WARMER MIXTAPES #1630 | by Emily Wryn

1. Cat Power | Metal Heart
When I was 13 I used to frequent the local Music shop to wander the aisles and browse for CDs. I was at the very beginning of my Music exploration and just starting to play open mics. Randall, who worked at both Morning Glory Music and Sugar Magnolias (a local coffee shop that hosted open mic nights) had seen me play out. One day I was struggling to find an album to bring home with me. I was looking for a few options to take with me on my trip across country to visit a friend who had recently moved. I knew barely anything about Music that I hadn't heard on the radio or stumbled across. I don't remember the exact interaction, whether he had suggested it or if he had just given it to me, but I came away with Cat Power's Moon Pix. It was my first trip alone; I managed to make it through all my flight transfers safely and finally to West Virginia. I had barely arrived - maybe a day or two, when suddenly a terrible stomach flu hit me. I remember climbing up the stairs and with great force vomiting all over my poor friend's guest bathroom. For the next few days I lay in darkness listening over and over again to Moon Pix. The Creativity and Strength in her choices were apparent to me even then. The vague lyrics that left me wondering what she meant, the delicate dissonance that rang when her guitar and emotion-fueled voice clashed, and the sloppy/sexy, I don't give a fuck of her playing was all something l had never heard before. It opened a door to The Power Of The Feminine in my young self. I chose Metal Heart off of her album because it was a favorite of mine then.

2. Elliott Smith | Son Of Sam
When I was 14 I went on a missionary trip to Scotland. I was an outsider among everyone there and had made a reputation for myself, as all young women do who aren't 'good girls'. That said, I had a lot of time to read, explore and listen to Music. I had borrowed some CDs before the trip and among them was Figure 8. I have a distinct memory of being on the train reading Neil Gaiman's Sandman and listening to the record for the first time. It was my first taste of international travel which sparked my never ending craving for new cultural experiences and love of the smell of old wet stone and Earth. I have such respect for Elliott as a songwriter and have other favorites tied to other memories, but this album is like a time machine. It jets me back to Scotland's ancient streets. I chose Son Of Sam because it's the first track off of Figure 8 and is the true beginning of my relationship with Elliott Smith's Music.

3. Leonard Cohen | Suzanne (Judy Collins Cover)
This song reminds me of my first apartment, of having my first space to be alone and call mine. The sweetness of having tea cross legged in the living room without furniture, sitting in the light that shone through the trees cascading on my floor. The strawberries on the white and mint green tile in the kitchen. The cinder block and plank made bookshelves with tea lights lit inside. The Christmas lights that hung carelessly on the wall. The movie nights with friends scattered across the floor watching VHS tapes on the small television in the corner. Songs Of Leonard Cohen and Brazilian Jazz filled the small space in the short time I lived there.

4. Sufjan Steven | Death With Dignity
It's hard to fully express what emotions Sufjan’s Carrie & Lowell brings up inside of me. It hits many strings of a complex chord. The nostalgic Eternal Love of a child and Disillusionment when we see our parents as just people for the first time. The eventual certainty of the death of my mother and myself. The memories I want to leave for my children. The raw and true child-like emotions that are hidden beneath years of trained containment. This is one of the truest works of Art I have ever experienced. I can’t help but cry and want to be closer to the people I love when I listen to it. I chose Death With Dignity off of the album: I forgive you, mother... I can hear you... And I long to be near you... But every road leads to an end.

5. Johanna Warren | There Is A Light
I had fallen for Johanna's Music during my yearly trip to Big Sur after a mutual friend lent me her album nūmūn. A lot of her Music resonates with me and my ever-undulating mental, emotional and spiritual states. This song, off of her album Gemini I is uplifting, but not in an overly positive way. There Is A Light doesn't brush The Struggle, Concern or Pain of Life away. Her songs are intense and can deal with the darker sides of our emotional selves - this gives a sense of Hope in that turbulent inner world. I should wake up to this song as my morning prayer. Well, we could lie down and collectively seal our fate. You know it's now or never, but it's never too late.

6. Neko Case | I Wish I Was The Moon
I had just descended the Big Sur mountain roads and was close to realizing that the real world lay in wait for me. Driving through the rolling golden hills with the ocean on my right I spotted a coyote out in broad daylight. I turned quickly and parked, watching it stare back at me with knowing eyes. As the song swelled and Neko sang God blessed me, I'm a free man with no place free to go, the coyote unlocked eyes and trotted into the hills. It was a perfect moment.

7. Still Corners | Strange Pleasures
Strange Pleasures is a newer discovery for me. I found it while listening to Pandora and walking my dog in the hills near my house. When it came on I felt transported to a different place, everything around me became colored by the song so that even the light seemed to change. The synth line puts me in a trance. It's also nostalgic in a weird way - a kind of throwback – it reminds me of movies I grew up with for some reason, like The Neverending Story. There is something very strangely beautiful about it and has become one of the songs I listen to on heavy rotation.

8. Sarah Jaffe | Defense
Defense is a song I discovered in 2016, but feels close to my own mind. I can relate to every line in an uncanny way. It feels like this was written about the constant struggle to fend off my Fight Or Flight. It captures that on edge feeling so well. It is also a great driving/dancing in front of my mirror song. Looking for a reason to provoke my inner demons, lately they've been fueling my fire.

9. Yeah Yeah Yeahs | Maps
The first time I heard this song was on MTV. Their video had come on and I immediately fell in love with Karen O's distinct voice, her style, and the way she moved. She showed me that being in a Rock band could also be a Performance Art. I'm pretty sure that's what influenced me to start my very first band.

10. Erik Satie | Gnossienne No. 1, Lent (Played by Stéphane Blet)
I'm not an expert on Satie's Music or life, but they are absolutely fascinating. The Gnossiennes are several piano compositions that are mostly in free time (lacking time signatures or bar divisions) that are highly experimental with Form, Rhythm and Chordal Structure. Meaning that the pianist who plays the composition greatly influences how the song is portrayed. I've spent hours listening to different versions of the same song trying to find the perfect performance. I'd invite you to go down a good Wiki hole and read about Satie while listening to his Music. I love how whimsical, strange and dark Gnossienne No. 1 is. I get the craving to listen to it on days while drinking tea on my porch staring into the fog, nights driving through the empty barely lit streets, or laying on the floor in my den after midnight when the house is quiet and my mind is open to Satie's curious delights.

WARMER MIXTAPES #1629 | by Tamara Shmidt [Awali] of Coccoro and Artami

1. Daughter | Candles
I heard this song in Summer 2016, and it caught me. It may sound like a really girlish thing, but it sounds to me so personal, intimate... Like it's my story. With the songs like this one you just keep thinking, Damn, I should have written this song!...Have a little voice to speak with and you're too old to be so shy, there's something so sad and sincere about it. It reminds of all these situations when you realise (unfortunately later than you should) you were just filling space in your sheets... It's a lot about Injustice, that you can't fix, you can't prove that it isn't your fault.

2. Daughter | Home
I moved to Czech Republic when I was 21. Just came here alone with two big bags and 10 euros in my pocket, thinking how rich I am... Since then I moved about 20 times, every time trying to make the place feel like home. It took me long years to realize, that Home is about a feeling that dwells inside of you. I can't relate to Ukraine that much, neither to any other country, even though, I have to admit, Czech Republic is the place where I feel the best and probably - home. I hate to mention, I'm Ukrainian, because Czechs don't like this nation that much... And also, I'm really not that much of a Ukrainian, accidentally I was born there, but my family comes from Russian Siberia and then mostly from Poland. Ukraine was just a place on their way... And being treated badly just because of the nationality drives me crazy. We're all the same, sharing same planet, and should be kind to each other... Anyway... I came up with my own explanations: I see myself as a cosmopolitan or an elf. I heard it in the brilliant movie Under The Electric Clouds by German Jr. (Russian producer) where one of the characters - Marat - is half Jewish, half Armenian. The boy asks him if he's a Jew, and Marat says - I'm elf. The boys goes (a bit more aggressively) OK, perhaps your mom is an elf, but what about your dad? He has to be Jewish? ... No. We're elves, and we leave in the woods. This song gives me the piercing feeling of Loneliness and at the same time reminds me that Home is by the side of beloved ones.

3. AURORA | I Went To Far
From a Musical point of view I Love this song - it has such original back vocals and generally Aurora is such a talented girl, with a great deep understanding of Life, World. Again, it's something more from The Past, when you don't understand, Why? Why, while giving all of you, you still have to beg for Love? For a little of Love?... It took me a while to understand, the reason is: that was a wrong person. I'm left behind with an empty hole, and everything I am is gone... That's exactly how you feel when something you hoped would last forever breaks apart... I was afraid, I will not be able to cope with what happened within Awali. But I did; and feel more of a whole than ever before.

4. Imogen Heap | Neglected Space
When listening to this song in my headphones I'm enjoying every bit of it! Imogen Heap is one of my favourite musicians/songwriters and I really look up to her, trying to learn as much as possible. This song has amazing lyrics, so poetic and haunting... Everything in one song. I like how first it appeared ugly to me, and then I can't stop listening to it, discovering the beauty of it. It makes me think that Music is hiding in every little sound, surrounding me... And writing a song is about seeing the ends of these threads and being able to pull them towards you. Where doorways with no door stage a ballet of leaves... Who pirouette in the footsteps of once glorious days... Imogen is a great example of an artist who made herself. She's a very inspiring example of a one-man-project. Behind the majority of people there's always someone else, who helps with Music, Programming, Recording and stuff. But she managed to do it all alone (or with minor cooperations) - at least for the Eclipse album. I like this fact about her most of all. She is definitely a Music prodigy. Through my open wounds they let themselves in. It reminds me that we really have to learn how to protect our souls, our most fragile, most vulnerable part, invisible and intangible while staying open-hearted. This song makes me feel like whatever I'll compose have a chance to actually work out... There's so much Inspiration in it. And Nostalgia... Like you're in an abandoned building that is about to be demolished, and you see how beautiful is The Autumn outside, sunrays coming through the cracked walls and wide opened eyes of windows...You're sitting on the floor covered with dust and stones, and you say to yourself: Goddamnit, Life is so beautiful!!!... Isn't The World we've built a bit like this scenery?...

5. The Dø | Dust It Off (I Origins Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
I heard this song first in the movie I Origins by Mike Cahill. And I remember how it gave me the goosebumps and then I feel like I'm going to cry... It's so simple on one hand, as for The Music, but there's so much in it. At least for me. The falling in Love and losing it all. Hopeful and Disappointing over and over again... It's like the Mono No Aware feeling... As the Japanese term says...  Sensitivity to Ephemera, Gentle Sadness. I feel like this is always a reminder that, even in the highest point of Bliss, you are sad inside... Knowing that this world is not exactly made for being just blindly happy... There's a lot of work to do... And Music is one of the tools that, to my mind, helps to heal The World within us... Teaches us to feel, to see deeper, touching our dark side and seeing hidden gems there... Also it sounds a bit crazy, all this loops and echoes... And it proves to me one more time that only crazy people can do Music, something so ephemeral, that nobody might notice in the end. When you write a song - you feel like you're at the top of The World or flying with a parachute or diving in a wild ocean, but for others it might be not more than a indiscernible spit on asphalt... And, as a musician, you have to live with it and accept it. 

6. Birdy | People Help The People
My old friend, great Russian pianist, introduced to me Birdy's Music about 8 years ago saying Well, I can't understand how she can make such a great song with playing just few chords on piano... I started laughing, as it was so true! Birdy is another one artist, that I admire, for being so special. You can always recognize her voice, her style, that's what I like about musicians most of all: when they're so authentic in their art that it's impossible to confuse them with someone else. I think this is a sign of real talent: it's the only one of its kind. Like, you're reading Bulgakov, or listening to The Music by Rachmaninoff - and you know they are unique. They managed to express themselves so truly, so precise in every note, in every word... They live their truth. You can do real good Music only if you feel like there's no chance you can do anything else, like you need it like Air. Out of impossibility of doing anything else at that moment. Absolutely sincere. Especially her first album has this signature... And it could be simple as a shovel, based on three chords, and still be genius! If this Music is True You...

7. Death Cab For Cutie | Passenger Seat 
I heard this song in spring 2015, while being in Spain, working day and night... Going from Sevilla back to Granada, where I was working at that time. It was a dark night. And I remember thinking to myself that even though all this work and my effort seems to be so important, and I think only about work and earning some money now, and everyone around me supports this illusion of Importance... It's not significant. At all. Like, it will disappear in any moment, like passing by cars, and will leave nothing behind. So, why am I spending my life, wasting my youth, health and power to make some other person's dream come true? I have my own and I have to work on it, fight for it, even if it's a struggle within me. And so I let my soul fly away from that car that was going down the empty highway, where an empty and lonely hotel room awaits me at the end of the busy day. It changed my perspective that night. And suddenly all the pressure was gone, because I realized that I didn't come to this world to become a better assistant of an assistant, but to become more of myself, materialize my own dreams, going my own way and not following someone else. My life has a better purpose. Even if I have to stay homeless and hungry, it still worth it, because I would know that I did everything to be more like me, to play my own game and make my own reality. I did everything through my body that my soul decided to come for in this world. This song just makes me feel pure and free. Crystal...

8. Frank Ocean | Strawberry Swing
Contains samples of the song of the same name performed by Coldplay. Frank Ocean's Music was introduced to me by my American friend. We were driving from Washington suburbs to Baltimore and he was telling me about Frank and his songs. So we listened to this album all over and over again... Especially I liked this particular song. That was my first time in US and everything felt so strangely distant and beautiful. The feeling of Big. Big cities, buildings, long distances... This song is a sheer joy and a memory of something indescribably nice. Just a possibility, an opportunity, a small chance that you almost can reach with your fingertips... Like falling in Love or walking down the busy streets of the city you've never been to before and knowing that everything is possible, all the best things you can imagine are possible! And you're the one who has The Power. Whenever I have it on my playlist, I wish the whole world could dance with me to this song and enjoy the beauty of the moment... We are all mortals, aren't we? Any moment this could go.... Magical!

9. Coldplay | Atlas (The Hunger Games: Catching Fire Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
I heard this song during a dance lesson first time, and dancing to it was so cool! Dim lights in the dance-hall, huge Sound and Music going through your body. I like how this song makes you feel strong and free. And the words match Music perfectly. Chris Martin has a remarkable talent in Songwriting and, when listening to his Music more, you can feel how natural it is for him - writing Music, lyrics, and sing... And again - he has his own style. I remember, at times, when I didn't know about Coldplay's existence, Chris Martin and such, my friends asked me to play the melody (from Trouble by Coldplay) and I grew to like it so much... And then hearing him singing first time, I thought - Oh my, this guy can't sing at all... But perhaps he really loves doing it and he does it badly, but it sounds so engaging! Now his songs and singing are wonderful and polished technically. I thought then, maybe, if I will keep trying, keep singing, just because I really love it - it will also work out at some point. I was thirteen then.

10. Beck | Lonesome Tears
I learned about Beck through one of the Ukrainian musicians - Dmytro Shurov, who shared Beck's Music. It's so rich in Sound and he seems to understand something very important about Music. Also I heard that Beck released an album in the form of Music sheets... Hah, I like that creativity. This is the way it should be - playful, authentic and crazy.

WARMER MIXTAPES #1628 | by Cole C. [That Purple Bastard/Purple Bastard] of 6 Demon Bag

1. Aphex Twin  | Windowlicker
This track is probably one that pops up on many people’s lists and I would argue that it is probably one of the most influential pieces in Modern Music. It was probably the first totally Electronic song that I ever heard with a really organic sounding vibe; it writhes around in your mind and soul like some great snake, but is warm and connective in some strange way that defies explanation. I remember seeing the very bizarre Music Video for it at Number’s, a historic nightclub in Houston, Texas, probably around the time it was released and being put off by the overly-long intro sequence and by the grotesque appearance of Richard D. James face imposed on various large-breasted models bodies. I was so put off by the creepy aesthetics of the video that I probably didn’t even really pay much attention to The Music. It wasn’t till about 5 years later that I really went back to give the track a second spin (probably via Aphex’ influence on Radiohead, I don’t really remember) and being totally captivated and blown away by it. At the time I had been noodling around with Electronic Music and Hip Hop for a few years, but this track totally changed the direction I wanted to go with my stuff. From that point forward I wanted to imbue my productions with this same sort of organic movement, seeking to bring any kind of flat or stale compositions I had to Life like some sort of golem.

2. Sa-Ra Creative Partners | Hollywood (from Set-Ups & Justifications album sampler)
In 2005, I finally decided to begin pursuing a career as a Hip Hop producer seriously and enrolled in School at Houston Community College for Audio Engineering. One of the great things about going to School there was that the school would always get a bunch of free copies of Music magazines that you would have to pay for otherwise. It would usually be copies of either Mix or Electronic Musician, but every so often they would get Remix or the coveted Scratch magazine (both were discontinued in ’06 or ’07). Anyway, all it took was one issue of Scratch and I was hooked, I immediately signed up for a subscription so I wouldn’t have to lurk outside the Registry Office to ensure that I got my free copy. Scratch was an unique publication in that it was specifically tailored to Hip Hop producers & DJs, whereas the other magazines were a little broader in their scope. Anyway, I remember the very first issue of Scratch I received in the mail was covered by these 3 weird Space Age, Retro Funk looking dudes billed as Sa-Ra Creative Partners who had just been signed to Kanye West’s G.O.O.D. Music label when it was still in its infancy. I was immediately intrigued by these guys not only because they had a style (clothing-wise) that was different than anyone else out at the time, but also reading the article, these guys had a production process that was highly different than other producers I was learning about at the time. Essentially, these guys were three engineer audio-nerds who had combined their powers to form a supergroup that released Music both as their own entity, but also as producers for other artists. Their Music was extremely organic in feeling and overall vibe and they were championing Analog in Hip Hop at a time when Digital reigned supreme. After reading the article, I immediately went and downloaded the few songs that I could find, one of these being a hand-clap and falsetto-singing driven Lo-Fi masterpiece entitled Hollywood (Redux). The piece was dazzling in that it combined a great number of familiar elements in such a way that I had never heard before. Furthermore, it inspired me to explore my Musicality outside the context of DJing or Computer Music and soon afterward I began taking private lessons on a bass guitar with the goal of injecting more Humanity and Organic Funk into my own productions.

3. Geto Boys | Mind Playing Tricks On Me
I grew up on the South East side of Houston, Texas in a really poor neighborhood. My family was a single-income one with my mom staying at home and taking care of me and my dad was a floor-layer who worked virtually all the time. I was always a creative and inquisitive kid, so my mom enrolled me in a magnet program in a nearby Elementary School that was predominantly African-American called Pleasantville Elementary. It was there that I first was really exposed to Rap Music and really began to develop a taste for it early on. Pleasantville was also a stone’s throw away from the infamous neighborhood of 5th Ward which was also home to the Southern breakout Gangsta Rap group, the Geto Boys. My best friend Robert worked at a shoe-shine shop over in 5th Ward, so I spent a good deal of time over there as a young kid. Now at that time, Rap Music was way more controversial than it is now and my mom wasn’t really crazy about me listening to it. I still did though, mostly through friends and through the radio. The Geto Boys' Mind Playing Tricks On Me was huge due to the fact that it was from Houston. The fact that it was the first major radio single from any Houston Rap artist meant that it got played almost constantly on the radio so as kids we knew every word. Furthermore, Mind Playing Tricks On Me was a national hit whose influence on the genre as a whole cannot be understated, a work of Art with more Depth and Substance than most Music coming out of either the East or West coast at the time of its release. I still get chills to this day when Bushwick Bill’s signature rasp comes in with the line This year Halloween fell on a weekend

4. Swishahouse | Drank Up In My Cup (from Swishahouse's Ballin & Shotcallin album)
Not to be confused with the recent Kirko Bangz radio single of the same name, this is a mixtape freestyle track released by North-side Houston Rap collective Swishahouse featuring a virtual who’s-who of unknown rappers who were affiliated with Swishahouse in its early days. This track features the likes of Big Tiger, Lester Roy, Lil’ Ron, Big Tubby, and Blindcyde freestyling over the instrumental to the Timbaland produced Missy Elliot track All N My Grill. The track is slowed-down in the Screw tradition and also contains elements from the R.P. Cola track Too Much Lean In My Cup. Despite none of the artists on the track ever achieving near the level of success as label-mates Slim Thug, Paul Wall, Chamillionaire, or Mike Jones, this track is regarded by many in Texas as the essence of Crunk-ness. It’s a track that any DJ can throw on to a Texas audience remotely familiar with Screw culture and have people getting super hype and often reciting the originally-freestyled track word-for-word. Personally, I discovered this track when I was in College at University Of Texas in Austin via Napster download and was immediately convinced that this track was the shit. This was also the track that I would use to introduce people outside of Texas to Screw Music/culture believing that they would be instantly converted after a single listen. (This was circa 2000 and Screw Music didn’t really blow up outside of Texas/the South till after 2005.) I remember playing it for a guy in Brooklyn, New York who was surprisingly unimpressed and driving around South Central LA (where I have lived for the past 4 years, LA, not South Central) with it blaring out of the open windows of my ’92 Buick Century upon my first visit there.

5. Beck | Truckdrivin Neighbors Downstairs (Yellow Sweat)
Like I mentioned before, I grew up and went to Elementary School in a pretty poor area of town, so it was a pretty big culture shock for me when I started attending Middle School at Lanier, a magnet school in an upper-middle class area of town. These kids weren’t the predominantly African-American Rap listeners I had grown up with, but were instead predominantly rich white kids listening to the Grunge Rock that had been filtered down through the mainstream. Eager to fit in, I quickly traded in any baggy urban clothing for flannel long-sleeve shirts and soon found myself listening to groups like Nirvana and Soundgarden in order to catch up with my peers. Although it was a little foreign to me, a lot of the Music was really good and it wasn’t really hard for me to get into it. On top of that, my parents were going through a divorce around that time, so my dad would buy a lot of these artists' albums in part because he heard them on the radio and liked them, but also in part to bond with me. I also started watching MTV around that time which was also a big facilitator of Music at that point. I remember watching the Music Video to Beck’s Where It’s At and it making somewhat of an impression on me. What really sealed the deal was when my dad bought the album Odelay and I really heard the whole project in his truck. I was blown away and instantly identified with Beck more so than any of the other groups that were falling under the Grunge/Alternative umbrella at that time. His Eclecticism and Eccentricity immediately stood out to me as someone who had grown up in unconventional circumstances much like me. I was so impressed that I would ultimately go back in his catalogue to check out his less-polished, but still somewhat approachable, Mellow Gold. It was really my first encounter with an album that embodied such a raw and experimental aesthetic and I absolutely loved it. Being a Houston-boy I particularly loved the Screwed Folk aesthetic of Truckdrivin Neighbors Downstairs (Yellow Sweat), a downtempo Despair-filled affair that paradoxically remained somewhat light-hearted and funny through Beck’s absurdist lyrics.

6. The Velvet Underground & Nico | Heroin
I have never done heroin. The closest I ever came was smoking opium once with a friend’s boyfriend or perhaps it was smuggled into my system unbeknownst to me in one of the small handful of times that I ever did Ecstasy. Either way, I never shot up. I can’t really say when I first heard this song either, but I was probably pretty young since VU is one of my mom’s favorite groups. However, I will say that I think Heroin by The Velvet Underground & Nico must be one of the most perfectly written songs ever because it allows you to really feel the highs and lows of a junkie without ever putting a needle to your arm. The gentle strum of the song slowly ascends to dizzying and euphoric heights before dropping into Chaos and Despair, all the while the pulse is kept by the heartbeat thump of the toms. As one of the few groups who I really feel have the ability to elicit a genuine emotional response from me, VU will always have a place in my heart. There are many songs by them that I love, but Heroin is the best.

7. Lil' FlipFreestyle 2 (from Swishahouse's I-45 album)
Like I said, Freestyle culture is real big in Houston, the culture is pretty unique in the regards that you have hundreds of thousands of people who will know all the words to certain songs that were freestyled more than they will know the original song that is being rapped over. Anointed by the legendary DJ Screw before his passing, in the early 2000’s, Lil’ Flip WAS the Freestyle King of Houston, Texas and was one of the first Houston artists to appear both on DJ Screw’s mixtape as well as North-side rivals Swishahouse. Furthermore, he was one of the first Houston artists in over 10 years (since the Geto Boys) to gain any sort of traction on a national level. In 2002, Lil’ Flip was that dude and it would be a few more years before any major labels paid any attention whatsoever to Houston artists. The freestyle appeared on Swishahouse’s aptly-titled I-45 mixtape, named after the I-45 freeway that runs through the various ghettos of Houston. The I-45 freestyle was easily a standout of the OG Ron C hosted mixtape, although there was another freestyle featuring Slim Thug & J-Dawg over a Timbaland beat that also stuck with me (which I recently sampled for a track I did with Houston rapper Renzo). The Flip track (which was basically a 8-minute or so freestyle featuring only Lil’ Flip rapping improvised bars over the Three 6 Mafia beat to Who Da Crunkest) kind of epitomized what made Flip so great: it was effortless punch-line Rap that was clever, folksy, and unique. Also, Flip always had a certain timbre to his voice that was very smooth, rich, and easily distinguishable from his peers. An interesting footnote to this story is that I always regarded this track as a personal favorite among his recorded freestlyes, which probably numbered in the hundreds if not thousands. A few years ago I had the opportunity to open for Lil’ Flip at Fitzgerald’s, another historic club in Houston via an MC who I frequently collaborate with, D-Risha. After we performed, we naturally stuck around to catch Flip’s set as we were both nostalgic for the era in which he ruled Houston Hip Hop. Sandwiched in the middle of his set of various radio songs and regional hits, he performed this very freestyle even going so far as to have the audience rap the punch lines which we did enthusiastically! It wasn’t until that moment that I realized that this was probably his most famous and well known freestyle, which until then I thought had just been my own personal favorite.

8. Parliament | Presence Of A Brain
I first took to this song when I was about 18 or 19, having moved from my hometown of Houston up to Austin to attend School at The University Of Texas. I was in a new city and was feeling very lonely and isolated and this song really spoke to me. This is an underrated cut from Up For The Down Stroke which manages to be both Funky and introspective at the same time, which is probably the reason why I carried it in my head and heart as a personal anthem for many years. The song itself is 'bout both The Power Of Intelligence, but also about how Intelligence can isolate you from others, a theme which many can relate to. Have you ever felt the presence of a brain? We have all seen them standing amidst the surprised... Sometimes a man smiles and I often wonder... If you can tell he’s a thinker... By the faraway look in his eyes. The power of this song for me lies however in its sharp driving bass line, which stays steady and unwavering throughout the song and is probably my favorite bass line ever recorded. Background vocals float in and out like angels (a Parliament signature) over the singer’s rich baritone and there is a nice little Rhodes piano solo at the end as icing on the cake.

9. George Clinton | Atomic Dog
This was another one that I heard during my formative years that really fucked my head up in a good way. When I was probably 9 or 10 my best friend Robert bought a CD called Old School which was a compilation of Classic Funk records from the late 70’s/early 80’s, it was the 1st in a series of the same name released by Thump Records. Although this album contained several mind-bending classics from that era like Frankie Smith’s Double Dutch Bus (we both learned how to jive-talk after hearing that one), Cutie Pie by One Way, and You Dropped The Bomb by Gap Band; it was the Funk-oozing Atomic Dog by George Clinton that made the biggest impression on me. It was a record far removed from anything I had ever heard before or for that matter have heard since. In essence it is the prefect groove; the bubbling bass line shifts and writhes under heavy handclaps, while George Clinton’s signature croak seems to be drowning in it, struggling to keep from being overwhelmed by The Funk. I believe that this was a watershed record in that many artists that followed tried unsuccessfully to replicate the groove/aesthetic (although many came damn close, and made some amazing Music in the process). As I’ve transitioned into making pretty much Groove-centric Music in my own career, it’s a track that I will reference in my head as I’m making a song like, How can I make this sound/feel more like Atomic Dog?

10. Led Zeppelin | D’yer Mak’er
Led Zeppelin was my dad’s favorite band. I have fond memories of driving around with him in his pickup truck in Southeast Houston, listening to them at full blast while my dad sipped a tall boy from a paper bag. My dad passed away a few years ago under sudden and truly bizarre circumstances, contracting a flesh-eating virus from raw oysters he consumed at a local seafood restaurant, ensuring that it will forever be difficult for me to listen to any Led Zeppelin song (even the hard-rockin’ ones) without tearing up a little. Although a can jam their entire catalogue, this groovy little gem has always been my favorite. As Led Zepp’s one and only attempt at Reggae, it exists in its own perfect space that is not quite Reggae and not quite Zeppelin, though it conjures their signature magic to make quite a sexy tune. Anecdotally, on one of my first gigs running Live Sound I was helping my boss on a job for a Led Zeppelin cover band. When they played this song and I told him it was my favorite, he kind of smirked and told me it was one for the ladies.

WARMER MIXTAPES #1627 | by Albert af Ekenstam

1. Steve Reich | Pulse - Sections I-X - Pulse (from Music For 18 Musicians)
When you dream.

2. El Rojo Adios | Baby Blue
When you want to leave.

3. AURAS | Thrown 
When you think about Death.

4. Jesu/Sun Kill Moon | A Song Of Shadows
When you're confused.

5. Nils Fram | Hammers
When you feel Hope.

6. Mogwai | Jaguar (Les Revenants Soundtrack)
When you're not in the living moment.

7. Daniel Lanois | JJ Leaves LA
When you sleep.

8. bob hund | Det Överexponerade Gömstället
When you're sick of everything.

9. Daniel Norgren | Are We Running Out Of Love?
When you think about Love.

10. Junip | The Ghost Of Tom Joad (Bruce Springsteen Cover)
When you think about others.

WARMER MIXTAPES #1626 | by Mike Pace (Oxford Collapse)/[Mike Pace And The Child Actors]

1. Randy Newman | Living Without You
Been jamming this one consistently for about fifteen years now. The standard line on Randy is that the guy who sings all those Disney/Pixar songs actually has great singer / songwriter records from the '70s. This is true, but hopefully you know that by now. This one's from his first album, back in '68. Fragile, vulnerable, imminently hummable; the joyous sound of Loneliness that I'm sure we can all relate to. Sad lyrics with an upbeat melody; can you beat that? I remember driving around Massachusetts in my old band's van en route to pick up a couch and listening to this one on repeat.

2. Rocket From The Crypt | Sturdy Wrists
Thank you, 120 Minutes. One of the first songs from the Underground to grab me at that pivotal age when you know there's something beyond Top 40 radio but you're not quite sure how to get there. The melodious cacophony of chords and horns in the chorus still gets me, and I can still recall the cliched light switch being flipped in my 13 year old brain when I first heard it (previously loving You Can Call Me Al and Dude (Looks Like A Lady) - Rock songs with horns - definitely helped). Before RFTC went Vegas they were more ragtag and gauzy and it was exactly what I wanted and needed.

3. David Ackles | Down River
Lyrically this one's a heartbreaker that took a few listens to sink in, but when it clicked; oh man. I can smell the gabardine they were wearing in the studio when they recorded this one. This song weirdly reminds me of my grandparents' basement.

4. Maggie And Terre Roche | Telephone Bill
Totally uncool NPR Folk-Rock by two of the three Roche sisters. Due to the threat of quirk-overload, I avoided this band for years for exactly that reason, but they've got some great, timeless songs (and Robert Fripp produced their first record!). This one is from 1975's Seductive Reasoning LP. When I hear this song I think of suburban New England, cable-knit sweaters and High School Music-room standup pianos. And I love it.

5. The Replacements | Androgynous
Those ragged piano chords were all I needed when I first heard this around 14 or 15. This sounded like a suburban Sunday in fall and I loved it. The lyrics (and the rest of Let It Be) settled in later.

6. Peter Gabriel | Red Rain
I love the crystal clarity that only mid 80's Digital Production can give you where the space between the notes sounds like nothing at all. Combine that with Gabriel's awesomely vivid vox and you've got the rare combo of antiseptic and soulful which I've always loved. I hear this one and all of a sudden I'm a teenager riding my bike through the business park near our house on a spring day after a storm. So was the first CD I ever bought.

7. Fleetwood Mac | Never Forget
A great rev'ver upper or come'r down'er and one of the highlights for me on one of my favorite records, Tusk. Christine McVie's Mac (and solo) cuts are almost always rock solid, this being no exception. Simple and beautiful. The kids all love it now, but NO ONE was talking about FM in the '90s!

8. Together | So Much Love To Give
Together = DJ Falcon & Thomas Bangalter. One of the most soulful hooks (Love's Such A Wonderful Thing by The Real Thing) I've ever heard + a simply killer descending chord progression = 10 minutes of my favorite French House. Played this one at my wedding and got a huge response. Turned me on to Thom Bell and The Spinners and the sound of Philadelphia. There's even a flub in the sample at like the 7 or 8 minute mark and it's amazing. Human after all.

9. Chris Squire | You By My Side 
The Yes bassist wrote one of my favorite Love songs of all time, and it's actually a two-fer with the Funkier Hold My Hand (the two tracks segue pretty seamlessly) from his 1975 solo record, Fish Out Of Water. Another classic descending chord progression, a killer bass tone (significantly louder than everything else), awesome soprano (?) vocals, saccharine strings. Pop bliss, as the critics say. I always think of walking to the bagel store when I hear this one, because one time I walked to the bagel store listening to this.

10. Judee Sill | Jesus Was A Cross Maker
 A mindblower. Upright piano, bespectacled Christian Pop that's not really xian but still holy.

WARMER MIXTAPES #1625 | by Tyler Taormina [Cloud] of Adam & Naive, Marblemouth and Fjords

Photo by Carson Lund

1. Secos & Molhados | Sangue Latino
This song is sheer energy. When the vocals come in I feel Hope and Wonder swell up in me. When that first chord change happens I feel a sort of momentum driving me towards a good place. Watch the video on YouTube to see the singer in his wonderful revolutionary garb in the face of a militarily dictated Brazil.

2. The Replacements | Swingin Party
First off, the flow. It’s impossible not to nod along to this tune. Then we can talk about the production value. I love those drums and guitars and Paul Westerberg’s voice strikes through like an angel’s would. I also love the lyrics here. All that business about the feather... So funny. What is that?

3. Sonoak | You Are Good
The first note strikes and I feel peaceful because I know the rhythm so well by this point. I know to nod back and forth as if in prayer. This song was clearly written at a time of Grace. Holy notes to Self.

4. Stereolab | Come And Play In The Milky Night
This song reminds me of the scene in The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou where the whole crew takes their climactic plummet in the submarine, searching for the shark. It has a sense of exploring The Unknown. I love that bass riff too much, to me it’s The Anchor in The Exploration.

5. Sun Kil Moon | Duk Koo Kim
How can I spoil this one with my words? All I’ll say is I only listen to this song when tragedy happens in my life. It’s so powerful that it’s the only piece of Art I can trust when things go truly wrong.

6. Arthur Russell | Soon-To-Be Innocent Fun/ Let’s See
What a tune. I wish it were nine and a half minutes longer. I feel like this is a rare recording in that it seems like Arthur Russell was able to articulate an idle mind’s meander, only it’s the weirdest mind you can encounter. I love when he sings with a hush as if he didn’t want to disturb his roommates in the middle of the night or something.

7. Gang Starr | Moment Of Truth 
I listen to this song at the crack of dawn on the first day of every film shoot of mine. It not only gets me pumped up, but it also has a way of doing so with a samurai-like spirituality. I feel like Guru had a wisdom that all too many song writers lack.

8. Caetano Veloso | Cucurrucucú Paloma
Another song that is so masterful and holy that I really shouldn’t speak much about it. Cinema loves this song. It’s been used in four very good movies, but only one of them really deserves to be spoken of, Hable Con Ella by Almodóvar. I love songs like this that prove that the mark of Age is necessary for Full Communication. Sometimes it feels too much like the Music market is saturated by 20’s & 30’s that expire like milk soon after.

9. Blueboy | Fearon
Keith Girdler, Rest In Peace. Fear is one of my closest associates in my life. To hear him sing this refrain so gracefully just feels like those rare moments when the veil is lifted and all is clear once again. Then there’s that killer solo at the end.

10. Even As We Speak | Anybody Anyway 
The perfect Pop song. Lights up like a firecracker and every crackle and Pop of its 2:10 hits me right where it should. I think I’ve listened to this song forty times in a row when I first heard it. A little gem here.