Futureproof Mix – Part One

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Published:  December 19, 2012
Heath Killen
Futureproof Mix – Part One

For the past few issues of Desktop, our friend Ron Radge has been creating mixes based around each issue’s theme. Previously we’ve had mixes for download on Sea Change and Print & Paper, but this time around he’s trying something a little different.

The theme for December/January is Futureproof, and for this particular mix Radge has enlisted the help of Jonathan Zawada to bring you an audio/visual compilation of tracks that explore science fiction, synthesizers, technology, and cinema. With Radge based in Sydney & Zawada in LA, the two have been engaged in an ongoing email discussion, and in addition to sharing the music and clips – they’re letting you in on the conversation around it too.

So here is part one of this special mix – Enjoy!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l5sORC5DClo

Peter Baumann — This This Day (Trans Harmonic Nights)

RR: I was just watching Risky Business again recently, and realised that the Tangerine Dream soundtrack might have to be one of my favourites of all time.

Have you heard Peter Baumanns solo stuff? He did a project called Leda which is an amazing conceptual piece based in the future (fits nicely in the theme, but theres no YouTube clips of it!), however the stuff under his own name is great too. I like how Baumann and Tangerine Dream’s compositions are classical but futuristic at the same time.

I really love the vocal in this particular song too, especially the concept of ‘fading away’, not sure why, but its kinda romantic to me, like to be sitting in the sun and just kinda disappearing.

Giorgio Moroder — Chase (Midnight Express OST)

JZ: I love that Tangerine Dream soundtrack too – so perfect. I hadn’t heard any of Peter Baumann’s solo stuff, that track is great. I’m not sure whether it was your mention of soundtrack but that track made me think of Giorgio Moroder’s Chase from Midnight Express. I always got the feeling that he wished he was making this for a completely different film, some futuristic, positive star exploring sci-fi piece rather than the grim film it was actually made for. It’s weird how the association of the movie tinges it with a certain amount of anxiety that I’m not sure would be there otherwise.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wtnkc-nkijo

Harold Faltermeyer — Mick’s Broadcast – Attack (The Running Man OST)

RR: I know what you mean about how Moroders score could’ve been for a different film. I feel the same way about the Risky Business soundtrack, which could have easily been for Star Wars or maybe a futuristic manga film like Space Adventure Cobra – which actually ended up having a fairly camp soundtrack by Yello…

One score that did fit the film perfectly was Harold Faltermeyers music for The Running Man. I guess i’ve always held a strong fascination with cheesy action films from the 80s and there came a point when I realised a bunch of the scores were being done by Faltermeyer (Beverly Hills Cop, Tango and Cash, Top Gun and many others). Turns out ol’ Harold actually used to play keyboards for Moroder, and I have a sneaking suspicion that he was the one that evolved Moroders sound from the 70s to the 80s with his knowledge of electric synthesisers. Looking at the production credits for The Chase, it shows that he is credited as co-writer.

I actually havent seen The Running Man for ages, but I love the concept of the future that was in all the films of that era – like Robocop and Total Recall. These days the idea of the future in films has been made so clinical (dont get me started on the Total Recall remake) maybe because the writers or art directors on the film are scared to go too camp, or just to use as much of the available technology as possible, whereas before they just wanted to create a world as wild as their imaginations would let them.

Future Sound of London – Vit

JZ: That’s funny, I was just singing that Yello song from Ferris Bueller to my little boy this morning.

There’s a sound in that Running Man track that is used somewhere in Future Sound of London’s Lifeforms – I couldn’t find where but I was reminded of how good that album is and especially the track Vit.

There’s so much nineties IDM which shares a similar optimistic hope, like the feeling you we’re talking about with that first track, there’s something so positive and uplifting but simple and pure about it.

I think you’re totally right about current Sci-fi not wanting to stray too far from technological believability. Such a shame because it turned a totally creative an exciting genre into something completely bland and predictable.

Orbital – Are We Here (Full Album Version)

RR: The mental image of you singing that song to your son is priceless! I can imagine it would be an entertaining song for a child to hear.

I remember this FSOL album! The cover is so good, still kind of stands the test of time after all these years as opposed to some of the rest of the output from that era.

At the time of FSOL I was a little more into Orbital, and got totally blown away when I first heard their album Snivilisation, which was such a strong, conceptual, pessimistic assessment of the world (quite the opposite of what you were talking about, but it was a rare exception at the time). The song ‘Are we here?’ featuring a young Alison Goldfrapp, her first appearance on a recording, is pretty epic. 15 minutes long and in 3 movements, I remember listening to it on my Discman on the way to school and just losing my mind! It still sounds incredible, for me it just sounded like a crazy futuristic mashed blend of everything that was around at the time, still pretty unique in those days.

Such a funny aesthetic of futurism during this era, the funk and disco of Faltermeyer/Moroder seemed to disappear, and the airy ambience of Tangerine Dream was expanded upon, while they were also discovering the loop function and sampling became a much bigger thing

µ-Ziq – Salsa With Mesquite

JZ: So epic! That’s such an awesome track for headphones on the way to school. That pessimistic and almost paranoid feature of that forward looking music became such a strong theme. Because it was all quite stripped back (even when it was layered) it all still felt really pure though. That warning siren sound at about 4.30 about sums it up. My perfect future paranoia warning siren song is U-ziq’s Salsa With Mesquite. I remember when I first heard it I thought this is what the future of all music sounds like… µ-Ziq – Salsa With Mesquite

I wish I still got to listen to music through headphones on the bus with very little idea about the artist! Stupid internet.

To Be Continued…

Cover image borrowed from Omni

 

 

 

 

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