Art: “Immerse” by Enrique Llamas
Rhapsody is defined as “an effusively enthusiastic or ecstatic expression of feeling” or “a miscellaneous collection in music.” We’ve combined both definitions to present Rhapsody, a feature in which artists of different mediums share their musical memories through their own art.
In each edition of Rhapsody, we ask our guest artist to curate a playlist, write about their experiences with that music, and create a piece of original art that ties it all together.
To debut the feature, we present a Rhapsody with our very own Director of Playlists.
Enrique Llamas: Graphic Designer & Writer
Enrique is a graphic and web designer, currently working as Project Manager at Repub1ica Branding, a design agency he co-founded 11 years ago. Most recently he became a Contributing-Partner and Director of Playlists at IndieBeat. His other creative projects involve writing, photography, songwriting and visual art.
Enrique’s Rhapsody: Immerse
“I let my music take me where my heart wants to go” – Cat Stevens
This quote pretty much sums up what my playlist is about. I can’t exactly pinpoint when I found out that music is a great way to create and store memories, to encapsulate moments, but for as long as I can remember, music has served as my favorite traveling device. Think about the pensieve in the Harry Potter books; music is pretty much like that for me (and I’m sure for you as well). A song can always take you to a moment in time, a place, a feeling. With this in mind, my fondest musical memories have to be songs that could immediately transport me to the past, or to a quiet place where I can be myself. Sometimes we can choose the song and the moment, sometimes the moment comes with its own tune—and like it or not, it will be forever recorded in that song. Sometimes we discover a song and it opens a whole new place for us to be.
I guess in the end, I can only say that great moments in life often come with great music in the background.
The Beatles: Let It Be
I remember sitting on the floor in the small living room of our home. My dad had these big headphones, which looked even bigger while my 7 year old self wore them. That’s when I discovered his Beatles albums and a whole new world opened for me. I could stay hours there, singing out loud. I couldn’t say how many times I listened to Let It Be on repeat, I had to get up and put the song again on the turntable, but who cared? I had all the time in the world. Of course, I ended up scratching the disc. Last year I brought that old turntable to my apartment along with some of my dad’s old albums. They still sound like that for me, a piece of my childhood.
The Smashing Pumpkins: 1979
I’m a man of nostalgia. I just can’t help it. And this song is an anthem to everything nostalgic. It makes me think of the teenager I never was, and all the things I never did but wanted to (because my teenage years sucked, they were really boring I could say). So now everytime I listen to this song I get nostalgic, yes, but I also remember that the time to live is now.
The War On Drugs: Burning
The first time I listened to this song, I couldn’t believe how familiar and how new it was to me. I listened to it like crazy for a whole week, until I didn’t need to listen to it anymore because it got stuck in my head forever. Yeah, I know, it sounds like Springsteen–I would even dare to say it makes me think of The Cure’s “Inbetween Days.” But the point is that this song gives me hope, it has made me feel good in those depressive and anxious days when I’m about to break, because I have to accept that in the end ‘i’m just a burning man trying to keep the ship from turning over again”. And it feels good knowing that I’m not the only one.
The Smashing Pumpkins: Porcelina of the Vast Oceans
I’m not sure how it happens, but sometimes you rediscover a song inside your favorite albums. That’s what happened to me with this song. I used it for a project in one of my design classes in college, where I had to make a poster and an album cover based on a song of my choice. I’m not even sure why I picked it, but from that moment on, I just fell in love with every detail of the song. It wasn’t my best project in my college years, but I could say it was among the ones I enjoyed the most. Fast forward a few years later. I’m finally seeing my favorite band live (without James and D’arcy, but it was better than nothing). I has never mentioned this to anyone, but I always thought that Porcelina would be an epic way to open a Pumpkins concert. Seems like Billy agreed with me. And that’s how dreams come true.
Arcade Fire: Rebellion (Lies)
My romance with Arcade Fire began back in 2005. Funeral was the soundtrack of my last year in college, and “Rebellion (Lies)” was the first Arcade Fire song I ever listened to. The last year in college is weird, since you know that this fantasy bubble you’re living in is about to explode and you’re going to be left alone in the wild real world, so that’s when you hold on to your friends, and you try to make every night last as long as possible. College for me wasn’t suffering, I didn’t get to pull many all-nighters (at least not for college stuff); it was a happy time of discovery, freedom, partying and traveling. Yeah, 2005 was a strange year. I got an internship in another city, my first serious relationship sort of finished, and finally I graduated at the end of that year–it was a time for big decisions. A time of my life was coming to an end and I could feel it. It was scary but exciting. For me, this song is all the emotions I went through that year. It is about growing up and moving forward, though sometimes I wonder if I did what they say ,and stayed awake, did sleep really give in?
Cat Stevens: The Wind
Cat Stevens’ music has always been in my life. Both my mom and dad love his music, so we always had it at home. I especially remember all those road trips we made when I was a kid. We had a VW Sedan with a cassette radio, dad would drive and mom would change the cassettes during the trip. My brother and I would lie down in the backseat looking through the window as the trees turned into green brushstrokes. Cat Stevens’ music brings me home immediately, and to that sensation of safety, peace and happiness. And now that I’m older, this song always makes me feel better in those tough times when I question myself about the decisions I’ve made, and the path I have to follow. It is there to remind me to listen to the wind of my soul, so I feel safe again knowing everything will be ok, just like when I was lying down in the backseat of our old Sedan.
LCD Soundsystem: All My Friends
If Smashing Pumpkins’ “1979” brings a certain feeling of nostalgia with it, then “All My Friends” is the 2000’s new nostalgic anthem. Of course I’m not saying anything new here, but since I’m talking about memories, it’s inevitable for me to talk about this song and the feelings it produces. As it happens to me with many songs, I have no idea what I was doing the first time I listened to it. I just know it hasn’t left me ever since. It is a song that grows old with me, a song that always seems to take the mood I am into–it doesn’t matter if I’m sad, happy, daydreaming, if I’m drunk, if I’m partying, it just molds itself to fit my current emotional state. It brings memories from the past, about growing up and growing apart, but it also tells me to move on and wait for what it is yet to come. It makes me want to be high and dancing and feeling everything at once, but it also makes me want to lay down on the floor and cry with the lights off. In a lot of ways this song is a memory recording and reinventing itself every time.
Red Hot Chili Peppers: One Hot Minute
The first album I ever bought obviously has to be on my fondest musical memories playlist. It wasn’t the first record I owned, that was Michael Jackson’s “Dangerous” and a few records from Maná, but certainly this was the first record I bought with my own money that I had saved up. Back then in 1995, that was all me and my friends did for fun. We’d walk into a record store and just look at CD covers, and talk about the few bands we liked and watched on MTV, then crash at some of our places and watch more MTV and eat snacks. So yeah, this was my first album and my first Chili Peppers album, a record with Dave Navarro instead of John Frusciante on the guitar (I’m not even going to talk about Hillel Slovak, who was awesome too), and let me tell you something… I love it. Don’t get me wrong, I love John Frusciante and all his amazing funky guitars in the albums previous to One Hot Minute and all the precise, precious, minimalist guitars that came thereafter, but there’s just something about One Hot Minute that makes me love it so much. Starting with Mark Ryden’s illustrations for the album cover and the booklet art, it feels like you’re entering into this crazy world, inhabited by all those small, tiny, human-like creatures. At that time I was a small, tiny, crazy creature too. I was eleven and had too much energy, so one night at home with no parents, we invented a game; we turned the lights off, turned the volume up to the MAX and played One Hot Minute, as we played a twisted version of dodgeball. It was stupid but fun, so I guess sometimes I like music to remind me that I can be like that.