A “Canyon Carving” Playlist

A couple of weeks back I was in California for a brief getaway. I hadn’t been in the Los Angeles area (or even on the West coast) in six years, and much has changed in my life during the interval. So this return visit was both a reprieve from my current cloistered existence researching in (mostly) solitude, as well as a welcome reconnection with personal history and past assemblages of self. A sense of homecoming kicked in while riding along Pacific Coast Highway from LAX and was exponentially amplified when I took the wheel to traverse Malibu Canyon later that night. I learned to drive on Malibu Canyon road: it was the first non-residential route I ever piloted solo, and by the time of that inaugural excursion I was intimately familiar with the warp and woof of that winding way.

Anyway, all this to say that I was inspired to put together another playlist drawn from the emotional, physical, and topographical memories stirred up by this recent trip. Some of the selected songs are from my brief but brightly recalled high school heyday of licensed driving, many are from my college career of canyon carving and cruising the coast, and others are anachronistic add-ons chosen for their thematic resonance with driving SoCal canyons. The finalization of this playlist involved the killing of many “canyon carving” darlings (i.e. Should I have included the Emerson, Lake & Palmer or Death From Above 1979 songs that my college roommate would blare during our weekly trips to Pat’s Topanga Grill? Does the playlist accurately reflect my fixation with both Neil Young’s After the Gold Rush and the Manson murders during the year that I lived on Topanga Canyon Blvd?).

Here is the set as a YouTube playlist, (and here as a Spotify playlist) and the tracklist is below:

A Canyon Carving playlist:

1. The Crystal Method (ft. Teflon Sega), “Chapter One”

2. Booka Shade, “Night Falls”

3. Simian Mobile Disco, “Clock”

4. Röyksopp, “Eple”

5. Fischerspooner, “A Kick in the Teeth”

6. The Chemical Brothers, “We Are The Night”

7. Kavinsky (ft. Havoc), “Suburbia”

8. Momma, “Speeding 72”

9. Rostam, “4Runner”

10.  The Mamas & The Papas, “Twelve Thirty”

11.  John Phillips, “Topanga Canyon”

12.  Rusty Truck, “Malibu Canyon”

13.  Lissie, “Carving Canyons”

14.  Lo Moon, “Dream Never Dies”

15. Death Cab for Cutie, “Passenger Seat”

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