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Pieter Oliver – Girl And A City

I write about a lot of electronic and rap music but I couldn’t help but gravitate to this new single by Pieter Oliver. It’s called “Girl And A City” and it’s highbrow singer-songwriter material for a more sophisticated audience than a lot of music that comes out these days (I personally get John Mayer vibes but maybe that’s just me). It’s anchored down by a beautiful instrumental with the perfect amount of melodic guitar touches and super powerful vocals that can hang with the best of them. I love how lyrical this song is too – it’s not just the best sounding words, it’s a detailed portrait where you can follow along and hear Oliver’s journey. You can feel a whole lot of love in the words as he describes bringing a girl he’s in love with to the city he’s also fell in love with. It’s an amazing concept with all sorts of depth that I can see myself revisiting to pick up on all the little nuances.

Falling in love with a girl and a city are both pretty comparable experiences. You fall in love with their exterior, you fall in love with their quirks, you fall in love with their interests, you even fall in love with their flaws…everything that makes them tick becomes part of a wide breadth of reasons to keep coming back to them again and again. Both loves have the chance to take your breath away, whether it’s the moment of holding hands with your girl in your favorite restaurant or driving past downtown and soaking in the skyline. I wish for everyone to have these experiences because they’re so essential to living your life to the fullest.

Godwin – i know

There’s certain music like Godspeed You! Black Emperor and Yndi Halda and 65daysofstatic that puts me in a totally different headspace. I can feel myself transcending my senses, transcending the human body, and assimilating into the sounds for a visceral feeling where all the dimensions blend into one another. It’s a serene state of mind and one that I frequently try to enter, whether it’s putting on post-rock and watching the sun rise or putting on ambient music and slipping into a state between waking and rest. I get that same full-body feeling from Godwin’s “i know” which is an insanely beautiful song from a new artist I wasn’t familiar with until now. It’s not just a song, it’s an experience that you can feel as chills rush throughout your body like they’re intertwining with the music. Simply put it’s melodic music at its finest.

I spend a lot of time staring at the sky and thinking about the relationship between love and the cosmos. They feel intrinsic to each other – what’s the universe without love and what’s endless love without a never-ending universe to move along with it? I think there’s a reason one of the most romantic activities is to lay down in the middle of nature, holding hands, and staring up at the stars. I think there’s a reason people refer to their partners as their sun and their moon. It’s hard to explain and quantify but I think love is essential to existence here on Earth and far, far beyond.

Greatness of Saturn – Greatness of Saturn EP

A good friend of mine turned me onto something called the Saturn Theory which asserts that Saturn used to be a central part of our sky, much like the sun and moon today. It’s a fascinating take to totally reimagine the cosmos and I thus spent hours reading into the great gas giant’s relevance to Earth. I’m really excited to have discovered Greatness of Saturn as the producer channels the importance of said gas giant into a forward-thinking electronic sound fitting for one of the wonders of our vast solar system. His EP reminds of me a greats like Nero and current favorites like No Mana as the production throughout is crisp, edgy, and interstellar. My personal favorite on the album is without a doubt “777” as it delivers an absolutely massive atmosphere that’s impossible to not get totally lost within.

I’ve been reading Carl Sagan’s Pale Blue Dot and it’s really helped contextualize my place within the universe. It’s so fascinating that all of human history has occurred on a planet that’s irrelevant to an infinitely expanding space. That could make someone feel small, but for me, it spurs a sense of wonderment as we’ve been given the gift of existence at this very moment amidst a vast and beautiful arena. It gives me chills just looking at the sun and moon these days as these behemoths in our sky confirm that our cosmic body is not alone. I look forward to continually appreciating the unique roles throughout our solar system and beyond.

Tails & inverness – Skeleton (feat. Nevve)

Tails and inverness make an exciting combination because both producers have been creating buzz in their own respective ways, so it’s a major pleasure to hear them unite on “Skeleton” which is an absolute smash. It’s a hard hitting trap song but it’s also lush and melodic which is quite the feat for a genre that usually opts to make thunderous bass its sole centerpiece. The vocals from Nevve are the icing on the cake as their beautiful cadence is draped on top of the production in a way that meshes so naturally. With Halloween coming up, the fittingly titled “Skeleton” will make the perfect soundtrack to hazy fall nights ahead of us.

Now I’ll go ahead and get a little deeper here – who are you when you’e stripped down to nothing but your proverbial skeleton? When all of the excess materialism is gone what’s left? So many people compensate for a lack of self-understanding and a true feeling of their whole self. I’m fortunate to have a spiritual center that guides me through every day and allows me to be true to the person I am. I know what my values are, what art I enjoy engaging with, what people fulfill my relationships to their maximum potential. These are all great things for me to keep in mind and I hope you do too.

slenderbodies – smooth operator

It’s a brave task to take on a monumental classic like Sade’s “Smooth Operator”, but if anyone is equipped for the task, it’s the guys in slenderbodies. They have such a fine-tuned that’s inherently unique to them and it makes them able to take on any task with a supreme amount of grace. Thus their “Smooth Operator” cover is expectedly a tour de force in gorgeous atmospheric sounds as a wonderful, blooming atmosphere is draped upon with their staple of whispy vocals that inject every one of their songs with a feeling of story telling. I don’t think anyone could transcend Sade’s original, but slenderbodies come damn close which is a testament to just how talented these guys are. This is a song I’ll have on repeat on late nights with candles lit and soaking in all of the ambiance.

I don’t have much of a personal anecdote to write about today. Things are at a constant state of good which is about all you could ask for. There’s blue skies as far as the eyes can see, palm trees draped over Hollywood Boulevard, the ocean in the distance, the hills peppered with archicteurael bliss…I could go on and on about all of the things that make a good day in Los Angeles that much better. I’m looking forward to really soaking all of that in over the weekend and reveling in all of the things that I enjoy.

NEIKED – How Did I Find You (feat. Miriam Bryant)

NEIKED and Miriam Bryant make up a massive dream team so it’s only right that their new single is a laidback smash. NEIKED’s production is the perfect balance of understated and catchy with driving percussion, a funky bassline, and stretchy synths. Miriam Bryant’s vocals are absolutely amazing as always which should be no surprise to anyone who’s followed along with her career. She’s on “Push Play”, one of the most insane highlights from Zedd’s quintessential album Clarity, and also has a ton of great solo songs under her belt. With all the success between NEIKED and Miriam this might be their best work to date which is a major accomplishment for these two major talents.

I used to wonder how I found the important people in my life, but I’m now a firm believer in synchronicities. Once you put out positive energy and your intentions into the universe, it’s going to be reciprocated as those emitting the same frequencies are subconsciously attracted and similar minds thus come together. My best friends have all come into my life through a domino effect as one individual leads to another through ways that simply defy elements of chance. I feel like those synchronicities represent a cosmic force that transcends scientific explanation and is what so many of us perceive as a god. It’s reassuring to know that the universe has our best interests at heart.

JØUR – Cut

A new singer-songwriter by the name of JØUR has come through with an absolute smash. Titled “Cut”, it feels like a massive production that the likes of Adele would deliver. Her vocals are absolutely stunning and complemented by a top-shelf instrumental that’s minimalist in all the right places. Low-key piano keys are draped about, the percussion bends and snaps with a crisp aura, and a synth slithers throughout the atmosphere to wrap all of it together. From top to bottom, it’s an exercise in melodramatic pop excellence that is one of those songs you could see receiving massive looks on playlists and syncs (sorry for the industry speak, but when I get excited about a song, I can’t help but think about its potential to impact not just individual listeners, but the masses too!).

As is common for me, I’m also infatuated with the album artwork here. It feels like a piece of Greek or Roman sculpture that transcends time and space. The horizontal shadows that stretch across the figure provide a dynamic layer that makes the art feel like a living, breathing piece to watch shift and shape. Just like “Cut”, it’s understated beauty that’s going to make a visceral impact on people once they see it. As someone saturated with music on a daily basis, it’s such a gift to feel so many emotions toward a song and be able to express every aspect of it. That’s how engagement with art should always feel.

Staygold – All I Do

If you were to create the perfect mixture of beauty and banger, the result would without a doubt be “All I Do”. The vocals are so uplifting and inspire a sense of nostalgia that I can’t place but want to revel within for eternity. The electronic production is ahead of its time and sounds so damn fresh; there’s a trap swagger to how the drop hits, but it’s so much more than that with those synths being straight up stretchy ear candy. Consider me totally infatuated with Staygold and already needing to hear more from this new duo as soon as humanly possible (fortunately they have three other originals out some I’m biding my time by putting them on repeat too).

“All I Do” is suited for driving through a city late at night with all the lights flashing or a blindingly sunny day flying down the PCH with the top down. I think that’s because it’s suited for any moment that’s exciting and inspires you to feel happiness in its most pure form. Hell, sitting at home writing while listening to “All I Do” has me feeling inspired to run outside and appreciate everything around from the palm trees and blue skies to the passing sound of the cars and chattering voices. Being alive on Earth at this very moment is something we should all treasure and make the most of. I know I’ll be doing just that throughout the rest of the day.

michael casper – teenage apathy

Talk about a song that I can’t take my ears off of…michael casper came across my radar because of amazing visuals that were sent my way, but I have to go ahead and rave about the audio. It’s a single dripping with mysterious atmospheric tension that you could cut through with a knife. The instrumental is a reverby, lo-fi beat that sounds like a mix of classic hip-hop and modern indie rock while casper’s vocals are the fitting centerpiece (and for good reason). He has such an effortlessly dope delivery that’s suited for classic storytelling with just a bit of a rap cadence during the verses to create a voice totally unique to him. If this is a debut single that I can’t even begin to imagine what’s coming next from an artist that I’m seriously so excited about.

Fittingly enough this song has me thinking about teenage apathy, the days when everything felt slow and melodramatic and moved along at a crawl. There were plenty of fun times, sure, but that classic constant contemplation of “what the hell comes next?” was always there. I’m fortunate to have found my path and emerge from those days with years of joy and knowing my position in this world, but some people get stuck in that mode of running in place and never get out. It’s sad to watch people who had potential to escape the cycle burn out and get stuck for the rest of their lives but it also makes you so grateful to have worked your way into a lifetime of feeling content. Here’s to the people who are still stuck and hoping that they find their way out – it’s never too late.

Jesse and the Wolf – Hurt Me No More

Jesse and the Wolf takes me back to the days of Pretty Lights’ dominance except way more exciting and instantly rewarding. It’s so soulful yet the house groove is pure dancefloor candy that makes you want to get up and move all night long. That goes without mentioning the tribal breaks which feel like a rocket hitting ignition then blasting off into the stratosphere. It’s a whole new level of ear-worm that’s insanely exciting while sitting along listening on my headphones, so I can’t even imagine how well that moment will hit with a massive sweaty live audience giving their all to the music. I think I can safely bet it’s a beautiful site to behold!

“Hurt Me No More” feels like a middle finger to all of the bullshit in life. We have to break the negativity that holds us down, let it roll off our shoulders, and reach a newfound bliss. There’s so much to celebrate! We’re beings blessed with sentience on a planet catapulting through a vast solar system around a bright burning star. We have breathtaking nature, we have art and culture, we have community, we have so many things that give us the ability to enjoy life and make the most of it while we live out this stage of existence. I’m not sure what comes next, but in the meantime, I’ll make the most of what’s in front of me for as long as I can.