California dreaming

This month, Brad Barry creates a mix for Victorinox inspired by the beauty and power of the Californian coast

Music C60 Tapes
Mountain Road

In this series, we hand a page over to the excellent Austin-based blogger, Brad Barry, whose blissful C60 Radio has soundtracked many a late night in the office. After the mix series went down a few months, we've been so desperate for him to start up again that we decided to commission him. Every month he'll explore a different strand of the vast and wonderfully fruitful tape / outre underground. But this time, inspired and supported by Victorinox's Festival App, we asked Brad  to make a series of mixtapes based around music and the great outdoors. The first of the series, based on Forests, is here; the second, evoking the rough charms of the ocean is here; the thrid evokes the high drama of majestic coastal drives around California. Download the app here

Though I recently returned from my trip up the coast of California, I still can’t get the gorgeous views out of my head. Driving through the winding curves of Highway 1, every turn had the potential for an amazing ocean vista or a picturesque look into a mountain canyon. The tension of the occasionally white-knuckle stretches of narrow road was rewarded with the release of gazing at the truly breathtaking scenery. For this edition of C60, I attempted to recreate the feeling of slowly weaving your way through those coastal mountain roads.

01. Lunar Miasma — “Second Moon” Arrival [Field Studies; 2011]

This piece from Greek synthesizer guru Panos Alexiadis perfectly captures the undulating rhythms and slowly building drama of an ascending highway. I love that, even with such a minimal palette and limited structure, this piece takes the listener on a vivid, tenuous journey.

02. Matt Northrup — “World of Taste” Lucky Stumbles [Full Spectrum; 2012]

Constantly moving forward, this bouncy piece of nimble guitar work comes from one of my favorite albums from last year. Matt Northrup is part of a underground music scene that formed in the college towns of North Carolina. Put out by Full Spectrum, a label that pays attention to detail (especially with their packaging) the sleeve for Lucky Stumbles actually folds into an origami lantern.

03. Mark McGuire — “Radio Flyer” A Pocket Full of Rain [Pizza Night; 2009]

This piece is another composition that really takes the listener on a journey. McGuire’s intricate, looped guitar work tightens up only to unspool into the meandering, emotionally resonant passages that populate his dozens of releases. This track, from an early cassette, is available on the recently-released Editions Mego compilation A Young Person's Guide to Mark McGuire.

04. White Rainbow — “Pulses” Prism of Eternal Now [Kranky; 2007]

Prism of Eternal Now is a classic album for me. With it, Portland’s Adam Forkner took a shamanistic approach to the work of Terry Riley and Steve Reich, combining compelling hand-played rhythms with psychedelic guitar and organ work. This is the sound of putting your foot down on the throttle and flying through a sun-soaked mountain pass.

05. Bitchin Bajas — “Krausened” Krausened [Permanent Records; 2013]

With his solo project, Cave’s Cooper Crain creates swirling, building synthesizer landscapes that eventually blossom into full-on krautrock. Both pieces on this EP, released by Chicago’s Permanent Records, channel the autobahn-style rhythms of classic Kraftwerk and, along with a new album out on Drag City, should serve as perfect driving material the next time you hit the open road.

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