My Affinity for the Infinite Infinities
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.


Leo Kottke - "The Fisherman"

One thing that sets John Fahey apart from other folk-revivalist finger-pickers is how slowly he plays. He draws out his patterns, leaving room for rhythmic play and filling in. It seems like Fahey could continue to add melodic lines to a part ad infinitum, like he has a million fingers, nine hundred ninety-nine thousand, nine hundred and ninety of which he only brings out on special occasions (concerts and recording dates) and even then only one at a time. But that’s just a beautiful trick. There are players as technically competent whose playing might not initially sound as dense, because they play fast all the time, from beginning to end, never adding, or taking away, just playing as hard as they can, almost artlessly, like how Brotzmann plays the saxophone and like the opposite of how he plays, too. One such guitarist is Leo Kottke, a pupil of Fahey’s.

That Leo Kottke can play guitar with startling precision and control is clear from any of his recordings. His ability, however, to write a good song is not always so clear. Sometimes he’s just showing off, a glorified acoustic Steve Vai. And sometimes he sings (yikes). But here he gets it right, playing precise (there is no other word) zigzagging runs, and steady, unrelenting bass patterns. There’s something satisfying in how light and sure his touch is (Fahey is clumsy in comparison), and there’s something deeply comfortable and familiar about this melody, this fisherman’s fugue. The real heart of the song, though - what makes it one of Kottke’s few great compositions - is the interval of 1:20 to 1:35 in which the treble loses its precision, ceases to serve as curlicue and flourish, and begins a short, convulsive ebb and flow. Meanwhile, the bass begins to descend and descend, eventually relenting, finally, for a moment leaving the treble alone to its simple two note seizure, before the song resumes its typically rigid Kottkean form. [Buy]


Panda and Angel - "Mexico"

Panda and Angel have an ear for the minor detail, for the small accompanying part that makes the difference between a dull song and a beautiful one. In fact, “Mexico” is nothing but those details and small parts, and the pregnant spaces in between. The percussion at the beginning, the repetitive vocals, the unambitiously picked acoustic guitar, the occasional electric guitar and tom hits – each is put in its exact right place. So that when the parts get bigger, and the drums commit, and horns, melodicas, and recorders are added, it has the desired emotional impact. This is Mexico on a cold morning by seaside. It is a lonely place, not recommended for tourists. [Info]

Posted by Jordan at October 27, 2005 2:23 PM

Thanks for the Panda & Angel track. I only recently got into them (their site has several mp3s, btw), but I'm impressed with what I've heard so far.

Posted by muruch at October 27, 2005 4:05 PM

leo leo leo i love you!!!!never stopped never will

Posted by peacecat at October 29, 2005 6:58 PM

But mexico is beautiful even in a cold morning by seaside. (i live in one of those)

Posted by Moka at November 1, 2005 5:29 PM

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This is a daily sampler of really good songs. All tracks are posted out of love. Please go out and buy the records.

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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.

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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.

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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
(◊ means they write about music)

Back to the World
La Blogothèque
Weird Canada
Destination: Out
Endless Banquet
A Grammar (Nitsuh Abebe)
Ill Doctrine
A London Salmagundi
Words and Music
Petites planétes
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
The Hood Internet

things we like in Montreal
st-viateur bagel
café olimpico
Euro-Deli Batory
le pick up
kem coba
le couteau
au pied de cochon
mamie clafoutis
tourtière australienne
chez boris
alati caserta
vices & versa
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drawn + quarterly
+ bottines &c

casa + sala + the hotel
blue skies turn black
montreal improv theatre
passovah productions
le cagibi
cinema du parc
pop pmontreal
yoga teacher Thea Metcalfe

Cult Montreal
The Believer
The Morning News
The Skinny