TuneDig is an in-depth and informed conversation between two lifelong friends about the power of music — one album at a time.

In each episode, we go down the rabbit hole to spend a while in the strange world we discover. We take an honest look at creativity in all its complexity—from writing and production to history and cultural impact.

We promise you’ll learn something new every time, no matter how much you already love the album we explore.


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Episode 52

La Planète Sauvage

Alain Goraguer

Gather ’round, sommeliers of the strange and crate-digging boogie children, for something “Strange! Frightening! Fascinating!” awaits. The soundtrack to Cannes 1973’s Jury Prize-winning film is a dazzling, surreal, avant-garde hymn to cosmic knowledge and compassion and a secret handshake among real heads. If you’re after a trip to a new dimension, here’s your one small step for man.


Note: our transcripts are mostly AI-generated for now. 

Cliff: You’re listening to TuneDig. Lucky you. A conversation between two lifelong friends about the power of music. One album at a time. I am Cliff.

Kyle: And I’m Kyle each episode, we talk about a single album in depth, unpacking it through conversation to understand what makes it worth appreciating and hopefully, mercifully learning a little bit about life along the way.

Cliff: Please. If you’re listening for the first time because we’re covering an artist or a record you love, we do promise you will learn something new or gain a new perspective by the end of the episode.

Kyle: And if you stuck with us for multiple episodes, you know, by now. One, that we’re strange, and two, that you are bound to expand your horizons. So as we share a clear entry point for artists you may have never tried to get into before, today is perhaps one such example. We’re talking about Gour, Fantastic Planet soundtrack.

Cliff: La planète sauvage.

Kyle: I will be attempting no French. this

Cliff: I’m gonna make a meal out of it when we do though.

Kyle: A delicious meal because it’s

Cliff: Yeah, lots of carbs. This one’s awesome. it’s somehow unusual uh, in terms of it being a lot of things we’ll talk about a movie soundtrack among several things, French, et cetera. And at the same time, I think we’ll probably find that it’s for the most part directly and straight up the alley of the normal things that we do like to listen to. We’ll probably draw a thread that. We’ll hopefully only surprise people who didn’t know as much about this record before we got started. Because it’s more everywhere than it feels like at this moment if you don’t already know that it’s everywhere.

Kyle: I’m also very surprised that we’ve made it this far without not just talking about a film score or something directly film involved, but like it anything this adjacent to film at all. And like you alluded to, I think there are places where we’ve touched intersections and I know we’ll talk about those, but I don’t know why it’s never occurred to us.

I don’t know. No time like the present. I think it surfaced for me that I don’t really ever sit down to listen to it’s a category that’s very easy for me to mentally other and I know there are people who feel the direct opposite of that and seek things out because they’re done by a film composer or because they accompanied a film somebody liked.

I’ve had to sit down and examine why I place it in some other, no pun intended, extraterrestrial category of music when you have examples like this that exists that are very much their own thing that just work on their face.

Cliff: Luckily, I think this episode will do that for anybody who isn’t already doing it with this album, because it’s a real good one to pull out. It stands on its own, and as opposed to probably many musical works that would be associated, driven from, whatever, a visual medium, movies, whatever else, this one doesn’t need a specific level of explanation to get why it’s good.

It adds a level to it, instead. Even with a lot of orchestral scores or things like that would normally go along with the movie, there’s some foundational amount you need to be aware of in the plot or whatever else to truly make sense of it all. And this one just has multiple levels.

of why it’s worth checking out, listening to actively, passively, whatever it works in every possible context, which is why we’ll spend most of this episode reminding you of how many places it’s in hip hop, which is exactly the place where things that are good, at their core dissected a lot end up because they get pieced apart and shoved into new ideas and they end up making a ton of sense.

Kyle: ever since we talked about Marvin, I have been thinking a lot about that idea of I want you being a, you can start from zero. I’ve never heard this album. I know nothing about Marvin Gaye. I just put it on and the sounds hit me. This is like that too, where starting from zero is actually really good and you should do that.

And that’s not always the case with music. Sometimes you can’t make heads or tails of it without some amount of context, but this just works. And there’s some groove and some repetition just sounds the combination of sounds are cool. And I think they hit you in a reptile brain but then every little bit of context you get beyond that.

enriches the information your body is receiving. so it’s, very cool that we’re like two for two on that. ” Start from zero and it only gets better from there” way of appreciative inroads.

Cliff: A hundred percent. And I think we can probably drop a boat anchor early in the episode too, for folks who are coming in more blind than usual. Let me just go ahead and make a few, probably, associations that we’ll explain as we talk. But, These are really quick ways, almost like a musical spoiler, I guess, a way to start looking at this really quickly, where if you’re not already convinced this is going to be worth some time, let me just show you the range of things you can already look at from the jump.

About this because one is yes Hip hop if you like any form of trip hop or you’ve ever liked any form of trip hop lo fi almost anything in that Meta genre at all One this is gonna hit In a way that surprises you, but secondly, and at the exact same time, if you like the band can, you’re going to like what’s happening here for totally different reasons.

If you like funk, you’re going to like what’s happening here for totally different reasons. If you like really experimental music, and I’m sorry to bring them up for the second time, but it’s a good kind of front door for the whole thing. If you like the way that Mars Volta gets weird and interluding, this is another way for you to experience what’s happening on this record. Cause it’s all of those things. And then. Is jazz it’s just like french jazz So there’s this whole other direct path and doorway into the thing and I hope to make some associations from the jazz angle as we go along too, but There are so many different sides to look at the music that’s here And it’s enjoyable from all of those angles and it becomes really shocking in my experience The more you listen to this record that it’s really We have this experience with some of the episodes that we do, but the more you listen to it, the more confused you become about why this isn’t kind of a really, really big deal in the sense that you’re always talking about it with a lot of people and that everybody knows about it.

And that’s a pretty strange thing to say about an animated film from the seventies in France. That it would 50 plus years on still feel immediate and urgent and relevant and interesting and it sounds really good

But that’s the type of stuff we’re trying to dig up anyway, There’s, so much embedded in the little knowledge nugget that This film premiered at Cannes in 1973, on the back of a few, very weird sociopolitical conflict years in Europe. The Holy Mountain, premiered that same year, the Jadrowski film at Cannes. I’m still like Imagine seeing those in the same weekend or a double feature or whatever.

Kyle: The nugget is that it won The special prize or whatever it did, not the palm your but won

Cliff: it was the first animated film ever Yeah

Kyle: But my understanding of the special prize is that it it is for the stuff that sort of defies Categorization it’s like I don’t know what I just watched but It left an impression, and there was a real spirit of that the film that took home the overall prize was also an adaptation of a novel, like Fantastic Planet, but it was much more grounded, realistic, dramatic, so it’s that was a very interesting sort of mental starting point for me.

Because I thought about this film long before I really started concentrating on the soundtrack, in the early Netflix rent two DVDs and get them at home days. This was one of the first movies that Serious people told me that I needed to see and I did and then just was like, whoa That was weird and filed that away for a long time before streaming So it exists between categorization on the visual level, on the audio level, on the sort of like cultural, creative, contextual level.

I get the sense that it doesn’t get talked about more because there’s not easy places to slot

Cliff: I want to encourage people to just start slotting it into the weirdest places you can imagine. I was telling Kyle recently uh, we were laughing a little bit. We’ll talk about the movie in a second because I think we should go ahead and just highlight a little bit of that to sort of, vibe check this anybody who hasn’t seen visuals associated with it especially.


Kyle: if you haven’t

you probably have somewhere in the culture sphere. If you ever had Tumblr, if you’ve been on the internet, any amount, you’ve seen something, If you haven’t seen it, you’ve seen something influenced by it. Certainly you’ve seen something it influenced. Like you’re aware of it somewhere deep in the recesses of your mind.

I, I can say with a high degree of certainty,

Cliff: 100 percent And I have a little bit of trouble once my brain decided to associate the modern I guess it would also be kind of surrealist, but the Strange Planet comics are sort of like an extremely modern version of this like Yeah.

Kyle: damn, you’re right.

Cliff: which is, totally unrelated but now there’s at least a little visual mental hook for people to start thinking about blue people saying ridiculous things uh, in a fun cadence.

But yeah there is a striking visual style to this whole thing, but it’s a wild thing in and of itself. Point being, Kyle and I were talking about watching this movie uh, and I specifically really enjoyed the idea that I’m just gonna kind of brutalize my own psyche by Watching this really weirdly psychedelic film in the strangest and most difficult contexts I possibly can just to sort of go all the way to the inside of it and just, have the experience I might have had with the movie Heavy Metal, or Song Remains the Same and just, you know,

Kyle: like the wall.

Cliff: yeah so yeah, let’s just, let’s go hard into the weird and I’ll watch it and um, like most things that I go at with that attitude, they end up just being funny and fun and enjoyable so don’t overthink watching this movie when you get the chance.

Put it on in the foreground or the background, it doesn’t matter. It’s gonna be weird, freak you out a little bit no matter what, cause it’s, it’s It was a 1973 animated film that was designed to freak you out. So we’re

Kyle: You were rattling off that list and I thought about how much you love Xavier Renegade Angel, and is definitely in that same spirit. So like, put on your Adult Swim glasses for the viewing, for sure.

Cliff: Man, I love that. Yes. If you’ll combine Xavier Renegade Angel and maybe the animated yellow submarine stuff from the Beatles, you’ll be somewhere in the right headspace, I think. But yeah, so as you mentioned this story translated as fantastic planet, which for what it’s worth, quick note, even on that, it’s not a super direct translation.

Generally speaking, a more direct version of that actual title in French would be something more like the wild planet. I did a little bit of reading about that uh, and this is fun, like seventies context, but several people decided to. guess that the word fantastic in the 70s meant something a little bit more like radical. And if you put that veneer over how that word was used, that’ll track a little bit better than uh, what the word fantastic probably feels like today, which is a little bit more cheesy or fun,

Kyle: Yeah, not, not an emotional connotation like, in the literal sense of, it is a fantasy. This is a sci fi film, sure

Cliff: Yes. Extremely science fiction in both. Both of those words go really hard on their definitions here.

This is an allegorical story, yes, about humans, called Oms living on a planet where they are effectively dominated by giant aliens called Drags, or Trags, depending on how you want to translate this. Long and short of it without spoiling the movie because for real watch the movie.

It’s cool We’re going to talk more about the music than that but effectively aliens have these little humans basically stored up like little pets and the whole thing kind of follows the hero’s journey, honestly, and seems to have a lot in common with dune such as little vignettes of Fighting to the death for your survival to be welcomed into the tribe and Odd ceremonies and things like that uh, which is just fun to watch people’s brain kind of pour out but the whole story is about humans being dominated by these aliens and basically what happens when people cross Boundaries between two species or whatever else and what happens there?

So just watch it, but it’s based on a 1957 novel I think by Stephane Wu. But, I don’t know what the book was like. I haven’t had time to check that out. Also, I’m going to assume a same French. So that’d be a tough read for me personally, but I don’t know that there’s anything inherently animated or psychedelic or anything about it from the jump, especially being written, you know, 15 to 20 years prior to this movie being made.

But the lenses that get put on in 1973 to make what is effectively a really psychedelic sci fi animated film really comes on strong, gives a really solid vibe. And all of that. I can’t say whether it would have worked with or without this soundtrack, but I can tell you it works with it The coolest thing about this record, I think, or the biggest thing that struck me uh, which maybe it’s obvious to say, but it stands alone as a piece of music and works really well as the soundtrack to the movie. Watching it actually, I’d encourage you, if you can, and if you haven’t seen the movie, listen to the album at least once. First and then watch the movie because you get a real appreciation for how they play with that music and it starts to really impress upon you what a talented composer and arranger, alone was here and his ability to think through apparently in the span of about three weeks at the very end of this project the ability to put together the soundtrack that would work so well for such a wild story It’s one of those moments where it’s not only enjoyable, the fruits of his labor, but you also start standing in awe at how good people are at music in general, that they could crank out something like this that would work so well for so long across the board.

Kyle: So big plus one to listen to it before you watch the film and just appreciate it as a piece of music. If we’re catching you fresh on all of this stuff, the definite entry point is the album first and then the film, both of them cold before you read anything. Reiterate what we said last episode, stop the tape right now, go enjoy all the stuff and then come back to this material later.

Because I can assure you that we have both listened to and watched quite a number of times at this point. thing that will strike you immediately is that it’s 25 tracks in 39 minutes. So it’s a bunch of very short snippets, which, if you’re familiar with film scores, Sometimes you will have lots of little snippets like that, but sometimes you will have like Long orchestral pieces that get broken up into snippets in the film.

The film itself is only 72 minutes it’s a very very lean watch Arguably a little too short as a film if anything so like very much of the film is accompanied by this music and it it is very contextual but there is sort of a strange juxtaposition there it’s a bunch of short pieces but it also because it’s based on or grows from one arpeggiation sort of feels like one long thing also like Marvin Gaye I don’t think we intended to compare but it is interesting there are like

Cliff: We never do, but it

Kyle: Yeah, similar energies.

Cliff: always happens. Yeah,

Kyle: feels like no discernible beginning or end point because of the sort of core running through the heartbeat of the thing. it is a little strange to like, figure out what’s going on and be like, at what point in the score am I at any given moment? Because it’s like 47 seconds and then you’re on to the next thing. one thing that I really enjoyed. in reading about the film and I’ve never spent any time reflecting on the film or contemplating its themes or whatever but like film is a world like music where there are people who have like written very extensively and done a lot of Provocative thinking so We’ll link when we post this episode to some of the film reviews There are a lot of like great film blog sites, whatever with smart scholarly people sharing views on the thing there was one of like four or five that I really liked each of them had like a new dimension that they opened up for me like the symbolism of the colors or different interpretations of the allegory You Of which there are three or four potentially, but film cred had this thing I think not only enriches the viewing of the film, but sort of informed the way I listen to the music.

After that, and it said, ultimately, perhaps the best way to view the film is as a pay into the value of compassionate, intelligent and knowledge. Lulu, the director himself, defined the story as, quote, sort of a hymn to education in the 1973 French press book released to promote the film. Tear, the main character’s narration, pointedly stresses his delight in learning, a privilege that the drogs, the other race of creatures, seem to take for granted.

In listening, there is a thread of, enlightenment, enrichment, seeing the other. We’re two American males who only speak one language, and there is some pretty pointed metaphor in all of it to me in, all the layers of unknown unknowns that get exposed just by like stumbling Ignorantly as a westerner into like this delightful little 40 minute piece of music

Cliff: I do think two more very quick things will help hem in the what’s happening in the movie so we can keep focusing on the music. One is, just a delightful quote that I pulled from New York Times review of this movie in 1973. I feel that it encapsulates a little bit more of what you need to know about it.

One sentence I pulled from it, quote, There is some inoffensive nudity, and not one smidgen of humor, not even for Christmas. So for the last time, this is a French film. Uh, And it meets all of those criteria very well. But yeah, it’s got that great This is not funny. The allegory is very clear. I do really understand what you are saying, even if there are levels that I can keep getting as I watch it a little bit more, like you’re gonna understand the point of the film fairly directly, and there are some real cool like, oh, oh, there’s boobs, neat, okay, so we were doing a, okay, so we were doing a serious thing, okay, and then, okay, the boobs, okay, but the boobs are serious too, okay, we got this, okay, so I had to

Kyle: Like an Oppenheimer, you know

Cliff: yeah,

Kyle: Strictly for historical purposes, bro

Cliff: like an Oppenheimer, yeah, One more thing I’ll add is, so we mentioned, you know, this is all French. It gets translated uh, into, you know, the word fantastic planet and all that. But for most cases, what I’ve seen is that the track names themselves remain untranslated, generally speaking.

I’m gonna read a few of them translated. In chronological order like of the track listing of the album because it does a decent job of sort of highlighting what happens in this movie and what the fuck was happening in the 70s, dude So that first word, like the first tracks, there are multiple de homonization.

So that’s a word that refers to the moment when the soul has become separate from the body itself. So you’ve got that to start with. Next track name. Generic. The Bracelet. Yeah. Which the bracelet pops up in a lot of the samples we’ll talk about well. but they’re, you know, they’re all kind of like, obviously named, so, Dehomonization.

Generic. The Bracelet. Further down. Drag Council. Men. The Great Coexistence. The Woman. Death of Drag. The City of Free Men. Robot Attack. The Long March. Waltz of the Statues. The Rockets. Generic. Striptease, Children’s Meditation, The Old Woman Dies. So, that’s, um,

Kyle: prompts the way that you read them. Yeah.

Cliff: Thank you so much.

Yeah, I had been practicing for that. that last three in a row is a good, you know, Striptease, Children’s Meditation, The Old Woman Dies is a good encapsulation of how the end of that movie feels in general. yeah

Kyle: and in that quick succession, like when I say 72 minutes is a little too lean, it does really fly at the end.

Cliff: Oh, I’m agreed with you. They could have stressed it out. I was there for it. Tell me more.

Kyle: Yeah.

And I want to root for us,

and it’s so, you wouldn’t want it to be three hours, obviously, but it’s so, Cool. Disorientingly immersive, that you really start to feel inside of the world and then it’s like, it’s over, you know, the way that Zeppelin four and all the, great eight song albums of the seventies are like 36 minutes or whatever, like this.

And you’re like, we’re back. We’re like, I just started thinking thoughts because of this. Hold on keep going, stretch it out.

Cliff: With more context of the movie in pocket, the music is what we’re really here to talk about. And I want to swing back to it in several ways. But one is one of the most fun parts. Of telling musical stories to begin with not to always zoom all the way out immediately like this but One of the reasons we even do this podcast at all is because there are cool stories that exist For you to go discover about music that’s interesting like usually interesting music Had interesting things happen while they were writing it or while they were making it or in the time past after it was released or something unexpected happened 50 years later or So, this story has all of that.

Just all of it. It was cool at the time, 50 plus years ago, it did something unique and interesting that was shocking. That he could churn out this type of music, again, within the span of about three weeks. Uh, Which on top of that, he did not have access to the movie itself during the time that he wrote this.

this was arranged, composed, written, recorded from the memory of what he could track from the time that he had seen the animation and what was going into it. He didn’t have time to, actually be able to view the film back then because it was still the 70s and he was on a tight deadline.

Kyle: Which was the opposite of the way. It was very often done in the studio systems where they would bring a composer in early and the rhythm of the score would help inform the pacing of the scene or movements or whatever. And. It’s like the worst, the worst group project ever, in that the film took five years to produce and animate and they kept iterating on it and on the vinyl re release page, they did a great write up, and like actually shared some anecdotes from it.

Apparently, Lelou when they would talk on the phone, he’d be like, we’ll have you ready to come in and do your thing in three months or whatever. And then that just kept going and going for five years and then they were like, all right, we need the whole thing in three weeks or a month or whatever.

So he wrote the whole thing in three weeks, blind. And recorded it in three days, March 8-10 including a session for part of it with a string section of 26 players. So we’re not talking like Kevin Parker, Tame Impala, bedroom pop. I’ll knock this whole shit out in a weekend by myself type thing.

There was a heavy degree of coordination with the large studio involved. So it’s like the more detail you learn about that. The more insane, the whole thing becomes. And then you listen to it with that in mind and it feels so fully realized and it’s so utterly unique, nothing sounded like it before I mean, it was like if aliens made blaxploitation a little, so like maybe tangentially you hear strains of things, nothing sounded like it, this weird mix of elements. And to this day, nothing sounds like it since. So it’s just. A remarkable achievement, to your point, speaks to, the true genius that musicians are capable of, especially up against pressures.

Cliff: Getting people to record like that is always ridiculous when I hear that. I can’t get 26 adults to a dinner given three weeks time, much less write and record things that I need them to execute on in a short time span. It’s truly incredible. But it’s good to just highlight and reinforce this was a cool thing on its own.

Had no one ever cared. Past when it was released in 1973, but this story is cool because basically despite Alain specifically never really wanting to be super well known. He ended up doing a thing that had so much impact down the road by people who would use technology to sample music that wasn’t even available at the time that this was written.

And so, couldn’t be conceptualized, right? But, We see that Alain was known as Gogo for short he went by other monikers and names, I tried to figure out why don’t I know more about this guy, and part of it turns out

Kyle: And why can’t I more? Yeah.

Cliff: part of it, it turns out, seems to be because he didn’t want to be known for a while. Which just adds to not only the mystique of the whole thing, but like, that’s what makes it that much more surprising and shocking that his particular work here has gotten a second and third life through primarily hip hop.

Kyle: Yeah. It’s also strange that he’s not more well known, he is in the last few years, and he passed away. last year in February of 2023. It is strange that he’s not more well known relative to the volume and type of output that he had. So like prior to the score work, he was a side man and a composer primarily for Serge Gainsbourg, who was enormous.

And then a number of other European superstars. Who like, when I talk about cultural immersion bit of all this, I clicked in on some of the names that I’d never heard of people that he wrote for, and these were like some of the biggest artists of the 20th century globally, and they were names that were totally unfamiliar to me.

So like he had a huge career a bit in obscurity as a songwriter. He won the Eurovision contest with a song he wrote. And I think I couldn’t find a like full discography anywhere, but I, I think he wrote somewhere in the neighborhood of like hundreds of songs

Cliff: Yeah, seems like it.

Kyle: in the like French pop, jazz, whatever.

He released a solo jazz album, you know, and this is all prior to the mid sixties in his first 35 years. Or so of life before this kind of work even really started happening. So, Another pair of a lot of Marvin Gaye in that way. long and deep career already before this little thing even happened.

Cliff: I want to talk more about the specifics of not only how all this stuff got sampled, but then all of its sort of musical siblings and all the cool stuff to look out for. But being a little meta here, we’ve been trying to add some structure to our episodes in the sense of we have a few kind of tent poles where we stop and look at what’s a good way to just let this album hit you.

we’ve talked a little bit more about Our experiences both intentional and sort of unintentional in experiencing the music that we’re listening to For the episode whether it’s in prep or whether it’s hit us in a different way at a different time Well before know, we ever start talking about it so we always make sure and cover how to take it in, but tune in for those key moments.

So really kind of guiding you through the first couple of times you listen to a new piece of music, especially if you’ve never heard it before. So we talked. Already about the kind of association with the movie, which is a, an aspect that we don’t always get to bring into play honestly for the most part we’re we’re not even huge on watching music videos a lot of the time As some sort of additive or contextual bit to understanding an album probably because there’s Not usually video for all the songs anyway.

so we’ve got some there, but I wanted to just say like really clearly, yeah, this is a hundred percent, a great active listen if you’re ready for the vibe, but it’s also a really, really, really good passive. Listen, it is a very good, put it on in the background, but make sure you turn it up enough. To where you can catch stuff record it’s not dense or full or in the kind of modern Mastering term of this it’s not loud the way that a lot of other records are And so there’s space in there for you to like hear yourself think while you’re still listening to the record and you can do you know You can do other stuff.

It’s a great smoke session record. I mean, honestly, if you just want to kind of blow anybody’s lid the next time you’re hanging out and smoking a joint with your friends, just put on this record and you will either be ridiculed by people who don’t understand music as well as you or lauded by the people that do mess the way everybody wants to feel when they get past the joint.

Kyle: It’s a, for sure, like leather jacket moment in that way. Yeah, we went over to her apartment and

Cliff: Now, her loft.

Kyle: yeah, her loft. And she had all these cool, all these cool pieces of art on the wall and we were hanging out drinking wine and she put on the Soundtrack to a french sci fi film from the 70s and was explaining how it won top prize at con that year and it was an allegory for fascism or coexistence among people.

Anyway she’s got a boyfriend, but I her again soon. She

Cliff: He’s in finance.

Kyle: me a little. Yeah, yeah, yeah. He’s neither fantastic nor helping the planet. His name’s Todd.

Cliff: yeah, leaving Brad aside, who would never like this record. we, it’s good to be really straightforward, especially with a good, like a good passive listen. Because everything we talk about has some aspect of it. That’s a good active listen, but not all of them will vibe with you the way that this one will.

I mean you’re gonna you’re gonna do that like low key slow head nod thing when you’re not paying attention Because you’re just gonna catch it. There’s gonna be a couple of times that make you go. Oh shit something will roll in that’ll surprise you and it just sounds right And that’s just because that’s the feeling of listening to good music my friend It just so happens that it comes from a 73 french jazz album.

That’s about a movie

Kyle: And I’ll say it’s the month of May weather-wise you should have decent environmental context around you, it’s as good a time as any to pick up this record. So when we say passive listen, a lot of times that could mean one time and then it’s on a playlist with a bunch of other albums you’ve been meaning to listen to and you go into the next thing.

This is a you can leave it on all day. album So if it’s a nice Saturday and you open all your doors and windows and you’re letting fresh air in, cleaning the house, whatever, play it somewhere centrally and get some fresh air, but be in the safety of your own home too. And, it’s so I don’t necessarily want to call it atmospheric.

It has ethereal moments, but for a soundtrack, especially it is very present and rhythmic. But the movie. is about a a planet. It’s about an environment and the animation style of the film is very environment focused. It’s a lot of stills of renaissance type quality scenery contrast that with like a Disney where it’s way more fluid animation, way more focused on the character in the center of the frame.

there’s a lot of beauty and focus on the environment and the look and feel of the thing. And that’s reflected in the music. let it physically fill your environment on a Saturday or something. I can’t recommend that highly enough. if you like Seth Rogen’s houseplant playlist and you are the person with the like custom clay ashtray type of thing, some of it’s sativa, some of it’s indica houseplant playlist type material.

So try to enjoy it in that way.

Cliff: The way you’re talking about Taking care of your aesthetics, listening to this record the same way they, they cared a lot about the aesthetics and the visual style of this film. you mentioned, the animation style is and was unique even at that time. those were chosen very intentionally to feel and look a certain way.

So that’s a, yeah, that’s a cool takeaway, honestly, but that’s a really good way of putting it. It’s a great background record you can put on loud, but vibe check, take care of the area that’s around you and give it some good feel so you can really draw what’s being put down here,

Kyle: So musically, what. I always look to you for the, the technical, literal end of things, tonally, musically, vibe wise, whatever what surprised you? What were the ones that perked your antenna up?

Cliff: A couple of main things, which I think will contribute to the sample ability of this thing that we’ll talk about some more as well. one is the way that, uh, especially the way the tracks are laid out, you know, as you already mentioned, a lot of them are kind of shorter, and they’re chronologically related to how they’re coming out in the movie, but you’ve got kind of a one minute track that sort of noisy builds up on the way in.

And then it hits that second track and it feels like the groove drops like a hammer. The way you sort of shift from anxious to rhythmic is noted, As always can’t believe I’m going to bring out this reference, but the thing that made me feel and think about especially the first time I noticed how it would go from noisy interlude to aggressive, like slow backbeat.

I know I made you listen to this back in the day, but Buried Insides Chronoclast.

Kyle: Oh, man, deep. I haven’t about that record in a long time.

Cliff: it’s so it’s basically a kind of. It’s an atmospheric black metal album, we’ll just say it that way, but they have this sense of they’re doing songs and they’re doing almost literally interludes in between them but The interlude is basically has a beat and a rhythm that’s at a really similar tempo to the main motifs in this record in the way that it just kind of like snaps you back into it really fast Even when the rhythm didn’t guide you there just a few seconds before kind of reminded me of that and it It was one of those moments where sometimes the way that music surprises me just makes me laugh out loud. And that was one of them. It was just like, Oh, that’s, but that’s so good. That feels so good. The way that it built up, went in a different direction and then dropped you back in. that’s part of how, you know, it’s good. And then before long, you’re, you’re humming that to yourself anyway. So to feel that backbeat come in.

And hit so strong was awesome. The second thing that stood out that was sort of related to that on Mira at tear, there is this guitar work in the background and funk guitar being a part of jazz here is we could probably spend an episode on that in and of itself, right? But like one of the cool things to know here is this is ostensibly a French jazz record, but it’s.

there’s funk guitar everywhere, really clearly, really easy to hear it’s not subtle at all that they’re aping that uh, and we could probably talk about um, how French jazz uh, was probably aping things the same way that British blues was back in the seventies. In the sense of they’re sort of making caricatures of a culture that they’re actually not a part of, but it’s cool enough that they want to borrow it.

and so, while everyone is welcome under this tent I think that’s a good way to think about why funk was so heavily intertwined with what’s supposed to be sort of jazz or soundtrack y music here. So they’re approximating something. But it works and part of why it works, especially on, on Mira Eterra, the thing that stood out to me was they do some sort of syncopation with the rhythm guitar.

And again, I think this is what will lead us into the sampling talk more, but they play with rhythm really subtly here in both the guitar and in a couple of the different instruments as well, in a way that really lends itself not only to Good repetition but the actual composition and arrangement of motifs over a long period of time, like they are reusing really simple ideas and then playing with or reversing or spreading out the rhythm around it to give it a different feeling.

And it’s again, without a kind of better reference for what that means. Like it’s one of the reasons I like the band between the buried in me the drummer, Blake he takes one riff and just shifts the rhythm and the emphasis or makes a syncopated version and just shifts between those really quickly and goes back and forth and it makes everything feel new.

And then when you bring it back later, You can bring it back in 80 different ways because you’ve already played it all those different ways And it creates like a memorability out of a simple Like melody in a way that works super well here so those were kind of like the things that hit me and then what kept surprising me was That those things just kept happening we would go in one direction and then drop back into the beat But then the beat would kind of syncopate or shift around a little bit and then it would take you off in a different direction And then you’d snap back to something else again

Kyle: We also talked about that in the Meshuggah episode, and I was one of those people that tried to make more of what there is to get about Meshuggah than what those guys are going for. Everything wrapping around 4 all the time is the big trick with Meshuggah, and I think there’s a version of that here, and it’s not like the alternating time signature Berkeley College type of thing.

it’s the kind of shift that, comes naturally when you try to play it to just find different feels. And then you only realize it’s like a thing when you try to notate it, you’re like, Oh, it’s this. And then it’s this on the 16th and then whatever. which I, I appreciate it as a person that like, doesn’t do any of that, but I I know it’s like the Nick Cannon drum line thing.

I could do a rhythm or a syncopation in my head. And it’s like a thing. And I know it’s cool. And maybe it’s smart and maybe it’s not, but I don’t know how to tell the difference. So I’m in a very Cro Magnon way picking up what you’re putting down.

Cliff: We both just saw the callus dalboys together we can both hold the backbeat we’re good to go

Kyle: People, uh, speaking of, pulling the rhythm into a million different fragments. It was cool. It was one of the coolest, weirdest bands I’ve seen in a minute. And cool, cool that we just did a, triple combo invocation of three weird metal bands in the French jazz episode.

Cliff: Sorry goes to classical music class once ends up this

Kyle: I mean, I guess, yeah, I guess if you like, if you like the rhythmic aspect of all this, go in those directions where people are pulling groove against, chops.

Cliff: Yeah, and even across those bands and this record though, I think a way to talk about it, even if these bands wouldn’t say it the same way, is all of this music is arranged. I, and that, and that’s not to shortcut any other form of music writing, anything, right? There’s a lot and there’s a lot of magic in just, we’re just doing the thing, it’s live, this is how it feels, this is how it works, in, in just executing until you get to the right place, but there’s always a kind of subsection of music, especially the more complex you can get with metal, jazz, and other things like that, where you can tell that someone has looked at it, it’s live, As if it were on a spreadsheet and went Hmm, I’m going to move these pieces around on purpose now.

And some people know what they’re doing with that. And when they do it well, it shifts things into, they begin to mess with your sense of the time that you’re spending. listening to the music, which gives you a feeling that’s significantly different than other types of music, I think. And it works really well here.

because you’re, you’re going in nearly concentric circles. Like actually one way I thought about describing it was, you know, those little geometric drawing machines that’ll draw a circle and then you make one small shift in it and it starts drawing a slightly different shape on top of it, but it’s sort

Kyle: dad

Cliff: Aspirograph is a great example,

Kyle: of a toddler here.

Cliff: Glad to hear they’re still cool, but the way that you’re basically still operating off of the same sort of orbit or axis or whatever But you’re slightly changing something and at first you’re doing that and you’re just like well, okay Well, I just sort of drew three ugly circles beside each other cool job Uh, but if you keep going eventually you end up with something that’s like wildly complex And it’s not the thing that you intended to make necessarily But you made little tiny tweaks You As the machine kept running and you ended up with this big kind of complex thing.

And whether you knew it or not, when you started, you made something pretty cool. It’s fun to look at and interesting and would be hard to create from scratch with intention again. this just feels like that because of how specifically it again uses like a handful of motifs. Like a handful of basic melodies or rhythmic lines or string parts.

And for the most part, it’s just, I mean, I would almost think of it as like a bucket of five to 10 different things that are happening on this record. And then they get sequenced together differently over time, iterated on, repeated, returned to or in other cases they will, take the same. If you take de harmonization one and generic, you’ll notice that the way both songs start, the same underlying melody on the first bar, but the second bar, it just changes slightly. Otherwise it would be indistinguishable from the track before it, but it just like changes two or three notes out of that second bar, then goes back to repeating the pre like it’s making subtle shifts over time in a way that you can sort of trace, but. That I think is why it’s so inherently well designed to be picked up and sampled because now there’s Basically, instead of there being 800 parts to a song to sample, there’s 8 parts to a song that have 10 variations each.

And so anybody who picks it up automatically gets a song that sounds different or a hook that sounds different than anyone else who might have sampled the exact same song. So now this album is going to make decades worth of hip hop.

Kyle: I like a couple of things that you said. One, in contrasting to those two tracks, one of the things that I kept thinking was Okay, clearly it’s all coming from the same arpeggio or the same bass idea, which is a jazz thing, right? It’s, I guess that’s what modal is. Essentially, this is like a version of that. But how elastic one idea can be. And like you talked about it being fractal and geometric.

There was another episode where you mentioned Tom Holland’s Spider Man and Dr. Strange being on top of the train and the world opening up fractally like that. So interesting to invoke that

Cliff: The Mirror Dimension, bro.

Kyle: the mirror dimension. So I thought about that a lot with the melody, how fractal the melody was and just, you can sit and pontificate about the note C or whatever the base note of this thing is, how much you can stretch that in a million different directions and just marvel at the miracle of repetition or a thing against a different counterpart note to note or measure like that’s a Very basic musical idea.

But if you are a non musical person, this is a really cool, the repetition and arpeggiation on this thing is simple enough and repetitive enough that it lets you really appreciate that without being boring. In fact, quite the opposite. it’s very exciting the whole time. The second thing is you talked to someone that like laying it out on a spreadsheet thing, that sort of visual block idea.

And of course that would lend itself to hip hop and sampling because like, think about an MPC and when it’s going through the 16 buttons or whatever. And the light’s going and it’s like a Simon Says or whatever that toy was. Like, that’s just, you’re arranging the, beats in a measure. And finally with technology, we had a way to visualize that.

So it’s a cool, in the ways that we were talking about with Tangerine Dream a long while back, where they were starting to use technology less visually to hit some of those, fractalizations. You have another early sort of analog example here that would lend itself to the rhythms of hip hop. So just very cool. in addition to celebrating black music as the Rosetta Stone of everything being like a central theme of this podcast over the years, the line from music concrete in the forties and fifties and the Stockhausen school and all that going into Sampling and the interplay between live instruments and especially like funk, rhythmic type stuff and technology all the way through to sampling, that’s probably the richest fountain for like every fruit of music that’s ever been cool comes off of that vine in some way like you’re no more than three degrees from it at any given point.

is interesting how much ground we’ve been able to cover and still come back to that over and over and over again on this podcast.

Cliff: It is the undeniable and inevitable truth. So we would just be pretending we didn’t call it out all the time. Relative to what we were just talking about, we, so we also mentioned those kind of tent poles for ways to listen. So let’s just talk about that really briefly, because the other thing we like to do is, okay, once you’ve, once you’ve heard it and experienced it. Once or twice maybe especially here with the movie once if you want to go deeper and you want to really like Listen to the music on purpose to learn things to feel things whatever But it’s kind of like your primary activity to consume the music and pay attention to it and learn from it we like to talk about some things that you can then focus on and isolate sort of as you know, you can think of it as like when you’re meditating, it’s returning to your breath, it’s visualizing it’s a framework to help you channel.

The energy that you have and sort of get the thing that you’re thinking about back out of that experience. And so we give you some things to focus on or isolate that won’t take up so much of your brain uh, and won’t take you off the music, but tunes you in enough. To where you are paying attention and not drifting and so one of those then relative to everything that we just talked about is paying attention to what is repeating Versus what is changing? Just simply I think noting Uh, you don’t have to follow it. You don’t have to think about it a ton, but just sort of noting, you know, like I was just mentioning the, Disharmonization and, uh, Generique, going into both of those, paying attention to the fact that they sound really similar, but what part of it is actually different than what I just heard?

And just giving yourself a moment of reflecting I think that’s really helpful here in a cool exercise. because maybe it’s, it’s obvious, but it’s worth saying like when you are reflecting on music relative to what’s changing, you’re also sort of using a little bit of your memory and you’re going to have to pay a little bit of attention to what you’re listening to in order to do this thought exercise at all.

And so it’s a cool way to focus in. And notice things. And then you’ll start to, I think, notice as well when you do that, the way that the music progresses. And it tunes you into the intentional arrangement and composition that we were just talking about. None of us like, Me or kyle included we’re fucking dummies man.

We’re not smart enough to understand what You know endlessly talented french jazz composer was thinking doing trying to do whatever okay But that’s never the exercise What we’re trying to do is understand it as best we can and have an experience with it. And so that’s A layman’s way, I think, of tuning into arrangement and composition, just sort of paying attention to what’s staying and what’s coming and going, noticing that a little bit more, and then letting yourself return to it later when you notice something has come back or is similar to what you heard before.

All of those are just really cool ways to get in deep with the record. And I can tell you with certainty, that is exactly the exercise that’s being done when this gets picked apart.

Kyle: Yeah, and I would say as somebody who’s never really played and, whose sort of default mode structurally is verse, chorus, verse, chorus, bridge, chorus, exit, three minute rock and roll song. What you have here is a great teaching tool that’s different than that, and it’s different from jazz in that it’s taken idea and improvise in whatever different directions.

But it can help train you to start thinking about changes in music in general, like going part to part or contrasting different parts against each other within a song or across an album and how they create movement. In your mind, the emotions that come from listening to music come from the changes, as much as, or more than they come intra part, you hear a riff or a tone or whatever that you like.

And it helps you create narrative or story from mood. musical movement becomes lyrical in that way. So like, Listening to composed instrumental music with no words to tell you any story, is a good way to go back and like, maybe you appreciate a really well crafted, Bob Dylan song or whatever.

And when you return to the things that you, where you think you want to know more.

Cliff: It’s also a fun exercise, related to that again, you have to have seen the movie at least once to get the vibe of it, but you can start to discern music that has a sort of related on screen action to it versus music that is sort of the backing while a thing is generally happening. you’ll start to notice some of the very particular and noticeable elements of the music end up being not literally sound effects, but practically sound effects from the movie in the sense that they’re like related to a specific thing happening.

And especially once you get a mental. Vibe of that visual style and the feel of it and all you start to be able to recreate a little bit of the scenes In your head as you’re listening to the music And going back and remembering sort of what was happening during it and it fits astonishingly well Sometimes when my brain will not calm down I will listen to something Like bass and dumb uh, like Seinfeld without actually watching it and only listening to the audio in my headphone to sort of like Bring me all the way back down and just sort of like, I don’t know.

Sometimes it’s like resetting, cause I get a little bit confused, but I’m, I’m listening to something dumb. That was cool. I feel like I just disclosed something embarrassing and weird about myself uh, and then forgot what it was worth saying all that for to begin with. So I’ve just ended up saying a thing,

Kyle: podcasts just like worse versions of Seinfeld? Anyway. All podcasts are the podcasts about nothing brought to you by Bluetooth One thing that I noticed though, I love that point about really present versus passive Almost like saying a thing versus texturizing a thing in the film. I felt that too One thing that I thought was interesting is like when you listen to the record divorce of the context of the film or whatever. Very little of it is what feels like a score to me, thinking about like a Hans Zimmer type of thing, right?

Where it is all sort of atmospheric and around the action and world building. So it’s the ambient stuff where you’re like, Oh, this feels like a film score that really stands out to me. Like robot attack is a great example, or even striptease, which is ethereal, but they’re still like very subtly played distinctive rhythm, but it’s more noticeable when it does pull back to me.

But then that got me thinking, Oh, I want to go watch a bunch of other movies. That I thought the sound was cool or mentally filed away just to see what percentage of it feels like it’s helping drive the action versus it’s just texture, or I love that phrase that came up when we talked about Portishead all those years ago, you know, the air around the thing.

So that is sort of its own exercises, like go back to your top 10 or 15 favorite films or look on the IMDb lists people have generated for, films with the best soundtracks or best scores and do that exercise of like what Functionally, the scorer is doing to your senses at any given moment because I’m too engrossed the narrative and the visuals typically when I watch a film to think about that dimension.

And that’s like a whole new way to experience film for me now. Which is crazy as like a huge music fan who’s had a music podcast for years to admit that I don’t really do that. I can think of all the moments where there’s like pop music sync. But score, again, is in a different category for me. So I’m excited to go back and do a bunch of that in the weeks and months to come.

Cliff: Yeah, to your point uh, the point of my, uh, listening to Seinfeld without the screen on thing was exactly kind of what you were just mentioning, that because of the intensity isn’t the right word, but the visuals are very particular, sometimes that can be a lot to experience, and the movie’s relatively heavy itself.

Being able to have another sort of milder form of experiencing it is I think what can happen once you’ve watched the movie Just once or twice maybe and then you’ve gotten familiar with the music And now you’re able to just use that music to kind of call back to memory some less brain energizing visuals That represent what’s happening without getting quite so caught up in some of those moments because like of them will swallow you whole.

Kyle: For sure. And I think, divorcing it from the visuals works so well with this particular piece of music because of a quote that I found. uh, that really resonated. It said, this album feels curiously unmoored from. It’s time and place. While the opening guitars and bass of Dehumanization are transportative to Europe’s 1973 experimental rock scene, rubbing shoulders with Cannes, Future Days, and Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon, in moments like the baroque pastiche Concealed Drags, The Drag Council, the score hurtles centuries into the past.

Gorger’s orchestral instrumentation suspends everything in a state of temporal ambiguity, while his constant jerking between aesthetics, there’s that word aesthetic again, means even acutely contemporary sounds, like the Black Sabbath esque drums on Ter and Midor, feel like brief stops in 1973 rather than grounding us for good.

So it, the mix of sounds play with a sense of time and, terrain, uh, which is, I think, exactly what the film good example of what reality is intended to do It’s clear that it’s an allegory. There are things that you recognize but it is fantastic as well.

Cliff: So enough with the teasing. This all makes it really good for hip hop sampling. So real fast, for the uninitiated, let me just go ahead and give you the quick summary to get you excited. Because if you like hip hop at all, this will be an interesting bit for

Kyle: Remember guy Atlanta that used to be like, you like hip hop? Little Five.

Cliff: burned a lot of CDRs.

Kyle: haven’t thought about that guy in a while. I hope he’s doing well. He sure

Cliff: A lot of CD Rs man. I did try to like hip hop once or twice, but anyway People you may know who have sampled off of this album alone Not just the artists in general not related things just literally this album Mac Miller, Run the Jewels, Flying Lotus, Denzel Curry, Madlib, VIC, Lil Sims, probably more than that, but that’s just the easy group to grab off the top of people who grab all this stuff.

Also uh, is sampled on KRS One tracks. J Dilla mixed it in on some beat tape stuff like It’s so good It’s so good in a completely different vein than you expect it to be good If you came into this record totally blind and didn’t know that it became like a crate diggers jewel going forward But it is and it seems to have started with Madlib Uh with the track come on feet, which I like a lot Also, I just want to say really directly because we’re all adults here I feel like that phrase might mean something different in 2023 that probably was not necessarily intended At the time where that track name was written, so i’m just going to say that and move on from it But I just want to make it really clear.

I don’t think there’s anything weird about that song but And in fact, it’s really funny.

Kyle: This instance of Cliff’s Intrusive Thoughts brought to you by Therapy. However much you’re getting, get more. Now back to your scheduled program.

Cliff: Forever haunted by the idea that I’ll forget a caveat one day.

Kyle: My brain was in the pool!

Cliff: Yes,

Kyle: My audio probably clipped there again, but it was worth it. We’re not gonna call it clipping, we’re gonna call it castanzing from now on.

Cliff: My fear is that I’m George Costanza when the truth is I’m probably Kramer But so that track come on feet, right? Like it had not only a sample from tenant Tua it had a drum beat from little feet in it, like the band little feet, which is awesome. Uh, And then snippets from a blaxploitation movie by Melvin van Peebles, sweet backs.

Badass song has a lot of S’s in it. So I did my best with it. But.

Kyle: Cliff Seal, famously a Blaxploitation fan.

Cliff: I’m just trying to read the sentences together, my man. But yeah, it’s a really fun track it immediately like I understand why that track would be listed as sort of the catalyst for everything else starting to sample it more and more heavily because it immediately captures why it works.

It sounds. Right As the right vibe and what’s continued to be interesting, which I’d love to hear more from you about to is like The samples here seem to have really like seamlessly gone from being totally fine with like boom bap to more modern forms of production and hip hop now like all of it works.

It works if you just throw a really simple beat on top of the rhythm section that was already there. It also works in like. When Run the Jewels samples the bracelet they’re just shifting we talked about shifting and re sequencing rhythms they just shift their downbeat around on that sample, and it works for the whole rest of the song.

And somehow sounds like LP! A very particular production style, even though he’s grabbing something from this, which has its own lineage. It’s really cool how much life this thing has gotten in the hip hop scene.

Kyle: well, and if you think about the list of artists that you name, they cut across a lot of time in hip hop and very different sort of context and scenes, which speaks also to the elasticity of the source material. And you’re right. It is used for In pretty profoundly different ways large swaths of sound from the record all the way down to little Dilla esque fragments, and by like, Pretty different MCs, like Big Pun is very different than KRS One, is very different than Little Sims, is very different than Mac Miller. So just having like a spiritual through line between all of those artists who love the form but express it very differently, it makes it, all the more potent to me.

Also, I’m glad to have a Madlib celebration moment. if we had started the podcast earlier in the year, it probably would have made a lot of sense in March to talk about Madvillainy on its 20th anniversary and how it was a relatively obscure gem like this record. And if you know, you know, type thing with Madlib and Doom, and now it’s in the multiple millions of streams.

Category in the past five years alone. And like, it’s like a hockey stick trajectory year over year. So 20 years of mad villainy. It’s a good time to just appreciate Madlib and, the craft of sampling. We’ve talked about Dilla a great deal, but like Madlib should be appreciated. Pretty deeply as well.

and just the, the mirror anthropology of taking like very different things and sewing them together into a new quilt. So like French sci fi soundtrack with country ass little feet with blaxploitation film, turning it into a new thing and like anthropologically what those layers say together. That’s what makes sampling really exciting to me, but you have to have something that like. Is a canvas that you can impress a lot upon, which is what the fantastic planet score does as well. Lots of really exciting stuff with all of these, but the Madlib one is particularly exciting to me. And then you mentioned Flylo and Denzel’s sample, but we’d be remiss if we didn’t also mention that Flylo.

was like directly organically inspired by this album and film for “You’re Dead”, which also touches on a lot of the same cosmic socio cultural types of themes and ideas of death and rebirth and coexistence and our place in the universe. And in the New York Times interview where they were like what inspired this he he was like, This film straight up.

There’s a handful of things, but like this film. Very much so take this all the way back out in addition to sampling to brain feeder you know, what they represent as the like peak of the intersection between the layers of jazz and hip hop as they exist. So that’s fly low thundercat, especially in other cats in that orbit.

Cliff: So the last thing we like to do In terms of those ten pull exercises Is think about what to listen to next or sort of what to do next If this one got you like our sincere hope is that every album we introduced to you if it hadn’t already Gotten you that it got you during the process of listening to it or listening to our dumb asses Talk about this record and how great it is but there’s a moment and I think it’s probably different for everybody But like you know what it feels like you know what it feels like when you hear something and you go that’s it Yep So when those moments hit Whether it’s in that moment or whether it’s sort of later when you come back to it or you want something that feels that way We try to give you some things to explore and go further in Because just clicking around Spotify’s related artists tab is not gonna do it for you in most cases and certainly not and even algorithmic playlists are not going to know really what to do with this.

It is too far afield in too many categories to be I’ll use this word loosely, but correctly associated with other things that would match the vibe. Cause I would sooner put this beside Clam’s Casino than I would beside other French jazz. More than likely, but

Kyle: I’m pulling up. I really am curious to see what the related artists are. Alan. ’cause I, that didn’t even strike me until this moment. Let’s see.

Cliff: Hopefully it’ll list search because that’s one of the main areas. We want to encourage people to go explore.

Kyle: Not on the list, bro. Not on the list. Raymond Scott of powerhouse fame is on the list.

Cliff: doing great.

Kyle: some French and Italian score work on here. Bruno Nikolai, experimental artist, Basel Kerin on here. Jean Claude Vanier on here. Very interesting. Yeah. The related artists list does not do it for you, spiritually speaking, in this case.

Cliff: Spiritually speaking. Thank you for that.

Kyle: So where do you go?

Cliff: Well, So one thing you called out, which I think is great, but not always for the faint of heart. Yes, this is French jazz, which is a reminder that non American jazz exists. And even though,

Kyle: you know there are country, not America?

Cliff: it’s rude,

Kyle: For four are to have landmass other than this one.

Cliff: right? If you’re going to be in another country, be like Canada or Mexico where you’re touching us at all times so that we to.

Kyle: Or we’ll bomb you! Don’t go too far!

Cliff: So, Not for the faint of heart, but yes foreign composers, jazz artists, et cetera, and especially during the sixties and seventies uh, when jazz was doing all of the very weird things that jazz was doing, including effectively being far broader than the jazz that we talk about today. So there’s a million things to explore.

There are countless, and I’m not even being sarcastic here, just like countless artists from France, Belgium, Greece that worked with Surge, Gainsbourg, or or that Alon worked with or composed for just sort of like going down those branches of who did they work with uh, and were they important and why we’ll unveil some interesting things to you that we’d otherwise never really be exposed to, coming from an, uh, America centric purview on some of this.

Kyle: Agreed. Two things on that. One, you know, I mentioned earlier in the episode, clicking into some of those names he worked with. One was Salvatore Adamo, who’s a Belgian artist. And

Cliff: Sold a few records.

Kyle: the top of his wiki, it says by 1964, Adama was the world’s best selling artists behind the Beatles. And through his career, he sold more than million 80 million eight zero million albums and 20 million singles worldwide.

One of Belgium’s all time top selling artists. And here, if you’re like me, all you knew about was the waffles. A reference point that is a little closer to home though. Especially if you’re a hip hop fan is David Axelrod famously sampled by Dr. Dre for the next episode and sampled a gazillion times throughout the course of his discography, but what I think is cool about Alain and Serge Gainsbourg, David Axelrod has the same cool that makes it inherently samplable aesthetically, energetically, in addition to the sound of the music.

Also if you’re into the like most recent Arctic Monkeys stuff or the general character Alex Turner is trying to play in the world, that all comes straight from the French jazz pop stuff, Serge Gainsbourg, to the extent that they play it on the front of house before their shows now. So if you want the long cigarette cool, go push further in that direction.

jazz pop, especially like you said, in the late sixties, early seventies, when it was heavily influenced by funk. And the sort of like globalization of cinema and that sort of thing we’re like cultures were starting to mash a little.

Cliff: Another angle? Certainly trip hop, for sure. There’s a lot we could say here. Uh, One highlight I would give when we, let’s see, we are of the very particular part of our generation where we effectively did crate digging through MP3s in middle school, high school, early college, right? To the point that we were, you know, doing the big hard drive swapping and we had hundreds of gigs of music.

Okay. We, I don’t just mean we were randomly downloading things on Napster. I mean, we were trying to build a music collection it was impossible to imagine the idea of being able to stream virtually everything endlessly one day. And through doing that, you know, I came across stuff like handsome boy modeling school and just other stuff that has.

A cool factor to it uh, a real solid vibe and it just feels confident, is the sort of family of stuff that ended up sampling a lot of things that feel vibe related to this here. I just, it’s always a good time to go down some of those rabbit holes if you haven’t in a while. They just feel good and it’s always to me.

That’s always a fun musical journey to go on anyway, because if you need to shift back to like doing something other than actively thinking about music, you can make that work pretty quick without changing too much.

Kyle: Trip hop is such a cool example. Handsome boy modeling school is such a cool example, like not exactly trip hop, but I get with like suit music of nineties. Yeah. Portishead dummy is obviously the best. They were going for spy film vibe on that. And they made that short film, to kill a dead man.

So very much spiritually in the lineage of, 60s British spy films and then this sort of con evocative atmosphere.

Cliff: While we are reaching for tangents and rabbit holes, I’d also say. Even stepping away a little bit from the music, but if the veneer of psychedelia and the willingness to talk about, some of the most deeply consequential concepts on earth via animation uh, if that is your vibe, first of all, let’s hang out.

And second of all, you might want to consider things like Midnight Gospel on which is, yeah, inherently not musical, but it has a similar approach to, we are going to layer psychedelic visuals on top of a sort previously unrelated thing in order to augment that experience for you and draw something really different out of it.

I mean, Yeah, I can assure you that you would feel differently. Just hearing midnight gospel episodes as the origin podcast episodes that they are, as opposed to watching them as an actual kind of film that’s developing that thought through something different. I’m fairly convinced that’s not a comfortable exercise for everyone, but I think it is for some people and if you’re one of those folks who feel, comfortable kind of indulging in that and letting your brain swim around in all of those colors, then Midnight Gospel and some other similar psychedelic animation films may be for you.

Kyle: Midnight Gospel is an amazing example. two grown men texting about how a cartoon made him cry. one finale with Duncan Trussell and his mom, wasn’t it? Midnight Gospel is so good because it exists in the animation pulls emotionally in my mind between Bluey, the sleepy time episode of Bluey, which is beautiful and made me as a father cry.

It was like the first time after I became a dad, I realized like, Oh, I’m, I’m not a person who doesn’t cry anymore. But there’s like such a warmth in that. And then on the other end is Rick and Morty that has all that same sort of cosmic whatever collision and uh, is very cold and cynical. Or is trying to be, you know, wants to be.

Midnight Gospel is a hearty mix of the two. It sits more in the Carlin place between them. It’s like, I have seen it all and I accept it all because I have no choice. And I feel like the film Fantastic Planet sort of arrives in that place spiritually as well. So totally agree on Midnight Gospel.

I also think that the beauty in the simple and just like sort of fumbling away toward appreciating being here also exists in the world of Miyazaki films a lot, which I am super late to. My wife tried to get me to watch them for years and years when we were dating and only started very recently. the collision of fantasy to tell a really grounded story about people and love and all the feelings in between.

That’s the bread and butter of Miyazaki films. So I think you can go there as well. I think about the music a lot less when I watch Miyazaki films, but it’s there too.

Cliff: Yeah, they’re all going to be different kind of extensions of whatever catches you About this music or this movie or the combination of them or them in isolation, whatever These are a bunch of different directions. You can go in certainly exploring Animated psychedelic films or japanese films. It’s going to be a pretty different vibe than trying to explore belgian jazz composers but Whichever one strikes you at the moment, because for real, it does feel like if you kind of give yourself over to this music or this film or both, you’re gonna get surprised how you feel about it anyway.

So you might as well just do it, pay attention to it, and then see what kind of felt good out of it, and chase that rabbit a little bit more. Um, It’s just that it could lead you in a bunch of different directions across time and space.

Go to TuneDig. com to learn more about the album we just covered. Follow us on Instagram and Twitter for more information about the album, including playlist links to interesting articles, videos, maybe even some stories that didn’t make the episode. Most importantly, and always, please support your local record store, concert venue, buy merch from an indie band that you love.

Thanks for listening.


We’ve curated an entire year’s worth of albums to spin, one for every single day.

If you’ve listened to TuneDig, you already know these 366 picks span history, genres, and cultures. Each day presents an album that’s fundamentally different than the one that came before it, and the one that comes after.

Original "Bitches Brew" Art

To celebrate the endless creativity of Bitches Brew—and especially its famous album artwork—TuneDig partnered with two incredible Atlanta-based artists to create one-of-a-kind, handpainted gatefolds.

With the spirit of the original art in mind, each artist brought their own vision to life. These pieces will spark conversation for any jazz fan.

Each piece includes a new vinyl copy of Bitches Brew. 100% of the purchase price goes directly to the artist, so take this opportunity to support the arts in the raddest possible way.

Seriously. There’s literally only one of each. Make it yours. 😎

TuneDig Episode 52: Alain Goraguer’s “La Planète Sauvage”

Gather ’round, sommeliers of the strange and crate-digging boogie children, for something “Strange! Frightening! Fascinating!” awaits. The soundtrack to Cannes 1973’s Jury Prize-winning film is a dazzling, surreal, avant-garde hymn to cosmic knowledge and compassion and a secret handshake among real heads. If you’re after a trip to a new dimension, here’s your one small step for man.

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TuneDig Episode 51: Marvin Gaye’s “I Want You”

Marvin Gaye’s well of soul power ran mighty deep, and deep into his career, he pulled up a bucket of ice-cold, silky smooth champagne called “I Want You.” Come for the lush instrumentation, vocal harmonies, and Leon Ware clinic; stay for the stories.

For our return from hiatus, we observe a titan in his element, reflect on the pain that built him into one, and consider how to reconcile our feelings when complicated messengers deliver beauty to our door.

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TuneDig Episode 50: Funkadelic’s “Maggot Brain”

Before uniting one nation under a groove, the lysergic lords of chaos in Funkadelic harnessed wild lightning into an amulet called Maggot Brain, bestowing the bearer with raw, dark power stronger than any force known to man. Between reaching our 50th episode and coping with the “maggots in the mind” of today’s universe, it felt like the right time to free our minds. We hope y’all’s asses will follow.

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TuneDig Episode 49: Alice Coltrane’s “Journey in Satchidananda”

The story of Alice Coltrane — an accomplished bebop pianist from Detroit who transcended into something far greater before walking away from public life altogether — is a glimpse into what it means to be truly free. Alice’s masterpiece “Journey in Satchidananda” is a cosmic dance that sparked creation from destruction. And in a time when we’re all desperately searching for a spark of meaning and hope, Journey abides abundantly.

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TuneDig Episode 48: Heart’s “Little Queen”

Take a moment to appreciate Ann and Nancy Wilson, who kicked down the doors of rock ‘n’ roll’s boys’ club with their peerless guitar work, soaring soul vocals, and tight songcraft. 1977’s Little Queen — an oft-overlooked gem in the classic rock canon — offers a snapshot of those elements at their most urgent and pure, powered by the Wilsons’ simple motivation (as described by their producer): “It was a war.”

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TuneDig Episode 47: Tangerine Dream’s “Phaedra”

When you think of “electronic music,” what comes to mind may not be a genre you deeply love — hip-hop, house, new wave, or even dub reggae — but all of it owes some debt, scientifically or otherwise, to Tangerine Dream. Dig in with us as we study a prime example of the band’s brand of effortful innovation, where they patiently and persistently labored at the cutting edge of electronic technology to open a portal to new worlds in our minds.

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TuneDig Episode 46: Olivia Rodrigo’s “SOUR”

Did you catch one of 2021’s biggest albums, or like us, did you almost overlook it? If you have any expectations of pop music, “SOUR” will likely subvert them. Teenage dream this is not; it’s an exquisitely universal portrait of a weird time to be alive.

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TuneDig Episode 45: Fela Kuti’s “Expensive Shit”

The story of Fela Kuti — one of the most famous people on an *entire continent* passionately struggling to liberate power to more people — is absolutely one worth deeply knowing, regardless of whether you find yourself drawn to Afrobeat or (cringe) “world music.” But once you know it, it’s almost impossible not to fall in love with Fela and Afrika 70 as their revolutionary grooves rewire your brain in magical and meaningful ways.

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TuneDig Episode 44: Meshuggah’s “ObZen”

Meshuggah’s ObZen—an artifact of human creativity pushing the limits of what’s possible—will quite literally make you hear music differently. If you’re looking for a new musical adventure, and especially if you don’t think you like “heavy” or “weird” music, consider this your sign to push past your comfort zone.

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TuneDig Episode 43: mewithoutYou’s “Catch For Us the Foxes”

A misunderstood wise man once said “Let him who seeks continue seeking until he finds.” In our most personal and vulnerable episode yet, we do some seeking through the lens of songs that fill us with the bravery and sincerity to love ourselves and others fully. Dig deep with us as we fish for words about our tiny place in the universe and dance with gratitude for our ability to do so.

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For lifelong headbangers and the musically curious alike, a new podcast from TuneDig is here to push your palette with aggressive, abrasive art. Each short, fast-paced episode offers (1) a new metal, punk, noise, or experimental release we recommend, (2) a related playlist we’ve curated, and (3) a heavy issue to consider and an organization doing something about it. Join us in the void.


TuneDig Episode 41: Miles Davis’s “Bitches Brew”

Let’s be clear: “Bitches Brew” is a challenging record, even to some of the best musicians in the world — but all of them say it’s worth the investment.

It’s the kind of trip that, even if we *could* draw a map, it wouldn’t take you there. Let go of the need for meaning and enjoy the ride with us. We can promise you’ll be pleasantly surprised where you end up.

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TuneDig Episode 40: Fiona Apple’s “Tidal”

On the heels of one of 2020’s most acclaimed albums — Fiona Apple’s Fetch the Bolt Cutters — we revisited Apple’s debut Tidal and wound up working to extract ourselves from the mostly male gazes that made its reception … much different. We arrive at a question much like writer Jenn Pelly had: “People would constantly prod Fiona on how an 18-year-old could write songs as mature as these … Why did they not ask instead how she became a genius?”

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TuneDig Episode 39: Death Grips’s “The Money Store”

The modern world is accelerating beyond our control, shaping our reality in ways we can’t yet perceive or understand. Enter Death Grips, an art project capturing the chaotic energy and illustrating the absurdity of our hubris in trying to harmonize the surreal and extremely real — never more perfectly than on 2012’s prescient “The Money Store”.

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TuneDig Episode 38: Augustus Pablo’s “King Tubbys Meets Rockers Uptown”

Reggae music is easy to take for granted, but its impact is underappreciated and massive — in the case of dub in particular, everyone from Radiohead to Johnny Rotten to Run-DMC owes it a debt.

Augustus Pablo and King Tubby together created what’s regarded as “one of the finest examples of dub ever recorded.” Join us as we dive into the culture, history, and unique engineering experiments that made it possible.

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TuneDig Episode 37: Rihanna’s “ANTI”

By every measure — sales, awards, chart-toppers, global name recognition — Rihanna is objectively as big as the Beatles ever were. In fact, ANTI is so big it’s still on the charts, a record five full years later.

Take a closer look with us at “the record you make when you don’t need to sell records”, and get a taste of the true freedom that comes from focusing on your inner voice when faced with insurmountable expectations.

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TuneDig Episode 36: Son House’s “Father of Folk Blues”

All American music traces back to the blues, and deep at the root sits Son House. That the recordings on “Father of Folk Blues” even exist is something of a gray area that cuts to the heart of the great American myth, but wherever you land after hearing these stories, you’ll find that what matters most is what the great Muddy Waters once said of House: “That man was the king.”

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TuneDig Episode 35: Melvins’s “Stoner Witch”

The futility of describing the Melvins has stretched critics in the direction of absurd words like “Dadaist” for nearly 40 years now. They’ve belligerently flogged any attempt to pinpoint their essence simply by being themselves, but “Stoner Witch” remains a reliable mall directory for the Melvins’ vast and wild discography. Grab yourself some pretzel bites.

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TuneDig Episode 34: Dolly Parton’s “Jolene”

We should talk about Dolly the way we talk about Prince. Her extraordinary kindness and unique kitsch both make her universally loved, but what gets left out of the conversation is the very thing that made her famous: the music. Join in as we focus attention on the sonics and songwriting of the low-key masterpiece “Jolene”.

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Kyle and Cliff

BONUS TRACK: How We Got Here

We got a bunch of interesting listener feedback in our off-season, and it encouraged us to shed some light on why we do things the way we do ‘em. Also, we reflect on our first writeup, which was … interesting.

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We're Cliff (right) and Kyle (left). We’re two dudes born and raised in ATL with day jobs in tech and sustainability, respectively.

We met in middle school, and in one way or another, music’s been the thing that’s kept us close for the two decades since — whether it’s sharing and talking about new music (like this podcast, except in our texts or over beers), going to shows, or working with our favorite record stores to help them survive and thrive.

We started TuneDig as a little art project that connects us more deeply ourselves and to the world through the infinite gift of music. We hope you’ll join us for the conversations, let us know what you think, and share discoveries of your own.

More About TuneDig

TuneDig began as a little something called MusicGrid.me, which we created after realizing there was no place online to directly exchange music recommendations with your friends. Our aim was simple: to make rating albums simple, useful, and social. We got some love from places like MashableWiredEvolver.fm, and Hypebot. We managed to foster conversation between music lovers, get thousands of reviews, and meet great people.

Along the way, we realized that record stores were an essential part of the music lovers’ community. After many a conversation about how we could helpfully connect them to the people who loved them, we began helping them leverage technology to create new revenue streams and embrace streaming services without giving up what’s unique to them: expertise and curation. (Long live the counter clerk who knows exactly which record will be the right introduction to jazz fusion!)

TuneDig is our vision to connect music lovers with the music they love, because no matter how much has changed in the way we discover and enjoy music, recommendations from people you trust and respect will always be the best way to find new music you’ll dig. With this podcast, we’re channeling the spirit of trusted curation pioneered by record stores, and bringing you something to take you deeper into music you can love.