The May Monthly Mixtape: Toni Tileva
“Losing things is about the familiar falling away, getting lost is about the unfamiliar appearing.”
-A Field Guide To Getting Lost
“Lost in the city
Running out of choices
Going nowhere fast
Still hearing voices
Come on legs come on feet
I’m just tryin’ make a little bit of history.”
– Cool Calm Pete “Lost”
“I just wanna live life and survive it.”
– Ghostpoet “Survive It”
“I spread my mind’s wings and watched these verbs take flight.”
– Emskee “Dreams”
When I set out to make the May playlist, I wanted to encapsulate the ethos of summer, while playing homage to my two great musical loves–indie/old-school-vibe hip hop and trip hop/downtempo. The idea was to [wax] tailor together a pastiche of beats and samples and tell a sonic story, with a palpable flow. Only when I was done making the playlist did some themes start to emerge, as though bubbling up from my subconscious. Summer always reminds me of being in the city, kind of finding one’s way, weaving and wandering through the urban terrain [Blockhead’s Insomniac Olympics is Jack’s Insomnia in musical form]. That’s why I had to put in DJ Vadim, Blockhead, Dan The Automator, DJ Shadow, MF Doom, who literally live and breathe the New York aesthetic.These tracks showcase the organic and very natural synergy between turntablism, hip hop, even dubstep, and downtempo, and showcase why the genre has managed to stay fresh because of its broad influences. Trip hop has long transitioned to/been a turntablist’s game, even if the most obvious examples one can think of are Geoff Barrow’s scratching on Portishead’s “Only You” or the seminal DJ Shadow Endtroducing. In the early 2000s, artists like DJ Krush, Blockhead, J. Dilla, Nujabes, and DJ Vadim continued to carry the torch, despite public opinion that “trip hop was dead” or relegated to Buddha Bar compilations–i.e. pretentious “chill-by-the-numbers” CDs.
If I had to name the themes here [as any respectable English major would], it would be the city, being lost in the city, dreams/miasmas, and love [not the cheesy “summer lovin'” type, I promise. See Murs’ “Love And Appreciate” and Slum Village’s “Fall In Love”] and its dark underbelly [Cage’s Scenester, Ivan Ives’ “Wedding Funeral,” Mickey Avalon’s “So Rich, So Pretty”].
Everyone has a summer.