Sun Kin’s Playlist

India-born, Oakland-based musician Kabir Kumar is Sun Kin, an ever-evolving project that’s as personal as it is community-based. It’s an outlet for Kumar to express his own musical voice, but also a good reason to bring together fellow artists from the Bay Area indie-pop scene to round out his vision. In 2020, he returned with his third album, Private Time, a collection of intimate bedroom pop that’s rich in soulful grooves and heavy with tales of bucking tradition, confronting trauma, and letting go. Even with its weighty themes, there’s an undeniable silkiness to the album’s overall flow, which is influenced by a number of artists—old and new—that Kumar has compiled for us with this buttery-smooth mix.

Says Kumar of the playlist: “It’s called ‘Still Smooth After All These Years’ because I’ve grown increasingly enamored of smoothness in music. When you can combine an effortless listen with subtle sonic complexities, you get songs from which you can pick up new details and feel something new years after your first listen. Moving from the psychedelic bossa nova of Triste Janero, ’80s sophisti-pop of Prefab Sprout, and Japanese city pop of Taeko Onuki to more modern takes by DIY institutions like Mr Twin Sister, Ava Luna, and Benny Sings, this playlist should hopefully shine a light on what we’re going for in Private Time.”