Monday, December 27, 2021

60 Voices: A mixtape to open your ears

It's year-end, a time when music lovers are besieged with lists and charts. These rankings rankle for several reasons. First, I refuse to view music as a contest. Yes, a "top ten" can be a way of highlighting new music. But I've been seeing too many, especially those of a historic nature, that serve only to confirm an existing canon. Read on, and you'll hear what I did about it: 60 carefully-chosen tracks mixed for your listening pleasure!

I particular, I've been seeing a fair few charts that date back to that heyday in which punk / post-punk / new wave / synth pop / electro / call-it-what-you-will was in full swing, filling ears with inventive combinations of frequencies. Yes, I am one of those old-timers who believes this to be the most fertile period in pop. Every time I venture back into the massive outpouring of music from this time, I find new songs that confirm this conjecture.

The main problem with the tired lists that are regurgitated annually is the lack of diverse voices. Sociopolitical realities being what they were, most of the vital material was anglophone, punk having started in the USA or UK (depending on who you ask). Nonetheless, it wasn't difficult for me to find amazing tracks in four different languages... some small improvement on the status quo.

The primary purpose of 60 Voices is to make an argument against the dominant male musical canon. So here are sixty incredible artists, answering that question posed by Girls At Our Best: "Who buys records with a man's voice?"

In curating this anthology I've avoided most of the obvious choices, but this depends on what is "obvious" to you. I had three Lene Lovich albums on eight-track tape in the late seventies... I figured she made pop music. But today no-one seems to have heard of her. So I guess she's obscure?

It was my mission to emphasise earlier tracks by artists that might have gone on to greatness (Cocteau Twins) or simply disappeared. It might be fun to play along and see how many songs you recognise, without looking at the track listing.

I've remastered every track; some will sound better here than anywhere else. Some official releases do a terrible job of preserving the music. I do hope that the Mixcloud compression isn't too horrid.

Though the compilation is split into three, I created it as one long mixtape, so the parts should flow smoothly into one another. Here's three hours and 18 minutes of music that took me some months to compile. No filler. All killer. 


Part One: 1978-79

Part Two: 1980-81

Part Three: 1982-83


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