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Space Age Thoughts

We’re not going into the space age, we’re in the space age.

Why memorize things when you look up it in book?” - Einstein

Almost every job in existence can already be done by a robot, better than a human. We are in this point in civilization that many things we were used to doing with our minds and body are completely useless in comparison when a computer does it. Why not utilize that? Extend your abilities to be part of that computer. Make it do what you need it to do, not use it, become it.

The name of the game now is to become the architect, be one with the tool. A small percentage of us have evolved into demigods by learning how to create through machines. The age of man laboring is far behind us, don’t let the present fool you. Our time is better spent learning more to do less so we can use our valuable time on earth seeking higher truths. Learn how to code as soon as possible.

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Calvin Harris – Merrymaking At My Place

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You may have heard of Calvin Harris. The Scottish singer/songwriter/producer/DJ (born Adam Richard Wiles) made close to $50 million last year on the back of chart-busting singles, world tours and an auto-tune machine singer named Rihanna, for whom he wrote “We Found Love.”

If you just tuned in during 2013, you probably think Calvin is just another pop-douche EDM DJ, pressing play and waving his hands a lot while the kids beg for “the drop.” You and your hipster friends rag on him while you smoke American Spirits outside that bar no one’s even reviewed on Yelp yet, even though you think that one song with the singer of Florence and the Machine is pretty good.

Does that paragraph describe your opinion of Mr. Wiles? This post is for you.

I remember first coming across Calvin Harris, back in ’07, while scrolling through new music on Acquisition, an OSX Limewire clone. I was coming out of my “Only Led Zeppelin and Woodstock bands” phase and digging into underground and older electronic music, from Tune Up to Stanton Warriors. Harris’ first album “I Created Disco,” was already a hit in the UK (surprise), but was nowhere to be found in the states. My friends and I fell for it immediately, from the irreverent “Neon Rocks” to the loopy “Vegas” to the perennially underrated “Love Souvenir.” Not to mention the hits: “Acceptable in the 80s,” “The Girls” and today’s track, “Merrymaking At My Place.”

The album was an instant classic that presaged the move towards the knockoff 80s electropop that dominates the blogosphere today. It was totally raw and flippant, a kid fiddling with a computer, imbued with a real-life case of Julian Casablancas’ laconic ambivalence. It also launched Harris into the next-level, tearing him from the underground before he got settled.

He started writing, producing and remixing for a bunch of other artists, while working on his breakout follow up, “Ready for the Weekend” (2009). Standouts include Kylie Minogue’s “Heart Beat Rock,” Dizzee Rascal’s “Dance Wiv Me” and “Holiday” (from his fantastic album “Tongue in Cheek”), and The Ting Ting’s “Hands.”

In ’09, he issued this quote – “If you look at music it’s a frightening stranglehold that Simon Cowell has got over the entire music chart in the UK at the moment” – after trolling Cowell’s feel-good masterpiece of commercial dominance “The X Factor” by walking on stage unannounced while balancing a pineapple on his head. His apology: “At the end of the day, I had a pineapple on my head.”

I was lucky enough to see Harris perform live, with a full band, at Coachella in ’08. I’ll admit to leaving early (Prince was playing…) but remember thinking “Oh, this is real. He’s really good.”

Sadly, he hasn’t performed with a band since 2010, preferring to rake in the cash with solo DJ sets and a steady stream of cheeseball electro-pop offerings that show none of the range that made him such an exciting young artist. I guess $50 million can do that to you.

But this is a celebratory post, in honor of the artist that was. The artist that created a human synthesizer, aka the “Humanthesizer,” out of bikinied models (Google it). The artist that launched a web series called “JAM TV,” in which celebrities tried to open jars of jam (now unavailable on the regular internet. And if you’re like, huh, regular internet? Good, keep it that way.) The artist who “Created Disco” for a new generation of record-heads, from Dumfries to Santa Monica.

Thanks Calvin. Can’t wait to have you back.

Calvin Harris – Merrymaking At My Place

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Naughty Boy feat. Wiz Khalifa & Ella Eyre – Think About It (TWRK Remix)

The new year has brought an onslaught of goodness and balance. Which means a terrific force of both good and bad. I spent the first day of 2014 in a combination of different exercise modes. I exercised my love for food by attending a brunch that has become tradition with one of my best friends; I physically exercised with an hour and a half yoga class that really set my head straight. I think it was during that class that I started thinking about balance even more than I usually do, perhaps because the instructor kept talking about how painful positions make the not painful ones so much more intense and full of emotion. And isn’t that what we strive for? The most intense experience of happiness?

I also danced a little bit by myself at some point in that day. I dance pretty much every day, but it’s always important for me to start the day (or year, in this instance) off with a little bit of dance to myself. I love this banger of a tune because it’s not about being in the club and needing to be in that moment with those people, it’s about busting a move wherever you may be. This song makes me feel sexy. Sure, it’s sexy on it’s own sort of, but it’s more high energy than sexy. Somewhere in the translation, it places the sexy onto the listener.

Here’s to a balanced 2014.

Naughty Boy feat. Wiz Khalifa & Ella Eyre – Think About It (TWRK Remix)

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Lily Wood and the Prick – L.E.S. Artistes (Santigold Cover)

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What I’m searching for? 

To tell it straight I’m trying to build a wall
Walking by myself down avenues that reek of time to kill

If you see me keep going be a pass-by waver
Build me up bring me down just leave me out you name-dropper
Stop trying to catch my eye I see you good you forced faker
Just make it easy you’re my enemy you fast-talker.

I can say I’ll hope it will be worth what I give up
If I could stand up mean for the things that I believe
I can say I’ll hope it will be worth what I give up
If I could stand up mean for the things that I believe…

What am I here for? 

I left my home to disappear is all
I’m here for myself, not to know you, I don’t need no one else

Fit in so good the hope is that you cannot see me later
You don’t know me I am an introvert, an excavator
I’m duckin’ out for now a face in dodgy elevators
Creep up and suddenly I found myself an innovator…”

Lily Wood and the Prick – L.E.S. Artistes

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Teleman — Cristina

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The closest thing I could describe this Teleman tune titled “Cristina” to is like listening to a collaboration between modern day versions of The Beatles & The Beach Boys.  I guess you will just have to listen to it for yourself to get exactly what I mean here, but I promise you that it will be absolutely worth every second.

Cristina” is a fun track for any day or any daydreaming moment.  It’s paraded by a medley of great sounds galore that transform it into an extremely interesting, captivating and catchy  song to bop your head to, and be whisked away, for just a few minutes, to the Swinging Sixties, or something more modern yet still resembling that era.  Sort of like what a lot of recent societies around the world are becoming: societies so fed up with social inequality and failed institutions and sciences that they have begun to offer their own free health clinics, breakfast programs for schoolchildren, free clothing facilities, busing to prisons with families of incarcerated individuals, and self-defense classes for all minorities, of color or class, subjected to police harassment.  An era of that is freely deviating from the norms of the last two decades in order to enjoy life at its most basic layer.

Music, sex, weed, sex, more music, sex and the true freedom of mind, body and soul are the things in life that barely cost a thing.  In all actuality, they should cost nothing, but once again, the failed science of economics has shed some shadow on some of these things; even still, we are deviating more from the norms of control, and breaking free more and more as a globe.  Societies all around the world are breaking free and fighting until death to do so.  The incredible amount of economic disparities around the world these days have been far more noticeable than the past; blame social media, blame greedy politicians and financial institutions, blame the masters of Earth, or don’t blame anyone, it really doesn’t matter because things are changing, and changing fast.

The construct is in a panic,  meanwhile you and I are sitting here stressed about nothing, enjoying life in its purest form and mellowing out to “Cristina”.  ”She’s so good”.

Lie down and let the music play 
Nothing in the way now 
Lie down and let the music play.”

Teleman — Cristina

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Fern Kinney – Baby, Let Me Kiss You

I accidentally stumbled upon Fern Kinney’s music a couple of weeks ago while listening to a playlist curated by Norwegian producer, Lindstrøm. If you like R&B fused disco funk, you should absolutely check out his playlist on Spotify. I was intrigued by Fern Kinney’s unique blend of vocals and funky electro, and after reading about her history as a musician, I was surprised to find that her most famous works gave her the title of a “one-hit wonder.” I was surprised only because the song that I had latched onto, the one you can listen to below, is not the song she gained most of her fame for. In other words, it wasn’t her one-hit. She gained fame for her rendition of King Floyd’s, ”Groove Me” (which is also freaky funky) in particular.

For some reason I am eerily fascinated by artists who are given the “one-hit wonder” title. I think it’s because I feel like they were cheated into a title that they didn’t choose. It’s not like they wanted it for themselves — if anything, they probably have the same slightly sad association in their heads that I have when I hear the phrase, like the rest of their work will be automatically dismissed by listeners.

Well, not today. Perhaps that is why I sought out knowledge on what Fern Kinney’s background was like. I wanted so badly not to believe the stereotype. And you know what? I was right. She’s a phenomenal musician with an exquisite ability to make me, the listener, want to move. I can’t speak for all of you, but I’d definitely be surprised to meet someone who didn’t feel emotionally (and physically) moved by her tasteful tunes.

Fern Kinney – Baby, Let Me Kiss You

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Le Bonheur de Vivre

Henri Matisse, Le Bonheur de Vivre (“The Joy of Life”) between October 1905 and March 1906. Oil on canvas.

From the Barnes collection, one of the greatest if not the greatest collection of Post-Impressionist and Early Modern art ever amassed. There is not a private collection in the world that comes close, it is so unique it is almost impossible to calculate it’s monetary value. Being way ahead of his time as a collector, his collection consisting of masterworks by Cézanne, Renoir, Seurat, Matisse, and Picasso, to name a few. It was initially regarded as distasteful but then lauded when the public caught on to the new movements.  This made him disdain the traditional art world and discipline saying it stifles both self-expression and appreciation of art.” It made him hate the way high society used art so he housed it all in a private mansion and limited who could see it.

The Barnes Foundation would attack… the enemies of intelligence and imagination in art, whether or not those enemies are protected by financial power or social prestige.” - Barnes

Many disliked him for his nonconformist ways and disdain for the establishment. He was very strict on how people should experience his pieces and his intention was for the collection to never be sold, loaned or traded and only used for educational purposes to avoid being commercialized and exploited.  After his death, against his will and after one of the longest, most ruthless art battles known to the world the collection was practically stolen, and now lives in a museum in Philly. Perhaps the greatest, “legal,” art heist in history.

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EMPT Exclusive: Interview with San Fermin’s Allen Tate

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Sometimes, it happens all at once. An unknown band releases a debut record and boom, they start popping up everywhere.

San Fermin released their eponymous debut September, 2013. Since then, they’ve been featured in Pitchfork, The New Yorker, the New York Times, and live on NPR. You can’t do much better than that in terms of music press.

The band is the brainchild of composer/songwriter Ellis Ludwig-Leone, a Yalie who retreated to the Canadian woods after graduate to write the entire first album. By his telling, the music (a concept album about young love) poured out in a short period of time, after which came a technically-substantial recording process featuring over 20 musicians.

Now on tour, the band is an eight-piece ensemble with two equally excellent lead singers: Allen Tate and Rae Cassidy. Their voices counter each other to striking effect, and when paired with Ludwig-Leone’s bombastic and emotive compositions, something truly special emerges.

We caught up with Allen in the middle of their current national tour (schedule here…catch them in a city near you!) to hear his take on tour life, musical development and the band’s namesake.

EMPT: What is your background and how did you come to be the lead singer in a touring, rising band?

AT: I actually don’t have much of a background in music. I’m self-taught on guitar and bass and my mom used to have me practice harmonizing with the radio in the car but that’s about it. Ellis and I have been friends since we were 15 or 16. I think we both pretty surprised that things have picked up so quickly in the past year. It’s been a blur.

EMPT: I’m under the impression that the album was fully written (including song lyrics) by the time Ellis came to you. Is that true? If not, discuss your writing process.

AT: That’s right. Ellis went away to do the writing and once he had early versions of the song he would send me files and we would discuss ideas. I was lucky in that I was involved so early on in the process and also because I was able to help tailor my own part as it was being solidified. The project was always his but it was great to be a sounding board throughout.

EMPT: Is the music of San Fermin similar to the music you casually listen to? Or is it quite different?

AT: I listen to all kinds of stuff. So, it’s similar to some of it for sure. We have gotten comparisons to The National, Sufjan [Stevens] and Dirty Projectors and I love all of those guys. I’m an obsessive listener typically. I will latch on to one album when I find it and play it over and over until I find my next obsession.

EMPT: You’re on your first tour now. Is life on the road as you expected? What’s a crazy story from the tour so far?

AT: I really didn’t know what to expect to be honest. Things I’ve learned so far are that the shows are amazing and the sleep is terrible. I can’t complain though. It’s a blast. The best San Fermin tour factoid might be that we like to stop when we find empty parking lots and play wiffle ball. Got to blow off steam somehow right?

EMPT: Who are the artists you listen to on a regular basis? New and old.

AT: Like I said, I really tend to obsess over an album for a while and then move on to the next. Lately, I’ve been really into the Laura Marling record. And for an older artist, I am always in the mood to listen to some Stevie Wonder.

EMPT: Many pundits compare your voice to The National’s Matt Berninger or Bill Callahan. Were those singers actual influences? Or is it a fluke? Do you worry about being pigeon holed as a person who can only sing a certain type of music?

AT: It’s flattering. I couldn’t have imagined being in the same sentence as those guys a short time ago. Sometimes I wonder if people are just responding to my voice being deep but it’s a great compliment nevertheless. I’m not worried about being pigeon holed. At this point I’m just glad that the music is getting out there and that people are listening.

EMPT: Do you aspire to have a career in music?

AT: Absolutely. I had plans for law school a year ago but this has definitely changed that. I’m looking forward to recording the next album and spending time writing myself.

EMPT:   What is your dream venue to play?

AT: I would love to play the Beacon Theatre. It’s such a historic place and a beautiful room on top of that. I actually saw John Legend play a great show there recently.

EMPT: Will we be seeing you in Pamplona this year for the San Fermin festival (best known for the running of the bulls)?

AT: Not this year haha. I think I need a little more time to work up the courage.

Thanks to Allen and San Fermin! Find them on the interwebs at: http://sanferminband.com/

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Jamie Woon – Night Air (Ramadanman Refix)

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Sometimes at night I get in this mood

And my mind separates from my body and goes swimming

in a quiet pool, suspended weightless

surrounded by the droplet

that reflects the sound of out there.

My body moves still, numbed and soft

skin prickling in the artificial heat

kept close by off-white walls

that pucker in the upper corners

where they meet a ceiling so full of cracks

that it’s easy to imagine slipping up through them

and into the purple night that settles over

town and country and a man walking his dog after a long day of work.

Irresponsibility finds oppression around any corner

and so operates underground, shifting

from house to apartment to highway-side tattoo parlor

keeping ahead of the radio dial

keeping abreast of the novel and wrong.

The old incandescent bulb flickers on at the end of each day

bathing the cracked paint porch in sepia

that casts far enough into the shadows to

bring the rusted pickup into semi focus.

One stray drop ripples the scene

sepia to black and white and back

to the Technicolor of the bathroom mirror

the oily squeak of an old radiator.

Purple arcs in all directions,

a punctured filament, at least one thing you can trust in

to be in its place

until eventually it isn’t and you and all of your friends

feel confused and realize that it didn’t ever affect your life much

at all, but still it’s gone and you aren’t used to that so you call me up

knowing that I won’t answer because I’m swimming

deep in the cave system that winds beneath

the back alleys and rises at a certain point

where you can see for miles

and you can trace the path you took to get there

it seems so long but you know it won’t take

but a few moments to be right back

in the sepia syrup

responsible and clear skinned

and buttoned up with a crisp ironed collar

and purple necktie

walking into glass again

at eight forty five in the morning.

- N

Jamie Woon – Night Air (Ramadanman Refix)

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81Neutronz – Orion (EMPT Premier)

Close your eyes.

It’s hard to listen to this track and not be taken away into the constellations. It’s hard to listen to Orion and not be overwhelmed by a sense of timelessness and adventure. A nostalgia for worlds, knowledge and experiences written in code, hidden in our DNA. It’s in the stars, the answers lie in the constellations and our relationship is symbiotic, we are the stars.

Time is illmatic, what is now already was, what’s coming is already here. Few are aware of the truth, it’s out there but it’s not spoken of anymore, even fewer use it. They’ll make you doubt your intuition but it’s in us, you don’t have to think about it because you feel it. This world, it’s just a projection, do you get the feeling that you can change it too?

That’s the tension and wonder captured in this songs intro but then comes the resolve and at 00:53 seconds everything changes. You spent your whole life trying to create something and here it is, here’s that moment. Open your eyes and be overwhelmed by this awe inspiring dream like landscape you’ve created, a new world. This is happiness so take a deep breath and smile. Life is beautiful, love erupts and conquers all fear. You are free to be yourself, to create as you wish. You belong to no one, no one belongs to you, we coexist in harmony now. The limits are gone and you realize that you are nothing which makes you everything, you have access all the knowledge of the world with that simple understanding. This is the future, Welcome to the Space Age.

Orion is the first single from NYC based artist 81Neutronz and this lush, ethereal, epic, adventurous sound is called Terraform. It’s sole purpose is to inspire and bring out your inner creator. In Sci-Fi Terraform is the process of making worlds habitable for earth life but being the concept romantic I am I also take that as realizing your own self and manifesting the world you want right here on earth. That’s what great creators do, look at Elon Musk’s Hyperloop and how that will literally revolutionize our concept of transportation. Fully digest what Steve Jobs did for music, communication, books, computers, learning and tell me he didn’t literally Terraform earth. This track inspired thoughts of grandeur, thoughts of the natural power within us and our ability to create beyond what politics and programming say is possible. Enjoy.

81Neutronz – Orion

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