The commuter listen

As of May 2022, I started driving to my job at Apple, three days a week. Initially, I was using our ancient beige Camry (2001), which I’d delayed repairing and had a godawful loud engine noise. I was holding out on repairs, expecting we’d get an electric vehicle (Chevy Bolt) we’d queued for a few months earlier. Eventually, I gave up on the Bolt, discovered the Camry repairs were trivial and I finally got to listen to music while driving. And then in February, a Bolt finally arrived and I could hear music on a genuinely nice audio system.

So this was my commuter soundtrack. I’ve grown a little tired of music for the time being – moved on to podcasts (like this movie show) and audiobooks for a bit. But I’ll be back to the music again before long.

Part 1

  1. yeah yeah yeahs. burning. rock, 2022.
  2. catfish & the bottlemen. kathleen. rock, 2014.
  3. friendly fires. kiss of life. rock, 2009.
  4. eight and a half. wait up. rock, 2012.
  5. maddie zahm. blind spot. folk, 2021.
  6. luna li. what you’re thinking. pop, 2022.
  7. cut copy. running in the grass. downtempo, 2022.
  8. simian mobile disco. i believe. electronic, 2007.
  9. cannons. bad dream. pop, 2021.
  10. kyle dixon & michael stein. escape. synthwave, 2017.
  11. waveshaper. future vision. synthwave, 2016.
  12. the rapture. i need your love. pop, 2003.
  13. bonobo. ketto. downtempo, 2006.
  14. beach house. only you know. rock, 2022.
  15. khruangbin & leon bridges. mariella. rock, 2022.
  16. jeremy steig. howling for judy. jazz, 1969.
  17. cotonete. super vilain wants love [dj deep & romain poncet remix]. acid jazz, 2020.
  18. the avalanches. take care in your dreaming. downtempo, 2020.
  19. prince innocence. forever & ever. rock, 2020.
  20. cigarettes after sex. pistol. downtempo, 2022.

Part 2

  1. widowspeak. the good ones. folk, 2020.
  2. lord huron. meet me in the woods. rock, 2015.
  3. johnny marr. spirit power and soul. rock, 2022.
  4. solange. losing you. r&b, 2012.
  5. empress of. save me. pop, 2022.
  6. warpaint. champion. rock, 2022.
  7. billie eilish. happier than ever. rock, 2021.
  8. yung lean & fka twigs. bliss. alternative, 2022.
  9. childish gambino. algorhythm. alternative, 2020.
  10. beyoncé. break my soul. pop, 2022.
  11. coma feat. dillon. beyond you and me. house, 2022.
  12. odesza feat. bettye lavette. the last goodbye. electronic, 2022.
  13. plaid. clock. ambient, 2016.
  14. com truise. … of your fake dimension. synthwave, 2017.
  15. robert parker. sweet nothings. synthwave, 2016.
  16. youngblood. 5 seconds of summer. pop, 2018.
  17. the weeknd. out of time. r&b, 2022.
  18. troublemakers. chez roger boite funk. acid jazz, 2001.

Soundtrack to Capstone a Pandemic

So there was a pandemic. During which I listened to my last mix, over and over again; as I jogged the exact same riverside route, and my misfitted left-ear AirPod kept falling out.

And I continued listening, and accumulating tracks. For various reasons™, I couldn’t listen to my accumulating list until recently; so the music here wasn’t exactly a soundtrack to the pandemic for me. But now, I’ve finally assembled it.

This one’s in three parts: a two-disc 2020-21 set, and a 2022 set coming up next. Traditionally, I’ve limited myself to the ~100 minutes of a CD; but whatever, let’s go with three full hours, and so we get digressively long tracks like Venice Bitch, Beau Mot Plage and America.

The primary consumer of these mixes is… me, let’s be honest. And one of the main benefits is a bunch of links I can click to find the artists’ full albums in Apple Music. So… no more obsessive MP3ing, relevelling and mixing with ancient 2004 Audacity builds.

part 1

  1. hologramme feat. fakear. felicity [fakear remix]. downtempo, 2020.
  2. kilder & jamal bucanon. what i won’t do. pop, 2020.
  3. alfie templeman. shady. pop, 2021
  4. grandson. dirty. pop, 2020.
  5. 347aidan. dancing in my room. pop, 2020.
  6. frank ocean. pink + white. r&b, 2016.
  7. washed out. too late. downtempo, 2020.
  8. caribou. lime. pop, 2020.
  9. mount kimbie. four years and one day. electronic, 2017.
  10. moderat. animal trails. experimental, 2016.
  11. luke howard. bear story i [ben lukas boysen rework]. techno, 2019.
  12. billie eilish. everything i wanted. pop, 2019.
  13. allan rayman. rose. pop, 2018.
  14. massive attack. paradise circus [gui boratto remix]. downtempo, 2010.
  15. donna missal. (to me) your face is love. pop, 2021.
  16. art school girlfriend. diving. rock, 2019.
  17. lana del rey. venice bitch. pop, 2019.
  18. flume feat. toro y moi. the difference. rock, 2020.
  19. new jackson. romancecar. downtempo, 2019.
  20. aurora. cure for me. house, 2022.
  21. shire t. burnin’ jungle. pop, 2021.

part 2

  1. e.vax. manila. acid jazz, 2022.
  2. against all logic. you (forever). experimental, 2022.
  3. the midnight. neon medusa. synthwave, 2021.
  4. gorgon city & drama. you’ve done enough. house, 2021.
  5. jordan rakei. family. r&b, 2021.
  6. james blake. retrograde. r&b, 2013.
  7. tsha. me you. techno, 2019.
  8. major lazer & nucleya feat. rashmeet kaur. jadi buti. dub, 2020.
  9. rae & christian. ready to roll [bushy remix]. acid jazz, 2002.
  10. soul square feat. pfel & atom. live and uncut. hip hop, 2010.
  11. isolée. beau mot plage [freedom reform, pt. 1 & 2]. acid jazz, 1999.
  12. plants and animals. sacrifice. rock, 2020.
  13. i break horses. silence. rock, 2020.
  14. clairo. zinnias. folk, 2021.
  15. arlo parks. sophie. pop, 2019.
  16. thievery corporation feat. gunjan. doors of perception. dub, 2005.
  17. mac ayres. jumping off the moon. r&b, 2019.
  18. fink. hard believer. blues, 2014.
  19. handsome boy modeling school feat. roisin & j-live. the truth. hip hop, 1999.
  20. girl in red. midnight love. pop, 2020.
  21. booka shade & kaktus einarsson. perfect in a way. techno, 2020.
  22. sufjan stevens. america. rock, 2020.

Keep Calm and Mix On

I listen to music while I work. I listen without lyrics. I mostly just consume what the Apple algorithm feeds me.

So, I’m not going to pretend any ownership over this list. It’s really just a “best of Apple music, 2018/19.” For the record, the stock playlists I prefer are: Untitled, Loops, Headspace, Living in the Library and Vibes.

But: at least I’m listening mostly to music from the past decade, and finding rock and r&b tracks that I like. The flavour of this mix is very low key, suitable to my mood when I put it together in February. It doesn’t really fit with the “brief relief from a coronavirus” that we’re going through now, but whatever.

I’ll be honest: no one else listens to these mixes. I make them mostly for myself, as a way to sift through the best things I’ve heard, take note of the artists I liked best, and branch out to their full albums and other work. The raw material for this mix is a solid 200 tracks that caught my eye, and it was fun to cull them down to this highlights list.

Download a zip of MP3s here, or listen with your favourite streaming service below.

  1. james blake feat. rosalía. barefoot in the park. pop, 2019.
  2. nicolas jaar. mi mujer. dub, 2010.
  3. maribou state. turnmills [edit]. downtempo, 2018.
  4. pantha du prince. bohemian forest. techno, 2010.
  5. chet faker. no diggity. r&b, 2012.
  6. calvin harris feat. frank ocean & migos. slide. r&b, 2017.
  7. allan rayman feat. jessie reyez. repeat. r&b, 2017.
  8. art school girlfriend. distance (blank). rock, 2018.
  9. alex lahey. am i doing it right? rock, 2019.
  10. cherry glazerr. daddi. rock, 2019.
  11. two people. something to talk about. trip hop, 2018.
  12. barr brothers. you would have to lose your mind. rock, 2017.
  13. ben howard. nica libres at dusk. rock, 2018.
  14. reuben bidez feat. molly parden. what you really wanted. folk, 2018.
  15. kimya dawson. tire swing. folk, 2006.
  16. wildes. illuminate. rock, 2016.
  17. dusted. all i am. rock, 2018.
  18. bearcubs. do you feel. electronic, 2018.
  19. velvet negroni. crybaby. electronic, 2018.
  20. manila killa & mansionair. wake up call. pop, 2018.
  21. bicep. vale. techno, 2017.
  22. major lazer feat. amber coffman. get free. dancehall, 2012.
  23. floating points. anasickmodular. acid jazz, 2019.
  24. martin nonstatic. innermost structure. ambient, 2017.
  25. orbital. tiny foldable cities [edit]. techno, 2018.
  26. dining rooms. you [quantic soul orchestra version]. acid jazz, 2004.
  27. alex lustig feat. akacia. in the end. pop, 2018.

Return of the Mix

It’s been a while. My daytimes were 80% meetings until last September, when I returned to the coding world. At that point, my job is compatible with listening to (lyrically simple) music… but I’m basically 10 years out-of-date with the scene.

So I’m slowly trying out “music discovery” in the modern age. If you’ve got any good tricks, pass ’em on! Meanwhile, here’s an extended mix — 40 mins. longer than usual — of some of the best stuff I’ve dug up.

As you can see, I’ve made more headway in electronic genres than the others. Lyricless music is definitely the best for my line of work. The slowest tune of the bunch (Loscil) is not a “listen at work” artist, but a different place: we have a sauna in our basement now, and I find slow ambient music is amazing there. Albums I’d had for a while — like Loscil’s Endless Falls disc — suddenly clicked, with the slow drone fitting perfectly with calm breathing rhythms. That said, I can’t yet justify dropping such an introspective track into a mix… so the Loscil track here has a little more tension in it.

Download here, for a few weeks only, or stream from Mixcloud.

David Pritchard – Mix 2017.11 by Drpritch on Mixcloud

In this era of easy streaming music… I feel pretty bad for the artists. If you like these tracks, please buy them individually, or buy a few of the albums. Think of it like a tip jar. The Mixcloud widget will let you buy many tracks from Juno with very little effort, and iTunes or Bandcamp searches can find the rest for you.

  1. eight and a half. go ego. rock, from eight and a half, 2012.
  2. the weeknd. rolling stone. r&b, from thursday, 2011.
  3. robin thicke. everything i can’t have. r&b, from the evolution of robin thicke, 2006.
  4. hypnolove. midnight cruising [mickey moonlight dub]. acid jazz, from future sounds of jazz 12 compilation, 2010.
  5. the cinematic orchestra. everyday. acid jazz, from every day, 2002.
  6. baden powell & vinicius de moraes. canto de ossanha [m.rux edit]. acid jazz, from m.rux – edits & cuts, 2014.
  7. radiohead. identikit. rock, from a moon shaped pool, 2016.
  8. sufjan stevens. drawn to the blood. folk, from carrie & lowell, 2015.
  9. dope lemon. neon lights. rock, from houndstooth ep, 2017.
  10. caribou. your love will set you free. techno, from our love, 2014.
  11. headshotboyz. calypso. dubstep, from project mooncircle 10th anniversary compilation, 2012.
  12. com truise feat. joel ford. declination. synthwave, from wave 1, 2014.
  13. jamie xx. girl. electronic, from in colour, 2015.
  14. daft punk. contact. house, from random access memories, 2013.
  15. emperors new clothes. darklight [underdog version]. downtempo, from kid loco: dj-kicks, 1999.
  16. loscil. drained lake. ambient, from monument builders, 2016.
  17. lapalux. rotted arp. experimental, from ruinism, 2017.
  18. gorillaz. el mañana. downtempo, from demon days, 2005.
  19. yppah. never mess with sunday. downtempo, from ninja tunes xx compilation, 2010.
  20. plaid. scoobs. techno, from peel session ep, 1999.
  21. isolée. floripa. techno, from floripa ep, 2015.
  22. diplo. into the sun. downtempo, from florida, 2000.
  23. afrolicious. a dub for mali. downtempo, from st. germaine-des-prés café 15 compilation, 2013.
  24. the xx. on hold. rock, from i see you, 2017.

A few tips outwards: thanks to Hendrik for reminding that Radiohead is amazing, to Tyson for helping me notice that Sufjan Steven’s new one was back to his old form, to Dave B for an immersion in synthwave, to the Aussie staff at the Only Cafe for playing that Dope Lemon track, to Paul for getting me on to the XX, to Matt T’s friends for pointing me at M.Rux, to Eddy for putting Loscil more firmly on my radar, to Soundcloud for actually making a good “you might like” recommendation, and to David T for giving me a streaming membership.