Sonic Landscapes

An Online, Independent Radio Show from Cornell University

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Party Function V: Line Dancing for Urban Singles


Some good friends hosted a party at the notorious 810 RaveCave, an uneven and dusty dance dungeon where experimental moves are tested before introduction to the general community. HARIM, our resident DJ, crafted this mix for the event. Cool your nerves and listen up.

Download mix by right-clicking the following link:

Line Dancing for Urban Singles [2.1.2014]

Party Function III: Adorning the Hearth


Ladies and gentlemen…Sonic Landscapes and Jollyboy Entertainment hosted the first Party Function of the Year this past Saturday [10.19.13], the third in our Party Function series. On an uneven, subterranean dance floor, steady waves of music-lovers bounced and gyrated until the wee hours of the morning. HARIM and NICO G of the LQE collective traded back and forth with steamy sets ranging from soulful minimal to steamy deep house, with some techno and R&B thrown in. It was a great way to kick off this year’s installments in this evolving music series.

If you would like to hear the music played by these two incredible DJs at the party, you can download their sets here.

And make sure to check out more music music from the great artists who played last night…


And hear music from the past two Party Functions…


Keep an eye out for more Sonic Landscapes Party Functions coming soon!

“Hasta la Mañana Siempre”

Episode LXIV: Freak Power in the Sound Waves

SL64 copy

A one hour mix that dances with a few house tracks, has a conversation about the electoral college with some funky, gets a drink thrown in its face by glitch, tries to take home grime to no avail, uses a cheesy pick-up line with some experimental bass, and gets kicked out of the club by some hip-hop infused trap.

To listen to this mix, click below

To download this mix, click this link

The Playlist:

1. Into the Stars – L-VIS 1990

2. Apple Bass – L-VIS 1990

3. Mass Dreams of the Future – Untold

4. House Music [Boston Run Remix] – Maelstrom

5. Strange Touch [My House] – Sound Pellegrino Thermal Team [Teki Latex & Orgasmic]

6. Won’t Hurt – Pangaea

7. Detroit Falls – Pariah

8. Vincente – Matthias Zimmermann

9. Kaz – Blawan

10. Commotion – Wen

11. Every Time – Girl Unit

Tune in, freak out, get beaten – Hunter S. Thompson

Long Live the People’s School [Ep. LXIII]

People's School

Cornell University is extremely fortunate for its politically active and socially conscious student body. Nowhere is this precious resource more apparent than at the Spring People’s School, held tomorrow [the 18th of April] as a gathering to help foment the creation of an engaged community.

See below for the People’s School Communiqué:

The winter is for reflection. The public spaces are frozen over, the trees become transparent, and on a late night walk home from the library, we might be tricked into believing there’s no one else here. The biting winds urge us to introspection.

As it turns out, communities aren’t just built in the streets. They’re built at late night meetings in empty classrooms, at study sessions in dimly lit cafés, and anywhere else where people come together out of a collective purpose. Our houses, our studios, our seminar rooms, our libraries, and our student unions can all be spaces of transformation. After all, isn’t “the streets” just a metaphor for the spaces where we find each other? Isn’t the public just a euphemism for the place in which we make us?

Over the course of this long, harsh winter, we’ve all been building our community. Some with more success than others. For many of us, these communities have been our only support systems. Winter can be a time when the isolation, work, and pressure of life at Cornell comes to a head. It is often a time of self-doubt, suffering, existential crisis, and sleep-deprived delusions of inadequacy. The tediousness of our daily existence voices what many of us so take for granted that it never gets said aloud. We aren’t happy here.

And the “here” in that sentence may be unnecessary, because it doesn’t end when we graduate. The jobs we are being trained for are the jobs we already have. Deadlines, long hours, stress, and precariousness: such is the life we live; such is the life we look forward to. When you were told that college would be the best years of your life, you didn’t imagine how bitterly accurate that prediction was. But it is not inevitable. What will we demand from ourselves, from this world, from the system in which we are all involuntary participants?

We aren’t happy here.

The crucial word in that sentence is the first one. We. It is worth clarifying that “we” does not refer to a collection of individuals who all, individually, feel unhappy. Of course, there are students who do sincerely feel happy here. You may be one of them. But we is a statement of collective identity which by definition is more than the sum of its parts. It is important that while some of us may be content, “we” won’t be, because our happiness is bound up in the happiness of those around us; our liberation is bound up in the freedom of those with whom we share this community. As Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” As long as there are underpaid, under-resourced, under-respected workers, survivors of sexual assault blamed for their own trauma, and students breaking under the pressure of their own absent future, we will not be happy. There is no social change without the word we. Because if we share a problem, then we can do something about it.

The spring is for action. It’s for taking public space, it’s for demanding a meaningful existence, and it’s for realizing we all felt the same in the winter. It means turning our isolation on its head by realizing that it is something that we share.

The spring means breaking down the barriers that keep us isolated: between ourselves and our neighbors, between the estranged communities at Cornell, between Cornell and Ithaca College, between students and workers, and between discussion and action itself. It means destroying false binaries, whether they are male/female, gay/straight, or deconstructing privilege/constructing solidarity in its place.

Last fall, we began the process of constructing a new world at the People’s School. In that spirit, we invite you all to converge once more, on the Arts Quad, to continue the community-building process we started at the beginning of the school year. Students, workers, faculty, and local residents are all welcome, because although it affects us in different ways, we all live under the same system. We will meet on Thursday, April 18, from 10:30 to 4:30. There will be a poetry slam on the Stump starting at 12:15.

And come May Day, when we say we’ll see you in the streets, we’ll mean it literally.

The Spring is Coming.

The Beginning is Near.

We have created this mix to celebrate the People’s School christening of the Springtime in the name of the forces of good. Sonic Landscapes highly endorses this event, and encourages listeners to come and participate in this wonderful day of solidarity and egalitarianism. See this link for the facebook page for the event and make sure to invite friends.

Click link below to hear this mix streaming

Click this link to download the mix

The Playlist:

Intro Sample: Nelson Mandela

1. The Anthem – Onra

2. Cops Oppression and Capitalist Propaganda – Al Quetz

3. Zombie – Fela Kuti

4. Land Of… – St. Germain

5. El Pueblo Unido (Upright Andy Remix) – Thievery Corporation

6. Washington Bullets – The Clash

7. Nwampfundia – Tshetsha Boys

8. Nissim (with Amir Yaghmai) – Gaslamp Killer

9. Mon Espirit Part En Couilles – Expression Direkt

10. I’m God – Lil B

Hasta la victoria siempre

Episode LXII: $ONIC LAND$CAPE$ [Guest Mix by Comrade Simon]

Sonc LXII Image

This week’s mix was born at the mean intersection between Bedford and Syracuse, and brought to you by none other than Brother / Comrade / Saint Simon, also known as $lime .

Simon has a taste for doomy beats, ruthless sampling, and cutthroat lyrics from emcees such as A$AP Rocky and Joey Bada$$ and other artists whose quest for currency and respect lives up to their bold monikers.

Simon writes of this mix:

Going to Syracuse University it is important to have three things:

I. A good ability to judge character and direction

II. A good ability to understand and decode the latest slang

III. The ability to stay on top of your game, specifically clothing and music.

Although I cant help you with the first two things, I hope that this playlist can help you stay hip to some current tracks. I tried to vary between up-and-coming artists, some underground rappers, and some new dope tracks by well established artists such as Jay Z and Tyga.

This playlist also ranges from flow-of-mind wordsmiths such as Action Bronson, to turn-up, fast talking artists like Tyga, unknown 19 year olds from Chi-Town like Kembe-X, and back again to househood names like 2 Chainz.

I hope that you can enjoy this mix as much as I do. Let me know what you think by posting in the Sonic Landscapes Facebook page or by sharing this mix with your hood rats and ratchets. Be easy.”

Simon also created the epic graphic [seen above] for the show. Throw this mix on your Nokia, kick back, and take a deep breath of fresh air as you count your $$$…

Click link below to hear streaming…

Click this link to download from mediafire…

The Playlist:

Intro I: Pirates – Burial

Intro II: Bird’s Eye View – Statik Selektah ft. Black Thought, Raekwon, and Joey Bada$$

1.    Unorthodox – Joey Bada$$

2.    Bass – A$AP Rocky

3.    Dollar Please – Kembe X ft. Alex Wiley

4.    Bossalinis and Folliyones Pt. 2 – Main Attraktionz

5.    Interlude 47 – PRO ERA

6.    Bitch I Deserve You – Action Bronson and Alchemist

7.    Catharsis – Joey Bada$$

8.    Tapas – Action Bronson

9.    The Recipe – Kendrick Lamar ft. Dr. Dre

10. Wildfire Remix – Drake

11. I’m Boosed – Kembe X

12. So Devilish – The Underachievers

13. MRAZ – Flatbush Zombies

14. Toxic – Childish Gambino ft. Danny Brown

15. Trilla – A$AP Rocky

16. Face Off – Flatbush Zombies

17. Swimmin Pools (Bird Peterson Remix) – Kendrick Lamar

18. One of those Nights – Juicy J ft. The Weeknd

19. We Up – 50 Cent ft. Kendrick Lamar

20. Remember, I Got Money – Flatbush Zombies

21. Super Rich Kids ft. Earl Sweatshirt (Bird Peterson Remix) – Frank Ocean

22. Brain Cells – Chance the Rapper

23. I’m God – Clams Casino

24. Leaf – A$AP Rocky

25. All Gold Everything (remix) – Trinidad James

26. While I’m Different (remix) – The Hood Internet

27. Thug Waffle – Flatbush Zombies

28. Village Over Everything – Kembe X

29. Same Bitch – A$AP Rocky ft. Trey Songz

30. Don’t Hate the Playa – Tyga

31. Open Letter – Jay Z

32. Its Nothin – Wiz Khalifa ft. 2 Chainz

All Orange Everything

Episode 61: Thaw13: 90-132 [GTMMMM Megamix]

SL 61

Sonic Landscapes is very excited to release this week’s episode, a four hour megamix brought to you by Sonic Landscapes friend and [ir]regular, GTMMMM [the kid with the freaky Detroit beats hellbent on corrupting the youth like some kind of techno Charles Manson]. GTMMMM performed at our Party Function a few months back, tearing it up with this incredible set. When he offered to create an extended mix for the show, we jumped at the offer. So here it is, four hours of rhythm to punctuate the melting snow and emerging life…

GTMMMM writes of this mix:


As advertised, GTMMMM presents THAW85-130. Four hours of music to get you out of the winter. Mixed live. One edit, because the file was too big to export whole. This is actually good, however. Instead of rejoining the mp3s, I decided to split the mix at a sensible place. The first half of the mix is slow and gurgling, slowly moving from ambient music to blissed-out techno and the slightest hint of house. In the second half, things get a little weird, or rather, a little hard–straight-up 4×4 peak-hours techno, with a thawin’ twist or two.  

Each stands on its own, but I highly advise you to spend the next four hour block you’ve allotted to listening to music to listening to this thing! Or at least listen to the first part first. I think you’ll have fun.


Rick click links below to download onto your computer, or simply click to hear streaming.

Thaw13: 90-132 [GTMMMM Megamix for Sonic Landscapes] Pt. I

Thaw13: 90-132 [GTMMMM Megamix for Sonic Landscapes] Pt. II

The Playlist:

  1. Vessel–Stillborn Dub
  2. Liebe-Skin/GTMMMM–Forever Overhead
  3. Conforce–Elude
  4. Robert Hood–The Wheel
  5. BvDUB–I never cried a tear
  6. Radiance–iii (edit) — Basic Channel
  7. Claro Intelecto–Control 110.22
  8. Luke Hess–Incorruptible
  9. Levon Vincent–Late Night Jam
  10. Quadrant–Untitled iii
  11. Imax–Concorde
  12. Xhin–Insides (Perc Remix)
  13. Funkinevil–Night (Original Mix)
  14. Skudge–Phantom
  15. Mike Dehnert–Limite
  16. Transversable Wormhole–Exotic Matter
  17. Yan Cook–Raven
  18. Claro Intelecto–Quiet LIfe
  19. Voices From the Lake–Mika
  20. Christian Loffler ft. Mohna–Eleven
  21. Luke Hess–Overcome Feat. Jeff Hess
  22. Bleak–Sixteen Crude
  23. A601-2–River Place
  24. Audio Injection–Dimmer
  25. Moerbeck–Bump & Run
  26. Moerbeck–Pleasure to Burn
  27. Tim Hecker–In the AIR III
  28. Shed–Day After
  29. Marcel Fengler–Twisted Bleach
  30. Anthony Naples–Moscato B
  31. Shifted–Cold Light (Sektor A)
  32. Audi Injection–Darker
  33. Wax–Wax 20002A
  34. Objekt–Shuttered
  35. RadioNasty–I had to Spank You (Ben Sims Acid Mix)
  36. A Made up Sound–Ahead
  37. Duke Dumont–Underground Persistence (Original Mix)
  38. Josh Wink–Are You There? (New Mix)
  39. Head High–Rave (Dirt Mix)
  40. Rivet–Metrist
  41. Rivet–Metrist (Marcel Fengler Redefinition)
  42. 42    Ben Sims–Something (Original Mix)
  43. Magnus–Act Two (Truncate Remix)
  44. Lucy–Kalachakra (DVS1 Eyes Open Remix)
  45. Abstract Division–Fierce Tension
  46. Norman Nodge–NN 7.4
  47. Peter van Hoesen–Axis Mundi
  48. Silent Servant–Demonstration
  49. Adam X–Navigational Shortcut (original mix)
  50. Advanced Human–Satellite Club
  51. Robert Hood–Drive (The Age of Automation) (Phase Nocturnal Mix)
  52. Mick Finesse–Frolic
  53. Planetary Assault Systems–Om the Def
  54. A Made Up Sound–Take the Plunge (Beat Mix)
  55. ???? THAW
  56. ???? THAW
  57. ???? THAW

Don’t forget to spread the good word! This kid’s a DYNAMO!  Hear more music from GTMMMM at his soundcloud.

Episode 60: Radical Sine [Mix]

Episode 60 GraphicSonic Landscapes is back after a weeklong break spent exploring the wonderful city of Istanbul–a place with fascinating sonic qualities, from the cosmic drone of the muezzin’s call to prayer to the heckling street vendors to three-legged cats fighting in the street outside our apartment.

We are now on the final leg of the academic year, a time to balance focus with enjoyment. This is a mix to help foment that equilibrium. It begins with a track from a newly ordained saint in the SL pantheon–Rick Ross–then moves into an hour of enchanting grime, minimal dub, and jungle from some of our favorite labels such as Berlin’s Hessle Audio, East London’s Tempa, and South London’s Hyperdub. These artists play with complex collaging and layering of bass to explore the less-traveled depths of the sonic spectrum, anchoring these explorations with captivating dub-inspired rhythms interwoven with surrealistic and alien vocal sampling. The mix starts off with some slower, hypnotic tracks from Burial, Blackwax, and Ramadanman, moving then to some faster and more upbeat grime and jungle from artists such as FaltyDL and Zomby.

This mix goes well with coffee, Bose headphones, Micron pens, and low light.

To listen to this episode, simply click on the link below to hear streaming or right click and choose “download linked file” to add to your iTunes…

Episode 60: Radical Sine

The Playlist:

1. Pirates – Rick Ross

2. Wind It Up [Inst.] – Mark Pritchard & Om’mas Keith

3. Distant Lights [Kode9 Remix] – Burial

4. Offkey – Blackwax

5. Drowning – Ramadanman

6. Zharp – LV & Okmalumkoolkat

7. Fat Larry’s Skank – Benny Ill, Kode9, & The Culprit

8. Night Hunter – Fist

9. Router – Pangaea

10. I Can’t Stop This Feeling [Pangaea Remix] – Untold and Pangaea

11. Phreqaflex – FaltyDL

12. Pillz – Zomby

13. Bad Dreams – SP:MC & Joker D

A NOTE FOR ALL ITHACANS: This Saturday a pretty amazing event is taking place at the Schwartz Center, called “DIY Electronics,” featuring performances by revolutionary electronic musicians and experimenters such as Silver Apples, Tonto’s Expanding Headband, and Electric Golem. Read more about the event here and spread the word!

Episode LVIX: Wintry Mix

Tin Tin 4

Sonic Landscapes presents a one-hour mix to get you through this grim weather. Beginning with a seething remix of R.Kelly’s “I’m a Flirt” by Cyril Hahn, the mix moves into some bass-heavy house and tech-house to get the circulation going, then transitions to the twisted rave-scapes of DJ Stingray 313, Marcel Dettman, Kassem Mosse. Finally, we  let you down easy with a jazzy “walk in the park” track by Kerri Chandler to remind you of greener pastures.

To listen to this episode, simply click on the link below to hear streaming or right click and choose “download linked file” to add to your iTunes…

SL Episode LVIX: Wintry Mix

The Playlist:

1. I’m a Flirt Trap [Cyril Hahn Remix] -R. Kelly

2. So Will Be Now feat. Pional – John Talabot

3. No Government [Makossa & Megablast Remake] – Nicolette

4. What They Say – Maya Jane Coles

5. Reckless [With Your Love] [Tensnake Remix] – Azari & Ill

6. Au Seve – Julio Bashmore

7. Remote Viewing – DJ Stingray 313

8. Deluge – Marcel Dettmann

9. Broken Patterns – Kassem Mosse

10. Kerri Bacharach – Kerri Chandler


Episode LVIII: Japanese Psychedelia [Guest Mix by Comrade Aaron]


Comrade Aaron is a radical dude. Based on his last two mixes for Sonic Landscapes it’s clear that he thrives on a musical diet consisting of distorted experimentation constructed by pensive long-hairs and revolutionary leftists. His last mix explored the incredible sounds of Krautrock, which arose from the oppressive post-war divisions pervading West German culture. On this mix, Comrade Aaron has curated a selection of his favorite Japanese Psych Rock songs spanning from the late 1960s with Velvet-Underground-esque bands like Jacks to recent years, with the metal-infused jams of Boris. Much as Krautrock was associated with the German youth awakening of the late 1960’s–a movement associated with revolutionary movements such as the Red Army Faction–so is Japanese Psych Rock tied to militant youth culture, as rock musicians mingled with leftist terrorists associated with groups such as the Japanese Red Army [the group responsible for the 1972 Lod Airport massacre]. The sounds found on this mix push the boundaries in every way, resulting in a heady mixture of disillusionment and transcendentalism.

Aaron writes of this mix:

“In 1965, the Ventures unleashed their alien music onto an audience in Tokyo, unaware that they were in the midst of a miniature cultural revolution. Soon to follow was the explosion of the ‘Group Sounds’ scene, which made sensations out of bands with names like The Tigers and The Mops and caused Japanese instrument manufacturers to churn out ice-white Mosrite-knockoff guitars by the thousand. GS was massive. But dissent lay at the periphery of this meticulously stylized, tightly controlled, and entirely commercialized scene. A handful of disgruntled musicians, most bedecked entirely in black and with hair longer than was permitted by the record labels, rejected the widespread Beatle-worship and refused to bow to the west. Out of this refusal sprung the intense desolation of Jacks’s Vacant World (banned from the airwaves for nihilistic lyrical content), the ‘Total Sensory Assault’ wrought by militant Rallizes Denudés, and the dizzying jazz-rock mash-up of Masahiko Satoh’s Amalgamation, to name just a few of the countless seminal works which defined this epoch. English-language homages to Western rock gods saturated the psychedelic scene in Japan, but this mix is devoted [almost] entirely to those who sang in Japanese, who married distorted guitars to Buddhist chanting, who went beyond the Western rock paradigm and made something far richer, weirder and, in many cases, better.”

To listen to the mix, simply right click the link below and choose “download linked file,” or click to listen streaming online.

SL Episode LVIII: Japanese Psych Rock

The Playlist:

1. Naki Kyoku – Boris

2. Gatha – People

3. ジャックス – 追放の歌〜第五氷河期(ヤングタウン)

4. Lost Mother Land, Pt. 2 – Apryl Fool

5. Face 2 – Masahiko Sato and the Soundbreakers

6. Don’t Say No – Speed, Glue & Shinki

7. Strung Out Deeper Than The Night – Les Rallizes Denudes

8. In the Broken Mirror – Jacks

9. Satori Pt. III – Flower Travellin’ Band

10. Second Shomyo – People

11. Sorrow – Blues Creation

12. Vacant World – Jacks

Episode LVII: Saturday to Sunday [Guest Mix by Phosphene]

hunting lion, kalahari, northern cape, south africa

This week’s episode of Sonic Landscapes is brought to us by Phosphene, known to his comrades in Ithaca as Gabe Salvatierra. Phosphene, a talented DJ who I first heard spinning records a few weeks ago at a party, has curated a solid mix of some of his favorite tracks to share with us all. With this mix, Phosphene has created a soundtrack to a typical weekend night–full of energy, excitement, and the inevitable crash.

He writes of this mix:

“During the course of a typical Saturday night out, your mood and state of mind can fluctuate wildly. Your soundtrack to these different stages of the evening should follow appropriately. This mix seeks to take the listener from the start of the pregame all the way through to the wee hours of Sunday morning (and through my range of tastes at the moment as well). There’s some slower beat-driven jams from the West Coast to get you going, hip-hop infused bangers for when things really pick up, bouncier house when you just wanna dance, deeper grooves for after hours, and a few slow burners at the end when things are winding down and you’re on the pull.”

To listen to the mix, simply right click the link below and choose “download linked file,” or click to listen streaming online.

Episode LVII: Phosphene [Guest Mix]

The Playlist:

1. Losing You (Ryan Hemsworth Remix) – Mike Din
2. Yellobone (Shlohmo & 2KWTVR Remix) – Salva
3. Lock Lock Key Key – JETS
4. Hood Fantasy – Flosstradamus
5. Fumando – Clicks & Whistles
6. Drinkin & Smokin (Sinjin Hawke & Grandtheft Bootleg) – Waka Flocka
7. Twerk It – LDFD
8. Rush – Natan H
9. Be Without You – Zora Jones
10. Plush – Tiga
11. Rolling 84’s – Chaos in the CBD
12. Grand Central, Pt. 1 (Deep Into the Bowel of House) (MCDE Bassline Dub) – DJ Sprinkles
13. The Vibes (Chicago Damn Remix) – 6th Borough Project
14. Can’t See What Is Burning There – Nicolas Jaar

Phosphene: A ring or spot of light produced by pressure on the eyeball or direct stimulation of the visual system other than by light.

Episode LVI: Guest Mix by HARIM

This week’s episode of Sonic Landscapes is brought to us by DJ HARIM. This is a collection of songs meant to be listened to on either excellent headphones to fully experience the depth of sound and fascinating mixing or on a speakers system in an echoey subterranean dance club.

HARIM is an undergraduate at Cornell University, and Sonic Landscapes is excited to present his first mix for the show. With an inclination for more underground varietals, he enjoys playing music ranging from rhythmic yet soulful techno, all the way to festive, bass driven grooves. With the recent EDM explosion that has swept over America, commercial dance music has pushed techno, one of Dance’s earliest genres, into oblivion. HARIM makes it his quest and musical mission to spread techno, minimal, and deep house to the local Ithaca community and prove that it can provide great energy for a party.

On this mix you will find some of HARIM’s current favorite tracks, which includes percussive & tribal minimal techno and deep & heavy tech-house. He is currently a regular DJ at The Gates in Collegetown, and you can see him live this Saturday at Cornell Fashion Collective’s NY Fashion Week party this Saturday as well as next Thursday for Valentines Night, both at The Gates. He also frequently DJ’s at Lotus Seed Yoga Studio, where he plays smooth deep house, where he redefines both the relationship with sound and body as well as expands upon the utility of electronic music.

To hear more from HARIM and keep track of his performances [and believe us, you’re going to want to] point your browser to Harim’s facebook page or mixcloud.

To listen to the mix, simply right click the link below and choose “download linked file,” or click to listen streaming online.

Episode LVI: HARIM x Sonic Landscapes

The Playlist:

1. Hustling Peoples – Frank Roger, Terrence Terry

2. Is – Barem

3. Labbit – Glimpse

4. Overture – Shlomi Aber

5. Twenty [Clio Remix] – Thomas Schumacher

6. Brain Stew [Baby Ford Remix] – Tom Ellis

7. Empty Feet – Stephen Donaldson

8. Golly Moses – Shlomi Aber



Episode LV: Thelonious Monk

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This week on Sonic Landscapes we explore selections from the catalogue of the man in the beret and sunglasses–Thelonious Monk–one of jazz’s most intriguing personalities. Monk is one of the most recorded jazz composers of all time, second only to the great Duke Ellington–a remarkable fact considering that Ellington composed more than one thousand songs, and Monk only around 70. His singular style swaggers a thin line between the revolutionary flamboyance of free jazz [see Cecil Taylor] and the more funky exuberance of hard bop [see Cannonball Adderley]. Monk also explored negative space with a curiosity unheard in more orthodox jazz composition, punctuating his expressive improvisations and songs with sometimes jarring hesitations, silences, and syncopation. Monk’s percussive and unconventional style was not embraced by all–poet and jazz critic Philip Larkin once called Monk “the elephant on the keyboard.”

Monk was born in Rocky Mount, North Carolina in 1917, but soon moved to Manhattan, where the primordial elements of jazz music–ragtime, blues, swing–were simmering. In the 1920’s, the rebellious and sensual nature of Jazz music was perfectly suited as a soundtrack for the illicit nightscape of Prohibition era America, offering a release from the tempered conservatism prevailing in law and social convention.

As the house pianist at Minton’s Playhouse in the early 1940’s, Thelonious Monk conceived the foundation of his style with the inspiration of some of his fellow musicians, a group which included Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, and later, Miles Davis. At a time when musicians practiced active creative thievery–the incorporation of heard sounds into their own compositions–these artists sought a style which was impossible to recreate or mimic. And so bebop was born from necessity, spontaneity, and zeal.

Monk went on to record with many of the great jazz musicians of history–Coleman Hawkins, Sonny Rollins, Art Blakey, John Coltrane, and so forth. His discography also attests to his perpetual globetrotting with releases such as Monk in FranceThelonious Monk in Italy, and Monk in Tokyo. 

By the mid-1970’s, however, Monk had disappeared from the scene. Some attribute his decline into creative dormancy to mental illness, perhaps caused by schizophrenia or even a misdiagnosis and incorrect prescription, which some believe might have caused permanent and severe brain damage.

In this episode of Sonic Landscapes we explore this incredible artist chronologically, from his early recordings on Blue Note Records to his later works on Columbia. The episode ends with a tribute to Monk by legendary hip hop producer J Dilla on Common’s album Like Water For Chocolate, a testament to Monk’s enduring influence beyond the realm of the genre that he helped craft.

To listen to this episode, simply right click on the link below to download onto your computer or click to listen streaming:

Episode LV: Thelonious Monk

The Playlist:

1. Ruby My Dear, from Genius of Modern Music Volume 1 [1947]

2. Skippy from, from Genius of Modern Music Volume 2 [1951]

3. (I Don’t Stand) A Ghost of a Chance With You, from Thelonious Himself [1957]

4. Nutty [with John Coltrane], from Thelonious Monk With John Coltrane [1957]

5. I Mean You [with Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers], from Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers With Thelonious Monk [1958]

6. Round Lights, from Thelonious Alone in San Francisco [1959]

7. Jackie-Ing [with Charlie Rouse, Sam Jones, Thad Jones & Thelonious Monk], from 5 By Monk By 5 [1959]

8. Teo, from Monk. [1964]

9. Ask Me Now, from Solo Monk [1964]

10. Pannonica (Live), from Straight No Chaser [1966]

11. Thelonious, from Underground [1967]

12. Thelonious ft. Slum Village – Common, from Like Water for Chocolate [2000]

Episode LIV: Debrief Mix

Sonic 54 Image

Sonic Landscapes welcomes everyone back from a long and hopefully relaxing break with this hour-long mix. “Debrief Mix” resembles the transition from the hustle and bustle of the semester, represented musically with the persistent and somewhat manic rhythms of Aphex Twin and Amon Tobin’s drum and bass experimentation, to the slow pace and pleasantries of domestic life, represented by the spacey meanderings of ASC & Ulrich Schnauss and Nicolas Jaar, to finally a state of pleasant excitement for the return to routine with the jazzy / hip-hoppy soundscapes of Shabazz Palaces and Karriem Riggins.

To hear this episode, simply click on the link below, then right click on the link that is produced to download an mp3 onto your computer. To simply listen streaming, click on the link and click on the link that is produced.

Sonic LIV: Debrief

The Playlist:

1. Polynomial-C – Aphex Twin

2. One Small Step – Amon Tobin

3. 586_491 – NHK’Koyxen

4. Plos 97s – Lee Gamble

5. Untitled B2 – Kassem Mosse

6. At Birth – James Blake

7. Moire Pattern – ASC & Ulrich Schnauss

8. A Clone is a Clone – Acid Pauli

9. Cactus – Objekt

10. Space Is Only Noise If You Can See – Nicolas Jaar

11. Niger Oil (Delta’s Rebel) – Al Quetz

12. Free Press and Curl – Shabazz Palaces

13. Matador – Karriem Riggins

Episode LIII: Jazzhands [Guest Mix by Comrade Daniel]

This week’s episode of Sonic Landscapes is brought you by none other than Comrade Dan Robbins, aficionado of all things tasteful. He provided us with a mix of music that will wash over you, a perfectly soothing culmination to a semester of diverse music fueled by the support of our diverse listenership.

Dan writes of this mix:

“With finals upon us, the perfect playlist becomes a strong cup of coffee. For me, it’s a sequence of tracks that accomplishes two seemingly contradictory goals: relaxation and motivation. To achieve this end, there’s little better than the wide world of jazz. This episode consequently follows the wise words of omniscient aesthete Nicole Richie: ‘Well, I enjoy every music from jazz to country, and I even get down with a bit of hip hop.’ The playlist is neither an exhaustive nor chronological exploration of the hotly debated genre. It’s instead a meandering through some of my favorite study tunes, sampling an ever-growing musical landscape of bebop revivalism, jazz-fusion, and funk-driven rap.”

(To listen to this episode, simply right click and choose “download linked file,” or click normally to listen streaming)

Sonic LIII: Jazzhands [Guest Mix by Comrade Robbins]

The Playlist with Dan’s commentary:

1. “I Want You Back” – Lake Street Dive [2012]

A professor at Boston’s New England Conservatory put four of his best artists in a room and told them to make a free country / jazz crossover band. This (thankfully) is what they came up with. Tennessee vocalist Rachael Price has pipes nothing short of Elysian on their cover of The Jackson 5’s “I Want You Back.” 

2. “The World is Yours/Brooklyn Zoo” – BADBADNOTGOOD [2011]

Three hooligans from Toronto who concoct ridiculous mixes of hip hop and classical (Gucci Mane and Claude Debussy!?). They came onto the scene making music for Tyler, the Creator and Frank Ocean. This all-instrumental cover takes Nas’ “The World is Yours” into the late Old Dirty Bastard’s “Brooklyn Zoo.”

3. “Hottentot” – John Scofield [1998]

One of the “big three” of current jazz guitarists (along with Pat Metheny and Bill Frisell), Scofield lays down some of the best distorted rock-jazz improvisations.

4. “Blackbird” –  Brad Mehldau [1996]

A cover worthy of the original Paul McCartney composition.

5. “I Know You Know” – Esperanza Spalding [2008]

Spalding beat out Bieber for “Best New Artist” at the 2011 Grammys… and rightfully so. 

6. “(Go) Get It” – Pat Metheny [2000]

My first concert ever was the Pat Metheny Trio at Purchase College with my parents. Still one of the best.

7. “I Be Blowin'” – De La Soul [1993]

Queens/Long Island rap legends De La Soul with Fred Wesley (then leader of James Brown band, the JB’s, and later part of Parliament-Funkadelic).

8. Transit Ride – Guru [1993] 

Guru – MC of Gang Starr – stacked up one of the most authentic jazz/rap fusion albums to date with the four-part Jazzmatazz. This track features hooks from legendary saxophonist Branford Marsalis and Zachary Breaux on guitar. 

9. Cissy Strut – Dirty Dozen Brass Band [2002]

A funky take on The Meters’ funky classic.

10. Salt Peanuts [Carnegie Hall Version] Dizzy Gillespie & Charlie Parker [1945]

The origins of the now seminal “Salt Peanuts” motif remain debated. This song always makes me laugh, though, and the live 1945 cut kills it. 

11. Body and Soul – Coleman Hawkins [1939]

Hawkins’ “Body and Soul” has a distinctive cadence that paved the way in rejecting big band swing for a more assertive, expressive jazz.

12. Angelina – Earl Klugh [2005]

A staple go-to-sleep song for me.

13. Mama Roux – Dr. John [1968]

Inspired by medicine shows, Mardi Gras costumes, and voodoo ceremonies, this jazzy New Orleans track has one helluva hook. And Dr. John is one of the few dudes who can get away with wearing a long braid, feathered fedora, and earrings.