These 12 Mixtapes of Christmas have got nothing to do with Randophonic’s other 12 Mixtapes of Christmas from two years ago, or even 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).
There’s no particular genre, no particular theme or agenda being pursued, beyond all selections coming from Randophonic’s ever expanding collection of used vinyl, which continues to simultaneously draw us back and propel us forward (sonically speaking) — music and noise and whatever else the world famous Randophonic Jukebox deems (or perhaps dreams) necessary toward our long term goal of solving all the world’s problems.
Bottom line: it’s five hundred eighty-eight minutes of music covering all manner of ground, from Roy Orbison to Curtis Mayfield to Can, Bob Dylan, Manfred Mann’s Earth Band, Kraftwerk, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and beyond (and that’s just from the first mix) — anything and everything, as long as it’s good.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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  – 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)
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
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.
a rock music subgenre 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. 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.
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.