Saturday, 24 December 2011

jamesreindeer - top five

so, here we are. christmas eve at last... and with the holiday spirit flowing thick and fast, might we briefly shine the spotlight in the direction of our very own commander in chief jamesreindeer for just a spell. not content with having worked tirelessly on the decorative stamp enterprise all year, as well as finding time to mix a whole host of albums, not to mention his efforts with our very own iron filings and sellotape, he is now keen to share with you his own 'top five' for the festive season. so, over to the man himself. then. mr jamesreindeer.


picking a 'top five' was initially pretty tough. so many possibilities to choose from. but since this is the decorative stamp, i knew it would have to be music-related really... and, this year, aside from all of the wonderful songs being created by the wonderful people surrounding me, i have on frequent occasion been escaping to the sounds coming out of KABL radio, san francisco. since as long as i can remember i have had a special spot for big band music, jazz, swing and the like. probably largely due to my dearest father extolling the the wonders of the glenn miller orchestra since i was but a young lad. so, please allow me to take a few moments to reveal my top five songs from another time.

although i do have distant recollections of this song from somewhere in my childhood, it was actually drawn back into my attention by the impossibly amazing adam curtis documentary 'the power of nightmares'. it turned out that this one particular song was playing when sayid qutb reached  his epiphany that all is wrong and corrupt in the western world. still, in a different mindset, i find it to be such a wonderfully warming piece, with glorious interplay between the two young protagonists, safe and cosy from the winter outside, whilst somewhat shyly drawing themselves closer. a truly beautiful arrangement, a perfect lyric sheet and the best possible performance. it does not get better than this.

again, another song from somewhere in the distant past, brought back into my consciousness by the moving image. this time taken from the much-loved david lynch movie mulholland drive. an absolutely sugar-sweet song detailing the reasons why this particular girl loves her particular boy. impossibly innocent and romantic indeed, and something so very far removed from the sexualised-ills of the modern pop song. a beautiful journey into a not-so-innocent past, but one which still held on to some certain simple charms since swept up in the mire of the modern meaningless experience. a lush arrangement, perfectly succinct and effortlessly delivered in finest style.

ahhh, it's too much. miss peggy just murders this piece; the first song from her first album, and it was all-business all the way from then on out. there are just too many amazing aspects to this song to even mention, her impossibly perfect voice, the incredibly observed lyrics, the deceptively simple, downbeat tone, the beautiful arrangement, the richness of the recording. not necessarily all hugs and smiles all over, but more a hymn for the disaffected, an old friend sharing a drink and sharing woes. can't go too far wrong there, to be sure. modern pop music curls up and dies in the face of it.

a song that initially grasped me sometimes in the late 1980's, i believe. as a little boy living in england, i would be sure of a friday night to sit down in front of 'top of the pops' on the BBC to take in the weeks pop hits and, for whatever marketing reason, this classic from miss cline had been re-released and gone straight to no.1, and how i was suddenly watching a vintage performance in glorious fuzzy black and white, slightly bemused at what was happening, but transported away by her perfect voice, performance and rendition of such a classic song. there shall never be a point where i am not ready to drift away to this beautiful masterpiece.

kind of cheating this one, in a way. in truth a recorded version of this song doesn't actually exist, and probably never will. but all year i have been treated to hearing nadia sing this old jazz standard around the house, in the street, in the park, by the lake. everytime she breaks into it spontaneously, i feel myself transported away to another world. such a beautiful melody, such simple but wonderfully evocative lyrics. it's a real favourite by all accounts and one that has been recorded by a host of jazz singers. be sure to find a nice, soothing rendition  for yourself, it does sound best when performed soft and slow.


so, there you have it. a wonderful selection of particularly soothing songs from our darkest, most-tortured genius. be sure to keep abreast of all jamesreindeer activities over at his own site, like him on facebook, make friends with him, and be sure to keep your ears open for a host of new releases in the new year, all stamped with his trademark production style and sinister vocals tones. there is still much on the horizon indeed... and, do be sure to have a lovely relaxing holiday period. we are sending you all peace, smiles and well-wishes collectively.

keep safe and warm

decorative stamp

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