Isolation Mix #7 Lewis Oxley
Updated: Jul 1
As summer tries to restart again, I've found that it was time to restart my listening habits. For hours I would listen, fatigued, just playing the same old drivel. I knew that lockdown would be monotonous, but I hadn't a clue it would be like this. During the period of my summatives in lockdown, I only played music to help me concentrate just like a wall of white noise.
But more often than not, it just made me loose focus. Now that I have completed my degree, my efforts have turned to exploring new music, to delve deeper into artists I hadn't heard of to those established in their field, but just happened to pass me by. I had made sundry playlists just out of pure boredom without really thinking who I added or having the time and energy to listen to them. So I wanted to make playlist that was varied, but also well thought out not just something plucked from thin air to be long forgotten.
So this playlist was a chance for me to break into new zones; to go a bit leftfield, to find music confusing as well as exciting, uplifting, and pleasant. This playlist features a smorgasbord of musical appetites that fit perfectly with all of those. I wish to restart summer and come out of the listener fatigue. And these tunes do this really well. Featuring the likes of high profile artists from the likes of Bill Withers, New Order, and Talking Heads. It also features some lovely little gems that broadened horizon's, some lovely new music, and some down right strange pieces that take on a whole new approach to music.
The first track is the epitome of summer. Roy Ayers' 1976 classic: "Everybody Loves the Sunshine". The images of swimming pools, barbeques and remote sunbathing all spring to mind because of this song. Ayers captures the smooth relaxation vibe of summer that we can all do with right now. The harmonious chorus and melody compliment Ayers' musicianship. This was at a time Ayers explored funk and acid jazz, which would be hugely influential on the American hip-hop scene that followed in the later decades and up to today. The track is a great accompaniment to any laid-back Sunday morning lounging about with coffee or a late afternoon barbeque supping a beer. Ayers is innovative in his use of synthesizers and vibraphone, which make his sound very original and unique.
Similar vibes are captured on Bill Withers' "Harlem" - a summertime classic, and
again captures the hustle and bustle of a summer we usually experience, but will pine for this time around. Tom Tom Club's legendary musical tribute "Genius of Love" gives off similar summer vibes with its insanely danceable backbeat and anthemic hip hop sound.
To the more leftfield tracks; those guaranteed to leave you curious, but inquisitive. The experimental art rock outfit Pram, who launched to prominence in the late 90s and early 2000s with "Play of the Waves" an ultra-evocative blend of sci-fi, electronic and jazz in a very British style, similar to their contemporaries, Stereolab, whose track "Parsec" features here from their legendary 1997 album Dots and Loops .
The evocative jazz theme runs into tracks from the legends of Sun Ra and Alice Coltrane. In particular Coltrane's track "Huntingdon Ashram Monastery" a kaleidoscopic wander into the lucid rhythms of harp jazz. Coltrane's harp is luscious as well as erotic, bringing a strong sexual desire to jazz. John Zorn, Sons of Kemet, and Moon Hooch complete a venture into rough experimental jazz that is elemental, but also frightening, in their free flowing rhythms, complete with stampede-esque drums and droning saxophone.
Finally, my standout favourites of this playlist come from Talking Heads classic, "I Found a Job" and a 12" version of New Order's classic 1982 tune "Temptation" lasting 8 minutes and 52 seconds. This version adds a bit of humour, courtesy of Bernard Sumner's yelp to the start of tune shouting "Oi!". Apparently, this was down to snow being placed down Bernard's back. There's probably no guesses for who did it (Hooky). As a huge fan of these bands for a long time, it felt rude not to include them at all, narrowing it down to what songs to include wasn't easy.
If you hope to restart your summer as lockdown gradually eases, then this playlist should help you discover new leftfield sounds as well as helping you into the mood of summer. The holidays may feel odd, and going abroad may be off the cards, but this playlist should help you rediscover a bit of summer normality as well as abnormality.