Saturday, January 19, 2008

The Blindfold Test.

Here's a little game you can do at home too. Ever read those articles in music magazines where they make someone listen to a bunch of random tracks and they have to guess what they ae and comment on them? Ok, in magazines they're usually unoriginal enough to include stuff by the interviewees themselves, or stuff they produced or played on, and the guy has to act surprised. Not here, ladies and gentlemen.
What we're presenting is Ye Olde Blindfold Test, est. 2007.
1)You grab your WinAmp and put all your music folders in the playlist. All of them.
2)Then you set it on random and press play.
3)Then you turn the screen off or look the other way and try to identify what's playing, and write a couple of words' commentary about it if you feel it's necessary.
4)You post the results on your blog, or on your myspace profile, or as a Facebook note, or print them and nail them to the local church doors, whatever.

In my case, the playlist goes well over 30000 tracks (31352 to be precise), so setting that to random accounts for a rather satisfying level of unexpectedness. I did the test some time ago, and this is how i fared:

Ten songs - Blindfold test

1. Gilberto Gil - Domingou
Os Mutantes? The intro was a giveaway. Of course i like Os Mutantes but never found them all that focused - i appreciate their imaginative use of instruments and the wide and wild color they give to their songs, but only their best songs are actually going somewhere as a song and lyric. Plus, most of their best songs were actually by caetano, which doesn't really surprise anyone. (Is told what the song actually is) This one is a song with Gilberto Gil from one of his first albums. I need to listen to more Gil from that period!
2. PUSA - Shortwave
Presidents of the United States of America! God i love this band. They were important to me in the mid-nineties because they reminded us all that this kind of guitar music (i'm trying not to call it "grunge") could also be cheerful and joking, not just deep and angsty like Kurt made quite an extreme point in convincing us. This one's from one of their more recent albums - they had broken up at their peak, and reformed some years ago with a strong new repertoire. of course i know the old ones better.
3. Towa Tei - Technova
Technova, Towa Tei. Featuring Bebel Gilberto! I think this was the firt time Bebel got international exposure. The album itself is great, it has Arto in it, and Bebel of course, and even Maki Nomiya if i remember well! I remember once attending a videoart retrospective in Santiago, and being most surprised when the video for this song was shown. It was probably quite groundbreaking at the time, with the digital animation, the three arms...
It was Towa's first solo album, a special edition came out reently for the tenth anniversary. I first heard of Towa from his presence in Arto's O Corpo Sutil, which is one gem of an album. All-star participations, opened me to the work of so many geniuses: Bill Frisell, Marc Ribot, Vinicius Cantuaria of course, Yuka Honda, Amadeo Pace... plus Sakamoto and Eno! Going back to Technova, it seems to foreshadow so many things... coming from the NY dance scene, with bits of the london hip hop jazz, not yet exactly shibuya-kei...
4. Cassandra Wilson - Wichita Lineman
Wichita Lineman. Sounds like Cassandra Wilson! Yep, that's her. Beautiful song, i've developed a loving for Bacharach so strong i even went to see Dionne Warwick live this summer! This Cassandra album is my favourite (certain others i find, excuse me, rather boring), she covers some great songs: Only a Dream in Rio by James Taylor, Aguas de Março by Jobim, Hot Tamales by Robert Johnson...can't go wrong!
"i know he needs a short vacation"...that bit always stops me on my tracks!
5. Frank Zappa - Do it in C
Oooh, The Lost Episodes! The Blackouts! this is just a really short spoken track of Zappa's very first band. It says a lot that he published a spoken part but none of their playing... he had high standards and needed to live up to them! This one's off the Apocrypha bootleg, a precious and very elegantly designed affair. First time i heard it, it was as the first track on The Lost Episodes which is much, much easier to find. And legal, too!
Oh, this version also has some Studio Z muddling in it. There's Beefheart doing some of his trademark voices back before they were trademark. Before he was Beefheart as a matter of fact!
6. John Zorn - Avelut
Hmm. plenty of classical guitar, sounds chilean...Oops, couldn't have been wronger, it's John Zorn! it's a track from Masada Guitars. His Masada project is something wonderful, there's another double album i highly recommend but can't remember the title right now... this one's great too. It's funny, it does actually sound a bit like something played by John Williams with Horacio Salinas!
7. Flaming Lips - Thank You Jack White (For The Fiber Optic Jesus That You Gave Me)
Oh dear, what's.... OOOH! Flaming Lips! Thank You Jack White! It's a b-side, or rarity, but you really should track it down. The full title is indication enough! The first time i heard it i had it on loop for an hour... So simple, so spontaneous, so funny, so beautiful!
8. Arto Lindsay - Counting The Roses (self-remix)
Hmm, arto sounds involved... a remix perhaps? There's a sample and it's on loop, i'm waiting for something to happen... (peeks at screen) Counting The Roses. It's Arto! Lovely track from his remix album (ecomixes), only came out in japan... had to ebay for it! This track is apparently the soundtrack for some videogame. It says "self-remix", but i have no idea where to find the original, and actually doubt it's ever been released anywhere! But this is more than enough... lovely track. i'm glad we got Arto in this round of the game, after talking about him earlier!
9. Koop - Vuelvo al Sur
Vuelvo al Sur, probably by Gotan Project? plenty of background effects... it's not their beat...koop! I missed them when they played in trieste this autumn, I was in Faenza. I have very, very fond memories of their Summer Sun video (and the song of course!), always makes me feel a bit melancholy but happy at the same time. The first time i heard Piazzolla's Vuelvo Al Sur was when Caetano played it in Venice, back when he was touring for the Fina Estampa albums. Beautiful version his, but a tad too slow...i like this one better! How blasphemous!
10. Luis Alberto Spinetta y Fito Paez - Dejaste Ver Tu Corazon
Speaking of argentinians... this is Fito, from his album with Spinetta. A great, great, great album. the title is fairly simple to remember: La La La. I had this on a tape i'd copied from my cousin, it kept me company for so long... It's really hard to find on cd, i'd love to own a copy. I make do with the mp3s nowadays, but will probably pull the old tape out again one of these days.

That's it. Hopefully next time i won't be rambling insanely about Arto Lindsay. Now what i hope is that other bloggers i know see this and have a try, it's great fun despite being sort of self-centered. But then again, so is blogging.
Oh, almost forgot! There's also another rule:
5) If you have the time and the bandwidth, upload a track or two you've commented for all to hear!
Which, of course, i didn't.