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Music

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

 

Categories
Music

Junior Boys – So This Is Goodbye

juniorboys

In an era of overnight celebrity, we tend to take the difficult road for granted. It’s easy to listen to a track on Spotify and never know who the artist is, let alone their story. How many nights did they sleep in a dingy van, schlepping from town to town, trying to make ends meet while they slaved away producing new music that almost no one heard?

The Internet has offered aspiring artists an avenue to larger listenership, but our listening and sharing culture prioritizes the music over the artist (which may not be wrong) and generates little to know actual income for the tired hands behind the scenes. If someone gets big overnight, even through virality, you can almost assume that some serious money is behind them. Think Lorde was an organic hit? Think again. She was signed to Universal before anyone in the US had heard of her, and blew up once Sean Parker (of Facebook fame) shared “Royals” with his social media networks.

Junior Boys is a duo from Canada that originally formed in 1999, before going through some lineup changes and years of minor recognition. Eventually, they started getting some larger festival bookings and even had a successful solo tour (they’ve also toured in support of fellow Canadian Caribou). The last I heard of them was two years ago.

This is how it happens. A band bubbles up for a few moments, before fading away for good. It is at once inspiring and crushing; the dream is attainable, but not sustainable. And if you don’t have corporate backing, good luck. Every small band that bubbles up and eventually makes it to the big time gained that backing along the way. At least these days.

“So This Is Goodbye” came out in’08, the title track to an LP of the same name. When I hear it now, it sounds infinitely dated. The Internet is awash in music like this, bedroom beats with mediocre vocals. None of it gets me.

But this track does, because I know the story and care about the journey of not only this band, but of every artist. The plastic plucks of Junior Boys take on a new life, as I imagine them sitting in a dark studio in dark Canada, shaving in a truck stop bathroom, or playing to a constantly talking crowd. To succeed in art, you have to grind. Sure, connections help, but what really matters is the product. Junior Boys simply weren’t good enough or special enough to stand out.

And neither are 99% of the artists on this earth. That doesn’t me we shouldn’t celebrate them and their work. In fact, that work is often better and more personal than “successful” art. “So This Is Goodbye” will strike a cord with anyone who gave it a go before saying “fuck it” and filling out a W9.

Junior Boys – So This Is Goodbye

Categories
Music Remixes

Justin Martin – Don’t Go (Dusky Remix)

the_sounds_of_silence_by_skierscott

Let’s collect ourselves for a moment. Let’s get back to basics.

All you really need is a beat and a melody. Doesn’t need to be complex. Doesn’t need to have extra layers of meaning. Doesn’t need to tell a story.

There are times in life when all humans crave direction. We parse quotidian occurrences searching for signs. We experience epiphanies in a song we’ve heard fifty times before. We see Jesus’ face on a piece of burnt toast.

And there are times when all we want is silence, an empty moment for our overloaded mindbrains. Often, those moments of silence aren’t literally silent. We chant, we breath deeply.

We sit alone in space and listen to music. Simple music that fades to the background without demands, that practically begs you to turn inward.

Music that begs you to remain in your silence just a bit longer. Music that seems to say, “don’t go.”

This time, whether you’re in private or in public, outdoors or in, find your silent space.

Stay a while.

Justin Martin – Don’t Go (Dusky Remix)

Categories
Remixes

Active Child – Hanging On (Chrome Wolves Bootleg)

active-child-curtis-lane

Bootleg is one of my favorite words in the English language. Its etymological roots stem from alcohol smugglers in the late 1800’s hiding bottles in their boots. There have been few cooler professions EVER than rum smuggler. Those fools got creative.

In the musical sense, a bootleg is a track that is unauthorized by the rights holders. So if I bring my sneaky recording device into the Kanye show and get his screaming rants on tape, that’s a bootleg. Who hasn’t watched a bootleg kung-fu movie where its like five guys smoking cigarettes and laughing between the camera and the TV that’s being recorded.

After Mediafire got shut down, and in light of the general tightening of cyberspace freedom, every time I find a bootleg is a celebration. It implies that the artist who legally owns the material isn’t a huge douche, and is not taking legal action against some bedroom producer who won’t make any money of the track anyway.

Active Child is a group that makes their money off their music and touring. They would have justifiable grounds to scrub the internet clean of any unauthorized remixes, and yet they don’t.

They don’t because the remixes in fact broaden their fan base. The original “Hanging On” is a bomb track, and well worth a listen. But it is not necessarily what the kids are listening to these days. The Chrome Wolves bootleg, however, matches up to the infatuation with beat driven music, and opens an entire new audience up to Active Child’s sounds.

It’s a win-win. Or, a win-win-win, because we get to jam out to this phatty bootleg.

Active Child – Hanging On (Chrome Wolves Bootleg)

Categories
Music

JHAS – Pain Au Chocolat

pain au chocolate

“Ou est la bibliotheque?” used to be the go-to French phrase for Americans. The most basic of useful phrases, that just about every tourist needs on a trip to the City of Light or the beaches of Marseille: “Where is the library?” Because an integral part of any visit to France is to get lost amidst long-forgotten tomes dating back to the days when Saint Etienne still stood majestic on L’ile de France.

Why admire the astronomical clock of Strasbourg, the beaches of Normandy, even Le Tour Eiffel itself, when a venerable library is close at hand?

Many a tutorial CD (or, now, MP3) still leads off with a lesson about Jacques and Marie struggling to find a bathroom, pay a check or find the ever-present library. But more and more, the phrase du jour is trending in a less scholarly direction.

Pain Au Chocolat. What intellectual knows not this foreign delicacy? What high end café charges less than $12 for one (made with imported Belgian chocolate, of course)?  And what airport café has less than 100 frozen in the back?

Luckily for us, JHAS doesn’t toy with stale loaves. This 20 year-old Swede serves us his fresh take on the classic standby. Sample this delectable track, and keep a napkin handy.

JHAS – Pain Au Chocolat