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Kaytranada – Leave Me Alone ft. Shay Lia

Foggy city from Bernal Heights

He’s been hot for a minute already, but if you haven’t yet booked your ticket on the overnight bus to the netherworld that is the Kaytranada bandwagon, step right up. It isn’t that the songs are downers – in fact, they all feature an inignorable positivity – but rather that they are down. They don’t take you soaring through the clouds, blasting towards the stars in blinding flashed of energy; they slither you through the settled fog, close to the wet, living earth. The bass is organic, the samples (his music is heavily sample centric) soulful. It’s as if an ancient griot stumbled across RZA’s EPS16+.

One thing Kaytranada is not, at least in my eyes, is an EDM artist. EDM has come to connote a specific type of electronic music, and in many ways has become a super-subgenre that no one applies correctly. I’m not saying I know what it is, but this isn’t it. In interviews, Kaytranada cites Flying Lotus as a contemporary influence, and you can really hear it: the jazzy undertones, unsyncopated drums and late-nite vocals. If he’d been performing in the 30’s, Kevin would have been one cool cat.

And not only because of his music. This guy is clearly very cool and original. Born in Haiti and raised in Montreal, he had this to say about living in Canada: “I usually chill around at the part or I’ll just go to bars because I don’t really go to clubs. The bars play the best music. I see finer girls in there. Clubs aren’t that cool but bars are awesome.” And this to say on “trap music”: “I think it’s kinda corny…all of that kind of cliché trap stuff is so annoying. But, I ain’t gonna lie, I was hot on that shit before, but now it’s turned out to be corny.” (both quotes from an interview with Noisey)

Voice of a generation? I’m kidding, but seriously, who doesn’t agree with both of those statements.

“Leave Me Alone” is a fair representation of his music. It is both dense and spatial, allowing the listener to breath but not catch a breath. As we transition into the autumn, it’s songs like this that begin to take hold, leading us away from the sunny skies and into a contemplative realm.

 

Kaytranada – Leave Me Alone ft. Shay Lia

 

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Sylvan Esso – Coffee

This song is a paradox. It’s the type that can chill your mind while at the same time making you want to jig with it. The subtle synth and soft female vocals with occasional dings of bells come together quite nicely.

Get up, get down

Sylvan Esso is comprised of Amelia Meath on vocals and Nick Sanborn on instrumentals. I love the way Amelia sings these 4 words above. After listening to the song and having it stuck in my head, I’ve often finding myself singing this sentence almost subconsciously. Catchy! Get up and dance, get down to the beat.

This song speaks to me because I love dancing! Bouncing on my feet to feel-good music is a great way to spend an evening. Although this song isn’t likely one I’d be moving to, it does a good job of making me want to get up at the next opportunity. Perhaps a type of gateway song to a dancing mood. Enjoy!

Sylvan Esso – Coffee

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Angus & Julia Stone – Grizzly Bear (Lakechild Edit)

There is a shift in many of the psyches of this, our, younger generation. It is not cool to be elitist. It is frowned upon to judge others, to act a class above or oblivious to the cultures of our fellow humans. Arguably due to the accessibility of information, the ease of traveling now to places far away or making friends or following people across the world.

I am blessed with a job that allows me to travel and nearly forces us to submerge ourselves in the culture, to talk to everyone we meet and to experience the places we visit so we become not only a source there, but build connections here. But even after multiple trips to these places and people, I am still always surprised by the people and how similar we all really are. Currently in India, I had that moment again and again. Here, there is a more recent shift from the arranged marriages we all see in film and TV that, from a western perspective, seems archaic still. Which had me thinking about love.

I was in a cab and the driver asked me about my love. His first question was “is it a love marriage or a set marriage”. I explained about my love (leaving out the back story of meeting in a pub over a beer and football on Halloween) but he was very concerned about this arrangement I was in. What would my parents think? How could I be with someone my family hadn’t met? I hadn’t been home in a long time and my parents meeting my boyfriend was not a big deal, but I felt judged in it. I felt what we had put out there for so long. This was a normal situation of love to be in in my mind, but saying it out loud here felt like I was in a lesser love for a moment. And I could see there are places in the world where this not normal. This is irresponsible love. That we are still different in many ways.

A few days later, I met up with a girlfriend. Oddly, I found myself drinking wine in a Mexican restaurant listening to a country music song covered in a very thick, Indian accent over candlelight in the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel. I can’t explain this situation other than it was a twilight zone sort of moment where I just laughed at it. Everything was a juxtaposition here to everything in the room. The conversation turned in to talking about boys. What else do 26 year old girls talk about. And it was then I realized that we are not really different at all. The things she worried about in her relationship where what I did in mine. Are we going anywhere? Where do we want to end up? And then after more wine, we reminisced about the first time we met our significant others. And again, the stories were similar. Nervous, attraction, long talks, and how much we adored them immediately.

Underneath all of this and between the decades and centuries of cultural divides, we now have understanding and can see the common grounds. I realized we all feel butterflies when we meet them, when we talk about love, we are nervous and excited, we get set up or we meet by chance.

It is a fun, exciting time to be alive and to experience people and have those conversations in dark bars in India over Mexican food listening to Sam Smith and Tim McGraw cover songs, because somehow, we are all human.

This song reminds me of the bar talks. Of the butterflies and being blissfully taken far away with a stranger who knows you all too well.

Angus & Julia Stone – Grizzly Bear (Lakechild Edit)

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Redlight – 9TS (90s Baby)

Biggie Smalls, Versace shades, Moschino jeans & Alize. ODB, Brooklyn Zoo, DJ Randall on the 1’s & 2’s.”

Nostalgia never gets old.

Redlight – 9TS (90s Baby)

 

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Crystal Fighters — Love Alight (Jean Tonique Remix)

crystal-fighters

I fell in love with words the moment I began to read. It was through the words that I read in books that I began to see how much power letters put together had. It was then that I knew I wanted to be a writer.

At the risk of seeming ridiculous, let me say that the true revolutionary is guided by a great feeling of love. It is impossible to think of a genuine revolutionary lacking this quality.” —Ernesto Che Guevara

Had you asked any kid my age at the time, “what power they could have if they could pick any power”, most would have answered that they wanted to fly, be invisible at will, or stretch any part of their bodies out. Me? I knew that if I had asked for and received anyone of those powers, I wasn’t real. If I had asked for and received any one of those powers, ‘well than I was just a character in an animated film, or some type of cartoon series on television'; I knew that the only forms of any real power existed in guns, or, in words.

Today, my passion for writing is inspired and fueled by the sounds of music. It is through music and words that the Earth, as it exists in my head, has become so beautiful. If writing were a perfectly beautiful day, music would be the perfect breeze that dropped in out of nowhere to accompany that memory and make a seemingly impossible-to-perfect moment: perfect. 

NYC is at its peak today. As Fashion Week (#NYFW) began last week and Summer’s stronghold was not letting up with its intense heat and humidity, Autumn has chimed in full-fledged to save the day, and Jean Tonique‘s Remix of Love Alight by Crystal Fighters is that perfect breeze stepping in to make another seemingly impossible-to-perfect moment just that much more perfect.

Funky synths, high-pitched hooks, swaggy vocals and a non-stop groove to keep the Fashion Week models from missing a step, Jean Tonique has perfected a perfect tune in order to make sure that the ride for the next few days is seamless. The remix is as worthy of any runway as it is of any of the most exclusive after parties taking place as Fashion Week comes to its end. From early morning fittings to late-night champagne toasts, turn this tune on and be ready to dance because your feet and body will simply command it.

 Crystal Fighters — Love Alight (Jean Tonique Remix)

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Moods – A Long Time (Moods Remix)

It’s been a long time…”

Ain’t that right. At this point my closest friends and I have been on our respective journeys for nearly a decade, we’re not rookies anymore. We’re at the stage where expectations are met, period. When I was 21 the earthly world was such a mystery, I would look at my idols and be in awe of their accomplishments and lifestyles. Turning 30 has changed that, now that is simply a matter of professionalism, getting things done when they should be done, planning and designing a lifestyle around your goals that let’s you execute with minimal fuss. There is no looking back and wondering where the time went, there is no looking forward and wondering what we’re going to do. Life always throws us curveballs but even those are easily handled with even keel – we’re meditating and developing our spirituality as well.

Which brings me to where the new sense of wonder and amazement lies: natural law and the universe. The earthly realm is governed by mans law which allows you to create systems and use our ability to plan. It’s predictable, if you eat a ton of garbage and you’re going to get fat, that’s a guarantee. If you don’t do your job, you’re going to get fired and on and on. Nature and the divine realm have laws we think we understand but is truly limitless which allows you to tap into the most powerful gift we have, our imagination. We don’t discover things in nature, we learn to see what is already there and every single day people find something new in the endless marvel that is our universe.

I think I spent 30 years of my life, trying to become something, I wanted to become good at things, I wanted to become good at tennis, I wanted to become good at school and grades and everything I kind of viewed in that perspective. I’m not okay the way I am, but if I got good at things. I realized I had the game wrong, because the game was to find out what I already was…”

That quote is so dense that I won’t even try to break it down but that’s a deep truth. We keep trying to become, trying to find things but we don’t realize that things are already there! You ever read something profoundly deep and feel like you already know it? It’s because you do. The world didn’t start yesterday, we’re self-centered and full of ourselves that we’d like to think it all starts and ends with us but that’s the big deception. In our DNA is our history, all the knowledge of the past, we don’t have to learn shit, we just need to see what’s already there.

It’s been a long time…”

Don’t just think of yourself when you read something like that. Think of the existence of everything you see, feel and can imagine. You’re as new and old as it all and you have the wisdom of nature itself within you. Every now and then stop put a complete stop on life on earth and sit down by yourself, meditate and try to tap into that, enjoy.

Moods – A Long Time (Moods Remix)

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Joni Mitchell – California

I’m 6 days into this Whole30 diet, I call it a diet because it’s the easiest way to communicate the concept but it’s more of a lifestyle than something as fading like a diet. Anyways, in a nutshell I’m not eating any sugars, no wheat, no grains, no dairy, no processed foods of any kind and no alcohol. That’s the movement here in California, it’s a movement where my generation is starting to eat like my grandfathers generation. Quality pasture raised meats and organic vegetables and fruits. Since the beginning of the fast food industry in the 1950s food has been on a rapid decline, the food industry makes food-like products scientifically made to make you crave instead of satiate like nutrient rich organic foods and meats do.

Sitting in a park in Paris, France
Reading in the news and it sure looks bad
They won’t give peace a chance
That was just a dream some of us had
Still a lot of lands to see
But I wouldn’t stay here
It’s too old and cold and settled in its ways here. 

Oh, but California…?”

‘It’s too old and cold and settled in its ways here.’ I love that line so much. So many people and places take such great pride in being this one thing, scared of change and owning it like a badge of honor. People think Hollywood is what defines Los Angeles but that’s like saying Times Square defines New York, you’re either a poser or haven’t really lived in either to believe something that foolish. I started this post talking about food because that’s what happens here. I was in an Uber yesterday and ended up talking to my driver about health, meditation and following unique paths in life.

So I bought me a ticket
I caught a plane to Spain
Went to a party down a red dirt road
There were lots of pretty people there
Reading Rolling Stone, reading Vogue
They said, “How long can you hang around?”
I said a week, maybe two
Just until my skin turns brown

Then I’m going home to California
California I’m coming home”

Every city has a different culture, some value some things more than others and that’s why traveling is so important, because you get to see and live all those different highlights. But man I can’t tell you how good it feels to live in a city where the culture is health, the priority is lifestyle quality and all that Space Age hippie shit, how wonderful it is to call this place home. I grew up in New York, my family, friend and former life is there and I’ll never stop going back and taking in what New Yorkers find important. I’ll get strung out on the fast pace of the city, I’ll be head over heels with the sky scrapers, go to Joe’s with all my friends in Chinatown, but then…

California, I’m coming home.”

Joni Mitchell – California

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Glass Animals – Gooey

Glass Animals have caught my attention lately, and it all started with this song- “Gooey”. I was visiting a friend in Austin and she played it on her stereo; I was immediately hooked. “Doesn’t this song sound so sexual?!”, she inquired. She had assigned this classification because the first time SHE heard it she was amongst sweaty bodies at a live show, dancing with a new love interest. Now, several dozen listens later, I’m on the same page as her. Can you hear it?

The lyrics don’t make much sense, but the song isn’t about the message. It’s something to sway to. To dance to while you’re tipsy in you’re living room, getting ready to go out. Give it a try. It’s also great for post-party chill down. Glass Animals has a great collection of songs and have recently released an album, “Zaba.” If you’re keen on “Gooey”, there other stuff is worth a listen.

Glass Animals – Gooey

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The XX – Reconsider (Exempt / Henry Greenwork Edit)

Remember me, I’m the one that’s back from over
Time’s gone by and I’m still so far from over
You reappeared like you had never been gone
I lose composure
You’re touching me like you have no desire for closure

Reconsider

Did you lie awake like I did
I stayed up ’til the stars didn’t recognise me
So long
I waited so long
Now you don’t see the skies that I do
My sun becomes your moon
For a familiar love
I am familiar love”

I am currently sitting in a dark hotel room on the outskirts of Delhi, India. The last familiar voice I heard was over a broken Skype call and the last familiar words I read were the lyrics to this song. The XX have a haunting way of capturing moments like that. The voice of the singer (Romy) is ghostlike, with these lyrics echoing the corridors in my head.

There is something about being stripped of your familiar place, familiar people to let you see what lonely is and even when you think it gone, it emerges in those dark rooms. Echoing in your head. It is arguably that ability to conjure those thoughts as to why the XX have such a cult following. Coming from the depths of England, they create the music pretty girls with their cigarettes dance around to in their panties, not sure if the words in those lyrics are cuts or a relief.

In this case, it is relief. We never want to feel alone. I think it is true we listen to lonely music to feel that less. I had a dream last night, the kind where you have to tell yourself in your dream it is not real. But the whole city feels like that. Waking up and seeing a new world, an alien planet. Sitting in a car today I was toted around the city visiting schools and temples I had only seen in travel books. Seeing people, cows in the streets, monkeys were swinging around the trees as we waited for the Prime Minister of India to pass so the roads would clear. The 100 degree Fahrenheit heat covering my well covered body. Alien places are always an experience as you have that “Inception” moment, where you, everything is normal, but then you notice something off and then you realise you are the only English voice you have heard in three days.

I like this place and this song on repeat in the room. It is the good lonely when the lyrics are a safe place and a familiar story. I think everyone should take a trip to an alien planet. I recommend India.

The XX – Reconsider (Exempt / Henry Green Rework)

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Olympic Ayres – Control

Nothing in nature, absolutely nothing can give you the satisfaction of eating a Oreo. That little cookie is scientifically made to pleasure the shit out of you, it’s sole intention is to give you the most intense reward at the consequence of everything else. They’re not alone, the things we eat these days taste and smell just like food, the textures are the same they’re nothing more than a food-like products. Products designed to accomplish supernormal stimulation so that you don’t stop eating, crave and constantly come back for more.Similarly, it sounds like music, it looks like reality on TV, it looks just like money, you get point. Supernormal stimulation is everywhere. Products and things that resemble realness but actually only serve to perpetuate the sale.

Think for yourself.
You have to be willing to cut against the grain and get the distance from your peer groups.
And not only that, but you have to have a habitual vision of greatness.

At this point in the human game, it’s not about just surviving but more about being optimal. People in the past ate a lot of bread because it was the only thing around. Nowadays, we know wheat is at best ok nutritionally yet we consume it like it was the only option. We still survive, we don’t thrive.

I’m not in control
And I owe it all to you…”

It’s interesting to think that we’re being invisibly controlled by things we’re ignorant about. Foods for example have psychological and hormonal effect on us that can literally alter our realities. In that sense we’re not in control of our lives and most of us don’t even know it. When you eat that Oreo, you’re not just eating something delicious, you’re changing your reality. What’s that saying – truth is stranger than fiction. Yeah.

You can be in control though and when you realize that power and take control of everything in your life there’s no way you can’t find out what makes you optimal, not just functional. Enjoy.

Olympic Ayres – Control

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