Midnight Radio

Holy Day

The time changed last night. The end of Daylight Savings Time is my favorite holiday because it creates more night. And if you’re staying at a motel, you get a free hour. Changing the clocks should be the biggest holiday of all because it’s a glorious reminder that if we can rearrange time, we can do whatever we want: Reorganize the alphabet. Invent new colors. Add more days to the week. Replace money with hugs. While we’re at it, let’s turn the clocks back to a Saturday night in 1977 and write a different future. It’s such a beautiful thing, to collectively tinker with our fictions and rules.

Leyland Kirby’s ongoing series as The Caretaker uses deeply reverberated ballroom songs from the 1930s as a departure point for a sprawling investigation into the nature of memory, time, and age that flickers between haunted nostalgia and moments of pure sonic heartbreak.

The Caretaker – Misplaced in Time

Everywhere at the End of Time, 2016 | More information
Midnight Radio

We Need New Gods

The world is overheating, its seas rising while corporations prey upon the sick and weary. Pent-up vibrations of war fill the air and we have a vicious idiot in the highest office, determined to hold our thoughts hostage until some bottomless void is filled. Meanwhile we fight amongst ourselves, slinging hashtags and hysteria. As our cruel politics and callous technologies lead us to become ever more factionalized and tribalized, we need new unifying myths—and quickly. Give us new points of worship beyond the rickety fictions of free markets, nations, and garbled gospels. New gods. This isn’t a terribly original or feasible idea, but for a moment it didn’t seem so improbable when the first track on the new album by Leyland Kirby drifted into my headphones.

Here comes a heartbeat drum, thumping in the distance like a half-remembered b-side by The Ronettes or The Crystals, a vintage rhythm slowly falling to pieces in the ether while plaintive strings rise, as if mourning the death of reason. Like a heavily sedated love song from the hit parade of a more dignified age, Leyland Kirby’s We, so tired of all the darkness in our lives is a reassuring soundtrack for these undignified times. Dig that title. This album is an unexpected reminder that music can harmonize with—and perhaps even momentarily sooth—the crazy thoughts we’re forced to carry these days, if only for a moment or two. The dark yearning of a track like ‘Consolation’ leaves me thinking of a phrase from Will Durant: “We are choked with news and starved of history.”

Midnight Radio

Choral Drift

Soundtrack for leaving Iceland: the choral drift of Popol Vuh’s ‘Aquirre I Lacrima di Rei sounds like glaciers, mist, and devotion. After listening to this song six times in a row it occurred to me that the word ‘theology’ means the ‘logic of god’—which seemed rather profound at 35,000 feet.

Popol Vuh – Aguirre I Lacrima di Rei

Aguirre, the Wrath of God; Ohm, 1972 | spotify | More information
Midnight Radio

Hymns for the End of the World

Slow-motion strings and liturgical drones from Athens, Greece. Mohammad‘s latest album reaches towards the sublime in its strictest sense: wonder coupled with dread, the jittery thrill of the dark and unknown. Available as a digital download and triple 10″ vinyl from Antifrost.

Midnight Radio

A Beautiful Piece of Winter Plays on the Dash

I remember driving down Interstate 75 just before dawn with the Detroit skyline on my left while a muddy cassette filled the car with reverberated drums. I remember believing the world would make sense when I grew older. Twenty years later, Basic Channel’s Inversion remains the most melancholy machine music I’ve ever heard. This is the sound of industrial decay twinned with a very human longing for faith. These are eighteen minutes of the most nostalgic head-rush music that I’ve ever heard.

Basic Channel – Inversion

Inversion/Presence, 1994 | spotify | More information