By: Staff –
To celebrate the release of JoJo Worthington’s latest project, TCYK (The Company You Keep)—released June 2019—the rising singer-songwriter curated an exclusive Spotify playlist that features songs by Bon Iver, LCD Soundsystem, Bjork, Owen Pallett, Frank Ocean, Feist, and more!
1. 22 (OVER SOON) – Bon Iver
It’s hard to know which song from this album inspired me more…I think a lot of songs from this album played a big part in how I wrote “Argument”. It blew my mind how within this album, Justin Vernon created such deeply emotional pop music. All of the little textures and layers you hear throughout the song…it’s like listening to magic taking place. Like you’re broken, but this magical and ethereal force is collecting pieces and memories of you and putting you back together again. When this album came out, I had just bought an Organelle from Critti & Guitari and just went to town on sampling and looping. “Argument” was really just me messing around, but it is the product of this song’s inspiration.
2. Get Innocuous! – LCD Soundsysetm
It’s a little bit sad, but the first time I heard LCD Soundsystem’s music was at WayHome Festival in 2016. I was late to the party, but I was so happy I finally arrived. I just remember being totally hypnotized in the music for their entire set. I’m not even sure if they played this song during their set, but it was on repeat the whole drive home. This song reminds me why I love loops and use them so much in my music creation. There is something hypnotizing about hearing the same groove or rhythm repeated and then altered over a period of time. This all comes back to my love for Steve Riech’s “Music for 18 Musicians*.
3. Music for 18 Musicians – Steve Reich
….this piece is an hour long…is that too long for a Spotify playlist? What I love most about this piece is the overlapping and the overtones the instruments create. If you played each instrument individually, you wouldn’t hear that. But together, they create an orb of microtones that sound so sweet to me. You don’t really know what’s coming in or leaving…it’s just a constant celestial pulse. I find it so comforting and grounding.
4. Stonemilker – Bjork
“I wish to synchronize our feelings…find mutual coordinance” Bjork just summed up the theme of my album in a simple, yet emotionally complex sentence. The strings really hit me in this song..like instant tears. Bjork had 60 players perform on this song. I had four. But we layered the crap out of them to try and achieve the same affect on “Synchronize” that this song has for me. That wouldn’t have happened without Jill Sauerteig’s incredible arrangements.
5. The Planets, Op.32, H.125: VII. Neptune, The Mystic – Gustav Holst
This collection of movements is like a reoccurring dream for me. While I was in high-school, my choir performed “Neptune, The Mystic” with the KW Symphony Orchestra. It was my first introduction to Holst and for a very long time, I was obsessed with it. Then many years past, and I had forgotten all about it. Then, two years ago, I was travelling in Scotland with a friend. We went into a little Salvation Army in Edinburgh, where I found an old record of “The Planets” for £1. I confess, I bought the record based on sheer looks…I just liked the cover! I didn’t even realize what album it was until I got home and finally gave it a spin. When the record reached the last song, and those eerie vocals began to soak in, I felt like a fool for not realizing what I had bought. But I was very glad I did. Shortly after this epiphany, I bought tickets to see the Toronto Symphony Orchestra perform “The Planets”.
At this point, we were halfway finished recording TCYK, but I was unsure about how to end “Synchronize”. I thought a little choral ending would be perfect to represent our female ancestors. Their trails and experiences, the history they made, fading out into oblivion.
6. Lewis Takes Off His Shirt – Owen Pallett
My first demo of “Stabilize” was very influenced by Owen Pallett. Some friends who listened to it told me it sounded very “Disney”, haha! While I was writing it, I think I was listening to Owen Pallett almost everyday, so I guess that makes sense! But this album got me through some tough times and is very close to my heart. The demo started off with a constant loop of violin and marimba and at half the tempo it is now…very different from what was recorded. The album version came about with me experimenting with my Organelle again and a SPD-SX.
7. Friend – Mingjia
I met Mingjia at her house while Jill Saurteig and I were going through string parts for the album. Jill spoke very highly of Mingjia and her music so I asked if she wanted to jam and write with me. I was very fortunate that she said yes! During our jam session, she gave me a sneak peak of this song before it was released and I couldn’t believe the movements I was hearing. She arranged it all. I was so inspired that day. For me, this song is cemented in a certain period of my life, but I look on it fondly, as I was getting ready to release my album.
8. Rapture Fill – House Art
Here’s a song I haven’t grown tired of and haven’t put down for the last six months. My best friend, Rebekah Hawker, is absolutely killing it on vocals. She told me her connection to the song was closely related to her mother, and I loved that because it really helped me reinforce the connection to my own music and the fact that I wouldn’t have been able to do any of this without my mother supporting me. Listening to it really brings a smile to my face, and makes me feel exactly what the song is – rapture filled.
9. Collections – Samson Wrote
The first time I heard Sam’s music was at a house show in Toronto last year. He played guitar and performed with a string quartet (Mingjia also performed at that show). I don’t think there was a dry eye in the crowd as he performed this song. When “Pigeon” came out, I was amazed to see Sam had used a sample of one of my songs in “Collections”. To be honest, I don’t know where it is in the song, but it makes me happy because this is my favourite song on the album.
10. Solo – Frank Ocean
I wanted to write a song like “Solo”, and came up with “Small Encounters” while I was in BC about 2 years ago. I always love visiting BC, but during this particular trip, I was feeling quite lonely. I was at a wedding where I didn’t know a lot of people, and I just didn’t feel like faking it and talking to anyone, so I decided to go outside and write. I ended up writing the whole song right there in the dark in the middle of BC. When I listen to “Blond” I feel Frank Ocean’s loneliness and frustration with these people we pour ourselves into. I don’t know how people can handle having their hearts broken so many times. I don’t know how I would be able to withstand the heartbreak I’ve endured without Jesus by my side.
11. Any Party – Feist
SE is much more sparse than any of the other songs on “TCYK” due to my Frank Ocean influence. It was done in 1 take while Will Crann and I were at a friend’s cottage on Salmon Lake (that’s where we recorded a lot of the record). Will and I really loved the audio direction at the end of this song and we tried to attempt a similar thing at the beginning of SE. Will is moving from the living room, to the kitchen (where I am), into the dining room of the cabin. The movement isn’t as obvious as “Any Party” but I’m glad it’s in there anyway.