AUGUST MIX by Ken Baumann

I’VE SWALLOWED MY REED

I didn’t listen to music while writing Solip. I found its voice too singsongy, too gross, too tremulous on its own. But I discovered some music outside that voice’s time with me, and I’ve found music since Solip’s publication that seems to sync with its curses and entertainments. Listen, or ignore, at whim.

* denotes that song was not available on Spotify

1. “Windowlicker” — Aphex Twin

This song probably laid the reflective eggs that lead to Solip’s voice. I’ve probably listened to it 300–400 times since I was 16. I love its funky sickliness.

2. “Good Friday” — Why?

The deadpan echo of that guitar hook and Yoni Wolf’s voice feels doomed and just right. And that chorus — If I’m sinking and laughing at something sunken in, I am — seems dead on to Solip’s style of dissolving hysteria.

3. “Señorita Panchita” — Neville Marcano

Give this guy all the gold. Everything in this song seems charming but slightly bent — his half-assed lilt and delivery, the off-tune woodwinds, the uneven tempo. All qualities that make me feel like it’s kin.

4. “Come Up and Get Me” — Death Grips*

This song feels perfectly built for today. Obliterative bass, machine claps, words like Artaud grew up in the projects and is now screaming at you, hoarse invitations, threats, self-hatred. It’s loud and it’s trying to destroy itself. Sound familiar?

5. “Way Too Gone (feat. Future)” — Young Jeezy

The weirdest Young Jeezy song. Scifi synths, delayed bass… I feel like this is the loneliest thug rap song that ever got radio play. It seems like Jeezy made this song as a ghost.

6. “A Year In a Minute” — Fennesz

Another one that I’ve listened to endlessly. There are songs that feel like palatable pieces of death, and this is one of them. There’s a portal hidden in it.

7. “Hatred of Music I” — Tim Hecker

This is another.

8. “Autumn 2” — Max Richter

Ricther recomposed Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons and seemed to isolate its essential creepiness in this one. Recently, I listened to this song 62 times in a row.

9. “Hunger Games” — Death Grips*

Another slippery, hunchbacked, childish, saccharine, dirty fucking song that I want to take over my living room randomly, as a chaotic exercise.

10. “Reeling The Liars In” — Swans

Just make this the American national anthem, already.

11. “You Fucking People Make Me Sick” — Swans

The song that plays over the death montage in the 800 hour long film based on a schizophrenic child’s fairy tale that the Hollywood studios shepherd all their wealth together to make and get projected from every screen available to us.

12. “La Valse 2” — Ravel

Plug in good headphones, max the sound, listen. Ravel composed this before suffering a life-altering head wound that would render his music repetitive and degenerative. A new theory is that the wound gave Ravel dementia. If so, this song — especially its early grumble awake — is majestic prophecy, pure and simple.

13. “Every Single Night” — Fiona Apple

I can feel her nerves taking over. Again: childish, feverish, desirous, hyperbolic. I don’t want to live inside this, but I love it.

14. “Like a Prayer” — Madonna

Whoever cut the theatrical trailer to Gummo knew that this song does not belong in the popular universe. Did Madonna get possessed by an abusive gargoyle dominatrix? What children had to die for her to summon this song with their blood? This song has been ransacking Heaven since its release, crushing its holy pillars and backing God up against the last wall.

15. “The Chalet Lines” — Belle and Sebastian

One of the most beautiful tragedies I’ve heard.

16. “God Only Knows (Stack-O-Vocals)” — The Beach Boys

These men made their voices into this. They often wore turtlenecks. Taken alone, these voices feel captured in an impossible-to-escape box, looping and praising beyond the last living ears.

17. “Let’s Live” — Aaron Neville

Romance.

To bring it back to Solip’s epigraph:

The call of love sounds very hollow

among these immobile rocks.

— Gustav Mahler

***

— Ken Baumann lives in Los Angeles. For more, see kenbaumann.com.

Cover credit: @ean11

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