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Ace of Base – The Sign


While flipping through my music library last week, I came across Ace of Base’s “The Sign.” It’s a cheesy track, but at the time was groundbreaking in its fusion of reggae and pop melodies. This is the kind of song that everyone kind of knows, but no one knows anything about it.

Let me give you the lowdown. The album that featured “The Sign” (“Happy Nation”, 1992) sold 23 million copies worldwide. 23 MILLION. It’s one of the 50 or so best selling records of all time, just ahead of Oasis’ seminal “(What’s the Story) Morning Glory?” and Madonna’s “Like a Virgin.” Overall, Ace of Base has sold over 40 million records.

This quartet of Swedes (three siblings and a guy named Buddha) are one of the most random musical successes ever. You never hear about them in the media, and rarely hear any song other than “The Sign” on the radio. And yet a laundry list of big name and indie artists site them as a valuable influence: Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, Robyn, Yeasayer, Trust.

It’s moments like this when you realize just how big the world is. There are Chinese and Indian artists who have hundreds of millions of fans, yet most Americans have no idea who they are and will never hear their voices. The music industry – the economic profit model of music sales – is crumbling. But the music industry – the unending production of new music across the globe – is larger and more successful than ever. How wonderful!

I recently had a very random job filming a high school wrestling tournament for Fox Sports. Fox put me up in a hotel overnight, and as I arrived back after a long day behind the camera, I ran into a very masculine looking guy walking a tiny Chihuahua with its nails painted pink. I legitimately thought I was hallucinating, even more so once we got to talking and he busted into one of the best freestyle raps I’ve ever heard.

Every moment, someone around the world is making music. From the Chihuahua freestyler to the grandmother singing the children to sleep to Ace of Base, our lives are played out to a soundtrack created by those around us. Whether their songs stay locked behind closed doors or sell 40 million records without attracting notice, we owe all music makers our gratitude.


Ace of Base – The Sign

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Nao vs. A. K. Paul – So Good

I hope you’re feeling funky today.. that good kind of funk. I’ll take my funk in music as well as in beer. Yes, beer. Did you know- in Belgian sour beers, many Brew Masters intentionally input infections into their aging beer? This produces the “funk” much loved by myself. Go try one for yourself! This is fresh on my mind because I just tried an interesting beer called “Love Child No. 4″. It’s by-far the funkiest beer to touch my lips. Of course I went back for seconds!

Anyway, back to the music. Nao is a British soul singer from the East London Borough of Hackney. She partnered up with A.K. Paul for this fresh track. I scoured the internet for information on A.K., but the majority of sources reference him as “Jai Paul’s Brother”. Hopefully with the release of songs as catchy as “So Good”, he’ll become more distinguishable by name. He has done production work with Big Boi and Jesse Ware, among others, and seems to be shaking things up. Nao is brand new on the scene.

From steel drum-esque sounds to harmonious soulful vocals, this song is a work of art the whole way through.

Nao vs. A.K Paul – So Good

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Et Musique Pour Tous Presents Les Auteurs – Sarah Safaie

It was about time I came up with a properly timed conglomeration of sexy-time tunes and somehow sharing my endeavor with a bunch of awesome strangers was the perfect motivation for me to finally get my shit together… not to mention the practical real life applications involved ;)

I’m pleased to present the third installment of EMPT’s Les Auteurs series (aka Sarah’s cerebral-seduction-playlist). I laugh as I write this because I’ve been meaning to curate a proper sexy-time playlist for years.  It just turns out that my favorite jams out there at the moment all sort of fall into the category of seduction. Of course.

I’m hoping the trajectory of track-listings evokes something like ‘pure sex’ in your mind. I mean that in the post-ecstatic bliss-driven sense in particular. Something like perennial philosophy meets dope ass synths, etc.

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Broken Bells – Holing On For Life (Zed’s Dead Remix)

When I came to we were clearly in a post Apocalyptic place. It was a weird sensation because I kept looking at my cloths and I could tell this wasn’t all real because they weren’t mine. I was in a ’70 style stripe top and jeans and looked like I just walked through a dust storm. I was with P which made feel calmer. He always makes me feel calmer. I had never been here before but we started to walk around like we knew where we were going. The town all seemed to be covered in this reddish, chalky dust. I was walking a step behind him down a narrow allow way which was just tall, old grey brick walls and little European style facades.

As we emerged from the alley to the main strip on our way to a cafe, we stopped by the kids putting up fresh graffiti. It was in another language, almost alien looking and we never saw their faces. They just kept going. One of them had a speaker in his pocket where you could hear the muffled sound of NWA’s “Gangster Gangster“. I thought quickly about my friend E. We sang that song in high school when we got stoned in the car. We heard someone coming so P and I started running for the downhill cobble street leading to the cafe. It was only then I realised the sky was orange. All over orange.

Even though I was fully aware this wasn’t real at this point, I kept worrying about work I needed to do. I was thinking about work in a place like this. In a shirt that I don’t own. On a planet with an orange sky. But yes, I was thinking about how to format an excel comparing something unimportant. Here, it didn’t exist. I kept reaching for P’s hand grasping it and slipping out. Holding for life.

We got to the cafe, and the food was all neon blue, which apparently was the norm. People sought refuge here. The world or maybe just this town had recently gone through something recently, making this a place where you saw people with everything they owned. Which was no more than two or three knapsacks full of their wordily goods. Clothes and some framed pictures. A couple books. It is weird. Even here you see what people grab when they can only take what they feel that cannot live without. Which in the end, is still little.

I ordered a black coffee and the waitress who also didn’t have a face, or one that I could see gave off the impression she was confused by my order. She brought me a cup of red coffee a few minutes later. I reached out for P’s hand as my stomach turned a bit, like when you miss a step. And took a sip of the red coffee. He started to say something and I strained to hear it as I was getting distracted by his dimples.

And then I woke up. I hope it wasn’t important.


Oddly, this dream made me think of the music video for this song. The original by Broken Bells, which is the combined awesomeness of James Mercer and Brian Burton, or the lead singer of The Shins and Danger Mouse. I find his voice haunting and comforting and the music is always whimsical and something dark, sexy. This remix from Zed’s Dead also packs on an extra layer of electronic edge. The beat changes under the chorus, “holding on for life” and it is nearly the pace of a racing heart. Pounding through the vocals and your chest.

Broken Bells – Holding On For Life (Zed’s Dead Remix)

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Jack Garratt — Worry



My nights are broken up by the sounds of women I’ll never meet

Not too many months ago one of the greater loves of my life and I stopped communicating. This is the first time I am telling anyone about it because I wasn’t really sure if I was supposed to tell anyone.

Throughout my life I have learned that certain things are better kept to one’s self. I feel that when things are over it is best to move on with life as if everything is the same and very little has changed because what truly has changed? 

I’ve always been sort of the loner when it comes to things in general. I’ve always enjoyed movies at the theatre by myself without the distractions of questions and random commentary throughout, I’ve long enjoyed lengthy walks by the waterside or in parks alone left with only my thoughts and ideas, and I’ve never really been one to talk much to my friends or family about my personal relationships. There’s always been something so sacred within them to me that I always felt the need to simply keep all the emotions of them to myself because who wants to bother people with their gloats or problems anyway? I will never be that person.

“Worry” by Jack Garratt is a song that will either make you reflect on a recent lost love, or it will let you feel empowered by your own ability to move on. For me, it did a little bit of both.

Many times, when we are in relationships that we think will last forever, we give so many pieces of ourselves to our lovers as they do with us. Some of these pieces become impossible to get or give back because they become embedded into our memory banks, so they still exist long after we or they are gone. It is those pieces that pop their little heads out once in a blue that can bring sadness or melancholia when we least want, need, or expect it. It is those same pieces that can offer us peace, understanding, and a smile if we wish them to by allowing ourselves to take the experiences we had with that love and see them as just another brick in the foundation of building who we want to be.

Life has taught me that we shouldn’t be searching for who we are because how can we find things that don’t exist? Instead, it has showed me that we should be building who we wish to be because it is only then that we realize we can be anything we want.

As if I haven’t felt your breath in every step I take when the wind blows


Jack Garratt — Worry

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Flume – The Greatest View (Feat. Isabella Manfredi)

If I got to choose a coast I got to choose the East
I live out there, so don’t go there
But that don’t mean a ni%$@ can’t rest in the West
See some nice breast in the West” – Biggie

Two and a half years ago I found out what it’s like to be a New Yorker in the City of Angels – insert all relevant stereotypes here. In the last week or so I’ve been back on forth to NYC and after fully embracing the Angelino lifestyle I’m truly starting understanding the other side of the coin. Those Biggie lyrics use to represent me to the fullest but these days I’m lucky enough to have a different perspective, one that ask why choose? LA and NYC are completely different places, so much so that there’s no valid reason to compare them, but you talk to natives of either and they’re so die hard about one or the other. I’m not knocking loving your city but I am promoting being able to appreciate it all. It seems like much of life is centered around making these drastic decisions but why do we have to limit our love to one thing? We’re forced into these limits as if humans aren’t capable of endless love. Further more why do we get caught up in the frame of mind that strongly identifying ourselves with things is so important? In my opinion we’re led into that by commerce but more on that later.

If you don’t know by now Steve Jobs is one of my idols and part of his philosophy on intelligence is that it’s all about having crap load of experiences to draw upon…

A lot of people in our industry haven’t had very diverse experiences. So they don’t have enough dots to connect, and they end up with very linear solutions without a broad perspective on the problem. The broader one’s understanding of the human experience, the better design we will have.”

I love that, I love the concept of having a huge bag of experiences to draw upon when it comes to anything in life. Sometimes we get caught up looking at a thing from one perspective while completely forgetting that there’s an entire world out there. Often we get caught up in the material and forget how insignificant that is compared to the divine, we get lost looking at something from the ground instead of going up and seeing it from a sky scraper. We always have to keep that in mind, that’s why I chose this song because it truly is about being objective enough to have The Greatest View.

So to that I say live somewhere else! Save your money and travel, experience new energies, new people, new cultures and make your bag of experiences as big as possible. I said we’re led into these limited identities because of commerce and I think that’s a big part of it. The world wants to make you define yourself because that makes you easy to sell to. The more of a “demographic” you are the easier it is for marketers to target you and sell you shit. But kill that noise, we’re better than that and we’re not limited to one, two or even three things. Technology and all the progress we’ve made as humans allow us to make the most of our lives, don’t take that shit for granted. There’s no limit to our love, enjoy.

Flume – The Greatest View (Feat. Isabella Manfredi)

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Fort Knox Five – The Brazilian Hipster

Today is arguably the most important day in United States football history. No, not that football. Futbol.

The World Cup has never been bigger than it is in 2014: the biggest stars, the highest sponsorships, the highest threat of large-scale civic unrest. Brazil, the birthplace of o jogo bonito, is facing a true turning point. Economic progress, hailed in international mainstream media as a sign of entry into the first world, is one side of the coin. The other is rampant government corruption, environmental degradation and class disparity that is up there for worst in the world (make no mistake, the USA is sitting pretty in that shameful upper echelon as well).

Our 2014 Men’s National Team has already defeated Ghana, our arch nemesis over the past decade (they ejected us from the cup in the last two tournaments) and now faces Portugal, a team that features the best player in the world (yes, as of right now, he’s the best), Cristiano Ronaldo. But the Portuguese team is hobbled, having lost its second and third best players to injury in the previous game, and losing one of its top defenders to a red card.

This game is seriously up for grabs. If the USA win, they will progress to the knockout stages, where anything can happen.

I often question my unbreakable addiction to sports, and televised sports in particular. Aren’t I wasting my time? I could be learning to code apps, or volunteering at the local homeless shelter. Instead I’m sitting on my ass watching a bunch of millionaires playing a game.

But the same can be said about listening to music. Sports is an art too, an art that you have to understand to appreciate. Those millionaires have trained their whole lives, just as our favorite musicians are tireless workers. There are those who believe arts are a waste of time (just ask all those educational reformers who remain obsessed with standardized testing). And too often, the arts and sports communities are divergent.

The World Cup is not a bringing together of nations, not by a long shot. If you’re rooting for someone, you’re rooting against someone else (and potentially developing real-life hatred, depending on how futbol-crazed your country happens to be). But the copa is a bringing together of individuals. When my artist partner is texting me to revel in a fantastic goal (this is a person who describes sports bars as a personal hell), you know something out of the ordinary is happening.

Fort Knox Five’s “The Brazilian Hipster” is an apt tune for the occasion. Futbol’s spiritual home is Brazil, and the Hipster’s spiritual home is the USA. And as artists repping our nation’s capital , I’ll bet FK5 will be watching.

Today, jocks will join arms with nerds, punks will link hands with princesses, and we’ll all be rooting for the home team.

Except me. I’m Portuguese. Deal with it.

Fort Knox Five – The Brazilian Hipster

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C.Z. – Lovin’ Your Smile


I’m all smiles today, giddy with sunshine as usual. The city is flooded with light and there’s a whole lotta love in the air. I can’t help but indulge in a (solo) solstice dance party to celebrate this lovely summer day and this track is the ultimate groove-facillitator. I found this track thanks to xxyyxx’s  MOMA Ps1 mix almost a a year ago and I’m so glad to have stumbled across it again today. The melting synth line + elements of U.K. bass make for an irresistible combination and with such solid production this track is definitely a go-to for getting down…

C.Z. – Lovin’ Your Smile

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Ghost Beach – Been There Before (Shook Remix)

Changing, changing

Shook’s remix of “Been There Before” takes the original, strips it substantially of its lyrics and focuses on beat-tastic piano and disco bass. The bongos make me feel like i’m sitting by a beach-side cabana, the beat makes me want to shake my booty. The piano has a Chilly Gonzales-esque sound to it; the in-your-face-can’t-leave-your-mind kind of piano. Shook is notorious for his prevalent use of the bass, radically transforming pop and indie songs into nu-age disco.

Shook eliminates all words save one particular chunk. In this sole verse, there’s a heavy emphasis on changing. I like this topic. Life is change, change is life, yet we have such trouble accepting it! We take time to adjust to the new situation, and this is where the hardship sets in. As a military child being displaced every 2 years, by the time I left home I had the “uprooting” thing down. I grew to accept this feeling of discomfort- this “transitionary period” as I have since labeled it. It’s the period before your brain adapts to whatever situation you’ve put it through. Because of my inconsistent childhood, I’ve been a skeptic of the permanence of the present, and what I’ve grown to accept is the ephemerality of life. Whatever you feel now will pass in X amount of time. How quickly we adjust plays a large role in our happiness in such new situations.

Don’t fall into the trap of stagnation or you’ll get “Lost in a vision of where you are now,” as Ghost Beach puts it. Enjoy the moment, engross yourself in it, but don’t lament on it once it passes.

Ghost Beach – Been There Before (Shook Remix)


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Deerhunter – Back To The Middle

Le titre Back To The Middle est sorti en 2013 dans l’album Monomania. Un style garage, un son brut, un retour aux sources. A l’heure où les chaleurs estivales nous poussent à nous prélasser sirotant menthe à l’eau ou autre cocktail, où le chill est la quête ultime, le maître-mot, Deerhunter me donne envie de secouer ma tête pleine de sueur au milieu d’une foule en délire, une peinte à la main.

Je ne sais pas, c’est peut être une façon d’exprimer un ras-le-bol général. Le fait est que de temps en temps la vie nous amène sur un plateau un tas de choses dont on n’a pas envie. Je ne cherche pas à me placer en victime mais parfois c’est un sacré foutoir et on se demande “Pourquoi moi, pourquoi maintenant??”. Et pourtant il faut le faire, aller de l’avant et passer ces obstacles.

Le lien entre cette chanson et cette passade? Le Rock. Balance tout et avance! Parfois c’est peut être la meilleure solution. Who cares? J’aime bien la deephouse mais à un moment donné il va falloir commencer à faire attention, ça nous rend trop passif! Back To The Middle reste tout de même très agréable à écouter sans avoir envie de tout casser, on peut en profiter tout au long de l’été!

Deerhunter – Back To The Middle


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