Amoeblog

(In which we mix up something good.)

Posted by Job O Brother, August 10, 2009 08:28pm | Post a Comment

Yum!

Today I’ve been doing one of my favorite things: making a mix-tape. Of course, I’m not using any tape in this process, but somehow saying “mix cd” feels awkward. Much like saying “dump Coke” and “poop shoulder” – those are also awkward to say.

Anyway, crafting a playlist for a pal is one of my great joys. I don’t have much free time these days, what with my stupid ol’ grown-up lifestyle, but I used to make mix-tapes for people at the drop of a hat. The most casual of relationships could be an excuse.

“What are you doing, Job?”

“Making a mix-tape.”

“For who?”

“A guy from the bakery.”

“What guy?”

“…The baker.”

“Oh. You’re friends with the baker? The old dude? Isn’t he, like, half deaf?”

“Is he? I dunno. I only just met him yesterday. Well, I mean, I saw him. Baking... things. I didn’t really talk to him. But there was music playing in his bakery – some Sarah Vaughn – so I thought I’d make him a mix of cool jazz and vocalists and maybe even throw in some early French cabaret…”

And so it goes.

A good mix-tape isn’t just an assortment of rad songs, though they’re the meat of it. I’m of the opinion that truly neat-o mixes are bound together by little, sonic amuse-bouches; snippets of odd, silly, or even spooky clips. A line from a movie, an excerpted musical flourish, an individual sound effect even – all these things work.

Also – and I’m starting to wish I had instructed you in the beginning of this blog to imagine these words being said by Julia Child, because I love the idea of her giving insights into making mix-tapes… Tell you what, from now on, just imagine her voice as you read, okay?


Wonderful!

Anyhow, one thing I like to include in mix-tapes are novelty songs. By this I mean songs that I don’t necessarily think the listener will love, per se, but marvel at. They might be horrid tunes, or hilarious ones, or maybe just something designed to confound the listener. My dear friend Carrie, for instance, has received many mix-tapes from me, and I always include at least one song from a musician I know she thinks she hates, all in my devoted* attempt to get her to open her heart to the artist.

What follows now is a compilation of tunes or acts that I’ve used in mix-tapes, not for their catchiness, intelligence or beauty, but simply because they add a certain je ne sais quoi. (That’s French for total, home-style radness.)




































*desperate

(During which the author continues to unpack.)

Posted by Job O Brother, May 17, 2009 10:20pm | Post a Comment

The author decorates his new Study.

It’s late. I’m tired. And earthquaked. I’d no sooner finished up my final box of bric-a-brac placement, when the latest in seismic waves rocked my little piece of Los Angeles.

What occurred in my imagination was far more dramatic than what actually took place. In my mind, my bookshelf toppled over on me and I was knocked unconscious by my collection of creepy, antique clowns and monkeys. Naturally the wound would cause me to fall into a coma, and since the boyfriend is in Vegas for the weekend, I wouldn’t be discovered until late tomorrow. Although he’d rush me to the hospital (taking time to wolf down a Cliff Builder Bar – this candy bar masquerading as a protein supplement he’s addicted to) and I’d be put on life-support, my vegetative state would last for days.

By the time I came out of the coma, I would have lost 180 pounds (making me a very fashionable 5 pounds) and my speech would sound like a recitation of Dada poetry. For some reason I’d be scared of celery, too, though the doctors would never understand why.


Now with easy-to-open flaps!

My fantasy tragedy went on longer than the actual earthquake.

Throughout unpacking my ridiculous belongings, music played. I found I gravitated to two kinds of tunes while I worked: female musicians who could be linked (either directly or loosely) to the "Laurel Canyon sound," and creepy, difficult noises. (And yes, I know that for some of you, those two things are one and the same. Har – de – f**king – har.)

What follows is a short version of today’s playlist. For the full experience, I recommend playing this music while dusting off crickety, old portraits of dead people, polishing a Samurai sword, trying to find the right place to hang portraits (that’s plural) of St. Rita, and eating a salad from Trader Joe’s. And, of course, during the last song, get into an earthquake.

Have fun!