Musician Rosali Middleman transports in her elevated playlist of transcendent chillers perfect for deep listening, healing and creativity.
Singer/songwriter Rosali Middleman is known for her introspective compositions that meander and build as they explore the spheres of possibilities with rich and alluring melodies. When not free-floating in the sonic universe, she spends her time taking long walks with her dog and cultivating her passion pursuits.
Heads Lifestyle: Hey, Rosali, where are you now?
Rosali Middleman: I’m at home in North Carolina.
HL: What do you do with your time?
RM: Take long walks with my dog, Foxy, draw, take care of my indoor plants (not cannabis, just my beautiful jungle), cook, and of course, make music.
HL: Do you get high when listening to music?
RM: I used to a lot, but not so much anymore. I enjoy it mostly at night when I’m winding down before bed. Which is why my playlist is for transcendent chillers. My relationship with cannabis is mostly for deep listening, healing my body, and for creative inspiration.
HL: Describe a typical music-weed session?
RM: Edibles all the way. I used to be a spliff smoker, but I like the way edibles make me feel in my body. I’ll either play guitar, do a lot of stretching (so good when you’re high), or I’ll draw and listen to records too.
HL: What is your earliest memory of connecting the dots between music and cannabis?
RM: Conceptually that came pretty early for me. My parents had a rock and roll band growing up and being hippies with seven kids, they didn’t really shelter us from anything. We’d go to their band practices and so witnessed a lot of adult activities. I thought smoking weed was a completely normal thing grown-ups did (it was way more taboo back then). I got a little older and learned it was illegal and not so common in my conservative small town. I have a strong memory from sometime when I was in elementary school while watching the evening news: They were reporting that two of my parents' good friends who ran an organic vegetable farm were being arrested for growing marijuana in their fields and we watched on the grainy screen as they were handcuffed in their field and led to police cars. There were helicopters involved, all very dramatic. I remember it terrifying me. Marijuana is now legal in Michigan where I grew up, so thankfully things have changed a lot since the early 90s.
As far as connecting the dots and actually experiencing being high and making music is a little fuzzier. I think on a profound level it happened sometime in college when I started making experimental and improvisational music and getting into deep listening. Being stoned really helps drop that inner critic and be 100% in the moment, and allows the sounds and momentum to just move you. I also hear music differently; you know how some music just makes more sense when you're blazed.
Der Große Krieger
Experimental pioneers Popol Vuh have been a major influence on my work. I think it's seeking transcendence while being very rooted in humanness, if that makes any sense. Big sucker for intricate heavy grooves and uplifting guitar.
Robert Fripp & Brian Eno
One of my favourite pair of collaborators of all time. I initially wanted to add a track from the first side of No Pussyfooting, but it's really one long extended track for all of side A, which isn't friendly for a playlist. But Evening Star has been a companion on many nights. I love the gentle repetitive swaying chords and the chiming arpeggios with the unhinged soaring guitar that comes in and out of exploration and rides the air currents of the stratosphere.
World B. Free
Thankful to live in the same timeline as Bitchin Bajas. I've seen them live a handful of times and it's been different each time. But they always transport and envelop the entire room with their impeccable vibes. Magical sounds and grooves. I love how slowly this track builds, taking time to allow the journey to unfold.
Manuel Göttsching was a genius, and Ashra (and Ashra Tempel) always does the trick as mood enhancers. This song feels like a joyful party in the microcosmos that sublimates out into your cells.
I love Chuck's work; it's so in tune with the heart. I have a funny stoner story about the first time I heard this record. Years ago, I was hanging with my friend Kryssi Battalene (of Headroom/Mountain Movers) in her room in New Haven. We got super high and she went to take a shower and told me to feel free to put on a record. I selected this album—reminder I was VERY stoned—and Kryssi had a DJ-style turntable with reverse play and speed variable options at the ready. I think I hit some extra buttons when I went to play it. In my haze, I didn't notice that I was listening to the album in reverse AND half speed until she came back in and laughed at me while setting it right. But the thing is, I was completely transfixed—the music really worked that way, so otherworldly.
I recently discovered Berlin-based composer and cellist Anne Müller's music, and I am in love! I've always been a fan of the cello, the timbre so close to that of a human's. I love the repetitive circular build-up of this track—it's hypnotic, and the percussion comes in at the perfect moment.
Being a longtime fan of Roedelius and their work in Cluster and Harmonia, I recently came across this collaboration album with saxophonist Alexander Czjzek, whom I hadn't heard before. It has such a sweet, free, organic sound to it.
Who Does She Hope to Be?
Sonny Sharock's guitar playing is some of my favourite. It's so poetic and I feel a unity with his melodic lines and pacing. It sounds like singing to me. I love the sound of this recording—it's natural, real and I just want to listen to it over and over, somehow seeming like the beginning and ending of a story.
Sacrificial Code 1
Breathy organ tones and modulating lines on this track return me to a centered place. There's something ancient Kali is tapping into here, like the sound of stones respirating.
Rothko Chapel 5
A long-term boyfriend introduced me to American composer Morton Feldman many years ago (we even had a cat named Morton Feldman/Uncle Morty). He always liked to listen to music while sleeping and one night I awoke sometime in the late hours to a Feldman piece that sounded like spirits were in the room. I wasn't sure what was even going on, but it left a deep impression on me. The majority of his works are very, very long, unfolding with patience and a lot of space and silence, and a great deal of dissonance. This excerpt from one of his most famous, Rothko Chapel, is a sweet reprieve of moving cello and piano.
The brilliantly wise Alice Coltrane, the greatest. It starts off simple and then almost has a glitchy contemporary digital effect with cascading layered sweeps. Listening to this on some good headphones, the panning will rearrange your brain and scrub your aura.
Experimental composer William Basinski's work is that of angels and beauty, playing with impermanence and memory, like dreaming an eternal dream. This track comes and goes in a repetitive loop with ghostly artefacts shaping change and creating little worlds behind the stasis of the melody. The perfect meditative music.
Rosali is the solo incarnation of Philadelphia-based musician, Rosali Middleman. Through songwriting and performances, Rosali shares resonant emotions and the authenticity of being, unveiling herself to connect with broad audiences. Taking her first steps in a musical family, Rosali’s sonic explorations have led to four albums and several creative collaborations including Long Hots and Monocot. Her latest record, Variable Happiness under the moniker Edsel Axle comes out August 11th. It will be available to purchase on the Rosali website and Bandcamp.
Rosali Fall tour dates here
Rosali Socials here
Photos by Asia Harman
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