What’s This Playlist All About? Following the release of her fifth album, Miss Anthropocene, dark-pop provocateur and AI enthusiast Grimes has declared “ethereal” an official music genre. While the word typically means “extremely delicate and light in a way that seems too perfect for this world,” Grimes describes her playlist a little differently: “We agree that there is a long lineage of auteur artists, often producing their own music and/or directing their own music videos. Oft with a heavy visual component and fantasy, sci-fi, or literary elements…” Either way you see it, there’s certainly an indefinable, maybe even otherworldly, softness coursing through this three-hour-plus playlist.
What You Get: A decades-spanning mix high on the energy of the Divine Feminine with sensual selections from “ethereal” legends like Cocteau Twins, Kate Bush, and Enya, plus woozy electro-soul dreams from newer artists FKA twigs and Lolo Zouaï, and spacey dance delights from Purity Ring and HANA, the latter of whom often collaborates with the playlist maker herself. Grimes’ own music is strategically placed amid this eccentric bunch, such as when her hazy, funereal hymn “Before the fever” seamlessly follows Burial’s surreal, fizzy fantasy “Come Down To Us.” And what would a sci-fi-inspired collection be without Vangelis’ Blade Runner classic “Rachel’s Song”?
Greatest Discovery: Jon Hopkins’ blissed-out journey through a mind-warping, body-numbing mix of ambient glow and frizzling beats on his 2018 track “Singularity.”
Most Ethereal of Them All: It seems that nothing—not even through all of our technological advances—can quite top the stunning elegance of Claude Debussy’s “Clair de Lune,” a beauty “too perfect for this world” that we earthlings may not even deserve anymore.