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SBTRKT – Never Never (Featuring Sampha)

SBTRKT-Ride-To-Freedom

How does it feel to be part of a class that is known to be notoriously self-focused, procrastinate inevitable adulthood and have a devastatingly insatiable appetite for change? These sweeping generalisations don’t help either. As I killed time this week at an office job (I loath), I binge watched TED talks. This is nearly as detrimental as listening to the 4-Hour Work Week at your desk, which I did during my first week of work at a real office job on Wall Street one week after graduating university. Something that has come up in multiple TED talks are topics like “How 30 is not the new 20“, and we should not be procrastinating our lives asking for more time to soul search or explore our career options or partners. Or the traits of a healthy relationship, somehow can be matched to if you smiled in pictures as child and you should also be able to find a great person, not the perfect person.

The irony of all of this guidance aimed at our peer group is that we are living products of what was created. We got gold stars in school, so we strive for all gold stars. We were told we can be whoever we want, and when we don’t get it, we are left unsatisfied, in our cubicle on Wall Street or in Oxford Circus, going home where are schedules are loosely dictated by TiVo. We can create our images and morph them as we see fit, yet we are constantly recreating ourselves in real life each day as we are influenced by the millions of images we see of friends in cooler places, of ex lovers and their new lovers, of inspiring quotes printed over images which really at the end of the day, leave us wanting more beautiful things to look at from the windows of our life. We are a generation which has accumulated more debt and come in to the world at a time of war and poor economics and been told we are the group who doesn’t work enough and are unsatisfied with life.

The truth about that first sentence is that it hurts because it is a bit true. In some small truth or another. I made a list of things to accomplish when I was 8, and I recently ticked off the last one. Now what? I moved across the world for someone and they want to move? Now where? I am not rich, but I make more than I need and still feel like so much of the world is out of my reach, so what do I have left? I had a conversation with my darling today. She put it in a way I thought made sense, atleast it may for some of us. “We are taught to be independent and when things settle or we have someone we can lean on, we don’t know what to do.” It is hard to break the drive, to put on brakes when we get close to those things we were raised to aim for. In love and life. The perfect mate. The job. The friends. When do you stop? The key is identifying the difference between satisfaction and gratitude. I think most people can collectively say they are grateful, we are grateful, for the fruits of life. But we are still left searching for the meat.

We want to be satisfied, and not being able to be satisfied is a big worry. Envying those who have purchased furniture for their place they plan to stay in, or making commitments a year in advance, or being able to see yourself old next to the person you are in bed with, finally unpacking.

This song spoke to me for that. The opening verse, the way I interpreted it, says all of this, more eloquently put. But it is hard to sort yourself out, it’s hard to talk about it when the problems we face and are struggling to understand are what we are generalised to be like and worry about. Thinking of our personal journey, thinking of our personal satisfaction. Wanting more.

“It’s complicated when you gravitate towards yourself
On the other hand it’s hard to talk to anyone else
You can’t help, can’t help where your mind goes”

SBTRKT – Never Never (Feat. Sampha)

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Phonat — Never (Icarus Remix)

PhonatNeverEMPT

A few days ago I met with a friend for the third day in a row who is going through a breakup. A few days ago this friend mentioned to me that the last two days before that, were the best two days she’s had in some time.

Time is a blind man
And he never looks back
Time is a blind man
You can never look back”

Never is about: “those meaningful and defining moments you’ve experienced that you’re trying hard to recreate. The irrational and impossible desire of human beings to rewind as opposed to looking forward, which only produces nostalgia.” [1] —phonat

This fresh ass Icarus Remix takes that original feel of the song and seems to try to do quite the opposite with it by speeding it up and grooving it out as if you’re in a car speeding through the city on the fast lane of life, moving forward with zero time to look in the rear view, and with all of the glory waiting for you right at the finish line—whatever that finish line might just be. It takes various disco elements, adds some electro production to it applying some of those traditional synth sounds, and covers the entire floor with some steady hard hitting Hip Hop bottom-end that provides the actual groove interlaced with the magical medley of sounds carefully constructed by Icarus.

Our ability to learn how to stop focusing on the past is our ability to control our own minds and thoughts. Controlling our own minds and thoughts is the power to do anything we wish to do, in any amount of time we wish to do it in.

Who says that we have to be sad during a breakup, especially if the main reason you are breaking up is because of all the sadness it causes you in the first place? Why is it that you feel you can’t go out and not feel what the world thinks you should feel, in turn figuring out that the best times of your life are still ahead?

I’ve been practicing taking situations from my past where it took me months to get over something and bottling up all of those emotions, while compressing them, in order to get over things much sooner. Basically, realizing that if time truly doesn’t exist then who is to say that we cannot learn to get over something that would take us months within minutes or hours?

I don’t know, maybe that’s all too much for some of you, but it makes sense to me, specifically because I’m sick and tired of following all of the old rules of a game that has consistently already evolved way ahead of us.

Phonat — Never (Icarus Remix) 

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Ben Khan – Savage

Travis Kalanick is the man behind that last unicorn since Facebook. It’s a company that has changed transportation forever, has in just 5 years expanded to 130 cities globally, it fights industries and government and doubles it’s revenue every six months. The company is called Uber and it represents a shift in paradigm most of us aren’t even ready to understand.

But Uber in it’s current form is only the start, Kalanick believes that his company can replace car ownership entirely. That in the future it will be more cost effective and convenient to ditch ownership and embrace the Space Age. I wholeheartedly agree, and while it might sound crazy to some to picture a day when most people don’t own cars but numbers are already speaking. Parallel to Uber’s success is Google’s developments with driverless cars, Elon Musk releasing all of Teslas patents and the micro-location movement picking up full pace. The truth is that the world has already changed, my question though is how can we be getting so sophisticated in terms of tech and be relatively snail pace culturally?

I’ve never had much of an interest for tradition. I mean how much sense does it make to follow something that was established hundreds of years before, for reasons only relevant to the people who made them and could easily serve no practical purpose for the reality were a part of. Further more, what sense does it make in the context of your life, of your needs, desires, experiences and ambitions? We can pick up a little slim device and tell a freaking car to come exactly to where we are yet we’re living like savages culturally. You know why Uber is in constant battles with existing industries? Because the old systems can’t survive through innovation, they survive but suppressing competition. That’s why we don’t have cultural innovation, because this entire system is based on us being trapped in it. Do you know what that means? It means we could be more than what we are but through bs culture and tradition we’re limited to be something that upholds the matrix, that shit cray. I know we’re hyper progressive here but that’s what it’s going to take, we have to become more man, I’m not trying to be a fuckin savage to support someone else’s system. Enjoy.

Ben Khan – Savage

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Adam Tensta – My Cool (Al Azif Remix ft. Dr. Alban)

Due to some administrative confusion, my earlier post on Autograf’s “Gust of Wind” remix has been taken down…as the track was written up already yesterday! Ah, the pitfalls of an international remote team sharing a Dropbox account.

So in the interest of keeping all you EMPTers satiated with Sunday summer jams, I offer you this rare example of good dance rap. It’s very Euro, and I never heard a peep out of any of the artists after I initially discovered the track a few years back. But fuck if it isn’t the perfect soundtrack to a sunny day. I’m a major sucker for elated reggae vocals and happy-hardcore synth lines, and this little number has both in excess.

Regular readers know that I’m all about the summer jams, and I advise you to be on the lookout this week for my entry into EMPT’s nascent playlist series, “Les Auteurs.” It will be beachy.

Adam Tensta – My Cool (Al Azif Remix ft. Dr. Alban)

 

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Pharrell – Gust of Wind ft. Daft Punk (Autograf remix)

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Future Summer is here– courtesy of Autograf, a rising group of Chicago-based producers who are killin’ it these days with their future-house-glitchy-space-bass thunder. This track is the first installment in their new free download series: each month they are taking a song they’re really feeling at the moment and giving it the “Future House, summer-inspired remix treatment”. Remix treatment, I like the sound of that.

It starts off low key with zenned-out summer vibes, but in truth this track is a solid venture through disco-land. Ethereal builds and textured synths transport you to a space of robotic-rhythmic bliss. Glitchy grooves and distorted vocals make this track a stunner… for summer. Definitely looking forward to future installments.

These guys first grabbed my attention with their spectacular footwork rendition of Marvin Gaye’s “Grapevine” Space vibes, deep grooves, and retro airs (ie: the ultimate musical turn-on’s) drifting amidst solid footwork foundation. Somewhat mysterious and certainly audacious, Autograf embodies the art of production Wizardry at its finest.

Delving into the spirit of exploration while remaining true to the melodic and harmonic potential of the original song is something these wizards do quite well. Staying true to the vibe of the original is key when building upon others’ creative work; tuning into the underlying current of a song and attending to details helps bring to light the idiosyncrasies that make the original song so great. Reveling in and channeling the magic across experimental landscapes and novel frameworks—- that is the mark of Timeless Innovation. Which is the ultimate when it comes to the future here and now.

Pharrell – Gust of Wind ft. Daft Punk (Autograf remix)

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Saint Motel – My Type

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Upbeat and incredibly catchy, “My Type” by Saint Motel is your perfect feel-good track for this happy friday. Within the first few seconds you’re hit with heavy brass and drums (sax trend alert!). The brass is fresh and modern with a splash of 70′s dance hall elements. The innocent simplicity of the lyrics makes me smile (“You’re just my type. You’ve got a pulse and you are breathing”). It also makes me think; where do our tastes develop? I’ve noticed a lot of couples that could pass as siblings. Does this make the pair narcissistic or boring in any way? Then there are the opposites. Is it the mystery that brings these couples together? And are there truly people out there who don’t have a ‘type’?

The human body is so complex, and my taste in a partner has evolved vastly since my first schoolgirl crush. It’s just about the opposite! My 10-year-old self loved Brian from Westlife and any other blond, baby-faced boy. Fast-forward 10 years and it’s all about the guys wearing Wrangler jeans and cowboy boots. And today my eyes are attuned to the dark-featured, rugged outdoorsman type. Who the hell knows where these tastes come from, and why some are so prevalent at certain times in our lives. At a subconscious level, mine can probably be attributed to curiosity; I’ve never been drawn to partners with the same background as me. That being said… I could very well get married to a half-English, half-American, half-white, half-black man. The only predictable thing about life is unpredictability! A lot of the time you won’t know your type till you see a person with certain aesthetically-pleasing features, primed just for your current stage in life. What is your type? Why?

Saint Motel is a 4-piece band from LA. If you want more upbeat music like “My Type” check out their 2 albums and multiple singles.

Saint Motel – My Type

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Robosonic & Mat.Joe – Got Game

This is a bad to the bone, sexy, bass heavy, head nodding, club rocking banger. It samples one of the dopest Hip Hop tracks, 50 & Games Hate It or Love It, which Robosonic  flips with that classic deep house/hip hop flavor only he can bring. Got Game, I love that title because it represents everything I’m about right now.

Since the 3rd grade I’ve lived in a highly competitive performance based world – entertainment. It’s a world where your shit has to be tight or you don’t make the cut. You deliver or you’re done, you’re aware, you know what’s up, you’re really fucking good at what you do and that’s the bottom line. Often times the things expected of you are complex, i.e. deliver something totally subjective that a lot of people agree with, be compelling to strangers, predict the future, amaze and delight – you get the idea. It sounds rough but when it’s your lifestyle you learn the consistencies and you figure it out.

All the while you develop and appreciation for details because in this world it’s the details that separate the good from the great.  You appreciate when someone consistently delivers, you appreciate high level communication, when someone has intention and conviction, when they take care of their appearance, have wisdom, charm or anything else that represents an effort. It says they’re on top of their shit. I know what you’re thinking, materialistism, phoniness, etc but that’s a cope out; what I’m referring to is top to bottom excellence. We all dream about ideals right? For example in love, women want that tough, super sensitive, romantic, handsome, intelligent, highly spiritual and loving man. Guys want that homely, innocent yet sexual, beautiful, stylish and stunning girl who melts your heart with her looks, flowing fairy tale hair and smells so good when she leaves you can’t think of anything else.  That’s called game tight and let me tell you something, it’s real. What you want, it’s out there, it’s no fantasy.

Often times we settle for less because we undervalue ourselves! We don’t love or believe in ourselves enough to keep fighting and searching for what will truly make us happy, not just what’s right in front at the moment. On top of that, to get what you want you have to be what you want. You also have to understand that the world isn’t a fixed thing, you can literally create anything you want but first you have to get free.

I know many people hate on LA and for the right reasons, I know people hate on NYC, for the right reasons as well. Many people despise the entertainment industry but when you grow in those places you distinguish between the real and the fake and trust me when you find real in NY or LA or entertain, it’s real. Those 3 have shown me what game is, what truly being exceptional in ALL facets of life is about. Get game, enjoy.

Robosonic & Mat.Joe – Got Game

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Ponderosa Twins Plus One – Bound

I recently found myself climbing a massive hill that overlooks downtown Edinburgh, Scotland. This was after being invited on a girls weekend which somehow came down to two of us, packing our backpacks and running for trains to make a cheap flight up.

The best kind of last minute trip.

It was a 36-hour stint as a side trip on our one-year venture.  We arrive and almost immediately found ourselves in Cabaret Voltaire with stiff vodkas and attractive locals. A DJ hosted from the centre of the room and the crowd heaved in and out retreating to the smoking area only to emerge moments later on heavy rotation. Music in bars like this are always odd and enchanting. Like a dark music pulse that Europeans engage in on the cobbled streets and after hours.

The rest of the trip consisted of an ambitious pitcher, history lessons broken up by Scotch and rain. We woke up early to climb that hill which was Arthur’s Seat. My friend, clad in leotard and mini skirt and I, gnarly California shirt and hangover, made it to the top. Not before picking up a stray German tourist to take up.

The final destination was a bar directly off the hill and en route to retrieve our bags for the airport. It was the quintessential Scottish bar with dirty crushed velvet on all seats and Scottish sayings framed around the doorways. Blessing, cheers and others. “Whisky is liquid sunshine.” We had a sit and were all talking about bigger things. Apparently mountain hiking brings that out. Talks of bucket lists and where we wanted to go next or sometime or whenever was rotated around the table. These conversations are important to have once in a while. Sort out where you are. And where your mind goes. What you tell strangers over a pint says alot.

This song started to play behind us but it is not really a song you just talk over. You stop and think about them. A crush. New or old. Lover. Friend.

Heavy talk and lagers and at the end of a trip like that, I found myself flipping over the decisions made in the past day and year and five years. I think I am a romantic for the unexpected. Bound by a heart on the sleeve.

 “Don’t try to resist
Cause you’re bound
Bound to fall in love”

Ponderosa Twins Plus One – Bound

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Fabolous — Thim Slick (Instrumental)

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This instrumental is from Fabolous‘s late 2013 mixtape: The S.O.U.L. Tape 3. It contains several samples and a great amount of groove, smoothness and chilled-out instrumentation.

Tuesdays, for me, are the day of the week that I find myself with the least to do. I guess that’s because Mondays are full of top-of-the-week meetings all over the city filled with pie charts, data review, bar charts, weekly stats, progress reports, new music submissions, new artist submissions, writing, phone conferences, and an hour long video conference every, single, week. But, on Tuesdays, I get to relax just a little more than my normal Sunday or Saturday routines because even my weekends are jam packed with work. And, why not work if you love what you do, right?

On Tuesdays, I like to come into the office bright and early and read as many newspapers as I can. I like to throw on some music in the background and mellow out to words because writing is another passion of mine that I have to progressively and continuously develop, and I love to do it. I think that if you are anything like me then you will appreciate the hell out of this fabulous instrumental because it’s as unassuming as a Tuesday can be.

Produced by Lewis Cullen & Street Fam Turtle, “Thim Slick” features several samples; from James Brown‘s signature scream on his 1965 “I Got You (I Feel Good)” song to Nice & Smooth‘s infamous “Sometimes I Rhyme Slow“, and the more recent “We Can’t Be Friends” by Dream Koala. It maintains the soulful feel of the concept mixtape that Fab wanted while hitting just hard enough with some lovely boom baps that allow Hip Hop Heads everywhere to feel it.

The instrumental, on it’s own, is a great display of the progressions within the Urban genres of the music business throughout its history, and an incredible show of great ears getting together and collaborating for the greater good.

That body perfect in my eyes
No matter what they say, everything looking just fine”

Enjoy the instrumental, or check out the original because both of these are worth their weight in musical gold, and, because when was the last time that you decided to listen to something for the first time?

Fabolous — Thim Slick (Instrumental) 

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The Ting Tings – The Wrong Club

For anyone wondering where music is going next, I’ve got two words for you – groove & vibe. As we came into the Space Age we  were like young children discovering new tools, making things go as loud, big and fast as possible. That will never go away and it shouldn’t, I mean I don’t know about you but nothing really hits like a big ass trap record at a festival. Sure the style and substance will change but that feeling won’t and that’s a good thing.

But something that’s been slightly forgotten in the midst of massive records is groove, those rhythms that get in your body, make you want to move with the performer, not just stand there observing. As of late there’s been a resurgence in groove, the most obvious and successful of course being Daft Punk but people like Devonte Hynes and acts like Disclosure have been making a strong case for an official comeback. The Ting Tings’ Duran Duran produced The Wrong Club is more evidence to the fact.

Did I ever tell you about the way I wanna feel?

I love that lyric and it’s a perfect example of what this music represents to me.

I think we worry so much about external things like our jobs, our cars, money etc but have you ever thought about the way you want to feel? Think about that for a second. It’s like we do things backwards, we work tirelessly on the outside looking for happiness but rarely think about it the other way around. Have you ever thought about the way you want to feel and made your decisions based on that? If you focused on yourself, loved yourself and valued your emotions, your DNA, the very thing that makes you unique, all the choices that make up your lifestyle would be different. You might not be willing to deal with that person anymore, you may not be ok with that job because the cost to benefit ratio would be severely disproportionate. It just doesn’t make you feel good so you don’t compromise like we all do. What might seem like the path no longer appeals because it just doesn’t make you happy and nothing external can give you happiness.

I’m a big fan of where music is about to go. I love it when records don’t have to try hard because when music isn’t trying to dictate the entire team it gives the listener space to interact with the music. This is Space Age Bachelor Pad Music evolved, enjoy.

The Ting Tings – The Wrong Club

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