2013: Chocolate Grinder Mix: Writers 30 of our favorite songs in an Exquisite Corpse mix

We celebrate the end of the year the only way we know how: through lists, essays, and mixes. Join us as we explore the music and films that helped define the year. More from this series

If I may speak on behalf of all those participating in this mix, we — the writers of Tiny Mix Tapes — are the exquisite corpse. Pompous? Maybe. Yet we are those who write in the heat and name of passion (on the majority for $FREE$), who amend an all-encompassing opinion, saturation, and gathering of what is a multitude of opinions consolidated as ONE. And, as fleeting as my writing has been for the past couples years or so, this Exquisite Corpse mix — carrying on from a tradition we started last year — is just as random and as fast-paced as each voice in the TMT “bloodline.”

Here’s how the Exquisite Corpse mix worked: a writer chooses a track, another randomly-drawn writer hears it and chooses an aesthetically or thematically complementary track, then passes only his or her pick to another writer, who chooses yet another track, and so on, until we reach 30 songs. The results are what you’re hearing below. Not even the TMT staff has heard it yet — for all they know, we could have chosen the same song 10 times — so please feel the tension with all of us, climax at the most sensitive, and hold it bad when the wetness arrives. ‘Cause cry, laugh, blink, or rush: this 2013 year-end Exquisite Corpse mix is purely out of love and just for you. Enjoy!


Arca - “Feminine” (&&&&&)
Start time: 0:00 • Label: Hippos In Tanks

Welcome to our swanky black tie holiday party. Let me get you a drink. May I take your coat? Yes, 2013 is already on its way out and soon comes 2014. But right now we’re in that gray time of year, where it doesn’t quite feel like one year or another. It feels like neither and both, time outside of itself, lost in a vacuum. But let’s talk Arca, and get this mix rolling, shall we? I picked “Feminine” off Arca’s &&&&&, because it came from an artist related to both types of musicians who comprised a majority of our 2013 coverage: controversial artists and boundary pushers. How many other artists can claim Arca’s dual credentials of dropping a download-only experimental mixtape and producing cuts on Yeezus? The song’s unique too: the entirety of “Feminine” consists of one word looping, and yet I’m not even sure it’s a word. Maybe it’s part of a word? It’s a prime example of what writers mean when they talk about a piece of music “willing itself into being.” It starts abruptly and ends the same — uniform, from start to finish. It’s one of those songs that came up many times on random for me this year, but not once did I tire of it or skip it. It sounded perfect next to almost anything that came before or after it. And that’s the best thing about it, since unlike you, dear reader, I have no idea what’s coming next.

Mykki Blanco - “Angggry Byrdz” (Betty Rubble: The Initiation)
Start time: 0:34 • Label: UNO NYC

I couldn’t decide if Arca’s jellyfish was the brain or the heart of our exquisite, boneless corpse. Either way, its frantic, momentary staggering seemed ready for a bit of confidence, however fragmentary. Mykki ”’Richie Rich with a clit and a middle” Blanco swaggers in where Arca’s masterful 36 seconds collapses under its own weight. I’m sewing the flesh tight here: a “feminine” growl gets pitch-bent and genderfucked in what must be one of Mykki’s tightest, harshest turns on the mic yet. She’s punching and tickling, sighing and giggling, kicking and screaming out of the cul-de-sac of being a “talking point.“ Embarrassingly, I only just remembered that Arca was previously affiliated with Blanco’s label, UNO NYC, and Arca’s new home at Hippos in Tanks is also partially located in NYC. So maybe whoever is next will take this gelatinous pulse and disjunctive subject (neither mind nor body) and get the hell out of New York City for a bit.

Kanye West - “New Slaves” (Yeezus)
Start time: 4:43 • Label: Def Jam

What I admire about Mykki Blanco and Kanye West is that they refuse to coddle me. They don’t give a fuck about me. They make songs that shouldn’t entertain me. They implicate me. So that every ”nigga” I thoughtlessly shout along with draws me closer to the reality of who I am. Why don’t I listen to more rap? Because, more often than not, it reminds me of how righteous someone’s resentments and rage can be. Even as I listen now, I search for a way out, a way back to the top; I call Kanye’s imagery sexist or homophobic, as though he also equates “justice” with “politeness.” But the truth is, beyond my gripes with Kanye, “New Slaves” is a ruthless indictment and one of the bravest songs of the year. If you’re tempted to write it off, don’t. If you’re content to sing along, don’t be. It’s warning you. Just listen.

SOPHIE - “Bipp” (“Bipp”/”Elle” 12-inch)
Start time: 8:42 • Label: Numbers

On Yeezus, Kanye West cleared his musical slate to confusing effect, denying listeners a Kanye Album (and on “New Slaves,” a Kanye Beat) while fitting more Kanye into the speakers than ever before. In spite of being the sugar to that song’s charcoal, SOPHIE’s “Bipp” felt of a similar mission to disorient and control, scooping out the genre signifiers to leave not a cavernous open space, but an oppressively heavy absence, then piecing together a song from the particularities of cadence and gesture that drew them to that style in the first place. This direct translation of headspace could feel intimate and anonymous for producer and listener both, leading to some of the most frustrating and fascinating musical experiences of recent years.

Kyary Pamyu Pamyu - “Ninja Re Bang Bang” (Nanda Collection)
Start time: 11:49 • Label: Warner Music Japan

The exquisite corpse finds meaning not in wholeness, but in mutilation. For SOPHIE, it’s the mutilation of glitch: shattered vocals spliced apart and reassembled into an uncanny, disjointed voice without origin. For Kyary Pamyu Pamyu, it’s the mutilation of parody: a grotesque persona assembled scattershot from bits of found magazine print and airplane glue. Like SOPHIE, Kyary’s voice has been irrevocably disembodied, set adrift in the 2D space of television screens and LCD monitors, untethered from the real. In death, the exquisite corpse of Kyary Pamyu Pamyu has neither nation nor culture — it belongs to the global nationality of ethernet, the universal culture of capital. It is a linguistic monstrosity, an infinitely permutable text stitched together from disassociated fragments, tracing layer upon layer upon layer of distortion. The author is dead. The origin is lost. Only language remains. And indeed, it is beautiful.

Rangefinder - “World Circle” (Night Ride)
Start time: 16:04 • Label: Bun Tapes

How is it that Will Thomas Long, better known for his pastel streaks of ambient gorgeosity as Celer, follows Kyary’s hyper-pep pop infection in the Exquisite Corpse? The simple answer is this: Japan. Both tracks were born there, one of a 20-year-old pop princess with 2013’s most instantly-recognizable eyelashes, the other of a living-legend in drone. But there are other reasons of course, the most important being that Rangefinder is specifically not Celer. It isn’t dance, no, but at least Long’s new synth project similarly feels like it’s bottom-lit with strobing neon lights, a sound beaming with bright, bold colors, attacking the ears with an immediacy that is just as in-your-face as “Ninjya Re Bang Bang” manages to be. Instead of giving you the googily eyes, though, all Rangefinder will do is cross them, the perfect headspin for stumbling out of the club and into the cold streets of a Tokyo winter.

Snow Mantled Love - “All in the Name of Good Dancing” (Conversations)
Start time: 19:05 • Label: Self-Released

Snow Mantled Love is stylistically about as far as you can get from Rangefinder. While I do have a perverse predilection for throwing a wrench in things, that was not the intent here Kosmische-flavored ambient has always had a personal feeling to me, music best experienced alone, be it in your bedroom, out in a forest, or on headphones while waiting in an airplane terminal. Snow Mantled Love has that same personal immediacy, making it hard to place and extremely hard to share. I mean, you couldn’t exactly put it on at a party could you? Or even just sitting around with a few friends having a drink. You’d get accused of “killing the mood” faster than a phone call from Grandma mid-coitus. So screw ‘em. Pop your headphones on and let this be “your” music. And don’t forget to silence your cell phone — wouldn’t want any unnecessary interruptions.

Mutual Benefit - “Golden Wake” (Love’s Crushing Diamond)
Start time: 20:50 • Label: Soft Eyes/Other Music

You’ve been holed up in your bedroom for way too long. Not sleeping, not speaking. Certainly not dancing. Just wishing for intimacy. At least you left the window open. Listen real close and you’ll hear a breeze through the trees. Maybe through the grass too. Blades grew tall overnight, almost as tall as the wildflowers, which just started blooming in spite of the season. River’s running cool, reflecting the color of your birthstone. Climb out there, for the sake of this sunrise. Light in slow motion, swelling and streaming. Golden. Not a thought in sight. It’ll do you good.

Free Weed - “Cambodian Cassette” (On The Moon/Get It Tonight)
Start time: 23:58 • Label: Gnar Tapes

The bane of my existence in modern music is tracks like “Golden Wake” by Mutual Benefit. That track is WAYYYY too serious for me. But I’m big on anything funny AND serious. Thus, I bow to the temple Free Weed has built. Not only does “Cambodian Cassette” keep consistent with my mix love/trollery, but it flips you a smile, freshens our Exquisite Corpse mix with “LOL” dramatude, and is all up in the kingdom of Gnar. So, I dare you to deny Free Weed, ever. ‘Cause you know you’ll find your way eventually.

Janelle Monáe - “Dance Apocalyptic” (The Electric Lady)
Start time: 25:26 • Label: Big Boy

So things are “pretty hard” for you “here in the world,” are they, Free Weed? Well, fuck that. Time to stuff your sob story weed woes, switch over to alcohol, and hit the Top 40 club floor, because this whole place is DOOMED anyway! And kissing it all goodbye couldn’t sound like more effortless task for partybot-at-large Cindi Mayweather (a.k.a. Janelle Monáe) on this stick of end-of-days space-pop bubblegum. There’ll be zombies and pet allergies, hit men and credit card debt galore. But no biggie; there’ll also be Hawaiian guitars and vocoders and handclaps and the catchiest injunctions to “smash” and “bang” that you’ve ever heard. I know, it hardly makes any sense on paper. But Janelle doesn’t seem too worried. In fact, she’s just gonna go ahead and cut this letter short by “thank[ing] you for dancing ‘til the end” in advance. Cool?

DJ Koze - “Magical Boy (feat. Matthew Dear)” (Amygdala)
Start time: 28:37 • Label: Pampa

A mutual commentary on mundaneness, partly of the world, partly of YOU; or rather, those who too easily submit to societal convention, in the case of Monáe’s “Dance Apocalyptic,” and an inhibiting despondence, in the case of both. A celebratory tone allows Monáe to playfully implicate the mortal zombies of today, while for Koze, who’s helped along by the alien vocals of Matthew Dear, it’s a first-person, individual, and deeply personal realization. “There’s a fire when I’m falling out of place,” says the self-professed magical boy, and producing the initial spark: his romantic opposite, as well as his “little ones.” In their company, an optimism overrides and escape from this “serious world” thus comes easy. Who needs an apocalyptic impetus?

inc. - “Angel” (No World)
Start time: 35:49 • Label: 4AD

From mouthharp-flanked, sticky-warm house throbbing (replete with sleazy robogator vox) to cool, crisp rose petal-dropping, slow-grooving ecstasy, we remain prisoners of the sensual. Koze sees fit to salt his curves with playful irreverence, while inc. are sparkling the hillside with sugar crystals, but both songs serve the same sweet soul music deity. Not to mention sex. Both are sleazier than all get out in the best way possible, from the mellifluous bass riffing on “Magical Boy” to the borderline-Lethal Weapon electric guitar at the end of this. Both excel in the sort of emotional hide and seek that goes with modern revivalism. ”Take me to the river and I’ll be your angel” functions just as well phonetically as it does as a potential devil-may-care come-on. No matter how get-over-yourself po-mo things get, we all still long to be incontestable forces of nature for each other.

BRAIDS - “December” (Flourish // Perish)
Start time: 39:43 • Label: Arbutus/Flemish Eye

What if you are not there for us by the river? What if you cannot be the angel we want you to be? The true tragedy of ourselves is not that we cannot be saved, but that there is nothing to save, that we have simply been abandoned. We lose our sense of feeling, and it just takes some time getting used to what is missing. We try to cover the void, but it just sits there, and we have nothing to fill it with. All we have is our anguish, the screams that hound us senselessly in our minds and gnaw at our sanity. Hope becomes meaningless when there is no will and compassion to hold it together. We attempt to find something, some meaning, but we keep coming back to one single problem: What are we living for? What am I living for?

These New Puritans - “This Guy’s In Love With You” (Field of Reeds)
Start time: 44:01 • Label: Infectious

“December” ends with Raphaelle Standell-Preston warning that “death’s song is moving in,” and I wouldn’t want to make a liar out of her. Field of Reeds was hands-down the most bracingly icy record of the year, and “This Guy’s in Love With You” hits you from the start, like waking up in the opening sentence of a Chekhov story. Rising from a thistle of reeds and brass, the old Bacharach number is submerged and transfigured into a weightless, devastating force of nature. It’s at once disembodied and present, longing and resigned, fluttering and fading, before sliding out of view. Death lives in this.

Serengeti - “Day by Day” (Saal)
Start time: 46:53 • Label: Graveface

It’s time to wrap up Side A, and when “This Guy’s in Love With You” concludes, I want to hold onto those delicate-yet-deliberate piano chords, so let’s link them into the beat of “Day by Day.” Tobias “Sicker Man” Vethake’s instrumental begins with equivalent fragility and restraint, as Serengeti wraps his morose flow around bars about losing and regaining luster, “not loving obscurity.” The hook is embarrassingly sappy, but Vethake sings it only once, and then unleashes a barrage of varying commentary, ”It’s good, it’s fine, it’s perfect,” etc., that finally relents with a track-ending ”it is.” In a year when so much cultural production feels paralyzed by self-consciousness, it’s fitting to arrive at our intermission with a song that reflects upon how an artist should be and feel, projecting optimism but closing with a whimpered false-definitiveness.


Ryan Power - “Sample Lives” (Identity Picks)
Start time: 0:00 • Label: NNA Tapes

Ryan Power’s Identity Picks is one of those records that hit me at a guttural level. Power’s mix of lyrical cynicism and sincerity with smooth production and really, really good chord progressions combines so many of my favorite things about pop music into one incredibly satisfying whole. The album’s opening track, “Sample Lives,” pretty strongly establishes Power’s weirdo sophisticated pop off the bat and remains one of the strongest openers I’ve heard all year, so I figured that it’d be a pretty great way to kick off Side B. “Sample Lives” is a party anthem for the recluses of the world. Power desperately examines a number of options for human interaction, but it’s never clear if he actually acts on any of his fantasies. It’s definitely slacker pop, but some of the funniest, funkiest, and most innovative slacker pop I’ve heard in a long time.

18+ - “Flap” (MIXTAP3)
Start time: 5:42 • Label: Self-Released

While Ryan Power’s “Sample Lives” is in part about how indecision paralyzes lived experiences, 18+’s “Flap” elucidates the actual details of a highly sexual lived experience. Both songs use crying to underscore their points, but while Ryan uses it to mock his indecisive character (“Wah wah wah wah/ Why cry? Ready or not, I’m living my life”), 18+’s use of crying is much more provocative. Here, after an initial penetration, a male sex partner (performed by the female singer in 18+) asks for more — “Say ‘ahh’/ Yeah, baby, open wide/ Say ‘ahh’/ Let me have a second try” — directing the words not at the female participant, per se, but at her “flaps,” a.k.a. the labia majora and minora of her vagina. And if I’m not mistaken, the woman (performed by 18+’s male singer) is talking to her pussy too: “I was violently crying too/ To beg it for stopping me from stopping you/ You was helping me again/ Yeah, saying, ‘oh my god, it was my friend.’” But in a twist, the penetration becomes an act of power, as the male partner says, eerily, “They saying I got control/ And your power is blown on saying ‘ahh.’” It all adds up to one of my favorite creep-out tracks of the year, one whose exploration of sex, violence, and power is more complex and layered than its seductively minimalist instrumentation lets on (listen for that brilliant hi-hat transition into triplets!). Now open wide and say “ah”: here comes the next one…

James Blake - “Life Round Here” (Overgrown)
Start time: 7:58 • Label: Republic

After 18+ rub out their dubby lotion of say-ahh power dynamics (ending with a cackle), James Blake, through Choco-magic, takes “Flap’s” looping phrase and molds it into something cloudy and urgent: The emotional aftermath of that expensive pleasure. Like in the video for “Retrograde,” he casts himself as a spaceman landing in a world of clotted feeling. He sketches neurosis and claustrophobia with a repeating lyric and blows colored glass all around it; there are arabesques of fuzz and a vestigial dubstep exoskeleton. Blue tones swell and decay in the distance, and things briefly build to a rave freak-out. The Mercury Prize will fuel accusations of Blake going soft, but his movement into avant-croon and something that from a distance sounds like pop is a step forward into increasingly raw and intimate expression, formally as five-dimensional as ever. He’s a quantum-physics Al Green.

FaltyDL - “Kenny Rolls One” (Hardcourage)
Start time: 11:30 • Label: Ninja Tune

If “Life Round Here” is the melancholic response to dealing with a long-distance relationship, this is the track you slap on your iPod or turntable to help get you on your feet, out the door, and miles away from another lonely night in. The burr of real life may sting you in the back of your head every now and again, but once the beat kicks in — alongside the hearty buzz of your drink or drug of choice — you’ll set aside your worries and get lost in the swell of those wowing synth melodies. You can call your significant other tomorrow. Tonight is all yours.

E+E - “The Wish (ft. Angelica Olsen)” (☆ Original Works ☆♫☆)
Start time: 18:10 • Label: Self-Released

Elijah Paul Crampton was one of the most intriguing producers in 2013 not to put out an album. Although these tracks come from a selection spanning the last few years, the bundle he recently dropped as E+E on SoundCloud are just sublime, an illustration of how rewarding the online platform has become for musicians seeking an outlet and for listeners who like to dig a little deeper. #nextlevelshit The sparkling percussion fade at the end of FaltyDL came as a generous end to an otherwise tricky pick. And with a fatal gunshot blast of pitch-fucked Japanese commentary, pulsating laser beams, and ambient slabs of bass, it’s up to the next writer to pick up the pieces. It’s all yours. Take us somewhere delicious.

Chief Keef - “I Don’t Like (feat. Lil Reese)” (Finally Rich)
Start time: 20:22 • Label: Glory Boyz Entertainment

At the end of E+E’s track, we done took flight. We’re in a stratospheric zone of sublimation. You want to feel the cold barrel against your head? You want to feel the death blast? Chief Keef fulfills the wish. “Sometimes I wish that they had killed us there.” Here’s all the violence you asked for and then some. Streets, designed to break hearts and minds, are icons of an indifferent universe, of a system that don’t like us. “Pistol toting and I’m shooting on sight/ […] it’s time to start taking lifes.” Negate to survive; kill to live. A schematic litany of shit is a talisman that wards that shit off. “And I surrender to this,” dead to rights.

Traxman - “Killing Fields” (TEKLIFE Vol. 3: The Architek)
Start time: 25:15 • Label: Lit City Trax

The obvious: Chief Keef’s music is intrinsic to the epidemic of gun violence that continues to loom large over Chicago, and the vocal sample on “Killing Fields” by fellow Chicagoan Cornelius Ferguson — a.k.a. footwork producer Traxman — can easily be read as a reference to this mise en abyme of crime that continues to cripple parts of the city. The problematic: it seems reductive to interpret this music solely through that lens, for who knows why Ferguson chose to sample that specific moment from Michael Jacksons’s “Earth Song”? Certainly, the way that Traxman removes the sound source from its original context opens up Michael’s simple question — “What about killing fields?” — to a plethora of resonances outside of any specific history or geography. The unquestionable: these are two songs that represent viscerally gripping strains of musical experimentation. Chief Keef’s manic, nearly Yeezian expression of pure, unbridled id, and Traxman’s abrasive, minimalist exploration of footwork are both born from the same place, yet both powerful enough that they are wholly capable of reaching far beyond the Chi.

Honey Radar - “Roughing Up the Painter” (Mary Plum Musket)
Start time: 29:05 • Label: Treetop Sorbet

The epileptic melody of “Killing Fields” had me scrambling for a reason to explain it. I found refuge in an elaborately woven fairy tale wherein Traxman is a drab, desolate artist from another era, and Honey Radar were the drunken bards explaining the happenstances and whereabouts of this tragic, broken character. Or maybe I was just too weirded out by the LSD pauses of Traxman and needed to be grounded in reality, as abstract and gritty as it may be. Honey Radar remind me of other truthtellers of the last 20 years, echoing the halted sentiments of Traxman. What about killing fields? What happens when we die? Who is your father? Only two entities can answer these questions: Nostradamus and Honey Radar.

Cam’ron - “Think About It” (Ghetto Heaven Vol. 1)
Start time: 30:08 • Label: Self-Released

“I don’t sell wolf tickets/ I don’t tell you no lies/ I don’t sell dreams, man,” Cam’ron says in between verses. It’s only right then when I take the same blunt approach. Cadaver be damned, I was going to choose Cam’ron’s “Think About It” for the Exquisite Corpse mix, no matter which song was selected before mine. “In the alley, self-aborting with the coat hanger.” It just so happens that “Roughing Up the Painter” transitions perfectly into this joint, on which, let’s face it, Cam spits the best verse of the year. If you really want to dig into it, one could argue that by harking back his Children of the Corn-era style, Killa Cam is indeed roughing it up. I don’t sell dreams, though.

DJ Rashad - “She a Go” (Double Cup)
Start time: 32:37 • Label: Hyperdub

There’s “I don’t give a fuck;” and then there’s “I don’t give a fuck.” But footwork is a continuation of hip-hop culture in ways more obvious than this: musically, neither “Think About It” or “She a Go” is about creating an illusion of the innate or natural. All post-multitrack music, as Andrew Goodwin posits, inherently “work[s] to ‘reveal the machinery’ of acoustic [or accurate] representation,” and the dawn of hip-hop was really when the seams began to show. As hip-hop as “She a Go” may be (the obviously West Coast leads, etc), Rashad is still pushing this concept one step further by compromising the naturalized integrity of the human voice: there isn’t really a “verse,” or “vocals,” or a “statement” in the song, but a self-actualized sample, a found cultural artifact that just so happens to be manufactured by those who contextualize it. Goodwin also proposes that, in post-multitrack music, “the entire ensemble, whether human or mechanical, is now a rhythm section.” But “She a Go” is “post-Ableton Live” music; it’s neither human nor mechanical: it’s a collection of arranged digital articles. The “authentic” is then no longer aligned with traditional “realness” but is attached to one’s ability to create cohesion through intentional artifice and explicit prefabrication. There’s something about humanity’s distance in this process that makes it harder than yesteryear’s “hard as fuck.”

Jessy Lanza - “Pull My Hair Back” (Pull My Hair Back)
Start time: 36:15 • Label: Hyperdub

DJ Rashad doesn’t give a fuck, and neither, according to “Pull My Hair Back,” does Jessy Lanza. A subtly ecstatic “Don’t Explain” for the digital age (appropriate for a jazz-trained performer), “Pull My Hair Back” is the only track (along with a handful of John Grant’s offerings) that has consistently made your humble scribe almost-cry in 2013. A finger of icy R&B traces a shiver-inducing path along the spine of UK bass traditions. Lanza’s album was produced with Jeremy Greenspan of Junior Boys, but heavens, how our little girl and boy have grown… sitting before a blue-flamed and holographic fireplace, intently round-shouldered over this paradaisical late-night collage.

Kanye West - “Bound 2” (Yeezus)
Start time: 40:00 • Label: Def Jam

Let me flip the script from Jessy Lanza’s cooing fragility to Ye’s blatant honesty. The link here is intimacy, though the brand on “Bound 2” is the kind that follows many repeated relationship “mistakes,” whereas “Pull My Hair Back” precedes them, trying to head them off at the pass. I have my own backhanded apology to deliver: Kanye, my expectations for Yeezus were way too high, and despite this killer hook, I hated on it, and then I talked shit about its lyrics for like three weeks. But hey, admitting is the first step. And while his egoism and chauvinism haven’t exactly disappeared on “Bound 2,” Yeezy delivers one clever line after another over pitch-perfect production. You can even sense a shred of humility. Plus the video has CGI crows, mustangs, and motorcycles. It won’t spark a revolution, but then, ain’t nobody perfect.

Start time: 43:34 • Label: Self-Released

Just for the record, I think “Bound 2” is the weakest track on Yeezus, but it’s interesting insofar as its incorporation of samples from “Bound” by Ponderosa Twins Plus One and of Charlie Wilson’s not-so subtle vocal talents appear to be an attempt by West to beautify, romanticize, or glorify what is essentially his narcissistic lust (“I wanna fuck you hard on the sink/ After that, give you something to drink!?!?!). So conversely, I thought I’d opt for a piece of music that tries to achieve the opposite of that, that exploits sexual imagery to debase and sully the rose-tinted name of a soul singer and the supposed innocence surrounding his music. The singer in question here is Bobby Womack, and his “You’re Welcome, Stop On By” is more or less desecrated by LAMPGOD & **Ł_RD//$M$’s usage of it in their “**BABY$$ITTERGET$$CaUGHT??,” which despite its relatively faithful reproduction of the 1974 single infests it with a litter of seamy entendres and connotations. And what makes it so compelling is its implication that these unsavory murmurs had been there lurking under the surface all along, ready to pounce on the naïve and gullible.

Start time: 44:30 • Label: Self-Released

Go to the thrift store and buy a handful of old National Geographic magazines. Tear out a page from one — maybe an aerial photo of marshlands or an underwater shot of manatees. Now find a piece of trash with a cool pattern on it, and cut it into little strips or circles or triangles and glue them all over the page. Maybe add some eyes and noses from a couple shampoo ads, and you’ve just made yourself a neat little collage. Turn these pieces of paper into samples of sound, and you’re the master of musical collage, SAINT PEPSI. “LOOK AT THE DOG” is a rather simplistic composition compared to Mr. PEPSI’s typically energetic, soulful, vapor-infused output, but it exhibits the non-intrusive method of sampling that keeps his recycled music so inherently familiar, while pushing limits that are refreshingly new. Because of this collage-like approach to sample-based music-making, “LOOK AT THE DOG” seemed like a perfect song to follow “**BABY$$ITTERGET$$CaUGHT??” by LAMPGOD and **Ł_RD//$M$. Instead of chopping and screwing everything in sight, these producers allow their source material to tell the story, while they just sit back and dictate the plotline.

Tim Hecker - “Amps, Drugs, Harmonium” (Virgins)
Start time: 46:24 • Label: Kranky

I have to follow SAINT PEPSI into the end of this thing? “LOOK AT THE DOG” could have brought it in alone. So calm but also leaving it a bit eerie, like a question mark at the end. Only one thing to do. Throw the entire mix at the sun as it rises here at the tail-end and watch it glow, burning its way back through the atmosphere. You can still hear last night’s crickets. I wonder if Tim Hecker made it into the mix somewhere else, and what kind of dead end did it make there? I kind of thought “Amps, Drugs, Harmonium” should have capped Virgins, so I’m taking matters into my own hands here, leaving 2013 kind of sun-shiny, kind of sad.

We celebrate the end of the year the only way we know how: through lists, essays, and mixes. Join us as we explore the music and films that helped define the year. More from this series

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