Wednesday, January 18, 2006

the Book of Brion 2 has landed

I lose sleep over mixes. I agonize over song sequences. I take long, pointless drives to listen to the flow on the car stereo. I revise the song list constantly. Ultimately, I'm so inspired by these stupendous musicians that I want to find the perfect vehicle to present their songs to potentially new ears.

Thus, you'll have to forgive me for totally geeking out the last few days. My towering achievement: I've finished the Book of Brion 2, my second collection of Jon Brion's varied and far-ranging body of work. Eeeee!

Show me a one-CD survey of Jon Brion's works and I'll show you a slice of digital Swiss cheese. Jon's CV is so lengthy that you can make an infinite number of mixes yet barely touch upon his full resume. Sure, I've omitted vast tracts of his genius, such as his film scores, his own songs, and the live shows (which have to experience firsthand anyway). I've left off a number of songs that I love, but in the end, I'm a slave to sequencing. Lastly, I tried to mix in different artists than on the first volume, though some repeats are unavoidable.

There's a small legend at the bottom of the list, the parentheses denote Jon's contribution on each song, and I've commented on some of the song. I hope this selection covers a decent amount of ground. Download it, and give me some feedback. I can't wait to hear from you.

The Book of Brion 2
or the continuing adventures through Jon Brion's catalog
1. Gotta Start Somewhere--Jon Brion * [writer, singer, all instruments]
From the get go, I knew this would be the opening track. I love it around the 3:00 mark, when most of the instrumentation is temporarily at bay before the drums fire up again. The harmonies toward the end are divine as well.
2. Shots Is Fired--Evan Dando [cowriter]
3. Ray--Aimee Mann * [drums, tack piano, harmonium]
I'm still surprised by how much I love this album. The tack piano makes the song for me, especially in that bridge about 3/4 of the way in.
4. Gentle Hum--the Finn Brothers * [tuned drums, percussion loop, acoustic guitar]
I've always wanted Jon and Neil to work together (and I even witnessed it myself), but I have to admit the Finn Brothers album didn't reach its full potential. Still, I like this song a lot.
5. Over Our Heads--Jon Brion * [writer, singer, all instruments]
You must have the Huckabees soundtrack.
6. I Know Sometimes a Man Is Wrong--David Byrne [harmonium]
7. City of Quartz--Marianne Faithfull [cowriter]
8. Gone--Kanye West [string arrangements]
More than any other track from Late Registration, this song is a true melding of Jon and Kanye's talents. Check out the piano/strings bridge at the 3:30 mark!
9. Everybody's Gotta Learn Sometime--Beck * [all instruments]
10. One Headlight--the Wallflowers [lead guitar]
Back in the day, every article extolling the genius of Jon Brion listed this song as one of the highlights of his career. That's him on slide, folks.
11. Bottle Up and Explode!--Elliott Smith [chamberlain, vibes]
12. I Try--Macy Gray [piano, orchestra bells, guitar]
I didn't know it at the time I bought this CD, but the warm piano that drew me in to the song in the first place--guess who's behind the keys?
13. Dear Prudence--Brad Mehldau *
14. Amateur--Aimee Mann * ° [cowriter, keyboard, guitar, bass]
Aimee talks about the album, including the very enlightening genesis of this song. I love the waltz time and the nod to Bacharach.
15. Watch Over Us--Nels Cline Singers [celeste, harmonium]
I think I just about fainted when I saw Jon's name in the liner notes. At the time, I had no idea that we'd get a whole Largo series from this collaboration.
16. Climbing to the Moon--eels [chamberlain, organ]
17. Waltz--Fiona Apple * [bass]
I'm not a Fiona fan in the least, but I gotta admit this one is gorgeous.

* = producer
° = my favorite song ever, currently

p.s. This mix can be easily accommodated in CD form, if you so desire. Let me know.

See also:
» top 5 Largo memories
» get a load of the lengths i go to
» top 10 concerts of 2005


breaphene said...

Good lord, the man truly is everywhere. I had no idea he played lead guitar on "One Headlight" - it's always funny when past and current worlds collide. I was never a huge Wallflowers fan, but that song brings back strong memories of high school.

hodie said...

Ah, thank you for creating the much-anticipated BoB2, and thank you for giving me a lovely listen to it while swanning the streets of LA.

It's downloading now, so I'll soon be having a lovely listen while swanning my own streets.

hodie said...

Oh, and Brianne, I was equally startled to discover that Jon was guitaring on One Headlight! Who knew?

breaphene said...

I am just managing to extract these songs now, and I was wondering ... did you change the tracklisting at some point? The version I downloaded has "Am I Wrong" by Love Spit Love, and does not have "Over Our Heads."

pneyu said...

It's fixed now. :)