The longstanding FADER Mix series presents new, exclusive DJ mixes from our favorite artists and producers.
After a minute or so of melancholy, melodic piano play — around the 13 minute mark — the mood of King Midas Sound's FADER Mix starts to shift upward. It's at this point Tom O'Bedlam's discombobulating voice presses through in echoes: "alone...alone...alone...alone...." A simple reminder that the mix, which is premiering today, burrows itself deep inside the voice of solitude, and not something more simpler, like sadness. At least it feels easier to reconcile yourself with sadness. Confronting loneliness is more formidable, and inscrutable, like diving in a hole that could extend on forever. Maybe I'm being a little melodramatic here, but I feel like King Midas Sound's Kevin Martin (aka The Bug) and Roger Robinson would agree with me. The two tackled that subject on their latest record, Solitude, and expand on it today.
Their hour-long mix, which they've titled 'Echoes of Solitude," feels like taking a ride through that weird memory tunnel from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, but diving much, much deeper. Martin and Robinson mix in read excerpts of Edgar Allen Poe, and Charles Bukowski, that effectively act like floating spirit guides, and the drone-like instrumentals are cinematic, and heavy. Then PJ Harvey comes on, or Leonard Cohen, or Grouper, and the weight of it all suddenly lifts just for a moment.
See the tracklist below, and read on for a Q&A with Martin and Robinson on the mix, and their preferred activities for loneliness.
Where are you right now? Describe your surroundings.
MARTIN: Surrounded by my two children, who are in full battle mode. My wife passing in/out of the lounge fleetingly, and reflecting on these questions, in what we laughingly refer to our home as…Berlin Zoo.
ROBINSON: I’m in a park called The Racecourse. It is flat and green, and it was where Northampton champion horses used to race but stopped because of the accidents and fatalities. Sometimes I think of the horses and jockeys who met their end here because of the sharp turns.
Tell us a bit about this mix. What shaped it?
MARTIN: I wanted to put together a mix that echoed the Solitude album we just released. I wanted it to illustrate where we came from, what we are, and where we are going. I wanted it to tap into the extreme beauty and the deepest emotions that we set out
to explore on the record. I wanted to approach it cinematically/conceptually, to find an imaginary meeting point for Francis Bacon and Wong Kar-Wai. And just as we attempted with our record, I wanted to construct a psycho-geographical map of poems and drones.
What do you see people doing to this mix?
MARTIN: Entering its zone. Preferably full immersion. Trippin out on the hallucinatory tones, and time travelling via their memories of the future.
What was the thought process in choosing the poems?
MARTIN: Finding those writers that have bravely jumped into the abyss, and been happy to report from their voids.
What's the last book you read that had a big impact on you?
1. Samuel Beckett - Molloy, Malone Dies, The Unnamable
2. J. G. Ballard - The Kindness of Women
3. Yamamoto Tsunetomo - Hagakure: The Book of the Samurai
4. Haruki Murakami - Kafka on the Shore
5. Philip K Dick - The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch
ROBINSON: A book called When My Brother Was an Aztec by Natalie Diaz. A Native American/Latinx woman poet. The book is about her brother who was on meth and how the family had to deal with it. It’s a great book.
The new King Midas Sound album and this mix, both hinge on solitude and being alone. What do you guys do when you find yourselves alone?
MARTIN: In my lab. Captain of my sonic spaceship, surrounded by yes machines that blink and flicker brightly, as i see just how far I can turn sounds inside out, back to front and upside down.
ROBINSON: When I’m alone I get creative so being alone is not an occasion for sadness for me personally. That’s the blessing of being an artist.
1. Shigeru Umebayashi - "Interlude II" (2046 OST)
2. OPN - "Replica" f. Roger Robinson
3. Charles Bukowski - So Now (read by Tom O’Bedlam)
4. Kevin Richard Martin - "Kangaroo Care"
5. Techno Animal - "Dream Forger"
6. Samuel Beckett reads from Watt
7. Paul Bowles & Bill Laswell - "Up Above the World"
8. Tim Hecker - "Kaito"
9. King Midas Sound - "Drone 1"
10. Sakamoto - "Andata"
11. Kevin Drumm - "Don't Picture Your Perfect Beach"
12. Coil - "Going Up"
13. Coil - "Triple Sun"
14. Edgar Allan Poe - Alone (read by Tom O'Bedlam)
15. Bernard Herrmann - "Thank God for the Rain" (Taxi Driver OST)
16. Burial - "Subtemple"
17. William Basinski - "Disintegration Loops 3"
18. Zonal - "Intro"
19. PJ Harvey - "The Piano"
20. Neil Young - "Guitar Solo, No. 6"(Dead Man OST)
21. Leonard Cohen - "Avalanche"
22. Stars of the Lid - "Austin Texas Mental Hospital (Part 3)"
23. Grouper - "Hold a Desert, Feel its Hand"
24. Kode 9 & The Spaceape - "Correction"
25. Gil Scott Heron - "I’ll Take Care Of You"
26. Bonnie Beecher - "Come Wander With Me"
27. Charles Bukowski - The Bluebird (read by Tom O’Bedlam)
28. Jóhann Jóhannsson - "Flight from the City"