Mixtape
June 2021
PSYCHEDELIC ROCK / KRAUTROCK / COSMIC JAZZ
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Monthly mixtape artwork collage cover.
Mixtape
June 2021
PSYCHEDELIC ROCK / KRAUTROCK / COSMIC JAZZ

A bit about last month.

In June, I dwelled in the pleasure of associating pictures with songs. Creating such pairings has been on my mind for some time, and attempting it for a series related to music felt like the right time to explore this. For a whole week, I spent my nights listening to music non-stop, with one goal in mind: finding great matches. When the emotional response generated by looking at a specific image and the one generated by listening to a specific song overlapped, bingo!

A couple of days before sharing the first picture of the Sonic Wombs series, I started reflecting on that mental space creators find themselves in right before ‘launching’ something. It’s exciting, the adrenaline is flowing, but there is a finish line in sight – an inevitable completion. The project is still yours, and you can enjoy seeing it all come together, albeit briefly, before the world sinks its teeth into it. Once a project is out there, it’s not yours anymore, it’s everyone’s.

The series launched on June 10. Every 3 days, I’d share one new picture on my website and complement it with a pairing sent through my newsletter. At the bottom of the email, people had the option to continue the conversation and respond to the pairing with either a comment, a picture or a song. This served as the starting point for deep e-mail exchanges with a few individuals who decided to engage and share something back. Each pairing triggered a unique conversation. To be able to exchange so purely with friends and strangers around all sorts of topics meant the world to me. Through their depth and vulnerability, some exchanges took me to very far places, reminding me of the power of exchanging around art.

With the gradual release progressing, I started shifting my focus to the next step. A small event at my place to bring friends together and celebrate the outcome of my sabbatical? An audio-visual experience at home with projectors and speakers? An exhibition somewhere in Berlin? A couple of ideas were brewing but I didn't want to rush my decision. I kept that in the back of my mind, packed my bags and headed back to Lebanon to spend a week with family. Despite the economical and financial crisis worsening day by day back home, it was refreshing to disconnect a bit from Berlin, be in a different environment and spend time with loved ones.

That was the personal update. On to the music.

The June 2021 mixtape consists mainly of psychedelic rock and similar sub-genres. While most of the previous mixtapes follow a Gaussian curve, this one adopts a different trajectory. It starts slowly and progressively shoots up until the very end, with minor dips on the way.

Recommended Setting

Recommended setting: a long bike ride in the summer, cycling through nature, heading to a nearby lake to wind down after a strenuous cruise.

CHAPTER 1

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Melted Rope - Wand
2015

We start with a mellow psychedelic track by Los Angeles group Wand. With dreamy voices, heavy riffs, stoned melodies and a spacey guitar solo, this opener sets the tone for what’s to come. Fasten your seat belt, it only builds up from here.

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This Is Not How I Feel - Jesus On Heroine
2013

Hailing from Copenhagen, the sounds of Denmark eclectic rock band Jesus On Heroine evolve around hazy psychedelia, noise-rock and drone-based shoegaze. Their 2013 debut album Tremolo Eastern Salvation is worth a listen in its entirety. Close your eyes and get lost in the sound.

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Goodless - The Dandy Warhols
2000

"The more shitty and cruel things people do in the name of God, the more Godless they clearly are”, explains The Dandy Warhols' lead singer Courtney Taylor.

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Heat - The Brian Jonestown Massacre
2014

We continue with a short but brilliant song from iconic group BJM. It’s taken from their 2014 +-EP release and lights up straight off. With rich acoustic, electric guitar textures soaked in reverb, and Newcombe’s ravaged vocals, this is a classic BJM song. I keep coming back for that guitar interlude. Feels like I’m on a road trip across the dessert with rippling heat waves rising above the sand.

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Away - Wall of Death
2012

Drawing inspiration from the Velvet Underground, Pink Floyd, Neu and the Silver Apples, Wall of Death formed in 2010 and released their debut album Main Obsessions in 2012. The European post-psychedelic rock band alternates between various rhythms, bringing an element of surprise to their sounds that often takes the listener on a little frenzy. This song features layered arrangements, high notes and a climbing guitar solo that hits me every single time.

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The Uncertainty Principle - The Heliocentrics
2017

This is a group for which genres are meaningless and boundaries invisible. Their deep-set ability to craft music intuitively and impulsively stems from a desire to avoid typical processes or generic structures and since its conception, the band's music has mainly been created from live improvisation. Let yourself by transported by this hypnotic trance-inducing jam. Far-reaching travels for the soul.

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Déshominisation (I) - Alain Goraguer
1973

La Planète Sauvage is a seminal work of psychedelic cinema. Towering blue-skinned figures, tiny humanoids in the midst of revolt, and drug-induced Tantric sex transport viewers to a truly magical setting. It won the Grand Prix at the 1973 Cannes Film Festival and Goraguer’s lush soundtrack played a big part in its success.

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Night Fruit - Swear I love you
2021

Catchy melodies filed with nostalgia for post-punk and brit-pop, that’s the promise of Swear I love you. Highly influenced by Brian Jonestown Massacre, the sounds of this Swiss band are expansive, heavy and ethereal. Their captivating tunes bring back the ghost of 80’s romanticism with a pinch of enjoyable kitch.

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The Pit - Public Serving Broadcasting
2013

This English outfit has stood out for their use of archival and documentary samples to create concept albums tackling environmental, historical and political topics. Their 2013 album Every Valley is a moving exploration of community and memory via the rise and fall of the British Coal Industry. I’m completely obsessed with 'The Pit'. On this track, grounding drums beautifully complement tanging guitar notes, creating an expansive restless rhythm that somehow still feels reachable.

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Neptune - Foals
2019

I find myself particularly drawn to long songs and typically enjoy ones that hit the 10-minute mark. There is something transporting about these short musical journeys with extended instrumental passages that often unfold in an unpredictable way. Foals need no introduction, and this song is brilliant. Click on the little Youtube icon below if you feel like pairing your listen with visuals.

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The Pale Moon Light - The Limiñanas
2021

Another movie score, more contemporary this time, from sultry French garage pop duo The Limiñanas (July 2020 / April 2021August 2021 mixtapes). Enjoy listening to this foot-tapping punchy beat, offset by airy graceful vocals. You might be tempted to repeat it right after it ends.

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Driving South - The Stone Roses
1994

Hit the highway and head south listening to this galvanizing song by The Stones Roses. This band from Manchester was short-lived but it defined the British guitar pop scene of the late 80s and early 90s. Doesn’t matter where you’re driving to. Just make sure you go south and watch that speed limit. Banging opening guitar riff!

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Indus Waves - Les Big Byrd
2014

Merging indie rock, krautrock and synthesizers, this Stockholm band formed in 2011 when two stalwarts of the Swedish underground music scene bonded over a love of experimental rock sounds. This song happens to tie nicely to the 4th song on this mixtape. A chance encounter at a record store between them and a visiting Anton NewCombe (on tour with the Brian Jonestown Massacre) led to NewCombe inviting them to his Berlin studios for a few days of jamming. They Worshipped Cats was released on NewCombe’s A Records label in 2014.

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The Dog Obeys - Massive Attack
2004

As I’m writing this, I’m realizing that a couple of OST songs actually made it to this mixtape. Massive Attack wrote the score of the 2004 Luc Besson movie Danny The Dog. Mixed feelings about the album, but the fast-gunned directness of ‘The Dog Obeys’ definitely stood out of the pack.

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Something Is Wrong - VoX LoW
2018

This French band’s anthem for a jilted generation coming down from MDMA is a dark, poisonous and nihilist piece of work. Dark wave at its best.

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LHC - Monomyth
2016

Monomyth stands for 'thrilling instrumental soundscapes', a rollercoaster ride in which the listener is very likely to loose themselves. With an expressive sound that contains all the ingredients of rock & roll, the journey and the adventure are always centre stage for this Dutch band. Trance-inducing ‘LHC’ is a great testament to that. Progressive transcendence for the soul.

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Lalochezia - Kinematik
2017

Kinematik is an instrumental rock band from Lebanon. Their sound ranges from raucous improvisational psychedelic rock to steady and mechanical electronic grooves, with frequent post-rock climaxes. As we’re nearing the climatic end of this mixtape, the raging and unstoppable ‘Lalochezia’ (taken from their 2017 album Ala’) propels us to higher grounds.

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Kraut - MADMADMAD
2019

We finish our ascent with a maddening song from MADMADMAD. Distinct dynamite sound and a tickling guitar that will leave you yearning for more.

CHAPTER 2

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Happy listening

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