in plastic and me in my bedroom, in the glow of all this dumb luck. A world in which this much joy could make its way through time and space and media, through all these faulty, collapsing channels, and not just remain intact but somehow throw its light on me. In the letter that came with it he said who makes someone they like a tape like this?? but he knew and so did I. The answer right there in the room with me, singing.

Kanye West - "Ultralight Beam"*
2. When it came out, I listened to The Life Of Pablo straight through about 5 or 6 times. Now I can't listen to it ever again, I don't think. Something about the darkness running under even its brightest moments, something intuitive and intangible and too bright and too dark that maybe matches up too well with the contours of my own sadness, too out-of-control to listen to with anything but fear and disdain. It is an album for people who are mentally healthy enough to not notice or care about that feeling, or for those who are just far more comfortable with the skips in their own structure than I am. That said, when I am feeling low I turn, over and over again, to "Ultralight Beam." Specifically, I skip about halfway through the song and listen to Chance's perfect verse; those tiny scratches in his voice as he spits the first few sentences, the sweet urgency, sincerity, the joy of it, the speed and build held perfect in his steady pace. When he finishes I pull my phone out of my pocket, pull that little bar back, listen again and again, letting the feeling move through me as clear as a bell, struck and giddy and glowing.

Chance the Rapper - "Blessings"*
3. "Colouring Book" is the happiest album I've heard in a long long long time, and I'm so grateful for it I could cry. Not happy as in saccharine or corporate or aspirational or ignoring the truth of the world as it is, but as in pure joy conducted by a person who exists just to arrange it, the rarest kind of real. Every song on this album is just fucking brimming with love and happiness and pure excitement and you cannot help but be swept up. Chance somehow always sounds the most in control of his shit that a human could be and also like he just sprinted ten blocks to get here and give you the good news. Gospel, church. Whether you go in for the God-side of these things could not possibly matter less; if you believe in the possibility of being caught up in a feeling so otherworldly it can only possibly have come of the physical materials of everyday life, these songs will lift you all the way up. (One of my favourite lines of Chance's is in "Sunday Candy," a love song for his grandmother where he praises her hugs: "You smell like light, gas, water, electricity, rent.") There is an impossible kind of pleasure in watching someone so involved in their element, in the pure pull of the magic they're making, that they can't help but lift off the ground. A dream, a gift. Real joy.

[buy buy buy buy]

*(Linking to videos isn't the usual move around here, but I wanted to show you guys these songs without getting in copyright-related trouble.)

Posted by Emma at May 15, 2016 12:22 PM
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about said the gramophone
This is a daily sampler of really good songs. All tracks are posted out of love. Please go out and buy the records.

To hear a song in your browser, click the and it will begin playing. All songs are also available to download: just right-click the link and choose 'Save as...'

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Said the Gramophone launched in March 2003, and added songs in November of that year. It was one of the world's first mp3blogs.

If you would like to say hello, find out our mailing addresses or invite us to shows, please get in touch:
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"And I shall watch the ferry-boats / and they'll get high on a bluer ocean / against tomorrow's sky / and I will never grow so old again."
about the authors
Sean Michaels is the founder of Said the Gramophone. He is a writer, critic and author of the theremin novel Us Conductors. Follow him on Twitter or reach him by email here. Click here to browse his posts.

Emma Healey writes poems and essays in Toronto. She joined Said the Gramophone in 2015. This is her website and email her here.

Jeff Miller is a Montreal-based writer and zinemaker. He is the author of Ghost Pine: All Stories True and a bunch of other stories. He joined Said the Gramophone in 2015. Say hello on Twitter or email.

Mitz Takahashi is originally from Osaka, Japan who now lives and works as a furniture designer/maker in Montreal. English is not his first language so please forgive his glamour grammar mistakes. He is trying. He joined Said the Gramophone in 2015. Reach him by email here.

Site design and header typography by Neale McDavitt-Van Fleet. The header graphic is randomized: this one is by Neale McDavitt-Van Fleet.
Dan Beirne wrote regularly for Said the Gramophone from August 2004 to December 2014. He is an actor and writer living in Toronto. Any claim he makes about his life on here is probably untrue. Click here to browse his posts. Email him here.

Jordan Himelfarb wrote for Said the Gramophone from November 2004 to March 2012. He lives in Toronto. He is an opinion editor at the Toronto Star. Click here to browse his posts. Email him here.
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our favourite blogs
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Back to the World
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Destination: Out
Endless Banquet
A Grammar (Nitsuh Abebe)
Ill Doctrine
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Words and Music
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Gorilla vs Bear
Silent Shout
Clouds of Evil
The Dolby Apposition
Awesome Tapes from Africa
Matana Roberts
Pitchfork Reviews Reviews
i like you [podcast]
Nicola Meighan
radiolab [podcast]
CKUT Music
plethoric pundrigrions
Wattled Smoky Honeyeater
The Clear-Minded Creative
Torture Garden
Passion of the Weiss
Juan and Only
Horses Think
White Hotel
Then Play Long (Marcello Carlin)
Uno Moralez
Coming Up For Air (Matt Forsythe)
my love for you is a stampede of horses
It's Nice That
Song, by Toad
In Focus
WTF [podcast]
The Rest is Noise (Alex Ross)
My Daguerreotype Boyfriend
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drawn + quarterly
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blue skies turn black
montreal improv theatre
passovah productions
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Cult Montreal
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