Reorientation Songs

I’ve decided I’m too precious about what I post here. It’s a blog, not a newsletter. In an effort to shake off some of my self-enforced formalities here’s a run down of some stuff I’ve been listening to lately.

This song, and that first Os Mutantes record, seems to arc back into my consciousness every now and then; I haven’t thought about it in a while, then bam, it crops up in some mix I’m listening to or something, and that scraping guitar, the skipping euphoria.. it works, without delay. Another favourite from the album, the magnificent Francois Hardy cover –

I can’t say I’ve been gravitating towards sounds of late that sound much like one another, simply enjoyed the feeling of drifting again, which I feel like I haven’t been able to, or simply haven’t afforded myself, in a long time, that process of moving between virtual rooms and searching for recommendations, picking up on signals. It’s something I remember quite well from the simpler times of youtube, when its purpose to me was little more than a kind of music sharing/discovery platform, and a feeling I’ve found difficult to recapture, possibly since university around 5 years ago.

I had heard of Strawberry Switchblade before, I think as an aside in a few histories of new wave/new pop, but truth be told their big hits are a little over the sugar-line for me, indulging in a few too many of those 80s pop production tics that render a lot of that material time-locked beyond repair, but somewhere beyond the drum-machine kitsch there are rolling clouds of melancholy. It goes without saying that the name was something of a clue here, but the beauty of these colder, soaring moments can’t be understated.

The recent Arca record has also emerged from her back catalogue of spiky, abstract electronic confrontation and formed one of the most compelling pop projects I’ve heard in some time. I don’t feel like I’ve done it justice yet and need to sit with it for longer, but it feels like the disquietude made flesh of her previous albums has been exacerbated into a more direct and compelling realisation of the recent tendencies in “future-pop” – with an extra fuck you to anyone who is driven to run for the nearest exit for good measure.

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