PBC #4 Through the Looking Glass

Playlist By Committee is a subdivision of the Institute of Idle Time dedicated to the preservation of the mixtape format. Each month, four governing members and one guest contributor choose a theme and each pick five songs that best correspond to that theme. The songs are then reviewed and ranked by the committee, with the the top songs being added until an 80 minute blank CD is filled. The list is then published via Mixcloud for the listening pleasure of all who seek it. This is our 4th playlist.

Idle Timers are a group of people who value escapism, it’s part of the reason we all came together (okay, and to assert our opinions). While the earliest PBC lists were about individual artists/bands, we quickly moved onto themes. While different from one another, they always had a quality of music that took you somewhere be it a cave or a drug induced coma.

With our guest this month, GWC decided to pick one theme that reached into the whimsy side of IT. Those songs that have such an otherworldly feel, that you can’t held but be transported to another world. So here we have an assortment of various songs that will take us all over the places all over our mind. We’ll start with a little psychedelic explosion before cruising over to an electronic dreamscape and finally ending in the haunting world of your mind. We hope you can stay with us the entire flight.

1. The Beatles – Tomorrow Never Knows

I mean, this had to be chosen, right? Probably one of the most ahead-of-its-time tracks ever recorded, “Tomorrow Never Knows” could come out today and it would still sound fresh. – MH

2. Joe Hisaishi- The Path of the Wind

Hayao Miyazaki is known for creating vibrant fantasy worlds, but strangely enough his reality-set film My Neighbor Totoro features longtime collaborator Joe Hisaishi’s most otherworldly work. One of the finest aspects of this specific rendition of the film’s musical theme is the slow rhythm, which along with Hisaishi’s use of tyco drums makes for one of the earliest examples of what would now be called a hip hop beat. – IP

3. Kuji Yato – Clap! Clap!
Listening to this makes you feel like you’ve stumbled through a temporal rift and encountered some kind of alternate universe tribal music. Alternate universe tribal music that bangs. – MH
4. Jimi Hendrix – Love or Confusion
(Editors Note – In lieu of a blurb, GWC submitted a GIF – BC)
 – GWC
5. Melody’s Echo Chamber – I Follow You
I’ve always been a sucker for a female vocalist singing over psych music and Melody Prochet ranks among the best. Her trance like voice makes you swirl around Kevin Parker’s hypnotizing riffs. I want to live in this world of sultry singers. – BC
6.  Ariel Pink – Dinosaur Carebears
This is basically a bizarre rollercoaster ride through Ariel Pink’s eclectic fun house. There’s something like a fuzzy electric bungi (snake charmer’s flute) in the song’s intro before falling into a garage-rocky rhythm where whispers of Latin phrases float around. The song dips into what I would describe visually as a group of circus bears riding giant beach balls, melodically squeezing bike horns in their mouths while a group of bipedal dinosaurs do the can-can. The ride concludes in a ska-inspired psychedelia that carries listeners from this topsy-turvy scene back into reality. While I love all the transformations within the song, it’s not a style I’d want to hear all the time, but it is what I’d expect to hear if I fell through the looking glass. – RF
7. The Avalanches – Summer Crane 
A lot of The Avalanches songs peddle wonder, awe, and excitement, but the feelings generated by “Summer Crane” in particular get cranked up to Disney levels of happiness and mystique.- MH
8. Nujabes – Auruarian Dance 
Nujabes left us far too soon but he left us with so many wonderful beats. “Auruarian Dance” has always been my favorite. I see myself laying in a tree in the countryside of Japan, taking a much needed respite. This song always takes me to my happy place and calms me down no matter how worked up I am. It works better than most drugs I have tried in my life. – BC
9. Spiritualized – Ladies and Gentlemen We are Floating in Space

This is the song that inspired me to choose the theme of this mix.  I had recently become obsessed with it, mostly because I responded to its themes of addiction and the need we all have to love and to be loved—especially when we are all just floating in space.  Lets cling to each other, and Lets cling to what makes us a little more comfortable on this journey. The overlay and repetition of the lyrics and vocals provide a weightlessness, and a certain feeling thats like Hope and Despair simultaneously.  A less cynical, less lonely Comfortably Numb. – GWC

10. Chemical Brothers – Another World

Off their seventh studio album, The Chemical Brothers take a break from featuring prominent guest vocalists and instead do more sonic exploration similar to what they did on album Come With Us. – MH

11. M83 – Moonchild

M83 had a lot to prove on their third album Before the Dawn Heals Us. Their debut was decidedly post-rock and not well received, their sophomore effort Dead Cities, Red Seas & Lost Ghosts earned them a strong following, but they still retained some of that post-rock sound. By opening their third album with “Moonchild” M83 firmly stepped away from soundscapes, and into a vibrant haze of intense Dream Pop. As the female voice swells and builds the listener can feel a band shedding their old skin, and entering a new body, one they would settle into for years to come. – IP

12. The Horrors – Endless Blue

The opening riff to me has always felt like struggling to finish one’s journey. It’s hard but you are so close that you can taste it. As it builds and builds you get closer to exploding and when it does  the guitar and Faris’ voice hits at exactly the right moment. Your journey isn’t over yet and won’t be anytime soon. You gotta keep moving across the endless struggle. – BC

13. Hiatus Kaiyote – Mobius Streak 

Hiatus Kaiyote’s music is fueled by whimsy; it’s a rare combination of R&B and psychedelia that has the power to entrance and transport. This song is built with many moving parts, and the mixture of electric and analog instruments makes me feel like I’m in a warp gate of music and swirling colors. This could be a bad trip, but Nai Palm’s voice is a soothing presence among the melodic roil, making this song a beautiful way to space out. Bonus points are awarded for referencing Adventure Time’s psychic tandem war elephant. – RF

14. Modest Mouse – Sleepwalking (Couples Only Dance Prom Night)

Another dreamy, on the edge of a desert, with a crystal moon type song.  “Sleepwalkin’’” by Modest Mouse was a song I listened to before falling asleep for many years. Borrowing its opening riff from the 50’s instrumental of the same name, it updates the classic melody and injects into it the innocent hopefulness and romantic haze of first love.  While this might be the most positive recording on B-Side Compilation, “Building Nothing out of Something”, the rest of the album is equally introspective and ethereal in its soundscapes.   – GWC

15. Mazzy Star – Fade Into You

When I listen to Mazzy Star, I always feel transported.  I find myself in a dark bar, on the edge of nowhere, with a lazy disco ball bejeweling the walls through plumes of smoke.  A resigned sadness in a hazy dreamscape.  “Fade Into You” exemplifies this feeling with its particularly evocative melody and musical arrangement.  – GWC

16. Chris Isaak – Wicked Game

When I first heard “Wicked Game” I was not familiar with Chris Isaak.  My high school best friend just put it on one evening.  We drove around, and got lost in the music.  It is the kind of song that sounds best in the middle of the night, when you are feeling heartbroken and strange.  Country driving is recommended but not required to fully immerse yourself.  Heavy shades of Roy Orbison – GWC

17. Jefferson Airplane – White Rabbit 

Jefferson Airplane’s timeless song about 60s counterculture uses the images of Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland to comment on drug culture, consumerism, and enlightenment. The simple rhythm allows listeners to focus on Grace Slick’s lyrics, so that by the time she is wailing “feed your head” one understands that other worlds are just reflections of the real world, which is just as absurd and dangerous as any wonderland. – IP

 18. The Kinks – Shangri-la

After a long day of exploring, you need something to unwind to. Nothing better then relaxing in your perfect place in your mind. Shangri-la. – BC