9 tracks by McBain for underrated midnight escapades
Ghent-based Brecht Van Dingenen is deeply entrenched in the captivatingly eccentric world of Stroom. More than being a fixture at their events, it is thanks to his influence that Stroom is strongly rooted to Belgium’s considerable musical heritage. Just flip the covers of the label’s archival releases of Benjamin Lew, Dark Arts and Adult Fantasies and you’ll see why.
Last year, Brecht started a mixtape cassette series of his own called Midnight Vultures, inspired by cities at night bathed in moonlight and fluorescent street lamps.
“Those dark hours set the perfect mood for me to listen to music. Looking out of the window at the street lights on a rainy night takes one to the twilight zone of feelings. A place that lies between hope and despair for the future. It makes me able to get into the moment and embrace life’s dramatic waves. Almost drowning in misery but holding on to a log of hope in the deep sea of the heart. Past failures get praised and victories fade away. One becomes proud of the daylight accomplished missions and the scheming mind begins to wander.”
This mood list is an ode to the nightlife outside of the clubs: the street lights, the night shops, the broken lighters, the late night snacks, the sleepless nights, the ignored Whatsapp messages and everything in between.
Photo by Kenneth Owens
Julie Driscoll & Brian Auger - When I Was a Young Girl
I always listen to records at home with headphones. My ears are quite ruined because of it, but I keep doing it anyway. This song hits hard with the voice, lyrics and the organ. It feels like walking into a church, while Julie sings her heart out and Brian is on the organ. I’ll be sitting in the back and drinking wine, while smiling calmly, looking at the altar.
Patrik Fitzgerald - Waiting For The Final Cue
I like to listen to this one on a Saturday night, drinking alone in a rocking chair. Never really liked David Lynch or Nick Nave. I’d rather hung out with Patrik Fitzgerald. He never tried to be cool. He just had a story to tell.
Once Upon a Time There Was a Pretty Fly (Night of the Hunter)
I used this one as the intro for the mixtape. What can I say. It has quite an eerie feeling, but it’s so beautiful.
Bernard Herrmann - Where is Everybody? (The Twilight Zone)
I’ve got an obsession watching the Twilight Zone Series (1959-1964). Watching black and white series or movies really calms me down. The tempo of music and conversation is just different. This episode is the best one for first-time viewers. Rod Sterling is underrated and the Bernard Herrmann soundtrack is midnight audio gold.
John Avery - Club of No Regrets
I have gotten to know John Avery through Fre De Vos from Forced Nostalgia who gave me the CD some time ago.
Never learned to play the piano, but if I would have, I would want to play all night like this. These dramatic keys make me smile. It sounds dark, yet it makes me hopeful for the future at the same time.
The sun will rise in the morning, there is still coffee in the kitchen, the rent is paid and nobody is angry anymore. I can already hear the birds outside and maybe tomorrow I will find some peace of mind.
VDR - Desolaat
Around 11:30PM, I sometimes have the urge to go to the night shop. This song makes for the perfect soundtrack for that bike ride. Hazy vision, blinding car lights, and rain in your face. When you are at the store, you buy candy and beer because you are grown-up now and you have freedom. Consequences are for later, while lighting a cigarette.
Victor de Roo is a great musician and a great guy. I think he recently quit smoking and it shows you that he is a smart guy, while here I am still talking cigarettes and coffee like it’s 2006.
Love this track. Listen to it please, if you are still reading this.
Benjamin Lew & Steven Brown - Entendue
It feels like we’re back in the church, but it’s more like an old monastery where some bishops make their own wine, candles and beer. It was a dream for me to work on a Benjamin Lew compilation. Sometimes dreams do come true, but they rarely do. Make sure you wake up again and don’t get stuck in the twilight zone.
Carl Rogers - Journey Into Self
Carl Rogers is opium for the ears to me. This video features a group of people talking to each other. You could regard it as proto podcast self-help type videos. Just hearing people talking in a slow tempo about emotional and social experiences before the Internet. As Carl Rogers would say: for the ones who are defeated by life.
When they talk about receiving superficial compliments, “you gladly pick them up even if they are crumbs.” And finally, “growth occurs when individuals confront problems, struggle to master them, and through that struggle develop new aspects of their skills, capacities, views about life.”
Steven Brown - Decade
When that piano hits and the voice begins, those prolific lyrics always hits me. Just lay your head on the pillow, try again later, don’t take life too personally and start dreaming again. Once the demons stop dancing, the end becomes near and only tales are left.
“I was lamenting the passing of the eighties, the decade I had claimed for mine, so much happened, in a way it was my whole life, until now, so I thought.” What an opening sentence. I get goosebumps every time.