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Music

The Avener – Fade Out Lines

The song is instantly sexy. It is tangled in it like long legs on the bed.

The Avener has a sound that evokes a feeling sexuality, calmness and one where dancing is inevitable to it.

Tristan of The Avener described the tune as  “hard to define. It’s blues with jazz, folk and funk influences, and electronic instruments. It has feelings, emotion and nostalgia, but a lot of energy, too.”

This tune hits on so many levels of interesting sounds that are reminiscent of the late ’60’s sort of Jim Morrison talking poetry over the song and it weaves itself in seamlessly. Lyrics are always something that attract me to a song. Like poetry the words here just play in your mouth and you can slowly let them slip from your lips and hips.

It’s everywhere I look
From Las Vegas to right here
Under your dresser
Right by your ear
It’s creeping in sweetly
It’s definitely here
There’s nothing more deadly
Than slow growing fear
Life was full and fruitful
And you could take a real bite
The juice poring well over
Your skins delight
But the shadow it grows
And takes the depth away
Leaving broken down pieces
To this priceless ballet

I like this song because for me, it feels like I am free in it. Independent. The bits of my heart move to it and feel less guilt for staying and less afraid of wanting to say “I need a break. I want a rest.” Interesting statistic, 91% of women say they would like independence in a relationship compared to the 80% of men. Is the want to move alone or be alone so wrong? Talking to a friend who had similar thoughts, I couldn’t tell if I even felt guilty because I genuinely felt that, or if it was because I knew most people would say I should feel guilty. But we are stuck in the middle at times in the race of it, defining the lines of what feels right and what we are committed to. But who’s life and rules are we committing to? Where is the line drawn?

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Music

Vanic X K.Flay – Can’t Sleep

The most common word used to be “fine” when someone was asked how they are. If you think about anytime you are learning parts of a new language, one of the first things you learn is how to answer to your name and respond to ‘how are you’.

More recently, however the most common word to respond to ‘how are you’ is now busy. The collective shift from fine to busy has occurred in the recent years. The constant treadmill of daily life, riddled with gadgets and apps that are supposed to help us organise better, work more efficiently, remember to meditate are now just adding more clutter than there was before, but because we make it through our stacks of work and emails faster, we just fill the time with more stacks and email.

I thought more on this as a recent FaceTime with my Mom which generally starts with a pleasant “Love you/Miss you” was punctuated with more of a concerned “You look tired”.

“Maybe I been freaking out, moving quick, burning the wick at both ends. Screaming loud, stupid shit, scaring all of my old friends. Fell down on Bedford, hope that it’s not broken.”

During this conversation we also talked about old friends as she ran into one who was working at the local supermarket in town. She has two kids and the same job she had when we were in high school. We used to be inseparable. I remember there was switch that went off before I left home to go to school. I wanted to live anywhere else in a faster life. I didn’t want to be bored anymore, but never quite learned how to stop adding to the lifestyle. Never saying no.

I spoke to a friend in London here the other day who was saying the same thing about going home and seeing old friends, the bit of guilt you feel when you say anything about your life you built. They built theirs too, but there is the constant sliding doors feeling, like all of the choices you have made, what-ifs. At the end of this talk, and after both of us working long hours in long meetings. Who has the better life? She seemed happy. She had a house and lifestyle she was surviving in. And was content.

Perhaps we are those who are not content. Who can’t stop once you see the next step up. Once you get a few stamps in a passport, you will save all you have and apply to everything you can to get to the next location or position. We can’t sleep.

“My mother told me that the world has got its plans. I wanna hold until it burn right through my hands.”

This mix comes from Vanic, of Vancouver. The perfect mix of dark lyrics and dancey tunes.

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Music

2Pac – Changes (Vijay & Sofia Zlatko, Kasùal Remix)

One of my favourite studies is called The Marshmallow Test. If you are not familiar, it was a test done in the ’60s that tested 600 children but putting them individually in a room and placed a marshmallow in front of them. The child was told they could either eat the one marshmallow or wait 15 minutes and the person doing the testing would give them another marshmallow so they can have two.

The theory coming from this being those children who were able to wait longer for twice the marshmallow had better self control and displays the ability to delay gratification. Basically they could restrain impulse.

The test was redone a few years ago in the same structure, adding an encounter with an adult who would offer art supplies. Some of the adults were reliable to bring supplies and some weren’t. The outcome supporting the idea that children could actually be using rational decision making, if they had an unreliable encounter, it would likely happen again so there was no need to wait for the second marshmallow.

The takeaway I got from this is empathy.

Honestly, I read the report on the original, which is awesome (if I believed I could retire studying sociology or anthropology for my career, I would leave advertising yesterday). And that is what I got from it. I do have good self control and honestly felt like that is something I harvested, I gained. Perhaps I did. But I also looked at people who couldn’t have it, as, I don’t know, less strong? Because it is hard, but some people seem to be able to handle it better than others.

And then I read this study revisited (in 2012, 50 years later) and I just got more from that. You never really know what the other person was raised with or dealt with. You don’t know when they are having a bad day or someone lied to them or let them down. I get that, you grab what you can then.

And that is fine too.

I really, really love hip hop for this. There is this great tone and feeling from songs, Changes being an obvious fit for this, that take a look at society and how we are viewing people and not allowing the full back story to come out to see why they did something, what they believe. Perhaps their logic and action makes more sense than others, or mine.

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Music

Banks – You Should Know Where I’m Coming From

Monday night I went to have a drink with a friend at the pub. Both of us came from our day jobs which are in banks in Shoreditch, but we are both dating people in Clapham so the destination is generally this bar that always has seats a bit out of town and £15 bottles of wine. Wine nights always feel more honest. Before the first glass was half gone, we we are already getting to the grittier girl talk.

Her situation was about a somewhat recent sweetheart who has been getting texts from a girl. He showed her. She acted fine with it and he continues to be open about it. But there is the little green monster. Which I think most girls fear the most.  The green eyed monster is jealousy and by definition is the emotion you have when you feel insecure that you are about to loss something of great value to you. In language today, envy and jealousy are nearly synonymous and both have a negative connotation as far as emotions go. Yet, the idea is that when you feel one- it is more of a fear of loosing rather than wish someone was without.

This wine fuelled honesty about relationships came together as we played devil’s advocate. But as much as you try to be empathetic/understanding there is nothing like the flip in your stomach you feel in those instances. It is not in all relationships but remembered this feeling from my boyfriend at 18, you feel almost dirty or ashamed for hating the person who is texting or calling. But the end conclusion of this was we don’t plan to stop texting our friends or guys so we can’t expect our lovers to. But really, why would you want your partner to only interact with you?

This whole bit then led to the conversation of are we really supposed to be with just one person for our whole lives? We evolve in our friend groups (miss you old friends) and our surroundings. Whys do we think that loving someone can’t evolve as well. I just really got hung up on this. Some guys friends joined soon after this kicked off and the conversation was astonishingly pretty unanimous. We all had the idea of love. The want for it, but all believed that we are able to love and belong to more than one person in life. The social norm of finding the one and getting married and that is it – is a bit dated (and not bad at all, just a different path). But this new train of thought on the idea of relationships being more of something you can do through life is sort of frowned upon. But why? This is an honest feeling.  Why is it that we put such a high premium on the one and life when we can evolve or explore more? Why is this looked at like it is a lesser love? Just because your love with someone didn’t last forever doesn’t discredit it, or make it less. It makes it the perfect bit in a life of perfect little bits.

I don’t know. I think when you ask this question to people you get some interesting answers back. Although this was a girl talk topic, I think we have evolved alot from the “Does he like me” context.

I love this song by Banks. I listened to it alot this past week and it fits this whole thing so well. I think when you have the doubt that there is one person, you worry about hurting people more. Because you care about this person. I hurt when they hurt. I laugh when they do. And I’m scared because being with them now is the best, but I remember a quote I heard when I will younger, “It is easy to change a mind, it is hard to change a belief. One lives in the mind and the other in the heart.” As much as one sounds like a good idea, you know what you believe and the door is not as far as you think. Sweet, sweet Banks.

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Music

Busta Rhymes – Ill Vibe (Tom Misch Remix)

Stories are boring. We don’t watch stories, we watch the characters. Their characters, their drama and what they do. The story is a small part of it.”

I heard this at a dinner last week from Richard Ayoade as he addressed a room full of aspiring filmmakers and creatives. That bit just hit me like a brick. The value we put on our stories and the value we put on character are skewed, subjective. This reminded me about the quote “it’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey.” But I don’t buy that. Not really.

With an ever-peering eye on our social happenings, our likes and what we deem interesting to share and read and come back for – there is a new pressure to be interesting. To create a character. I love this idea. Stories are long and drawn out and usually predictable but a character surprises you. You can change and morph. You can harvest interests. You can study a new language. You can buy a ticket alone. You can surprise even yourself.

I never really thought about this concept, the character being bigger than the story but as soon as I heard him say this I got a new perspective. A new way of seeing, of valuing situations and traits. I thought about the best stories I had heard or even experienced, and all were made that way because of the people involved.

Ill Vibe has that edge, the bravado that makes someone like Busta Rhymes a character. You listen to you and feel it.

I put my best foot forward, when I play in life
Cause this world as I live it, chill’s like a double edged knife
In the jam we regulate, cause we organize
Logic-a-ly thinking when along’s enterprise”

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Music

Birdy – Skinny Love (Fareoh Remix)

This remix captivated me. The song and the lyrics (listen to the original by Bon Iver) are amazing. It is popular because people see their hurt in it. The struggle in something. The definition of skinny love seems to take on many meanings. One being when two shy people like eachother but never act on it, crippled by their dilapidating interpersonal tendencies.

Come on skinny love just last the year,
Pour a little salt we were never here,
My my my, my my my, my-my my-my…
Staring at the sink of blood and crushed veneer.”

The other way you hear this is when someone is hurting, they are without. The struggle of seeing someone you care about and they are hurting. Withering away in front of you. But you need them to hold on enough to keep going and trying. And sometimes it is hard and everyone feels guilty and sad and wanting to feel better.

And I told you to be patient,
And I told you to be fine,
And I told you to be balanced,
And I told you to be kind,
And in the morning I’ll be with you,
But it will be a different kind,
‘Cause I’ll be holding all the tickets,
And you’ll be owning all the fines.”

I hate fights and conflict. The danger of that being is you avoid all conflicts and issues until there is no room to brief. The weight of the decisions made have  crippled you. Every path is different and struggles are completely subjective but that doesn’t mean they are any less real, but the struggle intensity is how you see it. And sometimes you need someone to pull you out.

Skinny love to me is that. It is a plea with someone you care about to be ok. That is why this mix just spoke to me. It has this message and Fareoh made it into something that comes off as dancey and happier. A perfect balance or juxtaposition.

A perfect Friday release.

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Music

Fragile – Maya Payne (MCHNCL Remix)

Break-ups are contagious. Like most things really. When your friend gets a new job, you start to look at your situation and career and size it up. Complaining or sharing your dislike for something has actually been shown to be more of a bonding moment for two people than other social interactions. Sadly.

But the break-up is always one. I remember seeing it in a show or movie or something (In retrospect it was The League) where a couple gets freaked out when their friends get divorced and they say it then “These kind of things are contagious.”  You see your friend, either miserable or liberated, but either way you see them broken up. You see the process, the internal and external monologue, the aftermath. You start to compare this

A friend recently broke up with her long time boyfriend because he didn’t get her and didn’t allow her to be herself truly or what she deemed as herself fully. But relationships are tricky. There is the fine line where this person pushes you to be a better version of yourself, a reason to be with your partner, and then person you feel like you are that you still feel like you need to hide. More than the first time you fart in front of them, its the stuff behind the curtain. The stuff under the hood. Where do you draw the line of what to share or if you do, can they handle all of it?

Being a girl and a friend to her, we talked about all of this in length. And like osmosis, the conversation seeps in to the skin and your head. I am reminded how fragile we are and our relationships can be. The layers and lies and truth and white lies that create a web that you can either stay in or escape, which is never easy. But we are fragile. I think what struck me about the conversation was how many times she said she was broken. She was stuck. I feel broken. I am stuck here. And like that those words sink in to anyone’s skin that is within earshot. Sinks in to the bones. “Am I happy?” “Am I stuck?”

Then comes the realisation that the only thing you are connected to physically is the earth and all of the other bits and shit and ties and break-ups are in your head. But we are fragile, so we need to take care of ourselves and each other. And try to keep what is in your life your life and your perspective in check. I am reminded we get exposed to different ideas and there are more chances to hold a microscope up to your life and pick and choose what you share and what can remain yours and hidden. I imagine the key to life or happiness is learning what those are and who to share them with.

This song just resonates all of this.

“What is to give light must endure burning.” – Viktor Frankl

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Music

ODESZA – Say My Name (Max Liese Remix)

When was the last time you cheated? Have you ever?

It is such a taboo to talk about, even in the closest circles it is the whispers in the hall. But it has come up a lot more lately. People are listening to the other side, the voice in the corner. Whether deliberate or intentional, I think most people have become empathetic or all too familiar with the other person. Perhaps it is evolution in relationships, that we no longer have the same idea that we will meet the one and never feel that for another after that.

Even in the best relationships we face temptation. The lust for the beginning rush. The taste of someone new. A friend recently broke up with “the one” as he didn’t realise how you could love more than one person. How you could want to have more than one in your life? Is this a conversation you should have when things start to get serious, like “where do you want to end up” or “do you plan to have kids”? Do you think you can love two people at once? Do you think you can just stay with one person, satisfied, for your life?

It is hard when the fights begin to get heated with your significant other and they always end with, “why don’t you leave then” rather than “let’s figure it out”. And even in that moment you leave the relationship, the love for a moment. “Leave!” You think, what if.

So when does cheating count then? Is it thinking about someone else? You have emotionally let in someone else. Is that right? Or it is it physical. And where is that line? Does it not really matter until you get married or is it when you move in?

These are more questions than a resolution and there is really no wrong or right. Writing from the fence and looking at both sides. Temptation and love and empathy and unsatisfied. Where do you go from here?

“I wanna go
So what’d you say
When you gonna let me know
If you give a dam* about me

‘Cause you got my hands tied
In my defense
I always fall for confidence
And your compliments look good on me

Cause nobody knows it better
than the girl in the corner with the scarlet letter
And while you’re watching you may think that she doesn’t matter
But no one knows you better”

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Music

Zella Day – Compass (Louis The Child Remix)

Sometimes it is hard to think of something inspiring, moving, worth reading each week. Today, I found myself wishing that I could write as I used to, a time filled with a string of bad decisions, destruction and floundering for air. But the poetry and short stories of that time, now years in my past, were the best, darkest, most articulate thoughts I had expressed. Was it the drugs? The weather? The boy? The girl? The fights? The place?

I thought that if I could find this place again I would be able to write like that again.

I was listening to a TED talk from Elizabeth Gilbert (Writer of Eat Pray Love – whatever haters,  she is a remarkable speaker) today where she was talking about creativity and how hard it is to find and pin it down. Creativity is also so closely associated with being linked to sadness. We see this sadness and ability to capture it as an artist or writer or speaker and hold it to such a high esteem in our society, like darkness and depression is where the best will source their work. The 27 club being a prime example, a group of young talent that were our creative gods. We worship their words, their work.

It is this same trend we see in so many songs and and the musicians putting them out now. That sadness we relate to, they articulate it so well. That hole we feel, they dig it and show us the picture. But is that what we are still promoting in our creative brethren?

I highly recommend listening to it as I assume many of the readers here are creators in some way or another, we all need inspiration to do what we do. This was such a revelation of thought to have, but it still begs the question, where do we find our inspiration? Does it need to be in the dark? Can’t we find something bigger in the light? In the happiness? How do you get inspired or do you feel like your best inspiration has come and gone?

I would hope that that time would not have been my most fluid thought. The trick is to find things that continue to inspire you and embrace them. Like this track. I heard it last week and man, oh man. Zella Day is oft described as a “happier Lana del Ray” with punchy, youthful vocals ringing of amore and contentment. Thriving to be content should be the goal of expressing creativity, shouldn’t that be the sound of doing something well? We create as a release, to express, to arrive there is like ohm.

This mix from Louis the Child encompasses that Flume sounding drop and some well-placed kick drums making this track an inspiring Wednesday tune.

Zella Day – Compass (Louis the Child Remix)

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Music

The Juan MacLean – You Were A Runaway

Something that seems to be the norm more than ever is declaring a need to escape, to take holidays, to runaway. There is something we hold to be romantic and the highest form of freedom – being away from our lives.

I was feeling sad,
Can’t help looking back
Highways flew by…
Run, run, run away
No sense of time
I’d like you to stay,
Want keep you inside” – Yeah Yeah Yeahs

When I first started moving around more, by sister used to sing the “when you’re coming home Dad I don’t know when, but we’ll get together then…” song. There was something so haunting about that. I have wanted to be a traveller for as soon as I knew it was an option. My car at 16 was always stocked with a to-go bag that was packed with enough stuff to get me through a few days, a week if needed although I never really needed it. I knew I had to find something that would let me get out. I thought that was where comfort was, or home.

R-r-ru-ru-ru-run away
Run away from me, baby– Kanye West

Whether it is a business trip or well planned escape, we all have our reasons for wanting to grab the bag and go. But so often now, it is such a documented event. Pictures of feet up with the beach in the distance, shots from 12A or 34F as you take off or pass through clouds, we see these pictures as confirmation of exiting.

Why, why, why, why, why
She ran away

And I wonder
Where she will stay
My little runaway
A-run, run, run, run, runaway– Del Shannon

Your character, the things that really scare you, what you do in the 4th day alone in a foreign place, who you call when you have enough money and time for one phone call, that is who you find. There is a hunger to be less connected, go away and leave for a bit, and I think as much as we are excited for the ability to give away so much and go explore a new place, you never really know who you will find. But travellers are selfish in a way. The real reason you go is for yourself, for your mind. You meet people and see things and it is to fill your head with more, fill holes you feel are in your life, create and disconnect connections. We are told to be selfish and to question norms though, and then we are set out. My sister used to say since we moved so much that we were bred for it. Like there are people who just feel better with a trip planned or a bag ready to go in their trunk, but really it appears be something more. Like a human rite of passage and one that we all crave.

This track, an nod to ’80s dance hall and deep lady vocals, give you that movement. The recent release can be found on the new album ‘In A Dream’ that was just released.

The Juan MacLean – You Were A Runaway