Each year I try to put out an annual mixtape with some of my favorite songs from the year woven together into a journey. Please enjoy!
It’s been two years since I last sent out an annual music mix, but it’s finally it’s here – my tenth mixtape (in 12 years)! I feel like it captures some of the essential feelings that characterized 2020 for me: the heartache of isolation and loss, the numbing passage of time, and the confusion and hope that comes with big changes. But perhaps most of all, it is a celebration of some of my favorite songs that have kept me company over these last couple years. During black history month I want to especially honor the profound influence black musicians have had on music across the board and on me personally through the music I love. I hope you find some gems in this curated collection that inspire you too or at least get you feeling the groove.
As usual, it is an eclectic mix of styles, but reliably smooth, trippy, and soulful. At times it gets pretty jazzy, features many beautiful female vocalists, a cameo from Otis Redding (50 years since Dock of the Bay came out), and it also features some nice “Andean step” (a fresh sound out of Latin America), and of course some mind-bending electronic production.
This one is appropriately quite a journey. It is a journey of the heart, back to the center of oneself – like a root the ground. For me, it reflects that healing process of continual contraction and opening, letting go layer by layer, surrendering deeper and deeper layers of resistance, opening a little more to love, courageously facing the shadow that each opening reveals, and each time coming out a little lighter on the other side, a little wiser, but also softer, more vulnerable, and with a deep appreciation for all the fellow beings who have been there through this process.
This year’s set is influenced by sounds of jazz, R&B, electronic dance music, reggae, funk, folk, dub, psychedelia, hip-hop, West African music, Indian music, bluegrass, Middle Eastern music, americana, Wixarika, and Yoruba music. Most songs have a sort of soulful futuristic hybrid melty sound that defy easy categorization and tickle my toes. The set in its entirety is a journey through a wide swath of emotion, of learning to love and trust in oneself, of dreaming as a portal to enter the shadow realms, to come through to the other side transformed, living anew, and remembering how to sing.
2016: Pitter Patter – Songs of Rain
This year’s mixtape is dedicated to the rains, which swell rivers and swell hearts, which cleanse our hands and feed the lands. May the waters that feed us and become us continue to nourish life. May they be clean and pure and protected. May our tears be strong and powerful and carry the grace of the rains. May we learn the lessons sung by the voices of the waters, teaching us to flow, urging us to come together, washing over our hearts, and always returning home. May we all remember what is truly important in the world, and what feeds us.
2015: A Deepening
This music mix is a selection of some of my favorite sounds from the year, compiled in a way that is meant to move the listener ever more deeply into the experience. What I consistently look for in music is something that surprises me a little, tickles my ears, makes my body move in unexpected ways, yet still has a smooth production quality and listening feel.
2014: Sung by Elements
A journey through some of the jewels of sonic delight i’ve been appreciating this year. enjoy! ❤