When it comes to Burning Man, the annual weeklong, community-based, temporary city and art event in the middle of the northern Nevadan desert, there is something of a cult-like fanaticism that takes hold of the nearly 70,000 attendees. How else could one explain the almost mythical appreciation of the “playa dust” (aka dirt) that permeates Burners’ bodies and possessions long after the Man is set ablaze? But even for those who haven’t attended yet and those who never will, it’s hard to deny the power of the music that comes out of Black Rock City, Nevada.
Earlier this year, “Spark: A Burning Man Story,” a documentary about this uniquely iconic festival, premiered at SXSW and has since been released as a video download. Naturally, the film’s soundtrack is as original as the festival itself, featuring an eclectic and energizing mix of artists from Diplo and Damian Lazarus to Rudimental and Michael Franti & Spearhead. Listen to the exclusive premiere of the Spark double album soundtrack below:
“I’m pleased the track found its way onto this very varied album,” said Lazarus, whose Crosstown Rebels label posted his track with Mathew Johnson, “Going To The Desert,” as a free download prior to the festival. “Having been to Burning Man for the last four years, I wanted to make a piece of music that captured the essence of the preparation for the festival; both the excitement and the fear.”
Jesse Houk, better known as pop remixer and underground DJ The Scumfrog, contributed to the “Night” disc of the soundtrack with a song he made specifically for his performance at the Robot Heart camp, a micro-community within Burning Man known for its DJ sets as much as for its high-concept large-scale art installations.
“As a desert dweller who just came back back from his ninth Burn, I am honored to be affiliated with this project,” Houk says. “To see this song being embraced by the Burning Man community is the biggest reward. There is no better place to play music than at Burning Man. It makes every other stage pale in comparison.”
Executive produced by Dan Wilson (Adele, Dixie Chicks) and the film’s producer Steve Brown, the soundtrack for Spark was designed to showcase musicians who Brown says “had a passion for Burning Man and for the culture that it represents.”
Whether or not you make it to the desert next August is up to you, but you now have a soundtrack to transport you there in the meantime. The soundtrack for “Spark: A Burning Man Story” comes out September 24.