For our feature Nice Playlist, Brah, we ask some of our favorite musicians to make a themed Spotify playlist for us. You know, Songs to Make-out To, The Worst Bands I Have Ever Heard, Songs Your Mom Would Like, we just ask them to be creative, and then we post them to The Ardent Music Blog and share them with you. When you’re looking for a good Spotify playlist, now you know where to look. This week we invited Brandon Herrington, founder of Fareveller Music Festival and member of the newly minted Memphis electronic music group Fast Planet to put one together for us. We invite you to take listen to the playlist while you read why the musician included each song. Enjoy!
After the release of a new album, under a new band name (Fast Planet), in a completely different style than anything I’ve ever done, I have started to reflect on how I ended up here in the first place.
This Spotify playlist is dedicated to the bizarre way our influences shape us. My Playlist is called “How did I End Up Here?”
1. “Today” – The Smashing Pumpkins
This is where it all started. I was a seventh grader sitting in the basketball gym for the junior high talent show. After watching what seemed like hours of baton twirling and beginner piano arrangements, three eighth-graders walked out with real drums and guitars and proceeded to (probably) butcher “Today” by the Smashing Pumpkins. I was floored. It was my first experience with live music of that kind and I was beyond sold. By Christmas I had my first bass and by the next talent show, I was completely butchering “When I Come Around” by Green Day and “Unglued” by Stone Temple Pilots in front of 1,000 kids.
It was glorious.
2. “Stars” – Hum
So I’m a senior in high school sitting in a car outside of a bowling alley when my friend Jared puts in a CD and says, “You have to check this band out. “Stars” starts out with the simplest, clean guitar riff over the somewhat awkward vocals of Matt Talbott. Then, at exactly 44 seconds, Hum hits a single, distorted chord that completely melted everything I had ever known about music.
3. “Guitar and Video Games” – Sunny Day Real Estate
Sunny Day Real Estate will always be my favorite band. Their concert I attended when I was nineteen probably should have been the day I gave up playing music. Maybe it was being young and experiencing them then, but the intensity and emotion I saw in that show was something unmatched.
4. “1/1” – Brian Eno
This is where ambient music began for me. You could probably argue that it’s where ambient music really began, period. Freshman year of college, I attended a small, Christian school in Jackson, Mississippi. It was also the year my band dora began writing…in Memphis. Needless to say, I drove back and forth from Memphis to Jackson all of the time. During those drives, I discovered a couple of ambient shows on the radio. One was “Into the Deep” on WEVL. It is now the longest running ambient show on the radio in the Southern United States.
This track is probably still my favorite ambient song. It is also a good introduction to those who think ambient music is simply boring, droning white noise.
5. “An Ending (Ascent)” – Brian Eno
I had to throw another Brian Eno track into the mix because his work is that influential. What I love about this song is how such a simple, looped synth can create something so beautiful and epic and yet, somehow it still feels sad.
6. “Flim” – Aphex Twin
Aphex Twin was my first introduction into glitched, downtempo electronic music. It had all the atmosphere of ambient music, but coupled with extremely complex beats and simple melodies.
7. “Hyperballad” – Bjork
Liking Bjork has never really been cool. I mean, maybe it’s a little cooler than liking Enya (sorry Wil). Regardless, she is still one of my favorite and most influential artists. I never feel like she’s trying to impress me with her production creativity even though I am certain it is and probably will always be completely unmatched.
There are songs by Bjork that I now like better than Hyperballad, but when I first started listening to her, this song’s chorus melody and slow build captured me instantly. By the end of the track, it has turned into a straight up raver.
During this time is also when I had the first realization of “Oh crap, I might like dance music.”
8. “Hjartao hamest” – Sigur Ros
At this point in the playlist, I would hope that the theme has sufficiently developed. When Sigur Ros came out with their first commercial success, Agaetis Byrjun, I was completely ripe for the taking. I was so immersed in the world of ambient, shoe-gazey type music, that I never stood a chance.
After Bjork introduced to the fact that not all dance music sucks, my journey down that road took me first to The Chemical Brothers. It is still somewhat baffling to me that they were producing this type of quality in electronic music back in the day.
If you have listened to our album “Jes,” then you’ve probably drawn a comparison or two to The Postal Service. It’s inevitable that this duo will forever be the poster children for electronic, indie pop. Of course, it stands to reason that it’s a deserved title. The sparse, nostalgic production of Jimmy Tamborello and the melody and lyrics of Ben Gibbard turned out what I think to be one of the coolest albums in the last ten years.
11. “A Walk” – Tycho
I am very happy that I have friends who still search out great music. This track is dedicated to Michael Carpenter and his persistence in introducing me to emerging artists. Tycho is a producer and visual artist with the Ghostly International label. His poster art and album covers are as beautiful as the music he is producing. Tycho is for fans of the Album Leaf or Telephon Tele Aviv.
Based in Memphis, Tennessee, the Fast Planet electronic music project is the latest installment of musical endeavors pursued by the band’s core members. The type of work can be best classified as ambient electronic pop influenced by Thom Yorke, Telefon Tel Aviv, Aphex Twin and others.
Wil Deshazo, Jared Rawlinson and Brandon Herrington have been playing music together in a variety of configurations since 1999, and through their musical journey connected with Landon Moore in 2003. Of their many previous incarnations (Dora, U.S. Sunday), the four came together most notably as members of the now-defunct band This Is Goodbye. The band was an ambitious pop-rock outing, that toured throughout 2004 and 2005, opening for the likes of Mute Math, Cursive and Headlights. Though the group disbanded in 2006, the four remained friends and musical allies over the years.
By the beginning of 2011, Wil and Landon had become disenchanted with playing straight-ahead rock music. Each found themselves producing electronic music separately, and discussions began of how to create a cohesive project. The two were reunited with Jared and Brandon and the four began a year-long process of experimenting and writing in the electronic realm that became Fast Planet.
What has culminated is the full-length album, Jes. Mixed by James Joseph (Myla Smith, Ryan Peel) and mastered by Brad Blackwood (Against Me, Maroon 5, Alison Krauss, The Black Eyed Peas), the record is the first chapter in a series of deeply moving, provocative and alluring electronic outings. Fast Planet’s nine songs, which delve into very personal themes of love and loss, demonstrate a clarity of purpose and vision realized through the band’s commitment to exploration and discovery in areas of music which may have once eluded them.
Check out all of our Spotify playlists on The Ardent Music Blog! Thanks to Brandon Herrington of Fast Planet and Fareveller for contributing!