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An "art school" playlist


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#1 Darren H

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Posted 07 March 2012 - 09:57 PM

I have three nephews who grew up in a home with few books, even less music, and the expectation that they would play -- and excel in -- sports. The oldest one is now a freshman in college, where he's studying architecture, and like a lot of sheltered kids his age he's enthusiastically discovering culture (which, in his case, reeks of weed). He and I both use Spotify, so I thought it'd be fun to spend an evening putting together a kind of cultural history of the art school playlist. So far it includes, in no particular order:

Miles Davis
John Coltrane
Love
Wire
Television
Pink Floyd
Neu!
King Crimson
The Stooges
Sonic Youth
My Bloody Valentine
Nick Drake
Roxy Music
David Bowie
The Velvet Underground
Nico
Portishead
Massive Attack
UNKLE
DJ Shadow
Mogwai
Bjork
Gang of Four
Richard Thompson
Big Star
Yo La Tengo
Pixies
Talking Heads
Radiohead

My plan is limit each group to only two or three songs and keep building this thing until it's a couple hundred songs strong. Who else should I add? And if you're trying to understand what I'm going for here, imagine that 19-year-old humanities major who's carrying around a copy of On the Road as conspicuously as he possibly can, the kid whose mind will be totally blown when someone shows him Blue Velvet.

#2 M. Leary

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Posted 07 March 2012 - 10:20 PM

A little Nick Cave and Dead Can Dance for drama. Bruce Cockburn's Birmingham Shadows and Charity of Night for you know... Bruce. I also don't see any REM there.

#3 Darren H

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Posted 08 March 2012 - 10:52 AM

REM is one of those bands that so transcended the "art school" ghetto -- eventually -- that they don't seem at home in this playlist. I'll dig out some older forgotten songs, though. Nick Cave and Dead Can Dance are blind spots for me. Any particular suggestions?

#4 Darren H

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Posted 08 March 2012 - 10:59 AM

For R.E.M. I went with "Cuyahoga" and "9-9".

#5 Darren H

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Posted 08 March 2012 - 11:13 AM

More additions:

Sun Ra's "Nuclear War" and some Monk and Reich.

#6 chillinrev

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Posted 08 March 2012 - 02:22 PM

I would include the following;

Brian Eno
Peter Gabriel/Genesis
Kate Bush
Deerhunter

#7 M. Leary

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Posted 08 March 2012 - 03:53 PM

REM is one of those bands that so transcended the "art school" ghetto -- eventually -- that they don't seem at home in this playlist....


Ah. Wasn't catching on to the vibe you were after.

#8 Pair

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Posted 08 March 2012 - 05:27 PM

Are we trying to blow his mind, or keep it within some sort of reason? Maybe just throw some randomness out there to see what sticks? ^_^

Koenji Hyakkei
Maja Ratkje
Sunn O)))
Abesse 2/084
Boris
Jucifer
Alcest
Amesoeurs
Earth
Current 93
Hieronymus Bosch
Baroness
Death in June
Rome
Dillinger Escape Plan
Mastodon
Today is the Day
Neurosis
Onryo
Lustmord
Merzbow
Vidna Obmana
Lull
Toru Takemitsu
Arvo Part
Henryk Gorecki
Knut
Eskmo
Flying Lotus

...and I used to carry around Pynchon, Joyce or ee cummings like badges of honor. Now I make sure whatever movie or book I have with me is stored away out of sight. I no longer have that desire to explain myself or listen to another person's thoughts. Until reflecting on this thread, I didn't realize... that's a bit sad. When did I lose that optimistic fire?

Maybe this weekend I should stroll through a college campus with Finnegan's Wake tucked under my arm. :lol:

Edited by Pair, 08 March 2012 - 06:01 PM.


#9 stu

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Posted 08 March 2012 - 05:52 PM

A few additions - songs I would put on a compilation cd for my 19 year old, T. S. Eliot-reading-self to blow his little mind:

David Crosby - Music is love
The Beta Band - Dry the rain
Neil Young - Tonight's the night
Dirty Three - Authentic celestial music
Cocteau Twins - Loreli
The Cure - A forest
The XX - Night time
Alice Coltrane - Journey in Satchindananda
Keith Jarrett - something from one of the live, moan-y solo albums


Obviously, these songs would fit together horribly on one playlist, but my 19 self would neither care nor notice. By the time he got to the bit where Neil Young comes in on David Crosby's 'Music is love' he would think he was in heaven.

#10 Darryl A. Armstrong

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Posted 08 March 2012 - 06:32 PM

Tom Waits
David Bowie
Daniel Johnston
The Smiths
Paul Westerberg
Steve Earle
Tindersticks

And I'll second the Nick Cave and Dead Can Dance suggestions.

#11 Darren H

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Posted 08 March 2012 - 09:14 PM

Just got off the phone with my nephew. I can't remember the last time I had a 90-minute conversation with anyone in my family. ;)

Pair, I saw Sunn O))) live a couple years ago and have to admit that I didn't make it through the whole show. It wasn't the volume that did me in; I just couldn't get past the absurdity of it all.

#12 Pair

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Posted 08 March 2012 - 10:10 PM

Pair, I saw Sunn O))) live a couple years ago and have to admit that I didn't make it through the whole show. It wasn't the volume that did me in; I just couldn't get past the absurdity of it all.

I definitely get that. Sometimes they work best for people in a random mix that includes a wide variety of other music, but if I'm in the right mood there's nothing I'd rather listen to.

You might want to skip Earth.

#13 Thom

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Posted 10 March 2012 - 03:19 PM

I would definitely throw in some Boomtown Rats and Elvis Costello. Although, Costello may be in that "transcended art school" REM category mentioned above.

#14 Darren H

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Posted 12 March 2012 - 08:19 AM

Over the weekend, the playlist evolved and grew substantially and will probably continue to, as I'm now using it as a kind of radio station at work. Here's a link for any of you who use Spotify.

#15 Thom

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Posted 12 March 2012 - 01:27 PM

Doing a little web development while listening. Thanks, Darren!

#16 Thom

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Posted 12 March 2012 - 02:07 PM

I am completely enjoying this playlist.
It seems like Happy Mondays, Aztec Camera, and the Album Leaf would be fitting and nice additions.

#17 Darren H

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Posted 12 March 2012 - 03:28 PM

Glad you're enjoying it, Thom. I'm certainly enjoying the process of building it.

#18 J. Henry Waugh

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Posted 12 March 2012 - 03:41 PM

Darren, I like your list too.

But it wouldn't be the worst thing if your nephew spends few years listening to music that we old people actively dislike.

#19 Darren H

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Posted 12 March 2012 - 03:59 PM

Ha! He's 19. He'll find plenty of music I hate!