Happy happy February bbs -- hope everyone's well rested after Moods on Tuesday and for the month of love (don't forget Valentine's day is this month! Yikes! Order those flowers stat!! (Or if you're more, order a cake for yourself stat!!)). I'm absolutely stoked to present the acrobatic artist duo Tabby this month, with some more goodies to come.
BUT FIRST: some things are starting to settle with Moods, which is fantastic. A few things:
-Posting the monthly Mood mix on the first Friday of every month feels like a great groove for now.
-Hosting an event/extra mix/extra goodie per month is also a nice touch. Two high quality items > flooding ur inbox.
-I'll be unlocking the past Mood to the $1 tier when the new Mood is up.
-Merch is in the works for those at the $20/month level. The rest of you can cop them in spring for a discount :*
NOW BACK 2 THE PROGRAM
Tabby is a two-man show with the presence of an entire community. Consisting of Matthew Conzelmann, who grew up in Ann Arbor then moved to Savannah, Georgia -- where John Swisher was born, raised, and met Matt -- their influences are way beyond the borders of the USA. Drawing from Japanese, German, and African sources in the adolescent internet of the 2000s meant their taste today is almost always reflective of these pivotal influences.
"John and I are both huge fans of the Japanese music past, specifically the 1980s," Matt said to me over text. It includes: Yellow Magic Orchestra; the music blog YING YANGS and their JAPS ONRY mixes; the site Listen to This! run by Jen Monroe; Pam from Okonkole y Trompa; residencies on NTS and Radio Jiro. Jen, Matt notes, "has done a handful of Japanese themed mixes, and tribute mixes to the likes of Haruomi Hosono and, recently, Yasuaki Shimizu." It's indicative of a phenomenon anyone under 30 probably witnessed: the internet became our record store, our radio, our outlet to discover niche sounds and scenes oceans away.
Tabby, in part to highlight and to tribute back to these tributes, load their set with Japanese synth pop, soul, and experimental, from Hitomitoi's "Chocolate Neverland" to Soichi Terada "Yokozuna Beach Chillin'." Some other notes include an African and African American pull, from the times John spent in Germany and the Southern US, like Oumou Sangaré's bright "Kamelemba" and the ****ICONIC**** "Zufall" by Cosa Rosa. What I like best is the attention to selection Tabby has -- the mix doesn't feel trivializing, nor does it feel too broad or "wordly" (which, to me, the word "wordly" is an insult by marginalizing literally any non-American music into a single label.) Avoiding these clichés takes intense finesse, and it works: the mix is picked with love, attention, and intent.
A summary in one sentence: an intercontinental, multi-dimensional, foundational hour inspired by dial up internet, early YouTube, and a glossy 80s aesthetic.
Masayoshi Takanaka - Kiss Your Helmet
Romie Singh - Dancing to Forget
Imitation - Narcissa
Harry Hosono and The Yellow Magic Band - Femme Fatale
Cosa Rosa - Zufall
Genji Sawai - Cha-Brown
Oumou Sangaré - Kamelemba
Rosaline Joyce - Try
Hitomitoi - Chocolate Neverland
Ryuichi Sakamoto - Rap the World
Dream 2 Science - My Love Turns to Liquid
Soichi Terada - Yokozuna Beach Chillin’
DJ Sports - Emotional Endeavor
M.J. Lallo - Aquarius Blue
Prism - Decalogue
Dreamscape - New Age
Norma Jean Bell - You Belong to Me (I’m the Baddest Bitch Remix)
ARTWORK + MORE
Tabby's mix is paired with Atsuko Tanaka's breakthrough piece Electric Dress from 1956. Caught inside a tangle of chords and brilliant colored bulbs, Tanaka would wiggle, spin, and drag the weight of technology literally on her shoulders. It's an apt parallel not only to the care Tabby takes in preserving Japanese classics in their mix, but it's also a mood I think we'll all be desperately trying to channel after listening.
To learn more about Tabby, head here.
To learn why the term "world music" is a capitalist mechanism to other, minimize, and package non-white, non-dominant culture as palpable (and so is the concept of a "genre" anyway), read this.