In July 2017, a clinical journal published a study on the best music for trippin', but the researchers went all-in on classical music. It's probably fair to guess most readers haven't listened to Bach's Mass in B Minor on shrooms, so PRØHBTD asked some of our favorite artists, curators and show hosts to share their favorite songs for diving down the rabbit hole.
Anthony Ausgang, artist: "I’ve found that the best music for a psychedelic trip is Tibetan Bowl Music, but if I must choose a single song, I recall more than one afternoon lazing and blazing in the '70s Texas sun and listening to "Swastika Girls" by Robert Fripp & Brian Eno from the album (No Pussyfooting). It has a wonderful flow, and at 25 minutes long doesn’t require that much attention. I recall continuing to 'listen' to the song long after it had ended and successfully segued to the repetitive sound of the record lead off groove, equally fascinating under the circumstances! There are no lyrics as far as I can tell, which is a good thing—unintelligible voices can easily bring on paranoia!"
Brandin LaShea, chef and Pot Pie host: "One of my favorite songs right now to vibe out to while on psychedelics is Kendrick Lamar's 'Love' featuring Zacari. I first heard this track while on LSD at Coachella, and it took me to another planet. As soon as I heard the intro, I was hooked. There’s something about the way the pitch of Zacari’s voice comes in and hits your soul. That mixed with Kendrick’s vibey flow and the super mellow beat, make it the perfect jam for your trip."
Redd Walitzki, artist: "A psychedelic trip is an unfolding moment in time, a journey that expands your vision internally, in connection with external stimuli. The proper audio-experience is crucial, but limiting that experience to just one song is kind of a shame! That said, the In Rainbows album by Radiohead usually puts me on the right path, and if it had to be a single song, I’d be swimming with 'Weird Fishes.' The complexity of the music, and the symbolic language of the lyrics, make it a perfect companion to a psychedelic journey.”
Nicole Gordon, artist: "If had to pick one regular length song to guide me on a mental journey of any kind, it would be a song by the Flaming Lips called 'One Night While Hunting for Faeries and Witches and Wizards to Kill' off of the album Oczy Mlody. The qualities that I like about it—transient/ patient, tribal (nature sounds with non-traditional percussive sounds), sonic (contrast between sounds, tones, instruments, reverbs), layered, unusual, comforting, builds toward a crescendo, narrative is fantastical and disorienting, and has a cool off period that allows for reflection."
Onya Ganja, The Culturalist: "I think DJ Hazard’s 'Time Tripping' goes well with eating hallucinogens. It is the perfect trip soundtrack because it rockets you into weirdom with the Slaughterhouse Five sample and heavy creepy beats. I learned how to handle a serious drug experience to the tune of drum and bass so it is super comfortable genre for my high mind. Once I got trapped in the woods high on mushrooms with only a CD player and obscure death metal. It was not ideal, but I got through it. Just like I got through that time I stumbled upon a group of men playing baseball naked after dropping acid."
Carlo McCormick, NYC-based art critic and curator: "Live music, of almost any sort, is by far the best tripping experience as you are just open to so many other aspects of the performance—of the infinite auditory and visual cues you get being there. Many acts—including Willie Nelson, the Butthole Surfers, The Orb, Neil Young, The Chemical Brothers and of course The Grateful Dead—I can only remember seeing on psychedelics, though no doubt I saw them plenty of times when I wasn't high. In the analog days of yore, when you left your apartment without a mobile phone or a portable sound system, there was always that magical time in the trip when you would come back home or go over to a friend's place to chill out to records. These records for me always provided a comfort, like some fuzzy anchor of familiarity, and some of those albums—Syd Barrett's The Madcap Laughs, The West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band's Part One or Kaleidoscope's Side Trips—still resonate with me decades later. Now we can take our music everywhere with us, and it is nice to have a soundtrack for wherever you may go, but I do miss the reverie of coming into a cozy room and putting the stereo on. Now, however, I trip to discover something new rather than return to places I already know, so I keep my iPod on shuffle and let its magical algorithm of randomness guide my way."
Taravat Talepasand, artist: "Kourosh Yaghmaei is the creator and father of psychedelic rock in pre-revolutionary Iran, and [1974's] 'Gole Yakh' is an Iranian classic. The acoustic rock-meets-traditional Iranian trills offering instrumentals that arehypnotic. Both the orchestrations and lyrics are triumphant, sorrowful, inspiring, romantic, all the emotions both physical and mental that transpire within me on any type of psychedelics. The song name translates as 'Ice Flower,' and the lyrics say, 'Sorrow, between your two lovely eyes, has made its nest (It’s always there) / Night, in your black hair, has made its home / Your two dark eyes – are like my nights / The darkness of your two eyes – is like my sadness / When the tears come down my eyelashes: they turn to rain / A flood of sadness has overwhelmed my abode / When you stay with me, the wind carries away my loneliness / My two eyes have made it rain every night / Spring fluttered out of my hands and left / In my heart, an ice flower has sprouted / In my room, I’m starting to burn from loneliness / Yet, in these times, there’s a blossom / What should I sing? My youth is gone and so is my voice / In my heart, an ice flower has sprouted.'"
Rob Fee, upcoming PRØHBTD series Explain Like I'm High, High With Ty and UnConventional: "My favorite is Prince’s cover of 'Creep' from Coachella 2008. It’s such a fascinating reimagining that flows in such a euphoric way you almost feel high just by closing your eyes and listening to it."
Art image by Nicole Gordon.