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Music

Anderson Paak – Miss Right

First of all, this is the jam. California native Anderson Paak’s brand of music is about as stylish, modern and fresh as they come. His debut album “Venice” is a proclamation of his love for California to which I can most certainly relate. January of 2015 marks my 3rd year of West Coasting’ and not one day goes by that I regret moving out here. In fact, I’m developing a deep affection for LA that gets stronger by the second. You have to live here to know, but there’s something special happening in the City of Angels, especially in the arts. I mean for Hedi Slimane to setup shop in LA should be an indication of the creative energy flowing through here.

Cause lately my whole being just wants what it needs…”

I love those lyrics and it sums up all my decision-making and path taking these days—it’s all kinesthetic. I’ve spent a long time trying to understand things through thought, but I’m learning that’s just not enough. To find what you need from life you have to listen to your gut, the vibrations of nature and allow those truths to guide you.

Everything changes when you do that, consumerism and materialism take a backseat to essentialism. Like it or not, many of our desires are manufactured through the marketing machine that is culture. These synthetic desires become so ingrained in us that it becomes hard to distinguish between essential and commercial. It runs so deep that we’ve been programmed to think that listening to yourself, using your imagination and thinking outside of the set parameters are taboo. That’s why those lyrics resonate with me because it symbolizes a person in tune with higher laws. In this instance, Anderson .Paak is speaking of love and there’s no better application. Love shouldn’t be hard or complicated, it should flow like water. Water doesn’t fight its surroundings, it takes the form of anything it encounters and overwhelms it. If it doesn’t flow like that then it’s not right; there’s not much thinking to do about it. If it doesn’t flow like that then you shouldn’t be in it. Word.

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Music

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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Music

HAIM – The Wire

Via http://www.pbase.com/venicepix/

There’s so much good summer music flying around right now that it can be hard to keep up, but I’ll always make time to check out a new track from HAIM. I’ve been a fan of the LA sister trio since catching them at POPSHOP018 last year in NYC. I’d never heard of them, but the crowd was buzzing with anticipation, and by the middle of the first song, the anticipation had turned fully to joy, and I was swept up. Individually, they’ve each got charisma and energy to spare, and collectively, I saw a confidence and a unity among the three of them that quickly drew me in. (I guess growing up together will give you that. It can be easy to forget that a lot of bands don’t really know each other, despite the hours and hours they spend together.) But I became a true convert somewhere around the time Danielle ripped into the dirty, bluesy guitar solo halfway through “Let Me Go.

A childhood spent listening to their parents’ collection of 70s LPs in the San Fernando Valley gave HAIM a Fleetwood Mac-jams-with-Led Zeppelin-at-a-SoCal-beach-bonfire vibe. There’s something old-fashioned about their music, but not in a retro or nostalgic way; maybe “timeless” is a better word for it. A lot of the elements they incorporate into their songs – strong harmonies, great guitar parts, simple verse/chorus song structures, tried-and-true chord changes, handclaps (can never have too many handclaps), lyrics about love and heartbreak – have been around forever because they never get old. The three sisters’ affection for the music of the past doesn’t cloud their youthful energy; I think it enhances it, makes it more nuanced. To me, HAIM is the perfect musical embodiment of the young person/old soul archetype.

So, the song: it’s called “The Wire,” it’s been kicking around as a demo and in HAIM’s live sets for a while, and it’s great. Bouncy, upbeat, propelled by a smooth bassline, anchored by a simple, driving kick/snare rhythm, and wrapped around a catchy little repeating phrase: “I know, I know, I know, I know/that you’re gonna be OK anyway.” The lyrics describe a relationship gone sour, but the music suggests that the protagonist is moving on, rather than wallowing in self-pity or moping around. It swings breezily through its verses and soars up into prime sing-along territory in the choruses – a perfect summer song. HAIM finally announced that their debut LP will be out on September 23, and I can’t wait.

HAIM – The Wire

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Music Remixes

Global Deejays – The Sound of San Francisco

I’m currently en route from Los Angeles to New York City as I write this post. Mind and body are in transit. Last night I dreamt that someone I loved died, which isn’t abnormal for me. I tend to see many people I love in my dreams facing death. I’ve come to think that it means that they’ll probably live the longest in real life. This may just be my own attempt to remain sane in the present day, or it may actually be true. Who knows.

I suppose the reality is that I’m about to start my final semester of undergraduate education and I can’t help but feel some sort of sentimentality right now. Last weekend, I was in San Francisco. This weekend, I’ll be soaking in the last days of my final winter break from school. And while I’ll be in New York City, my heart lives in this song. This song was shown to me while en route to San Francisco, in a comical spirit of nostalgia (it is a few years old). I haven’t been able to get the tune out of my head. It’s just fun enough to make you dance, yet happy and live enough to exist in the moment of a new experience. Whether that new experience is driving across the bridge to a foreign island city, or dancing for the first time in the middle of  a party of people you don’t know, this song seems to fit. The sample that divides the track into bits and pieces which flow in and out of one another is sonically, yet harmoniously, different from its counterpart.

While I await to return to the responsibility and realness of my life back in New York City, I feel a spirit of awe and excitement. I wish every moment could be as new and foreign as seeing a place you’ve only heard about in movies and television, for the first time. Alas, this is not the case. So instead, I await the return to my reality with open arms and a clear mind, ready to see the old with a new light, a new perspective.

Here’s to making the old feel new again, and to living in that newness, no matter what.

Global Deejays – The Sound of San Francisco

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Music

Best Friends – Just Goodbye

The week that just passed has been surreal to say the least. I know that the readers of EMPT are the type that appreciate a reality check every once in a while, and let me just say, nature has served as that reality check. How many times in your life have you found yourself standing at the top of a mountain that overlooks an entire population of people in a land that is totally foreign to you? Those moments are what keep me sane by threatening to push me over the edge. Sometimes you just need the physical existence of something that is much larger than you, much greater than you in the world, to set every perspective back into place. It’s hard to get that feeling from the top of a boasting rooftop in New York City, that overlooks thousands of other building rooftops that look very much the same.

I find this song to be truly appropriate for the mood I’ve been in, because it’s so present. Detached from my computer and the internet world, I’ve made a very bold effort to remain in this present day, here in California. It’s hard, what with everyone around me discussing the future all the time. I’ve found that removing myself from my city, from  my element, and entering another element with no direction in mind, helps force me follow the path that each day creates on its own.

This track feels like a summer backyard party. It’s beautiful and specific to a very sentimental feeling. Although the subject matter of the song is curt and bittersweet, the happy, beachy vibe of the beat coats it beautifully.

Here’s to today! Joie de vivre!

Best Friends – Just Goodbye