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Young Men Dead – Courageous

What do I love so much about the sounds that exude from this track? It might be the sing-song happy vocals that combat the almost tribal drum beats. There’s also something to be said about men who sing higher than most woman. It’s not only pleasing to the ears, but a treat. It takes me back to when I was thirteen years old, when guys were just starting to adjust to their new voices. There was a tendency to jump the gun and start talking with a lower voice, for they’d gotten a sneak peek of what lay ahead of them — the deep masculine growl that would soon become theirs. But for the moment, it was in between and they knew nothing better than to play into the deeper voice. So voices would crack, and hilarity would ensue especially at Bar Mitzvahs.

Hopefully the premise of this song will instill some courage to go out and do something beautiful today. I’ve been having really productive but relaxed Sundays lately, and because of that, Sundays have become one of my favorite days of the week.


Young Men Dead – Courageous

Picture Book – Sunshine (Justin Faust Remix)

From the first listen I fell in love with this one. I know it sounds like a friday tune, but when music is this good, it works any good day. Justin injects a powerful 80’s influence to the happy-go-dancing original version – which I found out that the original version has additional production and mixing by Hugo Leclercq, a.k.a. french boy wonder Madeon– from there the heritage of that signature synth work on the song’s bridge. It’s as if -through it- Hugo’s letting everyone know who’s partly responsible for your frantic dancing while enjoying this one. It’s very coherent to hear the work of the little electro-pop prince on the original when nowadays no one’s doing it like he is.

If you’re wondering why the vocals on this one sound so familiar it’s because the Liverpool-based brother duo of Picture Book teamed with Deadmau5-fame Greta Svabo Bech for the composition and recording.

“You are like the sunshine

You sleep like the moonlight

I feel like the summer, inside

Making towers in my hay
All the games we used to play
Painting clouds with our hands, in the sky
See the rainbow every day just keeps on getting better

You are the mountains, I am the ocean
You are the sunlight when I am frozen
You are the reason I’m getting closer
To where we used to be

I know that we will change
Every thing will stay the same
But these days are here now, remember
See the rainbow every day just keeps on getting better

You are the mountains, I am the ocean
You are the sunlight when I am frozen
You are the reason I’m getting closer
To where we used to be.”

Bogotá, Colombia is the latin version of London, hence why I’ve only seen 5 days of sun in 5 months. Today is one of them, so all hail the sunshine.

Picture Book – Sunshine (Justin Faust)

Billy Idol – White Wedding (Virgin Magnetic Material Remix)

A couple of weeks ago, I found myself preoccupied with the notion of communication. A friend and I were discussing the fact that no matter what you do, no matter how silent you are without movement, you are always communicating something. There’s something to be said about that — the fact that we can communicate with each other before we even know how to speak. Our body language is something so marvelous and mystifying, one that is constantly studied because it is such a spectacle.

As much as there is fascination in a lack of movement but still being able to communicate, I find it even more fascinating that we can do the total opposite: be extremely loud, creative, strange, beautiful, all with sounds. With sounds, we can translate emotions that we want people to feel. We can also translate those emotions without sound, but something like music, which exists all around us, from even non-human creators (the sounds of a subway, a busy street that’s collective sound is one that cannot be pinned precisely on one thing). This is much of the reason why I love and have such a deep rooted emotional connection to music. It’s also why I have so much trouble explaining my passion for music — because it often comes off as tacky or corny. But there is something definitely to be said about the lack of words that we use to show our affection for music, definitely apparent in the way it makes people move. Clashing two forms of communication: silence vs. body.

Here’s a track that creates exactly that for me. From the moment that slow beat drops in the beginning, combatted with an alternating faster beat, you know that you’re in for a trip. You feel it in your bones, as each new sound is introduced in the first minute. As soon as the vocals kick in you’re already somewhere else. And that somewhere else has you flying. You might be lost. But the grunty deep vocals of Billy Idol are solid enough to ground you in the end.

I’ve got Yaqui to thank for introducing us to the lovely and fantastic talent behind Virgin Magnetic Material (aka Shai Vardi), for I can safely say that all of the remixes I’ve heard from him have been sublime, to say the least. In a very non-intrusive and sexy way, the track’s originality maintains composed, with a twist. For me, it strikes a happy emotion within similar to the reaction I have when I meet someone who smiles and talks out of the side of their mouth, with a sort of slant. It’s cool and sexy but they’re probably only doing it because they are used to it — while I stand in awe at the cool that radiates from out of their mouth…I’m also including a Queens of the Stoneage track that I found to be particularly sexy. If you were wondering what exactly Virgin Magnetic Material meansit’s defined on his Soundcloud page as, “core or shield material that has never been magnetized,” specifically in relation to the electronic world.


Billy Idol – White Wedding (Virgin Magnetic Material Remix)

Queens of the Stoneage – Make It Wit Chu (Virgin Magnetic Material Remix)


Tears for Fears – Head Over Heels (Virgin Magnetic Material Remix)

I may not have grown up when Tears for Fears was big, but I did enter a new chapter of life with this track. I forget the exact age I was when I first saw Donnie Darko, but it was this track that stood out and clung to me when the movie was over (if you’ve seen the movie, you’ll know that so much more sticks with you but I won’t get into it). The track accompanies a pivotal scene in the movie where the audience gets a glimpse into the relations and public personas of the film’s key characters. We see Donnie exit a school bus through the back as the camera pans through the school’s hall. Inside, the “tough guy” characters and “pretty girl” archetypes are easily noticed while the cynical nature of Drew Barrymore’s english teacher persona is clear, even. It’s a scene that acts as a platform for the rest of the movie and this track is completely appropriate for it. Themes of missed opportunities and time either passing or progressing (which ever way you look at it) are poingent to both the movie scene and this track in particular.

Tel Aviv music artist, Shai Vardi of Virgin Magnetic Material approaches this track in a manner that – depending on how you look at it – is either progressive or retro. He takes a classic track from 1985 and spins it over a 2012 nu-disco production. It is still very much a Tears for Fears track only made for the present times. Yet the present times sounds like a muted mellow disco track from the 70’s. The original bass line is amplified to a level that you can feel through your bones. I applaud Vardi on keeping the original introduction melody. Although it’s toned down, it’s really what sets this track apart from the original. Synths and starry chimes fill in the voids created with Vardi removing the dated 80’s productions. Despite my familiarity with the track, I can listen to this with fresh ears and know what era it came from and still appreciate how relevant it is over a modern-day beat.

Funny how time flies.”

Normally I’m not drawn to tracks like this; they’re never something I think of playing. When they do come on, however, it’s like a sweet hello from a time passed. The vision of the Virgin Magnetic Material version is a different story; a new life for the track. I have a gut feeling that this will be a go to get-up-and-move track. No use in wasting time, right?

Tears for Fears – Head Over Heels (Virgin Magnetic Material Remix)


Four Tet – Locked

Before Four Tet’s (né Kieran Hebden) contribution to the Late Night Tales series (released earlier this year), he bridged his two previous releases with the outstanding instrumental Locked.  As the ending track of the garage-inclined FabricLive 59 mix and as track #1 on his latest release Pink (2011), Locked is a deliciously loaded percussive stew.

It begins as a seemingly simple trip hop beat, and before we can blink it transitions into two-step garage, courtesy of countering cymbal triplets that are characteristic of the garage sound.  The sly trilled synthesizer riffs are the spark, twinkling in the eyes of the song. Before the high pitched riffs can have too much fun, they are immediately put in their place by disciplining attacks from the lower frequency: a patriarchal two-note bass synth that follows.

The polyrhythms of Locked makes it accessible on several levels. It could shake bass heads on a come-down in a post-2am underground club, but could also fit on a loungy, laid back summer mixtape (Hebden even described the track himself as “summery”).  The fact that it’s so multipurpose plays a huge part in its appeal.

Locked is one of Four Tet’s lengthiest, most enjoyable beat structures yet. And although the 8:32 playtime might seem like a serious time commitment, rest assured that its length is not a burden, but an investment of time that appreciates in value by the end.

Four Tet – Locked

EMPT Presents Indaba Music Weekly: Ace Reporter – We’re Not Going Home Tonight

Ace Reporter, the moniker of New York-based Chris Snyder, has mastered the art of creating endearing earworms while staying rooted in a brand of rock that’s fresh, smart, and powerful. An active voice in the downtown New York scene these days, he’s also well-known as the artist behind the threesixfive project, an ambitious endeavor that involved writing, recording, and mixing a complete song every day for a full year. The highlights from that wealth of material have become the building blocks of his current releases. We’ve chosen one of our favorites – “We’re Not Going Home Tonight” – to share on EMPT.

Ace Reporter – We’re Not Going Home Tonight

In a variety of Indaba Music projects, Ace Reporter has also displayed a marked affinity for crafting forward-thinking renditions of some classic tunes. His Ben E. King and Beatles covers are prime examples:

Ace Reporter – Stand By Me

Ace Reporter – Blackbird

More recently, Snyder has garnered acclaim for appearing alongside icons like Patti Smith, Jackson Browne, & Joan Baez on “Occupy This Album,” a hefty compilation of tracks by artists supporting the Occupy Movement. I’m 99% certain you’ll love it.

You can get the Untouched and Arrived EP for free, although we suggest throwing a few bones his way – great music is worth supporting!

Check out Ace Reporter on Indaba Music and FB

Kito Ft. Reija Lee – Sweet Talk

I love the dark intro to this track, it’s almost like that slow motion part of a movie or music video where they are introducing that striking character be it the hero, a beautiful villan.  Then you come in with the claps and you’re kicked into party mode, especially with a little bit of egyptian vibe going on.  Mixing different sounds and cultures the right way and music makes for something really special. Kito and Reija Lee are a pretty spicy pop/dubstep duo, and two hot blondes turning out the party mixes, who wouldn’t love them.  These two australian bomb shells, who now reside in London are definitely surrounded by the party music.  I truly believe from being over there a couple of times that they are a step ahead of us in the dance/trance/party/dubstep world.

Boy don’t you know take it slow, work it hard..”

“Sweet Talk” is definitely what all of us are looking for on a Friday, you know you are!  I think this is the perfect track to get you feeling sexy and ready for that guy or girl to come slowly striding over to you from across the room, tequila and soda in hand, with all the confidence in the world.  The months are slipping by so don’t let each moment slip by without enjoying the S*&t out of it!

Kito Ft. Reija Lee – Sweet Talk

Gil Scott Heron – Home Is Where The Hatred Is

What is it about funk music that gets me going? Is it the mixture of soul and R&B? Smooth vocals? Or could it possibly be the long train runnin’ kind of musical beat? I’ve always associated the sounds of funk with the movement of trains; the sounds keep chugging along down the track. They don’t glide, but the way is smooth and the destination is unknown; either way, though, the trip is always feel good. I’m taking the train home today for the first time since March. 8 hours of sitting on an Amtrak train making its way north-west. I’m going home to a house my family moved to after I graduated high school. It’s not my home home, but it’s my family and therefore it’s home.

I woke up this morning, looked at my packed weekender bag and carry-on, and suddenly felt the need to turn this track on. There’s something in Heron’s voice that reminds me of the town I grew up in. Hindsight has taught me that the central New York college town is actually one of the best places to grow up in. I remember, however, itching to get out of there as soon as I could. On Friday nights I’d occasionally make it down to the university campus and see some shows at this underground cafe/art space called Funk n’ Waffles. The space was filled with new art, muted earthy wall colors with pops of orange, and a nice DIY stage covered in blankets and tapestries. They made a mean latte, served delicious waffles and carried one of my favorite teas called Purple Haze (a lavender tea y’all should try). Friday nights, the owner would bring in relatively unknown acts that ended up being incredible artists. A lot of my music pallet was formed here. When there wasn’t a show going on, funk music would be playing and the youth would hang out. Heron was a constant on their sound system and hearing him this morning has brought me back to a place I now consider my home.

Gil Scott Heron – Home Is Where The Hatred Is


Little Comets – Joanna (Champione Remix)

I always find myself taking note of remixes especially when they pertain to more indie pop rock songs. Sometimes they can be done really poorly, as is anything in the musical world, but particularly so because of how seemingly drastic the difference is between indie pop rock songs, and electronic bangers. On a basic and fundamental level, yes, they are both just continuous and repeating levels of lows and highs. But the goal is different: lyricism and word play vs. technique and musicality. The reason they are similar though, is because it is music that can connect with the body.  A pop song will most likely have your foot tapping (as is the case with a lot of other types of music, just hear me out), as a dance-banger will probably take that reaction and extend it to other parts of your body — not just your feet, but perhaps your knees bending, accompanied by a sway in the hips, a flail of the arms, and a goofy smile.
Perhaps this is why I find this track to be so perfect. A fantasmal blend of pop and bang, where the listener swoons over the vocals of Little Comets, but then also a more physical reaction to the beat. It’s a sublime combination, one that happens every so often with songs that we love in pop form, and then find ourselves feeling even more of a connection when the feeling can be translated not only from our musical brains, but to our musical bodies. I’ve felt it many times in the past couple of weeks to certain songs, but it’s probably got something to do with the amount of remixes I’ve listened to as of late.
I thought this was an appropriate Thursday track, even though it’s significantly different from my usual Thursday pick. I tend to pick songs that stick out and offer me that special something that I rarely find in other tracks — but this track is unique too. It’s unique, because of the reaction that it caters to, one that differs from listener to listener. And I’m happy to provide you the diversity you crave and need for the start of your weekend, so kick back and prepare to dance with a smile.

Frank Ocean – Thinkin Bout You (Ryan Hemsworth Bootleg)

Do you not think so far ahead?

‘Cause I’ve been thinkin bout forever.

No, I don’t like you, I just thought you were cool enough to kick it.

Got a beach house I could sell you in Idaho since you think I don’t think I love you

I just thought you were cute, that’s why I kissed you.”

Welcome to Thursday. For some it’s the beginning of the weekend and for others it’s that tease of a day before 5 PM on Friday. Either way, we’re all pretty much thinking about the weekend. What am I going to do? Are there any good parties? Maybe I should just stay in and keep it chill. Whatever. You do you! No matter what you feel like doing, keep Frank Ocean at your disposal. Today we’re bringing back a summer track that’s just as fresh as it was back in July when we brought you the spellbinding original.

Ryan Hemsworth, the Canadian producer/writer/blogger has put his touch on Ocean’s opus and it’s simply bliss on this Thursday.  Listening to both the original and Hemsworth’s versions, I’ve found little difference between the two. That, however, was just a surface observation. Listening to the track a second, third, and then fourth time I heard all the nuances that makes Hemsworth a producer to keep your eyes on (aside from his pretty looks). He takes the original R&B inflections and transforms them into an atmospheric bump that goes down smooth in the ears as it levitates the sonic senses. Listen closely and you’ll hear muted keyboard chords bouncing in the background while an 808 bumps through a white-noise filter and space-age synths. Ocean’s voice melts into the production. Hemsworth compliments him by tracing his vocal steps with a production that follows the melody.

This track’s got me thinking about the nature of remixes. I, for one, am an avid hunter for the next best remix. I often hear a song and think, “Imagine the remixes that’ll come from this track!” Yet, with Frank Ocean I never thought that and when I saw that some existed I grew a little cynical. Is nothing sacred anymore? Hemsworth, however, has proved that a track can be remixed and still maintain the original’s integrity. There isn’t a competition of whose version is better. Each are the Frank Ocean we brought you in July, but today we bring you Frank Ocean in space.

Get up, get down, chill, grind, escape, whatever to this track. It’s hypnotic beat is enough to induce a mid-day trance that’ll tie you over for the next 48 hours.

Frank Ocean – Thinkin Bout You (Ryan Hemsworth Bootleg)