Sunday, June 15, 2008

Everyday is Like Sunday, Except for Blue Monday and Ruby Tuesday, and...Well, Friday I'm in Love: Weekly Mix #21

Since I did a Mother's Day post a few weeks back, I must, of course, do a Father's Day post today. And despite the jazzy image above, there's no jazz included in this mix. The image above, and the one further below, have more to do with my father than the mix itself - they're his paintings.

Ever since I can remember, I've viewed my father as an artist, as a wish-granter. No matter what you wanted him to create or dream up, he'd find a way to do it. Formally trained as a display artist for stores, he can pretty much make anything out of nothing. If you were in the fifth grade and needed a model of a squid, he'd make a realistic one out of papier maché. If you wanted a two-storey, fully-decorated Barbie dollhouse, he would build one with scrap materials, and it would have a fireplace and a completely detailed bathroom and kitchen. And even if you were in college and needed an IV stand as a prop and needed to turn your basement into an operating room for a short film shoot, he would do that, too. He was a magician who turned ordinary newspaper into boats and Venetian masks. It's something you take for granted when you're young, and I only realized much later that not everyone had a dad who could do these things. The two-foot high, carved, wooden jewellery box of St. Basil's Cathedral that my father made sat in my parents' bedroom for my entire childhood without me really giving it a second thought. Now it sits in the Canadian Museum of Civilization in Hull, Quebec.

When my father was eight years old, to prevent starving to death, he had to flee East Germany with a stranger, who was paid to smuggle him over the guarded border. His father had already died in World War Two, and he didn't see his mother again until just after the Berlin Wall came down over forty years later. He survived and kept going, having adventures of his own, taking off to Paris by himself to emulate all the great painters and live la vie bohème. In the '60's, he immigrated to Canada, again by himself, learned English, and started a family of his own. When he was unfairly forced out of his job eighteen years ago, he persisted and made sure our family was always provided for - even when the work he had to do was beneath him and something he never wanted to do. And through it all, he always had a sense of humour, often making me forget our seriously precarious financial situation. The same sense of humour that, when he was younger, had him trying women's hats on in department stores with his friends until they were kicked out.

I get quite a few of my characteristics from my father, including wanderlust, obstinance, self-reliance, natural curiosity and a wacky sense of humour. We also like to shop for music together - even if I like Pink Floyd with Syd Barrett and he prefers them without.

So, I decided to honor my father by creating a mix of artists from his home country, Germany. Germany has always been a leader when it comes to experimental electronic music whether it was industrial or minimal house, and this mix reflects that electronic exploration. Berlin, itself, has continued to have a magical hold on musicians from David Bowie's magnificent Berlin trilogy to the current scene in and around Chris Corner's IAMX, including bands like Cupcake and The Beaks; people often go there when they want to escape and create with like-minded freespirits. I, myself, loved Berlin when I visited it five years ago - its fractured and layered history is fascinating to me even though so much of it was horrific. I found myself tearing up at the sight of the longest remaining stretch of the Berlin Wall - it was the physical reminder of what kept my father from his mother for so long. This mix also includes some of the truly unhinged experimentalism of the likes of Nina Hagen and Klaus Nomi, the airy indie of Apparat and The Notwist, and the poppier sounds of Nena, Wir Sind Helden and Kettcar. This mix is called Für Harald. Ich liebe meinen Vater und ich wisse, dass er mich auch liebt.

Hero - Neu!

Nach Haus - Abwärts

Du hast den Farbfilm vergessen - Nina Hagen

Abstieg & Zerfall - Einstürzende Neubauten

Trans-Europe Express - Kraftwerk

Verschwende deine Jugend - DAF

Father Cannot Yell - Can

J'ai mal aux dents - Faust

After the Fall - Klaus Nomi

99 Luftballons - Nena

Einer - Kettcar

Nur ein Wort - Wir sind Helden

Pick up the Phone - The Notwist

Arcadia - Apparat

Pogo - Digitalism

Vogue (12" mix) - KMFDM

Night Falls - Booka Shade

Discosau - Siriusmo

Vergiftet - Boys Noize

Fly - Tiefschwarz

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