And we’re back to pressing the play button in another playlist! This time with a more conceptual idea than last post’s Mad Scientist. Get ready for a sonic adventure through…
Granted, this isn’t simply a playlist for getting lost in a children’s amusement park. With a harmonious blend of electronic and organic, let the music take you to an eerie and wonderful place where magic awaits the most patient and open-hearted of travelers.
1. Goldfrapp – Felt Mountain (from the album, “Felt Mountain”) – 0:00
You start your regular hike off with the sound of Will Gregory’s masterful electronic ambience to the rhythm of marching boots and sleigh whips. But an enchanting voice calls out to you in the form of Alisson Goldfrap’s mystical yodeling; inviting you to go off the usual path for a while.
2. Mala – Changes (from the album, “Mala in Cuba”) – 3:58
Stumbling upon an unfamiliar patch of woods, your sense of direction begins to drift. To the repetitive striking of a piano chord and an aimless bassline, every tree, branch, and twig looks identical to the last. That is, until a small sliver of light pierces through the dense foliage as the track reaches its climax.
3. Little Dragon – Twice (from the album, “Little Dragon”) – 8:18
A clearing. A small, insignificant pond. It breaks the monotony of the woods. Fireflies slowly waltz across the water’s surface and gradually drift apart, like a time-lapse of a lovers’ quarrel. The piano still wanders around the same chords to form a weary ballad about finding a reason to move on.
4. Neveready – One Eyed Empress (from the album, “Rejections”) -11:05
After a moment’s reprieve, you trudge back into the woods. The moon hides in an impenetrable pile of clouds. The forest starts to come to life and so do your fears. Just beats and an eerily calm bass guitar resonate in your ear. The fog rolls in. And you can’t help but feel the trees are watching you.
5. Radiohead – There There (The Boney King of Nowhere.) (from the album, “Hail to the Thief”) – 15:08
Tribal drums pound in the distance as an electric guitar violates the stillness of the fog. “Just ’cause you feel it, doesn’t mean it’s there,” sings Thom Yorke as Jonny Greenwood’s sinister guitar-work unfolds midway. “We are accidents waiting to happen,” while the guitar almost sounds like it’s laughing; mocking your every strand of sanity as paranoia begins to eat you alive.
6. Flying Lotus – Dance of the Pseudo Nymph (from the album, “Cosmogramma”) – 20:24
As the drumming abruptly stops, all these wisps, nymphs, and fictional woodland creatures burst forth from the grotesque and hollow trees. An uncontrollable flurry of shakers, drums, and claps represent their mischievous dance as they invite you to play with them. Part-free jazz, part-electronic, part-funk, the instruments groove all over the place as you try to process the scene before you.
7. Frederic Robinson – Theme Park (from the album, “Mixed Signals”) – 23:10
The sun rises as the forest begins to regain its color. You’re tired but the thought of their existence excites you to no end. The pixies continue their streak of frolic and merriment as if their souls run on happiness. Playfully organic yet synthetic instrumentation encapsulates the wonderland you’ve gotten yourself into.
8. AIR – Night Hunter (from the album, “Love 2”) – 26:58
Another day passes by as you make yourself comfy in this private getaway of sorts. The wisps may keep the darkness at bay but the intimidating forest still challenges you. The sneaky and mysterious feel of the song is offset by the sweet nocturnal chorus that assures your safety.
9. TOKiMONSTA – Soul to Seoul (from the album, “Half Shadows”) – 31:04
Nearly a week has passed and the forest starts changing. What’s supposed to be another peaceful night, becomes awry with the coming of a new moon. On a background of harps, synthesizers, and Korean-flavored melodies and beats, the pixies howl, chant, and sing for the light of the moon to come back.
10. Amon Tobin – Dropped from the Sky (from the album, “ISAM”) – 34:28
The next set of days were dedicated to exploring the geography of Pixie Forest. Endless trekking, climbing, and crawling has rewarded you with more and more pixies. They cheer you on in song as clanks, sproings, blips, twangs, clunks, and crashes of familiar sounds of man-made objects fill the air.
11. Bjork – Unison (from the album, “Vespertine”) – 41:36
While the escape from the clutches of reality had its share of life-changing moments, you finally bid farewell to the pixies and their magical haven. With the human noises they’ve learned to imitate still present, they sing like a world-class choir with the harp being the only tangible instrument to the ear. “Let’s unite tonight. We shouldn’t fight. Embrace you tight.” Our story ends with a peace offering and an acceptance of our coexistence with the imaginary.
Expect another Origins story or a possible album review about **********’s album, “******.”
And before I forget. For those who took the time to read this…