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The Best Acid Trip Playlist

Sit back and tune it. We've found the best psychedelic sounds—plus a little history, too

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When people think of psychedelic music, they often think of the counterculture movement in the late 1960s. However, artists have been using music to blur the lines of reality for far longer: The 1894 symphonic poem, “Prelude to the Afternoon of a Fawn,” by Impressionist Claude Debussy, is considered a turning point in modern music. The genre-bending Italian futurists in the early 20th century, whose electronic innovations helped build the sonic soundscapes used in modern psychedelia, there’s no shortage of songs that can inspire introspection, evoke emotion, and change how you perceive the world around you. 

There are many types of psychedelic music—and it would be educational for our playlist to include every psychedelic song ever recorded in chronological order. This list is slightly different: It’s intended as an informative, seamless, blissed-out auditory roadmap for your trip. And don’t worry: throughout the highs and lows of our journey, you’ll still hear some familiar classics alongside some rare gems and newer tracks worth experiencing. Follow along as we take you on an auditory tour of some of our favorite music for tripping with our best acid trip playlist. 

Many factors influence successful and rewarding psychedelic experiences. Take extra care and pay attention to the set and setting during your trip: Try experiencing psychedelics outdoors, where nature and sunlight can help you remain calm and grounded. Another thing to consider is the company you keep during these experiences. If you prefer not to trip alone, surround yourself with people you trust to avoid any unwanted situations or stress. 

READ: Incubus Lead Singer Brandon Boyd Talks Psychedelic Drugs

An Acid Playlist? Meet the Best Music for Tripping

Pet Sounds, The Beach Boys

The Beach Boys Pet Sounds album cover

Inspired by the innovative music of The Beatles and Phil Spector’s “wall of sound’ production style, singer Brian Wilson set out to create “The greatest rock album ever made.” The title track from his one-man opus features riffs teeming with the surf-rock heritage fans expect from a Beach Boys album, along with layers of lush instrumentation often from the least likely places (like using coke cans for percussion).

The album’s lukewarm initial reception has been shadowed by its now cult-like status among music aficionados. Pet Sounds is now regarded as one of the most influential albums ever made.

Maria También, Khruangbin

Khurangbin Con Tolod el Mundo album cover

Formed in 2010 in Houston, Texas, Khruangbin’s psychedelic blend of soul, ’70s funk, and Middle Eastern influences will envelop listeners in a warm blanket of nostalgia. The trio stays true to the song’s title, skillfully blending Latin rhythms into a genre-bending track that begs to be played again. 

Time of The Season, The Zombies

The Zombies Odyssey & Oracle album cover

The Zombies silently went their separate ways after their debut album, “Odessey and Oracle,” didn’t hit the charts. Nearly two years later, their US label chose to launch “Time of the Season” in the States, and the song soared to No. 3 on the Billboard chart, catapulting the Zombies back into the spotlight. 

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With the original members having moved on to various jobs, a production company quickly assembled a group they dubbed the Original “Zombies,” around a then unknown Dusty Hill and Frank Beard (Who would later form ZZ Top), and toured the US, fooling concert goers everywhere because the internet had not yet been invented. Originally recorded at Abbey Road Studios, “Time of The Season” remains synonymous with ’60s psychedelia and reminds us that it’s always the season for loving.

Remember Me, Tame Impala

Tame Impala Remember Me Album cover

No stranger to modern psychedelia, Tame Impala’s Kevin Parker has headlined festivals and theaters worldwide. The band’s transcendent live performances—and penchant for layering multiple instruments to create a fresh sound rooted in the past—are why it’s included in this mix. 

He was initially recorded in 1997 by British DJ Alexis’ Lex’ Blackmore under his pseudonym Blue Boy. The mushroom jazz-infused track sampled blues singer Marlena Shaw, while Tame Impala’s version opts for Parker’s warbled vocals paired with a raucous rhythm section that keeps the energy and vibes pumping into our next track.

Hurdy Gurdy Man – Donovan

Donovan Hurdy Gurdy Man album cover

Written while Scottish singer Donovan Leitch was studying transcendental meditation in India alongside The Beatles, it is rumored that “Hurdy Gurdy Man” was initially intended for Jimi Hendrix. Although there are still some arguments over who was present at the recording time, the album credits guitarist Jimmy Page and drummer John Bonham, who helped usher in the Celtic rock sound they would use to form Led Zeppelin later. 

The song’s influential legacy, strange vocal delivery, and lyrics about being visited by an ‘enlightened stranger’ are why this song continues to inspire artists—and why it had to be included on our list. 

“It’s the most psychedelic experience I ever had, going to see Hendrix play. When he started to play, something changed: colors changed, everything changed.”

-Pete Townshend

Burning Of The Midnight Lamp, Jim Hendrix

Jimi Hendrix Burning of the Midnight Lamp album cover

Initially released in the summer of ’67, this B-side to “All Around The Watchtower” marks Hendrix’s first use of the wah-wah effects that would become synonymous with his trademark sound. During the four-minute opus, Hendrix talks of the “circus” moving on, leaving him alone in the desert. Despite this, he continues to burn the midnight lamp like a beacon, leading us further into our mix.

Xtal, Aphex Twin

Aphex Twin xtal album cover

Aphex Twin, aka Richard D. James, is a producer, composer, and DJ whose records span over three decades. Featuring the eerie vocal samplings of Donald Greig’s “Evil At Play,” Xtal muddles the distinction between ambient electronic, psychedelic grooves, and genuine pop sensibilities. Full of atmospheric textures created with dated electronics and recorded on a damaged cassette tape, the hauntingly melodic melancholia of this song will stay with you long after it’s over.

READ: Melissa Etheridge on Her Transformative Plant Medicine Experiences and Embracing Her “True Self”

California Owls, Death and Vanilla

California Owls Death and Vanilla album cover

Formed in Malmö, Sweden, by Marleen Nilsson and Anders Hansson, Death and Vanilla utilizes vintage musical equipment to emulate the sounds of ’60s/70s psych. This track’s warmth shines through the speakers like a hot summer’s day—it’s filled to the brim with sunshine and dreamy synth-layered echoes. At just over five minutes, California Owls is the organic sound that will help keep you safe and grounded during this journey–like a trip sitter for your ears.

Bat Macumba, Os Mutantes

Bat Macumba Os Mutantes album cover

Born out of São Paulo’s vibrant music scene at a time when Brazil was undergoing significant political and cultural changes. Os Mutantes were a seminal psychedelic band that emerged in the mid-1960s. Their music played a pivotal role in developing the Tropicália movement, which sought to revolutionize traditional Brazilian music and aesthetics by incorporating elements from abroad.

The song’s wildly inventive structure and energy marks our playlist’s departure from electronic music, venturing further into the birth of psychedelia.

Soul Sacrifice, Santana 

Santana Soul Sacrifice album cover

First introduced as the closing track to Carlos Santana’s infamous Woodstock performance in 1969, this six-minute instrumental answers the question, can drums be psychedelic? It’s a resounding yes. Known for experimenting with substances, Santana stated, “By the time we got to ‘Soul Sacrifice,’ I had come back from a pretty intense journey. Ultimately, I felt we had plugged into a whole lot of hearts at Woodstock”. The performance would skyrocket Santana into superstardom, becoming a global celebrity almost overnight and cementing his place in the Psychedelia Hall of Fame. 

Gbomei Adesai, The Psychedelic Aliens

While there’s no shortage of acid trip playlists full of bands from the American and British psychedelic scenes of the late sixties, our next track comes from an unlikely place–Ghana. Active for only three years, The Psychedelic Aliens fused funk, psych, and garage rock with African rhythms to produce an entirely new sound.

Kalinga, Free The Robots

Kalinga Free the Robots album cover

The brainchild of Chris Alfaro, a Filipino American musician/producer from Santa Ana, California, Free The Robots makes music almost impossible to put into any singular category. Kalinga includes samples sourced from native Filipino albums and field recordings that give the track a perfect balance between the past and present. Alfaro says he was inspired to record Kalinga after a powerful psychedelic experience.

“I watched as my body vaporized into another dimension. Like a cannonball, my consciousness shot through my bloodline and I found myself amongst an indigenous tribe in a rice field/jungle where I was able to spend time communicating with strangers who may or may not have been my actual ancestors. Without words, what I took from the experience, I can’t explain.” 

-Free The Robots

Expensive Shit, Fela Kuti

Fela Kuti Expensive Shit album cover

Nicknamed “The Black President,” Nigerian artist Fela Kuti may very well be the most beloved artist to grace this mix. Born into the upper class, Kuti would abandon his family’s traditional plans for his future, opting to study music in London instead. After a brief stint as a jazz player in San Francisco, Fela returned to Nigeria, where he renounced Western music and began incorporating African sounds into his work’s soul. 

Kuti became a vocal opponent and relentless critic of several Nigerian administrations, which he labeled as corrupt, undemocratic, and oppressive. His outspoken and politically charged music frequently made him a target of state violence, culminating in an illegal raid on his compound and landing Kuti in jail on trumped-up possession charges. After eating the cannabis-filled joint the police had planted on him, Kuti was kept under 24-hour surveillance until authorities could, ahem, recover the evidence—an expensive shit indeed

Political turmoil has always pushed forth new music, and Kuti’s improvisational, percussion-driven anthems are no exception. By the time the dust has settled from the track’s three-minute opening jam session, Kuti arrives with a bang, delivering howling verses full of political criticisms and humor at the expense of his jailors.

Maggot Brain – Funkadelic 

Funkadelic Maggot Brain album cover

As we come to the end of our mix, who better to represent the culmination of the genre than the collective known as Funkadelic? What began as a Doo-wop group in the mid-50s, Funkadelic transformed into a powerhouse act, fueled by the ideas of Black Power, free love, and their noted use of hallucinogens throughout the band’s lifetime. “Maggot Brain” has become a part of psychedelia infamy, as the song was reportedly captured in a single session when singer George Clinton, influenced by LSD, instructed his guitarist to perform as though they had just learned of their mother’s passing. 

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The track’s raw emotion, spooky tones, and echoing saturation bring our mix to a close with arguably the most epic guitar solo ever recorded. 

DoubleBlind Magazine does not encourage or condone any illegal activities, including but not limited to the use of illegal substances. We do not provide mental health, clinical, or medical services. We are not a substitute for medical, psychological, or psychiatric diagnosis, treatment, or advice. If you are in a crisis or if you or any other person may be in danger or experiencing a mental health emergency, immediately call 911 or your local emergency resources. If you are considering suicide, please call 988 to connect with the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

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