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DJ Tennis' 10 Best Psychedelic Burning Man Tracks

Free of any deep burner tech, the Life and Death record label founder shares an eclectic playlist of tracks he loves playing in the desert—from The Beatles to Burial.

by David Garber
Aug 26 2016, 7:30pm

Photo via the artist.

Italy's Manfredi Romano, AKA Life and Death record label founder DJ Tennis, is something of a regular throughout Burning Man's many beat-riddling music stages and dust traversing art cars. While the DJ and producer certainly delves in a more tech-centric sound often rinsed at roaming camps like Robot Heart (check his 2015 live set for a taste), he cut his teeth pushing left-field sounds and even had a career tour managing punk bands back in the day. Ahead of his yearly pilgrimage to the playa, Tennis hit us up to share a YouTube playlist of some of the more eclectic sounds that he holds dear from his many years attending and playing at the Burn. Check out what he had to say about the tracks, followed by the embeds below.


DJ Tennis: Despite what most people think, Burning Man is not a music festival; it´s more of a social experiment—a temporary city of around 70,000 inhabitants, that pops up in the middle of Nevada desert and suddenly disappears without leaving trace. Its citizens are devoted to creativity: creativity in art, technology, music and expression.

My first outing was a shocking emotional experience. I quickly found myself on a constant mission to explore, absorb, and reorganize an ever-growing amount of stimulation. My senses and my perception were reset to a primitive level. Every visual, musical and sensory experience was different and more intense than the last. This is a little playlist of tunes that have accompanied me the past few years—somehow, they sounded different out there.

1. Nese Karaböcek - Yali Yali (Todd Terje Edit)

Turkish music in the 70s had strong funk and disco influences. Mixed with traditional music, the results are simply incredible. This song is a great example of that, and Todd Terje (in my opinion, one of today's best psychedelic and disco contemporary artists) chose to re-edit the track.

2. Anton Valotti - Spiro

Anton Valotti is a studio musician who mainly composed music for soundtracks. The cinematic segments of his themes perfectly match the incredible landscape of Burning Man's playa.

3. The Beatles - A Day In The Life

This song is probably my favorite Beatles song from my favorite Beatles album. It's an album that's a milestone in the pop evolution during such an important moment of our social and political history—1967. Harmonic, rhythmic, and dissonant elements really pushed the limits of the music industry during that period.

4. Black Truth Rhythm Band - Umbala

This is a band from Trinidad but with obvious afro funk and jazz influences. The Caribbean elements make this track a psychedelic funk gem.

5. Now Now Now - Problem (Enzo Elia AfroNeukolln Edit)

This Italian-made edit is a modern classic Balearic record—certainly a must for every eclectic DJ today. That man whistling on a desert beach is everything.

6. Luke Abbott - Brazil (Slow Version)

Surfing the border between psychedelia and modern Trance—the slightly detuned synth chord progressions and repetitive percussive pattern made this one of my favorite tracks for Burning Man.

7. Underworld - Dark & Long

Underworld mixed psychedelic elements into rave music and the results were an in instant popular success.

8. Burial & Four Tet - Moth

A mesmerizing masterpiece. The mystery that surrounded the identity of Burial made this tune all the more special. Beyond sex, acid and psychedelia.

9. Serge Gainsbourg - Ballade de Melody Nelson

Serge Gainsbourg: humorous, provocative, satirical, and/or a subversive musical genius. This ballad, together with Jane Birkin, demonstrates how musical schemes are formed only to be undone.

10. Peter Gabriel - Feeling Begins

This soundtrack from the Scorsese film Last Temptation of Christ, is a pure masterpiece and definitely one of the most successful experiments of crossover between traditional folk music and electronica. This is the opening track, made with an Akai S950 Sampler and a synthesizer, showing just how prolific and eclectic Peter Gabriel was.

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