Your Weekend Playlist Courtesy of Sift

When we first discovered Danielle Hall’s Sift playlist, it was clear that we’d struck gold.  In 2018 she began the personal project, or “side hustle,” so to say, to soundtrack days at the office. Aside from her full-time job running a design consultancy in Toronto, she pulls together a monthly playlist based on a  genre or feeling; each collection of songs is additionally inspired by a specific visual artwork. While working at MoMA, Hall expanded her inherent passion for music and art by curating their Summer concert series.

This week, Hall gifts us this special Sift x Milk homage to the iconic French photographer, Guy Bourdin, to soundtrack the weekend. Regarding this set of tunes, Hall says:

“I chose this cinematic and surreal Guy Bourdin image which made me think of self-reflective, moody new wave music. This playlist is good for a hot midsummer evening — even stargazing, so long as you’re embracing those mid-summer blues. Who can tell the difference between sweat and tears at this time of year anyway amirite? Some highlight songs are definitely one-hit-Spotify-wonder Violet Eves, an Italo wave group from the 80s that I discovered thanks to a compilation from revival record label Music from Memory, and I can’t express how much I love Gregor, an experimental post-punk/pop musician who’s emotional melodies often make it onto my playlists. Recommended dance move for this one is slow dance with yourself in the mirror while wearing lots of eyeliner.”

What is Sift

Each Sift, which is a collection of songs based around a genre or feeling, is paired with an artwork mostly because I like the challenge of trying to summarize it visually. I send out a link to a small mailing list of people with a lil write-up and recommended dance moves for those who are inclined (no one.) There’s something I kinda love about the output of a plain text email. It feels intimate and personal. 

What’s your background in music? How did you get so much knowledge?

I can’t boast too much here. I’m a piano kid with a good ear and some mildly obsessive tendencies when it comes to researching the music I like. 

As a kid, I loved classic rock, soul and r&b. I grew up experiencing the orthodoxy of old music — ‘the classics’ and ‘greatest hits’ which due to economic, social or political factors, have risen to the top of my consciousness. A tidbit from history that stuck with me from a talk by Mississippi Records’ Eric Isaacson was that from 1878–1904 no one was able to press a record without the consent of Thomas Edison, who held the patent for the phonograph and ensured we heard very few recordings from racial or cultural minority groups. What I get jazzed about is what was happening in the sidelines of mainstream recorded music. And thanks to collectors and revival labels, those fringe and esoteric records are now available to us via the internet. So now there is the ability to create new contexts for old music. For me, the ideal Sift combines some more obscure artists with B-sides from established artists— Jay Ramsey or Dave Berry next to a B-side Beach Boys or Beatles track is a fun example. 

Who and what have you curated music for?

A few years back while I was still working at MoMA as a designer, I got involved with organizing the Summer Thursdays concert series in the Sculpture Garden. As a reaction to the pervasive anti-muslim, anti-immigrant rhetoric, we brought together a group of musicians who through their diasporic roots produce a kind of borderless sound. It’s a series that has always provided a stage for emerging artists — Helado Negro, Buscabulla and Jojo Abot were a few that we were excited to book. 

Since then, (post Sift’s launch) I’ve collaborated with friends & clients such as Wolf Circus, aeyde and Rainbo. You’d be crazy not to be inspired by jewelry, shoes and mushrooms.

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Image courtesy of Louise Alexander Gallery.

Stay tuned to Milk for more Weekend Playlists

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