Okay, this real-time-mix-o’-mine is really getting good. From Squarepusher, to Hud Mo, to John Tejada, to Plaid, to the ever elusive Jesse Legg’s o9 (pronouced oh nine) moniker. “Terminal Orange” is perhaps the only track in my arsenal that can follow the intricate rhythms and elegant melodies of Plaid’s “Buns” and do so not merely within those terms but entirely on its own trajectory.

o9-terminalorangeThis track is but one of many gems on o9′s massive Church of the Ghetto PC album, certainly one of the very best of its 2004 era, yet still virtually unknown even to this day. I discovered and purchased it from iTunes way back when, but the sound is so incredibly immense and the textures are so full and relentlessly refined that Apple’s 128kbps AAC encoding just couldn’t handle it. Way too much distortion for my delicate ears, which caused me to keep some distance from it for far too long.

I stumbled across “Terminal Orange” again today, and was instantly pulled in and every bit as enamored as my first listen in 2004. Tonight, I repurchased the album from Amazon, getting slightly better sound quality from their VBR mp3s, and the satisfaction of supporting o9 all over again. This particular track defies classification, it sounds like everything and nothing else, so familiar yet entirely foreign. I can’t get enough of it:

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This is the first time I have ever specifically saved an EQ setting in iTunes for a song / album. I finally have the sound just right, with no distortion whatsoever, and I do not want to lose it. And yes, I’m already working on the next track in the mix, and hope to have that sooner than the once a week postings as of late.

I am admittedly somewhat late to the game on John Tejada — the one and only Titonton Duvanté had him signed to his Residual Recordings label way back in 1998. I even remember seeing flyers for their parties with him in Columbus at that time, but I don’t think I ever made it to one of his shows. Definitely missed out.

johntejada-bounceJohn’s tracks were one of my earliest discoveries in the then newly launched iTunes Music Store, and I now have no fewer than 30 John Tejada singles and one-offs from his work on Poker Flat and his own Palette Recordings label. To this day, I continue to religiously seek them out.

I was able to hear him play live in San Francisco last summer, and he did not disappoint. His music has such an elegant and worldly quality to it, which is no surprise given that he was born in Austria to an opera singer (mother) and a conductor (father), and he moves fluently in and out of so many sub-genres of techno. As for “Bounce,” his Los Angeles roots shine bright as day with its almost hip-hop beat and measured production:

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While completely different stylistically, this track is every bit as densely layered and expertly sequenced as my two previous SOTD from Hudson Mohawke and Squarepusher. This is shaping up to be the start of a really good mix…

…let alone the “Arcadia” song itself, and it’s been out for well over half a year now. This is the older Morr Music sound I so dearly love, with a dash of Thom Yorke gone solo too. It’s both organic and mechanic.

I found the song first, after buying two tickets to see Akron/Family in San Francisco a few weeks ago. I was pleasantly surprised to find that Ticketmaster now rewards you for paying double for your ticket with a free download from iTunes. I had long since given up on the iTMS, since I detest the terms of engagement and poor sound quality (always puffed up to sound ‘better’ on those flimsy white headphones), but two free songs were enough to get me interested, so off I went to find something new.

Obviously, I was hooked in an instant, and I listened to this song over and over again (along with the other one I downloaded at the same time, which is good, but not nearly as memorable). And then I found the video:

I don’t know that I’ve ever seen anything as haunting, nor initially as off-putting, but I sat transfixed as I watched it. I am in awe of what people can do with illustration and animation, but rarely see both done so well at once. Organic and mechanic, again, and the results are stunning.

I’m not convinced this particular imagery is the perfect fit for the song, but since I’m genetically incapable of deciphering lyrics on my own, I can only point to what I feel in the song. And in that regard, there’s a certain soaring quality held back with a muted melancholy, and it’s this dichotomy that gives the song its tension and suspense.

There’s a beauty in both the song and the video, even if it remains unfulfilled in the end. But that’s what kept me listening to the song again and again, and now keeps me watching the video just as often. And I suppose that fact alone makes the video a worthy companion to the song.

On the subject of the dominance of Apple’s iPod and iTunes strategy versus the decay of the music industry, Bob Lefsetz saidbest:

A 45 held two tracks. An LP forty minutes. A CD seventy minutes. An iPod? DAYS WORTH! So, the ART FORM was challenged. How long should an album BE? Should there even BE any albums? Stunningly, both labels and artists are still debating this, still clinging to the album format when consumers only care about ONE THING! That the music be GOOD! They want a LOT of good music, and NONE bad.

I would also add that they want it NOW, with new stuff released often and in endless supply. But most of all, whatever it is, they want it FREE.

btw, I’ll have some more thoughts to add on this very subject in the next day or two. It’s really big, and I couldn’t be more proud of it. I can’t wait to share it with you.