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ODESZA – Say My Name (Max Liese Remix)

When was the last time you cheated? Have you ever?

It is such a taboo to talk about, even in the closest circles it is the whispers in the hall. But it has come up a lot more lately. People are listening to the other side, the voice in the corner. Whether deliberate or intentional, I think most people have become empathetic or all too familiar with the other person. Perhaps it is evolution in relationships, that we no longer have the same idea that we will meet the one and never feel that for another after that.

Even in the best relationships we face temptation. The lust for the beginning rush. The taste of someone new. A friend recently broke up with “the one” as he didn’t realise how you could love more than one person. How you could want to have more than one in your life? Is this a conversation you should have when things start to get serious, like “where do you want to end up” or “do you plan to have kids”? Do you think you can love two people at once? Do you think you can just stay with one person, satisfied, for your life?

It is hard when the fights begin to get heated with your significant other and they always end with, “why don’t you leave then” rather than “let’s figure it out”. And even in that moment you leave the relationship, the love for a moment. “Leave!” You think, what if.

So when does cheating count then? Is it thinking about someone else? You have emotionally let in someone else. Is that right? Or it is it physical. And where is that line? Does it not really matter until you get married or is it when you move in?

These are more questions than a resolution and there is really no wrong or right. Writing from the fence and looking at both sides. Temptation and love and empathy and unsatisfied. Where do you go from here?

“I wanna go
So what’d you say
When you gonna let me know
If you give a dam* about me

‘Cause you got my hands tied
In my defense
I always fall for confidence
And your compliments look good on me

Cause nobody knows it better
than the girl in the corner with the scarlet letter
And while you’re watching you may think that she doesn’t matter
But no one knows you better”

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The L.O.X. – Recognize

And it ain’t a dream, things ain’t always what it seem…” – Notorious B.I.G.

The world didn’t start yesterday yet we’re such an ego driven species that we fail to acknowledge the immense history and progress that has come before us and led to this very moment. It’s a blatant disrespect for the journey that could very well lead to the very things we escaped if we don’t start taking a minute to stop and smell the flowers.

The newer generations are way too forgiving.”

I read that on Cyrus Pavel’s twitter and it struck me as profound. If you think about it, anyone born in the United States was born with a huge inheritance. Not a necessarily a monetary inheritance but an inheritance of rights and freedoms that were fought long and hard for. Yes, there are still many seemingly insurmountable inequalities but that’s just an illusion, in America you make your way, it’s always been like that. All the handout thinking is new programming, it’s the illusion used to make us dependent on others – the trap. Our fathers were rebels like George Washington, activists like Martin Luther King, Jr. and geniuses like Nikola Tesla. When we let people destroy what these guys did we’re essentially letting someone take away our inheritance. Our generation is too forgiving because what’s happening to us can only be explained in Style Wars lingo –

You can never make up for that
That’s never forgive action.”

So as much as our egos would like for us to believe that the world starts and ends with us and only us we need to respect our history, protect our inheritance, and recognize what has come before us. I was lucky to grow up in Harlem, I traveled half way around the world before I was 15, I shook hands with Mandela, sung on the White House lawn then went back home to the projects, I hopped the 1 train and flew with titans on private planes. I’m thankful for that vantage point because for all the luxuries I’ve had in my life, a lack of perspective has never been one. I understand and have an immense respect for everything and everyone that has come before us.

Recognize,
Don’t get it twisted ya’ll.”

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Alaska in Winter – Berlin

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Calling Alaska in Winter, the musical project fronted by Brandon Bethancourt, elusive would be selling it short. I probably found “Berlin” when it bubbled to the top of early Hype Machine for a day. And though Bethancourt’s debut album, “Dance Party in the Balkans,” is a brilliant mélange of pop sensibility, anguish and bloggy-electo, the band seemingly dropped off the earth after 2008.

They didn’t, not really. Aside from a dissipated sophomore effort that same year, the rest of their releases have been either extremely limited issue or sold only in nu-vintage format ie. micro-cassette. I guess theirs an argument to be made that releasing your music in such an inaccessible format maintains a level of credibility and alliance to your true fans…oh wait, no there isn’t.

Music press has a strange obsession with forgotten acts or rare recordings. I get it, especially in the case of total unknown geniuses who recorded in third world countries decades ago. The rock music of pre-Khmer Rouge Cambodia, for instance, or the genius William Onyeabor, who was recording funk fusion in the vein Hot Chip and LCD Soundsystem circa 1970s Nigeria. In other cases, (I’m thinking of Pitchfork’s recent love affair with Lewis) the narrative centers entirely on the fact that “you haven’t heard of this guy” rather than “this music will change your life.”

You’d hope that the press would take their (our?) soapbox seriously. I’d guess that any of you who’ve read this far are actually interested in what writers have to say about music, and that you can see through bullshit. Have I written some bullshit posts? Sure, and I honestly regret that. But when you’re writing for Pitchfork, you just can’t. I get that the corporations need their clicks and shares, and that writers need to pay the bills, but journalistic integrity does still mean something to many who ply the trade. If I were paid for these posts, there would be no bullshit, ever.

But artists don’t share that responsibility. Though there is no argument I can make in favor of restrictive releases, I say do art your way. If Alaska in Winter doesn’t want me to hear their music, so be it. At least I’ve got Berlin and the entire first album (which you should really listen to, it’s great autumn/winter music). And now you do too.

Alaska in Winter – Berlin

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Zella Day – Compass (Louis The Child Remix)

Sometimes it is hard to think of something inspiring, moving, worth reading each week. Today, I found myself wishing that I could write as I used to, a time filled with a string of bad decisions, destruction and floundering for air. But the poetry and short stories of that time, now years in my past, were the best, darkest, most articulate thoughts I had expressed. Was it the drugs? The weather? The boy? The girl? The fights? The place?

I thought that if I could find this place again I would be able to write like that again.

I was listening to a TED talk from Elizabeth Gilbert (Writer of Eat Pray Love – whatever haters,  she is a remarkable speaker) today where she was talking about creativity and how hard it is to find and pin it down. Creativity is also so closely associated with being linked to sadness. We see this sadness and ability to capture it as an artist or writer or speaker and hold it to such a high esteem in our society, like darkness and depression is where the best will source their work. The 27 club being a prime example, a group of young talent that were our creative gods. We worship their words, their work.

It is this same trend we see in so many songs and and the musicians putting them out now. That sadness we relate to, they articulate it so well. That hole we feel, they dig it and show us the picture. But is that what we are still promoting in our creative brethren?

I highly recommend listening to it as I assume many of the readers here are creators in some way or another, we all need inspiration to do what we do. This was such a revelation of thought to have, but it still begs the question, where do we find our inspiration? Does it need to be in the dark? Can’t we find something bigger in the light? In the happiness? How do you get inspired or do you feel like your best inspiration has come and gone?

I would hope that that time would not have been my most fluid thought. The trick is to find things that continue to inspire you and embrace them. Like this track. I heard it last week and man, oh man. Zella Day is oft described as a “happier Lana del Ray” with punchy, youthful vocals ringing of amore and contentment. Thriving to be content should be the goal of expressing creativity, shouldn’t that be the sound of doing something well? We create as a release, to express, to arrive there is like ohm.

This mix from Louis the Child encompasses that Flume sounding drop and some well-placed kick drums making this track an inspiring Wednesday tune.

Zella Day – Compass (Louis the Child Remix)

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Portugal. The Man — Purple Yellow Red & Blue (Passion Pit Remix)

We fail to recognize our very own bad habits, or at least be aware of them, and this is exactly what is wrong with our world today. Take for instance the climate change march that just went down this past weekend in NYC. You have 400k+ people marching for mother nature and nearly half of them discarding their Starbucks coffee cups in places that they should have not. Awesome for the Earth, right? No.

We love to tell others about not walking ahead of people while you are smoking as to not blow unwelcome second-hand smoke in anyones faces, yet we sit there and take up the entire sidewalk whenever we are walking with our friends, oblivious to the fact that some people are in a rush to get to where they are going because like I just said before: ‘we just don’t care to recognize our very own bad habits‘, and yet we are the first to point them out in everyone else. Why do we do this? How come it is so hard to be honest with our own selves these days that when someone else does point out our own truths we manage to get pissed at them rather than be thankful?

All I
Wanna do is
Live in ecstasy
I know what’s best for me
I can’t help it
It’s this hopeless itch
I just wanna feel (wanna feel)
Purple yellow red and blue”

Passion Pit‘s Remix of Purple Yellow Red & Blue speeds up the original masterpiece by Portugal. The Man and adds some starry synths and widely-stacked transient claps while keeping the hypnotizing piano chords of the original. It’s a remix that manages to make you feel the lyrics a little more and quite possibly connect with them, without the need for a visual. Maybe it’s the fast-paced footing of the track that hurries your attention into what’s going on in the vocals, or maybe it’s the wobbly synth sounds that take place throughout the track and draw your attention to the more audible aspects in the higher spaces. Whatever it is, it is excellent and definitely a Tuesday tune to rock out with to at your desk before the trek home or your nearest pub for happy hour.

Enjoy, be courteous, and try to recognize your own bad habits if you can because life all around us, and music, are just better when we do.

 

Portugal. The Man — Purple Yellow Red & Blue (Passion Pit Remix)

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DJ Agent 86 – All About the Money

Ownership: being in total control. If you don’t have ownership over yourself, than is it possible to really be free at all?

As I venture onto my next unknown venture in life,  keep asking myself this question. Without ownership and without control, it feels impossible to truly create your own, desired path in life. Both figuratively and literally. If you’re not in total control of yourself–your emotions, your body, your desires–than you’ll likely end up unhappy. Without some sort of inner peace and an internal compass knowingly guiding us, we’re all lost. If you don’t know yourself and can’t control yourself, you won’t get far in life.

And then there’s the money. Most of us can’t be our own “bosses”. We work jobs because we have to make a living, and it’s expected of us. We do it for the money, and for the luxuries that whatever that money can afford us. But without being your figurative boss, you’ll never be a literal boss. Successful people’s success often stems from supreme, unquestioned confidence. You need that cockiness to run your own ship. And if you’re never your literal boss, it will be come increasingly harder, with age, to be the figurative boss of yourself. You will find yourself questioning your existence. You will find yourself waiting for that clock to hit 6 PM every day.

You will lose ambition and the desire to stretch your wings.

To choose the course of your life, you need to know your ultimate destination or at least the route you hope to take to get there. For me, that means starting my own “thing,” because if I don’t, I know I’ll look back in 30 years and what one of my many half-baked ideas could’ve turned into. Without trying, I’ll never know. And course, we all need money. At some point and time (preferably before you turn 30), you need to look yourself in a mirror and ask what you want. Is it a ritzy pent house on the Upper East side or a quiet cottage in upstate New York? It’s just to what degree we need that money. You can run your own hedge fund and accomplish the first, or you be a personal tutor (while writing a novel) and perhaps accomplish the second. But without that control and awareness of what you want, you’ll never be in control.

And for some of us, when you boil it down, sadly but truly, it can often be all about the money. If you don’t own a piece of some pie, you won’t ever have your own pie.

DJ Agent 86 – All About the Money (Instrumental Version)

DJ Agent 86 – All About the Money (DJ Butcher’s Maguire Edit)

 

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Manu Dibango – Soul Makossa

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Trance music isn’t just for ravers. The past two decades have seen that term attached to a specific type of electronic music, but you can’t deny that other types of music serve the same purpose. I recently saw Omar Souleyman perform, and damn, the entire crowd was undeniably in a trance – eyes rolling back, arms waving wildly, feet flying – the whole shebang.

The concept of “the trance” goes way back. Ancient shamanic figures assumed such states, as did the famed Oracle at Delphi, to predict the future or commune with spirits. Warriors, including the Viking Berserkers, threw themselves into a blind frenzy in which they could feel no pain and see nothing but rage. Each and every one of us drifts into daydreams, losing touch with the present moment and settling into the unconscious.

Music was born with humanity. The earliest thumping beat inspired movement. A few million years later, we aren’t so different. Sonic repetition and tonal consistency still bring us out of our shells and into a freer state. Consider vedic chanting: the voices of one or many, looping rhythmic and sonorous. After a while, you cease to hear yourself or the others, and the concept of time that controls our lives fades to unimportance. After a time, you wake up, without ever sleeping.

One of my favorite types of trance music is Afrobeat, popularized by Fela Kuti but practiced by many others, including the Cameroonian Manu Dibango. “Soul Makossa” feels over before starting, even though it runs over six minutes. The key to trance, I think, is a steady beat paired with an uncommon treble (in this case, the group chanting and plucky horns). The electronic version offers the 4×4 beat with synthesized sounds that our brains force into a natural order. The Afrobeat strain, however, offers a more human element, a wild desire that brings sweat to the brow of any listener.

Embrace that humanity, join your primate ancestors, and step into the trance.

Manu Dibango – Soul Makossa 

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Emoh Instead – Why Can’t You (Say So…)

At first I didn’t know what to think of Emoh Instead’s “Why Can’t You (Say So…)”. At first, you’re exposed to a voice manipulated to become low-pitched and slow-tempoed, accompanied by a highly contrasting woman’s soprano whining in the background. Quickly thereafter, the mood is flipped as trappy horns hit you right in the face. Horns are all the rage these days, but Emoh has his unique twist on it. Short, accented trombone works really well with the woman’s vocals. For some reason, the abrupt stops and starts are quite appealing to me in this instance.

I really don’t know what to classify this song as. I’ve noticed that a lot lately about eclectic songs in general. How does one classify new genres of music other than “different”, or “a little bit of this and a little bit of that”. It’s pretty awesome to live in an age where unique style is embraced rather than frowned upon. As the world continues to grow its diversity, who knows what obscure, cool, catchy genres will reveal themselves! As long as you have an open mind (and ears!), you should be reveling in this genre-renaissance.

Emoh Instead has collaborated and learned from Flume for the past couple of years. They formed What So Not, of which I’m a definitely a fan. Hopefully we’ll be seeing more of Emoh’s work in the near future.

Emoh Instead – Why Can’t You (Say So…)

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Treasure Fingers & BOSCO – Names

Fresh.

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The Juan MacLean – You Were A Runaway

Something that seems to be the norm more than ever is declaring a need to escape, to take holidays, to runaway. There is something we hold to be romantic and the highest form of freedom – being away from our lives.

I was feeling sad,
Can’t help looking back
Highways flew by…
Run, run, run away
No sense of time
I’d like you to stay,
Want keep you inside” – Yeah Yeah Yeahs

When I first started moving around more, by sister used to sing the “when you’re coming home Dad I don’t know when, but we’ll get together then…” song. There was something so haunting about that. I have wanted to be a traveller for as soon as I knew it was an option. My car at 16 was always stocked with a to-go bag that was packed with enough stuff to get me through a few days, a week if needed although I never really needed it. I knew I had to find something that would let me get out. I thought that was where comfort was, or home.

R-r-ru-ru-ru-run away
Run away from me, baby- Kanye West

Whether it is a business trip or well planned escape, we all have our reasons for wanting to grab the bag and go. But so often now, it is such a documented event. Pictures of feet up with the beach in the distance, shots from 12A or 34F as you take off or pass through clouds, we see these pictures as confirmation of exiting.

Why, why, why, why, why
She ran away

And I wonder
Where she will stay
My little runaway
A-run, run, run, run, runaway- Del Shannon

Your character, the things that really scare you, what you do in the 4th day alone in a foreign place, who you call when you have enough money and time for one phone call, that is who you find. There is a hunger to be less connected, go away and leave for a bit, and I think as much as we are excited for the ability to give away so much and go explore a new place, you never really know who you will find. But travellers are selfish in a way. The real reason you go is for yourself, for your mind. You meet people and see things and it is to fill your head with more, fill holes you feel are in your life, create and disconnect connections. We are told to be selfish and to question norms though, and then we are set out. My sister used to say since we moved so much that we were bred for it. Like there are people who just feel better with a trip planned or a bag ready to go in their trunk, but really it appears be something more. Like a human rite of passage and one that we all crave.

This track, an nod to ’80s dance hall and deep lady vocals, give you that movement. The recent release can be found on the new album ‘In A Dream’ that was just released.

The Juan MacLean – You Were A Runaway

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