The Grateful Dead: Terraplayin’ Jams (1993-1994)

Pretend that Spotify recommended this music to you because you listen to a lot of Khruangbin. Yeah, this music is considerably more involved, but it is also just a big, long, slinky, mutating, non-threatening groove, on Grateful Dead terms. You can't fail to enjoy yourself, mind and body.

This mix smashes together more than two hours of improvisational segments from late 1993 and 1994 Grateful Dead performances of “Playin’ in the Band” and “Terrapin Station.” No singing, all Head.

At the time, the approaches to those two songs’ jams were closely related, and together they represent one of the highlights of late, improvisational Grateful Dead. Welding a bunch of the relevant passages together produces an extended, fusion-y, blue-green Dead-jam experience. 

All of the music on this mix appeared on previous Save Your Face mixes. I made a rough-cut playlist, and it turned out to be great for everything from snow shoveling to copywriting – a Dead “mood” that rewards both close attention and functions as sophisticated wallpaper music. 

So, I decided to take out the remaining vocals, tidy up the edges, and weld a few more of the closely-related segments together. The faked segues won’t fool you, if you’re listening closely, but the consistent vibe and dramatic ebb and flow of the Playin’ dilations and the Jam-Out-of-Terrapin concentrations will likely give you a good, reproducible, two-hour ride. 

I don’t know how many esoteric slices of late Dead I can create that are aesthetically unique, uniform, and surprising – and that sell that period’s live band in some way – but I think this may be one of them. 

This is what the mix will look like in your music player, if you download the zipped mp3 file. Anything that’s named “Terraplayin’” is an edit of related performances, featuring at least one jam from each song. 

2h13m mp3 file zipped up here

Metal Box in Dub (PIL) - March 23, 2012 - Hebden Bridge

In 2012, founding PIL members Jah Wobble and Keith Levene reunited to form a touring band that played the PIL material they created together in 1978-1979. (Unable to use the PIL name, they were called Metal Box in Dub.)

To hear Wobble and Levene (bass/guitar) lock into these grooves again, for the first time in decades, is something else. And with no spitting punks or Lydon pressures to deter them, their band freely explored the jam-band potential of early PIL.

Players:

  • Jah Wobble: bass
  • Keith Levene: guitar
  • Nathan Maverick: vocals
  • Mark Layton-Bennett: drums
  • Sean Corby: trumpet

Lydon’s vocals are performed by the freakily on-point impersonator Nathan Maverick, plucked from “The Sex Pistols Experience” tribute band. Maverick has exactly the voice and flexibility of the young Lydon, so he can fluidly wail, keen, warble, and twist his way through Lydon’s wild, late-1970s vocalizations. 

A curation of Metal Box in Dub’s recorded performances would make a fantastic Record Store Day release. In the meantime, here’s a great-sounding, whole-show recording I managed to grab at the time of the tour. 

two-hour, mp3 file zipped up here

  • Graveyard
  • Theme
  • Annalisa
  • Careering
  • Poptones
  • Memories
  • No Birds
  • Death Disco
  • (band intro and crowd)
  • The Public Image
  • Low Life
  • (between-song chatter)
  • Understand
  • Albatross
  • (singer changeover)
  • Graveyard (vocals John Robb)
  • (thank you and goodnight)

There's plenty of YouTube video of this group playing live on various dates. You'll find informative press clippings and interviews from the time as well.

Letters from Latvala

I corresponded with Grateful Dead archivist Dick Latvala from early 1996 until sometime before his untimely death in 1999. This was approximately the period of “Dick’s Picks” volumes 4 through 11.

The first couple of years happened on 20th century terms, transacted in paper and cassettes and postage. I still have all those tangible artifacts. By the spring of 1997, we were both on e-mail – latvala@earthlink.net and jah6@acpub.duke.edu. Very little of the resulting electronic exchange remains. I found a few dust motes in the deepest reaches of my HD, which sprang back to life with the application a droplet of .txt extension. 

I was prompted to dig out my Latvala letters by the launch of the Latvala-tribute podcast, “36 from the Vault." I found a number of comments from Dick that shed light on his thinking at the time.

From Mailed Letters

2/11/96: “I, too, would stay in the 1971>1974 period for at least 20-30 releases! But, as you can imagine, variety will always be a variable to consider. So, it is almost an obligation to mix things up. Any help you might know about (for ex. shows from the 80s) would always be appreciated.”

3/6/96: Tombstone blurb – “Hi John, that was an amazingly accurate analysis of a whole bunch of things. I have never received such a knowledgeable & stimulating letter!” 

3/6/96: “I really can’t answer your questions, since these very issues are playing such a large part of what I think about all the time, when it comes to the question of what to release. So far, I’ve backed off ‘the whole show’ (but may still do so when it feels right!) concept. And I’ve thought quite a lot about eventually getting to the idea of 2-3 CD’s of the best of a run of 2-3 shows at any particular venue. But it still feels like there are some more possible releases in the style we have established. I surely will never get into the idea of a CD consisting of the ‘best versions’ of various songs or would I ever consider (unless righteously coerced) the best of a whole tour. But I do see something like a box set of Pigpen, or other bits & oddities that exist. Anything is possible.”

4/2/96: “I don’t have a terrible problem with releasing shows that aren’t complete shows, or even releasing the best of 2 or 3 nights at one venue. (Which is what 2/13-14/70 was an example) If someone wants the whole show, with all the ‘dead-air’ included, then he can simply get into tape trading.” 

4/2/96: “Your comments on the special-ness of hearing 2-3 conversations going on in the audience that is captured on tape, well I guess I will agree that it is ‘perverse,’ (no, a better work would be UNIQUE!). I, too, think that this is also cool and interesting & goes towards making each tape special in its own right…”

4/2/96: “What shows are you wanting to see released? I enjoy assimilating many opinions on this slippery subject.” 

4/2/96: “P.S. I couldn’t simply break up the 2/14/70 jam, and insert the 2/13 version of “We Bid You Goodnight,” into the 2/14 jam. That is really going too far. Imagine what kind of precedent that would establish!” 

4/2/97: “Your letter was a nice surprise. After digesting it, I have come to the conclusion that we should e-mail, or talk on the phone. I finally made the big jump into cyberspace, and I’ll bet you’re familiar with that territory. Anyway, I had a bunch of thoughts, but I’d rather get your attention in the ‘here & now” so to speak… I am 2 months into the computer, so I can barely get everything working properly, let alone start wandering around & learning stuff. My new e-mail address is: latvala@earthlink.net. See you, Dick”

And there the paper trail ends. We never talked on the phone. On my deepest HD, I found several emails from Dick.

From Emails

5/8/97: “I liked your selections for listening or should I say re-listening? 1985 isa year that I have forgotten a whole lot about.  there are some great 80's shows, but I really think that you are better off focusing your attention of the earlier years! I think it is important to get all of the shows from 1972-74. There are still a number of shows that I have not heard yet, and it is more than likely time to review all of my past reviews and see if I feel the same way about everything…”

5/8/97: “The question about the particulars of the vault… Rest assured that there is no damage as such. There are quite a few tapes missing throughout the years, but other than that things are in good shape. And what do you mean about this elusive "Eyes of the World", that is not getting on any DP's??? We haven't even gotten to the era where most of the great ones were performed! Or maybe I should say that we are just now getting to the proper era.”

5/9/97: “… I really think that you have a good idea about releasing something from the 2/19/71 through 8/26/71. Obviously, we have the multi-tracks from the Fillmore East shows in April 1971. But I am beginning to think there might be something else the might happen that would be a great surprise. We shall see. Got to go.”

5/21/97: “Today the video crew is coming out from Boston to interview me about the next "Dick's Picks". The announcement of what this release will be, is going to be made on 6/14/97, on VH-1, and on the internet and at our tape playing party at the Fillmore that night. After the disaster of how DP #7 was analyzed and dissected even before the release was made, we have easily come to the conclusion that we shall tell nobody ever again, and maybe just maybe Deadheads that do find out, will be able to keep their mouths shut so as to not spoil the surprise for the rest of us. We shall see.”

6/8/97: “Anyway, we only have 6 days before the big announcement of what the next "Dick's Picks" is going to be. I kind of wish that I was one of those out there that will get to experience the surprise, when it is announced on VH-1, this coming Saturday night. I'll talk to you soon, I hope.”

7/13/97: “P.S. I can almost absolutely guarantee that 9/27/72-Stanley Theater, N.J. will be a "pick" as soon as I can get back to that era. It only seems fair to open things up a bit now." (I was actually urging Dick to release 9/28/72!)

7/13/97: “PPS- I have to say that I'm pretty embarassed about that "infomercial" onVH-1, June 14. It was not at all the way I wanted to announce the winner of the date for the next "Dick's Picks". (5/2/70 that is) And I'm even more emotionally out of control about how much time was devoted to the show from Ithaca, N.Y. (5/8/77) I really am puzzled about why people want this show to be "officially" released, when there are perfect copies available from almost any taper. I think there are better shows from that era, even that month!”

From notes included with cassettes Dick sent me

8/14-15/71 (Berkeley, CA): “These two shows just recently surfaced, and they have never been in our vaults. A relative of an ex-employee who died seems to have been the source. I put together the highlights for each show on cassette. I hope it gets you as powerfully as it blasted me. The jamming on the 8/14 ‘Other One’ is some of the most exciting & screamiest music I’ve ever heard.” (9/7/97)

2/19/73 (Chicago, IL): “Hi John, thanks for sending me that interchange w/Pig. I decided to record over it with something that is PRETTY NICE.” (7/98) 

Dick was collecting combative exchanges between Pigpen and the engineers. He didn’t have a recording of the “cut your head off and shit in it” declaration from Pigpen – I don’t have any idea, now, when that was from (1971, maybe?) – but that’s the tape I sent Dick.

11/11/73 (Winterland, SF): “Well I thought that was a pretty clever way you got me to make you these tapes, so that you can make a good comparison. So, tell me what you think after analyzing the two types [sic?].” (4/27/98) 

The interesting part of this conversation is lost. We’d had an argument about this show’s “Dark Star,” which I revered, but which Dick didn’t think was too special. In that exchange, he asserted that “The Other One,” not “Dark Star,” was the acid test across the years. (That’s the quote I wish I had.) I remember sitting in front of my Mac Classic, pondering that very plausible assertion, which was counter-intuitive to me at the time. Eventually, I said that maybe the ambience of my particular, shitty, 11/11 tape, combined with my extensive, happy listening to it, had affected my judgement of the performance itself. So, Dick sent me a dub of the whole show to help me decide. 

Dick Latvala was an immensely loveable and generous person, who curated The Grateful Dead vault thoughtfully and enduringly. I barely knew him. All I have to offer regarding our correspondence, his comments on his mission, and my memories of the time, is in this post. 

I can only add that the overall vibe he consistently communicated was that he felt the way any deep Deadhead would feel, if they were suddenly charged with piloting the curation of The Grateful Dead’s vaults. He took it very seriously, he had some stage fright, he was the kid in the candy shop – tripping – and he loved input. 

Hello, again, Dick, and thanks.

Little Feat: Pre-Columbian Live Vol. 2 (1975 bootleg highlights)

Volume 2 of “Pre-Columbian Live” complements the first volume with a big slice of the best overall 1975-1976 Little Feat concert recording (Halloween ’75), plus an additional LP’s worth of 1975 rarities and bonus items. 

First volume here.

Together, these two collections offer what I think are the most essential 3.5 hours of unreleased 1975-1976 Little Feat, based on the recordings housed on archive.org, all of which are freely downloadable. Each of the five discs of this combined collection conforms to the time-span of a traditional vinyl LP. The mix is a download code for a Record Store Day vinyl box that doesn’t exist yet. 

The full Halloween ’75 show is certainly worth your time (archive.org stream/download). It’s as close as you can get to a single-show “Waiting for Columbus”-style experience with a 1975-1976 show, on your big speakers or best headphones. I trimmed off six songs and smoothed out the gaps resulting from my deletions, made mostly for mix/sonics/tape defect reasons. All the compositions I omitted from this show appear in hotter/higher-fi form on the Volume 1 mix. 

The “bonus disc” contains some wonderful 1975 stuff, plucked from lower-fidelity tapes. A January soundcheck in Amsterdam provides a ghostly “Truck Stop Girl” and two unique, improvised grooves. An October show in Venice, CA included exceptionally rare (recorded) performances of “Roll Um Easy” and “Mercenary Territory.” And finally, a December show in Tulsa, OK offers a “Cold, Cold, Cold > Dixie Chicken > Tripe Face Boogie” medley that’s exciting and longish, with some pleasant audience tape vibes.  (I did some gentle EQ-ing on all these tracks.)

Near as I can tell, after “Truck Stop Girl,” Lowell George intones, “Bigger than life. Protean. And 580,000 units of pectin.” What a fantastic gloss of the song’s tale of gallant integrity and a heart so broken that it makes the protagonist forget that he’s got a truckload of fruit that’s shifting all around, and which will soon kill him.

2-hour mp3 mix zipped up here

LPs 1-2: Halloween ’75, Boston (80 minutes)

  • Intro > Two Trains
  • Fat Man in the Bathtub
  • Walkin’ All Night
  • A Apolitical Blues
  • On the Way Down
  • Day or Night
  • All That You Dream
  • Romance Dance
  • Long Distance Love
  • Cold, Cold, Cold >
  • Dixie Chicken >
  • Tripe Face Boogie > Bag of Reds > Tripe Face Boogie
  • Teenage Nervous Breakdown
  • Sailin’ Shoes
  • Spanish Moon

LP 3: Rare & Bonus ’75 (37 minutes)

Amsterdam Soundcheck (1/30/75)

  • Truck Stop Girl Approximately
  • Groove 2
  • Groove 1

Venice, CA (10/10/75)

  • Mercenary Territory
  • Roll Um Easy

Tulsa, OK (12/4/75)

  • Cold, Cold, Cold >
  • Dixie Chicken >
  • Tripe Face Boogie

You'll find all the Save Your Face Little Feat mixes here.

Little Feat: 1973 Bootleg Box

This virtual Little Feat box consists of two curated mixes and one complete performance. I reviewed every ’73 Feat tape on archive.org, and this is how I decided to compress them for my own perpetual listening pleasure. It includes at least one version of every composition captured on the year’s (available) tapes, except “Oh, Atlanta!” and "Rock & Roll Doctor." None of the options really sold those songs.

The sextet version of Feat debuted in January 1972, but no tapes from the year circulate. That’s a shame, since it would be amazing to track that band finding its groove, adapting early songs to the new player-palette, etc.  In any case, by 1973 they were fantastic, and regular radio broadcasts, augmented by intrepid audience tapers, ensured that many shows would be captured for posterity. 

3-hour mp3 mix zipped up here, comprising the following three discs.

Live ’73: Ultrasonic (4/10/73 complete)

The most famous Feat bootleg is the 1974 Ultrasonic Studios session. This 1973 session at the same location isn’t far behind – a live radio promo for the studio album, “Dixie Chicken, which was released three months before this performance. If you already have this, but you haven't upgraded your file in a few years, this might be a better master. I converted directly from FLAC. 

59 minutes:

  • A  Apolitical Blues
  • Got No Shadow
  • Willin’
  • On Your Way Down
  • Walking All Night
  • Band intro & Lowell George chat
  • Two Trains
  • Fat Man in the Bathtub
  • Sailin’ Shoes
  • Cold, Cold, Cold > 
  • Dixie Chicken > 
  • Tripe Face Boogie
  • Teenage Nervous Breakdown

Live ’73: Oddities

1973 Little Feat set lists contained mostly the same songs, but a healthy number of outliers were captured on tape. Here they are, and they are a hoot. “Spanish Moon > Skin it Back” is on this mix because it needed to be somewhere in this collection, and “Spanish Moon” is actually very rare on the 1973 tapes.

70 minutes:

  • China White (11/2/73 Sugar Hill Studios)
  • Bag of Reds (9/17/73 Atlanta) 
  • Ass for Days (7/21/73 Denver)
  • Chevy 39 (3/20/73 Santa Monica)
  • Airplane (4/1/73 Boston)
  • Eldorado Slim (3/20/73 Santa Monica) 
  • Day at the Dog Races (11/2/73 Houston)
  • High Roller (11/2/73 Houston)
  • Someone’s Leaving Tonight (11/2/73 Sugar Hill Studios)
  • Spanish Moon > Skin It Back (3/20/73 Santa Monica)
  • China White (w/Bonnie Raitt, 4/1/73 Boston) 
  • Ass for Days (4/1/73 Boston)

Live ’73: Oldies

This mix collects performances of songs that appeared on the band’s first two albums, plus “The Fan,” which goes back to 1970. Most of these songs fell out of the band’s repertoire by 1974, with only “A Apolitical Blues,” “Sailin’ Shoes,” “Willin’” and “Teenage Nervous Breakdown” making it to 1975 and beyond, during the George years.

It is fascinating to hear these songs transformed by the sextet’s approach, and I had to fight myself not to include every recording of “Hamburger Midnight.” Even the shittiest bootleg can’t break that song. I decided not to include “Cold, Cold, Cold” and “Tripe Face Boogie” on this mix, because there are lots of great 1973 versions of those, and the Ultrasonic recording of them is plenty good enough for this mix.

49 minutes:

  • Hamburger Midnight (7/21/73 Denver)
  • Snakes on Everything (7/21/73 Denver)
  • Texas Rose Cafe (7/19/73 Denver)
  • Got No Shadow (7/19/73 Denver)
  • A Apolitical Blues (7/19/73 Denver)
  • Cat Fever (7/19/73 Denver)
  • The Fan (7/19/73 Denver)
  • Sailin’ Shoes (w/Bonnie Raitt, 4/1/73 Boston)
  • Willin’ (4/1/73 Boston)
  • Teenage Nervous Breakdown (4/1/73 Boston)
  • Teenage Nervous Breakdown (w/sax 4/15/73 NYC - Max’s Kansas City)

You might look at the above track sources, or listen to this mix, and conclude that the 7/19/73 tape must be a classic. It isn’t for me. Its immaculate crispness works great for these early songs, but when it comes to the thicker grooves/major new tunes of the era, the sound does not gel for me. I do not groove. 

If these mixes please you, you'll probably want to see all our Little Feat posts. 

Miles Davis: “Jack Johnson” LP 2 (1970)

This mix is my best shot at carving out a second LP to augment Miles Davis’ 1970 album, “Jack Johnson.” 

That album contains two very different, 25-minute tracks (“Right Off” and ”Yesternow”), each made up of multiple takes, brilliantly spotted and edited by producer Teo Macero.

The complete sessions for that album run to 368 minutes and cover a bunch of different compositions and jams. You can hear them all on "The Complete Jack Johnson Sessions” (5-discs, 2005, still in print, with a fantastic book of liner notes).

Quite a few outtakes from the sessions ended up sprinkled (whole or partial) across a decade of subsequent Davis releases. That might be why there’s hasn’t been an official, concise “Jack Johnson Sessions” collection. 

This is my version of that collection, almost exactly equal in length to the original “Jack Johnson” album, and an attempt to meaningfully expand and enrich that album, rather than simply providing a grab-bag of cool stuff. 

This material gets more abstract than the chillest moments of “Yesternow,” and extends the fusion-jam-rock attitude of “Right Off” further into blues and funky Herbie Hancock zones – but not too far! I’ve tried to make this a credible, every-minute-counts, jazz-fusion album, avoiding performances you could say are just a riff that is hoping for something great to happen.

I ignored whether or not a recording appeared on a later album somewhere, so several tracks will be familiar to fans of post-1970 Davis releases. I also edited a couple of tracks.

52-minute mp3 mix zipped up here

Side 1:

  • The Mask (part 2) (15:46)
  • Little High People (tk 7, edit) (4:44)
  • Archie Moore (4:45)

Side 2:

  • Selim (tk 4B) (2:14)
  • Little Church (tk 7) (3:16) 
  • Konda (16:28)
  • Ali (tk 3, edit) (4:38)

Once you get used to these "sides," I recommend putting the original album's "Right Off" before both, and "Yesternow" in between them. 

Session and release information on Wikipedia


Little Feat: Pre-Columbian Live (1975-1976 bootleg highlights)

This post offers a double-LP-sized live Little Feat album covering May 1975 to May 1976, drawn from four good soundboard bootlegs. 

Post-1974, George-era Little Feat needs a little more advocacy and canon-building. The final few studio albums with Lowell George were overcooked, and only the fabulous, live “Waiting for Columbus” (1977) plants a decisive post-1974 flag for the era. 

Even the band’s latter-day live archive releases (“Hot Tomatos” and “Ripe Tomatos” [sic]) hardly broach 1975-1976 live material.

So, here’s a concise bootleg-bridge collection to slot between the 1974 Ultrasonic Studios recordings and the 1977 Tower of Power Horns live moment of “Waiting for Columbus.”

Overlapping setlists made it fairly easy to reduce these sources to an album of performances that offer contrasts with the familiar recordings or are simply very exciting. There are several great 2-and-3-song sequences with perfect segues by the band. Compared to the familiar recordings, there are also some notably long versions – a seven-minute “Feats Don’t Fail Me Now,” and an eight-minute “Day or Night.” Lots of charming moments, too. 

100-minute mp3 mix zipped up here

LP 1 (1975):

Atlanta (5/23/75)

  • Oh, Atlanta!
  • On Your Way Down
  • Juliette >
  • Lafayette Railroad >
  • Day Or Night
  • Feats Don’t Fail Me Now

Rochester (10/18/75)

  • Down Below the Borderline
  • Romance Dance
  • Willin’

LP2 (1976):

San Francisco (2/14/76)

  • Skin It Back
  • One Love Stand >
  • Rock & Roll Doctor
  • Cold, Cold, Cold >
  • Dixie Chicken > 
  • Tripe Face Boogie
  • Teenage Nervous Breakdown

London (5/3/76)

  • On Your Way Down
  • All That You Dream 

Artwork: Neon Park, “Jesus and the Three Pigs” (ink, 1976)

No audio edits except proper tracking divisions where the band executed a segue, track start/end-points, and some volume EQ.

This is our second Little Feat proposition. The first one is here. 

Save Your Face: The 2019 Grateful Dead Mixes

When the Save Your Face mixtape blog began, several years ago, it was entirely devoted to boiling down unreleased 1972-1975 sound boards and sessions, in order to create a giant jukebox of that era with no crap. 

By 2019, Save Your Face had shifted its Grateful Dead focus to curated explorations of neglected/abused eras, unique musical episodes, transitional moments, and forms of Dead music that are easier to appreciate when they’re pulled out of the show context and combined with similar material. 

In that spirit, Save Your Face’s 2019 offerings are probably the most valuable we’ve put out there – a library of Dead “albums” built on different principles than official releases, that make the long strange trip longer and stranger than you realized it was. 

Grateful Dead: 1968-1969 Mutations Series

In 2019, Jesse Jarnow (@bourgwick) continued to inspire, instigate, and/or directly collaborate on mixes. These include a best of mix of late ’68 Mickey and the Hartbeats recordings, an ambient album made up of nothing but the quiet conclusions of 1969 “Feedbacks,” and three surprising perspectives on late summer 1969 – a country single and a batch of cartoon music from a rehearsal session, and a big August-September live mix that finds the Dead in a wild protean place that Jarnow constellates in his liner notes. 

Details and downloads for each release here

Grateful Dead: Not Sucking in the Early Eighties Box (1982-1984)

Two mixes each from four consecutive years, all from April or October, pulled from unreleased shows that match great performances with great (or nearly great) sound board mixes. If you think of this period’s Dead and their recordings as thin and plinky, these many hours of full-spectrum “good old Grateful Dead” will surprise and delight you with both small songs and big jams. 

Details and downloads for each release here

Grateful Dead: 1994 - Spring, Summer, and Fall Tour Digests

Yeah, I checked out every 1994 soundboard and digested them down to a large collection of mixes, organized around runs, months, or whatever other frame made sense, based on what was worth anthologizing. Minus the fuckups, mostly due to Garcia, 1994 was a very tight and nuanced version of the band, with a wide dynamic range. I honestly love them. The Save Your Face ’94 series provides a fantasy version of the year, when every minute of music was very good to great – including Jerry’s contributions.

Spring Tour mixes

Summer Tour mixes

Fall Tour mixes

Grateful Dead: The 1994 Drums/Space Ambient Series

In 2018, I posted mixes of 1994 Spring and Fall Tour Drums/Space highlights. In 2019, I added a Summer Tour mix to complete the set. You can ignore traditional 1994 Dead if you want, but peak MIDI improv Dead is amazing, far out music that you dismiss at your own risk (of eventual embarrassment). 

Find all three mixes here

Grateful Dead: Unique Events

Putting a frame around a specific aspect of the Dead, or tightening something that’s baggy/tedious into something that’s album-tight, are obviously favorite pastimes here at Save Your Face. 

The 1968-1969 link, above, will get you to three of those tightly-framed moments - 1968 Hartbeats, 1969 cartoon music, and a quiet 1969 feedback/space anthology. 

“Knot Jazz” is a career-spanning mix that zeroes in on various jazzy tendencies and all of those knot-riffs that the band liked to tie and untie in jams and songs. 

“Jamming with Brent” boils and edits a 1979, pre-live-debut studio jam session with Brent down to a funky, jazzy album with a lot of surprising corners. 

“Stone House Sessions” edits together bits of some unorthodox 1983 sessions that range from drum machine based patterns to gorgeous ambience, with the result being some really long, strange tracks.

“Brown Eyed Women (May ’77 maxi-edit)” puts the instrumental breaks of every (I think) performance of the month into a single, super-long, complete version of the song. 

“Lost in Space: The Derelict” is an ambient/noise remix album by Bubba Ayoub, using Grateful Dead and live Seastones recordings. It was one of the year’s most popular posts, and for good reason. 


Late Night Mixtape: Strange Weather (Sinuous & Slightly Sinister)

If you know a few of these songs, you’ll be able to anticipate the Venn diagram vibe of this mix: funky, loopy, moody, samply, jazzy, and 1990s electronica-tinged, but mostly played by bands and reaching around chronologically. Dark-tinged funk for winter nights.

Several years ago, from somewhere between Maine and Los Angeles on a solo road trip, Jonathan Lethem phoned to tell me that a version of this mixtape CD had served him well. I’ve been making some favorite playlists permanent ahead of my next Apple OS update disturbance, and this one seemed worth sharing in a time of darkness, when slinky, late-night dancing with the ambiguous future might be essential to personal survival. 

71-minute mp3 mixtape here (tagged to be its own album)

  • Under Your Skin (Luscious Jackson)
  • Roadkill (Rickie Lee Jones)
  • I Cover the Waterfront (Billie Holliday, James Hardway remix)
  • Ocean (Brazzaville w/Joe Frank)
  • Do the Wrong Thing (The Lounge Lizards)
  • Red Right Hand (Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds)
  • Of These, Hope (Peter Gabriel)
  • Rising Above Bedlam (Jah Wobble)
  • The Hop (Radio Citizen, featuring Bajka)
  • 19 (Acetone)
  • Mood Swing (Luscious Jackson)
  • Sway (Shriekback)
  • Rain (Jon Hassell)
  • Souvenir (Morphine)
  • Might as Well (Acetone)
  • Astroluxe (Bill Nelson)
  • 200 Bars (edit) (Spiritualized)

The cover photo is a crop of a 2017 traffic stop iPhone photo in Chicago. Not quite right for the night-mood of this mix, but urban twilight enough to start it off. 


The Grateful Dead: Tones (1969)

Nearly every “Feedback” The Grateful Dead played in 1969 included a gentle, gorgeous section of drones, whines, and knob-twiddling. This mix isolates and combines 14 such passages into a 35-minute ambient album. 

This particular aspect of “Feedback” ought to have its own name, since literal feedback is not the dominant feature, and there is great consistency among the performances. When you put them together, they sound like movements of a single, larger composition... or stanzas in a tone poem.

The mix includes 14 tracks, each labeled “Tones (mm/dd/69).” 

35-minute mp3 album zipped up here