So… It had been a quite a while since I recorded a mix, in part by lack of time and inspiration – although I did start working on an Acid House mix last summer, which is still in the plans – and in part because I upgraded my computer and, unbeknownst to me, rendered my old Traktor Kontrol S4 obsolete because it was no longer compatible with the Mac OS version of the new computer. Enter, a few months later (now), the brand new Traktor Kontrol S2 MK3, and a new iteration of the Loungin’ series which I’d been working on in parallel with the other one.
It is, as far as I can tell, the longest one so far at just shy of 2 hours and 30 minutes and, I must say, definitely my favourite. It’s got funk, boogie, hip-hop, jazz, dub, pop, but, mostly, two exclusive tracks from the upcoming Bran Van 3000 album (no release date yet) graciously offered by BV3K collaborator/studio engineer/producer and my friend Jean-Michel Lapointe. Thanks man!
Also of note in this mix is the fact that I’ve featured at least 11 tracks by local artists, which is relatively rare, including one in French, also relatively rare, by Les Louanges, and the aforementioned Bran Van 3000, Megative (who are kinda local, see below) Men I Trust, The Kount, and High Klassified. They are, to me, exquisite examples of the fact that Québec isn’t just about “la chanson” in it’s most boring expression. Apart from our thriving hip-hop scene, we also produce excellent world-class pop that manages to be accessible without being cheesy – or “quétaine” as we say.
There are a couple of cover versions that I’m really fond of: a new version of Georges Kranz‘s Din Daa Daa (Trommeltanz) (track 3 on the mix, called Drum Jawn, by Underdog Edits), and a version of The The‘s Giant by DJ Food with Matt “The The” Johnson himself on vocals (the closing track of this mix).
You’ll also hear two tracks by one of my favouritest new band, Megative, a new project featuring Me Mom & Morgentaler’s Gus Van Go and The Stills’ Tim Fletcher. They do ska that will be right up the alley of anyone who was ever been a fan of The Specials and the whole 2nd Generation of ska circa Two Tone Records. I’ve included Beneath the Sun and More Time, but I warmly encourage you to check out the whole album, because it’s really worth it.
And what about that first track, the return in full form of none other than Chaka Khan after an absence of more than 10 years!
I’d be remiss if I also didn’t mention the presence of an old gem that my friend Jimmy Beaulieu reminded me of this week in one of his own mixes for Radio Annexia, and I’m talking about Thomas Dolby‘s Budapest by Blimp. I did ask Jimmy if it was OK to use it on this mix just a few days after his own came out, and he graciously (as is his custom) said that it was fine because such a great song deserves to be widely known. It is indeed one of Dolby’s masterpieces and probably not one of his best known songs. I hadn’t heard it probably since it came out in 1988, and one of the main reasons for that is that I wasn’t equipped to fully appreciate such finely crafted pop music back then, just being out of my teens and too involved in the underground scene to admit some pop might even be (gasp!) good…
I also want to point out the presence of a magnificent new release by Donny McCaslin who, for those who don’t know, was the bandleader responsible for the music behind David Bowie‘s final album, Blackstar. Nothing to add there; just listen.
You can download the mix here.
- Like Sugar (Extended Mix) _ Chaka Khan
- Neptune Games _ Bybo Funk
- Drum Jawn _ Underdog Edits
- Beneath The Sun _ Megative
- Ascension Thyme _ Bran Van 3000
- Solid _ Another Channel
- Silver Light feat. Jinadu _ Fred Everything
- Xingu _ Al Dobson Jr.
- Amethyst feat. Nubya Garcia _ Harvey Sutherland
- Dirty High _ String Theory
- Beat 54 (All Good Now) _ Jungle
- Pitou _ Les Louanges
- Tadow _ FKJ
- Out In Myself featt. Emmanuelle _ Men I Trust
- Feels Like Summer _ Childish Gambino
- L’Oeillet Noir _ Antoine Korgut
- Space Is The Place _ Men I Trust
- Fifth Wind _ Jex Opolis
- Futureland _ The Kount
- Exist _ Promnite
- On Your Side _ Fitzzgerald
- Bar Asfalt _ Bugge Wesseltoft & Prins Thomas
- Born In A Rolling Barrel _ Will Saul Presents CLOSE feat. Tikiman, October & Appleblim
- Girls _ Bran Van 3000
- More Time _ Megative
- Close (Midnight Version Monsieur Seb Edit) _ Roosevelt
- Come Over feat. Leaf _ High Klassified
- Curious Fish feat. Emmanuelle _ Men I Trust
- Tried _ BADBADNOTGOOD & Little Dragon
- Eye of the Beholder _ Donny McCaslin
- Budapest By Blimp _ Thomas Dolby
- Giant feat. Matt Johnson _ DJ Food
Hadn’t realized the last iteration of this series was already 2 years old!
Here’s the newest edition which I had a lot of fun researching, prepping, recording and post-proding!
Light and bouncy throughout with a increasingly darker finish, but never losing focus!
Hope you enjoy!
Favourite, repost and all that merry stuff so that this little gem charts high!
This is the D/L link
This is the tracklist
- Welcome Speech_Crackazat
- Simply Yes_Shur-i-kan
- Jump Into (Paxton Fettel remix)_Uffe
- It’s More Fun To Compute_Joey Negro
- I Wanna Fly_FAM Disco & Phillip Ramirez
- Clammy Customer_Archie Pelago
- Kiwis, Apples & Limes (Discodromo Spiritual Remix)_Robot Needs Oil
- Open House_Moullinex feat. Tee Flowers
- Botanico_Jex Opolis
- High Times_Marcus Marr
- Coffee Time_Crackazat
- The Phoenix Part 2_Marquis Hawkes
- White Song_Jacme
- Go Ahead_St-Denis
- Camino De La Luna_Joakim
- The Sound_Ron & Manoo
- Die Dimension_Perel
- Axe Nord-Sud_TÉNÈBRE
Here’s this year’s edition of the Summer Breeze series that almost was with the LoFiBreeze mix released earlier this summer! Enjoy unabashedly loud and like no one’s watching! I’m really happy with this one! Favourite, repost and share, let’s take this one to the top of the Mixcloud charts!!!
The download link is here!
1. It’s My Life (Sean’s 6am Dub) _ Sean McCabe ft. Cinnamon Brown
2. Somethin’ Wit Jazz (Jimpster Remix — Luke Solomon’s Body Edit ft. James Duncan) _ Mr. V
3. The Sweetest Meditation feat. Mara TK (Club Mix) _ Lord Echo
4. Unconditional _ Terrence Parker
5. Psychout _ Carlo Lio
6. Woke _ Tiga
7. Electronic Frequencies _ Ben & Sadar
8. When I Luv (Kenny Dope Remix) _ Mike City feat. Faith Evans
9. All You Need _ Austins Groove
10. Deep Inside _ Bart Gori
11. The Basement Is Burning _ Marquis Hawkes
12. Esperanza (David Morales Red Zone Mix) _ Luciano & David Morales
13. No Fool _ Tensnake
14. La blessure (Fred Everything Remix) _ Anonimaly
15. Har Zion 110 (Aril Brikha Remix) _ Deep’a & Biri
16. I Never Thought I’d See The Day (Kiko Navarro Rework) _ Sade
17. Song For A Friend _ Byron The Aquarius & Cropper
18. Abraka _ Danvers
19. Easy Easy _ Marcel Lune
20. Everything Happens For A Reason (Beatless Version) _ Kiko Navarro feat. Isis “Apache” Montero
So this is it: 2017 is a year where my traditional summer season mix will be a mash-up of two series — Summer Breeze and House Music for Grown-Ups. The reason is quite simple: I meant it to be a Summer Breeze iteration, but it’s a mix of Lo-Fi House tracks which aren’t quite sunny ditties, most of the time.
I’ve only started exploring the genre, which in part explains the high reoccurrence of some bands in the tracklist, but I quite enjoy it and I hope you will too!
Stream from Mixcloud above or download by clicking here.
TRP — Stash
TRP — That Old Feeling
TRP — M7
TRP — The Future
Lone — Chroma
ÐNΛonÐNΛ — Tool #4
Sonderr — Rush Hour
Daze — Compton
Grant — Feeling (Vocal Mix)
LK — Getting Ready
No Moon — Everything Has A Return
Lone — Crush Mood
DJ Heure — Sunny Jam
LK — Lunar
LK — Party People
Lone — From A Past Life
Ross From Friends — In An Emergency
Beesmunt Soundsystem — First Timer (Mosey Remix)
Grant — Frame Of Mind
Mood J — The Arps
Mavora — Tension
Sonderr — Overboard
No Moon — Is it Vibey Is It Yolo
No Moon — Space Station Dub
No Moon — I Left My Dial In Pirovac (Pt.1)
No Moon — I Left My Dial In Pirovac (Pt.2)
This edition was curated and mixed over the last two weeks mainly through digging around on Bandcamp, and specifically with spring in mind; melodic, positive, groovy…
It’s a Loungin’ mix that makes you wanna boogie!
At 32 tracks deep, I believe it’s also my first “circular” mix, i.e. that starts and ends with the same song — so you can play it on repeat without noticing!
Some of my favourite discoveries while perusing to build this tracklist definitely were Kiko Navarro‘s new album, the drum and synth duo SOCCER96 (Wow!), A Band Called Flash (Wow!), and Wayne Snow. I linked every artist to the album where that given track is taken from and I really encourage you to encourage those artists!
1. Choir and Crickets by Jeff Russo
2. My Love Turns To Liquid by Dream 2 Science
3. Soñando Contigo (feat. Concha Buika) by Kiko Navarro
4. You Glow by The Kount
5. Want To Be by Oddisee
6. Lowrider by Yussef Kamaal
7. Feels Right by SOCCER96
8. Eh (Jazly Remix) by fhin
9. My Favourite Merchant (feat. Byron The Aquarius) by Jesse Futerman
10. Witness (feat. Benoît Pioulard) by Lusine
11. Remembrance by Yussef Kamaal
12. Lantern Dusts by Somerville & Wilson
13. Hun by Jolly Mare
14 Volans by A Band Called Flash
15. White Noise (Shahrokh Dini Remix) by Bar
16. The Anthem by Wu15
17. Partido Novo by Azymuth
18. A Sereia by Democustico
19. E Mulher (Ashley Beedle ‘Afrikan On Marz’ Remix) by Azymuth
20. A Bossa Nova É Foda by Caetano Veloso
21. Canopée by Polo & Pan
22. Summer Fruits by Swindle
23. A Day’s Reality (Dedication Instrumental) by Felix Dickinson feat. Robert Owens
24. Let It Bloom (Domu House Remix) by Ashley Thomas
25. Prepad by Boban Petrovic
26. Gem (Hidden Spheres Remix) by Jesse Futerman
27. Live Notes by Don Froth
28. Change by Dan Kye
29. Freedom R.I.P. by Wayne Snow
30. Century (feat. Banton) by Henry Wu
31. Slow Motion by Lusine
32. Choir and Crickets by Jeff Russo
OK, so two Cosmixes in less than a week after I even wrote that the series and the genre were dying…?
Well, here’s the story of how those two mixes came to be.
Out of frustration, I threw all the tracks in each playlist into a single one and decided to start from there, not knowing what would come out of it.
What came out of it was Cosm11x, but a member of the Cosmix family almost out of necessity as it was on the cusp of being a HM4GU issue were it not, like I wrote, for “too many Disco/Boogie/just-not-House-Music joints in the mix”. I’m still happy with the result, but…
Once that one was done, I proceeded to reclassify every track I hadn’t used back in separate folders — Loungin, House Music 4 Grown-Ups, Cosmix — and, lo and behold, what ended back in the Cosmix folder was super inspiring, so I started planning Cosmix 12, and it merely took a couple of days from planning to recording.
This one is definitely in the Top 3 of my favourite iterations of this soon to be decade-old series of mixes.
No. Seriously. Check it out!
1. An Outro (To Andromeda) _ 2 Billion Beats
2. Mordor Disko _ Jonathan Kusuma
3. Blind (Sascha Braemer Remix) _ Dayne S
4. Feel Acid _ Blakkat
5. Disturbancy (Petar Dundov Remix) _ Christopher Kah
6. May 28th _ Simone Gatto
7. Vocoders Revenge _ Tom Demac
8. All Over Exposure _ 2 Billion Beats
9. Nattergal _ Diskobeistet
10. Foehn _ Lindstrøm
11. Floating on a Salt Lake _ Roland Tings
12. Quintessential Trips To Bergen _ Mungolian Jetset
13. Trust Me (Original Mix) _ Robyn, Mr. Tophat
14. F _ Prins Thomas
15. A New Kind of Superhero (Leon Sweet Klaw Mix) _ Flash Atkins feat. Aggie Frost
16. Is There No End (New Jackson Remix) _ Shit Robot
17. Dystopian (Fabrizio Mammarella Remix) _ Henry Saiz
18. Planet E (Danny Daze Remix) _ Tiga
19. The Supplier (Toby Tobias Fuzzydub Mix) _ Chocky
20. Valley Of Paradise (Greg Wilson Remix) _ Psychemagik
21. The Waves (Psychemagik Remix) _ Villagers
22. Taste The Groove (Hot Toddy remix) _ Joey Negro & The Sunburst Band
23. Caoutchouc _ Rubber Band
24. Starstruck (Dub Mix) _ Discotron
25. Melbs _ Neil Diablo
26. A Place Called Space _ The Juan Maclean
Eleventh iteration of this soon to end Cosmix series, as the genre is dying, in my humble opinion. I struggled in deciding whether this would be part of the House Music 4 Grown-Ups series, but there are too many Disco/Boogie/just-not-House-Music joints in the mix to warrant this one belongin in that series, ergo…
Kojak _ Laurence Guy
Be A Man You Ant _ Andre Bratten
Rituals _ Field Theory
Happiness (DNA 5) _ Crooked Man
Dreams (Psychemagik Remix) _ Fleetwood Mac
Frozen Rooms _ Somerville & Wilson
Baby Brother (DJ Fudge Remix) _ Sadam Ant
Feel That Heat _ Luxxury
In Sintesi (Psychemagik Remix) _ Roisin Murphy
Survive (I Will) _ Roberto Rodriguez
Trance Sexual _ Fantastic Man
Brown Sauce _ Marcus Marr
Let’s Go (Never Been To Tokyo) _ Doc L Junior
Lett Sommarmat _ Ralph Myerz & The Kosmik Diamondz
Bar Trenutek _ Ichisan
Volium _ Future Sound of Antwerp
Live At The Cosmic Carnival _ Detroit Swindle
Disco Circus (Dan Tyler remix) _ Todd Terje & The Olsens
Funky People _ Kiu D & MKV
Badger From The North (BG Baarregaard Mix) _ Flash Atkins
Advance _ Justus Kohncke
Priestess _ Harvey Sutherland & Bermuda
Get To Know Me (Hot Toddy Vocal Remix) _ Situation
Analogue Express _ Bonar Bradberry
Winter Tones _ Fred Everything
H _ Prins Thomas
Reflections (Petar Dundov Remix) _ Alan Fitzpatrick
For Falling Asleep (Carl Craig Mix) _ Etienne Jaumet
A mix inspired by my beloved father, Hugues Chicoine, who passed away peacefully on September 2, 2016, at the age of 67. The mix contains music that we shared, that was at the core of our relationship throughout the 47 years we had together, all favourites of ours/his/mine; I feel truly blessed to have had the chance of having him as a father and as a guide to all this wonderful music, and so much more… That’s all I can say: thank you Hugues!
Generation (In Loving Memory of Hugues Alonzo Chicoine 1948-2016)
1. Father and Son—Johnny Cash feat. Fiona Apple
Dad loved Cat Stevens, and of all his songs, this one is my favourite because of the line “From the moment I could talk, I was ordered to listen”, which I find amazing to describe the conflicting relation between childhood and fatherhood. I’m a big fan of Cash and Apple, so their version seemed more than appropriate to open this homage.
2. The Ink in the Well—David Sylvian
Dad introduced me to Japan in my early teens, and we followed Sylvian when he embarked on his solo career. Brilliant Trees is one of the CDs that played the most in our apartment in the 80s.
3. The Rainbow—Talk Talk
Spirit of Eden remains one of our favourite albums of all time, yes even more than Laughing Stock, which is generally regarded as a better album. The Rainbow was my favourite track. I don’t think dad had a favourite one; he viewed the whole album as a single masterpiece.
4. Somebody Up There Likes You—Simple Minds
If there is one album that could be said to be THE album that was “Us”, it’s definitely Simple Minds’ New Gold Dream. The first time I flew on a plane—to go visit dad in Toronto while he was studying photography at Ryerson—I had made myself a mixtape and this song is the one I chose for when the plane would take off. The title is also befitting of a musical eulogy, obviously, and the Minds chose this title as an homage to David Bowie and his song Somebody Up There Likes Me.
5. Architecture and Morality—Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark
Another one of our classics. Hugues was a big OMD fan, up until at least A&M, not sure he enjoyed Dazzle Ships and their following pop phase, but this title track to their 1981 album was one of his favourites after Julia’s Song, which appears later in this mix.
6. Holiday on the Moon—Love and Rockets
This was the soundtrack to our trip to Cancun in 1986. Dad loved the lyrics and super slow pace of this one, just as I do.
7. Opus for Four/Debut/E. F. L.—The Art of Noise
This one is not necessarily one that dad especially liked, but it is one that I deeply associate with him on an emotional level.
8. The Other Side of Heaven—Kissing the Pink
Another lesser know band dad introduced me to, he was more of a fan of their Naked album while I preferred What Noise?, and especially this song, whose title was befitting here.
9. Horse With No Name—Seelenluft
To open the 60–70’s section of this homage, I decided to use a cover version, once more. Dad loved this 1971 hit by America, but I don’t think I ever played this 2007 version by the Swiss Beat Solèr for him. I’m pretty sure he would’ve enjoyed it.
10. Carpet Crawlers—Genesis
Aaah! Genesis. A major part of my childhood. Dad, mom and my Uncle Jean-François, dad’s youngest brother (we’re only 12 years apart) even took me to see the Selling England by the Pound tour at Montréal’s CEPSUM in 1974 when I was 4. But The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway was definitely his—and my—favourite Genesis album, by far. I could’ve used any song from that album on this mix, but Carpet Crawlers is one of the songs that reminds me of him the most.
11. Lucky Man—Emerson, Lake and Palmer
Never grew to really like ELP, but Lucky Man was one of dad’s favourites.
12. When You’re a Free Man — The Moody Blues
The Moody Blues are even more central to my childhood than Genesis or the Floyd, and they’re another band my parents took me to see live at an age and in an era where it wasn’t commonplace to see kids at a rock concert. Dad had all their albums, and they’re probably the first band I bonded with and would put on one of their albums on my own when I was barely 5 or 6. Gotta love dad for that: he purposefully placed the turntable at a height where I could use it on my own if I wanted to. . . How wonderfully thoughtful is that?
13. Lay, Lady, Lay—Bob Dylan
Same as ELP, I never became a Dylan fan, but dad loved this song and I quite enjoy it also.
14. You’re So Vain—Carly Simon
My parents had me very young, and they were, to a certain extent, what could be called hippies. As a result, it comes as no surprise that when I was merely 4, they decided to hitchhike across the country to Vancouver and back. This Carly Simon classic with Mick Jagger on backing vocals is, in my memories of that trip, the soundtrack to that adventure that took us many months to complete.
15. Summer Breeze—Seals & Crofts
Frankly nothing much to say about this one except that dad liked it a lot.
16. Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo (Heartbreaker)—The Rolling Stones
Dad was a much bigger Stones fan than he was a Beatles fan, and their 1973 album Goats Head Soup was one of his favourites of theirs. I love the NYC-feel of this track that he really loved.
17. Let’s Spend the Night Together—David Bowie
There had to be at least one Bowie song on this mix, although he wasn’t one of the artists that played the most at home. The one album that was a mainstay in dad’s record collection, however, was Aladdin Sane, so what better segue way than his version of the Stones’ classic, which we both considered much better than the original.
18. Shadowplay—Joy Division
Here we go with the 80’s segment made of bands that were central to that decade and to our life together in our legendary downtown Québec City apartment. This homage commanded Joy Division, and Shawdowplay is definitely one of our favourites, and it is one of my all-time favourite guitar solos; Barney is underestimated as a guitar player.
19. Over the Wall—Echo & the Bunnymen
Hugues was a huge E&tB fan, much more than me, even though I do love them. Over the Wall, from their 1981 album Heaven Up Here—a reference to the point of this homage—was one of his favouritest of the band, and definitely his favourite album of the band.
20. Dear Prudence—Siouxsie & The Banshees
Had to have a Beatles song on here, but this version is the one we shared the most. We had a radio show for a few seasons on Québec City’s CKRL community radio station in the 80s, and during one of these seasons, we put on a show that was called Like Father, Like Son where we’d play an original song followed by all it’s cover versions we could think of or find. This was obviously one of those.
21. Gimme Shelter—The Sisters of Mercy
Here’s another cover for you, and again, for all his love of the Stones, Hugues thought this version was way better than the original. All I can say is: how fucking cool is it to have a dad that loves The Sisters of Mercy when you’re a teenager into that kind of music. . .
22. King Is White and in the Crowd—Simple Minds
I’ve mentioned New Gold Dream before, and dad loved this one, too.
23. Love Song—Simple Minds
This definitely was dad’s favourite Simple Minds song, and seeing him dance to it in clubs was a sight to behold; since he had taken up ballet up to a semi-pro level, he moved and danced like no one else on a dancefloor!
24. Midnight Man—Flash and the Pan
No idea how he discovered Flash and the Pan, but he really enjoyed what little material of his/theirs we could put our hands on at the time. I only recently discovered that it was in fact one of Australia’s Young brothers, the other siblings being members of AC/DC. . .
25. Julia’s Song—Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark
Dad’s favouritest OMD song.
26. I Die: You Die—Gary Numan
Dad loved Numan, but mostly his Telekon album, and this classic from that album. I dug deeper in his discography and there are tracks that I like better than this one, but it’s still a track I love, and I have very vivid images of my dad and I enjoying it very loud while preparing dinner or whatever. . .
27. My New Career—Japan
Gentlemen Take Polaroids had such an impact on me as a young man, musically and aesthetically. I tried looking like David Sylvian on the album’s cover even to go to school, I adored their music, becoming quite a completist of their discography and even the band member’s solo efforts. I am very thankful for dad to have introduced me to their music, as I am for all the music he introduced me to.
28. Friday Night, Saturday Morning—The Specials
I think dad never quite understood my love of The Specials, which he enjoyed, but wasn’t necessarily a fan of. I chose this track because I bought this 12” the first time I visited him in Toronto.
29. Poptones—Public Image Limited
Dad and I weren’t fans of P.I.L. except for the Paris au Printemps live album, which we positively adored, and incidentally was released as being by Image Publique, S.A. This is our favourite, especially because of the talking at the beginning of the track, which I have not included here, where Lydon says to the audience, “I’ll walk off this fucking stage if you keep spitting on me, dogs!”, which inspired the album’s cover.
30. Doubts Even Here—New Order
Of course, New Order had to be included on here; dad loved them, and Movement was definitely his favourite. Any songs off that album could have been used here, but I chose this one.
31. We Have Come to Bless this House—Severed Heads
The first time I was in a club was at Québec City’s legendary Shoeclack, I was 13 and it was my dad who took me there. That time was the first time I heard the Heads’ Dead Eyes Opened, which is still to this day one of my favourite tracks. Dad thought Severed Heads were intriguing and liked their experimental side. He positively loved this song from their 1985 album City Slab Horror.
32. Golden Brown—The Stranglers
Another band dad made me discover through the mixtapes he would send from Toronto. When I told my mom that I wanted her to hear something he had sent and told her the band was called The Stranglers, she was kind of worried, but when she heard this nearly classical music, she was really confused. . .
33. Decades—Joy Division
There had to be more than one JD song on this tribute, and ever since I first heard this album back in the days, I’ve said I wanted this one to play at my funeral, which is why I’ve included it here.
34. Cold Song—Klaus Nomi
Nomi. Dad loved him. This song seemed befitting.
35. The Great Gig in the Sky—Pink Floyd
Much Floyd rocked my childhood. This song, again, was quite unavoidably required on a musical homage to Hugues.
36. Concierto De Arajuez (Adagio)—Miles Davis
Dad loved Miles and transmitted that love to me very early on and to this day; I even got a tattoo of Miles’ iconic “logo” of him playing the trumpet. I didn’t want to be too obvious in my choice of Miles’ song to include on this homage, and remembered that Hugues really loved Aranjuez very much, and Sketches of Spain is an album I, a lot of people, often overlook from his Gil Evans era.
37. On Earth as It Is in Heaven—Ennio Morricone
Although it’s not evident in this homage, Hugues loved classical music, especially Bach. This Morricone soundtrack is hands down and by far the CD that played the most in our apartment; I had no choice whatsoever to include one of its tracks on this homage.
38. Stay—Hans Zimmer
He probably never heard this piece as I don’t think he saw the movie Interstellar. Even though I told him I had made this mix for him, he didn’t want to hear it. He didn’t wish to hear any music in the last weeks of his earthly life. I do understand why, too. I believe he started detaching himself emotionally in preparing for his departure, and hearing music and reliving memories would’ve made things harder in regard to his decision to opt for doctor assisted death. I could never resent him for not wanting to hear it, but there is a bit of regret, though. This emotionally powerful piece, which is made even more powerful by its title, seemed like the perfect coda to this homage to my beloved dad. If you’ve made it this far into this homage, you understand.
Following is the translation of a text I wrote a few days before dad’s death, on the night we learned when the appointment was for his DAD (doctor-assisted death, ironic, isn’t it?), and amended a little after coming home from said procedure.
When You Dad Dies
When your dad dies, when you know it’s coming, things take on a different flavour, a different perspective.
Your dog gets on your nerves, but then you realize that right now, your dad would probably love for your annoying dog to be lying by his side, breathing calmly and warming him up.
Then again, your dad is constantly in a feverish state because his body is locked into a 24/7 battle with the invader, a thing you realized on your penultimate visit: you sat next to him in bed and after a few minutes, you said “Wow! You’re so warm…” and he explained why. . .
You do the dishes, cuz you have to. But when your dad’s dying, you feel stupid to be doing dishes while your dad’s dying.
But then you realize that while your dad is dying and you feel it’s stupid to do the dishes, he would surely prefer to be doing the dishes rather than be dying, even if your annoying dog keeps pestering him for food.
When the person who gave you your most beautiful—and some of the worse—memories of your life is fading away, it’s hard not to feel like those memories are fading away with him.
But that’s Life.
Your knee-jerk reaction is to tell life to go fuck itself.
But that’s stupid.
By the age of 7, usually, you understand that Life is also its End. You don’t understand everything it implies, but you understand that it will end someday, and that makes your head spin. . .
Telling Life to go fuck itself is normal, as a knee-jerk reaction, but it’s still stupid. Your job, at that point, is to be mature about it and to integrate this finality.
Besides, Life has weird ways of telling you things.
Take the other night. . .
We were wondering what to watch, and we’ve basically watched everything: even Netflix doesn’t have much we haven’t seen yet.
So I said, “Let’s see what’s new on the Frontline web site.”
The latest episode, I kid you not, was a report called “Being Mortal” on how doctors deal with the topic of their cancer patients’ death. You can’t make that stuff up, and I suggest you watch it, too. It’s a very good report.
People keep saying cancer is a bitch, as a matter of fact, as if it was more “avoidable” than another disease. I get that it’s a commonly accepted stance, but I find it a little cliché.
Cancer is not crueler or regrettable—or avoidable, for that matter—than cirrhosis or gangrene, all things being equal.
When you are dying of something incurable, the cause really doesn’t fucking matter, in the end.
When your dad is dying, you don’t like saying “you fucking moron, if only you hadn’t smoked your whole life”, because you’ve smoked most of your life, too. . .
Besides, the cause really doesn’t fucking matter anymore.
You tell yourself, at least if you’re like me, “I guess that in the end, life is nothing more than weighing the odds”, and you’ve known for a good while now that the odds aren’t in your favour, one way or another. . .
When your dad is dying and you two are barely 20 years apart in age, it shoves your face in the shit pile of your own mortality, especially since you still smoke.
And when your face is shoved in the shit pile of your own mortality, you seriously question yourself.
Oh! I could tell you the story of my life and all the decisions, good or bad, depending on the perspective, but it wouldn’t matter.
Your dad criticized many of your decisions, but he’s—almost—always been there.
He had warned me early on that he had his limits, and I don’t mean the limits of his own mortality, but limits beyond which he would no longer be there simply because my decision was too stupid.
My dad taught me, more or less directly, and mostly by example—the best form of education, is you ask me—to be Myself.
One of the nicest compliment I ever got—and not always as a compliment or by people who liked me—was that I am someone with integrity, someone who always tells it like it is, who never bullshits.
He never accepted—nor gave—any bullshit. He had to make extremely difficult choices in his life and, in the end, he opted for a doctor-assisted death, and the sooner, the better.
“It’s civilized,” he would say, and he was absolutely right. We will realize and accept it as such the more this approach to end-of-life is integrated in our society and its customs.
After spending the last months of his life by his side, as often as I could in person, I learned, no, relearned, many lessons from him.
He’s the one who imparted this sense of integrity on me, integrity being the thing that teaches you not to let people have the better of you just to feed their “insecurity monster”.
Because I’ll tell you this from personal experience: 9 times out of 10, people who don’t like you feel that you’re a menace or a threat to them while in actual fact, you’re just there as is, take it or leave it.
But what scares them, really, is the fact that you fully accept the “or leave it” part of that statement.
But nonetheless, when your dad is dying, you wonder: “Am I as good a dad as he was?”
My dad was not perfect, but he was perfect for me.
He taught me so much, and we shared so many wonderful moments, and music was at the heart of a vast majority of them.
He didn’t say everything, and I’ve often felt he was wrong for not saying everything.
But when your dad is dying, you try really hard to put yourself in his shoes.
And you succeed.
That doesn’t mean you understand everything. You can’t be your dad, even though he’s dying.
Besides, he wouldn’t want you to die, not just yet, because there’s nothing worse than seeing your own child die.
But nonetheless, when your dad dies, you can’t help but to want to go with him.
Except you won’t, because you’ve realized that that’s the point of having children and being someone creative — something your dad has taught you pretty much since you were born:
That’s how you become immortal and contribute to Life.
You leave your mark, and even though your dad is dead, you realize how much he left his mark on the world, and that it’s your duty to do the same and carry the torch. . .
But for fuck’s sake, even though you loved your dad so much that you’ve been preparing yourself for so long—not since the age of 7, surely, but at least since your teens—to the idea that he’s not eternal and will one day be gone, even if you had an actual appointment to accompany him on his last journey and that he made jokes and was being his verbose self to the very last second of his existence—what a man! —, despite all that and all the wonderful things he contributed to the life of so many people. . .
There’s just no words.
Yet, he would probably have found at least a thousand!
I love you Hugues.
There are only two words that are appropriate and say it all: