Music, like food, provides a unique and powerful lens on culture when we travel. Not all of us can be like the Lonely Island’s Jorma Taccone in Kenya and return from a trip with the footage and audio to make an original music video that documents our experience. But we can bring places back with us by raiding the local record stores wherever we go. And we can scour the bins closer to home for the music that transports us to the land of its origin and provides the soundtrack and inspiration for our travel dreams and plans.

For our “Wax On” Mix photo spread in the June/July issue of AFAR, we culled 23 album covers from the collections of AFAR staffers and a few select used record stores. We made our selections by virtue of their classic and evocative artwork—long live the 12-inch vinyl LP! The sounds represented range from the koto music of Japan to the contemporary samba of Brazil, with stops in Sweden, Germany, Tahiti, Zimbabwe, Hungary, India, the United States, and elsewhere.

The artwork is one thing, the music another. So we’ve put together a Spotify Global Mix playlist for your listening pleasure: The majority of the 23 tracks come from the actual albums pictured, others are by the same artist, and few from other musicians in the same region or style, standing in for the obscurities that seem to exist only on rare vinyl. So click on over to Spotify and take our audio trip around the world. You’ll hear flamenco, electronica, reggae, rock’n’roll, and more. While you’re there, be sure to follow @AfarMedia—we’ll be creating and posting thematic playlists on a regular basis.

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