ListenUp: The Mixtape Project

For London Design Festival 2014, designers like Tom Dixon and Industrial Facility made playlists for #SuperStimuli

For this year’s London Design Festival, the Ace Hotel in Shoreditch played host to four different designer installations for “Super Stimuli,” a show curated by biannual magazine Modern Design Review (check out our Instagram of Michael Marriot’s lamp). Right next to the Ace, new vinyl-only store Sister Ray offered a musical accompaniment to “Super Stimuli” with The Mixtape Project, which showed off playlists created by 15 London designers and studios. Throughout the week, we Tweeted some highlights from the extensive list, which can be perused on Spotify (save for some songs that aren’t available on the platform).


Egyptian Lover: Freak-A-Holic

Set designer Gary Card opted for what is a certifiable deep cut with Egyptian Lover’s 1986 electro-dance jam “Freak-A-Holic.” (The song was originally intended for the soundtrack to Prince’s “Purple Rain.”) The LA-based Egyptian Lover (born Greg Broussard) packs his video for the song with all good things ’80s: big hair, lots of gold rings, back-up dancers and an endless number of kitschy ancient Egyptian props (aside from the colorful blown-up balloons) that are—to bring things full circle—worthy of one of Card’s more cartoonish sets.


Destroy All Monsters: Child of the Night

Design studio Industrial Facility, who works closely with brands like Muji and Herman Miller, prefer old school simplicity and anonymity to designer stardom. For their mixtape, founders Sam Hecht and Kim Colin selected a disc’s worth of songs from Detroit “anti-rock” band Destroy All Monsters (which included contemporary artist Mike Kelley as a member, who Colin later worked with for his piece “Educational Complex”). DAM only officially put out a one-hour cassette of their recordings, but Sonic Youth’s Thurston Moore later released a box-set of their early music in 1994. “Child of the Night,” a lo-fi, stripped down spoken word lullaby is a good track to ease into the journey.


Max Normal: Good Old Fashion Loving

Many people don’t know that before Die Antwoord, there was Max Normal. “Good Old Fashion Loving” is one of the more toned-down tracks from the experimental hip-hop South African four-piece, giving off some Nujabes vibes. This tune was selected by furniture designer Faye Toogood, who’s been a regular collaborator with Opening Ceremony and other fashion brands like Vivienne Westwood and Alexander McQueen. She’s got a quite diverse playlist, meshing together tracks from Nirvana and Portishead to Montreal electronic musician Valentin Stip and even a gospel song from LaShun Pace.


Dusty Springfield & Burt Bacharach: A House Is Not A Home

“A chair is still a chair, even when there’s no one sitting there…” This 1964 ballad, written for Dionne Warwick and sung live in a duet by singer-songwriter Burt Bacharach and Dusty Springfield, is the perfect classic song befitting the classy items by London brand Minimalux (founded by Mark Holmes from Established and Sons). Their beautiful, polished items are just as timeless as the rest of their song selection, which ranges from film composer Ennio Morricone’s “Giocoso Gioioso” to Chopin’s “Raindrop Prelude.”


The Kinks: Waterloo Sunset

British designer (and now influential powerhouse) Tom Dixon used to be a touring musician, playing bass guitar for a band called Funkapolitan—which even led to an appearance on Top of the Pops. Dixon’s mixtape was by far the most representative of old-school east London vibes, featuring the likes of Buzzcocks to Roxy Music to James Blake. We settled with jamming out to The Kinks’ 1967 beautifully touching single “Waterloo Sunset.”

ListenUp is a Cool Hunting series published every Sunday that takes a deeper look at the music we tweeted throughout the week. Often we’ll include a musician or notable fan’s personal favorite in a song or album dubbed #PrivateJam.