To create a playlist for someone you have to 'get in touch' with him or her, just like when you design something as personal as the interior of a house

*Lorenzo Palmeri, industrial designer and musician. He has created this playlist for Interni Design Journal

Creating a playlist is both compulsive and reassuring. Because in fact a compilation, it allows us to display, in clear and set terms, what we actually like.

Being a musician, I tend to listen to music in a monomaniac way, and I go through moments. I am able to listen to three or four songs in repetition for a few months and then move them to the department store of my memory which I will later access when necessary.

This is why I compose playlists only for others, offering a kind of service which is also a private and very intimate communication stream. A digital version of what we used to experience once with tapes.

Liza from Bastien Dupriez on Vimeo. Animation: Bastien Dupriez. Music: Liza (Gershwin) - Jean-Michel Pilc, piano solo. From tCD ‘Parallel’ (Challenge records, 2018). Technique: 35mm film. 2020. Liza is an abstract movie drawing its name from a composition by George Gershwin: a visual transcript of that music, interpreted by Jean-Michel Pilc.

I used the word 'intimate' not by chance. It may seem like an exaggeration, but to create a playlist for someone it is necessary in some way to 'get in touch' with the other person, just like it happens when you design something as personal as the interior of a home. The creator must like it - being the deus ex machina and knowing that what we deliver speaks about us - but someone will have to live in the spaces we design.

Of course a playlist can be undone in four seconds but it will no doubt be listened to at least once. If the connection works, the link between me and the person who receives it is confirmed and solid. If it doesn’t, something went wrong in my listening: I was not able to interpret the other person’s needs.

The risk of getting hurt exists. Because there are happy playlists that could be good for someone who is temporarily down. But (and this is clear only if you know the person well), what about some phrases that could evoke ghosts that would be better left where they are? Or pieces that bring back painful memories? And what about the discovery? How much known music should be part of the playlist and how much should be a new discovery? Better something catchy, which attaches itself immediately to memory, or sophisticated? It is easy to answer these questions only if there is a curiosity and sincere knowledge of the person for whom we compose the playlist.

Aérobie from Bastien Dupriez on VimeoDirection/animation: Bastien Dupriez. Music: Antoine Zuccarelli. Technique: paint and scratch on 35mm film. 2017.

The list could go on and on. But what is certain is that weighing up the various elements and the emotions they evoke is fundamental when designing a list of songs: whether it is for ourselves or for others.

I really like sending a piece of music or a full playlist to someone and I think it's a nice gesture tout court. The sharing of music can establish a very deep communion between people.

After all, music is also one of the few things that has continued to move freely around during te pandemic. It filled the rooms, the spaces between the houses and the people, not to mention everyone's inner places, sewing the distances. And demonstrating, once again, its saving power.

Cover photo, a screenshot from the short movie Sillon 672. In the text, Liza and Aérobie, other works by Bastien Dupriez, an artist who transforms musical compositions in abstract animations with colorful and evocative lines.

Sillon 672 from Bastien Dupriez on VimeoDirection/Animation: Bastien Dupriez. Music: Antoine Zuccarelli. Self-production, 2014.