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The Geek x VRV – Kanagawa Waves 1831 with Fakear & Balkan Bump

The Geek x VRV have officially delivered the vibiest single of 2019. This one is pure atmospheric waves, slowly floating you through a sonic mist where sounds come from every direction and naturally dissipate into the next drip of aquatic direction. If they’re trying to take us back to the year 1831 through the lens of modern electronic production, then it’s totally working because this feels like an exercise in making time a flat circle, where the past and present intersect. It’s just as grounded in centuries-old tradition as it is in 2019, the line between the two blurring as The Geek x VRV’s combined forces with Fakear and Balkan Bump makes the world’s timeline fold in on itself.

This week I’ll be revisiting the past through a present lens by going home to see family. Rather than viewing it as a trip to farm nostalgia, I’m using the comfort of the past to offer a release from the troubles of the present. I can slip into the locales where I spent my childhood while keeping my spiritual practices in the forefront, using the past as a launching point for present progress. In the past I let myself slip too deep in nostalgia and became enveloped by old trains of thought, almost reverting to a teenage state of mind where my adult conceptions were temporarily wiped away. It was a reminder that all the work we’ve done must be consistently maintained – we didn’t magically get here and more work must always be done!

Else – Back To 8

Else come through with an absolute thriller in music form called “Back To 8” that feels like a Nicolas Winding Refn soundtrack that burst off the frame and came to life. There’s a beauty and tension that intertwine with one another, inspiring awe and suspicion at the same time. You can’t help but be sucked into the electronic atmosphere that this track weaves and feels like the perfect follow up to “Night Thoughts” which was their equally impressive single that came out earlier this year. This one is proof that music can be cinematic and drives layered, nuance feelings rather than just serving as a one-dimensional product to be experienced on a singular level. This is serious art.

I’ve been on an art kick through novels and film recently. I watched Tarkovsky’s Stalker last night which was a philosophy lecture in the form of sci-fi, using the genre as a vehicle to meditate on faith, religion, and human existence at large. I’ve also been deep into Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment along with Kafka’s The Trial, both of which paint vivid portraits of bleak aspects of humanity whether it’s the urge to hurt another when given freedom or the disillusionment of the individual under an authoritarian government. All three of these pieces offer deep perspectives in their own rights, showing that whether it’s music or film or novels, we are offered a deep chance at ascension.

Las Aves – Worth It

“Worth It” has the building tension of an electronic club song with the release of Purity Ring esque exhilaration. It’s pure catharsis in audible form, an ode to self-love that feels like a giant sigh of relief as all the serotonin and endorphins rush through the brain like a dam that’s been plugged up for years finally breaks and water crashes through, a piece of manmade hinderance returned to its natural state. That feeling stretches throughout Las Aves’ new album which is a beautiful array of sounds that exist everywhere from abrasive Crystal Castles beckoning synth stabs to bubbly Max Martin era pop drama. The trio offers such pure versatility and I can’t recommend checking out the entire thing enough. If you like what you hear on “Worth It”, I promise you’re going to be blown away once I’ll Never Give Up on Love Until I Can Put a Name on It buries itself within your psyche.

In a sense, a return to the spiritual center of pleasure, like that dam breaking, is a return to the natural as humans are meant to be an expression of the purest of intentions in our universe. We’re not supposed to suffer – suffering is a manmade concept that occurs when we stray away from the light. I sure as hell don’t mean that in the sense of “sinning” of course, but instead in the way that artificial hierarchies in society cause us to feel terrible about ourselves or make us outright oppressed, depending on the group. It’s impossible for all of society to have that “fuck it, let it all go” moment at once, but it feels amazing to take your power back and experience personal liberation.

Broken Back – One By One (Alle Farben Remix)

I’ve written quite a bit about Broken Back so I’m stoked to see Allen Farben take on “One By One” and flip it into a feel good track that seems like the perfect swan song as summer fades into the fall. It’s like a subtle little anthem that makes you want to sway back and forth with the percussive groove before releasing into a head rush of a hook that’s equivalent to an exhilarating purge of all negative emotions and only feeling the purest good in your heart and in the world. This track has a proverbial heart of gold where you can hear the best of intentions in every note, a song made to inspire and uplift anyone who fortunately stumbles across it from now and beyond.

You have to take life slowly, one step at a time. If you’re looking to better yourself, you can’t make a 180 degree change in one fell swoop. You have to approach the process piece by piece, strategically choosing which part of yourself to better and strengthening it until you have the power and courage to take the next course of action. It might be frustrating to those who want instant gratification, but if you want to build a foundation with longevity rather than the, let’s say McMansion quality of metaphorical home, then you need to invest in a lengthy process that will pay dividends for the rest of your life. Take things slow and watch the results slowly but surely unfold.

Luis Crucet – Mist

Luis Crucet’s new single is an absolute masterclass in clean, crisp production that strikes deep with each and every pocket encroached. It’s so dense yet so clear, offering a full breadth of atmospherics that toy with the mind while overwhelming the immediate senses – a beautiful balance is struck that commands nuanced attention. The vocals add yet another wonderful layer to the mix, reminding me of mid 2000s dramatics that peppered my playlists, invoking a sense of nostalgia while looking toward the future. I’d highly advise to throw on a pair of quality headphones for this one and slip deep into the world that Luis Crucet has conjured.

I’d been walking through mental fog and mist for a long time. I could see what was directly in front of me, but I had no conception of what lied beyond. It was a part of my life where that lack of sight helped facilitate my sense of safety, but I’ve made a massive turn that’s given me the confidence to shine down through the fog and look toward the horizon. I’m seeing the beauty in nature, feeling the connections of truly listening to others, I’m experiencing art and philosophy on a deeper level, everything has come into focus like I’d been stumbling through life until now. I love my past self, but I’m excited for the new journey that’s just begun and what awaits.

Luke Wylde & Rhea Robertson – Save Yourself

Luke Wylde and Rhea Robertson offer up an absolutely powerful level of synergy on their collaborative new single. It’s a gritty anthem that feels equal parts dive bar and arena stage, the guitar licks sounding like the smoke of cigarettes wafting through your local club while the vocal hook is equipped for arms waving back in forth and controlled unison across the Staples Center floor. It’s a brilliant piece of modern alt-pop inflected with all the right bits of rock that sets itself so far apart from the cookie cutter tracks with a team of mad scientists (read: underpaid songwriters getting less than ideal cuts) behind them. Turn this one all the way up and you’ll immediately feel the middle-finger attitude this one is espousing from beginning to the very end.

Sometimes you have to save yourself. We’re a communal species of shared energy, but in this present moment, we only exist in one body and it deserves the maximum amount of preservation and respect. Don’t take the proverbial bullet for someone – you’ll not only spare them of what the universe is offering as a moment of necessary growth, but you’re sacrificing yourself all for what, an act of hindering progress? Does it sound selfish? Maybe, but I don’t think it’s unfair to consider the value of yourself and cherish it – there’s duality to all things in life, so while you maintain the spiritual practice of love and community, you must also maintain the spiritual practice of conservation. That’s how this one little mind on the speck of a speck of rock in the speck of a galaxy in a vast universe sees it, anyway.

Ashe – Moral of the Story: Chapter 2

I’ve been raving about Ashe endlessly for years now and she keeps proving herself with every release. It’s so amazing to maintain such a high level of quality while consistently shifting and evolving her sound, from the days of being our favorite electronic topliner, to sunny indie-pop, to deep and introspective tunes with the ability to move entire rooms on increasingly larger tours. It’s no mistake that she’s fostering such a passionate and dedicated fanbase that’s hanging on to her every word because her music is not only open and honest lyrically, but you can hear the sincerity in every chord struck instrumentally. Off this new EP, I think my favorites are “Immature” which almost feels like a fairytale play production deserving of a synchronized dance routine and the slow build into a super dramatic conclusion on “Now How It’s Supposed To Go”. She’s documented a tragic journey on her two EPs this year and I know we’re all so grateful to get a glimpse into her perspective and world.

It’s really nice to kick off the week listening to an artist I love after setting the tone with a spiritual weekend that deepened my connection with the universe. I went to a class where I learned some really powerful practices that quenched my love for helping others in the short term and is going to allow me to provide insight for others in the long term. I was also of service to someone who needed serious help and was able to not just give them advice, but be a friend that they needed while coming out of a dark spot in their life. I’m really riding a wave of positivity right now and I’m happy to spread that to anyone reading this! Have a great week everyone!

Pretty Sister and MarcLo – Poolside Vibe

Get ready to kick back and float away as this “Poolside Vibe” comes in hot as a burgeoning summer hit from Pretty Sister and MarcLo. The two have had serious chemistry before and they ascend to effortless cool on a funky collaboration that’s impossible to resist. Groovy production makes this one timeless while the back-and-forth vocals are pure ear candy as each artist has undeniably gravitational approaches that pull you in, like your best friend pulling you into the pull where the party is at. It feels like a party is happening while listening to this one alone at home, so I can only imagine how it must feel to have this blasting on a sweltering Los Angeles afternoon with champagne toasting, drinks flowing, and anything else you might need to cool off.

With the utter chaos going on in the world, it’s so essential that we take time to say fuck it and forget all worries. Turn off the TV, get off social media, and have a blast with your friends that takes you out of worrying about the past and being scared of the future. Lean into the present moment and realize it’s all we’ve got, so we should make the best of it! Grab everyone you know, hit the closest body of water (preferably a pool but hell a beach or lake or river works too), and turn up “Poolside Vibe” to maximize the great time you’re going to have and the great time you deserve this summer!

Xtevie – Vanilla Tequila

Xtevie is the life of the party and brings some real swag to her music that’s impossible to ignore. “Vanilla Tequila” is her latest trap cocktail that comes with a banging beat and hype vocals that feel like if 2009-era Ke$ha decided to rap (as someone who seriously appreciates that period of pop, I mean that as the highest compliment possible). It’s pure turn-up energy synthesized into two minutes that makes it perfect to quickly get in the zone, and if you want to stay there, flip it on repeat again and again without it ever losing its luster. Now with three singles under her belt, Xtevie has really shown herself to be a versatile artist whose music is like one giant, irresistible celebration of life that’s impossible to not feel uplifted by and urges you to grab onto a friend and jump til you can’t anymore.

I can’t help but think about all the turn-up music of the past that inspires the same sentiments as “Vanilla Tequila”. Seeing the models at Kanye West’s Life of Pablo premiere rage to “Hard In The Paint” in the middle of MSG made me ascend to new levels, I’ve Spotify DJed many parties with “Freek-A-Leek” by Petey Pablo as the raunchy anthem for everyone to get down to, and seen how artists like Playboi Carti cause some sort of communal switch to flip where an entire audience of young people emerge into the most hypnotic state of disarray. We need to release everything pent up within us and music is the perfect avenue to do just that. Turn on “Vanilla Tequila” and turn it all the way up for those results.

Roland Tings – Always Rushing (ft. Mild Minds)

“Always Rushing” is a visceral heater of a track that starts off deceptively methodical, a calculated groove thriving on repetition while slowly divulging little hints of organic pleasure, before transitioning into organic indie-laced goodness. It’s a natural flow, almost psychedelic in nature as Mild Minds’ vocals echo across the soundscape, melodic yet detached and floating away into the ether. They don’t exist in a vacuum, though, as a synth-driven tension builds to a crescendo before suddenly dropping off a cliff into a subtle new groove at the track’s halfway point. There’s moving parts all throughout that seem to contradict one another on the surface, but their gravitational pull to one another makes this a magnetic release absolutely worth your time and then some.

For my personal anecdote today, “Always Rushing” lines up a pretty easy topic for me to tackle. I always need to bullrush into everything I do and overwhelm myself with as much practice or information as possible to a fault. It can be a sudden need to own every vintage nu-metal shirt on Depop, it can be the urge to buy every spiritual book I can to enrich my knowledge while jumping from author to author, all things that make me happy but totally overdone and require some moderation. Through meditation and daily practice, I’ve learned to slow down against my natural tendencies and exist in the present moment, appreciating what I have and slowly taking all facets of life in through a calm lens. It may take practice, but it works.