Tuesday, March 14, 2006

31st Desert Island Disc selection

Courtesy of Todd Melnick, you hereby are presented with the 31st desert island disc selection. The collection point is here for those interested.
1. Sonic Youth, "Superstar"

Long ago and oh so far away I fell in love with Sonic Youth. Nobody else in my high school had ever heard of them. A teenaged version of me drove up to New York for the Goo album release party at the Roseland Ballroom. My ears rang for the next three days. It's so sad that their cover of the entire White Album was never executed, but at least we have their Superstar. The original came out the year I was born and my childhood was littered with Carpenters tracks. At the point of this one song, at least, my preadolescent tastes and what came after achieve an implausible synthesis. I still shiver when the bass comes in just as the song's fading out.

2. Nick Cave, "The Mercy Seat"

"When I hear Mingus / When I hear Mingus . . . God / When I hear Mingus"


"Mingus / Play / God / For Me"

[r. cephas jones, "God, Mingus and Myself"]

For me, it's like that. I experience this effect most strongly with the original version, but the acoustic version works as well, and so does Johnny Cash's, and even Stromkern's.

3. Einstürzende Neubauten, "Ende Neu"

The most recent of my three most memorable gigs came just a few weeks ago, here in San Diego. Blixa performed Rede/Speech at the Casbah. We chatted with him for a minute afterwards, and like the total fans we are, asked for his autograph. This EN song gives me so much energy.

4. Ibrahim Tatlises, "Cane Cane"

My friend Sebastian brought "Söylim mi?" back from Turkey. He liked this song so much he memorized all the words (without understanding them). I liked it almost as much. That was the year I really started to discover the world. We would go drive around Geneva blasting it out if the speakers of Sebastian's old red Citroën (the kind they call the ugly Duck in Holland (de lelijke eend), but in Flanders the goat (de geit).

One Michigan January night in the middle of a blizzard in 1995 I met Ibrahim Parlak for the first time. It turned out that the guy who wrote the original Cane Cane had been a friend of his. He had an instrumental version on CD and put it on. They arrested Ibrahim two years ago and the struggle to keep him from being deported is still ongoing [ http://www.freeibrahim.com/].

(p.s. the song's name is pronounced something like "zhahnay zhahnay.")

5. Serge Gainsbourg, "Bonnie And Clyde (En Duo Avec Brigitte Bardot)"

So many Gainsbourg songs are candidates but this is the one I play the most. I first met this song indirectly, as mediated by MC Solaar's "Le nouveau western."

6. Arvo Part, "Cantus in Memory of Benjamin Britten"

"Le 'Cantus in memory of Benjamin Britten' offre un climat général reflétant paix et tristesse ineffable."

7. Lou Reed, "Perfect Day"

Some friends and I approximated this day in Regent's Park. We fed no animals, but we laid out our blankets just beside the zoo. We had our pot of Sangria. Taking liberties with the song, we rolled up some sushi and brought it too. I think I remember running to catch a movie, too, as night was falling, but maybe I am mixing things up.

8. Sonic Youth, "Trilogy"

The energy is just so wild. That last chord comes with such a satisfying crunch, so much built up and so much so perfectly resolved. They aren't my favorite band any more but I need to see this slab of three-in-oneness live, just once, before I die.

But if I don't, at least I was there for the Atomic Jam at the Jazz Cafe in Camden Town on the 14th of April, 1996, when Lee and Thurston played with Ascension. For me, that was the gig of gigs. And to make it even more perfect, I was at the Sonic Youth show three nights later at the Forum where Ascension opened and the drunk teenagers started throwing glasses at the band and the drummer jumped out from behind his kit and dove into the crowd and started beating on one of the offenders, who then jumped up on stage and charged the drummer before being intercepted by the security people.

Those days, those days.
Just for including EN in this list, I am sure Cloud will love it and be impressed.

So that's 31 folks... anyone know of any other lists out there that could do with being included in the listing?


Rob said...

I salute someone else with Arvo Part on his desert island (same CD, different track). Great piece (especially the bell effect at the very end).

Anonymous said...


I visited Cloud's list to see who'd be impressed, and discovered a link to the Nuyorican Poets Cafe.

As it happens, the poem by r. cephas jones quoted in connection with "The Mercy Seat" is from Aloud: Voices from the Nuyorican Poets Cafe.

The other piece by Arvo Pärt I might have chosen is "Sarah Was Ninety Years Old."