Monday, May 25, 2020

"It's the imperfections - the faintly out of tune guitar, the voice, the rasp that creeps in, the garbled lyric, the sigh, the unexpected drum fill played by human hand, these are the things I gravitate to in my favourite music... the humanness of it." - Susanna Hoffs

This line reminded me of a mix I had put together called Dancing on the Night Wire. It features copious amounts of Per Gessle demos and sketchy Kino recordings, all reminiscent of a bedroom recording from 1984. It features human imperfections, but I seek out another kind of clumsiness. It's in the thin production, the super gawky synths, the tinny drums and the double tracked oohs in the background.

The dream would be to analyse each of these songs, to take them apart in order to figure what kinds of instruments they use and what kinds of hooks they employ. I'd even bask in the lyrical themes and dramatic lexicon. I'd slavishly strive toward a perfect kind of imperfect, all while being mindful that at some point, I would need to stop replicating these other artists and accept my own unique brand of mediocrity.

I store these songs in some imagined dream space in my mind, somewhere between Sweden and the USSR in the 1980s. It only just occurred to me that the midpoint between these two countries is Finland. Perhaps that's one reason that I came back with C&CM Finnish Podcast #65. The country exists as another kind of dream space, one where the days never really got dark, back when it was still possible to go outside and cackle together for hours.

To some listeners, some demos would be too shabby to exist, but for me, so many of these rough sketches reveal a modest kind of beauty. The recording is created when the artist is in a state of flow, yet the imperfection of the recording betrays an uncomfortable creative midpoint. I wonder how these demos came into existence. I wonder how is it possible to press record when the inner-perfectionist never leaves you alone?

Dancing on the night wire, Turku

Cassettes & Chocolate Milk: Finnish Podcast #65
Leevi and the Leavings - Pohjois-Karjala
Kaseva - Mari
Jukka Nousiainen - Jukan tehdas
Litku Klemetti - Sinä tiedät sen
Digital Dance - Cairo C
Dingo - Autiotalo
Eppu Normaali - Joka päivä ja jokaikinen yö
Leevi and the Leavings - En tahdo sinua enää

Download (84.7 MB)

Explore Podcasts 1-64 here


Shot97 Retro said...

I was jamming to it all and had to do a double take when I thought I heard my name at 32:21, I went back to 30:58 and thought maybe I misheard because the song was from 1997. Love how you tried to pronounce it "What?!", and your comment on the guitar solo. haha. Completely loved jamming to all of these songs, and I surely would not have come across them personally without you! Fantastic DJ commentary and I love reading the write ups prior to listening!

Eleanor said...

Thanks so much for your feedback and support, Shot97! It means so much! So cool to hear you liked the mix, there's still so much more Finnish music to feature but I guess I'll have to keep that for another episode!

Shot97 Retro said...

Keep 'em coming! Whenever inspired to of course!

Lightning Raider said...

I'd just like to thank you for all these podcasts. I have downloaded them and listen to them randomly, to increase the fun. Currently listening to #53, but they're all good. A labour of luv but much enjoyed at this end.

Eleanor said...

Thanks @Lightning Radar! I'm glad you're enjoying them, that's great news! There's more to come... eventually!