what a nice piece of mind
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.


Elizabeth Anka Vajagic - "Iceland". Whiskey fumes and an overwarm room, this is an extraordinary tune from Vajagic's gothic folk debut, Stand With the Stillness of this Day. Elizabeth has a thick, bluesy voice, with just a little curl of madness in the chorus. "I'd like to go through Iceland / now," she sings, either confident, desperate, seductive or drunk. A piano plinks hauntingly in both speakers, with occasional passes by a beautifully recorded cello. The song's smeared in shadow, but there are also little flames of blue light. She's always one step away from a cabaret stage, completely lost in the song. Singing like Thalia Zedek or maybe Carla Brozulvich, she wanders in and out of the wings when it suits her, the other players taking their cues from tilts of the head, the way her hair falls over her face. [buy]

Splashdown - "Mayan Pilot". And, for those of you not so given to latenight Drambuie sipping, here's a lovely melon slice of pop - funky bass and spanish guitar. Melissa Kaplan sounds like a more restrained Nelly Furtado, nimble-voiced as she dances from lyric to lyric. The drums are just as light, a scattered dancepulse of snare and highhat. Perfect at less than three minutes, this is one of those pop hits that never was, a self-contained little world with rearing brightblue waves, an ever-assembling beach fair. Splashdown broke up after releasing the 5-song Redshift EP, so Capitol shelved their debut LP, Blueshift. Never fear! The internet being what it is, some enterprising and enthusiastic fan managed to nab a bootleg promo, and mp3s of the record are available here. Kaplan's solo project, Universal Hall Pass, has an album coming out in the fall, and you can hear her on, um, the Chronicles of Riddick soundtrack. The drummer, Kasson Crooker, plays with Freezepop. (thanks, kyree!)


Mark has posted a great, rare Dntel track over at Music for Robots, and beat me to the punch with a fun cut from the new Presidents of the United States of America album.

At Rodes's fine suggestion, I'm going to try to remember to put "gramophone" in the ID3 comments of any StG mp3s; those who are so-inclined will be able to keep track of 'em.

Cat left a comment on my Can post from last week, asking for more information on the band. I could fudge it, but are there any authorities out there who feel like dropping her/him an email? Fresh meat!

Posted by Sean at August 19, 2004 1:36 AM

That Elizabeth Anka Vajagic track is a bleary-eyed, woozy wonder. I just picked up "Stand With the Stillness of this Day" and have it on deck to be part of next weeks P77 mix.

Nice gothic packaging on the digi-pack as well.

Posted by chris at August 19, 2004 2:32 AM

the duke of candied apples is my name
making blippy beats that'll put yours to shame
email me, duke at freezepop dot net
1.7 gigs of spam is what you'll get

lyrical genius, those freezepoppers.

Posted by optimus at August 19, 2004 3:17 AM

Who knew insane old ladies could do such nice music. It's like a Nick Cave cover done by Pj Harvey.
Oh and no wonder your reader wants to know about Can, that track you posted the other day was fantastic. I'm obsessed by it now...

Posted by Matthew at August 19, 2004 5:54 AM

Can went through a number of phases, so it's hard to recommend one album. Probably the best way to get an overview is to buy or download their Cannibalism compilation CDs. My personal favorite song of theirs is "Yoo Doo Right" but it's pretty long...maybe not the best place to start. Also not much like the track you posted. Someone looking for more like Mighty Girl should skip the albums covered by Cannibalism 1. Hope that helps at least a little.

Posted by Mystical Beast at August 19, 2004 12:30 PM

I can say a few things about Can. They're a long-time obsession of mine. I'm finding it hard to say anything that really makes the music more accessible though. Be warned, the track Sean posted is not that typical of their classic years.

The core membership of Can was Irmin Schmidt (keyboards), Jaki Leibezeit (drums), guitarist Michael Karoli (guitar, violin), and Holger Czukay (bass). Czukay in particular was a sound experimentalist--I think he worked with Karlheinz Stockhausen before Can, and is more or less the guy who brought sampling into the rock universe--and in general the group had more in common with the sixties avant-garde than with rock. As part of that, they recruited
non-singer singers--first Malcolm Mooney, a black American deserter from the army, a street person with incipient schizophrenia, and his replacement Damo Suzuki, a Japanese street poet who didn't really speak English (Can's lyrics were in English). They became, with Neu! and Amon Duul I and II, the definers of what we now call Krautrock.

Their first few albums were uncompromisingly weird, with sidelong noise jams and minimalist, metronomic one-chord vamps, under yelpy vocals. Lots of in-studio free improv and sound collage. A wider range of styles gradually emerged, with pop, dub, funk and ambient finishes on the basic Can soup. I really recommend Ege Bamyasi and Tago Mago, the two albums that are really their.

After 1973, Suzuki left and they became a mostly instrumental unit and their songs became a lot more through-composed and less jammy. "Mighty Girl", the song Sean posted, is from that period. They did a lot of film music and played around with polyrhythms and "world" rhythms. (Leibzeit, by the way, is one of the great drummers, up there with the Meters' Ziggy Modeliste for being able to sustain a complex, polyrhythmic groove forever.) They broke up in 1978 but have gotten together for various projects since then. Czukay in particular has done a lot of interesting work.

That doesn't tell you much about what they sound like. It's hard to describe. Nobody listened to them at the time, but if you heard Ege Bamyasi now you'd be surprised at how contemporary it sounds, almost 35 years on.

Posted by rodii at August 19, 2004 1:17 PM

Whoo, long, sorry. Fave track: "I'm So Green" or maybe "Dizzy Dizzy."

For "the two albums that are really their" above: add "pinnacle". Sheesh.

Posted by rodii at August 19, 2004 1:23 PM


you CAN't leave out Delay 1968

from Butterfly to Little Star of Bethlehem.. what an amazing album

Posted by bw at August 20, 2004 12:16 PM

I've never heard Delay 1968, cept for a song or two.

But I should have included Future Days in the pinnacle group. Maybe AS the pinnacle, if it's the "ambient" Can you want. Listening to "Spray" is like having your head slowly fill with feathers.

Posted by rodii at August 20, 2004 12:52 PM

Just a minor timeline correction: first Java/Capitol shelved Blueshift, then the band members spent at least a year wrangling over it, and only then finally gave up and disbanded.

Posted by enterprising fan at August 20, 2004 9:00 PM

Can were on Top of the Pops!
Believe it or not Turtle Have Short Legs and I Want More were both on TOTP's, how mad is that?
Imagine Dave Lee Travis, or Jimmy Savil's face (or even better Tony Blackburn)

Posted by Stuart at September 2, 2004 8:31 AM

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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.

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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.

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.

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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.

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