Stars on the Ceiling

Stars, "Counting Stars on the Ceiling" (Le Grand Magistery; originally released 2001). iTunes

Four Tet, "The Butterfly Effect" (Output; originally released 1999).

Feist, "Mushaboom" (Interscope). iTunes

Celia Cruz, "Quizas, Quizas, Quizas" (Universal Latino; originally released 1957).

Shigeru Umebayashi, "2046 Main Theme (Rumba)" (WEA).

Yo La Tengo, "Tears Are in Your Eyes" (Matador; originally released 2000). iTunes

Hanne Hukkelberg, "Cast Anchor" (Leaf). iTunes

Efterklang, "Step Aside" (Leaf). iTunes

Infusion, "Legacy (Junkie XL Remix)" (Audiotherapy).

Miwon, "Brother Mole (John Tejada Remix)" (City Centre Offices).

T Tauri, "Joy to the World" (Hardkiss; originally released 1996).

Out Hud, "One Life to Leave" (Kranky). iTunes

Múm, "Smell Memory (Bix Remix)" (TMT).

Knifehandchop, "Transition Emotion (Edit)" (Tigerbeat6). iTunes

The Long Ranger, "Rollerskates" (self-released).

"You won't admit you love me, and so/How am I ever to know/You always tell me, Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps," sang Doris Day in 1947; here, it's done in traditional Spanish by the late salsa queen, Celia Cruz. What better to soundtrack tortured, unrequited love? Cruz's sassy version updates Nat King Cole's smoldering one, which was used to great effect in Wong Kar-wai's In the Mood for Love. As is Wong's habit to weave songs throughout his films, composer Umebayashi's 2046 theme (here a rumba) shape-shifts through the sequel to that exquisite primer in masochism. Finding the connection between "Quizas, Quizas, Quizas" and some of my favorite films involved years of observant consumption; likewise, the rest of this mix is a celebration of detail.

I first heard "Legacy" while hawking 12-inches a couple of years ago, and found it anew on a recent, not terrible Oakenfold double-disc, Great Wall. If you enjoy music as sexy (or fruity) as your martini, you likely heard this track at Chapel sometime in early 2004, seven minutes of guitar-and-vocal-driven, identity-scrambling breakbeat heaven for those still locked in the closet with rock. Miwon sneaks a most pleasant electro tune in from Berlin, nicely tucked inside Andrew Weatherall's Fabric 19. A third buried treasure, "Joy to the World," is the sound of Weatherall and Digweed sharing drinks on Virgin Atlantic, laughing about how they get to reintroduce the best downtempo jams (it's on Digweed's Choice retrospective) that never went away.

Before encouraging us to set ourselves on fire, Montreal's Stars embraced the soft revolution—the luxe, calme, et volupte (pleasure, peace, and opulence) they whisper about in the opening track of their debut. They and another of my favorite artists, Four Tet, released predictably lovely albums earlier this year, so I revisited their debuts (2001's Nightsongs and 1999's Dialogue, respectively) for deeper clues to their evolution. Moving from whimsy into contemplation and back again, the seemingly random tracks here are ultimately patterned after my mood swings, as the Northwest spring begrudgingly gives way to summer. Come on, already. What makes me happiest is the thread of percussion that links them all. Sometimes you just have to be reminded, as local trio the Long Ranger profess in "Rollerskates," that "the beat will take you higher, baby."

Rachel Shimp is SW's music calendar editor.

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