1 January 2017, WGRS Book 5

I didn’t set out to be a music critic, and I’m not sure exactly why I started writing about the tracks in my favorite virtual crate of records. I’ll speculate it was because I was writing nonfiction for a class with Joe Bonomo and didn’t have a steady DJ gig, so I figured if I wrote about the records, maybe people would listen to them without me being in the room to push the buttons and start them going. Never really thought about it before, but I’ve been copping Bonomo’s platform’s style in a different genre ever since I started writing about these tunes on Facebook. I think he’s the only person I know in real life who consistently writes a blog, so I must have had No Such Thing as Was in mind when I decided I needed a blog for the WGRS referents in How to Observe the Sun Safely. The entry for No. 154 is certainly an allusion to No Such Thing as Was. I’m not consciously trying to emulate Bonomo’s voice, although I do think often about things I learned from him, in particular a trick about blocking up lined verse as prose. I’ve not yet tried it out, but I mean to.

Another impetus to write about these tunes was my desire to subvert the DJ’s tendency toward secrecy. I wanted to tell everyone every record I had in the good stuff crate. I realized back then that it would take years and started anyway. One day I’ll sit down and cover all the rest of these records in a day, a week, a month, converting a periodic practice into a nonstop typing marathon, clack clack clack through a long roll of paper, and then we’ll be done. One day. Probably years from now when there are only a handful of tunes left to write about anyway.

In the Introduction to the last mixtape I went into detail about the transitions between songs, some more successful than others and still more getting descriptions more florid than perhaps they deserved. Not this time, except to note that I like the high-pass filter sweep bringing “Party Freaks” in over “Monkey See, Monkey Do” around 18:50. It’s simple, and it adds a cascading, grainy texture like playing sandpaper blocks down a Slip’N Slide.

Mostly as I listened back to this tape I thought to myself, “A lot of these mixes are lazy.” Some are extra good because of this laziness, but others of the mixes leave finesse and elegance to be desired. Cf. the mix out of “I Don’t Believe You Want to Get Up and Dance (Oops!)” into “Rock Your Baby,” which is discordant and fades The Gap Band out too rapidly just before 42:00. And four bars too many of Shadrach et al. over Stevie at 57:50. Sorry about that.

The more of these end-to-end overlays I make (and to this point I’ve made about 270, having just started mix 10), the more I think about excerpting smaller snippets of these songs and making something more compositional, like Ken Raw’s Left Handed Scissors or something even more complicated like I gather The Avalanches record my sister gave me for Christmas is. Gotta throw that one on the platter yet. Got a new platter for Christmas too. Our house is now home to a lovely piano black Pro-Ject turntable and a skein of yarn made from the coats of qiviut by a woman who oversees every inch of production. The people who deal in vicuña are jerks, apparently.

Anyway, a new year’s excitement abounds, and records flutter in the wings waiting to be transcribed. For now we’ve got to get back to the record show. Baby, let me do it, let me do it to you, baby. This is Warm Glow Record Show 5: We Can Workflow