Saturday, November 22, 2008


Here is my contribution to the latest installment of the Green Monkey Music Project. The theme is "eargasmic" music, basically those blissful recordings that work wonder on your eardrums and create an overwhelming sense of aural euphoria.

The following six songs represent a broad range of what fills my ears with delight and stimulates my higher brain functions. Of course narrowing it down to only six is a painful endeavor, and my selections are a small slice of the many wonderful songs that fill my ears with delight.

I would also recommend that you head over to I, Splotchy and check out some of the entries from the other participants and perhaps bless your ears with something new you may not have head before. OK, here it goes;

Catherine Wheel - "Black Metallic" - This song offers a compelling sensory experience and at the time it came out it foreshadowed a lot of great music to come. There is a muted tone present that results in even the "loud-quiet-loud" moments being less drastic than they would be otherwise and more soothing than perhaps it would have been if produced differently.

Cocteau Twins - "Cherry-Coloured Funk" - I remember many years ago persuading a college classmate to listen to this song on headphones. She had no frame of reference for this sort of music and had a uncharacteristically strong emotional response to it afterwards. She exclaimed rather innocently that it was as if someone was playing the soundtrack to one of those fantastic dreams where you are floating through the sky carelessly. This pretty well sums it up perfectly for me.

Roxy Music - "More Than This" - This is one of the most sublime pop songs ever produced. Bryan Ferry's tempered falsetto is complimented beautifully by the crisp and lush production. It is highly indicative of the romanticism of it's era, though unlike many of it's contemporaries this song maintains a degree of timelessness and still captivates by embracing a genuine sense of yearning.

DeVotchKa - "The Last Beat of My Heart" (2006) - Perhaps this would be a heretical statement to some, but I would be willing to state that this version is much better than the original by Siouxsie & The Banshees. Their is an organic warmth to this version that seems to draw you with a sense of urgency and immediacy that is not as easily identifiable in the original.

Pink Floyd - "Interstellar Overdrive" - This psychedelic instrumental odyssey possesses a dark and foreboding tone that is heavy and at times oppressive. It builds to a thundering crescendo and by the time it is over you do in fact feel like you have embarked on some perilous cosmic journey. I also want to give props to Gordon "the Hippie Bus Driver" who in my adolescent years made me a great mixed tape of Syd Barret era Pink Floyd, which totally blew my mind at the time.

My Bloody Valentine "Only Shallow" - This opening track from the legendary "Loveless" album immediately pulls you into a unique sonic journey. In the context of when it first came out it was a completely irrational and unparalleled sensory experience that held few points of reference. This piece challenges you to throw away the heady need to interpret and draw meaning. It is a dynamic soundscape that only demands that you approach it with the same degree of imagination and openness as put forward by the artists themselves.


Liberality said...

some of that stuff I am not familiar with--but will be soon! thanks for the great tips.

Comrade Kevin said...

I love "Interstellar Overdrive". It was one of the first songs I learned to play on the guitar.

Splotchy said...

Excellent descriptions! I am getting ready to publish the mix (with links to the songs).

If you want to verify yours before it's published, you can get them here.

(I tried sending you an email at the address on your profile, but it bounced)

Allison said...

Great choices! I'm not familiar with DeVotchKa - "The Last Beat of My Heart", I shall have to check that out. Also, my knowledge is limited on Roxy Music, but they keep popping up in the news recently. Thanks for the reminder there is still more music I need to uncover. :)

Westcoast Walker said...

Thanks for diving into my choices everyone. I am all too happy to share my musical obsessions with others!

A shout-out to you Splotchy for sharing the links and for inspiring this musical love fest.

Sean Wraight said...

Excellent choices Matthew. It's terrific to see you espouse the virtues of "Black Metallic". Such an amazing song. And "More Than This" has always held a special place in my musical heart. Even moreso since Bill Murray covered it on the Lost in Translation soundtrack.

Excellent choices and descriptions!


Barbara Bruederlin said...

Wonderful choices! Thanks so much for playing along.

I have not heard DeVotchKa's cover of The Last Beat of My Heart, but it is simply sublime. Of course they have a way of making everything sound sweepingly romantic, but in a gritty and real way, never too sweet.

And I firmly believe that the world needs more Roxy Music, so thank you for bringing More Than This to the table.

At first I was perplexed to see My Bloody Valentine on your list, but why not? I actually have that song on one of my workout cds, so it fits in so well everywhere.

I wonder if Gordon the Hippie Bus Driver ever knew what an influence he was having upon your young psyche. Bless him.

Dale said...

I've listened in on your choices and loved them along with your commentary. The Cocteau Twins could cure me of nearly any funk and the Catherine Wheel is perfect for dreaming on. Roxy Music makes sense too. The Floyd tune sent my little speakers on a trip but I emerged safely. Although I hadn't heard the DeV. before, it was great too. Thanks so much!