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Fiona Kelly McGregor presents Lanny K aka DJ Mazeltov’s Songs 4 Prayer and Angst

In her essay collection Buried Not Dead, McGregor goes in search of a DJ she worked with from the 1990s to the 2000s. ‘Looking for Lanny K’ resurrects those giddy years, and ends with a description of a set by one of Lanny K’s current aliases, DJ Mazeltov.  

Now available, DJ Mazeltov’s Songs 4 Prayer and Angst ‘is a psychedelic mix of Egyptian, Iranian and other West Asian trippy delights from the 1960s and 70s, with contemporary stuff from around the world thrown in’.

After a visit to Lanny K in 2013, McGregor concludes her essay with the following passage:

Before I leave, I ask Lanny if he has any recent mixes. He gives me a CD with the fabulous title The Jerusalem Broadcasting Service Presents DJ Mazel Tov in Shabbat Radio: Music for Feast, Prayer & Relations. He tells me he’s been getting into Iranian and Egyptian psychedelia. ‘You know, stuff like that.’

Driving away from Canberra, I slot in the CD. The strangest, most cinematic music since Oberon swirls into the car. It is mixed with the ambient genius Lanny ascribed to Bill Morley, where the fusion of outro and intro is so seamless you don’t realise you’re into the next track till it is completely on top of you. One minute I’m listening to a choir singing ‘Amen’, next it’s sitar à gogo. There’s the obligatory musicological voiceover (The music from her gold anklets sounding the fifth note of the scale was honey sweet), a strait of hypnotic toms, then a kitsch Arab cartoon (Ha-harrrh, buy my delicious shish-kebab!). And is that Yoko Ono rising from a swampy pulse? The finale drifts into Californian noir, with tempo changes and strumming guitar. I find the song on YouTube – Grandaddy’s ‘He’s Simple, He’s Dumb, He’s the Pilot’. It feels elegiac, the lyrics revealing something tortured about isolation, the Icarus urge. It ends with a question, Are you giving in 2000 man?, again and again. Then I realise it’s ‘My Buddy’ playing, through a voice box, and it’s over.

What a great set. I wish you could hear it.

‘Looking For Lanny K’, from Buried Not Dead