quirke – we landed
allen toussaint – st james infirmary
ricki lee jones – show biz kids
nouvelle vague – a forest
shye ben Tzur & the rajasthan express w johnny greenwood – junun brass
ellen mcilwaine – higher ground
viken arman – willow
booker t & the mgs – sun king
lapo & ago – tuff
bengal sound – corners
preservation hall band & tom waits – tootie ma is a big fine thing
tiliboo – da@kondor
recondite – tie in
darkside – paper trails



Every summer I make headphone mixes for my friends that go to Burning Man. I really look forward to them, as I get to fill them with an eclectic mix of songs that are usually a bit outside my normal DJ lane. Listen to a few of them and you’ll get the idea.

We Landed – These intro vibes are from London producer Josh Quirke, who released his debut EP “Acid Beth”, whence this track derives, in 2014. He has since put out a selective smattering of material in very small doses. I added some Apollo 11 radio chatter on top for good measure.

St James Infirmary – A bit of mellow instrumental Blues to get things warmed up from NOLA legend Allen Toussaint’s 2009 “The Bright Mississippi” on Nonesuch Records. The track is an American Jazz Folk standard of unknown origin, first made famous by Louis Armstrong in 1928. Music scholars believe it to be loosely based on an eighteenth-century traditional Irish folk song called “The Unfortunate Rake”. Pretty sure that’s Don Byron on clarinet too.

Show Biz Kids – A nice, stripped-down cover of Steely Dan from American treasure Ricki Lee Jones. This was the opening track on her 2000 LP “It’s Like This”. Like a lot of Steely Dan songs, its a satyrical stab at the shallowness and excess of the 1970s Los Angeles ruling class, the wayward offspring of celebrities in particular. I was never sure if the backup singers were saying “Las Vegas” or “Lost Wages” and, lo and behold, google tells me it is apparently a combo of the two: “Las Wages”. Go figure.

A Forest – I dug up this 2004 Bossa Nova version of The Cure from Nouvelle Vague – a French band that was led by musicians Olivier Libaux and Marc Collin. Their name means “new wave” in French, which perhaps not coincidentally, is the same result you get when translating the Portuguese word Bossa Nova. There was a period in the early 2000s when NY cocktail bars and lounges had a weird revival of 60s lounge music, and this group was always in the mix back then.

Junun Brass – Radiohead guitarist Johnny Greenwood and Israeli composer Shye Ben Tzur collaborated in 2015 to record and album in India with all instruments native to the region. They assembled a band that they called The Rajasthan Express, and set about writing music that combined Bollywood Brass sounds with Sufi music from India and Southeast Asia and Muslim Roma Gypsies. Paul Thomas Anderson made a doc about the whole thing that I still need to see. Also, I humbly suggest you check out Greenwood’s sublime soundtrack for PTA’s last movie, Phantom Thread.

Higher Ground – I really love this wicked slide guitar version of the Stevie Wonder classic. Ellen McIlwaine was born in Nashville but adopted by Christian Missionaries who raised her mostly in Japan, where she learned to play piano by copying Fats Domino and Professor Longhair from Japanese radio. She moved back to the states in the mid 60s and cut her teeth opening for Jimi Hendrix and Muddy Waters at NY’s famous Cafe Au Go Go. This song appears on her 3rd LP, The Real Ellen McIlwaine, recorded in Montreal in 1975.

Willow – I put another song from this French dude Viken Armen on this mix’s other half, Headphone Odyssey Rho. It sounds like 2 or 3 songs mashed together, and just when you think its something completely different, it gets back into a previous groove. This is the title track to his 2019 EP and the whole thing is pretty solid if you dig this kind of abstract house music.

Sun King – I put the original Beatles version on the very first Headphone Odyssey mix, so I figured I’d run the Booker T & The MGs version here. This is from his 1970 LP, McLemore Avenue, which consists entirely of covers from Abbey Road.

Tuff – Some deep dubstep from Lapo & Ago, two members of Florence’s Bass music collective, Numa Crew. They’ve been releasing tracks since 2014 and they always strike a good balance between UK dubstep and original JA dub reggae vibes.

CornersBengal Sound is Bristol DJ & Producer Farhad Ahmed. He’s been getting plenty of attention in the UK since releasing a 4-song “Wushu Hand” EP on the White Peach imprint. Last year he competed his first album, which he released in very limited quantity of only 100 cassette tapes. You heard me. Cassette tapes. These kids are takin’ it back!

Tootie Ma Is a Big Fine Thing – Speaking of throwback audio formats, Tom Waits & The Preservation Hall Band released this track in 2010 on 78rpm vinyl, to benefit the Preservation Hall music program. This song is a Mardi Gras Indian standard, first put on wax in 1947 by The Baby Dodds Trio’s “Jazz A La Creole”, which is a wonderful piece of American history, and includes two “Drum Improvisations” that are considered to be among the very first unaccompanied jazz drum solos ever recorded.

DA@kondor – A solid slice of West African riddims by way of Berlin from Tiliboo, a 6 piece ensemble led by Senegalese singer and percussionist Omar Diop. I found this track on the excellent “Two Tribes” compilation, released in February of 2019 on Agogo Records, that contains all kinds of collaborations between European and African artists. Well worth a listen if you like this kind of stuff.

Tie In – a spacey, mid-tempo techno number from German producer Lorenz Brunner aka Recondite. He reinterprets classic acid house sounds from the Roland 303 into new, minimalist territory that kinda veers into the hypnotic, for me at least. This was on his very first album “On Acid”, released in 2012. He continues to put out stuff on great techno labels like Innervisions, Hotflush, and Afterlife.

Paper Trails – This was the standout for me from Darkside’s 2013 “Psychic” LP, and a highlight of their live show that I saw at Terminal 5 shortly after its release. Darkside was the collabo between Dave Harrington and Nicolas Jaar that yielded 2 LPs and a few singles. Nicolas Jaar got so popular among music nerds (like me) that he kind of wore out this sound IMO, but this still works for me. He’s a smart and talented dude, and I have faith he will return with something new and innovative sooner than later. Thanks for listening.

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published.