A mix of jazzy instrumentals, electronic down-tempo, and a smattering of indie featuring Bonobo, The Bad Plus, and The Sea And Cake.
The title of this mixtape comes from a bus ride I took on January 26th, 2012 – where throughout the duration of travelling southbound on Dufferin Street in Toronto, the under-serviced route lead to an overcrowded bus of irritated commuters who began to lash out, verbally, at anyone within ear shot. As people began pushing and shoving each other for standing-space, my anxiety kicked in, and I found myself feeling like the walls of the bus were caving in upon me.
I reached into my backpack and found my old iPod, which I cued up Bonobo’s “Animals” – the lead cut here on the mix – which was able to calm me down until I elbowed my way off the bus at my destination. I then uploaded this mix to 8tracks, which you can listen to below with my thoughts on the track and artist listing following the embed.
- Bonobo – “Animals”
- The song that inspired the mix, as mentioned above, is this wonderful cut from Bonobo’s album Black Sands. I love the percussion and guitar opening this track – not exactly what you’d expect from a Bonobo song, but as more varied instrumentation joins in with a skittering and jazzy drum beat, you can’t help but get enveloped by the song.
- Amon Tobin – “Stoney Street”
- Jumping from the last track, right into an early Amon Tobin track – back when he was much more downtempo and jazz-influenced, but still was tossing break-beats into the mix with bizarre sample-work on top. That bassline, though, is an all-time sample for sure – it works perfectly with the soothing textural work and horns in the background.
- Skalpel – “Konfusion”
- I am definitely using this Skalpel track as a segue into straight-up jazz – more on that in a second. I’ve written about Skalpel – two polish DJs with a penchant for jazz samples – before, as they were pretty important to my music listening career. Both of their albums are worth seeking out for electronic music fans, that’s for sure.
- The Bad Plus – “Big Eater”
- And here, the transition into full-on jazz is complete. The Bad Plus were one of the first jazz acts that I became thoroughly addicted to – their debut record, which this track is pulled from, boasted an impressive list of covers (“Smells Like Teen Spirit”) as well as wonderful original compositions.
- The Sea and Cake – “A Man Who Never Sees a Pretty Girl That He Doesn’t Love Her a Little”
- A rare fully-instrumental track from the ever-underrated The Sea and Cake – this one, picked from their sophomore album. The Sea and Cake are one of the most consistent bands going in modern indie-rock – potentially even giving Spoon a real run for their money, in terms of sheer level of quality maintained over the course of their career.
- Blockhead – “Triptych Pt. I & II”
- From Blockhead’s Music By Cavelight album, these two seamless tracks are quintessential downtempo instro-hip-hop – dig on that slow, steady and dusty beat with just the right level of melodic accompaniment.
- Baths – “Aminals”
- Something a little more upbeat after the chilled vibes of the previous track, Baths’ skitter glitched-out beat and oddly catchy warped-samples that sting around the edges lead to a wonderful chopped-up bass-line and Go Team-esque school-yard chant.
- Profesjonalizm – “Polonez”
- And, ending the mix on some true polish jazz – “Polonez” is wild and experimental, with a slightly raw recording quality that lends a real visceral excitement to the whole performance. It’s not so left-field that you can’t enjoy it without scratching your head though, either. Wonderful.