Welcome to Lithium (Chapter 9)
The playlists might be monthly, mostly, but the same cannot be said for posting them here. I even wound up running out of chemicals with a suffix of -on, so I had to figure out how to end the year while staying on/around the periodic table. If you’re looking for what you missed since my last “monthly mix” post in April, scroll to the bottom for a full list of links to this year’s playlists. There’s some good shit in there.
Highlights from this playlist include the official release of Jamie xx’s remix of ‘On Hold’ by the xx, deconstructing the slow mopey original bits and assembling them into a dark, addictive club track. He debuted the song as part of his Boiler Room set last July in Iceland, and I’ve been listening to a so-so recording pulled from that set for a while, and it’s really nice to hear the entire sonic range, especially those deep, deep lows.
If you’re into television, do yourself a favor and start watching “Insecure” on HBO. I’m a white boy who grew up in the suburbs of Minnesota, so it isn’t as though I can relate to the show so much as that I can appreciate it for being entirely not about me at all. So much media is largely made for white men by white men, so even when the story is about a person of color, it’s still viewed through a white lens and written from an entirely disconnected place. Not so with “Insecure,” co-created by Issa Rae and Larry Wilmore (formerly of The Daily Show), written and directed and main protagonist acted by Issa Rae, music curated by Solange, featuring a predominantly black cast portraying an honest story of a few friends trying to make their way through life, with messy results. At least I have to trust that it’s an honest story because I don’t know their experience. In the conclusion of season 2, they use the song ‘Boredom’ by Tyler the Creator to mark a moment in time they keep flashing back to over the course of the episode, so it forms a kind of bookend for each of the characters and it ties them all together like a neat bow. Tyler is usually crass and abrasive in his music, and this was a definite departure from there into a more mellow and nostalgic place.
I’m not gonna lie, I was about ready to give up on Zhu. Ever since he dropped The Nightday EP in 2014, it’s felt like he’s been devolving into soft era 80’s R&B and not in a good way. It was getting uncomfortable. So when his ‘stardustexhalemarrakechdreams’ EP showed up in a list of new releases, I didn’t even bother listening. It was only when the song ‘Chasing Marrakech’ showed up in somebody else’s mix a month or so late that I realized my mistake. It wasn’t more of the same. It was the dynamic, clever, and dark Zhu that I liked in the first place. Sometimes I love being wrong.
Another peculiar piece in this playlist is the Lindström and Prins Thomas remix of RAC‘s ‘This Song,’ coming out with a song I can only describe as Vampire Weekend covering Talking Heads. It should go without saying, but that’s a good thing. It’s infectious and bouncy and you’ll probably keep coming back to it. Also infectious is the Franky Rizardo remix of Rationale’s ‘Loving Life.’
In the bright and happy realm, there’s a cheery house track by Nora En Pure, something of a departure from her deep, heavy horns and minor keys. Touch Sensitive‘s falsetto is back for an entire album, and ‘Losing It All’ is a definite highlight from that album, though the entire thing is worth a listen. Or a thousand.
On the darker side, you’ve got a mesmerizing track by Ava, dark techno with Dusky‘s Square Miso off their EP of the same name, Odesza‘s ‘La Ciudad,’ and Yotto‘s isolationist ‘North’ also off a self-titled EP.
As for the rest, you’ll just have to listen for yourself.