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Talking Heads – Once in a Lifetime (The Reflex & The Scrumfrog Rework)

I spent my last week of 2014 smoking joints on the top of St. John, sipping Red Stripes on a beach, and reflecting on the last year of my life. 2014 was probably the best year of my “adult life”, and looking back on it, I feel like I accomplished maybe a quarter of the goals I set for myself. I made some money and found a new home in Colorado.

I’m living in the future, where weed is legal and I can grow a few plants without worrying about jail. And I love it.

But I also lost some friends, people I thought I could trust and turned out to be snakes–partially because I made mistakes and partially because most people are not trustworthy. I also partied far too hard at times, and as a result, became scared that, at 27, I was trending towards the Jim Morrison path.

Since then, I’ve reigned it in, gotten back on track, and feel more confident and driven than I have since I have in a long time.

I don’t think I’ve become the person I ultimately want to be, and as I near 30 and see my friends getting engaged, I’m scared I’m not making the moves that will put me where I want to be when I am indeed 30.

As Hec inspiringly wrote the other day, it’s important to never forget the past–to remember your victories, your losses, the good and the bad times. But when you’re not day-dreaming about nostalgic memories, it’s more important to live in the moment, to set goals, look forward and get harder, better, faster, stronger.

Because as my late, wise grandfather once told me, “Only an asshole looks backward.” You can’t change the mistakes you’ve made or the people that have come and gone throughout your life. But you can use that knowledge to make yourself more impervious the fakers, the haters, and the people who will bring you down.

As I set goals for 2015, I know what I want. I want ownership. I want power. I want stability. I want the Knicks to get the #1 draft pick. I want good people in my life. I want to eliminate the bullshit. I want to perfect my craft. I want to be in complete control. And most importantly, I want to be the person I know I’m not, but that I will be.

You have one lifetime, and what you make of that lifetime is only up to you.

My friend showed me this remix in The Scrumfrog’s Burning Man Set, which has immediately (along with Tycho’s mix) made me want to make the voyage to burn:

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Laszlo – Interstellar

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I don’t know if any of you remember Newton’s First Law of Motion, pretty much the first thing you learned in 1st grade  physics. Well if you don’t it goes like this –

An object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force.”

That first grade shit is so damn profound and is applicable to much more than physical objects . It’s the secret, motion that is…

Last night I went out with this beautiful Parisian; a traveled actress and cultured world explorer with wonderful style, taste and intellect. We spent a good amount of time talking about how wonderful Rome is, the vibrancy of Paris and all the beauty and culture of Europe. Everything about her looked great on paper but when we eventually went back to my place the energy was off. I’m very particular and she seemed disappointed in my lack of interest but I explained all was well. In my old days I would have said goodbye and never thought about it again, these days I’m much nicer so we spent the night chatting it up, another good friend made. I wanted to like her so that was disappointing on my end but the one thing on my mind the whole time was Newton’s Law, it’s becoming my obsession – an object in motion stays in motion unless acted upon. How can I possibly be bothered by a situation that doesn’t work out if I’m in motion pursuing one that does?

A person actively trying to do something about their circumstances will eventually get momentum on their side and get exactly what they’re after. Disappointment, rejection, worry and most of the details therefore become inconsequential. Now on the other hand, if I sit in my home dwelling on details, wondering why and all the other trappings of becoming a slave to your mind, I will literally create a different world and limited perspective where rest only creates rest.

Time keeps on moving, the world keeps on turning, the moment is constantly changing and as they say, you can never go back home. We tend to look at life this concrete thing – we say that’s life. However, life is nothing but a lot of moments put together. That means you can essentially time travel between things, jump in and out of worm holes to change circumstances. We can be interstellar with our own thoughts, progress and emotions. The compound effect will either be working with you or against you but where you are now does not define where you can be but you have to get on the offensive right now. Life is often like riding a bicycle, all you have to do to maintain your balance is keep moving, enjoy.

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Et Musique Pour Tous Presents: Les Auteurs — Cyrus Pavel | Winter 2015

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Take a quick ride with me today. Press play on this playlist and let it play all the way through. I’ll explain why.

“Cinnamon Apple” is the Brooklyn native, Fabolous‘ work, off of his latest album (released: Christmas 2014) The Young OG Project. Cinnamon Apple is about a 7th-grade fling that felt more like a lifetime together to Fab. It’s something that will probably continue to exist for eons to come in terms of a classic love-story scenario. It maybe represents the end of one relationship, which is something many people are doing in the New Year as well—starting fresh, starting new.

“You Made Us Change” is by Ephemerals, whose name randomly means: to last a very short time. Going from Fab’s ‘forever love” wishes to things that last only for very short moments, this song represents our last few cries of letting the past go, once and for all.

Memories” by Waldeck is like the “wanting to stay high all the time” line by Tove Lo. It represents the jazziness of NYC along with the ways we sometimes drink to cope with memories long gone.

and then,

Ryde or Die, B****” by L.O.X., Drag-On & Eve is life after you let those pasts go. Yes, pasts, as in plural because each love story is an individual past—like: books, per say. Let this year become your Ride or Die. Get what I mean?

“Anything” by Jay Z is a personal favorite of mine. Not only is my friend Duro the mix engineer on this, and if you are familiar with his work you know he also mixed “Hard Knock Life” for Hov, and won a grammy for it, but it reminds me of driving around NYC in the Winter.

Life behind a windshield can be pretty incredible in this town, but the perfect tunes can give so much music and life to scenes that would probably be mute anyway, since most likely your windows are up in the car and the heat is on. Anyhow, this song made many neighborhoods from Brooklyn to the boonies Upstate look like a music video to me when it dropped. The bottom end gives the road under your feet some life, and the hook brings out your inner child, who is incidentally the only person capable of painting vivid pictures in their minds, and the best of your imagination. At least it did for me, so if you happen to catch this on a drive then all the better.

“Jump Hi” by LION BABE & Childish Gambino is a simply another feel-good record that fits seamlessly into most of the cooler playlists today. It’s high-energy, awesome vocals, and has a great bounce to it so that we can all: feel it, embrace it, and dance.

Thanks for listening.

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D’Angelo – Ain’t That Easy

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Take a toke of smoke from me as you dream inside
Let your days slip away come with me and ride…

He’s back. I know I’m about a month late on this one, but if you haven’t yet taken the time to listen to D’Angelo’s third album I am here to tell you that it is actually imperative you do so. Right now. Black Messiah marks his first release in 14 years. Oh, the anticipation. He knows how to build suspense, draw you in and keep you asking for more and he couldn’t have chosen a more culturally and politically appropriate time to drop this shit. D’Angelo explains that the title Black Messiah is “…about people rising up in Ferguson and in Egypt and in Occupy Wall Street and in every place where a community has had enough and decides to make change happen. … It’s not about praising one charismatic leader, but celebrating thousands of them.” Thank you D’Angelo, for your good vibes and unapologetic funk.

This track in particular is a winner. I was hooked from the start; the jutting bass line is super reminiscent of George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic. And his lyrics are just so on point:

Ever hit with a choice that you can’t decide?
Which direction left or right
Shut your mouth off and focus on what you feel inside
(See y’all know I’ma go with my vibe)
You won’t believe all the things you have to sacrifice
Just to get peace of mind

He hits the nail on the head– indecision is a bitch. As these lyrics so eloquently suggest, maybe sometimes the best antidote to uncertainty is to shut your mouth and turn inward. Listen to what’s going on inside. Making choices isn’t easy, but it is an inevitable part of this existence. Instead of fostering anxiety about the infinite directions you can take in any given situation, maybe shut off the nagging voice in your head and allow new inspiration to filter through. It will, if you just allow it.

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Maybe The Moon — Two Birthdays

She pointed to the clock in our hotel room and yelled “11:11!, make a wish!”. Confused, I looked back at her, shut my eyes for two seconds, and made a wish. My wish? That she would last forever in my life, and that her kisses would never stop.

Some days pass by faster than I can even get to see them and others stay longer than they should. Somewhere, in between those days, I often catch 11:11 on a watch or a clock or my laptop time and I make a wish. Some wishes come true and others never happen, or, haven’t yet happened, but I never lose hope. I think that this song reminds me of that because it is the same exact thing.

“Two Birthdays” by Maybe The Moon is about: “unrequited love, and an undying obsession with a lost relationship. Year after year, the main character makes the same birthday wish, to reconnect with her ex-lover, yet each time, it never comes to fruition.” —Maybe The Moon. So you see, maybe I’m not the only one that still believes that somewhere out there true love really does exists.

Sometimes the timing to things is off and maybe we could often feel that we may have missed out on the love of our lives because of it. Sometimes, the timing is all too right, but then something happens that throws the fairytale off of its course, and then the happy ending turns into a sad one. Still, we have to believe that just because something did not happen the way we projected that it would, that it doesn’t mean that true love is not out there for us. I mean, who says that true loves have to last forever anyway?

My cousin’s ex girlfriend came back around the other day and it left him dazed and confused. See, he’s been dating this really awesome chick who he adores, and that ex girl of his that had left him broken in too many pieces to count was someone who he might still love, so there’s that struggle now within him— the one where he finds himself polling the pieces of him that have yet to fully heal: a.) new, awesome, sweetheart chick, or, b.) old flame that taught me that true love is real?

Which would you pick?

I told him that sometimes people come back around simply because you were on their mind and they missed you. That, when caught up in a solitary moment, or stunned by a beautiful sight, people will revert back to the hearts they have had in their lifetimes who would appreciate it the most. And so, we often come up in the minds of our exes because of our ways of extraordinarily having loved them, but it never means that they are right for us anymore, and it doesn’t mean that if we do choose option b.), they will be exactly who we fell in love with in the first place.

We constantly evolve and we constantly change in full progression on our paths to become who we have always wished to be, so maybe, just maybe, our birthday wishes, and the 11:11 ones, should be more about turning back the hands of time than getting something back that we will not recognize.

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Made In Heights – Panther

Sit back, relax and plug in your headphones. Here’s something melancholy that will caress your eardrums in the best way. Made In Heights has released a few tracks as teasers to their newest album- due out early this year, and here’s one of the most favorable ones- “Panther”. There’s no set date for the album yet, but I’m keeping my eye out. The duo is comprised of producer Sabzi from Seattle, and vocalist Kelsey Bulkin, a San Diego native. Their unique sound has been propelling their infiltration into the LA music scene. This minimalistic song is way more stripped down than the complex production of one of their other popular singles, “Ghosts”. Both are catchy, but in vastly different ways. I appreciate a band who can spread itself out, but maintain a spark that reaches across multiple audiences.

This track is of the mellow variety, and I’m digging it. It starts with barely-there guitar and moves toward a focus on Kelsey’s soft, layered vocals. Sabzi has crafted an overwhelmingly beautiful instrumental here filled with chilling synths, emotive violins, and outstanding percussion. I’m a sucker for strings, so was immediately hooked on the violin solo.

Enjoy now or later, when you’re mood calls for something low-key yet mesmerizing.

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MIA — Paper Planes (Eau Claire Remix)

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I’ve been sitting on this for days now ever since I caught it on Yaqui’s blog. I’ve passed it along to a few DJ friends and my closest buds only to receive nothing but positive feedback. You would think that all of these years later some of us would be tired of MIA by now, but as my friend/DJ from Switzerland put it: “this is interestingly delicious because I love MIA in general”. And quite honestly, who doesn’t?

Finding this, sharing it, and writing about it (MIA‘s “Paper Plane” [Eau Claire Remix]) here has made me realize that the world is a place meant for sharing. It’s a communal planet full of an endless amount of resources that we should be sharing rather than capitalizing on. I mean, what good is it to own everything when there are people out there suffering in the freezing cold because they can’t even purchase a winter coat, or literally dying of hunger because they can’t afford a meal? How can any of us see this as fair? How can we willingly keep our brains so diluted with the aroma of capitalism that we turn blind eyes, daily, to the problems that our fellow humankind face?

I know that some of us are taught better than others, and that many of you feel that the positions some of these people are in are positions that only they themselves are responsible for, but when do we look beyond that? At what point do we realize that the these theoretical systems that we are living in just don’t work? They haven’t worked.

Often some of our writers feel that we can’t change the world on a global scale the way it needs to in order for us to save ourselves from us just by writing. (‘we have no natural predators. so who do we hold accountable for destruction if not ourselves, right?’) But I think that writing and music are exactly the ways that we will be able to make a global change.

You may have or not have noticed, but gas prices have fallen tremendously. The reason for this is much more sinister and much more orchestrated than you are led to believe. Prices are down because there are no jobs or any money out there. Sure, those that have tons of it continue to pile it on up, but those that live paycheck to paycheck know this to be truer than anything else they are sold to believe. It’s simple: if you spend less on gas then you feel like you have more money left over, which you do, and so you are able to get out there and continue to consume. Basically, you don’t horde your cash but spend it instead, and in order for this society to keep going then you and I MUST continue to spend.

Anyway, it’s Friday, and we all want to escape into the night and into this weekend if we can, and what better way to do so than with music that can lift your spirits and make you forget your troubles. That’s what you will hear when you press play on this: something familiar, something different, but all just very good. Enjoy it, and maybe just go to your local liquor store today, buy a few bottles of wine, or whisky, or vodka, or whatever you poison is and stay in, listen to music all weekend, consume bits of content you haven’t watched before, and most importantly, share.

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The Rest Between Two Notes

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My life is not this steeply sloping hour,
in which you see me hurrying.
Much stands behind me; I stand before it like a tree;
I am only one of many mouths
and at that, the one that will be the soonest.

I am the rest between the notes,
which are somehow always in discord
because death’s note wants to climb over –
but in the dark interval reconciled,
they stay there trembling.
And the song goes on, beautiful.

-Rainer Maria Rilke, The Book of Hours

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Dom Rosenfeld — Something About You (EigenARTig & Nicolas Haelg Remix)

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The New Year brings a shitload of resolutions that never get fulfilled, desires that become lost to fears, and top-of-the-year energy that winds down way before it should. It is for these reasons that I decided that we could all use a taste of something full of high-energy and a ton of spunk to blast this hump day off to because well, we need it, no?

Picture waking up in a body of crystal blue seawater, not knowing how you got there, but immediately ready to swim up to the surface, and that’s exactly how this crazy electropop remix by EigenARTig & Nicolas Haelg begins. As you begin to surface from that blue grotto, you recall that you just jumped off a yacht somewhere off the Amalfi coast near Capri, and that the hardcore partying you have been doing non-stop for a little over a week is the reason you momentarily passed out. But as you swim up to the ship the bass pounding of the sound system and the voices of your guests rev you back up and place you into full party animal mode once again: fist in the air, head down, shoulders swaying and knee-tapping/foot stomping movements all the way until you are back on board, champagne glass in one hand, and a petite waist in the other. This is what you get here with this rework of Dom Rosenfeld’s “Something About You”, an energy-inducing three minute and twenty-two second moment of electro dance bliss.

Whether you need a boost of energy today at the gym, just in general to get over the hump of midweek, for a brief escape like the one I just had above, or, simply because high energy is your sonic java—this, is, it.

Enjoy. Have a great week, and remember that resolutions are made to be broken, but discipline will never be.

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JackLNDN – Don’t Forget

Don’t forget.

From the Dominican Republic to a pit stop in the ol’ NYC to Phoenix now then Vegas this weekend. I came into the 2015 on the run eating and you best believe I wouldn’t have it any other way. When I left Cali back in Mid December I thought I was going away for a nice relaxing time in the carribean but I sometimes forget there’s no such thing with my family and I instead spent 10 days 100 miles and running on all cylinders from dusk till dawn. My family came from humble beginnings man, we’re better off now but we don’t mess around when it comes to appreciating what we have and taking FULL advantage of the moment. Our theme song for the trip was that Ilegale’s ‘Pasarla Bien’ single that’s a huge hit in the Caribbean right now…

La vida es una sola y hay que pasar la bien…”

Amen. So here we are in 2015 and the saga continues. I started EMPT 8 years ago man, it’s crazy. Some of you have been with me from day one and I can’t tell you how much that means to me. We’ve had great times, we’ve had bad times but through it all we’re still here, big wheels keep on turning. As I sit here, 40,000 feet in the air with the clouds below me, I can’t stop thinking about how thankful for this movie I’ve lived so far. When I tell you we come from humble beginnings, I’m not kidding man. Though absolutely beautiful, my moms town had no water system, dirt roads and some make shift electricity, there was nothing luxurious about it. My dad’s home town? Off the grid man. None of that ever bought our spirits down because our family is tight but for us to go from that to where we are now in less than a lifetime is boss.

Something else is on my mind though and it’s fear. In recent years fear has invaded my mind my life which prior to that was moving at warp speed, it’s like the less I had the more fearless and creative I was. These days fear of losing what I have, people using fear to control me, the matrix and my own weaknesses have slowed me down. I’m not moving at warp speed, now I’m just obeying the speed limit like everyone else. That shit is weak and that’s why 2015 for this guy is about making some hard decisions to face those fears and move on without them. Being back in DR, reconnecting with my roots and seeing the fact that I was at one point perfectly happy as a kid with nothing makes me realize just how much the illusion has taken over my life.

When it’s all said and done, when I’m old as fuck and looking out into the world before moving on, the things I’ll think about are my little brothers face when he was 5, seeing him have a good time with my cousins when he’s 26. Scaling a deadly mountain with my cousins then seeing my sisters boyfriend propose to her at the tallest point in Constanza and looking at my mom fill up with tears of joy at the moment. The rest of this shit is just an illusion man, money is nothing but a tool to be mastered so it’s not used against us. Fear has kept me from embracing that and it’s time to make the hard choices in my life and play the game at the highest level, it’s time to get out of rat race and back into the fast lane.

Never forget where you come from man. I’ve changed a lot and I’m happy about it, one of my aunts hadn’t seen me in almost 15 years and looked at me and said I completely changed, that made me so happy. A lot of people pride themselves in being the same but I think the opposite because I strive to constantly improve and be better than whoever I was. If someone says I haven’t changed at all, I think I’m doing something wrong. That has it’s downside if you’re not careful and I’ve become Space Age, so obsessed with where I’m going, where we can take this thing that the past became nothing but a faint memory of something that once was but no longer exists. But the time and space are illmatic, what will be already was and sometimes there’s no greater inspiration to get where you’re going than to remember where you come from. Keep moving forward at all times but don’t forget, never forget.

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