The Late Night Tales series of invited-guest's mix-tapes succeeds or fails not just on the compilers' taste, but how they craft a running order of diverse tracks.
Some smart invitees – Trentemoller's spooky collection and Midlake's post-folk theme come to mind – go for an over-arching mood while others – 39 film theme snippets for At the Movies – never identify the plot, let alone lose it.
This excellent left-field nod to subtle hip-hop, soul-funk, disco and tripped-out ambient moods from Britain's 09 Mercury Prize nominees Friendly Fires grasps the concept with assurance and an astute ear for post-midnight horizontal dancing.
They pull together familiar names (although not always familiar songs) such as Renee, Stereolab, Sbtrkt, Cocteau Twins and Slowdive alongside cool cuts by Bibio (the head-nod Don't Summarise My Summer Eyes) and the ethereal One Most Memorable by Sonna with just enough mood changes to keep you from happy slumber.
And Olivia Newton-John understated on Elton John's Love Song.
As always the collection ends with a reading, this time by actor-du-jour Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock, War Horse) with Part 1 of Simon Cleary's bleakly funny Flat of Angels.
Whoever compiles the next LNTales has big Hush Puppies to fill.
By Graham Reid, posted