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Shuggie Otis — Strawberry Letter 23

shotis

Ashley Hefnawy is like a cool comic book crusader to me. The few times that I have seen her in the flesh, it has been as if I myself am just another part of her comic book world. Even in my environment she managed to make me feel that way. Her passion and love for music are nearly unmatched, and her ability to share it with us is a gift to our very own world. She put me on to Shuggie Otis last night, somewhere high above the clouds staring at Gotham from a short distance in the backdrop. Ashley‘s world is immediately more colorful than any I have encountered. All the colors to everything somehow become enhanced; it’s trippy, and dope at the same time. Look at the artwork alone for Shuggie‘s 1971 album: “Freedom Fight”, and take notice of how rich the purple filtering to it is; how vibrant it appears, and then you might be able to see what I do.

Anyway, Strawberry Letter 23 is the definition of a sonic masterpiece.

I’ve figured out within the past few weeks that I am a complete music snob, and an audiophile. Basically, I only want the good shit.

In order to grasp the best feel for how vibrant this song is you will need a few things:

  1. A sound system that consists of the music not coming out of your laptop speaker, but that you can plug your laptop into.
  2. Speakers, and a decent subwoofer that isn’t too “crunk”. So basically, lower the intensity of your sub, if you have one, to about 2 on a 10 scale, and your treble to about 6 on a 10.
  3. A good pair of headphones for listening later on again because some of the instruments like the live triangle that are used can only be heard properly with headphones. The surround sound effects are much better. NOTE: HEADPHONES SHOULD NOT BE BEATS by DRE. Those distort the highs in order to give music more umph on the bottom ends.

Now, you are ready to listen. What you are about to experience is how live-orchestras sound, and hopefully it will allow you to miss some of things that made music so warm to begin with.

Somewhere down the line we started compensating great sonic recordings of live-instrument production with the digital, and we lost things. We lost the ability to feel what a beautiful bassline feels like. We lost some of the warmth to it. At 1:13, when the triangle comes in, panned left, we forgot what the echoing “tings” of it sound like in the room. Listen to how they move away like the peak of a yodel getting lost in the canyons. 

I guess it helps when your dad is a legendary composer because in this day and age the same process would cost millions, but isn’t it so worth it?

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Jessie Ware – Keep On Lying (TOKiMONSTA Remix)

I’d quite like to talk about dancing really quickly. Now, this isn’t a dance song, but I’m currently tapping my feet along to the good-ness that is TOKiMONSTA’s style. She (yes, SHE) first captured my attention with “Drive” (do your ears a favor and search our site for this post), so I was happy to hear her style translate over to a remix. She couldn’t have picked a better artist than Jessie Ware. OK.. I’m a little (lot) biased, having been a fan of Jessie’s for a few years. Simply put, this is a badass song.

Back to dancing… I never felt hindered from dancing until moving to Oklahoma. It’s not a bad state overall, but it’s the little things that get me. One thing being the lack of dance floors (excluding two-stepping bars of course). The fact that the majority of bar-hoppers would rather sit and talk allll night, than to get up and get a little jiggy, confuses me. It became apparent to me last weekend when I was in a college town; it was the “Big Game”- two Oklahoma colleges playing each other. So, a girlfriend and I were hopping around, having fun, all the while looking for a place to “end” the night. Somewhere to dance! This was how it was for me in college.. go out and find somewhere to let loose. It shouldn’t be as hard as it was last weekend! We ended up creating our OWN dance floor!! When I woke up the next morning and was revisiting the memories, the thought hit me- why were we the ONLY ones dancing?? I felt like an anomaly, with everyone looking at us strangely. Maybe I’ve just been spoiled by Austin’s abundant nightlife, filled with bars accompanied by energetic people and dance floors, not just bar stools.

So it’s just kinda been on my mind lately. I’m not asking for a giant dance party.. just some SPACE to move around, and for the general atmosphere to be open to body movement. Let’s bring some free-thinking into these Southern towns! Who’s with me?

Make sure to give Jessie Ware’s new album a listen, and keep your ears pricked for more of TOKiMONSTA’s work.

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Camp Claude — Trap

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She thought that I sent her this song as some sort of subliminal message to our lives. I found it funny when I realized it. I also found my twitter feed on her phone pretty funny considering the fact that she does not have, nor own a twitter account.

I’ve know for years that whether people follow our social media feeds, or pretend not to, that they ALWAYS do.

Trap by Camp Claude is sonic masterpiece of simplicity with vocals that sit higher and overpower the crisp claps and all of its beautiful transient sounds of which make our shoulders shrug up and in towards our ears. The shakers help us follow the groovy rhythm, and the soft echoes in form of technical reverb make sure that we never stray too far away from her swaggy vocals.

To call this tune “sexy”, is to be a basic ass writer, and, a basic ass thinker, and I am tired of basic. People that believe that love is owed to them. Guys that think they are God’s gift to women, and girls that truly believe that cheating in the name of “love” is not cheating. (see the film titled: The Notebook).

We are living in a world where photoshop is the norm and where exaggerating numbers or reported stories can easily be fact-checked. Basically, it is harder and harder, by the minute, to fool the masses. So, no. I won’t fall into your trap because if this isn’t real then I will soon come to find out, and if so, then maybe, just maybe, I WAS! talking to you when I send this…

 I won’t fall into your trap
You don’t get me just like that

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jr. hi — C – A-R – A-M – E-L

jrhi

I exist in a life that feels all too surreal for me. A life where the women I desire appear in front of me, and where the places I want to go and the people that I wish to meet somehow find themselves raveled and intertwined within it, intoxicated by a mind that moves much too fast for anyone’s own good. I exist in a life where I can travel into and out of different dimensions. A life where one friend is the total opposite of another. A life where one lover is the total opposite of the last.

C – A-R – A-M – E-L by Jr. HI plays in the background as I write away. It used to be that the music inspired me to write, and that my own broken up heartbeats inspired me to breathe a soul into that writing, but then something magical happened. I began controlling my dreams and finding my most inspiring moments right there; a place where there are no distractions from the daily routine, unaware minds, or the foolish chases of keeping up with the Joneses.

In my dreams life is what I need it to be. I say the things that I have always wanted to say to people, and I learn more about others and this world than I have done so being awake. Sometimes I think that the dreams are the real awakening, and that when we are here in this world we are really just all dreaming and interacting, getting by until the next episode of “Who Wants To Be Something or the other”.

I like this tune. I dig it a ton because it’s mellow and chill. Its calm and cool aura allow me to write with ease. It contains none of that superfluous instrumentation and cluttered arrangement that more and more music seems to delve into these days. It simply contains cool harmonies, soft synths and a very chill heartbeat, reminding me that the only things I truly need in this life are to breathe slowly, kiss passionately and sip wine.

Happy Friday.

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Amadou & Mariam – Ce N’est Pas Bon (JD Twitch edit)

amadou et miriam
Hypocrisy in politics,
It’s not good. It’s not good. We don’t want any.
Demagogy in politics,
It’s not good. It’s not good. We don’t want any.
Dictatorship in politics,
It’s not good. It’s not good. We don’t want any.
Happiness, happiness for the people,
Love, love for the people.
It’s not good. It’s not good. We don’t want any.

Corrupt men in politics,
It’s not good. It’s not good. We don’t want any.
Schemers in politics,
It’s not good. It’s not good. We don’t want any.
Dictators in politics,
It’s not good. It’s not good. We don’t want any.
Respect, respect for the people.

Peace, peace for the people
Politics betrays its fathers
Politics betrays its friends
It’s also a machine of war
No pity for its enemies
He’s working for himself while saying that he’s working for us.
He tells us thank you while thinking that he’s the one who did it.

It’s not good. It’s not good. We don’t want any.

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Madeon — Imperium

It used to be that before heading out into the city I’d throw on some Hip Hop to get ready for the night of excitement to come. After a hot shower, I’d turn the sound system on at home, stare at the city from my windows as I got dressed while listening to the latest and greatest rap song, and get hyped for a night of unpredictable escapes and unforeseeable trouble. But those times are no longer here, and the genre of the moment has now changed.

For me, today, it’s all about the moment and whatever it is that I’m listening to in that moment. I no longer remain faithful to any specific genres anymore—no. Instead, I simply remain faithful to good music and how it makes me feel at its very best.

Sonic master Madeon needs no intro. It has been evident over the years that we are fans over here at EMPT, and that doesn’t seem as if it will be changing much over the next few years to come.

Imperium is what I’m listening to now, as I get ready for the adventures of the night that this city is about to whisk me off to to in just a few hours. As I throw on a simple all black outfit and sleek tie, I think to myself: ‘Are you really ready?” because if my night tonight is going to shape up to be anything like this track right here, well then it’s going to be one hell of a ride.

Carpe Noctem

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Rae Morris – Closer (Tom Misch Remix)

Tom Misch has been getting a lot of EMPT love lately. And it’s not surprising! His smooth tenor voice and the jazzy style of guitar are brought together wonderfully. He also has a lot to offer to other artists’ songs. Take Rae Morris’s “Closer”- Tom adds just a little- just enough- to change the entire mood, and bring the song’s “chill” level through the roof.

His John Mayer-esque guitar is addictive. It makes me want to pick up a guitar and replicate it, even though I know his skill is unattainable to me. But it makes me WISH I had that talent! Oftentimes we witness someone’s talent and think, ‘Wow, that’s impressive’. Other times we think, ‘WOW, I really wish I could do that!!!” And the latter is one of those times for me, as I listen to this tune.

Tom and Rae sound as if they are singing simultaneously, in the same physical arena; and I was surprised to see it was a remix and not the original. The harmony Tom injects is seamless and ultra smooth. I could listen to this song over and over and pay no notice to the repetition. It’s there, in the background, minding its own business- for your listening pleasure. If this song had a personality, it would be a monk-like figure sitting on a park bench watching the world pass by him.

So sit down, relax, and let the music chill you out. Also, keep your ears perked for Rae Morris’s new album, coming out in January of 2015. Tom Misch recently released an EP and I’ve given it several listens and recommend it! I wasn’t aware that Tom did so much purely instrumental songs, but his EP is minimalistic with its vocals.

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Anderson Paak – Miss Right

First of all, this is the jam. California native Anderson Paak’s brand of music is about as stylish, modern and fresh as they come. His debut album “Venice” is a proclamation of his love for California to which I can most certainly relate. January of 2015 marks my 3rd year of West Coasting’ and not one day goes by that I regret moving out here. In fact, I’m developing a deep affection for LA that gets stronger by the second. You have to live here to know, but there’s something special happening in the City of Angels, especially in the arts. I mean for Hedi Slimane to setup shop in LA should be an indication of the creative energy flowing through here.

Cause lately my whole being just wants what it needs…”

I love those lyrics and it sums up all my decision-making and path taking these days—it’s all kinesthetic. I’ve spent a long time trying to understand things through thought, but I’m learning that’s just not enough. To find what you need from life you have to listen to your gut, the vibrations of nature and allow those truths to guide you.

Everything changes when you do that, consumerism and materialism take a backseat to essentialism. Like it or not, many of our desires are manufactured through the marketing machine that is culture. These synthetic desires become so ingrained in us that it becomes hard to distinguish between essential and commercial. It runs so deep that we’ve been programmed to think that listening to yourself, using your imagination and thinking outside of the set parameters are taboo. That’s why those lyrics resonate with me because it symbolizes a person in tune with higher laws. In this instance, Anderson .Paak is speaking of love and there’s no better application. Love shouldn’t be hard or complicated, it should flow like water. Water doesn’t fight its surroundings, it takes the form of anything it encounters and overwhelms it. If it doesn’t flow like that then it’s not right; there’s not much thinking to do about it. If it doesn’t flow like that then you shouldn’t be in it. Word.

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José James — EveryLittleThing

I think I’m alright
I think it’s not a good day to die today
You know I feel like flying
Anywhere fast, fucking far away”

The world is in disarray. Americans protesting on all coasts, police officers shooting citizens and choking them to death for infractions that don’t even command arrests by law, and a system left where the only decision it can make to avoid disruption is to side with the very pitbulls it erroneously trained to kill.

Disorder has been imminent since the birth of this grandiose nation. A nation they want us to believe was purchased for pennies by tribes that didn’t even consider themselves owners of the land. A nation full of more lies and coverups than all the soap operas ever created in time in order to save face for its citizens.

But, there is a difference in these Space Aged days that we are living. That difference is access to instantaneous information. They can no longer censor the bits and pieces of the full and true stories that will allow us to see what is what; information travels much too fast nowadays. They can no longer hide their criminal pasts and ill intentions. Instead, they want us to look the other way as they protect the very mistakes they created: officers that over-police at every corner based on emotion.

Since when is walking on the street illegal? Since when do we not draw up criminal charges for someone who commits a criminal act? Is not an illegal chokehold, illegal?

You can’t strong-arm a foreign land, draw up your own rules and regulations for it, and then choose who does and who doesn’t get charged with crimes when they violate the laws of the republic. That is not how the land of the free, and a system that was supposedly made for the people, works.

It is time that we protect each other. It is time to realize that the very people hired and trained to protect us have betrayed us for the corporatocracies that sign their checks. It is time to follow through with what your gut tells you the next time you see these criminals with badges abusing your fellow citizens because they, are no longer on OUR side. When they put on their badges they only see us versus them, and so we must take stands daily if we are to see change and live in a world where standing up for one’s beliefs is not punishable by death.

José Jame‘s “EveryLittleThing” sets off the pace for a revolution that is already here. 200+ people arrested in the capital city of the planet is no coincidence. New York sets the pace and tone for the rest of the nation, and the world. The system understands that by suppressing the most influential citizens it can win without a war, but we are smarter than that, and we won’t give in so easily anymore.

If 500+ people need to be arrested today, and 1,000+ tomorrow, then so be it. We need to remind the globe why we are a nation of individuals not to be fucked with, and that homegrown, organized, and falsely legalized terrorism will be dealt with the same exact amount of compassion that we deal with foreign terrorists to our own republic. We must begin to put up firm hands and robust fists in the faces of the uniformed oppressors and their masters in order to remind them why they are where they are in the first place.

Do not be afraid to stand up for your fellow citizens. Do not hide behind smartphone cameras convincing yourselves that you are helping, and do not walk away with regret knowing that our power lies in numbers and not guns, swords, germs nor steel. If 36 police officers are surrounded by 300+ unarmed citizens, let me remind you that they, by law, can NOT shoot.

We will begin to change things to how they should be:—police officers that help keep our belongings safe, politicians that hold our best interests in place, and a system that listens to us on demand rather than ignore our century-long chants.

#FightThePower

 

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Romare – Pusherman

Romare - Pusherman

Romare does it again. Killer groove & smutty samples with his signature cut and paste stylings, dig it. I’ve written about at least two other Romare tracks this year– this up and coming British producer is definitely one to check out if you’ve yet to experience his magic. Pusherman is the B side to his latest 12″ release, Roots and it’s fucking fantastic. Roll it up and take a hit, you won’t regret it.

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