Derek Simpson is Planetarian, an artist whom I have written a lot about over the years. Maybe that is because I felt the need to explain why I liked his music so much. With the growth and maturity exhibited on his latest album CiTY, I don’t feel that need anymore.
This album is a straightforward documentation of Derek’s first year away from home. It is the moods and emotions we have all felt in a new location with new people.
The Weeknd has been on a roll in 2015. He has released two singles, “Can’t Feel My Face” and “The Hills,” both of which are currently sitting pretty in the top 20 of the Billboard Hot 100. I convinced myself that he was going to name his third album The Hills Have Eyes, and when he didn’t (he went with Beauty Behind the Madness), I decided to name the Tape Tuesday that as an homage to his exceptional year.
The tape plays like an escape from summer camp. I imagine around track 7 (“Round Whippin’” by A.CHAL) the protagonists are whipping their shitty cars around the hills while on copious amounts of ecstasy. Through the rest of the tape, they get in trouble, fall in love, and honestly maybe have a brief stint in rehab. I don’t know. Something crazy must happen to explain the seriousness of “Mend” by Planetarian.
But I guess that is the point of the mix. You can do crazy shit in the Hollywood Hills or wherever you are, but that crazy shit will catch up to you because the hills are watching.
Do you ever feel like the only one? ’Cause I always feel like the only one
NOTE: The Soundcloud mix is missing track 8 (“The Hills” by The Weeknd).
Hit the jump to view the full tracklist…
We have been fans of Planetarian for a LONG time. Being a Planetarian fan can be tricky at times. The guy does not always travel down the easiest path. You will not like all of his music, and that is okay. That is natural. Here is a young artist who understands the big picture. I think he has taught himself like 20 instruments. He produces his own music. He writes his own music. He writes lyrics that are thought-provoking and relevant. Like every artist should do but some do not, he makes the music he wants to hear, and he is competing against his heroes.
What first drew us to Derek Simpson was the nostalgia-ridden, sepia-toned, summer sound of his self-titled debut album. Back then, that was his only trick. Planetarian’s new album In Mind (his fourth album in two years!) is set firmly in the present and has an ever-expansive sound that traverses every genre known to man. The kid is rocking out on “Keep Your Lingerie,” flexing his rap skills on “Insecure,” and entering total ballad territory on “Mend.” He is talking to his generation of under-21, pothead burnouts who are addicted to social media and have no real sense of identity, and he is encouraging everyone to love themselves and stop being followers.
After the first listen, you will realize that this is far and away Derek’s best album yet. It is also one of the best albums of the year.
Yesterday was my July 4th celebration, and today I woke up with a horrific hangover. Seeking relief from the treachery of this condition, I turned to Soundcloud and played the new Planetarian track. As Derek Simpson repeated the song’s only lyric, “Let me mend you back to health” over and over again, I started to think “Okay, Derek, I will let you mend me back to health. As long as I don’t have to do anything that goes against my core value system, I am pretty much open to any sort of help, my G.” And the song really did help me. There is something calming and reassuring about the repetition of that one lyric.
It makes me feel safe. There, I said it.
Planetarian’s new album In Mind will be out this upcoming Friday (July 10). “Mend” is its second single.
Let me mend you back to health
The name “Waves” came way before I found the song “Waves” by the incredible Aussie artist Japanese Wallpaper. I was reading about Jackson Sonnanfeld-Arden’s philosophy (introduced to me by Deru) about these Nine Pure Tones, or waves, that serve as the basis of all life and existence. It was a riveting read that has since been taken down from the Internet, and it was just crazy enough to sort of blow my mind and maybe influence my entire life.
You hear about how we’re the most informed generation, but how much of that information are we actually implementing in our behavior? Are we constantly having our behaviors and ideas reaffirmed by seeking comfort in niche sections of the Internet, which monitor our searches to customize the ads we see–only further reaffirming our behaviors? Or are we seeking and interpreting new ideas and incorporating them into our ever-changing social dynamics?
So these have been my thoughts and questions the past two months. You can see how “waves” could work as a metaphor for the ebb and flow of life. And the philosophy takes it like a zillion steps further by defining all science and behaviors in nine different waves. So yeah, um, that was the idea for the mixtape. Also, I just wanted to make your soundtrack for the beginning of summer.
She wears my favorite color, everyday in her eyes…
*Not including track 16 (“Berlin” by Highlands) and track 20 (“Mad at Me” by Sage The Gemini).
Drake & “40.” Jay & Tim. Chance & Nate Fox. Kevin Abstract & Planetarian? That’s right (sorry this is cheesy); the two 17-year-olds have thrown their hats in the ring for the best rapper-producer pair of the year. On the Kevin Abstract EP Kevin waxes some deeply personal anecdotes about himself and his family, while Planetarian (under his HoraceTheGiant production moniker) provides jazzy beats featuring exotic instruments and hazy experimentation. The result is one of the best EPs of the year.
Okay, I know it is a Saturday, but today is also June 1st a.k.a. the beginning of the summer months. Did you really expect me to drop a summer mixtape on any other day? Welcome to Summer is the perfect driving-with-the-windows-down mixtape. Like, that is the sole reason I made it. Whether you’re rolling into town blasting RL Grime‘s remix of Chief Keef (making eye contact with the old lady in the car next to you at a stoplight) or just shouting the lyrics of Planetarian‘s “Swim” at the top of your lungs as you cruise down the interstate, this mix works. Plus, how legendary is the sequence of Chance The Rapper into Reggie Watts into Chief Keef into Disclosure?
- Fyfe – Introduction
- Rhye – One of Those Summer Days
- Heems – Medium Green Eyes (ft. Safe)
- Kitty – Dead Island
- Tyler, The Creator – Bimmer
- Planetarian – Swim
- Peter and Kerry – Fucking Around
- Thundercat – Oh Sheit It’s X
- Autre Ne Veut – Play by Play
- Everything Everything – Don’t Try
- Pigeon Hole – June
- Bayou – Forever Deluxe
- Chance The Rapper – Pusha Man (ft. Nate Fox & Lili K.) [Edit]
- Reggie Watts – The Monster and the Princess
- Chief Keef – Love Sosa (RL Grime Remix)
- Disclosure – When a Fire Starts to Burn
- Petite Noir – Noirse
- Francis and the Lights – ETC
- San Cisco – Outro
You daydream about the sea, and I daydream you’ll be mine,
Underneath the shade of leaves, stars over the trees,
Spending a whole summer with you that sounds alright, I’ll,
Meet you in the evening so we can swim tonight
P.S. In case you missed it I made a promo video for this tape. First ever, very rare.
July is a perfect month. The sun is out most of the day (clothing is basically optional), and you can spend entire evenings on the lake with freezers full of freezies and Cokes. After his dreamy, summer-doused debut album, it is no surprise that Planetarian has a track named after this auspicious month. What is a bit surprising is the seamless Kevin Abstract feature, which plays perfectly with the candid, kind of awkward nature of Planetarian tracks. Turn this one up on long drives or days out.
Hit the jump to read our exclusive interview with the young artist… Continue reading “Premiere + Interview: Planetarian – July” »
I respect people who try to stay true to themselves, even when everything in the world is trying to get them to do the opposite. Completely original people, too, like Andy Kaufman who heavily inspired this tape. They say, “You are who you surround yourself with,” but sometimes you get lost. I think recently I was lost–trapped in the dark corners of my own mind. This mixtape is about how I lost myself and how I continue to fight the surrounding negative energy. It’s less sad and serious than it sounds. These 17 songs are essential summer music. Burn them on a CD, go for a drive, and get lost in the funhouse.
- Josh Record – Wonder
- Bipolar Sunshine – Rivers
- The Hard Knocks – Pocket Full of Change
- Wet – Bad Idea
- SomeKindaWonderful – Reverse
- Cave Painting – Rio
- Swim Deep – She Changes The Weather (Whitely Remix)
- Mychal Cohen – Sentimental Guy
- Cowboy Indian Bear – Let It Down
- Noname Gypsy – Sunday Morning
- SPEAK – Peaks
- Kid Astray – Hey Sister
- The Casual Tuesday – Seatbelt
- Majical Cloudz – Bugs Don’t Buzz
- Planetarian – Zoned
- PHOX – Slow Motion
- The Dear Hunter – Whisper
If it were up to me,
I would’ve remained in that dream a little later
I am constantly getting older. As a matter of fact, everyone is constantly getting older. So why wouldn’t we listen to music that reminds us of childhood? Songs that feel and sound like sunshine and rainbows and every pure and innocent thing known to man. It sounds like a trip, but really it’s not at all. Sometimes people get caught up in the irony and lose sight of the simple things. Planetarian is here to remind us. (Sorry if I made Planetarian seem like some sort of cheesy superhero. That wasn’t my intention. [Although it totally could have been because superheroes are fucking awesome.])
Shout out to Tyler, The Creator for the find.
I’ve been looking everywhere for you, hoping for success