Monday, January 20, 2014


Cover includes "The Woman in the Snow" segment of the 1964 film Kwaidan, ice crystals, and a Serge Lutens photo.

Rather than positing electronic and acoustic as diametric opposites, this mix highlights unique ways of complementing differences and fusions in crossover styles that, surprisingly to some, join to create a cohesive atmosphere. Nostalgia for the pre-technology age decrying the ‘state’ of today’s music dismisses electronics as coldly mechanic or inauthentic noise. This aims for a more expansive look at technology’s diverse possibilities of expression and innovation. Including musicians who diffuse genre classifications (often people seen as “lightweight”, outside of areas of exclusivity) and incorporate old-fashioned elements in new ways, breathing life into the old with their fresh perspectives.

KEY THEMES: across several categories such as film scores, triphop, jazz, & shoegaze, elements of nature [ice drips, wind, snowstorms], acoustic [bells, harp strings, music boxes, high piano keys] and synthetic [synths, samples] are alternated or combined


dekalog V.I - zbigniew preisner
incense - erykah badu
flaxen - dean blunt
last regrets - ryuichi sakamoto
massive attack + intro/a cosmic drama - flying lotus
beauty / flower & ice - nahoko kakiage
mad (dolls ost) - joe hisaishi
light from a dead star - lush
ice moon - sza
power of persuasion - oneohtrix point never
mirrorage - glasser
like you + segue 5 - kelis
clair de lune - isao tomita
2 weeks since you've gone - scott walker
hoshi to hane - rurutia
ukihashi (tale of genji ost) - haruomi hosono
dewy fields - bel canto
corpse - kingdom
camoflauge / happy end - ymo
captain - the knife
nightgulls - ippu-do
acid, bitter & sad - this mortal coil
leaving today - the divine comedy
jynweythek - aphex twin
nightporter - japan
parallelisme - miharu koshi
kaitei tonneru - guernica
yuki (kwaidan ost) - toru takemitsu
one caress - depeche mode
january v - max roach
tears fall in my heart (debussy) - akiko yano
too shy to say - stevie wonder
frosti - bjork
wurlitzer And celeste - sun ra
lovebird - susumu yokota
ringleader - shigeto
windows startup 98 - brian eno
burner - teebs
forbidden colours - ryuichi sakamoto
snow theme - lukid

This mix consists of many artists who are generally inspired by "classical"/older acoustic music. Some of these influences are expressed via straightforward samples/covers, but largely the references are somewhat skewed and genre-hopping. Here are a few of them:

Flying Lotus makes some of the most consistently interesting samples in music. Cosmogramma has recurring references to his aunt, harpist/composer Alice Coltrane. Teebs, Dean Blunt, and Shigeto also integrate interesting samples and mixtures of the acoustic and electronic. Susumu Yokota's sampling of Ravel on "Love Bird" is gorgeous - if you're interested in this sound I recommend his albums Flying Cat and Symbol. Particularly "Dying Black Swan" and "Blue Sky Yellow Sunflower", which combines both Reich's "Six Marimbas" and Debussy.

Ryuichi Sakamoto has ties in practically endless circles of music, experimenting with several sounds and musicians. He and his soundtrack for Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence, which exists in many forms including electronic and purely acoustic, were the main inspiration for this mix.

Kelis is one of the overlooked people I mentioned in the intro paragraph - she represents some of the women of pop/R&B who are usually considered to be the product of their producers, managers, etc. when in fact she is behind a lot of her music. Her sample of Mozart’s “Queen of the Night” aria transforms a refined opera piece into an upbeat groove. This is one song I cheated a bit with - it's not really wintery, but I just had to include it as part of this mix dedicated to interesting takes of old classics.

Classical music is deified and people think we should go back to that sound, but even when paying homage to classics, less rigidly-ahering parties such as Beyonce reimagining Ave Maria or Isao Tomita synthesizing Western classics incites cries of sacrilege/mockery. Of what I've heard, my favorite of Tomita's is his take on Ravel's "Daphnis et Chloe", but the chirping birds separated it a bit from this mix's wintery theme.

Synthpop bands like YMO, Japan, and Depeche Mode are dismissed as kitsch, dated, etc. despite having a huge influence on electronics. It's interesting to hear these bands tone down the bouncing synths to incorporate a stark harsh string (Depeche Mode's "One Caress"), ambient minimalism (YMO's entire BGM album), and the sparse, nocturnal atmosphere in Japan's Satie-inspired Nightporter. Continuing the Satie influence, Aphex Twin's drukqs is "a two-CD album that featured computer controlled piano songs influenced by Erik Satie and John Cage."

I had to include the family of bell, xylophone, marimba, glockenspiel type sounds. They can be heard often in jazz, as in Max Roach's "January V" and in Sun Ra's "Wurtlizer & Celeste". The latter of which features the sound of celestas, something I wanted to include in reference to Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker Suite, but in a more modern context.

Guernica is yet another interesting project involving Jun Togawa. Her hints of opera in her pop/punk stuff, (somewhat like Nina Hagen, another favorite unpredictable genre-bender) come to the forefront in "this Japanese trio from the 1980s [specializing] in avant-garde music in a retro 1920’s and 30’s cabaret style."

There is a wealth of amazing references throughout The Divine Comedy's body of work, as refracted through an incredible vocalist/lyricist. (It was very difficult choosing which TDC song to use for this.)

Akiko Yano's album Brooch consists of covers of mostly Western classics, translated into Japanese or English. The pianist that plays on many of the tracks, Yuji Takahashi, is also known for mixing electronic and classical.

Nahoko Kakiage has a background in opera and it shows in her two electronic solo albums full of classical references. According to, she "is a pioneer of the “classical crossover” which has taken root in Japan."

Bjork's Vespertine might be the most famous distillation of the electro-classical-winter sound. "Hidden Place" has a fantastic sample of Schoenberg's Transfigured Night, Op.4. I almost used the Aurora (Music Box Version).

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