various artists – it’s an illusion for the kids

here we have another spunk records sampler. this one definitely helped me make some links between music i hadn’t previously given a chance, or known about. it timed well in the development of a much stronger sense of personal independence. and i believe it came with the australian copies of i see a darkness when it was released here.

it’s partly interesting because it was licensing from the main labels, such as drag city, thrill jockey, chemikal underground and palace music to include. most of the music comes from albums released in the very late 1990s.

songs not worth talking about in detail, because they will come up in the future, include those by arab strap, bonnie ‘prince’ billy, built to spill and mogwai. but others that i didn’t end up pursuing warrant a little more attention now, with hindsight applied. there is also a gem in the form of a literal live show (excerpt) from a performance by dave pajo in his hometown of louisville. the song is actually northwest passage that appeared as the last song on whatever, mortal released a year or so after this compo, which was itself a strange cover of his own earlier song, arundel. it’s a phenomenally beautiful version – of only the resonant guitar that dave plays so well along with a bit of bass. no harmonica; no percussion.

as i have previously discussed, as an exercise in what is effectively the release of a label mixtape, this one works very well. the songs complement each other, and fit together ideally. i don’t know if it’s a sign of success or failure, or of my own state of mind, that it felt like listening to an actual album. my anxiety about that is that it implies a lack of diversity, which couldn’t be further from the truth. and yet, there was a comfort in the familiarity and attachment one could bring to listening to the music of bands that had some nebulous (and in this case, shared-space) connection to each other.

i didn’t buy anything new after listening to this; but it gave me a greater appreciation of the beauty of the music i already knew.


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