Written by: D.X. Ferris
Graphic by Rachael Novak
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About Today's Mix:
Yes, the mix is late! We got all caught up in the holiday weekend fun and frolic, and before we knew it, Monday had come, and nearly gone. Apologies for the delay....we're thinking you'll find this week's mix to be worth the wait!
Give D.X. Ferris good amounts of credit for inspiring yours truly to get back into making mixes. I can count on a random mix from Ferris in my mailbox at least once per year, and each time that I got one, I was reminded how much I wanted to get back to making my own mixes. I finally took the plunge, and as you all know, thanks to Ferris and other mix disc loving wizards, I eventually made several, and launched The Monday Morning Mix.
Lately, I've been averaging about a mix per week, and just when I have one that I feel like sharing here, another one comes along that I end up liking better. Thanks to the overload of great submissions over the past few months, I haven't taken the time to share any of my mixes, but I'm feeling like that might change soon. This particular mix was handed off in person by Ferris, as we were on our way to the Rock on the Range festival at the beginning of the summer. Several months passed, and many mixes later, I finally had mix notes from Ferris so that I could post this mix. Randomly, I'll note that this mix contains "Deathly" by Aimee Mann...and take a wild guess what I just put on my own mix, not remembering that it was on this one?
Without further ado...
FERRIS MUSIC 15
a d.x. ferris joint
original cassette mix Summer 2000
abridged CD transfer Summer 2009
Download complete mix (link is good for one week only)
01. Jonathan Richman, “True Love is Not Nice” - from I'm So Confused
02. Esthero, “Heaven Sent” - from Breath for Another
03. Nine Inch Nails, “We’re In this Together” - from The Fragile
04. DJ Shadow, “Stem/Long Stem” - from Endtroducing
05. Moby, “Porcelain” - from Play
06. The Geraldine Fibbers, “Dragon Lady” - from All Over Me
07. NIN, “Just Like You Imagined” - from The Fragile
08. The Smiths, “Paint a Vulgar Picture” - from Strangeways, Here We Come
09. Air, “Playground Love” - from The Virgin Suicides
10. NIN, “La Mer” - from The Fragile
11. Aimee Mann, “Wise Up” - from the Magnolia soundtrack
12. Eminem, “Stan” - from The Marshall Mathers LP
13. NIN, “The Frail” - from The Fragile
14. DJ Shadow, “Midnight in a Perfect World” - from Endtroducing
15. Massive Attack, “Safe From Harm” - from Blue Lines
(Perfecto mix, short edit)
16. Aimee Mann, “Deathly” - from the Magnolia soundtrack
Ferris Music 15.
The year was 2000. It was summer. I was doing a lot of driving around dusks and sundowns. That vibe inspired this mix, Ferris Music 15. And when it was done, it felt like a perfect soundtrack to that mood. And still does. Use it as you will.
Anyhow, the year was 2000. Trip-hop and electronic music still looked like they had a future. Trent Reznor had released his masterpiece, the criminally underrated The Fragile 2XLP. Aimee Mann was hot again with the soundtrack to the recently released Magnolia. Something About Mary had been out for a couple years, but I’d recently seen Jonathan Richman live. And Moby was about to go supernova.
This isn’t a sophisticated mix, but it’s one of my favorites from the Ferris Music series. (It launched in 1993, and has been stalled at #19 since at least 2002.) They’re all this kind of mood piece – stuff you can chill, sleep or snog to.
Disclaimer: It breaks one of the key Rules of Making Good Mixes. The mix dwells on some of the same artists, and it strip-mines some of the same albums. But rules are suggestions for people who don’t have any ideas of their own.
The first version of the mix was made in Summer 2000, on a Maxell XL II metal cassette, which has aged well. Tapes, all in all, are more durable than CDs. And I miss them.
To make this mix fit on a single CD, I omitted the Cure’s “Watching Me Fall” and New Order’s “Subculture,” in that order, between the songs that are now tracks #3 and #4. They were long and meandering. Something about New Order reminded of “Stan” at the time. I dunno. Nine years later, they seemed like filler.
Without them, you have what the mix is now: an electro-flavored chill mix. Again, there’s nothing fancy about the formula to the selections and flow, either: Generally, one element from one song carries into the next.
Side one kicks off with the unplugged “True Love Is Not Nice.” It’s acoustic guitar carries into Esthero’s “Heaven Sent.” The general type of beat is on the next track. I was starting to develop an interest in piano music. And so on.
Download complete mix (link is good for one week only)
01. Jonathan Richman, “True Love is Not Nice”
Sides 1 and 2 of Ferris Music 15 start with a little palette-cleanser. This tune has a nice way of letting the momentum creep in.
02. Esthero, “Heaven Sent”
I still love the trip-hop B-squad girls – Esthero, Ruby. Someone told me that she’d start shows on this tour singing into a cordless headset, and enter from the back of the room.
03. Nine Inch Nails, “We’re In this Together”
Baddest. Beat. Ever. This is a song I just have to play loud.
04. DJ Shadow, “Stem/Long Stem”
Shadow’s musically recycled, entirely-constructed-from-samples Endtroducing LP is a must-have for every serious music fan. Maybe one of the most atmospheric albums ever produced.
05. Moby, “Porcelain”
Over the 90s, I’d tried getting into Moby, but nothing clicked, even when I had a good buzz. The Rolling Stone review made the Play album sound interesting, though. The writer described “Porcelain” as something like “a mix between Fatboy Slim and Joy Division” – which totally nailed it.
06. The Geraldine Fibbers, “Dragon Lady”
Wonderful hollering and anguish. From my little-known riot grrl period. If you like this, just go buy the entire All Over Me soundtrack.
07. NIN, “Just Like You Imagined”
What a wonderful composition, like a march of the black-clothed soldiers. Or something like that. On the original tape, it cut off at the end, then resumed on side 2. So this track starts on side 1 and ends on side 2.
08. The Smiths, “Paint a Vulgar Picture”
Morrissey’s ode (fictious? real?) to a dead rock star is one of my favorite songs, ever. I hadn’t listened to it for a few years, but it came back into my life when Kurt Cobain died – it’s not totally applicable, but close enough, you know? Sonically, it’s not entirely unlike the first song from 1.
09. Air, “Playground Love”
From the Virgin Suicides soundtrack, a quintessential electro-mellow classic.
10. NIN, “La Mer”
Trent Renznor and a piano, wow. Quiet little instrumental that grows. Despite the water theme (the title is French for “The Sea/Ocean),” the climax of it, to me, makes me think of what it must be like to be an eagle soaring just under the cloud cover.
Most great musicians have an running current of material that’s unlike their signature sound. And what a nice surprise it was when Mr. Reznor recorded not one, but two albums worth of it with 2008’s Ghosts I-IV.
11. Aimee Mann, “Wise Up”
…And the piano continues. I’ll give Mann dap all day, but I think the Magnolia-Bachelor No. 2 period was a total career high for her. Mann -- like Tori Amos, Kristin Hersh, and Ani DiFranco – shows that grown-up emotional situations can be interesting too. And life doesn’t necessarily end once you’re no longer a 20-something fumbling around and fucking up everything in your path.
12. Eminem, “Stan”
A. Maybe the most poignant hip-hop track of all time. B. The line “We should BE together, too” still kills me, in a funny way. It’s nice to drop in here and there, in the rare occasion where people will get the reference. C. The song is almost quaint in an age of instant-access and social media. How would it be different if written today? “DEAR MISTER I’M TOO GOOD TO DM OR TWEET MY FANS…”
13. NIN, “The Frail”
Great, dark piano coda to keep the mood going from “Stan.”
14. DJ Shadow, “Midnight in a Perfect World”
One of the great mood-setter instrumentals of all time. The tune delivers everything its title says. It’s right up there with the Nutcracker’s “Dance of the Sugar-Plum Fairy.” But way cooler.
15. Massive Attack, “Safe From Harm”
(Perfecto mix, short edit)
This full track – as heard in The Insider – runs about 8 minutes. I clipped it, partially for length, partially ‘cuz I was getting bored. A little techno remix goes a long way.
16. Aimee Mann, “Deathly”
What can you say? The song’s climax – “You’re on your honor / And I’m a goner” is one of my top-ten favorite musical moments. And the fade-out is an awesome way to take it home.
That’s Ferris Music 15. Thanks for listening and reading.
- dxf, 7 September 2009more