Brett Johnson is one of house music’s most beloved DJs and producers. The artist’s-artist and your favourite-DJ’s-favourite-DJ, you only need mention his name to anyone clued up on the genre and they’ll likely spare no superlatives – probably due to the fact he has been one of the most consistent members of the scene for close to two decades now.
Toeing the line between thinking man’s DJ and an expert floor-filler, Johnson has developed a reputation for creating driving, thumping house with a relentless groove and a warmth and soul all of his own. He also often brings in otherworldly elements to his music, taking in visual as well as sonic influences inspired by an artistic upbringing. Perhaps that’s why he was so keen to help us out with this list of his 10 favourite songs to trip to.
In Brett's own words:
"Typically, you'd expect someone to list a bunch of spacey, psychedelic records to listen to while you take the trip. I've found that can be fun but a bit safe, why not dig into some deeper emotions or themes? If they are positive and forged from light and love, you'll go to some cool places. Really, most quality music is good to listen to while you are tripping but these are the ones we always enjoyed playing…..over and over again.
It occurred to me as I was writing this list that it and my descriptions are very personal. You'll note there is a running theme throughout my trips and I'm grateful for that, as I've learned we each can have a very different experience. The mind works with what is already there. I do believe there are some universal truths but our trips are colored by who we are, and that is what makes it so intense and scary at times. When it gets real, can you handle what you'll see and feel?"
Read Brett Johnson's selections below and listen seamlessly via our YouTube playlist.
Terry Callier Love Theme From Spartacus (Roy Davis Jr. remix)
Brett Johnson: "Something simple is the key, only love can set us free". A good friend and I once listened to this and a few others on repeat one evening, aside from the great music and message, Mr. Callier's off-kilter singing really gets in your head. It was white blotter that evening."
MAW feat. Luis Salinas Pienso en Ti I think of you (Main version)
Brett Johnson: "This is one of the other songs from that evening I just mentioned. Some of my favorite Nu Yorican stuff from Masters At Work. This mix is a journey."
Chez Damier Untitled Side B1 (aka You ain't Dancing)
Brett Johnson: "I actually had the pleasure of tripping while Chez stayed with us (Chez did not take) once in Dallas in '96. We listened to a bunch of fantastic music that day. I told him the strings on this sounded like a Japanese soap opera. LOL."
Psyche Neurotic Behavior (Mayday reproduction mix)
Brett Johnson: "This remix is certainly psychedelic but in no way safe, and that's what I love about it. It sounds like at any point it's going to lose it and fly off into space."
Isolée Brazil.com (non radio edit)
Brett Johnson: "You don't actually have to take any LSD to feel like you are tripping whilst listening to this. It can't hurt though."
The Innocent Jack 2
Brett Johnson: "Music that travels usually makes the best road maps on your journey."
Gavin Bryars Raising The Titanic (Big Drum Mix)
Brett Johnson: "This one is a bit intense, if you listen closely you can hear all the souls that were lost. This is Aphex Twin for the five people left in the world who haven't heard this."
Jean-Luc Ponty Computer Incantations for World Peace
Brett Johnson: "I played this for some friends once in London after we ate a bunch of mushrooms, they laughed at me and asked if we we're listening to Fantasia. LOL. I love this song, you can hear man's modernization of the world. The buildings sprouting up, computers, cars, progress. Then the chaos and dissonance that is inevitable when we try to do too much and not take enough care. Then Mr. Ponty's violin plays to remind us there is always hope and that everything will be okay, if we love and help each other."
Brett Johnson Sigh Of Relief
Brett Johnson: "Okay, so it's my own song, but it can be very revealing to listen to your own music whilst tripping. A luxury that only some can enjoy, so why not check it out? This is a song I made in 2002, the little vocal harmonies we're sung by my friend Dave Barker, and I think I forgot to credit him on the record. Sorry Dex."
Manuel Göttsching E2 E4
Brett Johnson: "Many of Göttsching's LPs rate really high on the tripping-friendlymeter. Very psychedelic stuff, check out the Inventions for Electric Guitar LP as well. E2 E4 is just short of one hour, one song, an hourlong. Any artist can loop to infinity but can you keep it interestingand with flowing feeling, that is the trick. I've listened to E2 E4 init's entirety many times and I can tell you, this does not get old, to me at least. Oh, it's from '81 so it's quite ahead of it's time. Proto techno."