nobody there
by Sean
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.


Dreamies - "Program Ten (excerpt)". Mike lived in Boston and Montreal and now resides in Sweden. He likes lots of bands I like. He told me I should hear this album. This is what he said, not verbatim: "So it's by a guy calling himself 'Dreamies'." "The Dreamies?" "No, just Dreamies. No the. He was an accountant in the 60s and he decided he wanted to make music. So he quit his job and spent all his money making a studio in his basement, learning to use it, learning to play instruments, recording an album. He spent a year doing this. And when he was done he released the album and then went back to work as an accountant and never recorded anything again. Each side of the LP is a single track. Experimental folk weirdness. Lots of samples. It just got reissued."

And then this is what I did not say to him, but might have, had I already heard this song then; had I already cuddled up in its thrum and drone, in its Roy Harper jangle and its proto-Grandaddy bliss; had I already felt the thrill of the theme that fades under sirens and broken dishes, returning like a lover you never expected to hear again; had I already done all this, I might have said:

"Mike, this is amazing. Is it a dream, Mike? Is it a shortwave transmission sent back to us from Venus? Is it what happens when you plug a transmitter aerial into a man's heart? How can a single strum and a multitracked voice keep my fascination for so long? How can something so long forgotten sound so much like Grizzly Bear or Wyrd Visions? How can this sound like "Mother Nature's Son" and "Revolution 9"? How can an accountant make such a beautiful music? If televisions were birds, is this what they would sing? Who was this guy, Mike, and why is his website so weird?"


Camera Obscura - "Country Mile". We established several months ago that I like the sad Camera Obscura songs - well, that and "Keep It Clean". And while others go a little crazy for Let's Get Out of this Country, I'm left wishing there were more small and tender pieces - or, then again, that the glossy soul thumpers were even bigger, even tambouriner. But there's one song on the record I keep returning to, over and over. It's this one. A slow, sad one - a tune about long-distance love that's close to despairing. I interviewed Tracyanne Campbell a couple months ago and this is the song that most recalls her conversational voice: the pauses, the hesitancy, the sudden ardour. She is so front and centre here - forget the strings, the guitar, the keening lap steel. We're here for one thing: the woman spotlighted, sorrowful, and stronger each time she admits "I feel lost". It's not a depressing song, however - not for me. There's too much to long for when she sings "I wish you could be here with me / I would show you off like a trophy". There's a dusky promise when she sings "a blink of these lashes would make you come"... It's not depressing because there's no finality to the song. Strings swell in and out. "I hope," she sings. And it ends without any great climax. (The next song is the upbeat dance number called "If Looks Could Kill".) This is a song like a moment's sorrow. Like a pause for you to wipe your eyes. To write a postcard.


Posted by Sean at June 16, 2006 3:00 AM

and for everyone's pleasure VPRO is streaming the new C.Obscura now:


Posted by bmr at June 16, 2006 8:11 AM

that dreamies site is quite creepy.

Posted by Dylan at June 16, 2006 5:38 PM

So sometimes I cheat. I listen to the music and I don't do the reading. Today was that kind of day. But then I had to return to Dreamies again and again. Really, I had no idea that the whole Kennedy riff was probably taken straight off the TV. And what's with the jangling can of spray paint--he was channeling, no, presaging, Daniel Johnston and NWA? So I'm right there with the question--why is his web site so weird?-- so I click, and click, and now I'm wide awake with Zarqawi's Jesus eyes in my head and the babe in the Reagan shirt. I feel cheated on. Better give it another listen.

Posted by ll kirchner at June 18, 2006 3:03 PM

"if televisions were birds, is this what they would sing?"

Posted by shan at June 18, 2006 10:22 PM

Dreamies,...this has to be a hoax!!! Im kinda finding it hard to believe this was done in the 70's for some reason. The music, okay, but his vocals sounds soooo, well, now. It sounds like someones pulling a fast one on us, and its working out very well indeed, well atleast for me. It really reminded me of "Bog Lord" and how its 10 minute bash just flew by carelessly; and I ended up spending half an hour just trying to soak up anything that it would let me. Thank you, its a nice find.

Posted by cory at June 20, 2006 4:40 AM

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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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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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