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ZHU — Faded

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When I look back at the best moments of my life they are mostly those nights that seemed as if they could never end. Nights filled with taxi rides, bright city lights, dancing, bar-hopping, making-out, late-night snacks, more drinking, more dancing, more making out, and a LOT of music going every single second of the night. If “Faded” by ZHU were the soundtrack to a trailer of these nights, it would be supplemented by images of steamy black and white sweaty and sensual dancing. Picture this dance scene from the film The Matrix Reloaded, (go ahead, put it on mute and let this track play instead) only that instead of a cave somewhere in the distant future near the Earth’s core, we are all in some underground abandoned train station that NYC has all but forgotten even exists.

Baby I’m faded
All I wanna do is take you downtown”

I once drove a lamborghini through the streets of Dubai on my way to one of their more upscale clubs in a tuxedo. That night I felt like I was unstoppable. I felt as if the world were mine and that any of the dreams I had ever had could come true within the blink of an eye. I can’t really pinpoint what part of it all made me feel that way—was it the music, was it the rumble of that Space Age supercar underneath my feet, was it the gorgeous woman I was with, was it the exotic land I was flying through that added to the surrealism of it all, or was it a mixture of every piece of that evening in its entirety: the pouncing sounds, the powerful vibrations, the intoxicating kisses and touches lit by lights that seemed to emanate from a city built into a video game? ‘I dunno’. All I do know now is that if Faded had been the soundtrack to that particular evening it would have made everything more perfect than I already remember it to be. More flawless, more powerful, more intoxicating…

I apologize for going off on a tangent stemming from these memories of mine, but it’s what ZHU‘s delectable tune made me do. I hope that somehow it does the same for you—you know, make you remember a moment when you felt at your most powerful, going from 0-300 with not a care in the world as a minimalistic Sade-like vocal whispered seduction into your ears too.

Baby I’m wasted
All I wanna do is drive home to you”

ZHU — Faded

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ParadisFM – Garde Le Pour Toi

Riches to riches.

In order to propagate the current business model the matrix uses the concept of success as a tool to keep people dreaming. I.e. if you work really hard that will lead to the all the success and accomplishment you need to be happy. Similarly, the concept of retirement is used to keep us looking into the distance while wasting our lives away in linear pre made patterns. It’s an assassination of the moment.

Further and even more perplexing is the fact that success is often measured by antiquated currencies. You can have a $200,000 a year job and spend 14 hour days in the office, work 2 weekends a month, barely see your family and what little vacation you take must be kept short at risk of being fired. Your money is worth less and less due to the currency wars, quantitive easing and taxes. So even with “success” as we currently know it are you really successful in these conditions?

In the Space Age we’ll need to leave behind the already fading and failing currency of the past and understand the true currencies of the future – time, privacy, information and mobility. No longer can we wait to be successful or for the ever elusive retirement to enjoy life. All of those concepts are traps. How mobile are you, can you work from the road today to go explore Saigon? Or are you obligated to be at the same place every single day, at the same time, every week of every year?

You’ll always be in jail ni$&@, just minus the bars…” – JAY Z

It’s time to redefine success by understanding that we already have it. This concept that we’re born unsuccessful and then have to work our way up to “success” is a fallacy. Just like retirement is flawed in the sense that we give up the best years of our lives in the present to have some pot of gold in the future. Life is happening now and we already own success. Just like science discovers things that were already there, we have to realize that everything we want already exist, we just have to have the right perspective, look through the right magnifying lens and manifest it. The idea that corporations will set our path and be our guards has been proven to be nonsense. Microsoft is going to lay off 18,000 employees and they’re stock will go up because of it. That’s the old age, take control and be your own guard. Welcome to the Space Age.

ParadisFM – Garde Le Pour Toi

 

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Flying Lotus – Parisian Goldfish

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Another brushfire belches acrid smoke
into our lungs.
The city stained with ash,
gray as the sky.

Last time fourteen young men were swept up
in the blaze and killed in an instant.
The town held a candle light vigil.
Oxygen, in the end.

Red sun setting, mirrored in flames
that creep up, floor by glass-paneled floor.
From the top of the hill, the city burns,
before night’s coolness fades all to silhouette.

Poignant films are planned,
imbued with misplaced resonance
that no one is looking for.
Based on a true story.

These are the facts, or, most of the facts.
The rest we enhanced for entertainments sake.
What really happened, guess we’ll never know.
Just appreciate the artistry.

From pulp to press to printout,
curling waves of bleached wood
cut fresh from the soil
some miles away.

Clouds hang mixed with residue,
a roiling mass, a vortex turning.
In the eye of the storm a woman dances.
Doesn’t she know?

Careless how quick we forget
after the darkness has passed.

Infinite sky, space;
Hurtling out into blackness expanding
and disappearing over the event horizon,
lit by flares of gas and dust.//

Flying Lotus – Parisian Goldfish

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Jamie xx – All Under One Roof Raving

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Hardcore will never die, but you will. :-)

On that note, Jamie xx stepped in for Benji B on BBC Radio 1Xtra last week and made for a f@#king phenomenal two hour mix featuring exclusive, unreleased material from some of the sickest producers around these days— James Blake premieres a new track at the 30 minute mark along with some exclusives from John Talabot and contributions from Modeselektor among others…

He opens the set with his latest release, All Under One Roof Raving. In short, this track is a six minute rave in yo brain. Listen with your best pair of cans and lose yourself in *steel drum heaven*. The vocal samples are weird and perfect, featuring excerpts from British artist Mark Leckey’s 1999 documentary Fiorucci Made Me Hardcore. Definitely a must-see based on these sick-ass samples.

Cheers & thanks to Jamie xx for being brilliant as always.

Jamie xx – All Under One Roof Raving

 

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A Tribe Called Quest – Excursions

A lot of people wonder why EMPT hasn’t rushed to become some sort of Pitchfork type deal. Business people from well-respected companies come to us with corny proposals and we turn them down. They look at the rebel kids like we don’t know what we’re doing because they don’t understand our intention. Why? First of all, it’s because we would never violate the love people have for us by exposing our audience to anything we didn’t think was the absolute best…

We think you’re a joke shove your hope where it don’t shine…” – Santigold

Secondly, in this world where everything and everyone is in a constant buy & sell pendulum Space Age Bachelor Pad Music is NOT FOR SALE.

Why do I say that ’cause I gotta speak the truth man,
Doing what we feel for the music is the proof man…”

Third, we just don’t care about poser related complications. EMPT has nothing to do with money, fame, ego, recognition, power or admiration but everything to do with expression of the selfless beings we aspire to.

It’s always been like that but now more than ever I find myself basing all my life decisions on that type of thinking. If we’re not careful the marketing complex can make us think material things are what dictate what we should do. I.e. I need a nice car so that means I need a great job. That’s false though and it should be the other way around. You should reflect internally on what it is you feel and base your decisions from the inside out…

You gotta make moves, never ever ever can you fake moves.”

Excursions is the opening track on Tribe’s The Low End Theory, one of the rawest, hardest, dopest and flyest Hip Hop albums you’ll hear. That line up there is the hook and in its simplicity lies a truth that is essential in the journey that is life. We all know the difference between real and fake but not everyone is willing to face the fear that usually leads to poser like decision-making. What’s worse than knowing you’re doing something fugazi and pursuing it anyway?

You must be honest and true to the next, don’t be phony and expect one not to flex…”

There are consequences to sell out activity. If you rob a store you must be prepared to go to jail because you either accept or understand the risk. If you fake moves you have to understand there are consequences for that too.

So as you go into your Friday, press play and let the abstract take over your mind with realness. Let that Art Blakey walking bass line take your deep into the cultural melting pot that is hip hop music. Let that Bob Power sound engulf you with rawness. Take am excursion to the boogie down and let Q-Tips anti-posing lyrics stick in your head. Stay true.

A Tribe Called Quest – Excursions

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Et Musique Pour Tous Presents: Les Auteurs — Ashley Jordan Lane

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Whereever you go, there you’ll be.”

My ex-boyfriend’s mom told me that. After four years I was leaving, and this was the message I took with me. After you leave once, it is easier to spot exits in life. Constantly trying to hop to the next place, avoiding the feeling of quicksand in the present time. When you have the urge for change, to travel, to leave, the only thing harder than leaving is staying there. But we do what you are not supposed to do in quicksand, which I gather from Indiana Jones and Blazing Saddles, which is to hold very still. And breath.

This is a mix about travelling. Not “The Best Roadtrip Mix Ever”. This is the short story about the cliffs and valleys of the wanderers.  We are all familiar with the phrase “not all wanderers are lost” and this is the playlist for those wanderers.  They are using looking for someone, generally themselves.

Enjoy the ride.

Bob Dylan-Subterranean Homesick Blues: I digress. This is the perfect roadtrip song. This song should start all of your trips. The roots of the song coming from his Beats influence. The conflict of the straight and square. The contract between what is expected and where you are going.

Parov Stelar – The Sun (Featuring Graham Candy): This track is the moment you are on your first traveller’s high. Either mentally or otherwise. You got your footing in a new place. Confidence has come back to you after fumbling languages, upsidedown maps and seeing the same road twice. Swaying to the heavy base set down by Parov Stelar and the raspy vocals of Graham Candy, you glide.

Joăo Gilberto – Bim Bom: This is a song for landing on your feet. I found this song on an album in the kitchen of the Airbnb I stayed in in Rome. The homeowner left espresso and this CD in the player to listen to. It was warped and scratched as it had been listened to so much. I asked him about the CD when I was checking out which was titled Songs of Brasil. He had always wanted to go to Brazil and live there. He listened to this CD every day. I listented to it every morning and I felt like I was home in his little kitchen with his little espresso maker and this song playing through the little player. The song sounds like the OM sound for travelling. The perfect balance sound. Comfortable on your feet on new soil.

Tom Odell – Another Love (Zwette Edit) : This is a recent release. And the song is a release. Tom Odell has the vocals you want to hear from your lovers and friends. It’s hopeful, dreamy. “And I wanna kiss you, make you feel alright | I’m just so tired to share my nights | I wanna cry and I wanna love | But all my tears have been used up.”  The highlight, the nectars of travelling are the kisses and deep talks with strangers and those intense connections you make quickly and deeply with all of your being. Sharing secrets with people who you will never see again. It is amazing, the secrets you share with strangers you will never see again. This track is for the beer at the bar with your new lovers and friends. For the quick, deep cuts and connections you get on a trip. The ones that leave scars you look at lovingly in a year or five. Still able to taste the memory on your palette.

Frank Ocean – Super Rich Kids: Depending on where you go, you will come across the rich kids. We all are when we travel. You save up so you can be stupid. Be reckless. No one is there watching. The freedom to be the new person you want to be. Any status. From anywhere you want. Trying out accents and zip codes and seeing what fits. This is the creation of you for the moment. The confident, newfound you. And Frank Ocean should be on all travelling mixes.

Milky Chance – Stolen Dance (Radio Edit): The thing about wandering is you need to be comfortable with yourself. This is the time you get in to your head. Why did you leave in the first place for? This song from Milky Chance is the song that comes on at the first hard spot of a trip. Knees are scuffed. When you first fall, the contents of what you were caring around with you spills out and you have to pick it all up, one by one and pick yourself up. We need to look at all of this stuff you cary with out and choose to let some things go.

Caribou – I Can’t Do Without You: When wandering, there is a time you will get home sick. You will miss someone or something or familiarity. It is that sinking feeling in your stomach and usually has bad timing. This song. This song has  that feeling. The opening just has the repeating line “I can’t do without you”  which explodes into the  rest of the music and sound. The beginning acting more like that voice in your head. Not able to shake it, just have to let yourself acknowledge that. This track is from the new Caribou album Our Love.

We are not wondering lost forever. We have wander lust, forever.

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Anna Naklab – Wicked Games (Parra for Cuva Edit)

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We were in a decent restaurant somewhere outside of Barcelona. It was the first time we had seen each other in 4 months. Aside from that we had only seen each other for one weekend. We met in a bar. I, an American dressed up on Halloween in London, in a bar of less interested suits and ties watching a football game. He approached me and we talked about plans and dreams after 20 minutes. The night ended without exchanging numbers or last names. But by the end of the next day, he found me again and we were set up to meet over the weekend. Two days later, I was on plane back to the States indefinitely.

1,521 messages later, we bought tickets to meet in Barcelona. Back in the restaurant, we drank and asked each other all of the little questions you do on a third date. Then we got to the big one “What is your favourite love song?” This is an important question. It reveals how the person feels about love. The one song that says ‘this means love’ in their minds and could be tied to another lover or their broken heart.

He seemed to be taken back when my answer was (and always will be) Wicked Games by Chris Isaak. “That is a sad song.”

That is difference between him and I. A love song doesn’t mean happy. It doesn’t mean poppy. It should capture love and that is exactly what this song does. If you ever find yourself on a third date and asking this question, you will find the answer of your potential suitor to vary. Love is hard. And tragic. And beautiful. And when you find yourself reminiscing about a former flame or in the beginning of a new, I hope loves feels like this song.

I suppose in the context of this relationship, this song was most fitting.

-

This was a production from Parra for Cuva which uses a version sung by Anna Naklab. The end result is a mix of airy vocals and a tune to fall in and out of love to.

The world was on fire and no one could save me but you.
It’s strange what desire will make foolish people do.
I never dreamed that I’d meet somebody like you.
And I never dreamed that I’d lose somebody like you”

Anna Naklab (Parra for Cuva Edit) – Wicked Games (Original Mix)

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Fabolous — Pachangas

La Marina was mine way before Fabolous, Jay & Bey, or Leo DiCaprio had an inkling of what it would be, but then again, many places from LES to Dyckman have been that way. Actually, many places from East Williamsburg (Bushwick) all the way over to the West Coast have been that way in my life. You have to remember that at some point in everybody’s life they have all been inspired by someone else; someone more knowledgeable, someone more experienced, someone more daring. Anyway, I had my birthday there before they officially opened, and Fab was one of my invited guests that year…

Friends in this industry are just a bonus” — Ken “Duro” Ifill. 

Fab has no idea who Cyrus Pavel is. He has never heard of that pen name and no reason to have. I was born in NYC, raised in the Pink Houses of East New York back in a time when Brooklyn was a place that many of you readers here would have been robbed for stepping in. I actually thought about using the word “mugged” instead of “robbed”, but as any NYPD officer with 20+ years in would tell you, there is a difference. Let’s start off with the definition of a “Pachanga“. A “Pachanga” is a traitor. The kind that our American History books consider a Benedict Arnold. Throughout the history of humanity, there have been several “Pachangas”, think Judas Iscariot from one of our oldest scriptures, right?

A thug changes
And love changes, 
And best friends become strangers.”

Centuries and Millennia later, a young prophet from Brooklyn puts out a song titled similarly to a modern-day Judas calling it: Pachangas. Pachangas by Fabolous deals with the turncoats of life. The everyday friends and loves that cross the line into enemy territory by proving loyalty only to themselves. People that get so caught up in their own hype and moments, that they forget their humble beginnings altogether. Suddenly, the moments when they couldn’t spare a dime, yet you looked out for them become forgotten and erased. Things that you recall with full detail become disregarded in full denial. Cars you gave them rides in, money you made one another look great with, and fights that you settled or took on for them go completely unrecognized…. Pachangas is a song that deals more with the shock of how easily people will let you down, than with the characteristics of the people that will always let you down. It is a song that is more about how hurt someone is from being let down, than the actual traitors themselves because:

When you lose a friend,
it’s hard to handle the loss.”

A Pachanga is a girl that you loved with all of your heart and slid with your best friend, whom you thought would always have your back. A Pachanga is the best friend that pointed you out in the lineup, even though he knew you had less to do with the situation at-hand than he did. A Pachanga is the family member that wants you to taste the glass of wine that they believe could be poisonous..

Yo, everything ain’t love love, cause if it is
My definition of love must differ his.”

My point? A Pachanga is someone that will always break your heart.

Fifteen years, fifteen years!
And now when we say “what’s up” the shit seem weird?”

So, if you have had your heart broken by the shock of what someone you gave all of your love could do to you, then this is a song for you. It’s a song that you will appreciate and find hidden gems in, and, it is a song that if you like or love Fabolous, you will see a lot of his personal life spread throughout. A rare commodity in a day and age where artists love to expose too many sides of themselves, unnecessarily.

To Losoyou need more real gunners and bad guys around you again. —Cyrus Pavel

What you lookin’ at? You all a bunch of fuckin’ assholes. You know why? You don’t have the guts to be what you wanna be? You need people like me. You need people like me so you can point your fuckin’ fingers and say, “That’s the bad guy.” So… what that make you? Good? You’re not good. You just know how to hide, how to lie. Me, I don’t have that problem. Me, I always tell the truth. Even when I lie. So say good night to the bad guy! Come on. The last time you gonna see a bad guy like this again, let me tell you. Come on. Make way for the bad guy. There’s a bad guy comin’ through! Better get outta his way! - Tony Montana

Honorable Mention to my fellowBrooklynites.

Fabolous — Pachangas

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The Flaming Lips – Free Radicals

You are where you want to be. You are who you want to be. The people in your life are who you want in your life. The people not in your life are the ones you don’t want in your life.

That may sound vague but it basically means that who you are, whether you like that person or not, is completely the product of your creation. That’s how simple it is because even when we’re lost in thought our subconscious is still at work creating that which we consciously recognize as happening or don’t. That’s why mindfulness is so important because the thoughts you have can control your path without you even knowing it…

The mind is a wonderful servant, but a terrible master.”

Kanye recently wrote a I am a God” and before you get your panties in a bunch realize that it’s a metaphor for being made in the image of ultimate creation, God is just a word we’ve given to the dopest shit ever that nobody really understands. That said, we tend to act surprised when changes happen in our lives but as little creators, in the free world, we literally make everything that happens in our lives. Cognitive bias, denial, selfishness, ego, stubbornness and arrogance make us think external forces are responsible but in a place like the US that’s not entirely true. Here, were relatively free to control what and who comes into our lives. Despite the revolutionary things happening in politics at the moment were not controlled by some insane dictator telling us how to do everything. That said, if you let someone in your life capable of hurting you then you made that happen. You can’t blame the person because actions have no real meaning besides what we give it. Something that may seem right to you could be wrong to someone else and vice verse. That means you could be creating a path for yourself that accomplishes everything your subconscious truly desires while simultaneously destroying what you don’t. Once you’ve manifested this reality it’s up to you to take responsibility for it.

The Flaming Lips are legend bands and Free Radicals is by far one of my favorite of their jams. Sonically it’s a space age Prince meets an even weirder version of Bowie. Song wise it’s about people who over react to situations and take revenge in extreme ways. There are so many lawyers to the way the world operates and what the Flaming Lips are referring to is high power where very bad things are done and equally bad things are done in retaliation. It’s very complicated but parallel learning is always in effect. Often times when we dance with the devil we’re shocked at what comes back but look at humans like animals for a second. In wildlife a Lion will eat the shit out of Zebra, in cold blood to survive. No one judges a lion. But if you’re a Zebra and you walk in front of a pack of lions, you better be fast as lightning or accept that reality you created…

You know the consequences of your acts, you can’t be serious.” – Jay Z

You are where you want to be. You are who you want to be. The people in your life are who you want in your life. The reality you’re in is the one you created. The good, the bad, the ugly. Accept it, keep it if you like it or know your power and change it if you don’t. The Stoics strongly believe in enduring both hardship and happiness with an even keel to get to a higher truth. Until we become masters and can truly be mindful enough to see our own actions from outside of ourselves it’s wise to learn from such wisdom, being swayed to the far left and right by our own mind getting lost in thought is no way to fly. Enjoy.

The Flaming Lips – Free Radicals

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KRS One – Sound of Da Police

Law enforcement has existed for thousands of years. From the Prefects of ancient China, Athenian public slaves, and Roman vigils, to today’s beat cops, highway patrol and paramilitary police, these bodies have occupied a cultural niche unlike any other. Both required and reviled, the law is ever present across the world.

In the USA and most “developed” countries, citizens are accustomed to a professional policing force that, for better or worse, exists to protect and serve the population on a day-to-day, community-to-community basis. But in much of the world, state power barely projects a few hundred meters surrounding government buildings or institutions. The void is filled by a range of power structures: warlords, religious leaders, citizens brigades and more. Clearly, the innate desire for protection is shared by all people, and yet that desire often allows for the rise of corrupt and unequal structures that prioritize the human rights of some groups over others.

A recent episode of the Vice television show explored the advanced policing tactics in Camden, New Jersey. Entitled “Surveillance City,” the program explored and exposed the technology intenseive pilot program implemented in the city over the past few years. Cameras on every block, monitored around the clock. Facial recognition software, license plate tracking, and ground forces on constant patrol. As you can imagine, the residents of Camden are not happy about the arrangement. Most of the interviewees were from underrepresented ethnicities, but a number were white, including a wealthy non-Camden resident who had apparently come to the city to buy drugs. He was noticed on camera, deemed to be an outsider, and apprehended before the deal went down. If that doesn’t remind you of “Minority Report,” you haven’t seen the movie.

Even more frightening and incredible was a report on a demo program conducted in (or should I say, over) Compton, California by Persistence Surveillance Systems, a military contractor. They worked with the LA County Sheriff Department to track the entire city in real time using high-flying drone aircraft, which generated footage of daily life below. The police were then able to take this footage and zoom to an unbelieveable degree of specificity, rewinding and fast-forwarding to track crimes in the buildup and aftermath. As in, they knew a crime had happened, so they checked the tape, and were able to follow the crimminal’s getaway car to its final destination. Will Singapore use this tech to catch litterers? What are the limits?

That technology is here, make no mistake, but it has not been implemented at scale yet. This week, residents of Gaza City and Donetsk, are facing far more immediate law enforcement crises. In both cases, there is serious disagreement as to who is making and enforcing the laws of life, with deadly consequences. These examples are representative of the limbo faced by a massive proportion of the world’s population. When one cop says yes and one says no, and the consequence will be meted out violenty, with no trial, by both sides, how do you figure out what to do?

KRS One gave us one of the most memorable lines in musical history with his comparison of “officer” and “overseer”:

Take the word “overseer,” like a sample
Repeat it very quickly in a crude voice sample
Overseer, overseer, overseer, overseer
Officer, officer, officer, officer
Yeah, officer from overseer
Need a little clarity? Check the similarity.”
Law enforcement is by definition a type of overseer. And, though the comparison is reprehensible, overseer’s on slave plantations (the one’s KRS is rapping about) were highly valued by the dominant societal elite at the time. The same goes for law enforcement now, in many ways. The dominant social forces use law enforcement to project their ideologies. In some cases, those ideologies are progressive and aimed at protecting human rights and expanding opportunity. But in most, the ideologies are strict and anti-minority, whether ethnic, gender, religious, you name it.

I’m not trying to make an argument here, but I believe that the nature of law enforcement is changing rapidly and out of sight for most people. The NSA “revalations” are one example. As global citizens, we need to ensure that we have a voice in the process, whether our governments want to hear that voice or not. This is one reason art is so valuable. Censorship will occur, and does every day. But art speaks a universal language. Ever rebellious street tag is a reminder to the man on the street that all is not well. And every protest anthem (“Sound of Da Police” included) is a rallying cry to raise your voice and work toward the changes you want to see in the world.

KRS One – Sound of the Police

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