We here at PBC are obsessed with making mixtapes. What began as infrequent debates about what we would consider various artists’ best songs, became a structured and rigorous method designed to create the best possible mixtapes. The process begins by the nomination of a theme by the current PBC Chairman, a rotating position that changes monthly. Next they nominate a guest to join the group in curating that theme’s mixtape. Once a theme and guest is chosen a draft occurs. Each member nominates a song to join the playlist. After everyone has picked five songs the PBC ranks the songs based on how well they fit the theme, and how well they contribute to an amazing mixtape. Sometimes we determine that a single song is so integral to the theme that every one of us would pick it; we deem that a “bonus song” that automatically skips the draft and gets to the final mix. The other songs with the highest voted position join the “cut” until the mixtape reaches 80 minutes, the maximum length of a CD.
The PBC is dedicated to preserving the tradition of the mixtape format, therefore part of our process includes tailoring the list to fit this beloved, yet antiquated format. However, we are forward thinking and publish our list through our Spotify account, “instituteofidletime”. Lastly, accompanying each song on the list is a short blurb written by either a PBC member or current guest. This week’s guest is the esteemed DH, who seemed a most appropriate choice considering he is a musician who has composed and performed multiple songs about space, as well as the fact that as a cliff dweller he spends his nights closer to space than any member of the PBC.
PLAYLIST #1: SPACE IS THE PLACE
Upward has always been the most formidable direction in which one could wish to travel. The energy required to elevate a human body only a few feet above the ground is beyond all but the most agile people. Most simply elevate a few thousand feet every now and again, comfortably staying in the soft, nurturing atmosphere of Earth. Those brave few that venture upward though, beyond our nest and into the vastness of space, they are hailed as heroes. Space is the place for them to engage with the new frontier of humankind. Space is the place for us to manifest our dreams of exploration and wonder. Space is the place where possibilities are as limitless are they are improbable. If space is the place for you, then we have some hazy cosmic jives to set your radio radiating positive vibrations into the void. Good luck travelers.
“Jupiter, the Bringer of Jollity”
There is a strange harmony that forms when the image of lonely spacecrafts and vibrant classical orchestration meet. Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey brought this pairing to the cinema world and cemented a cultural idea that has permeated for decades since. Space and classical music simply belong together. No wonder, then, that Gustav Holst had made the same connection forty years earlier with his cycle The Planets. “Jupiter, the Bringer of Jollity” embraces the adventure and whimsy of space exploration. The perfect jumping off point. IP.
In Manhattan, Woody Allen says the 2nd movement of the Jupiter symphony is one of the things that makes life worth living. I’ll always remember this song for closing the Season 3 premiere of The Venture Bros., but it truly is one of the most beautiful, triumphant songs in human history. RF.
“That weren’t no D.J. that was hazy cosmic jive”, is THE quintessential space lyric. Loving the alien for entirety of my life. You are the best Bowie and a big reason I love space. BC.
“Cosmic Claps of Love”
This is morning in space. I could see myself waking up, throwing on this song on the space station Sonos and pouring myself a hot cup of space Joe to get ready to do whatever it is people on space stations do. MH.
What begins as a tranquil descent into the atmosphere of a foreign world quickly descends into a thunderstorm of trap snares, big bass, and brassy synths landing you square in the center of a bustling space metropolis. Rustie’s crustiest stuff. IP.
“Every Planet We Reach is Dead”
The song has one my favorite breakdowns of all time. Ike Turner crushes his piano solo with the fury of a spaceship crashing. Gets my blood pumping every damn time. BC.
A satellite spins around Saturn. You hear a pulse twice as fast as a beating heart as you approach. With hands on the hull you feel the beat, the first vibrations you’ve felt in weeks. You are a voyager. Daft Punk has given you the sound of success. IP.
Being in the very small percentage of people who have been to space has got to inflate your ego in some way shape or form. This Flume deep cut greatly distills that inflated ego and makes us feel so much cooler than everyone, as if we were part of that ultra exclusive club. MH.
Crystal Castles finds death among the stars. “Promise me you won’t resuscitate.” IP.
DH introduced The Chemical Brothers’ Come With Us into my life, and that whole album would make a great soundtrack to a journey through space. “Star Guitar” stands out with its beautiful build up and release, and an awesome Michel Gondry video. RF.
“Galaxy In Janaki”
Space travel is a culmination of thousands of inventions, developed over hundreds of years, built by millions of hands, and witnessed by some precious few. Flying Lotus has a way of blending old sounds with new, weaving a narrative of audible history. Cosmogramma is a space odyssey, and “Galaxy In Janaki” is its destination. IP.
Space is frightening for a myriad of reasons, but if I was on a space walk and had this tune coming through my headphones, I’d imagine it being almost therapeutic rather than terrifying. The opening strings immediately put me at ease, and once the song really kicks it, space doesn’t seem so scary anymore. MH.
“Surfing on a Rocket”
I want everyone to know “Lift Off” from Watch the Thrones was nominated to this list and was voted off by the committee. While I vehemently disagree with that, “Surfing on a Rocket” is the next best rocket ship countdown song we could get. RF.
“Rocket Man (I Think It’s Going To Be A Long, Long Time)”
A lot of outer space-themed music focuses on the awe and wonder of traveling through the stars, but “Rocket Man” is a rare tune that points out how isolating the vastness of space really is. Based on a Ray Bradbury short story, and an excellent metaphor for being an outsider, this is one of the most thoughtful songs about our relationship to space exploration. RF.
“Ride on Shooting Star”
The perfect pop punk space song that taught me about growing up. Also gave me a huge crush on an alien space pirate. I need to ride around a Vespa in space. BC.
“Satellite Anthem Icarus”
Every time I hear this song, I picture an astronaut plucking the chords of his guitar, looking out the window of his spacecraft. The sound of ocean waves crashing on the beach play out in his head. It’s a futuristic song that sounds as if it was written by some yearning for the terrestrial. MH.
“Mothership Connection (Star Child)”
The funkiest space song of them all. George Clinton combating racism by putting a pimp in space with a Cadillac UFO. Hero status. BC.
“Intergalactic Radio Station”
Space has a cinematic allure. The image of the astronaut and the lone spacecraft evoke feelings of overwhelming emotion. Vangelis scores an imaginary film that traverses joy, fear, and ultimately enlightenment. A cinematic song for a setting so beloved by film makers both old and new. IP.
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SPACE IS THE PLACE