20 songsNew Lands

By | posted on 24th July 2014

We all want to get away from time to time, but in the age of austerity it's not always as easy as we'd like. There's a further problem: the places some of us would like to see are just out of reach using currently available transport technologies - the sun, the moon, the far reaches of our galaxy and beyond - and while Virgin Intergalactic may promise future possibilities, I've travelled on their trains a few times, and I'm not so sure I'd trust them to take me out among the stars. Other realities are available, but depending on your country of residence travelling to them may not be completely legal.

This collection of 20 physically and spiritually transporting and transforming tracks, however, is 100% acceptable by your local law enforcement friends.

Eaux - Head

Typically, these playlists are sparked by the discovery of a new track, or an old song rediscovered. So it is with New Lands; our journey begins with "Head" by Eaux, from their album of the same name, and which I was alerted to when Woman's Hour tweeted about it. It's a perfect introduction to the playlist - slowly evolving from the background hum of the universe to full-on electro-groove.

Mogwai - I'm Jim Morrison, I'm Dead

Second track "I'm Jim Morrison, I'm Dead" is taken from Scottish post-rock outfit Mogwai's 2008 album The Hawk is Howling. It's very Mogwai, if you know what I mean. If not, you will in just under seven minutes' time. Be aware, though, that parallel worlds open up at this point, since you can opt for the live version from Special Moves instead by watching this video right here:

The only time I've seen Mogwai live was on a stream of their recent Glastonbury performance, when they were headlining the "Fucking get yoursel' over here" stage. Playing at the same time as either Metallica or Kasabian (whichever - not important), and while they were representing the heavier or stupider side of music respectively, Mogwai were busy showcasing its more epic alternate reality.

Jon Hopkins - Candles

"Candles" appears on Jon Hopkins' atmospheric soundtrack to the low-budget non-monstery film Monsters. Of the beautiful musical incidentals through the film, this sticks in the mind more than most, helped by the scene that accompanies it, but about which I will say no more, other than that there's some interesting detail on the scene to be found in director Gareth Edwards' commentary.

Ulrich Schnauss - Far Away Trains Passing By

Since the release of the first album under his own name, 2001's Far Away Trains Passing By, German musician, producer and remixer Ulrich Schnauss has been a key figure in shoegazing's rebirth - helping to take the genre into brave new worlds.

Nils Frahm - Says

Taken from Nils Frahm's live and stitched together album Spaces, "Says" was one of the most touchingly beautiful pieces I heard in 2013. It has a sound that if you give yourself over to it completely - just relax and float down stream, let the music work your brain - rewards you in its closing minutes with a rare euphoria.

The War on Drugs - An Ocean In Between The Waves

Naturally, to get to a new land you have to transport yourself there. Sometimes your imagination is not enough; sometimes what you need is a road and a car in which to storm down it. And a soundtrack with which to storm down that road in that car. I suggest "An Ocean In Between The Waves" by War on Drugs. Again, explore new worlds with either the studio version, down below on Spotify, or this live version, recorded for KEXP.

Caribou - Sun

Sometimes you don't need so many words at all. In the case of "Sun", one is sufficient.

Hookworms - Since We Had Changed

Drowned in Sound loved Pearl Mystic, naming it album of the year. I was more reserved, but have to admit that for this playlist it has certainly risen to the occasion, providing the marvellously stoned "Since We Had Changed".

Pantha Du Prince & The Bell Laboratory - Spectral Split

Appearing on the 2012 collaboration Elements of Light, Spectral Split combines the nuanced drift of German producer Hendrik Weber with Norwegian percussion collective The Bell Laboratory, whose instruments include a 50-bell 3-tonne carillon. Tell me you don't think that sounds intriguing. Again, headphones are your friend here, but if you happen to know a vast and empty cathedral in your neighbourhood with a stunning sound system, you might like to give that a go.

The Boo Radleys - Sparrow

It's one of my oh-so-funny and oft-repeated playlist jokes to follow a very long track with a very short one, or something to switch up the mood in a moment. That's why Sparrow follows Spectral Split. And it's place at the half-way point of the playlist is symoblic - a throwback to a time when this was my go-to track for filling small spaces at the end of the first side of a mix-tape.