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Paper Giants — Low

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Cruising the boulevard with Steve and Matt one sunny California afternoon, the world seemed like one beautiful slow motion film as I stared out from the back window. At La Cienega we made a quick left and then another left onto Santa Monica. I was leaving LA for NYC that night and I just wanted to take in the day and forget everything that had happened before then and not think about the things that were coming right after. It was that day that I learned how to fully take in the beauty of wherever I stand at the moment.

Earlier that morning, I had gone for my last hike on Runyon with Will and Nick. We walked our normal long-path and jogged a bit, as usual pausing and taking a deep breath of despair at the foot of the dirt steps that always managed to defeat us under the warming morning sun. After our hike we headed back to NoHo to grab the last of my luggage, and then Matt and Steve picked me up for lunch. That was when it hit me like the recap of the previous episode of a TV show plays at the start of the newest one right before it begins. I wasn’t going to see LA for some time again, and then all of the dope memories and images with music from my time there came crashing into my mind like someone had just plugged me into the matrix and overloaded me with the instant ability to know Kung Fu.

That day we had lunch at Urth and then drove out to Venice to smoke a j, walk the boardwalk and say my goodbyes to the Sunshine State. It was such a bittersweet day because I was saying goodbye to a mistress I kept denying, but I was still there with her watching to see if she would turn around to leave me instead.

In my time with LA I learned that she had the chillest drumbeat I had encountered out of all the states. California feels like reggae music with rock & roll guitar licks and the grittiness of the old Skid Row. A tattooed, statuesque beauty sultrily two-stepping in the middle of the boulevard under giant palm trees. That’s exactly what I can explain that Low by the Paper Giants feels like to me. The gritty drums that mimic a sunset stroll through the dangerous streets that Skid Row (downtown LA) used to be, mixed with those guitar licks echoed by the countless rockstars that have graced its (LA) airs and a coolness to it all that’s like pure naked sex with a beautiful model after listening to vinyl records all night, drunk off of bourbon.

“yea I’m already gone.” -Paper Giants

Sunk Cost Fallacy / “Where We Going For Breakfast?”

This last weekend I went on a wackness elimination purge like never before. Going through my apartment with the truth or naw googles on and trashing anything and everything that didn’t make the cut…

The two most dangerous words in the English language are: ‘Good Job.’”
– Whiplash

My twist on that this weekend was – good enough. What have I allowed in my life simply because it was good enough? I literally deleted my entire iTunes library because a large portion of the songs were me reaching to like something instead of my usual ruthless dedication to only the flyest shit, to only intaking and keeping things I’m truly in love with. So I asked myself, why am I holding on to this mediocre crap? Why am I allowing it to take up space on my hard drive? That’s when the metaphor hit me and I realized that we do this all the time. Ruled by our cognitive biases we hold on to things for reasons we’re totally unaware of, one of the main reasons is a thing called Sunk Cost Fallacy. You may not know it but it’s something we all fall trap to almost every day. How many times has this happened to you?

This TV show is starting to suck but I’ve already watched half of the season, I might as well finish the rest.” (AKA another 5 seasons)

You know it sucks, you know it will suck but our emotional investment traps us into believing we should continue doing something when it’s clearly against our best interest. Combine that with fear, marketing, the matrix, social influence, hype, biological programming, crazy people and you’ve got yourself some thick waters to navigate on your journey to maintaining and cultivating ultimate flyness and love.

If you want to live your life in a creative way, as an artist, you have to not look back too much. You have to be willing to take whatever you’ve done and whoever you were and throw them away. The more the outside world tries to reinforce an image of you, the harder it is to continue to be an artist, which is why a lot of times, artists have to say, “Bye. I have to go. I’m going crazy and I’m getting out of here.” And they go and hibernate somewhere. Maybe later they re-emerge a little differently. – Steve Jobs

My flyness was at a record high at about the time I started EMPT. I looked back for a second this weekend and saw that in between then and now I’ve accumulated a lot mediocre shit and now it’s time to axe it all and set a new record. The only thing I’ve ever been is an artist, everything outside of that has been problems dealing with people who don’t love that about me or me forgetting it myself. But it’s all good and I’m just about done resetting, the me who gave into good enough and good job is dying and when he’s gone a new me will come from the ether…

Sorry boys, all the stitches in the world can’t sew me together again. Lay down… lay down. Gonna stretch me out in Fernandez funeral home on Hun and Ninth street. Always knew I’d make a stop there, but a lot later than a whole gang of people thought…

Last of the Moh-Ricans… well maybe not the last. Gail’s gonna be a good mom… New improved Carlito Brigante… Hope she uses the money to get out. No room in this city for big hearts like hers. Sorry baby, I tried the best I could, honest… Can’t come with me on this trip though. Getting the shakes now, last call for drinks, bars closing down…

Sun’s out, where we going for breakfast?” – Carlito’s Way

Starling — Misfit


It was a Friday and Vanessa had just left for work. We had not been talking all week after her birthday dinner at home that Sunday. Every morning she would go to work and every morning I would wake up on the couch as soon as I would hear the door slam. I guess I was tired of the silent treatment, but maybe it was just being tired of being in a relationship that I knew wasn’t good for either one of us. The argument had just been an excuse to have a reason to leave, so I packed all my shit up on that Friday morning, put it in my car and left, never looking back.

We had met almost a decade before that and it was such a pretty love story when you cut out all the bad shit that happened in between. I guess that’s what our minds do in retrospect of our lives, and so the world calls us delusional when we choose to forget the worst parts of our existences and just focus on the positive. But that’s our right the same way we have no idea if the histories we are taught even occurred because we just have to take some books word for it, and so our minds are like these history books that we continuously edit, and then the stories we tell from these books become the only truth we know.

She was a homebody and all I wanted to do was go out and party and eat at a different restaurant every night and dance on a different dance floor until every morning. I wanted to explore the foreign countries we just landed on whenever we were on vacation and she just wanted to bask under the same exact sun we had back home. Love made us blind to our own misery with one another, until that misery was too much for the bridge to hold, and then it was a feather from a dove that flew over that bridge and landed on it that made it collapse, and then I found myself in supermarket aisles shopping for groceries all alone, and wondering if I would ever find another love again.

Starling says of the track:
Driven by such a hunger to be understood or accepted that most of my life has meant a kind of compromising. Anything to be loved or liked, leaving myself behind,” Starling said of her inspiration behind the track.

“I wrote ‘Misfit’ in an instance. Guess it was like an emotional sickness, a turning point inside, and I hope that if this sounds familiar to you, that you, like me, will fuck it all off and just be you, no compromise.”

Hansmann & Klausing — Who Are You (Radio Edit)

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Social Media and the Internet have become the modern day Ministry of Truth. Through them you are able to become anyone you want the world to believe you are by editing who you have been. But does who you are today really have anything to do with who you were?

We live in one giant High School here in America, where the popular kids are the ones with the most Instagram “likes” and followers, and the nerds (the .001%) are the ones that are actually out there curing diseases, saving the planet and finding solutions for homelessness and hunger; the popular kids controlling the masses of sheep, and the .001% hiding in the trenches. It’s sad because society runs with whatever the social media geniuses, who barely have any smarts whatsoever, tell them to run with. And when anyone doesn’t agree with them, in what happens to be the biggest piece of hypocrisy, then the High School of America bullies them and publicly shames them until they repent their sins or vaporize their existences on the internet and in social media. It’s pathetic how we have relinquished all control to a bunch of below average minds who have gotten famous because of outstanding fellatio skills or because their dads helped them become rich with their own riches and the masses truly believe them to know what they’re talking about. It’s gotten to the point where material matters more than soul, and it’s just plain wack.

We can do something about it. We can stop fearing people for their reputations and stop respecting them for the accidents they claim to be successes, a.k.a: “dad’s secret funding“, which they will have you believe they did with zero help and their own”bare hands”. We can begin to disregard and even forget about our editable histories and pasts, and just stay and live in today and in the now. We can release all anger and opinions too because tomorrow may never come anyway, and why should you let someone else affect your mood today anyway? Isn’t the day much too gorgeous for that? And let’s not even get into sadness and depression, which are just more things that are caused by not staying in the now… I write all of this because of this “Who Are You” jam that you are about to play or are listening to now, and what it mentions about itself in its P.R. release:

Hansmann & Klausing created some polymorphic hybrids that are always able to surprise. Their music comes into being in the moment, that’s why their melancholic pop copes without gimcrackery, their modern soul without retro charm, their purist electro beats without pathos. The quartet stands for present time music that receives its aesthetics not by a fixed target, but this open-minded path they’re constantly re-creating. Hansmann & Klausing prooves that harmony isn’t emerging by equality, but the perfect complement.”
I couldn’t have said it all any better myself. Enjoy the moment, dance if that’s what you feel, and forget about what the world thinks, because as you have been seeing and experiencing it is one nutty place anyway.

NoMBe – Miss Mirage

Miss Mirage…if I had a nickel for every one of those.

Lovers who fade in and out of our lives like translucent visions in incalculable distance. Funny how we assign meaning, value, and STORY to love before it actually exists. We construct it like a pyramid in our minds prior to any tangible evidence — it is the fairytale trophy we all crave.

How many times have you met someone, or dated someone, or f*cked someone and given the relationship the fantasy of a real future, only to realize it was as far from love as earth from the sun. A million miles. Incalculable distance. Another hallucination, as real as a lover’s lips but evaporating when you lean in for the kiss.

And yet the inherent darkness, the loneliness, the solitude of love’s mirage also demonstrates the beauty of the spectrum of human emotion. The heartache of love’s lack assigns us the duty of finding love. Which after all is the quest of the human condition is it not?

Why do we exist? Why do we strive on this planet? Not for money, not for glory ultimately…but for love. To fail a million times as mirages confuse and twist us, but to finally find love — to finally arrive.

Nombe’s song encapsulates this profundity. The shambling broken soul of the first guitar twang is as familiar to us as realizing the man or woman we’ve been dating is NOT the one.

So we grudgingly return to the task at hand, embrace our old friend Miss Mirage, knowing that days or years down the road love’s truth will sit in our hearts, and she’ll be gone to plague someone else.

I will never dream of your love till you take me there.” – Kiesza

The Beach — From Above (Boehm Remix)

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Yesterday I was talking to DJ Swivel out in LA about the enormous amounts of music I have to sift through daily in order to find one that sparks some inspiration to write about. Sometimes it’s about finding the one that can go on repeat, or a bassline that bumps and that I can groove out to while I’m sitting here typing. Sometimes, it’s all about the vocals or the lyrics or both that can pull me in and show me another world the way a great film does. The lyrics become the cinematography and the vocals are obviously the performance. And sometimes it’s all about the quality of the mix and how everything sits in the spaces that it should—basslines bumping in the bottom atmospheres of the mix, saxophones popping in the upper quadrants and synths and claps in the spaces behind the vocals tucked beautifully so that the centerpiece becomes the singer’s performance followed by it’s band (production). Talking about all of that led the way to today’s pick which is Boehm’s remix of The Beach‘s sophomore single: “From Above”. 

For anyone that needs to extend this weekend’s getaway, just hit play on this sonic conch, put it up to your ear and escape back to whatever the last memory of being on some beautiful you have is. Let the sax become the musical vessel that carries you over the peaceful waters and just close your eyes right before the bongos begin [2:08] to feel the smoothness of the slight waves just as they hit. Then just listen to the entire production come together to take you into full dance mode and get you right over any of today’s possible humps.

If you are here in NYC it’s super easy to become extremely aggravated with today’s scorching hot weather poking at our backs, but if you feel any sudden anger or aggravation just throw this puppy on and let it play because it will soothe and calm and cool even the most heated spirits with the remix prowess of Boehm‘s colorful ears.


Harrison Brome — Midnight Island


Yesterday I celebrated another year of life. Yesterday I got to see how important I am to the people in my life, and how unimportant I am to the people I have to purge myself completely from. It’s funny how sometimes it’s the most unexpected people who end up treating you better than anyone else has. I guess what I have learned about life is that attaching a label to people should be done with extreme caution. It’s like those people you know who constantly have a new “best friend” every other month. I mean, the term best friend should technically be left for that one friend who will always be there for you and has always been there for you, right? But people have a way of trying to speed things up all the time, finding themselves in whirlwind love affairs that go awry, and best friendships that only help grow their list of enemies.

and I feel that I’ve wasted all the wisdom that I know.”

I think that’s what I like about Harrison Brome’s super smooth tune: “Midnight Island”, today—that it never rushes. It’s a super chill jam with just the right amount of spunk and attitude to be able to keep it on repeat for a while. It’s such a reflection of what yesterday felt like for me, and even today as I look back and see the world just a bit differently. The mood is a festive one in its production of summery lo-fi sounds, yet reflective in its lyrics and harmonies. A perfect balance all around, and a perfect song for a beautiful NYC Friday afternoon.

Let your body escape, take a breath for your mind.”

Trails and Ways ft. Harriet Brown – Downright (Falcon Punch Remix)

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As I was half-watching Roger Federer dissect Andy Murray this weekend, one word came to my mind: finesse. It’s why Federer is the best to ever play tennis. It’s why LeBron James will never be Michael Jordan. It’s why John Stockton was better than Gary Payton. It’s why I prefer Pink Floyd to The Rolling Stones.

The ability to finesse and massage your talents and view things from not just a liner, physical line but from a more preternatural, unique way can make all the difference.

My boy Falcon Punch is no John Stockton, but the kid’s got finesse, and it’s a finesse you won’t find on generic EDM house bangaz or some recycled tropical house.

It’s why Falcon Punch is lush. The budding producer’s latest twist is another smooth, balearic one. Yes, it’s how he’s moving (give us more disco), but it’s a proper, nuanced formula with real thought and emotion.

And it’s one that continues to win:

The Code — Electronica


Last night I caught the new AMY documentary. Last night the silent war between true art and art posers got even realer. Through the documentary you are able to feel and see where real art comes from; it makes itself so obvious. Tony Bennett mentioned that Amy Winehouse was a true Jazz singer, and that Jazz singers don’t like to perform for 50,000 people, it’s just not part of their DNA. This was one of the many complicated factors that constantly always played into Amy’s psyche as a true artist—she didn’t care for it.

Amy had also had other demons that stemmed from bad traumatic memories which she could not let go of. It was that very inability to let go of or learn to let go of those profound memories that led her to constantly seek some form of phantom balance in half-assed men, finding regular escape only in the mind-numbing effects of drugs and alcohol. But without that concoction of factors, could those true and pure works of art that came from her emotions ever even have existed?

This morning I was watching the news and they were chatting with Mr. Brainwash about his new exhibit in the Meatpacking District, and the whole time I am thinking to myself, ‘what a crock of shit’. Here you have an LA real estate mogul who has hired a team of graphic designers and publicists to get his “art” out to the masses, and successfully managed to commercialize himself and his works. Fine, I’m no hater when it comes to entrepreneurs smashing it in capitalists societies because that’s what capitalism is about, but I do have a problem when someone claims that the bullshit they fabricate is art. Call it something else, call it wannabe art for all I care, but don’t sit there and pretend that you know where art even comes from when you don’t have one original creation that your hands were involved with. And that goes the same for writers and musicians, poets and even photographers. Art comes from experience and it is those personal experiences released as bundles of emotion in whatever art form you chose to take up that create true art in its purest form.

Today is slightly grey in NYC, and this song just felt different and appropriate for what I was feeling. I’m generally always happy, but from time to time I have to roll my eyes at all the frauds out there who swear they make art and consider themselves artists. If you don’t sing everyday, you are not a singer. If you don’t write everyday, you are not a writer. Could I too have hired da Vinci to paint me the Mona Lisa and then taken all the credit for it because I paid for it, and then considered myself one of the greatest artists of all time?

“Electronica” by The Code is what I’m banging to right now. Maybe it’s because like Amy, it feels real and not just looks the part.

Hot Chip — Need You Now (Moonlight Matters Remix)

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Wake up, eat breakfast, daily routine of morning reads. Jump in the bath and write, do some work. Lunch at Forrest Point in Bushwick with wifi. Wedding going on in the middle of the day inside Forrest Point, have to sit outside. Ordered a mezcal and cider combination, their famous quinoa salad and some tuna tartare tacos. Drive back home.

7pm I jump on the train to Columbus Circle and head to a preview of Park View Lounge inside the Time Warner Building on the 4th floor next to Per Se. Drinks with a view only seen here in this magical town. The sun sets and it makes the buildings over on 5th Avenue look crimson; I’m on my second glass of Herradura Añejo. I stare at the empty balconies along 59th street and wonder how there is a whole world of people living in NYC that would never leave those balconies empty in that way. Sometimes we take the most beautiful things right in front of us for granted. The tall eastern european waitress asks me if I want another glass of the añejo, I decline. Cesar pops in from LA as I am just about to make my way downtown to meet the fellas. He’s staying at the Hudson Hotel a block away so it only makes sense. I hop into a cab and say: ‘Mulberry and Grand, please’.

The sky is a thick black as I happen to look up as I exit the cab, so I know the night has just begun.

I walk down a pair of steps and in through a discreet door in to Mulberry Project and meet Troy and Mike there. Passed the bar heading to the back and passed the kitchen there is a set of stairs that goes up into a backyard. We sit in the pit right in the middle of the patio where we can see everything and everybody. The DJ is playing something that makes me want to dance even though there is no dance floor. I settle for bopping in my seat and order a Christy Mack. We take in the scene and then decide to make moves somewhere more intimate.

As we turn the corner onto Kenmare we see Siam at the door, he let’s us down into La Esquina and we pass by the people trying to refresh his memory of where they once met or how they supposedly know each other, he never recalls. Another DJ spinning more music that my feet want to dance to, we hit the bar. Never once do we check our watches or pull out our phones because the conversations never dry up and whenever they do we pull strangers into them and continue the banter.

12:01AM. Sunday. The night is still young.