Lake Brunner in the South Island, New Zealand
Elsewhere by Graham Reid

music - travel - arts

Wide angle reviews, interviews and opinion by writer Graham Reid

Various Artists: Late Night Tales; Friendly Fires (Universal)

Sonna: One Most Memorable
Various Artists: Late Night Tales; Friendly Fires (Universal)

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.

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