DJ Jim Q's Playlist: End
This months theme is End. The end is not the end, it’s the beginning of something new. With that outlook it doesn’t seem so ominous, it’s almost hopeful. On the flip side, closure is comforting and if we imagine everything as a continuum, it can be difficult to start anew. How do you shake the weight of the past? I guess you don’t, you just have to use every ending as a platform on which to build.
What we call the beginning is often the end. And to make an end is to make a beginning. The end is where we start from.
Music is an ever growing tree, exponentially branching into new spaces while always connected to the roots. Every new style or genre building on the end of another. In fact I can’t really think of a single style of music that doesn’t build upon a previous one. Styles intertwine like so many vines tangled and woven difficult to distinguish where one begins and the other ends.
That was why I was so excited to see the theme was selected by the Rio de Janeiro chapter. Brazil has such a rich history of evolving musical styles from samba, to bossa nova, to choro to sertanejo and countless sub genres and stylistic variations in between. I choose to emphasize the stylistic amalgam and counter-culture movement known as Tropicália. Tropicália or Tropicalismo was a vibrant artistic movement in Brazil in the 60s, involving poetry, visual art, film, theatre and music.
At the center of the revolutionary movement was multiculturalism. It wasn’t about ending the old or starting something completely new, it was germinated with openness and inclusion. Tropicália draws from traditional Brazilian styles, African influences and English rock music, creating something that is both modern and still of Brazilian heritage. Tropicália artists were under constant oppression and threat of jailing from the military dictatorship. What they were doing was truly revolutionary. I have included just a few of these ground breaking artists, namely those hailing from Rio de Janeiro such as Caetano Veloso, Jorge Ben Jor, Nara Leão, Os Brazões and Gal Costas. But Please don’t end your exploration of Tropicalia in Rio, elsewhere around Brazil the art was thriving, check out these great recordings: Os Mutantes, Gilberto Gil and Tom Zé.
Fin, finito, finished. This playlist contains a selection of tracks with stories of endings, completion, finish lines, and finales. This eclectic mix from Public Enemy’s “Shut ‘em Down”, to The Cure’s “Grinding Halt” to Lana Del Ray’s “Swan Song”, will have you wishing it wouldn’t end.