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andrewtsao  •  24 May 2023   •    

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Hey there 👋

I love this time of the year—it always makes me smile to see people taking advantage of the warmer weather and just being out and about. With AAPI Heritage Month wrapping up and with just a few days away from my 31st birthday, I’m excited to share with you another kick-ass lineup of Asian musicians for my annually hosted festival in the form of a playlist. Enjoy!

Theme of the month: 🍚 I Had a Dream That Asian Musicians Took Over Coachella Part 3

Mural and installation by Amanda Phingbodhipakkiya

Being on the east coast often means that I don’t have the luxury of attending music festivals like Coachella, but over the years I have used this time of the year to imagine what it would be like to host a festival of my own that spotlighted the diverse range of Asian, Asian American, and Pacific Island talents. If you haven’t already, you can check out Part 1 and Part 2, but if not, go ahead and put on your comfy music-listening pants and let’s go!

Right off the bat, I want to surprise you with an unexpected opener. Imagine how many more people will be willing to show up at the very beginning of the festival if this was the opener, right? Be prepared to be serenaded left and right by lush voices and groovy baselines. You’ve been warned. And before you plan to take a break, make sure you swing by the stage next door to catch an extraordinary display of rap abilities—especially the two artists that have traveled all the way from Korea and Taiwan. When the sun has set, and the lights are up, let’s go dance our asses off to the tune of back-to-back sets of some of the most badass Asian female DJs and producers in the business. The final slot of the night goes to Ryuichi Sakamoto and his ethereal and captivating music to end the day on an emotional note. I hope wherever you are, you can use this music to celebrate your day and week. Take care and until next time!

Song Highlights:

Track 6: Take Me to the Sun - ELSZ

It’s not every day that a song would make me stop in my tracks but just the beginning few notes of the harp playing did just that for me when I first heard this song. I can’t wait to see what this Brooklyn-based artist and musician have in store for us in the future.

Track 11: Plastic Love - Mariya Takeuchi

I’ve featured this bomb-ass cover of this song in my song highlights before. The reason I wanted to feature this original again is to showcase the incredible story of this track. For one, this track was never very popular when it first came out in Japan. But through the power of the internet, after someone uploaded the song onto Youtube back in 2017, it soon saw a resurgence of popularity; to the point where Warner Music Japan even released an official music video last yea. Wild!

Track 20: Done (Let’s Get It) - Yaeji

This powerhouse of an album isn’t the usual electronic album that I would be drawn to, but I loved it. The Pitchfork review summarizes it well: “Yaeji’s debut channels a lifetime’s worth of anger into an airy blend of synth-pop, jazz, techno, and ambient. It’s a generous, understated exploration of rage as a source of creative renewal.”

Track: 25: 20220302- sarabande - Ryuichi Sakamato

This was a song that was taken from his latest and last-ever album, which was written and recorded during the last few years of his life after he was diagnosed with rectal cancer. I don’t remember how I stumbled upon his music, but his music came to me at a time in my life when I most needed it and I will be forever grateful for it. Rest in peace Mr. Sakamato, and thank you for everything!



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