By: Staff –
To celebrate the release of apollonio’s debut single “Moonta Bay”, the emerging artist curated a brand new Spotify playlist. Stream it exclusively via Aesthetic Magazine below.
“I released Moonta Bay in late August, the first release from a batch of songs I wrote during the pandemic,” said apollonio. “Lockdown was so particular: so many momentous world events to fixate on; but in my apartment and the empty streets, such quiet. I’m a journalist and podcast producer in my day job and was privileged to continue working from home. When it came to writing songs and listening to music, I was overfed on the unsettling happenings in the news, so, instead, focused on my internal life.”
He continued, “I’ve had a heavy last decade. The mental space that came with the solitude of lockdown allowed me to start sorting out my mind. Moonta Bay and my forthcoming songs are explorations of that decade: a long mental health struggle … the breakup of my marriage … getting over both of those things and asking myself, “what the fuck is the state of my life today and what do I want it to become?” The music I was listening to and most of the songs below reflect that mood. Songs in which the artist … subtlety, skillfully … rendered the colourful journey of their emotions into sound.”
Bullion — “We Had A Good Time”
Bullion, aka Nathan Jenkins, is a songwriter and producer who I really admire. He produced two other songs on this list (see Joviale and Westerman). This is the first song of his I’ve heard … and I’ve been in awe ever since. When he isn’t producing, I presume he sits cross-legged hovering a few inches off the floor.
Pierre Kwenders — “Sexus, Plexus, Nexus”
Shit, I’ve created my own historical mystery. First time I ever heard/saw Pierre Kwenders, he was playing this song at the Field Trip music fest in Toronto in 2015. I was hooked: like George Michael’s “Freedom”, a song that’s cheeky and playful on the surface, but more meaningful the more you listen, also deeply sexy and languid.
To write this blurb, I wanted to corroborate my memory. I checked the schedule from the 2015 Field Trip … and Kwenders is nowhere to be found. Not to mention that this song wasn’t released till 2017. What the fuck is going on? I’m still feeling pretty confident in my recollection … but who knows? I’ll look into it. If you’re curious to know how it resolves, lemme know. I’ll fill you in on how it turns out.
Kwenders just won the Polaris Prize for his latest album José Louis And The Paradox of Love. But this song from 2017’s MAKANDA at the End of Space the Beginning of Time is a classic I always return to.
Joviale — “Taste Of The Heavens”
Airy, playful, sexy … a bit dangerous … a glimpse of the heavens, for sure. Check out all Joviale’s stuff. So good.
Bastien Keb — “Flowers”
A drunken, soulful, beauty.
Westerman — “Your Hero Is Not Dead”
Westerman’s music is beautiful and strange. The shapes and angles of this song — and his voice — sound like they’re coming from a different world.
Lido Pimienta — “Eso Que Tu Haces”
A slow-charging, psychedelic, Cumbia track … lush and transcendent. I was born to love this song.
Leanne Betasamosake Simpson — “I Pity The Country”
A song that unsettles as it soothes; that rages and burns while remaining outwardly calm. Betasamosake Simpson is an eminent Indigenous writer, activist and artist and in her rendition of this Willie Dunn song, I hear the defiance that drives her.
Busi Mhlongo — “Yehlisan’umoya ma-Afrika”
From the 1999 album, Urban Zulu, this song is timeless. If it was produced this year, I’d still think it was cutting edge. It’s
mostly acoustic but has a lush, electronic feel. The late Busi Mhlongo’s voice is unparalleled. Fantastic.
Vukazithathe — “Umbulali”
Discovering Busi Mhlongo led me to discover this contemporary Maskandi artist. I’ve read up on the meaning of this song and it’s a very painful, heavy, story ( … I’ll let you look into it). You can hear the turmoil being channelled in the music. Listen to this song loud … it’s so full of vibrant energy, projecting Vukazithathe’s pain. An astonishing song.
Curtis Mayfield — “Here But I’m Gone”
Cinematic in scope: social commentary, psychological exploration, musical journey … from one of the greats.
Witch Prophet — “Time Traveller”
Mystical hip-hop that makes me feel like I’m in an inter-dimensional absinthe bar. Witch Prophet is a captivating performer … you really feel her in this track.
Georges Brassens — “Supplique pour être enterré à la plage de Sète”
This song about death is a masterpiece … absurd, hilarious, irreverent and profound. Astonishes me every time. If you speak French, delve into the wordplay and underlying meaning. If you don’t, his voice and rhythm will still transport you.
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