When Remy made me a mix tape (actually burn CD but you know what I mean) it was an act of friendship, a “i’ll let me in your dream if you’ll let me be in yours”, a sharing, an explanation, a self-portrait. When Julie made me a a “Hot Mix” many years ago, and followed it with a “Dance mix” and followed that with “hot Mix II” it was a test she was putting me through.
It’s not that Julie had specifically good taste in music, her taste in dance was immaculate, everything else either generational or ho hun, it was that she had a vision of herself and the life as she was living it. Julie would warn “You don’t get me, I’m not what you think I am”. She had large ebony eyes and jet black eyes and seemed introverted before you got to know here: as though she spent her time lost in thought like a fallan angel. Once she got to know you she opened up and wondered aloud why people thought she was so cold.
Her first mi to me was a snapshot of her mid-90s genereational taste: hip hop by the likes of DMZ, Jay-Z, Lil Kim -all of which I knew, a coupla remix I didn’t know, a lot of Madonna and “A Town Without Pity” thrown in for shock value. But her next mix, we were closer by then, was sexier and cheekier. It was all cmon with “Uncle Fucker” and “Carribbean Amphibean” (a song she would sing to me all the time) like a personal joke, or a personal promise, that we didn’t have to be so serious, it wasn’t so serious at all. I didn’t know all of it but I thought it was her in some way and later, when she would start in on her Italian pop so loved by her Grandfather. One day it was “Mobster Hits” and thet stuff that had me wondering if there was some kinda mobster association in her family.
Julie was a serious Catholic and a serious Italian -it is something she hung about herself and it was reflected in her constant return to the 40s and 50s masters: Sinatra, Martin, Bennet -sure, but also Vic Damone (Vito Farinola), Jerry Vale (Genaro Louis Vitaliano), Don Cornell (Luigi Varlaro) and Frankie Laine (Frank Paul LoVecchio) (per “Jukebox Memories”). I had already been big on the first two names but it was fascinating getting into the other pop singers of those days: the heavy pop-jazz orchestration, the strange Jersey-Dago accent (I hadn’t really noticed it before): her entire family like was a mirror into a world I had heard of but not kind i understood. When Julie had a family get together a hundred people would show up.
So there were three types of Julie: the old school italian, the girl of her generation, and the party girl and she kept on using sounds to prove it: it’s as if she was hiding in plain side on the edge of her taste. Odlly, I never shared with her my taste (I did with Marie Lynn). I think I made her a mix but it never clicked and what she took from me was my love of books: I gave her “The Magus” and “Speak Memory” and “Life Of The Mind” and “The Second Sex” and she read em all and read em fast and asked for more. I spoke to her after her engagement (she’s married now) and she had all but stopped reading.
Her music was interesting and I listened hard but I didn’t really need it EXCEPT her taste in dance music. I had always considered dance music a dead end -especially tenco and industrial -I could never hear how the bass/drums/synth overdubs were in any real sense creative but because I wanted to understand Julie (who was a big time dancer, by the way) I really listened and the Dutch german vocalist’s “Sexual” was the first dance artist to blow me away. It wasn’t much but it was enough and on further research I noticed Julie was often listening to remixes by Louie DeVito. Devito made his name in Long Island discos which is undoubtedly where Julie heard of him and listening to him today he sounds dreadfully old fashioned with neither the live band ethos of Drop the Lime, not the hard dub bass of Basement Jaxx, nor the dnce mix as new versions ethos of Mark Ronson or the bass loop as hook of a DJ Boyz Noise but he sure did love his bass and he bleed his songs dry to a single bass track doubled, tripled, quadrupled: it was a great place for a guy like me to sign up for the remix and watching Julie dance to Devito is one of those indelible images of things I can’t do and can no longer have.
So when a new love gives you a mix she is clueing you in, not simply her taste but her vision, her way of approaching the world and the difference between a mix from a love and a mix from anyone else is that your reponse to the lover is important, to the friend irrelevant. All these years later what I got that lasted from julie was an ear attuned to dance music. her? She’s married now. Me? I’m still on the road searching for another joint….
an ode to her cat… and the rest of us…
so much of it was vinyl it might not last very long
capped by Jack
it stands as one of Gabriel’s “Solsbury Hill”
powerful take on Denver’s classic
he might feel forgotten but he isn’t
Let’s hope next year is better…
seemed to be on the other side of one hit wonder
the middle of a long career