Songs from the Vault

There’s no theme this time round, just random cool tunes.  So let’s get cracking…

First up is Gotye (featuring Kimbra) with his 2011 tune Somebody that I used to Know.  It’s a tune that I didn’t pay much attention to the first time round but it’s a tune that I listen to fairly regularly.  The tune’s a bit of an oddity for me in that I can’t quite work out the attraction.  It certainly seems like a tune out of time in that it sounds like something I would have seen on Top of the Pops in the 1980’s.  Maybe that’s what it is, as well as the fact that it’s a really well put together tune…

Talking of the 1980’s our next song is from 1986:  Absolute Beginners by David Bowie, from the movie of the same name.  I’ve never seen the movie in question and understand that it’s average at best.  I’m of the view however that pretty much anything with David Bowie on it is worth listening to and this tune is a case in point.  It’s not Bowie’s best tune by far but it’s one that’s perhaps a little overlooked.  It also features British jazz legend Don Weller on tenor saxophone soloing over the tune’s outro…

It’s time to shift gear.  The next tune, Heartbreaking by Angelo Badalamenti, featured in the third season of Twin Peaks (2017).  Those familiar with the work of David Lynch will also be familiar with Badalamenti’s.  Badalamenti composed the music for Blue Velvet. Wild at Heart, and, of course Twin Peaks.  Heartbreaking’s a very brief solo piece and I guess you’ll have had to have watched Twin Peaks to really have the tune get under your skin.  Season three of Twin Peaks featured a live piece of music at the end of every episode, with bands like Chromatics and Nine Inch Nails sharing the honours.  What was special about Heartbreaking was the way in which the action came to a total standstill and a very simple melodic line introduced (at the 20 second mark in the clip below).  By the way, the individual sitting behind the piano isn’t Badalamenti but Robert “Smokey” Miles (who can actually play the piano).  At the time of filming Heartbreaking had yet to be composed so I guess Smokey was doing ‘air piano’!

I’m going to stay downtempo and go with When it’s Cold I like to Die from Moby’s 1995 album Everything is Wrong.  EiW is a diverse beast, going from metal to house to downtempo.  The main theme from the movie Heat is on there too as well as a tune quite like Heartbreaking.  When it’s Cold features the vocal talent of Mimi Goese and has a strange ethereal and marine vibe to it.  When I bought EiW it came with a bonus CD titled ‘Underwater’ so there was definitely something aquatic going on!  I see the tune has seen a resurrection of sorts owing to its appearance in the first season of Stranger Things (which I’ve never seen) which means there must be something going for the show…

Last up is Heavenly Peach Banquet from the 2008 album Monkey: Journey to the WestJourney to the West is one of the four great classical novels of Chinese literature (the abridged version is worth reading) and tells the story of a monk’s pilgrimage to India, accompanied by disciples including Monkey.  If that sounds familiar it’s the basis of the Japanese TV series Monkey which graced British television sets in the early 1980’s.  The 2008 album was composed by Damon Albarn of Blur and is based on the stage production of Journey to the West, i.e. it’s not a live cast recording.  I’m not a big fan of the album and suspect that I’d feel differently if I’d seen the stage production.  HPB however is a standout tune, which combines traditional Japanese instruments like the Pipa with more modern electronic sounds, and without sounding contrived…

I hope you’ve enjoyed this random selection of Songs from the Vault.  The vault is virtually bottomless, so watch out for more!