Poetic Memory: Tristeza (List)

San Diego post-rockers Tristeza are coming home to the Casbah this Saturday, December 12, and we can’t wait. In anticipation, we asked longtime drummer—and all around friendly guy—James Lehner to detail his Poetic Memory. Lehner writes:

In the past year, these albums have influenced me deeply, but more than that, have been quite symbolic and ironically synced-up with my life.

Tristeza’s new album, Fate Unfolds, was just released on 12/1. For a flavor of the new disc, check out the excellent tracks “Manitas” and “Tension Futura” (MP3s). You can buy it here. You can also check out their mesmerizing video of “Tension Futura” above. Below, you will find James Lehner’s Poetic Memory.

1) Bellbury Poly – From an Ancient Star: This record, released at the beginning of this year, really sounds like it was made in the 70s. The production techniques used and the collection of vintage synths make this retro album go, and it goes good. They use tasteful, modern beats that blend well with the vintage vibe, layered with field recordings with an overall minimalist approach. They paint a picture like early Dr. Who doing a guest appearance on “Are You Being Served”. The mysterious future mixed with the quirky past is what this is all about. The opening sample on “Clockwork Horoscope” is a woman saying, “This will be a year of great changes for you. Although they may not seem important to anyone else, to you, they will be of supreme importance.” She was right. What a year it has been! The scene this band is the epicenter of, and the label it runs, Ghost Box, is the best thing going now in modern British music, if not the whole world.

3) Eric Malmberg – Det Högre Medvetandet: Music that can calm me down and get me ready for sleep has been some of the most important music for me lately. This guy can put anyone to sleep—and I mean that in the most endearing way possible. Even my 6-year-old daughter has fallen asleep to this record. The Swedish organist creates sparsely beautiful soundscapes that come across tonally-neutral. However, with all the depth and layers, it becomes mildly psychedelic. He doesn’t sing a single note, and only a handful of the tracks on this 2005 album even have beats. Those that do are analog organ-accompanied beats that perfectly match the sometimes sinister grooves on these songs. Malmberg plays the whole range of the organs and synths with his hands, while his feet stomp out mesmerizing, arpeggiated bass lines. There really isn’t enough modern music like this that is done tastefully or simply. My sleep patterns are very glad that he does what he does.

3) The Click – Down and Dirty: After the opening 808 cowbell-ridden groove, you hear the first sample say, “Lets Get Drunk”. Then, E40s sick-ass, evil voice lets you know, immediately, how its gonna be. He and the rest of these street-wise young fellas rap about getting wasted and getting females, telling very real, descriptive stories about “the game” and the East Bay. If you’re like me, and you spend any amount of time living in the East Bay, you’ll probably find trouble—or it finds you. You may end up drinking loads of Sysco or OE, and without a doubt, will have some sort of involvement with cocaine or crack and “the game.” This album sums up the whole East Bay experience, hella jam-packed with all the timeless East Bay slang, basically not giving a fuck, mang! The low-budget production on this album sounds better than most of the Pro Tools, Fruity Loops beats that has made modern-day hip hop so stale. You can understand why most of these guys blew up in their solo careers. They had it dialed in form the start. Coming from someone who generally can’t stand hip hop, this 15-year-old gem is a classic!

Potentially related content

One Response to “Poetic Memory: Tristeza (List)”

  1. christopher says:


    so sorry i never got around to help extend this piece…
    preparing for tour made time scarce at any rate i hope you will accept
    a late and humble attempt to satisfy curiosities with a list of more recent
    discoveries i enjoy greatly…much thanks christopher /tristeza

    eddie callahan-false ego
    hessel & nicole -the sm tape
    peter scion-devachan
    transparent illusion-still human
    marcos valle-Previsao Do Tempo
    marc barreca-twilight
    svarte greiner-knive
    port said-eve of departure
    george braith-musart

Leave a Reply