No Beats, Only Tears

I sometimes worry that people think I spend every waking hour listening to House/Disco/Techno and adding to my Discogs want list.  But the truth is that in between all of that (which, to be fair, I do a lot of), preparing/doing Secret Danger, and working for a DJ management/bookings agency, I actually do listen to music that won’t immediately make your mum think you are a) gay or b) the next Leah Betts.  I started off liking guitars and I’ll probably die liking them much much more than the latest Berghain mix CD, and I like a whole load of stuff that isn’t dance music, and yet DOESN’T EVEN HAVE GUITARS ON IT.  So there.

Overwhelming tongue-in-cheek arrogance aside, yesterday was Sunday, and I didn’t have much to do, so I compiled a short(ish) mix of some stuff that I really like at the moment.  Perhaps the most telling characteristic of this mix is the inclusion of 3 tracks from (3 separate) compilations on the Numero Group Imprint.  At least 2 years on from discovering this immpecable reissue label from Chicago I am still lapping up every single release which I can find – I only wish I could afford every single luxuriously packaged double vinyl set.  I did splash out on the Antena reissue last weekend, and I’ve included a track off it here.  The Catherine Howe track and the Mary Perrin track are also sourced from Numero releases, the former from Howe’s fantastic 1971 LP What A Beautiful Place (which I have blogged about here before), the latter from the first of the Wayfaring Strangers compilation series.  I really do implore you to check this label out.  If you haven’t got any money then email me and I will burn you some CDRs (seriously.)

The William Basinski piece is taken from the first in a four part series released between 2002 and 2003, collectively known as The Disintegration Loops.  The story behind this piece of music at first seems so contrived that it beggars belief, though once you take into account the subject matter with which it engages you can only conclude that it is probably true, and that the improbability of the backstory only adds to the majesty of Basinski’s achievement.  Basically the piece was constructed out of tape loops that the Texas born composer made in the early 1980s.  They held some unspecified personal significance to Basinski, and in the 2001 he decided to transfer the loops from analog reel-to-reel tape to a digital hard drive.  However once this process was started he found that the tapes were too old, and they began to disintegrate as they played, and he recorded them disintegrating.  The next part is the roll your eyes bit:  Basinski lives in Brooklen, and as he was completing this tapes on September 11th 2001 he watched the Twin Towers disintegrate before his eyes from the roof of his apartment building.  He and his friends played the loops all day as they saw New York as they knew it disintegrate before their eyes.  It seems impossible, but the music speaks for itself anyway.  In my modest opinion it’s one of the true works of art of the 21st century.  We’re probably going to do a Secret Danger ‘New York music’ special at some point – if enough of you write in I’ll do a listening party before hand and we’ll play all four parts in sequence.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy the mix.

No Beats, Only Tears by secretdangersociety


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