Listen to the full playlist on Xiami! In this article we walk you through the first 5 featured tracks.
We’ve pushed the button for summer holiday mode. Whether your journey is from Earth to Mars, from America to the Sarajavo or from Tianjin to Lhasa, make sure you have your passport, wallet, and tickets, but most importantly: please don’t forget the music for you and your company on the tour.
This playlist highlights electronic, neo-classical and ambient genres. Each track left me with a deep impression when I travelled and as I listen again to each song, my memory is refreshed with scenes created by the music.
1. Air - Universal Travelers
The famous French pop electronic band Air released the album Talkie Walkie in 2004, becoming a favorite for countless fans. I reviewed this album during a trip to Japan. The relaxing melody twinkled with a romantic dreamy color, coincidently corresponding with the typical restrained and clean temperament of Japan and the green landscape at that moment.
"Universal Traveler" could be an official theme song for tourism. When you take a little silver plane and overlook the white sea surface reflecting the light spot, your heart will fly to a place "so far, so far away" like the song describes. The other songs from this album complement the journey as well. Like the one "Run, Surfing on the Rocket", it turns you on just hearing the name. "Alone in Kyoto" is included in the soundtrack for the film Lost in Translation. This song accompanies the leading female character on her trip to Kyoto, seeing ancient temples, the falling sakura petals with a bashful smile of a bride’s face.
2. The Chemical Brothers - Escape Velocity
Escape is found in the seventh album Further, from British Electronic band The Chemical Brothers. This track is a necessary for train traveling. Whether you take the Eurostar for appreciating that beautiful cloudy sky, or take a high speed train to visit surreal villages in China, this 12-minute song will definitely transfer your anxiety into ecstasy, by means of its powerful drumbeat and plump melody, like a roller coaster riding. Let’s get hyper.
3. Boards of Canada - Dayvan Cowboy
Going to Scandinavia? Iceland? Tibet or the Himalayas? Anyway, if you like a solitary place with high altitude and freezing weather, music from Boards of Canada is an essential. This Scottish sibling band is the leading role from Warp the well-known Experimental Electronic Records. Their music temperament originates from doom detachment, exceptional glory, and romanticism that touches your heart. The tranquil and extensive “Dayvan Cowboy” comes from their debut album Music Has the Right to Children. Facing broad swamps and prairies, marvelous jungles and starry skies, observing the planet’s boundaries, nothing can compare with this kind of music when you keep in touch with the wild eternal nature.
4. Max Richter - Shadow Journey
Once the flight lands in a remote town, I catch a cab to downtown. The farmland and the village is in total darkness except lights from traffic. I played this song unintentionally. The typewriter’s sound draws an icy female monologue. It is dawn from Czesiaw Miiosz.
How enduring, how we need durability.
The sky before sunrise is soaked with light.
The bygone lives are like my own past life, uncertain.
I cast a spell on the city asking it to last.
The melancholy violin tears abruptly into the darkness. The sudden drumbeat is depressing and bizarre. Coupled with mystery,this travel is full of shadow. However, the hanging heart expects something more.This song comes from album the Blue Notebooks, whose author is Minimalism master and post-modern representative Max Richter. The album inspiration arises from the Czech author, Kafka’s, The Blue Octavo Notebooks.The monologue is read by actress Tilda Swinton, extracted from Kafka and Miiosz’s works respectively.
5. Julia Holter - Hello Stranger
Strange detachment and sobering loneliness is expected during every journey. It’s a damp summer evening. You walk on a street in an unfamiliar city tipsily. You encounter someone unexpectedly. Maybe it’s no more than an eye contact and a friendly smile, however, it hit you without notice. This fleeting feeling. But hello stranger, you whisper. “Hello Stranger” comes from singer-songwriter Julia Holter’s album Loud City Sound released last year. She captured the common urban joy and anxiety, making use of abundant instrument improvison and experimental dramatic arrangement. This song is a cover of Barbara Lewis’ 1963 version. Differing from the original edition, Julia’s dreamlike and intangible voice, plus dissociative composing, adds uncanny and magnificent colors to this song.
This week’s playlist is brought to you by Split Work’s DJ Doris in Beijing. She’s a pure goddess just coming back from a journey. Likes: “I never have normal fun!” DJ Doris is never late to a meal. Quirks: You might at first think she’s an “S” but really she’s definitely an “M” (“Bite me!”).