Saturday, June 13, 2009

Vatnajoküll

In his most recent Guardian column Charlie Brooker reminisced about compiling C90s for friends and mentioned that something similar was possible using the playlist option on Spotify. 'If you're not familiar with it [Spotify], it's effectively a cross between iTunes and a customisable online radio station. I'd heard people raving about it and didn't grasp why, until suddenly I realised you could compile a playlist, then generate a URL for it that others can click on. It's like being able to mass-produce a compilation tape in minutes. OK, so it's broken up with irritating adverts now and then, but hey, it's easy to use and it seems to work.'

Here, then, is a Some Landscapes playlist featuring some of the music I have discussed on the blog:
http://open.spotify.com/user/plinius/playlist/1hSMm6tNhRU62No0rUWgov
I hope this works... you'll need to install Spotify first. (And apologies - I realise that Spotify is not yet available in some parts of the world, e.g. Canada and the USA).

I've listed the 20 tracks below with links to earlier posts. Some things I would like to have included aren't yet available on Spotify - for example, you can't hear Jonathan Richman singing 'Twilight in Boston', although you can listen to a rather mediocre cover version. Spotify are also a bit short on soundscapes and sound art, although I've included a Chris Watson track here. They don't have Gavin Bryars' 'The South Downs', but I've put in a Roxy Music instrumental of the same title instead (a B-side from 1980). The list features composers I haven't yet discussed here in detail, e.g. Vaughan Williams (I picked his 'Norfolk Rhapsody') and Mahler, from whose Das Lied von der Erde I've selected 'Der Einsame im Herbst' ("The lonely one in Autumn"), based on a poem by Chang Tsi. A few other tracks not yet covered on this blog are Cage's 'Imaginary Landscape', one of Moondog's evocations of the New York cityscape and a Durutti Column track that seemed appropriate.
The order here is the one imposed by Spotify (alphabetic based on album title, from Ambient 4: On Land to Weather Report). But it's not a bad one - and I like the way it ends with 'Vatnajoküll', the sound of "the 10,000 year climatic journey of ice formed deep within this Icelandic glacier and its lingering flow into the Norwegian Sea."

2 comments:

photahsiamirabel said...

Hi! If you are thinking about Vaughan Williams musical landscapes, the Lark Ascending is probably a piece you would love - also On Wenlock Edge. I have just released a book about that and discuss a little bit about him on this lens if you are interested:

http://www.squidoo.com/OnWenlockEdge100YearsOn

Plinius said...

Thanks. I'd welcome recommendations of interesting landscape related compositions.