Playlist (November 4, 2020): Post-Election Day Healing Vibes

Platforms like I CARE IF YOU LISTEN have a responsibility to reflect and respond to the world around us. So to treat today like business as usual would be careless, because this is no ordinary day. The sense of finality (for better or for worse) that usually accompanies the Wednesday after Election Day is noticeably missing as we all continue to hold our breath. 

In anticipation of today being an anxious and difficult day, members of the I CARE IF YOU LISTEN contributor team and American Composers Forum staff have collaboratively curated this playlist to offer some respite from the news cycle. Please find some time for self care today–check in with loved ones, take breaks from doomscrolling, and be kind to yourself. We hope that the tracks below can offer you a momentary sense of calm and and peace.

“Mishima/Closing” from String Quartet No. 3 (Mishima) by Philip Glass, performed by Kronos Quartet

“Mishima/Closing” has pulled me through countless episodes of severe anxiety. This is the piece I listen to, on repeat-in the dark, when I need comfort. The whole quartet is beautiful, but there is something about this last movement that really makes me feel like the world won’t be ending today. –Natalie Calma

“Mobius” by Nai Palm

“See how my harbored might is blowing away-” Healing waves sent your way. Stay strong, stay supple. –Chris Campbell

The Cave of Rebirth by Tigran Hamasyan

I find extreme comfort in predictability–patterns, repetition, familiar sounds and landscapes. For me, the churning, oscillating patterns and slowly building layers of Tigran Hamasyan’s The Cave of Rebirth are deeply comforting, and this video is also stunningly beautiful. –Amanda Cook

“Songbird” by Eva Cassidy

Whenever I need to recenter, Eva Cassidy is in my list of go-to’s. There is a clarity and honesty to her voice as well as her playing that needs nothing extra, allowing the listener into her intimate space of storytelling. –Anne Goldberg-Baldwin

“Johanna” by Bessie Jones

This song feels like a big exhale to me. If you haven’t already, please take a moment to learn about Bessie Jones’ life and work. –Tim Igel

Sustain by Andrew Norman, performed by the Los Angeles Philharmonic (Gustavo Dudamel, conductor)

On composing Sustain, composer Andrew Norman says, “I discovered that I was really writing a piece about the earth, and my—and our—relationship to it… [it is] my attempt to place us, the listeners…in relation to things in nature which are unfathomably bigger and longer than we are.” I attended the world premiere of Sustain live at Disney Hall in Los Angeles two years ago. The expansive and exquisitely delicate quality of this music took by breath away then, and it still does now. –Lauren Ishida

“Take Me Coco” by Zap Mama

This song takes me back to my high school days of melancholy/mood mix-making– Its circular motive has always helped me transition from commotion to a more meditative state. –Laura Krider

“Edudae” by Enya

It is difficult to overstate the profound effect obsessively listening to Enya had on me as a geeky high schooler in the 90s with aspirations in music making. This track in particular, with its mysterious, dark sonority still pulls me back to another time and place. And yet, its wordless text always seems to have the potential to express something new each time I revisit it, propelling me forward in unanticipated ways. –Christian Kriegeskotte

“In a Sentimental Mood” by Duke Ellington and John Coltrane

A once-in-a-lifetime collaboration of jazz giants Ellington and Coltrane that resulted in a true masterpiece of the 20th century. The honey blue sound can provide either an exhale of relief or one of longing and mourning. It fills the space of unknowingness. –Bonnie Marshall

“Baby It Has to Fall” by Efrim Manuel Menuck

Efrim Menuck’s music often portrays a pretty bleak vision of the world, but almost always leans towards the light and towards hope of a better future. Regardless of the outcome on November 3rd, Baby It Has To Fall is the reminder we need that the work we have to do is not over. –Greg Nahabedian

“the souls that sit with me” by Joy Guidry

Any November can do with time at the beach: this one more than most. the souls that sit with me caps Joy Guidry’s marvelous EP with comforting family banter and shimmers of electronic support. –Lana Norris

“Nocturne” by Ana Roxanne

Ana Roxanne draws from wide-ranging influences like 90s R&B singers, choral music, and Hindustani singing to create intimate ambient soundscapes. On “Nocturne,” from Roxanne’s debut album ~~~, Roxanne’s voice soars above a pulsing synth, evoking a peaceful sound world that’s simultaneously otherworldly and familiar. –Haley Olson

“This Is” by iT Boy

This track by iT Boy (the solo electronic project of Brooklyn-based composer and instrumentalist Theo Baer) has a trance-like quality, and I love the way the muted trumpet at the beginning gives way to sparkly synthesisers and sybilline cassette-loop vocals that are just beyond reach. A piano riff runs through the whole piece and is suddenly cut off at the end, like an intake of breath that isn’t released. –Gemma Peacocke

“Tell Me a Bedtime Story” by Robert Glasper Experiment

Herbie Hancock originally gave us “Tell Me a Bedtime Story” in 1969 after a very tumultuous year in American History; it’s beautiful dream-like quality an ode to innocence is superbly covered by the Robert Glasper Experiment featuring vocoder vocals by Casey Benjamin. It was on the Experiment’s ArtScience an album that gave me a lot of hope in 2016 and I hope it gives you some peace today. –Dameun Strange


I CARE IF YOU LISTEN is a program of the American Composers Forum, funded with generous donor and institutional support. A gift to ACF helps support the work of ICIYL. Editorial decisions are made at the sole discretion of the editor-in-chief. For more on ACF, visit the “At ACF” section or