Saturday Night, Sunday Late Afternoon #1

For a long time, I have fantasised of a Toilet Guppies soiree—a Sunday salon for hungover dreamers and incoming comedowns. A lounge where people may come to enjoy an afternoon of soothing atmospherics that, unlike café chill out or barely existent ambient music, are tripped up by mysterious sounds, unexpected instrumentation and swirling words. The place would be decked out in soft, Afghan carpets littered with ridiculously large cushions, and lit with scented candles distancing you from the odours of the body. Bearded ladies would serve you space cakes, opium tea and foot rubs. All of it serenaded by a soft, sonic dreamscape.

These sounds are for reclining, not for dancing. They're not for the moment, but for taking you away from your immediate surroundings. Knowing that most people don’t listen to lyrics, I’ve selected spoken word pieces to take the listener on a guided tour away from the body, sequenced in a way to tell a continuous narrative of sorts. Of course, an unbroken series of spoken word pieces would demand too much in terms of attention span, and grate against the patience. So every spoken word piece is interspersed with an evocative instrumental to flesh out the story. Most of these contain soundscapes beyond the merely musical, with field recordings, found sounds and various imitation foleying to convey the sea, wind or places far away from the enclosure of present reality.

Each compilation will have a theme, and for this first instalment it is wind and sea. Hear a mish-mash of exotica, tropicália, easy listening, Space Age pop, New Age folk, surf rock, golden oldies, novelty goofs, avant-garde experiments, field recordings, serious philosophy, earnest poetry, ribbing parodies, horror stories, unintentional outsider art, bandwagon psychedelia and various forms of exploitation genres, and be transported.

Now, these words and tunes may be, in part or in whole, naff, corny, silly, stupid, kitsch or poor taste. But everything is flawed, and sometimes the flaw is the most poignant characteristic. To enjoy something that’s also funny (perhaps unintentionally) is not a form of sarcasm. It is possible to take pleasure in something without taking it or yourself too seriously. There is no posturing smugness on this comp—no pop culture references and obscurity for the sake of it. All of the pieces of music here are eminently listenable, some on multiple levels, even. Nor is this compilation—with its mostly old music—an expression of irony’s kissing cousin, nostalgia. It's good, clean fun, that's all.

Just what you need after a night on the tiles.

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