Who has the time to sit down and listen to a thousand-song, nearly-three-day playlist? It’s a surprise Caribou’s Dan Snaith even had the spare hours to compile it, all while embarking on a 2015 that looks to be even bigger than last year for the producer, who continues to ride the wave of October’s stunning LP ‘Our Love’. He’s managed it though, calling the mixtape a “thank you” for the great 2014 he had, and a “musical history of my life”.
Snaith suggests at the beginning of the playlist that it should be listened to on shuffle. Some might need one thousand inspirations for January exams, or three days straight on YouTube for one reason or another, and that’s fine, go ahead and listen to it all, but for those with less time, DIY have picked out the ten best things heard while shuffling excitedly through Caribou’s musical history for hours. It’s pretty diverse, and most certainly weird. There’s Usher, for instance.
From dug up gems to Snaith surprises, here’s ten picks from the 1000-song monster mixtape:
1. Luboš Fišer - ‘The Magic Yard’
Luboš Fišer was a late Czech composer, active from the late 1960s to his death in 1999. It’s a mystery where this piece fits into Dan Snaith’s musical history, and why it served itself up as the first taster of the thousand songs on shuffle, but it’s a haunting piece that turns from sugar-sweet Hollywood to dog barking (yep) to haunting darkness and then back to pan flutes again in the space of thirty seconds, never sitting still, always experimenting. Thanks for the introduction, Dan.
2. Placebo - ‘Humpty Dumpty’
No, not a b-side from Brian Molko’s rabble like DIY were expecting when stumbling upon this track somewhere amongst Caribou’s musical history, but instead a gorgeous instrumental, horn-led cut from ‘70s jazz band Placebo (sorry Brother, Deers, Saint Pepsi and co; legal threats for name changes are a new phenomenon it seems). The track is best known for being sampled in J Dilla track ‘Love Jones’, but serves as a beautiful calmer for all those Caribou fans who thought they were about to jam out ‘Nancy Boy’.
3. Usher - ‘Climax’
For how strange it seems on the surface for Caribou to be listening to Usher, ‘Climax’ actually makes sense as something Dan Snaith would be into when you give it a spin; its melody (which Snaith has described as “perfect” in interviews, certainly isn’t worlds away from the bubbling lead lines that inhabit ‘Our Love’. Usher collab on Caribou LP5 please, world.
4. Neutral Milk Hotel - ‘Ghost’
When considering Caribou’s musical style, ‘The Longest Mixtape’ is somewhat predictably made up of electronica, rap, house and styles far away from the guitar. As a result, this cut from 1998 classic ‘In The Aeroplane Over The Sea’ sticks out a little amongst the thousand. Let’s assume it occupies the baggy-jeaned teenage Jeff Mangum-adoration phase of his musical history. Everyone had one.
5. William Onyeabor - ‘When The Going Is Smooth And Good’
Snaith has been vocal in his support and adoration of legendary, mysterious Nigerian artist William Onyeabor along with his contemporaries James Holden and Four Tet, and just in case he hadn’t made the mixtape quite lengthy enough, a near-fourteen minute track from Onyeabor’s 2013 compilation ‘Who Is William Onyeabor?’ has been chosen. There’s barely any up and down in said fourteen minutes, and thus by the end it feels a bit like a fairground ride you are never, ever going to get off, but Caribou’s love of Onyeabor is well justified.
6. LCD Soundsystem - ‘Someone Great (Instrumental’)
‘Someone Great’ sans lyrics. A great idea, it turns out. Removing James Murphy’s (albeit brilliant) vocals from the track makes it seem even bigger, and built for festival tents worldwide. Get this in a Daphni DJ set this Summer, thanks, Dan.
7. Gas - ‘Untitled 2’
Gas was the project of German musician Wolfgang Voigt, and this track appears on ‘Pop’, their final album. In a quote taken from a 2006 interview and placed below the YouTube video, Voigt says the idea was to create music that “literally flows over, which has no beginning or end, no hard edges, only softness”, and the kaleidoscope-esque video teamed with nearly nine minutes of, indeed, no hard edges, made for a quite uncomfortable jolt back to consciousness when ‘Oops (Oh My)’ by Tweet ft. Missy Elliott followed it on shuffle.
8. Britney Spears - ‘Breathe On Me (James Holden dub)’
A deep, dark corner of YouTube has been reached here. James Holden has, quite wonderfully, taken Britney’s 2003 hit and turned it into nine minutes of relentless, pounding sounds, only incorporating Britney’s breathing from the original track. Holden is also saying something in Italian on the video but Google translate didn’t help much with that one. There was always bound to be some incomprehensibly strange choices amongst a thousand, granted.
9. Crash Course In Science - ‘Flying Turns’
1980s band Crash Course In Science were renowned for using kitchen utensils in their music, and there’s definitely some kind of metal appliance being used for the main instrumentation here. A wok, maybe. It’s presumed that this discovery from Snaith came from the same era as his Kraftwerk phase, with the German outfit probably the most highly represented artist within the mixtape, and their rigid electro is certainly present in ‘Flying Turns’.
10. Missy Elliott ft. Nicole Wray and Mc Solaar - ‘All N My Grill’
There’s a delightful amount of Missy Elliott-featuring tracks in Dan Snaith’s thousand, and this is probably the highlight. There’s a rap verse in French, the most wonderful classic r’n’b outfits and poses, and all the expected doses of flash cars, bling, and, um, people getting angry about a traffic jam.
Thanks for the journey, Dan. It’s been extremely strange, as these ten highlights show, and maybe if three days in the calendar free themselves soon, DIY will have a sleepover with equal amounts Missy Elliott and Kraftwerk and listen to the whole thing. If you’re feeling brave enough, the entire mixtape can be streamed here.
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