Discover more from The Unskippables
how do you want your death to sound?
plus the week's best from kieran hebden, william tyler, MEMORIALS, MC W1 and erotic anime video game music
I’ve been thinking a lot about Ryuichi Sakamoto’s funeral., the playlist he prepared for his own…funeral. Sakamoto knew he was dying, having been diagnosed with colon cancer in 2021, so it’s not surprising that a man who would make playlists for restaurants he frequented would also want to leave a soundtrack for after he died.
The playlist is one of the best examples of curation feels like a critical mode of expression, telling a story through the pacing from ambient to pop to plaintive piano. The break into Bach at the playlist’s back half feels like a release into the void, moving outside of pop and art into music that’s elemental to anyone using twelve notes to compose. It’s an emotional turn in the back half of the playlist, only to end on two final pop songs and then then to dissolve into the drifting haze of Laurel Halo’s “Breath.” It’s a playlist meant for departure, but it’s mostly striking for how much it sounds like standing on the edge of the unknown.
And with that, here are the week’s Good Links:
Aughts To Trot – I remixed NYC italo-poppers Shallowhalo’s “Renaissance Affair” after hanging out at their singer’s weekly party, hearing the type of CSS/Soulwax/DFA stuff that popped off, taking that as permission for egregious reverb on the handclaps.
Vice (RIP!) on Tom Sandoval’s music (yikes!) in simpler times – VICE may be going bankrupt, so let’s go back to 2016 when VICE still had cash (and office snacks) and the worst thing Tom Sandoval did was make this song.
On Bruce Pavitt, Music Critic – Eli Enis waxes on the inspiring prose of Sub Pop founder Bruce Pavitt from the Sub Pop zine era, and why its worth digging into pre-internet zine music writing.
Kieran Hebden and William Tyler – Darkness, Darkness
Hebden has been the hardest working man in electronic music this Spring, from b2b pop-ups in NYC, hopping in as a last-minute Coachella headliner, dropping the Three Drums EP, and now collaborating with guitarist William Tyler on “Darkness, Darkness” for Psychic Hotline. The resulting track is a sprawling, psych-y jam, which feels more “Electric Funeral” than Electric Daisy Carnival. It spirals more than it surges, and it invites where others might pummel. Excellent.
MEMORIALS – Peacemaker
MEMORIALS is a collaboration between Verity Susman (Electrelane) and Matthew Simms (Hug It Back), and it’s the exact type of psych-kraut rock you hope the two would produce. “Peacemaker” is particularly CAN-y, but their album Women Against the Bomb has a ton of vocal pop moments that recall Susman’s excellent outfit.
MC W1, MC Doiszin, MC Marc7 – SET DA GM
There’s a synth drop in the middle of this song that sounds like it was mixed 2x louder than everything else and it’s fucked up and chaotic and maybe the first genuinely surprising music I’ve heard this year?
Activity – Careful Let’s Sleepwalk
Activity are my favorite anti-rock rock band. “Careful Let’s Sleepwalk” is the first track off their upcoming LP Spirit In The Room, and like their excellent debut Unmask Whoever, every move is about building a paranoid wall of sound, adding new layers when absolutely necessary to earn the guitar explosion at the 2:30 mark.
CHASE B feat. Ty Dolla $ign, Don Toliver, Quavo, Travis Scott - Ring Ring
This song leans heavily on the watery “lo-fi” guitar sound slathered over Spotify’s New Music Weekly, but thankfully CHASE B and the guest verses are simply too fun and memorable to be dragged down.
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YU-NO OST – A Girl Who Chants Love at the Bound of this World
“Mostly FM synth scores to erotic anime video games from the 90s” is the new all-time answer to my favorite party question “what are you listening to?” Nothing is better than getting a genuine surprise when someone reveals the *real shit* they’re into. Jake, who I met a week ago at the sound.off gallery opening, pointed me to the ‘98 PC version of YU-NO, a two-hour showcase for the talents of composer Ryu Umemoto who also wrote the music for EVE burst error, Akai Katana, and Instant Brain.