Now, this concept of the Despacio playlist takes some explaining.
Despacio is Spanish for slowly, and this playlist series was inspired by James Murphy (of LCD Soundsystem) and Soulwax, who created the Despacio Disco — epic, hours-long sessions that feature slower ‘dance’ numbers, mixed with tracks that might be previously more associated with ‘yacht rock’ or guilty pleasures.
Here’s my interpretation: Despacio Disco is designed for that ‘pre-party’ vibe, though it just as easily becomes the party itself — just a more chilled version of the word party, where there is no dance floor, but you might expect people not to stand still. But as you dance, you will probably keep on talking and drinking too (why interrupt the flow when you are having a good time).
The perfect setting for these playlists is a gathering of close friends, family or colleagues, where mixed ages come together and people tend to know each other a little. Summer helps too. There are no constraints here that you might expect from having a professional DJ do the music for a party, and this enables Despacio to contain a much more eclectic mix than a classic DJ set. So on Despacio you will hear Sade or Grace Jones, Prince or Bowie alongside Justin Bieber, Dua Lipa, Janelle Monae and Leon Bridges. You will come across more modern classics by the likes of Amy Winehouse, MGMT, Taylor Swift, or Paulo Nutini.
There’s no snobbery with Despacio, but there is a high bar of quality which in itself aims to bring a sense of exclusivity to those tracks and artists on the lists - after all what could be more exclusive than creating the right mood to enjoy quality time with friends at a party, and to have the right music to get people in the mood.
If there is a star of the show of the Despacio disco, it has to be Madonna. Over the four volumes so far, I feature more ‘Madge’ tracks than any other artist. Like the woman says, music - makes the people come together.
Playback notes: Vol. 1 is roughly scheduled and work in order, but perfectly well on shuffle too. Dance away, if nobody’s watching!