January 7, 2009

Uilab//St. Elmo's Fire

You know what’s great about having my late 90s “boombox” set up in my kitchen? Here’s what:
When I’m cooking I can listen to all my favorite classic mixtapes and CDs!

Last night, I was listening to this mix that Ali and I made the summer after Sophomore year. That was the summer that we (Ali, Ange and I) lived in Debs Coop and spent every evening drinking Milwaukee’s Best purchased for us by Colin and Joanne, the only other bitter and jaded people in the house, who also happened to be over-21. We’d hang out on the porch and drink cheap crappy beer and make fun of all the fratty types who lived in the student ghetto with us. We’d walk down to Sergeant Pepper’s and get disgusting $1 pizza and get leered at by all the creeps in there. This was the summer when Jen and I were dating and I spent every day riding my bike to Black Elk to hang out there, on that porch, doing similar things. We took frequent trips to Pickerel Lake and Dairy Queen. On big nights, we’d go hang out at The 555—THE OLD 555, by the Y…the one that got burned to the ground. I worked at East Quad’s front desk, checking in orientation students, and a horse barn, doing menial tasks, part time. These two strange and slacktastic jobs more than covered my under-$300/month rent. Honestly, except for a few minor hiccups, life was pretty beautiful and uncomplicated.

The mix I was listening to included some serious jams of that time that really managed to capture the carefree, pretty mood: “Michigan State” by Devendra Banheart, “Work It” by Missy Elliot, Yo La Tengo’s cover of Sun Ra’s “Nuclear War.” We taped a lot of records that we eagerly purchased at Encore and Underground and Wazoo. Oh, summer in Ann Arbor, you can’t be beat!

Also on the mix: Uilab’s (collaboration between Stereolab and Ui) cover of Brian Eno’s “St. Elmo’s Fire,” which might be the best embodiment of the feeling of that time. The soundscapes are so deep, rich and warm; the builds subtle and floating, but still present; the lyrics coated with heavy summer nostalgia.

On a day like today, gray and cold and wet, I could use a mental trip back to the lovely and golden summer of 2003. Yesterday, I sat in my kitchen, heard these sounds, and felt myself falling in love with warm, easy times all over again. How beautiful.

St. Elmo’s Fire.mp3

Brown eyes and I was tired--
We had walked and we had scrambled
Through the moors and through the briars,
Through the endless blue meanders,

In the blue August Moon,
In the cool August Moon.


katherine said...

I remember that summer!!

One Song said...

the summer of "wavelet!"