I’m not quite sure how to go about an introduction to a playlist that I’ve curated for no other reason than to say to the world at large (I’m assuming a large part of the world’s population will be viewing this material) “Hot dawg, look at my taste in music, isn’t it neat!” Having got that out of the way, I hope you find some things that you may not have heard before that you dig.
The chosen tracks are quite a good representation of what’s been exciting me this year so far and represent a good cross section of the music I’m into in general. It starts out on the grim side. ‘Crisis’ by Anohni sits alongside PJ Harvey’s recent output as some of the most incredible political music to be released in some time. A meditation on US foreign policy and the ills that befall it, it is absolutely crushing. If this takes your fancy, I would recommend listening to the rest of Hopelessness; it is the best record of the year thus far.
The downbeat note continues until ‘Move On’ by David Bowie where things pick up a bit. Anyone reading this probably remembers the week or so after Bowie’s death this year; it was certainly a strange time, at least for me personally. Bowie’s death felt cataclysmic in a way that no other artists’ has in my life thus far. ‘Move On’ is a song that I discovered after the great man’s death. I can only ever remember listening to Lodger maybe once prior so it was essentially new to me, and it is fantastic.
Following ‘Don’t Make Me Over’ by Julia Holter (a cover of a Dionne Warwick song), there is a brief indie-ish guitar section, featuring two of the best current Australian bands, Kitchen’s Floor and You Beauty and probably my favourite new(ish) female artist, Frankie Cosmos. The songwriting in each of these songs is just top notch; super simple and super effective.
The tail end of the list is given over to electronic music (and some grime…AJ Tracey is a don) and finally to Steve Reich and Philip Glass, who are perhaps the two great composers of the modern era. It is a bit of a tease to only include one section of Steve Reich’s Music for 18 Musicians, as it is best experienced as a whole, but it gives you a pretty good idea of what the whole piece of music is about. Here’s a live performance of the entire piece, it is amazing:
‘Pruit Igoe’ by Philip Glass closes out the playlist. I imagine this piece of music being a perfect accompaniment to that moment when two stars collide in some far off place in the universe. There is the brief moment as they’re hurtling toward one another, blissfully unaware of the events to come. And then they collide. Radioactive material envelops everything in its path, light shifts and bends and everything is destroyed for a moment. Until the moment passes then there is the lull and then finally the silence. It is a powerful piece of music accompanied by many others on the soundtrack to Koyaanisqatsi.