Science Sundays Volume 5: Lysergic Acid Diethylamide


I’m probably going to get a lot of shit for this one. So just as a precautionary disclaimer, I’m not really trying to encompass the infinite realm of what defines “acid” in both musical and personal experience senses of the term. So before you get your panties in a bunch that Phuture isn’t on here or your favorite Plastikman track is missing or one of these doesn’t have an “acid bassline,” just know that I am pulling the typical Burning Man “I don’t know man, you just gotta experience it yourseeeeelf” move and letting you know this is my personal derivative of what, to me, starts to entertain the idea of the drug we like to call “acid.”

Lysergic Acid Diethylamide, more commonly known to us as LSD, or even more so by the term “acid,” is a semi-synthetic (aka it’s mostly made in a lab, but derived from a whole separate chemical), non-addictive hallocinogen. We all know the story, 60s counterculture kids raving about drippings of color, breathing walls, and just general weirdness. It’s liiiike, soooo crazy maaaan. You know, that stuff. It’s actually a substance that was once thought to hold great promise in the therapeutic field and still to this day has research funded by certain organizations on its possible spiritual, medicinal, and therapeutic benefits. Amongst the many variations of hallucinations and effects a user can experience, more commonly they include visual hallucinations, loss of the concept of time, reinterpretation of your ego, and sometimes, when in the wrong environment, a “bad trip.”

Acid, in electronic music, can be most easily defined by a rolling and “hypnotic” squelch and drum pattern, often created by Roland’s drum machines (most commonly the 303, then the 808 and 909 and so forth). The first signs of “acid house” date all the way back to the late 1980s, getting quite popular in the “rave culture” in the early 90s, but recently (I’d like to think this is thanks to Boys Noize and DJ Pierre, but that’s just me) has seen a resurgence. If you want to read more about the history of acid house, you can go here, and of course check out a pretty solid acid compilation here.

Below are a few tracks that are either newer variations on the acid sound in electronic music, or are just generally weird and experimental tracks that in some sense have similar properties to an acid trip, strangely colorful, off-kilter in pattern or flow, ebbing, funked-out tunes. Or maybe they’re just tracks I’d imagine one would fancy while … in the moment. I hope you can enjoy my own little musical acid trip, and until next time, stay trippy.

Glass Figure – Brightside of House

Oh my god I love this song so much. New style of acid sprinkled into the song, almost tore my hair out trying to find it on the interwebs when I first heard it but I’ve made it easy for you with stream and buy links! Really hoping for more from Glass Figure, this whole EP is ace. PURCHASE

Boddika – Acid Jackson

Pretty self-explanatory. Boddika is consistently a pretty solid hit for me, and this is a very fine example of that. And I couldn’t think of a more telling title. No digital release as of yet, unfortunately… BUY THE 12″

Trevino – Tweakonomics

Pretty solid acid synth line in this one, clueless as to why it’s listed as dubstep on Beatport though. Shouts to my friend Urulu for the recommendation on this! PURCHASE

Joey Beltram – Energy Flash

Holy Fuck, this song was released when I was just a year old. Wow. WOW. That is all I have to say. R&S Records, I salute you. PURCHASE

Night Symmetry – STS

Free tune I discovered thanks to yer boy Burn Unit a few months back. Very good job from Night Symmetry, a solid acid haus track! DOWNLOAD

Moderat – A New Error

Honestly, when I saw Moderat live a few years ago at the Palladium I nearly lost my mind. I was dead sober & completely unprepared for what I was in for. I have never in my life felt more like I was on massive amounts of drugs than witnessing their live show. And I mean that in the most awesome way possible. Watch this video. PURCHASE

Digitalism – Miami Showdown

Songs like these always trip me up because they sound so much faster than they actually are. This clocks way below 110 BPM but feels like many of Digitalism’s 124ish BPM tracks. Crazy acid attack synths come in later on. Diggin it. PURCHASE

Aphex Twin – Stone In Focus

It was actually my little brother that showed me this track (amen, I taught him well) but ever since I’ve always used it to set my mind right or to let it wander. Either way. DOWNLOAD

Jacques Greene – Sorted

Different vibe than usual from the Montrealer, really enjoyed it nonetheless. The free download got slammed on it but I’ve found it elsewhere for ya. DOWNLOAD

Hype Williams – Your Girl Smells Like Chung When She Wears Dior

Veering away from the directly “acid lined” tracks, I really just love Hype’s slowed & drippy track format, and I always get tripped out on the little clips of reformatted Ryan Leslie in there. PURCHASE

Skream – Future Funkizm

Yet again, another weird off-kilter jam from the man Skream. I really don’t know how he does it. PURCHASE

!!!BONUS!!! Boys Noize – Diplo & Friends Mix

Acid techno is back in a large way thanks to the unibrowed legend that is Boys Noize. His latest mix for Diplo & Friends (a program of which I have truly grown to love) has tons of unreleased BNR stuff in it & hence tons of acid. Enjoy.