When I first decided to launch a mix series, back in 2011 just before Richard, Jeremy, and I decided to leave TSB to found ACL, there certainly was no shortage of options. And while it is certainly true that the streaming landscape has only grown exponentially since then, with seemingly everyone “curating” playlists on Spotify and the like, I still believe we serve some small purpose and offer something, if not unique, then still in short supply. We do not create playlists but approach each mix as a whole in itself, comprised of overlapping layers, sometimes augmenting each other in perfect harmony and at other times productively at odds. We respect no genre limits, and have featured everything from half-speed 78 collections to all tape mixes to field-recordings and old TV advertisements. We approach mixes like true DJs, if DJs were selecting tracks without regard for the dance floor. But most importantly, I continue to strive to make our series inclusive and representative of our broader community, not just promo mixes sent in from PR firms, but mixes from musical lovers regardless of their so-called role in the industry. Artists, label owners, critics, and even average readers of this site, we’ve published mixes produced by all of them, and we will continue to do so.
We may still feel like Lost Children, but at some point growth happens, whether we like it or not, and we must be the parents now, to paraphrase a saying from some favorite writers taken rather out of context. This series was born in part because the activities of the netlabel seemed increasingly untenable, and a mix series seemed an opportunity to continue sharing music which would be freely available. Going forward, this Lost Children mix series will continue, but in a different form and under a different name. We will still adhere to the same undisciplined and irregular schedule as always, which is to say whenever I feel like I have mixes worth sharing.
But I have also decided to branch out and to challenge myself and our listeners, and to do something new and also a bit more disciplined.
Firstly, I’ll soon be debuting a new quarterly series dedicated exclusively to field-recording. There just aren’t enough venues dedicated to this art, and this new series will share mixes of original field-recordings mixed in with selections of some of our favorite old and new recordings. The first installment will be published in the coming weeks. More on that very soon.
Secondly, I’ll be launching a podcast called Sound Propositions, which will explore similar themes to the eponymous column but in sonic form rather than text and image. The heart of it will still be sharing interesting and unusual music, but each episode is organized around a unique theme, and will feature a mixture of interviews, literature, and journalism bound together by a surreal and evocative logic. I aim to have a few episodes completed before launching, and will try to maintain a schedule of a new episode everyone two weeks.
But now, the matter at hand! To celebrate our milestone 100th installment, I approached our old friend Dennis Huddleston (aka 36 aka 3six) to create a sequel to a mix he made for us back in 2011, our very first. I’ve also just reposted that original mix to Soundcloud, and wow, it has aged well. Listen to them both back to back if you have time. And as always, thank you for listening. (Joseph Sannicandro)
Stream/Download at SoundCloud
What can you tell us about this mix?
Firstly, thanks for having me back! It’s a real honour to both introduce and close this mix series. How time flies! In regards to this mix, I didn’t want to do anything too crazy, at least compared to my first mix in this series, which went all over the place. Maybe I’m getting old! It’s simply a selection of 12 mostly-ambient tracks, covering some recent tunes I just discovered, as well as a few all-time classics, which made a massive impact on my own music. It’s a love-letter to the genre and I hope ACL readers dig it.
Since we are celebrating a milestone 100 mixes, do you have any thoughts on how the industry has changed between 2011 (your first mix for us) and now? I feel like mix series have come and gone, and today so many people seem to simply stream Spotify playlists. Any thoughts on this?
In regards to Spotify, it’s single-handedly turned the music industry upside-down, especially in the last couple of years. My own musical tastes were shaped by listening to mixes from Bad Boy Bill, Streets Sounds, Jeff Mills/The Wizard, Journeys by DJ (Coldcut‘s 70 Minutes of Madness mix is my all-time favourite mix by anyone, ever) etc.. I am a little sad that Spotify playlists have removed the technical beauty that mixes can offer, but conversely, I do like how easy it has made sharing music between friends and strangers. Ultimately, I think that is what it should be about – a means for people to discover new music, with as little friction as possible. I’m also happy that artists get paid from Spotify playlists. Besides, it’s not like mixes as a whole are dead or anything, because artists/dj’s are still getting plenty of bookings for venues around the world. They’ll always have their place.
A far bigger concern for me is how Spotify has affected how artists not just release music, but how they make it too. Albums in general seem to be less of importance now. In fact, I was reading the other day that there is apparently a “national album day” to celebrate and protect the LP format, presumably because artists/labels are more concerned about getting their singles on big Spotify playlists (which is where all the attention and the money is gained) rather than taking the time to make a timeless LP. That’s a sad thing and I wish I could say it hasn’t affected my own music, but the grim reality is that most artists can only make a living from music by uploading it to Spotify and praying that one of their editorial curators includes it their playlists. It’s always in the back of my mind. They’ve just introduced a new feature where artists/labels get to submit tunes from their upcoming releases to be considered for playlist inclusion, which has essentially turned the art of digging into a kind of data sorting machine (as my friend Ryan from A Strangely Isolated Place brutally described it). The big problem is this: What’s stopping artists from just abandoning the album format entirely and just submitting single after single, hoping to game the Spotify submission system by flooding their curators with their own tunes? They’re essentially brute forcing themselves on the big playlists. It’s hard not to be cynical about it.
I wish more people used Bandcamp, but the numbers don’t lie; Spotify absolutely dominates the music industry and I’m afraid that if artists don’t adapt to this new reality, they’re going to be left in the dust. I wouldn’t be able to make a living as an artist if it wasn’t for Spotify and it’s pretty terrifying knowing my livelihood can be taken away at any time by an algorithm that decided I wasn’t making them enough money any more. The joy of music as a service in the internet age! Regardless, I’ll continue to make music I 100% believe in, while always keeping one eye open, if only to try and survive in this constantly changing industry.
What have you been up to lately? Anything on the horizon you’d like to plug?
I’ve been experimenting with Patreon and I’m currently using that platform to release all new music I make for the next 12 months. The last track in this mix “Ego Death” is one of those tunes actually and a personal favourite of mine. Check it out at https://www.patreon.com/3six
I’ve also had a new 36 album finished since the beginning of the year, which will soon be released on vinyl/digital, via a label many of you know and hopefully love. I’d like to give you more details, but we don’t want to reveal it until closer to release, as we both hate long-winded promo campaigns, built on loose hype. The music will say everything I need it to, so please keep your eyes (and ears) open for it!
01. Rashida Prime – Damaged Interface
02. Marvin Horsch – Sun After Rain
03. Useless – 128E
04. GAS – Narkopop 11
05. Hammock – Oh the Bliss (Reinterpretation)
06. Terekke – Atba
07. Michael Stearns – In The Beginning
08. Sangam – Egotistical
09. Flame 1 – Shrine
10. Woob – Subterranean District
11. Pulusha – Isolation Part 1
12. 36 – Ego Death