top 10 favorite albums of 2006

  1. The Knife Silent Shout
  2. Grizzly Bear Yellow House
  3. Joanna Newsom Ys
  4. Neko Case Fox Confessor Brings the Flood
  5. Belle & Sebastian The Life Pursuit
  6. John Foxx Tiny Colour Movies
  7. Cat Power The Greatest
  8. Junior Boys So This Is Goodbye
  9. J Dilla Donuts
  10. Camera Obscura Let’s Get Out Of This Country

top 10 favorite songs of 2006

  1. Joanna Newsom “Emily”
  2. Grizzly Bear “Knife”
  3. The Knife “We Share Our Mother’s Health”
  4. Neko Case “Margaret vs. Pauline”
  5. Midlake “Roscoe”
  6. Camera Obscura “Tears For Affairs”
  7. Cat Power “Lived In Bars”
  8. The Knife “Forest Families”
  9. Beirut “Prenzlauerberg”
  10. Arctic Monkeys “When the Sun Goes Down”

All false claims! They do it just because they are stuck in a tiny time window of memory lane and brainlessly coerce their hogwash on our innocent eardrums. Here is the deal: There was absolutely no truth in spreading the thought that “Hey Jude” is the song that could go on forever. And now even you are getting it the wrong way perhaps. No! “Hey Jude” is just as flawless as your mother thinks it is (though she was born a long long time ago). It goes on for 7:11 (no pun intended) and every repetition of that ethereal “la la” loop is obligatory. You cannot change or shorten it or you deserve to be lynched. But still it cannot go on forever! And neither can this Rod Bernard song. It’s quite a peculiar realm if you are to define a song that is capable of going on forever. 

One false mocked example is Lamb Chop’s “Play-along” composed by Norman Martin in 1988. As annoying as it sounds and is, the third line is vaguely giving us a clue on how a never-ending song should sound like.

This is the song that doesn’t end. Yes, it goes on and on my friend. Some people started singing it not knowing what it was, And they’ll continue singing it forever just because …

If you have the nerve, there is a ten-hour version of this. See it for yourself if you think there ever exists such phenomenon. 

Almost the same formula - with a few decades fast-forward - can somehow be used for Panda Bear’s “Bro’s”? But can you imagine Noah Lennox going on and on about keeping up with healthy family relationships forever? Isn’t this juicy opus a tad too perfect to be looped indefinitely and isn’t it exactly why the duration of the song is just… let’s not touch that topic!

But according to the Norman Martin composition, if people start singing and not knowing what it was, then it can somehow be looped. Shall we just eradicate lyrics from our recipe though? They make our tunes time-bound and that is not what we are looking for.

I think if such song ever exists, it has to be wordless. Also it has to be electronic. Electronic music is not subject to time. It simply does not wear out. That’s how any Kraftwerk single sounds just as fresh out of oven as the next Kieran Hebden project. It should also carry a small dose of nostalgia but it has to do it in a very tactful way so it can catch up until somewhere near eternity. It should contain a loop that is… good! I mean presentable. I mean tame and presentable so it can stick. So it does not drive you bonkers. It should just be good. And for nostalgia, how about “faded images and analog sounds of childhood”?

A great part of what we frameworked is already found on Tommy 86’s collaboration with Sferro in what you are going to press play above also known as “Rapture”. This is no joke. You can paint your own perfect day. But I conveniently managed to stay at the mild head-banging state despite repeated listens. And no moving species in my surrounding seemed to be disturbed. This pain-relieving analgesic synthwave is introduced with an Italo disco keyboards neighboring Depeche Mode’s “Just Can’t Get Enough” but ascends to a consummate maze somewhere in the bright pop cloud of Human League. The 16-measure silent ping-pong bridge in the midst of this trance only seconds our denoted claim.

No hard feelings really! If your cerebral popsicle is melted through a strumming lo-fi hippie on MDMA, that I can totally understand. But I’m not going to push stop on this any time soon. And that makes Girlfriend Records a strong addition to our ghost radar. Especially when it is run by Sferro who is basically half of why “Rapture” is an inevitable heavy rotation per se.

The song was "Rapture"
performed by Sferro & Tommy '86
from Matters of the Heart

This round vast blue sphere known as earth creates confusing situations for us. We have to take sides and come clean with ourselves if we think too much. And if we only think a little a bit more, we may end up in ominous places in our own head. But there are reasons not to worry about them. And in almost all cases, music can act as a fine sedative catalyst.

Here is a heavy guilt one must carry simply by switching the morning news on as of late July 2014. It is normally a pile-up of anything encaged in the cloud below:

The MH17 crash, Putin, the improbability of an Israel vs. Palestine ceasefire, Gaza Strip blockade, Benjamin Netanyahu’s comments on how Palestine is to blame for everything, Hamas’ surface-to-air missiles, the rebel-held eastern Ukraine and the body transfer to the Netherlands, Isis militants seize Iraq monastery, expel monks and threaten to kill the Christians who refuse to evacuate the city immediately, NYPD in a hunt for the Brunx rapist, etc.

There is apparently no space for the unfortunate TV people to comfortably apply blueberry jam on their toasts without feeling cruel. According to stats, there should not be a sigh-less inhale-exhale for a sane living being adhering morality. But scrolling down your Instagram, there actually is.

I just checked and two of my friends are widely smiling on a sunny day laying under their rainbow parasol in Tuscany. Elsewhere in Istanbul there is a Denial-of-Service attack peril of selfies and Mojito shakes. Stockholm is burning. My girlfriend is out visiting the money museum and my mom is in the city bargain hunting. We are going to Budapest in three days. There will be spa and suntan galore. Another friend is exploring Kyoto after her internship and is possibly spending the most fruitful time of her life. There are BBQs in every 100 square meters of town and folks are discussing their favorite beers and ways to brew them at home.

And you know what? It’s fine! It really is. You should relax! I’m sorry but you shouldn’t carry that bagload of shit wherever you go. I am not saying do not watch the news. Do that and watch it for your entertainment! If you are to suffer for everything I can bring you an ocean of grief material. But that is not how nature works. You should have a nice weekend. Sorry if you are offended.

And the black cloud above can be a great intro to our tonight’s tune by Brooklyn-based Cloak. They have kept themselves as low-profile as possible. This is the only song I received from them by request. But the Videodrome-ish nightmare of the music video may give you more clues on how low the guys are willing to go. No plans for a release yet. I hope that news will change, too. I hope things change for the better, but meanwhile… have you played Starbound by the way? I don’t like early access versions. 

The song was "Pushed"
performed by Cloak
from (Demo)

In order to fatten one’s weak surrounding posse of admirers, one has to be a shameless aggregator who can gently steal, cunningly manipulate and ruthlessly claim the stolen sources of his own. And luckily to that end, in this posthumous blogosphere, there are no Harvard, Chicago or Vancouver referencing systems. Therefore if you notice no Creative Commons licensing around your designated precious source, just stay silent and the data will be yours. 

But shooting from the hip, there is no sign of stealth in what I’m doing to bring you tonight’s tune. All I did was reading a few XXJFG posts on Food Pyramid and accidentally coming across the deserted Altered Zones on one of their rotating backgrounds that was basically the cover art to the band’s 2010 album II. But they both kindled a palliative ambient watercourse that will keep me monitoring whatever they are up to.

For instance, the fantastic four might of Food Pyramid (C. Hontona, C. Farstak, J. Pfeiffe, M. Weather) have something with likes of a recommendation engine on their blog tagged as “Plateau” in which they introduce what is currently keeping their engine warm. And in that messy jazz suddently appears an amateour 3D-Studio-ish CGI animation called “End of the World 2012” by a Casina777 that features Eva Mendes, Tiger Woods, The Supreme Being from the movie The Fifth Element, Tom Cruise being hit by a watermelon and Alyssa Milano dancing Gangnam style. The background music is “Birthday Money” and it sounds eerily fit to the video. 

The band’s versatility does not end there. Food Pyramid is capable of being kosmische and kraut while reserving a love for the Shibuya-kei indie-pop lady Takako Minekawa. 

But what we have above is as Age of Empires II as a multi-instrumentalist band from Minneapolis, MN can sound like. Arp Navigators, the band’s collaboration with Roy Orb D.MT. is to be enjoyed as a whole. There is no lack of tranquil soundspheres in a track as mitigating as the opener “Windsong”. The album is filled with harmonious vivacious pads that monotonously set the mind at ease for a long odyssey to come.

Arp Navigators was released on Moon Glyph and is still worthy of being added to your cart.

The song was "Windsong"
performed by Food Pyramid & Roy Orb D.MT.
from Arp Navigators

the perks of having a bush tape in a high school in iran circa 1997

The following event happened about 17 years ago. Sorry for the high school dear diary language in advance.  

Tyranny of the Righteous Path

Iran circa the Spice Girls heat. Mollasadra high school, Karaj. As a high school kid, I usually found myself fed up with disturbing sermons and bizarre pointless rituals with almost no one to turn to. Even in the private company of fellow classmates, things were not that different. We were almost unanimously doomed to be brainwashed and programmed with the constant stream of the righteous path. Some of us felt lucky to be living in God’s most beloved land. Needless to say, Islam is not very fond of music. As a matter of fact, this timeless ultimate once-and-for-all manifesto towards eternal happiness for humankind finds itself very difficult to see you spending time being happy! There are assignments for every single hour of your life. There is very little time to be wasted with trivial unnecessary West-influenced nonsense such as watching a James Bond movie, listening to music or even hanging out in the city with your girlfriend. To be honest, all three are punished with fines.

During summer before the school started, my cousin brought herself a few CDs: Two Bush albums, Green Day, The Offspring and Sublime. Except the latter, she was forced to leave the rest for me having checked her luggage before her flight back only to realize she was not allowed to carry them inside. They were about to break and recycle them. It was my mother who saved them by convincing nice words.

I did not have a CD player so I asked a neighbor’s relatives to burn them into cassettes. In less than two months, I knew all the lyrics to every single song on those albums. I still know them inside out. Go ahead and name any song from Bush’s Sixteen Stone or Razorblade Suitcase and I will sing them for you right here right now! And among my new found heroes Gavin Rossdale, Dexter Holland, Billie Joe Armstrong and the late Bradley Nowell, the former actually became a very important part of my teenage years. One small problem though. There was almost not a single way I could get more information of him. No internet, no connection with the outside world and a static-full MTV India that was not in the slightest bit interested in alternative rock. I was completely detached from all the good stuff happening out there. And in return, every once in a year when my aunt tried to send stuff from USA to Iran that were supposed to come as relief, they were a bunch of mags with Backstreet Boys and Spice Girls on them. I once asked my uncle who had been living in California for nearly four decades to send me Beastie Boys’ Hello Nasty and Oasis’ Be Here Now. After months of patience, I got Smash Mouth and Hanson! I know all lyrics to Hanson! I also know the entire Astro Lounge by heart. ‘Cause what can you do? Life sucked! I’m very happy now. I’m a very happy person. Much more stable. I have Spotify! I have a blog and they haven’t sent me to jail yet. A bit out of reach for that.

The Summoning

That pathetic school day, I lent my Bush cassette to my classmate. He was a nice guy back then. A bit stupid but nice. I didn’t have a copy of the tape so I warned him to be careful with it. I had painted the tape and had written the tracklisting and song durations very carefully. Bush’s Razorblade Suitcase starts off with the sound of an angry dog. Not a very safe start. Islam is not fond of dogs either! Dogs are “najess (filthy)” and must be avoided. My classmate listened carefully to my warnings, put the cassette in his backpack and left for home. He promised to return it within one week. And he was nice enough to do that. But little did I know, despite the suit-n-tie family appearance, the poor boy came from a very close-minded conservative family. One in which the simple act of dating a girl would have had dire consequences of being harshly slapped in front of your friends and being grounded for days, let alone listening to rock music that ignites your satanic sinful side and fills your brain with infidelity and hellfire.

Not surprisingly, my classmate’s father had been informed of this tragic story and had called the merciless school principal about it. On the returning day, my classmate was summoned. The principle started searching his backpack and upon discovering the threatening tape had asked about the origins. Classmate immediately turned me in! So he was allowed to go back to the class. I was the next to be summoned. I saw the frowning bearded monster’s face as though he had just solved a murder mystery.

The most awkward investigation was to follow. I was asked to read and translate all the song titles. Each being followed by a weird comment from the principle “Swallowed? Why? Look how the Western culture is trying to swallow you? This is exactly what they’re doing.”, “Greedy Fly? The filthier, the better, right?”, “Cold Contagious? Isn’t it exactly how their culture war sounds like?

I was not physically punished, but my belongings were unapologetically confiscated. I knew it was going to be months before I hear Bush again. Gavin Rossdale’s perfect weary lungs were not going to be my closest comrades for a long time to come. Beleaguered and exasperated, I went home in complete silence bottling up my anger which was now doubled due to the painful empty space in my schoolbag. Back to square one. We needed a CD player as soon as possible. But it had probably the lowest priority in my dad’s to-do list.

The Aftermath

Years passed. Bush released two new albums, broke up, returned after nearly a decade and released another one. I have been through a rollercoaster of ups and downs and music has still remained my closest ally through thick and thin. I did not learn my lesson. I never will. My appetite for discovery has been unleashed to the strangest and the most astonishing of sounds. I have travelled from alternative to indie rock. Conceived Radiohead and learned how to enjoy Pavement. Then via “How To Disappear Completely” learned how a band goes through a sea change of sound experiments and also heard Beck’s Sea Change. I started blogging about music in 2007. I compensated whatever I had missed in the nineties and grew yet another limitless passion for electronic music and hip-hop. I am currently deciphering the paths to vaporwave, drone-ambient and seapunk. I guess all that confinement came to a happy ending after all. It could have been much better of course. But my life both musically and normally has made an exponential growth and I’m grateful to the path I have walked to be here.

So a thank you and a very big fuck you to everyone who has hindered my journey! The negligence, the state of being utterly underappreciated and overlooked, the ridiculously expected alienation and all the other things hand in hand to demonize the beauty of music in my ear! I don’t wish them luck. It would be unrealistic to exhibit Stockholm syndrome for the negativity of the past. But it is surely a bliss living and working in Stockholm. All that bullshit is nothing but food to my blogging here. So make yourself at this binary shelter!