The 12 MixTapes of Christmas

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The Twelve Mixtapes of Christmas have got nothing to do with Christmas (beyond being a gift to you) and they’re not actually mix tapes, or CDs for that matter – just mixes, each 49-minutes long, one posted to Randophonic’s Mixcloud for each day of Twelvetide (aka the Twelve Days of Christmas).

The mixes are in fact remnants of an unfinished project from a few years back that had something to do with compiling a playlist for an alternative to Alternative Rock (or whatever) radio station. To be honest, we’re not one hundred percent clear about any of it because somebody spilled (what we hope is) red wine on the official transcript, thus rendering key parts illegible.

Bottom line: it’s five hundred eighty-eight minutes of music covering all manner of ground, from David Bowie to Bow Wow Wow to Tuxedomoon to Claudine Longet, Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder, Captain Beefheart, Aphrodite’s Child, Tom Jones, Marilyn Manson, Ike + Tina Turner, anything and everything, as long as it’s good.

 

 

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YES – Beyond + Before

Yes – Beyond + Before aired July-25-2015 on CiTR.FM.101.9. An overlong and yet rather incomplete three part special dedicated entirely to the band known as Yes. Because founding member and bass master Chris Squire died last month, and respect is due.  Also, July 25th marked the forty-sixth anniversary of the release of Yes’s first album.

Here it is in three Mixcloud streams:

Podcast available here.

PROGRAM NOTES:

Part 1 (To The Edge) starts with track one, side one of the album known simply as Yes, and then moves chronologically through the next five albums (including the 1973 triple live set Yessongs), a time of solid change.

Part Two (In Deep) starts at the edge of the Topographic Ocean, from which point the good ship Yes either hit a reef and sunk, or sustained to reveal the true meaning of pretty much everything, possibly both.

Whatever happened, the next album, 1974’s Relayer, was every bit as ambitious, yet more focused.  Even most of the lyrics at least half made sense.

It would be three years before Yes’s next album, Going For One, which was okay, but Yes’s true glory seemed to be mostly in the past by now.  Or perhaps decades into the future as a rather stunning 2013 performance of Going For the One’s Awaken indicates.

Part 3 (New Language) skips the 1980s entirely and half of the 1990s (a period in which Yes reinvented itself as a massively successful pop act, and then seemingly got bored with it all). But come 1995, something genuinely interesting was brewing again, and it would continue until comfortably into the new millennium.  Did they match their earlier glories here?  Probably not.  But they certainly weren’t guilty anymore of not trying.

TRACKLISTS:

Part 1 – To The Edge

Beyond + Before – Yes (1969)
Astral Traveler – Time and a Word (1970)
Yours is no Disgrace [expanded] – Yes album + Yessongs (1971-73)
We have Heaven – Fragile (1971)
South Side of the Sky – Fragile (1971)
And You And I [expanded] – Close to the Edge + Yessongs (1972-73)

Part 2 – In Deep

Fragments of Topographic Oceans – Tales from Topographic Oceans (1973)
[most of] The Gates of Delirium [expanded] – Relayer (1974)
Awaken – Jon Anderson + Todmobile (live in Iceland, 2013)

Part 3 – New Language

Mind Drive [excerpt-1] – Keys to Ascension 2 (1996)
Can I + Face to Face – The Ladder (1999)
Brother of Mine [fragment] – Anderson Bruford Wakeman + Howe (1989)
Homecoming [excerpt] – The Ladder (1999)
New Language – The Ladder (1999)
That, that it is [edit] – Keys to Ascension 1 (1995)
Mind Drive [excerpt-2] – Keys to Ascension 2 (1996)
Footprints [excerpts] – Keys to Ascension 2 (1996)
Mind Drive [excerpt-3] – Keys to Ascension 2 (1996)
Dreamtime – Magnification (2001)
In the Presence of – Magnification (2001)
Children of Light [part-2] – Keys to Ascension 2 (1996)

BONUS VIDS:

Visions of Angles – a special Movie of the Week

Randophonic returns after a longer than intended midwinter break with an extra long Movie of the Week called Visions of Angles, which aired March-7th on CiTR.FM.101.9.

Here it is in two Mixcloud streams:

The podcast is available for download here.

It’s a roughly two hour distillation of a free form extended mix of mostly peaceful/cosmic possibilities that dates back to early last summer (2014). The days were long. The world was at peace. The entire universe was in tune.

The following highlights are not always exactly what got played, but they’re close enough.

Slowdive – in mind

Royksopp – Shores Of Easy

Tame Impala – Solitude Is Bliss (Time + Space Machine Remix)

Sendo Senshi – revisiting the past

Faithless – dust-childhood

Autechre – kalpol introl

Can – Obscura Primavera   

White Rainbow – Mystic Prism

Ornette Coleman + Howard Shore – The Black Meat

Tortoise – the suspension bridge at Iguazu Falls

Jetone – Huntington   

Spiritualized – cool waves [instrumental]

St. Etienne – like the swallow

St. Just Vigilantes – In Moderate Praise of Senseless Mobs

 

St. Just Vigilantes – For the Angel in the Angle

 

Grandaddy – So You’ll Aim Toward The Sky

Sigur Ros – Ára Bátur

 

A Traditional Randophonic Christmas

Randophonic’s first ever attempt at a proper Christmas show aired December 20th on CiTR.FM.101.9.

Here it is in two Mixcloud streams.

Plus a very special Movie of the Week — Monty Python’s Pleasures of the Dance.

The podcast of the full program is available for download here …

A special program in which we look back with fondness at cherished memories of Christmases past. Try to anyway, as it turns out the Jukebox is still stuck in minimum 49-percent prog-rock mode after the previous week’s 1974 blowout.

Which isn’t to say there aren’t plenty of highlights, seasonal and otherwise.

Sorry about that. The rest are guaranteed highlights, presented more or less in the order they were broadcast.

Van Der Graaf Generator – theme one

Written by George Martin for some TV show or other. Reimagined for drums, keyboards and various horns by Van Der Graaf Generator at their 70s freakout peak.

Manfred Mann’s Earth Band – Joybringer

Ripping off Gustav Holst, and owning it.

Jethro Tull – King Henry’s Madrigal

They don’t say which King Henry, though this strikes us as decidedly Shakespearean. Which raises the question. Where the hell are all the rocked up Shakespearean Christmas carols?

The Clash – if music could talk …

… then we truly would have peace on earth.

Delaney + Bonnie – where the soul never dies

What it’s really all about.

Beatles – Christmas time + The Word

The word is love.  The time is now.

Emerson Lake + Palmer – Jerusalem

An interpretation of William Blake’s cosmic musing on Britain’s industrial revolution (those dark Satanic mills) and Jesus Christ himself taking a little walk ‘cross England’s green and pleasant.  ELP at their least annoying.

Waterboys – December + Spirit

December even mentions the Christ child, but it’s not so much a Christmas song as a meditation on the gloomiest time of year, and how we always seem to find the light to see our way through, which seems to be what spirit’s all about.

Van Morrison – St. Dominic’s Preview

A song about many things, most of them indecipherable, but there is homesickness at the root of it. You think Buffalo’s a long way away? Try Belfast.

Manfred Mann’s Earth Band – father of night, father of day

In which the Earth Band manage in ten minutes what Bob Dylan’s original accomplished in less than two.  And yet, we’re pretty damned sure that the good Lord has love enough for both.

Link Wray – alone

Sad but true.

Mandalaband – The Eye of Wendor

From the first part of a long lost trilogy.

Joseph Spence – Santa Claus is coming to town

No one’s ever mumbled it better.

Ian Anderson – God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen

Philip Random’s favourite Christmas carol is not completely ruined by this sort of jazz rock arrangement … with small orchestra.

Gryphon – second spasm

The band that brought bassoons and krumhorns to rock. And one more time, why is there not more of this sort of Shakespearean groove available this time of year?

 

1974 – Part 3 – Sound Chasers

The final program of Randophonic’s three part celebration of the 40th anniversary of 1974 aired December 13th, on CiTR.FM.101.9.

Here’s the main Mixcloud stream.

Plus the extended Movie of the Week, Philip Random’s epic distillation of The Planet Gong Trilogy …

The podcast of the full program is available for download here …

Part Three takes on 1974’s elephant in the room, so-called Prog Rock, which it’s safe to say, peaked in 1974 (for better or for worse).

What is Prog Rock?  Quoting the Wiki

a rock music subgenre[2] that originated in the United Kingdom with further developments in Germany, Italy, and France, throughout the mid-to-late 1960s and 1970s. It developed from psychedelic rock, and originated, similarly to art rock, as an attempt to give greater artistic weight and credibility to rock music.[3] Bands abandoned the short pop single in favor of instrumentation and compositional techniques more frequently associated with jazz or classical music in an effort to give rock music the same level of musical sophistication and critical respect.[4]

But don’t read about it.  Listen to it …

Yes – Sound Chaser

Wherein Yes finally find that edge they’d been rhapsodizing about.  And weird and beautiful and fierce it is.  Also difficult to dance to.

Peter Hammill – modern *

(* mislabelled as The Comet The Course The Tail on-air) In which the Jesus of Angst waxes high and deep on the desperately strange state of things now and forever.

Jethro Tull – solitaire + back door angels

Tull’s previous two albums (Thick as a Brick and Passion Play) had both been mega concepts (single songs stretched across entire albums). Which made 1974’s War Child, (sporting no less than ten separate tracks), at least at little less dense. But it still seemed to be about everything …

Brian Eno – dead finks don’t talk

True, we played a pile of Eno last week, and he generally self-identified as Art Rock (as opposed to Progressive) being rather wary of the whole heavy concept scene. But if Dead Finks Don’t Talk is not completely concerned with expanding the form, what the hell is?

Triumvirat – illusions on a double dimple

The German trio who manage to rip off Emerson Lake and Palmer’s sound more or less completely.  And yet it’s better than ELP.  Not as aggressively pompous and absurd.  The guy’s not jamming daggers into his organ. There’s no flying piano.

King Crimson – fracture + red

If you’re talking prog-rock in any year, you must talk King Crimson. In 1974, they gave us two albums (Starless and Bible Black and Red — both monsters), and then that was it, Robert Fripp broke up the band forever … until 1981, but that’s a whole other story). Why the break-up? Because as Mr. Fripp put it at the time, “The old world, characterized by large, unwieldy and vampiric organizations, is in fact dead, and King Crimson with it.” But they did die well.

Renaissance – Mother Russia

They started as an offshoot of the Yardbirds, but somehow managed to lose everyone along the way whilst morphing into a unique prog outfit defined by the sweetness and power of singer Annie Haslam’s vocals, and their love of big deal Russian melodies.

MOVIE OF THE WEEK – THE PLANET GONG TRILOGY

The Planet Gong Trilogy started coming our way in 1973 and hit its midpoint in 1974. It’s best understood as the spaced out brainchild (it came to him in a vision) of uber-proto-hippie front man Daevid Allen (founding member of Soft Machine, visionary HOT guitar player).

But then it seems that the child in question crossed the street without asking permission, disappeared into the mysterious playground at the end of the block.

Which is to say, it never really ended. The trilogy, that is. At least that’s how we’ve interpreted things.

So it’s still out there, still exploding and expounding to the outer reaches of the ever expanding universe. Which is a mostly good thing.  Maybe we’ll eventually catch up to it.

1974 – Part 2 – future legends

Part Two of Randophonic’s three part celebration of the 40th anniversary of 1974 aired December 6th, on CiTR.FM.101.9.

Here it is in two Mixcloud streams.

And the Movie of the Week — Queen – Modern Times Rock + Roll

The podcast of the full program is available for download here …

Think of it as an at least halfway cool radio program from forty years ago playing not the popular stuff from the year, but the important stuff — the true wild and innocent sounds that kept the flesheating robots at bay for another three hundred days or so.  Brian Eno gets a lot of play because he released his first two solo albums in 1974 (and they, of course, changed everything forever). Otherwise, it’s a whole lotta everything, legendary and cool.

Brian Eno – needles in the camel’s eye

It hits you like a wall of solid pop.  Powerful and beautiful.

Roxy Music – all I want is you

A smart, sophisticated rocker from the band Eno had just left. Which raises the question. What would have happened if he’d stayed? What wouldn’t have happened? Would Richard Nixon even have had to resign?

Stevie Wonder – you haven’t done nothin’

In which even the blind man can see the bullshit.  74 was that kind of year.

The Undead – somebody super like you

From Phantom of the Paradise, definitely the best Faustian glam rock movie ever.

Sweet – ballroom blitz

In which the bubble-glam wunderkids hold nothing back, tear the whole room apart.

Sparks – talent is an asset

LA wasn’t glam enough so they moved to London and never really looked back. This one’s about Albert Einstein’s relatives.

Jade Warrior – monkey chant

Take an ancient Balinese monkey chant, lay down some psyche guitar. Disturb all the hippies.

Hot Chocolate – Emma

Emma has big dreams. She wants to be up on the silver screen. Spoiler alert: she kills herself in the end.

David Bowie – 1984 + sweet thing / candidate / sweet thing

Where was David Bowie in 1974?  A decade ahead of things in the year of the Diamond Dogs. Big Brother is supreme. Everybody loves him. And why shouldn’t they? Even monsters can be beautiful.

Brian Eno – seven deadly Finns

A single that didn’t really chart anywhere yet went a long way toward inventing the future sounds of punk, new wave etc. And it has yodeling.

Brian Eno – Third Uncle

It starts as a direct rip-off of Pink Floyd’s One of These Days.  By the time it’s over, it’s found an entirely other galaxy

Badfinger – just a chance

From their last album before the suicides started — the one that’s jammed with solid pop rock gems, but for whatever reason, got yanked from all the stores almost immediately after its release.

Strawbs – hero and heroine

Title track from another one of those shoulda-woulda-coulda-but-didn’t albums. Maybe Dave Cousins voice was just too weird, because you can’t blame all those mellotrons and angels amped way high in the mix.

Wings – nineteen hundred and eighty-five

The groove’s a killer. The production is pure drama. The lyrics don’t seem to be about anything. Where’s John Lennon when you need him?

Can – chain reaction

They’d just lost Damo Suzuki to the ozone or wherever. But they didn’t seem to mind, just kept working the infinite groove, pretty much inventing techno trance more than a decade ahead of schedule without realizing it.

Brian Eno – on some faraway beach

Lead off track from his first solo album — promising so much and, of course, he would deliver so much more.

Neil Young – ambulance blues

Neil is stuck on some dreary wintertime beach waiting for the paramedics to come. But it’s not an emergency really. The damage is already done.

Van Morrison – you don’t pull no punches but you don’t push the river

The true heart of Celtic soul gets laid bare here, epic and wise. You gotta learn to spot the difference between a foe you can knock down and a force of nature you best just go with, bound for great oceans and who knows what treasures on distant unseen shores?

Gram Parsons – 1000 dollar wedding

About as sad as sad songs get. And then he OD’ed on heroin.

Bob Dylan – dirge

Mr. Zimmerman enters the truly good part of his 1970s, and he’s definitely in a mood.

Anne Peebles – I can’t stand the rain .

It always rains too much. Why should 1974 be any different?

QUEEN – MODERN TIMES ROCK + ROLL (the Movie of the Week)

An almost one hour mix of Queen at the very beginning of their muchness.  Their first album (Queen 1) was released in 1973 but nobody heard it until 1974.

And by the end of 1974, we had two more to perplex and astonish us (Queen II + Sheer Heart Attack).

And confusing indeed it all was — a strange zone where Led Zeppelin and the Beach Boys seemed to hold equal measure, and everything in between.  Or as Philip Random puts it.  “Strange wild changes, absurd operatics, serious raunch, nymphs and ogres, black queens, white queens, Jesus Christ himself, fathers and sons, tenement funsters, lilies of the valley, tatterdemalions and junketers.  Bohemian Rhapsody was still over a year away and who needed it anyway? It was all there already. And if you were fifteen year old me, you ate it up.  Because it NEVER got any better than those first three albums and their Modern Times Rock’n’Roll … for lack of a better term.”

 

1974 – Part 1 – all secrecy no privacy

Part One of Randophonic’s three part celebration of the 40th anniversary of 1974 aired November 29th, on CiTR.FM.101.9.

Here it is in two Mixcloud streams. All Secrecy No Privacy:

The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway (an extended Movie of the Week):

The podcast of the full program is available for download here …

Think of it as a halfway cool radio program from forty years ago — a few guys running through some of the essential records of the year, not ranking them so much as just shouting them out. This is the important stuff. This is what has kept the flesheating robots at bay for the past three hundred or so days.  And they might have been stoned while they were doing it, so stuff is out of order and maybe a little confused, but in a good way, 1974 proving rather difficult to really pin down.

But there was certainly no shortage of darned fine music.

Kraftwerk – autobahn

Wherein some very smart German guys decide that what the world truly wants and needs is a sort of stretched out and techno-fied version of the Beach Boys’ Fun Fun Fun.  And they nail it, a hit single and album world wide.  The future is suddenly very cool.

MFSB – TSOP [the Sound of Philadelphia]

Disco wasn’t really a SOUND yet in 1974, so it wasn’t really annoying at all. Not yet anyway.

O’Jays – for the love of money

The root of all that evil. Same as it ever was.

Camel – freefall

Introducing progressive rock, the elephant in the room, which it’s safe to say peaked rather gloriously in 1974, with Camel as solid an example as any. Tight playing, complex arrangements, no fear of cosmic overload.

Alice Cooper – teenage lament ’74

Does it always suck to be a teenager? Probably. But as far as we know, 1974 is the only year that had an actual teenage lament.

Sensational Alex Harvey Band – the man in the jar

Straight outa Glasgow, and not just a little glam, but you would not want to mess with any of them.

Rolling Stones – fingerprint file

74 was not a great year for the Stones with Keith Richard heroin comatose pretty much the whole time and Mick Taylor (the best player they ever had) calling it quits. Yet they still nailed it big time with Fingerprint File.  All secrecy. No privacy.

BTO – not fragile

Big meat eating, truck driving riffs and melodies that rocked pretty much the whole world. Nothing pretty about any of it …

ELO – boy blue + Laredo tornado

ELO finally just went all the way technicolour with their fourth album, the concept known as El Dorado. These two flowed nicely together through the middle of side A.

10CC – Wall Street Shuffle

Blood sucking brokers ripping the whole world off, laughing all the way to hell and back. Some things never change.

Genesis – The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway [an extended Movie of the Week]

It’s hard to grasp now, but forty years ago Genesis were pretty much the epitome of strange and complex cool, with the four-sided Lamb Lies Down on Broadway (Peter Gabriel’s last album with the band) believed by many to be one of the genuine monsters of the so-called prog-rock genre, by many others to be simply monstrous.

What’s it about? To be honest, we’re pretty sure not even Peter Gabriel knows, and he wrote the lyrics.  That said, it seems to begin with an apocalypse of sorts. On Broadway. But nobody notices except Rael. Who’s Rael? He’s the (sort of) punk hero of the thing, whose weird adventures will take us deep into subterranean regions of mystery, pleasure, torment and lifeless packaging.

What’s the significance of the lamb? Not much, it seems.

Meanwhile from out of the steam a lamb lies down. This lamb has nothing whatsoever to do with Rael, or any other lamb. It just lies down on Broadway.

Sick Things – all hallow’s eve spectacular

Sick Things, which aired Saturday Nov.1 on CiTR.FM.101.9, is a rerun of a program that was originally broadcast in November 2011.

Here it is in three Mixcloud streams …

You can download the full podcast here.

The theme, of course, was Halloween, which is to say, all things creepy, weird and hopefully quite unsettling.  A few … lowlights.