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Like most people, I have a love-hate relationship with late- December. Growing up in two different homes with both parents contending for visitation rights helped make that time of year that much more contentious than it might have been, anyway. However, the more that time goes by, the more I find peace with this season. I’m not a religious person in the strictest sense, but I do believe there is still some magic in the air this time of year, even though I still struggle to sense it, sometimes.


Granted, consumerism is eating away at the foundation of civilized society, further exposing the raw nerves of an over-inflated, house-of-cards economy every quarter, while millions of poverty stricken and drug addicted people starve and freeze to death on the streets. Many others have become so sensitive to the alienating nature of the word “Christmas” that you can’t say it in public without fear of fines and/or ridicule. My apartment building even went so far as to ban live and cut trees, welcome mats, and wreaths from the premises, lest the sterile hotel atmosphere of the Woodwards building be tarnished by sentimental human expression.


Some people just don’t want to visit their relatives during the holiday season; they don’t want to face the awkward drunken cornering by an overbearing and/or alcoholic uncle, and the accompanying mediocre finger food. Travel at this time is certainly no bag of peaches, as lines at the airport and heavy traffic on the roads will attest. Further, despite the ominous global warming set to kill us all within the next century, it’s damn cold out there.


These possible negatives notwithstanding, it’s the little things that make this season a “miracle”, if you will. I’m lucky in that I love my mom, and I have a pretty good family, so I always have some good meals with good people around this time of year. That aside, I’m happy enough seeing egg nog and mandarin oranges on the shelf, hearing the sound of children laugh and adults carol, and smelling the invigorating zest of a fresh cut Christmas tree. It’s details such as these, those small things we experience this time of year, that help put the rest of the year into perspective.


Speaking of the little things, the holidays are full of dreadful music being pumped from every speaker in every commercial business. With this in mind, I hope you find these mixes to be one of those little pleasures of the season. May they provide you with a small piece of solace, shelter from all the pop star vanity and pseudo-comedic novelty albums that attempt penetrate your earholes from every angle.


Not all of these tracks are crazy pro-Christmas either (“Christmas on Acid” probably won’t make Granny smile), and there’s even a new Hanukkah song on the Organic mix, just to show I’m not completely insensitive to other traditions (further suggestions would be much appreciated in the comment section). As always, my hope is that these mixes transcend boundaries and expectations, giving you a little something that you will enjoy in the moment.


 
 


Organic


01. Blitzen Trapper - “Christmas Is Coming Soon” (I’ll Stay ‘Til After Christmas: A Christmas Album to Benefit Amnesty International, 2008)
- Start time: 0:00; Links: AWR - Blitzen Trapper


02. Sean Smith - “Christmas Morning (Improvisation I)” (Christmas, 2010)
- Start time: 2:59; Links: Tompkins Square - Sean Smith


03. Lightning Dust - “Ho Ho Ho” (The Eggnog Experience, 2009)
- Start time: 4:10; Links: Winnie Cooper - Lightning Dust


04. Campfire OK - “Dreidel Song” (XO For The Holidays Vol 3, 2010)
- Start time: 6:39; Links: XO Publicity - Campfire OK


05. Shawn Lee’s Ping Pong Orchestra - “Little Drummer Boy” (A Very Ping Pong Christmas: Funky Treats From Santa’s Bag, 2007)
- Start time: 8:48; Links: Ubiquity - Shawn Lee’s Ping Pong Orchestra


06. Hauschka - “Snow” (Foreign Landscapes, 2010)
- Start time: 11:54; Links: FatCat - Hauschka


07. Liam Singer - “Winter Weeds” (Dislocatia, 2010)
- Start time: 17:44; Links: Hidden Shoal - Liam Singer


08. Kieran Hebden & Steve Reid - “Greensleeves” (Tongues, 2007)
- Start time: 20:46; Links: Domino - Four Tet, Steve Reid


09. Foxes in Fiction - “Snow Angels” (Swung From Branches, 2010)
- Start time: 23:11; Links: Moodgadget - Foxes in Fiction


10. Half-Handed Cloud - “Home For Christmas” (Cut Me Down & Count My Rings, 2009)
- Start time: 27:19; Links: Asthmatic Kitty - Half-Handed Cloud


11. Rafter - “Peace” (Music for Total Chickens, 2006)
- Start time: 30:06; Links: Asthmatic Kitty - Rafter


12. Sean Smith - “Christmas Morning (Improvisation II)” (Christmas, 2010)
- Start time: 33:20; Links: Tompkins Square - Sean Smith


13. Ox - “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day” (Silent Night and Other Cowboy Songs, 2010)
- Start time: 34:44; Links: Cosmic Dave’s Record Factory - Ox


14. Radio Free Vestibule - “Christmas on Acid” (Sketches, Songs and Shoes, 2005)
- Start time: 37:14; Links: The Vestibules


15. Pansy Division - “Homo Christmas” (The Essential Pansy Division, 1992)
- Start time: 38:56; Links: Alternative Tentacles - Pansy Division


16. Deer Tick - “Christmas All Summer Long” (Holy Sh*t It’s Christmas, 2010)
- Start time: 41:25; Links: Partisan - Deer Tick


Total Running Time: 44:48


 
 


Electronic


01. Wisp - “God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen” (Present From Us to You, 2007)
- Start time: 0:00; Links: Wisp


02. Lindstrøm - “Little Drummer Boy [Edit]” (Real Life Is No Cool, 2009)
- Start time: 6:17; Links: Smalltown Supersound - Lindstrøm


03. O.Lamm - “Snow Party” (Snow Party, 2002)
- Start time: 11:11; Links: Active Suspension - O.Lamm


04. Shigeto - “Embrace the Cold” (Semi Circle EP, 2010)
- Start time: 14:56; Links: Ghostly International - Shigeto


05. Kid606 - “Xmas Funk” (Resilience, 2005)
- Start time: 21:13; Links: Tigerbeat6 - Kid606


06. The Pastels - “Winter Driving” (The Last Great Wilderness, 2003)
- Start time: 26:22; Links: Domino - The Pastels


07. The Flying Skulls - “XXXmas Morning” (Lift Off, 2008)
- Start time: 27:21; Links: Daly City - The Flying Skulls


08. Detritus - “Archipelago” (Things Gone Wrong, 2009)
- Start time: 30:59; Links: Ad Noiseam - Detritus


09. Daedelus - “Snowed In” (Of Snowdonia, 2004)
- Start time: 35:12; Links: Plug Research - Daedelus


10. Exile - “Mushroom Santa” (Pro Agonist, 2005)
- Start time: 37:48; Links: Planet Mu - Tim Exile


11. Chevron - “Rudi the Techno Pioneer” (Everything’s Exactly the Same, 2005)
- Start time: 43:42; Links: Planet Mu - Chevron


Total Running Time: 47:10


 
 

Compelled to words by music since 2004, Ranta's words have appeared in such esteemed publications as Exclaim!, Tiny Mix Tapes, CBC Music, and PopMatters. He also regularly votes for the Polaris Music Prize, Village Voice Pazz & Jop, Juno Awards, and in all local, provincial, and federal elections. Based in East Vancouver, he's been known to a rave and/or rant, cat whisper, play basketball, pessimistically root for the Canucks, and read far too many comment sections. He graduated with distinction from SFU in 2012, with a bachelor's degree in music.


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