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James Bay – Let It Go (Bearson Remix)

Bearson took James Bay’s down-tempo “Let It Go”, sped it up and added multiple musical elements, transforming a pensive song into one of beauty.  The simplicity of the original captures James’s voice as the focal point, and sheds light on the melancholy subject at hand. This remix elevates the mood and mutates it into one that emits more than just sorrow. Whilst listening to this mix, I feel momentum- the added percussion is the key to the lightened mood.

It wasn’t until I actually listened to the original that I realized he was describing a deteriorated relationship! The body that Bearson adds draws the listener’s attention away from the subject and more on the beat- my passive listening style at the time was attuned to this aspect. The first time I heard it, I only really caught onto the lines that emphasize individuality of both partners…

Why don’t you be you,
And I’ll be me

One thing that scares me about relationships is the possibility of melding two individuals into seemingly one being. We’ve all seen it (or even lived it)! The thing is… I like being ME! I understand that a relationship involves concessions, but where does the line stop? At what point are these concessions altering my personality- my core? Is it so unrealistic to think that my partner won’t try and change me? In a perfect world, I’d meet a partner who understands me wholly and accepts the positives and negatives that my personality holds, who appreciates my differences, and allows me to be my weird self. BUT.. this world is far from perfect. And that’s what makes it interesting. So I continue to actively meet people, hoping that one might spark my interest; someone who appreciates my quirks instead of admonishing them! Who wants a partnership like that?

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Allen Toussaint – Night People (MermaidS Edit)

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Pictured: Toussaint with Dr. John

Most people want to achieve something in life that they’re remembered for. We want to be stars on the Hollywood walk and we want our names to ring bells.

But sometimes, the quietest stars and the people in the background are the most influential ones. These are the people who make an impact without the surrounding noise.

You may not have heard of Allen Toussaint, but you’ve certainly heard Allen Toussaint. Toussaint is the heart of New Orleans and its rhythm, blues, jazz, and soul scene.

Composing and producing for over 50 years, Toussaint’s beats still permeate through New Orleans. His music has been an inspiration for decades, as the Foo Fighters detail in an episode of HBO’s Sonic Highways.

Without Toussaint, there would be no Lady Marmalade. Boz Scaggs, John Mayall, Dr. John, The Yardbirds. Those are just a few of the artists Toussaint has collaborated with.

Without Toussaint, New Orleans probably wouldn’t be the funky New Orleans we know it as.

Toussaint, 76, has understandably slowed down his production the last couple of decades. But he’s remained a mentor and an inspiration for musics all over the world.

Toussaint’s reach extends all the way to Glasgow, Scotland, where the MermaidS, a very dope production outfit that you probably haven’t heard of, have re-interpreted one of Toussaint’s classics: Night People.

I had never heard the original or really grasped Toussaint’s importance until stumbling across this edit a few days ago. It’s a worthy tribute, and just another way that the legend of Toussaint will continue to live on:

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Jill Scott — It’s Love (Invoker Remix)

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From the Monday of Thanksgiving week until about February 1st, the music industry has a way of taking the deepest and heaviest vacation known to mankind. You see, by then, all fourth-quarter releases have either been released or set to be released, so the corporatocracy of the music world decides that it can pat itself on the back and take an extended break. It’s almost a slap in the face to itself as year-over-year sales continue to diminish and every single A&R can be frantically found searching for the next Taylor Swift. But rather than follow the oldest models of genetically-built good music and true artist development over time, they continue to attempt to take the fastest routes with the longest vacation times as long as their checks keep coming in. For this reason, of many others, is why the independents continue to thrive and win in a market once ruled by only the majors.

I thought about posting something to mellow out your Sunday today, but then I realized that mellowing out a day like today is part of the problem. Why? Well because tomorrow is Monday, and what better day to get ready for a Monday than the day before? So turn up the volume and only press play on this Invoker remix of Jill Scott‘s “It’s Love” if you are ready to say “FUCK THE NORM” and continue blasting through the rest of 2014 instead of mellowing out.

Mellowing out after or during Thanksgiving Week is lame. It’s that lazy mentality that has our industry in a full flat spin with no chance of recovery. It’s that same mentality that has everyone else in full resolution mode on January 2nd instead of simply breaking through the New Year with the regime they already know they need. I mean, why wait when you can start now, and why end a year still full of so much potential a full five weeks before it’s over? Does that not sound insane to you as well?

They say I’m crazy
They say I’m crazy
They say I’m crazy
They say I’m crazy
They say I’m crazy
They say I’m crazy
They say I’m crazy
They say I’m crazy
They say I’m crazy”

Anyway, French producer Invoker takes a Jill Scott classic, speeds up her vocals, screws the lyrics up some for a repeat-effect that nods right along with the tune’s foot-tapping percussion, and splashes it here and there with little bits of UK garage elements and some slight deep house bass wobbles that remain true to the original’s bassline.

It’s Love” (Invoker Remix) is simply the kind of track that you want to hit play on when you need that extra boost of energy towards the last sprints of your morning runs or the final reps of your daily workouts; the kind of musical energy that will lift you up from a bed and force you to get dressed and attack the world when you least want to, and maybe even when you’re as sick as a puppy on your deathbed.

Let’s get ready for Monday, for the week to come, and for a month full of beautiful surprises to be.

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Lion Babe — Jump Hi feat. Childish Gambino

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Tie me down, try to hold me up
But the wall ain’t high enough
They play so hard
In a game so rough
But I still can’t
Give it up”

There is so much happening around the world that American Patriots fail to realize. Most of those older generations have been so brainwashed that they don’t even understand how their own government works. They still believe that government is for the people, failing to understand that the very political candidates that they believe they have voted into office have been selected and backed by the Billionaires of the world. How do you control anything in a democratic system? Simple. You control the outcomes by curating the candidates. You see, no matter who you pick or what answer you pick on that multiple choice exam you have in front of you, the choices that you can choose from have been designed and limited, so how exactly is that true freedom?

From the Kennedys to the Koch Brothers, politics in America are all about corporate alliances because corporations are the only ones who can afford influence, and if you have money, then America has always been for sale, right?

Our old school generations are lost in fairy tales about owning houses and cars without any money to back it. We are one of the only systems in the planet that runs on imaginary money (credit), which is precisely how you maintain slaves without them ever realizing and understanding that they are slaves. There is nothing more effective or efficient than happy slaves who don’t know they are slaves and truly believe that they are free. Without our hard-earned dollars circulating into the system continuously, the system breaks down, as the corporate monsters horde piles of cash in overseas shadow vaults and pay relatively nothing on taxes; meanwhile we give more than a third of ours. Next thing these “American Patriots” will tell us is that inequality in America is a myth.. Meanwhile, in America, we have reached a RECORD homelessness rate that has not been seen here, ever; not even throughout The Great Depression..

If everything is GREAT, then why does this country continue to find itself in cycles? Is #Ferguson not something that keeps happening over and over, with the exact same result every, single, time?

The Youth is finally tired of it. If you study patterns, then you know what I speak of. You can feel it on your back, and you can see it online. Videos of youth banding together, more and more, are becoming a reality and the norm. People fighting back the robocops of America during unjustified arrests. More and more people showing in numbers to protest together all over cities in America. Sure, we have the ignoramuses of the culture who only know from our pasts that rioting gets us attention and action, but little by little we will eliminate that ugly tactic and continue to incorporate the power in numbers, peacefully, that will bring real change. Trust us. The Youth is smarter and stronger than ever. We have access to instant information that the older patriots didn’t, and so we are advanced versions of everything they could ever wish to be and will never see.

Jump HI by Lion Babe is a soulful tune blessed with Erykah Baduesque vocals that shine bright over its powerful Hip-Hop bassline and crafty cuts. They may not have intended it to be a revolutionary song, but that’s exactly how it speaks to me from its lyrics. It’s another breath of resistant air that reminds us not to quit and never to give up.

We all know that this society was designed unfairly from the beginning. We know this because we can feel it, because our parents taught us the difference between right and wrong from birth, and because every single time we see an injustice in front of us we feel the pain of it. Maybe some of the older generations have been numbed to ignorance, but like a successful revolutionary once said: “the true revolutionary is guided by a great feeling of love. It is impossible to think of a genuine revolutionary lacking this quality”.

Find your light
In the darkest sky
And the stars burn
Inside our eyes
Cutting through the haze
To our glory days
We won’t give up
Never too late”

Viva La Résistance!

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The Avener – Fade Out Lines

The song is instantly sexy. It is tangled in it like long legs on the bed.

The Avener has a sound that evokes a feeling sexuality, calmness and one where dancing is inevitable to it.

Tristan of The Avener described the tune as  “hard to define. It’s blues with jazz, folk and funk influences, and electronic instruments. It has feelings, emotion and nostalgia, but a lot of energy, too.”

This tune hits on so many levels of interesting sounds that are reminiscent of the late ’60’s sort of Jim Morrison talking poetry over the song and it weaves itself in seamlessly. Lyrics are always something that attract me to a song. Like poetry the words here just play in your mouth and you can slowly let them slip from your lips and hips.

It’s everywhere I look
From Las Vegas to right here
Under your dresser
Right by your ear
It’s creeping in sweetly
It’s definitely here
There’s nothing more deadly
Than slow growing fear
Life was full and fruitful
And you could take a real bite
The juice poring well over
Your skins delight
But the shadow it grows
And takes the depth away
Leaving broken down pieces
To this priceless ballet

I like this song because for me, it feels like I am free in it. Independent. The bits of my heart move to it and feel less guilt for staying and less afraid of wanting to say “I need a break. I want a rest.” Interesting statistic, 91% of women say they would like independence in a relationship compared to the 80% of men. Is the want to move alone or be alone so wrong? Talking to a friend who had similar thoughts, I couldn’t tell if I even felt guilty because I genuinely felt that, or if it was because I knew most people would say I should feel guilty. But we are stuck in the middle at times in the race of it, defining the lines of what feels right and what we are committed to. But who’s life and rules are we committing to? Where is the line drawn?

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Beshken ft. Soraya – Right Time

Santa Monica-based producer Ben Shirken AKA Beshken, partnered up with Soraya for this simply enjoyable song, “Right Time”. It starts off slowly, with only Soraya’s voice softly caressing our ear drums alongside a keyboard, after which melds with an uptempo medley of drums and organ sounds. Occasional manipulation of vocals, and breaks in tempo add character to the song. The R&B mixed with electronic elements has me keen. I often have ADD with music, so to find a concoction like this is refreshing and intriguing. It helps that I’m a huge fan of female vocalists with the smooth characteristics that Soraya’s voice holds.

The layers that make up this song are organic and complementary; no-one is overbearing over the others. Because of this, the listener is invited to envelop himself, yet the song won’t consume him wholly. It can easily be the smooth background music in a social setting. Right now I’m picturing a couple, sitting in a dimly-lit room, getting to know each other. Is this the right time for [……….]? I can’t quite figure out what the song is alluding to, but I can infer it’s a significant moment for something to happen. What do you think?

 

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Gil Scott-Heron – Home Is Where The Hatred Is

Something very powerful dawned on me yesterday and it’s the fact that we’ve been taught to be afraid of our imagination. For example, if someone came into the spotlight and said ‘the world is nothing but a projection, nothing you see is actually here, it’s just a collective visualization,’ most people would say that person is crazy.  Now do we really think he or she is crazy or are we just afraid of the fact that something like that could be possible? There was a time when it was a ‘fact’ that the world was flat. Picture humans in the year 2514, what ‘fact’ or ‘truth’ that we believe now will be totally inaccurate. Now picture humans 1000 years from that point, what will be turned upside down then? What if we as a collective tried to look at things like that? Would we make incremental leaps in our awareness and emotional capacity or would we make quantum leaps and be somewhere in the cosmos by now?

It should come at no surprise to no one that the world is in the midst of a massive paradigm shift. With technology as the driving force people are challenging age-old institutions like never before. Whenever you hear a politician say something “threatens our values” or is going to ‘destroy our institutions’ you can assure you’re self that they’re about upholding the consensus trance. Old power hides behind ideals and institution in order to maintain order, anything that will make people look at things in a new way, outside of these ‘noble’ ideals is immediately detrimental. Will technology outpace old power and permanently change things for the better? I think that’s up to us.

Old power is held like a currency, new power works like a current.
Old power is held by a few, new power is made by many.
Old power is all about download, new power is about uploads.
Old power commands, new power shares.
Old power is leader-driven, new power is peer-driven.
Old power is closed, new power is open.”

Times are definitely changing but old power still rules and has an iron grip on our minds.  So here we are in this collective trance made up of our culture, rules, status quo’s and ‘reality.’ Instead spending our time diving deep into the power of our imagination, we spend it working hard to buy things. Grinding, hustling, getting it! Our natural state, our mental homes, are housing projects created by a system. We go home to each other with the same limited frames of mind, we argue about love from the confines of this limited perspective, we feel inadequate because we don’t have this or that. Our most vulnerable state is in the comfort of our homes, the place where one lives permanently. But what if this home isn’t allowing us to dream or flourish to our full potential. If our mental homes are the products of old power thinking and control…

It might not be such a bad idea if I never went again…”

Home Is Where the Hatred Is by Gil Scott-Heron on Grooveshark

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Champions — Roaming In Paris

Feeling like a prince when the wine is on
Waiting on the Metro, sucking your tongue

There’s something about forbidden love that attracts me more than any other kinds of loves that exist out there. Maybe it’s my natural resistance to rules, regulations and laws, or maybe it’s just that on the inside I have always been a very bad boy. Still, there is something about whisking someone away in a city where so many people know the two of you, and where everything in those moments seems like a sultry game of catch me if you can. Kisses get snuck, sensual touches remain under tables and behind taxicab dividers, and glances, when in the presence of those that shouldn’t know, become lustful glares.

I’d love you in the hallway
I’d lay you on a golden tray
I’d do you on the night train
If it wasn’t wrong”

Roaming In Paris by Champions is that ride for me for some reason. It’s dreamy, fun, smooth, sexy and before you notice it is over.

I have come to learn that love is all about the story that a person wants to be told and live out. For some, love is a series of short stories that they have written in their minds or fantasized about in their heads. To be able to make these fantasies a reality is a gift for both the giver, and the receiver. The giver because he/she is in tune with humans, and the receiver because a fantasy that becomes a reality is nothing more than a dream come true, and not everyone in this life gets to see their dreams become reality. For me, love is about the moments, so why not give them what they want in-the-moment, if only the moments are the things that really matter? No yesterday, no tomorrow, just here, right now.

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Nas — It Ain’t Hard To Tell (From the Leafs Remix)

Because nobody ever gets mad about Nas, right?

This is my: ‘fuck you and all your bullshit‘ tune for today. It’s a classy remix of Nas‘ classic “It Ain’t Hard To Tell” that’s perfect for a classy Friday. Tonight I shall be wining and dining with a gorgeous girl in one of the city’s swankier setups and painting the town red with her heels. I can already picture the entire night with this tune as the soundtrack to its dope backdrop. Cabs, kisses, delicious glasses of red vino and the cold crisp NYC winter air that makes men and women more beautiful with furs and long topcoats, shiny diamond earrings, elegant evening gloves, suspenders and sneakers, and bright city lights.

This  From the Leafs Remix presents a jazzy take on the legendary lyricist’s street poetry and it’s quite the perfect tune for a perfectly freezing NYC day.

I leave ‘em froze like her-on in your nose
Nas’ll rock well, it ain’t hard to tell”

Hit play below, sit back and enjoy as you work, get dressed for dinner, or just wind down from a long week at the office.

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Charles Bradley – Why Is It So Hard (live on KEXP)

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Then I moved to Brooklyn, New York
Had hard times…But sometimes I hold on…

Some days I feel pretty weary; there’s only so much a human can do for other people before she breaks. Grown up responsibilities got me down this week. Not enough time for the work I love and for the brain stretching I require on a daily basis. Sure, 3+ freelance gigs got me feeling a bit more confident in my ability to ‘make a living’, but there’s something soul crushing about the exhaustion that results from mind numbing and / or passionless work. It’s not that I’m ungrateful— it’s good to feel like I’m contributing to society and helping others yadda yadda altruism blah blah pay my taxes bullshit yeah, but it ain’t nothing compared to the renewable exhaustion that arises after having allowed myself to indulge in a full day of doing the work I love— I’m talking about the kind of shit that defines me as a creative being kicking it on a pretty blue dot in space; out of the body & into the ether where time ceases to exist and the spark is unremitting. Cause disguise the limit, and that’s where you’ll find me. Eventually. For now, I take solace in the words of Walt Whitman: “these are the days that must happen to you.” Gotta keep on keepin’ on and maybe listen to this song. Ladies and gents, Charles Bradley. 

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