Bandcamp Recs: Escapist Tunes and Mood-Lifting Grooves to Melt Away the Blues – KQED

Posted: May 1, 2020 at 7:45 pm


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Chit Chat Records' 'Brazilian Compilation Series Vol. 1'; Orlando Julius' 'Disco Hi-Life; Brijean's 'Walkie Talkie.'(Courtesy of the artists)

Since shelter in place started, Ive lost my taste for mainstream pop songs.

At first, being home alone 24/7 made me antsy. But now, instead of hustling from work to gym to party, Im meditating, journaling and trying to become fascinated with my inner life instead of fixating on a stressful external world I cant control.

I noticed my listening habits changing along with this shift in lifestyle. Pop songs packaged into a neat 3.5 minutes feel too structured and rushed when theres nowhere to be. And the lyrics of mainstream releases describe things that belong to the old world. None of us are going to clubs and dancing with friends or strangers; relationships have taken on completely new shapes.

When this all started, I turned to an old favorite album, Journey in Satchidananda by Alice Coltrane, featuring avant-garde saxophonist Pharoah Sanders. Glittering with Coltranes resonant harp playing, the albums mood is uplifting yet pensive, contemplative yet serenea perfect soundtrack for making peace with a difficult reality while hopefully looking towards the future. Coltrane composed it shortly after the death of her husband, the legendary saxophonist John Coltrane, and it marked the start of a spiritual journey that eventually led to her opening an ashram in Southern California.

Playing that album on repeat renewed my appreciation for longwinded sonic explorations. My playlists suddenly became full of Coltrane, Sanders, trumpet player Don Cherry and pianist Lonnie Liston Smith, all top-tier jazz players whose music took a spiritual, psychedelic bend in the 70s. That eventually led me to Nigerian disco and Afrobeat, Brazilian tropical house and other genres with funky pulses, smooth grooves and luxuriously lengthy runtimes.

With Oakland-based streaming service Bandcamp waiving its fees on May 1 so that 100% of sales go to independent artists and labels affected by the pandemic, what better time to indulge in unhurried, mood-elevating and escapist tunes? Here are some recommendations sure to inspire a little joy and maybe a kitchen dance partysomething we all need right now.

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Bandcamp Recs: Escapist Tunes and Mood-Lifting Grooves to Melt Away the Blues - KQED

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May 1st, 2020 at 7:45 pm

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