Journey in Satchidananda: The Caribou 1000

caribou

As we’ve narrowed our purview considerably over the past year or two, our writing/creative staff has also shrunk. The Astral Plane signifies a very specific sort of club music at this point, but that wasn’t always the case and it won’t always be the case. Moving forward, we’ll be enlisting new writers to champions different sectors of the contemporary and classical sonic landscape. Today, we’ve got our friend from Miami, Jurassic, to take on Caribou’s much ballyhooed 1000 song playlist. Our man has dragged and dropped the 1000 songs into an easily digestible Spotify playlist of his own and has even gone through the trouble of segmenting it into some intriguing categories. Jurassic will emerge from his corporate dungeon every few weeks with a regular column on oddities and rarities from the world of jazz, afropop, Indian acid and beyond. Enjoy. – Gabe

To say the least, 2015 has been off to a rumbling start. At 1pm January 4th, I was notified that project I had been working on for the last year was slashed due to corporate grumblings. Nearly 30 people I worked with were laid off. I still have my job off of a corporate loophole. Now, and for the last three weeks, I have had Nothing to do. Nothing.  Now what would a regular person do in this situation. Panic? Find a new job? Find a new role? Probably. And what do I do? Keep my mouth shut. Act like I am doing something important and scour the depths of the internet for music.

Flash forward

January 14th @ 10 am est: Caribou tweets something. My search becomes much easier.

Screen Shot 2015-01-30 at 8.38.43 AM

January 20th @ 4pm est: I get a personal retweet from Caribou on my own personal twitter account.

What happened in those 6 days and 6 hours? Next time, on Serial.

Well, actually what happened was in my Nothing to do phase, I got super obsessive, compulsive and eager and searched and listened to (clips at least) each 1000 of those songs.

You can find the playlist here: The Longest Mixtape – 1000 (649) Songs from Caribou

UPDATE: Caribou has since created a playlist from his account, copying this list, robbing me of all potential followers 😦  Heres that one : The Longest Mixtape: Songs For You But if you want the OG, you know where to find it.

Now at this point you can click a link, subscribe, shuffle, and listen away. But if you wanna stay, you can hear some thoughts…

As you would expect (and hope) across 1000 songs, the variety of music is vast. Many selections are as you’d expect (Zepp, Stones, Sly, Curtis, Radiohead)  but there are a few niche more unexpected groups that I think are indicative of the entire list. Each is a distinct yet interrelated pole that seemingly centralize Snaith as an artist.

Check out the full Spotify playlists linked in the headers and individual tracks in the body after the jump…

African Rhythms and Grooves

  • One of the first aspects of this list that struck me was the volume and variety of African music. We find selections from Nigerian Highlife, Egyptian Psych-Jazz, Ethiopian Rare Groove and Ghanaian Lounge Beats. Unfortunately your author is not yet versed in the intricate differences. Rather he will talk about the overarching similarity he found and perhaps its connection to Caribou’s music.
  • The sheer beauty of my favorite African music effortlessly blends the driving and pulsing raw instrumental energy of German Krautrock with the infectious grooves and intoxicating lyrics of American Funk and Soul. Take Cos-Ber-Zam – Ne Noya that Snaith (as Daphni) remixes. The song, only around 4 minutes in length, immediately jumps into the lyric refrain that Snaith repurposes. The groove builds and the lyrics swell for the first 2 minutes. The second 2 minutes lose the lyrics, take this groove and drive it home. The lyrics make the groove and the groove becomes the lyrics.

Cos-Ber-Zam – Ne Noya

Disco, Funk and Early House Singles

    • Here’s a scenario: I walk into a record store and beeline for the Disco section because I want that good shit. I begin to flip through records and realize I have no idea what I’m looking for. I move to the House records. I see white labels and names and can’t make any sense of. There are no pictures and I wasn’t even born when this came out. I want the deep grooves but have no context. In the digital generation, we have a completely different sense of finding music. The world of 7’’ and b-sides is a fairly removed concept. This why any time someone offers a more experienced insight into which records actually bump, I am infinitely grateful. Unfortunately of all the music on the list, the singles had the by far lowest rate of return from Youtube to Spotify. Of the +/- 300 missing from this transfer, most are the singles.
    • Danny pulled out some stops here and I now find myself a little closer to understanding the world of the white label.

Garçons – French Boy

Spiritual Jazz

    • Yo so check it Alice Coltrane is the shit. Like everyone is always like John Coltrane this, John Coltrane that. But, like seriously, she rocks the harp like a blind mystical sun god transported from an underwater galaxy. Alice Coltrane – Journey In Satchidananda. I mean seriously.
    • Within this playlist, there isn’t much jazz but there is is definitely a focus on the later, spacier, slightly more rock infused variety. Rather than featuring complex and lengthy progressions. The bulk of these tracks vamp on a few chord changes and the variety comes in the textures that then build. In this sense, this type of jazz more closely parallels electronic music than say Bop in so much that the textures and the ordering and layering of individual parts make the groove and the whole.

Alice Coltrane – Journey In Satchindananda

SynthScapes

    • One human sitting alone in a dark basement bunker planted in front of a massive wall of wires, patch bays, switches, attenuators, and buttons. All acoustic instruments, save for an out of tune drum, have remained above ground. No sunlight seeps in. Human plugs cable into patch hole. Flips a switch. Music begins.
    • The synth molded music featured here is probably the least accessible and most obscure of the whole list. It also, in many ways, hits the hardest. Four bars can Bump, we take a breath and we are back in intergalactic travel. Take Tim Blake’s Last Ride of the Boogie Child, which Tim Sweeney also just featured on his Beats in Space compilation, Blake crafts a driving, proto-techno, piece which builds to a short vocal refrain. Like are we allowed to dance to this? This music simultaneously straddles Art and Club. Generally, many of these pieces derive from a more academic perspective yet their end result, really, is what we associate as dance music now. Find the groove, and rather than fly away and journey from it, now we loop it and let it ride.

Charanjit Singh – Raga Malkauns

So, what happens when you throw grooves from all over the African continent, a strong base in the Disco and House, a couple layers of Sythesphere and a sprinkling of some Spiritual jazziness into a big pot? Make sure spice it up with some Beach Boys songcraft and enough Dilla to realize you are not worthy and you’ll come out with something like Caribou and Daphni. Artists don’t usually take the sort of time Snaith needed to to amass this playlist. Fans and critics don’t usually take this much time obsessively pouring over it.. Either way we are afforded some spectacular insight into Caribou’s thinking and artistic with this list. Throw it on shuffle and vibe what you hear.

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