Welcome to the listener’s guide to young producer and songwriter Zack Sekoff’s debut album on Alpha Pup Records “REMNANTS OF A WINTER SUN”. This is not a review about whether you should enjoy this album, or even a GO COP THAT IT’S HOT right now son moment, no this is a this what you should be checking for when enjoying this album, because why else would we be listening to music. Before we board the parasail that is this project you have to know who Zack is, at 20 years old he has produced and written songs for/with Thundercat, SPEAK, Owen Thiele, Def Sound, Nikko Gray, and official remixes for the likes of Bilal and Om’mas of SA-RA. With a nice little resume before he can legally drink clearly he is talented, but just because one can produce for others doesn’t necessarily mean that they can translate that same feeling into their own projects.”ROAWS” finds us finding Zack finding himself. Self described as a Jazz musician, that plays every note like he is in a punk band, he is making everything he wants to hear, how do you decide what that is. Albums seem so permanent. Imagine at age 18 finding out you are going to YALE (thee only school you applied to) while labels are trying to sign you, producing 2 outside projects going from mixing session to mixing session, being in multiple bands, co hosting a podcast (mass minimal) balancing a long distance relationship, and playing Low End Theory all in the same week. This is the state we open up the album in. “Savannah” finds Zack beginning a new journey while chanting the words “pull it together, pull it together, pull it together, pull it”. Scattered across as many genre’s as he can imagine you begin by breathing and re centering yourself and getting on the plane, by the time you blink you will be in the stars. So in the words of the big homie Lavar Burton “You don’t have to take my word for it….” (Listen below)
You are suddenly thrust into the next song “Haven’t Left The House” which is has jarring and unexpected yet pleasant. Your ears jump rope w/ the melodical rhyme cadence riding over the distorted drums and contrasting harps and helicopter propellers. The song jumps between wanting her to stay to asking how they got to this, basically every thought you think when you lock yourself in the house. Zack breaks character and cadence on verse three “Just a quick kiss I’m fine w/ lipstick, I’m nihilistic I’ll buy you A drink” no plurals. As a listener be ready to not be ready for the next song by the time you are at home in your idea of what Zack is capable of you will be entering a new texture.
“Sunrise Wolf” sounds cold and alone in textures and finds Zack finding his voice and being his own guest feature. Approaching each verse w/ Drake level vulnerability and an MF DOOM delivery you will feel assured that even numb feelings can be felt. This leads us to my personal favorite song on the record “Hold Me Down”, this song takes it’s time Zack captures a level of sincerity as a song writer that few his age have been able to manage. It just feels like a true story, even dropping in the Kanye “BOUND 2” sample is call back to his Hip Hop roots. “I Would Run” feels like warm warning, that you can either take or keep pace. Bars like “You on some cryptic now a days, I’m on my mystic now a days….” just illustrate not being on the same page with who you are sharing your paragraphs with might leave you leaving them to start another chapter.
Okay so as a listener I would like to invite you to take this opportunity to take a little intermission and take a young stretch and walk around your apartment or workspace as we take a timeout in the Thundercat assisted instrumental piece “Debauchery”. This song will escort you through the rest of your journey. Thanks.
It’s only right that the next song samples a Thundercat song called “Special Stage” which comes for the progressive jazz fusion “Apocalypse” album.
“Life’s that special stage, zone in on your goals, sit back and relax, play the game and play to win..”
With sonic the hedgehog samples flying everywhere we find a sincere and relatable message in it. Life isn’t just a level in the game it’s the special stage, that bonus level with all the extra lives. Zack samples and reverses and channels that energy into the Nikko Gray and Def Sound assisted “Raw/Special Stage”. This song is what I would call a play by play thoughtagraph (detailed series of events drawn directly from one’s experience that one can see in the minds of the listener without the listener ever living directly themselves) of his last two months before leaving for YALE. Also I don’t want you listening to this song w/o knowing who Westside Ty is, he’s not just a random name Zack is putting in his song. It’s one of his best friends that is outside of his High School friend group but inspires him throughout this process to proceed and even sits in on the Alpha Pup meetings. Westside Ty is a producer, DJ (He’s Vince Staples touring DJ for his live sets currently) , he’s basically West LA’s Fab 5 Freddie. There is also a level of complexity to this song “Raw/Special Stage” subject matter wise that Zack touches on a touchy subject here, he addresses in the hook how he and his friends consume and digest and even reproduce music about things that we have never done like trapping, and selling drugs, but still find a way to sing along w/ the things we’ve never done or relate to. We all do it, few are saying it.
This puts us in the perfect place to feel a short yet very potent song “Slow Burn” which is a invite to thee young dorm room. This bangs in a very particular way and the hits before the final chorus are hilarious and gives you glimpse of Zack’s musical humor and instincts. “Snow” and “Right Now” feel like tandems that go together like mop and bucket or chai tea and wifi.
That brings us to a very jazzy/funky interlude titled “Love Stung” that is played in a very quirky time signature that reminds me of a David Sancious piece “Just As I thought” that Zack uses as a bridge to guide us into the ultimate and most funky dorm room jam you will probably ever hear with “Resign” which can be felt and replayed below. This is Zack letting loose on his inner Zappa//Love Below version of 3 Stacks vocally, it feels fully unrestrained.
Okay let me remind you, All this music comes out of one human. He’s the singer, rapper, recording engineer and producer and only 20. Okay, just a little post it note of how dope thee kid is. Zack ends the record with a very open, maybe freestyled yet vulnerable song called “Ride//Riot” . I like to call this the quiet within the storm. With all of the good that is going on around him he still feels an immense amount of pressure to be and exceed the expectations of himself and everyone rooting for him. There’s a calm riot taking place within everyone of us internally dialy. This is the smooth soundtrack to the ticking time bomb in all of us. The Ride is what gives us the perspective to not be the Riot. We can feel the Riot, breathing and being the Ride is what just might just get us through.
“REMNANTS OF A WINTER SUN” was made under the light his mother sent him while he was away, it’s the last part of the not as accountable youth. Overall it is a reflective and fun record, what we are witnessing a young artist find his voice, sound and himself. All of the nothing you feel is real, all that matters is you are here.
2015 was a Great year in music, there almost wasn’t enough time to listen to everything. Without further delay *drum rolllllllllllll* thee 2015 Deffery Awards for best things in music I’ve seen heard and felt all year ::
Favorite Albums of Thee Year
1. Kendrick Lamar – To Pimp A Butterfly.
I would call this the most important album of 2015. No matter what race you were this album cut deep into the heart of the current condition and state of mind of the culture. Kendrick could have pivoted into anywhere as an artist post “good kid MAAD city”. He became the mainstream bridge between the Low End Theory sound of Los Angeles with contributions of Flying Lotus, Thundercat, and Anna Wise to the modern jazz sounds of Kumasi Washington, Bilal, and Terrace Martin to Compton. He came for the crown this year. There only being one other rapper featured on the album that being a woman of color by the name of Rapsody, I think really stands out and her verse is beyond quotable. You will find passion, pain and truth in every bar. Kendricks first album was about showing the world what growing up in post modern post NWA Compton was like in contrast “To Pimp a Butterfly” felt like it was showing Compton the world. Even tackling the concept of self love within the anatomy of dichotomy that exists in each of us in the songs “i” & “u”are as emotional as they are cerebral. The metaphor of the way we as black people are taught to achieve upward stratification is to pimp our talent and story to the highest bidder is both sweet and bitter. Kendrick is using his platform and rapid fire delivery to say more. Also the experience of listening to this album that each songs ends with a piece of a poem that once all stringed together become one poem tying all these ideas experiences and moments together into an interesting plot twist at the end really makes skimming or skipping through through this album a criminal act against yourself really. Such a charged yet cohesive project “To Pimp A Butterfly” was an album that felt like an ALBUM. It’s the project every conscious rapper today would like to make.
Gems :: Mama // The Blacker The Berry // Alright.
2. Drake – If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late
The most popular rapper these days dropped a surprise album out of nowhere and instantly you had it on repeat. The game has changed to much that I think it’s fair to say Drake has become the Steph Curry of this rap thang. He even knows how to make a phone call with his mother sound interesting on “You & The 6”. How Sway? Drake pretty much created a full of album of “Worst Behavior”. Darker than ever Drake samples some of thee best textures from sampling Ginuwine’s legendary “So Anxious” twice on “Legend” and “Madonna” (Which was so dope even Madona actually thought it was about herself smh). He even appropriately samples Donky Kong Jr. “Haunted Adventure” on “6God” (which might have thee best adlibs of the year). The most quotable mixtape of the year Drake is in rare form here. This was the project for the ppl that felt like Drizzy can’t rap and believe he’s like the Lionel Richie of rap or something crazy like that. The tape feels like an album and most modern attention span will find some snoozable moments on “Preach” and “Now & Forever” buuuut You can’t front on “6 Am in New York” , “No Tellin”. This is not Drake from 4 years ago he’s in a higher place.
The one man band of Kevin Parker came together and formed an epic listening experience. As soon as I heard “Let It Happen” I knew I was in the middle of something that was the band Yes “Close To The Edge” status. By the way guys that’s just the first song. Honest there are songs on here that are worth some artists full projects. What I love about this album when really looking at in the context of other Tame Impala projects this isn’t even their best work yet it’s a progression that isn’t satisfied or stuck trying to give you a nostalgia of psychedelic rock on some hippy dippy trippy predictability. This album actually advances the genre of guitar driven rock music. The melody on “Love/Paranoia” alone is a work of art. There’s only one song I could do without “‘Cause I’m A Man” which oddly enough was a single. Rich in textures, I had this record on for a few days without complaints. It’s a record I would recommend to anyone w/o them texting me back like “yo this sucks I will never trust you with my ears ever again bro.” it’s truly g∞d.
Gems :: “New Person, Same Old Mistakes” // “Let It Happen” // “Love/Paranoia”
4. Toro y Moi – Samantha
In another random mixtape drop w/o warning (which I call feeding your feed) Chaz Bundick also known as Toro y Moi dropped thee link on his Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/lukespukashells/) which he’s turned into an art project. As random as it may have seemed I did see this one coming because I stalk his soundcloud and a month before the drop I heard two songs “Room 4 Zone” and “Pitch Black” that were honestly too good to not have a home. “Samantha” felt like effortless experiments I felt lucky to have in my iTunes. This album would be the epitome of what the kids call “vaporwave”. Kool A.D. steals the show repeatedly on this record on gems like “Real Love” (This songs sounds like a miracle happening) and “2Late” are sonically ahead of their time or maybe they are right on time.
Gems :: Pitch Black // Real Love // Boo Boo Mobile // Good Song
5. Alabama Shakes – Sound & Color
Alabama Shakes are leading the way when it comes to new music that sounds old. When I say old I mean like you are listening to some vinyl soul record from the 60’s. From the vocals to the textures there is so much to love about this record. It was popular for all thee right reasons.
Gems :: Sound & Color // Gimme All Your Love // Guess Who
6. Unknown Mortal Orchestra – Multi Love
Multi-Love was multi levels of awesome. Let’s just begin with the song “Multi-Love” which is about a real life experience of the lead singer in the band who has now decided to open up his marriage to include a third person, another woman suggested by his wife. Imagine an experimental rock done at it’s best, the song writing on “Ur Life One Night” is an exciting time as is thee extremely catchy yoga flame of a song “Can’t Keep Checking My Phone” After this album I hope everyone knows Unknown.
Gems :: Can’t Keep Checking My Phone // Multi-Love // The World Is Crowded
7. Vince Staples – Summertime 06
Vince puts together a HARD rap album that isn’t trying to be anything but itself. A double disc of anthems and bars. Direct like a DM the verses are a dense dope maze of life from the perspective of a young black man that is very in touch with his reality. Very sharp unapologetic penmanship is present from beginning to end. This project puts Vince in every conversation when we are talking about what the next generation of Hip Hop is bringing to the table and he’s just getting started.
Gem :: C.N.B. // Surf // Lift Me Up // Senorita
8.Kamasi Washington – The Epic
This album lives up to it’s name! This three disc display of supreme musicianship is both memorable and refreshing. A true modern jazz record you can (and I did) spend a FULL day listening to it and stillll be in love with every note. The album is pure daylight.
Gems :: The Rhythm Changes // Change of The Guard // The Magnificent 7
9.Travi$ Scott – Rodeo
This album is 2015 as fuck “STRAIGHT UP!” Travi$ really set out to be the sound of every turnt up kid at every festival. Amazingly dark and fashionable of what is currently trending it is EXTREMELY well produced and mixed and mastered (no really I obsesses over the mixing of this album) this album can’t be ignored. On songs like “Impossible” often you can’t tell how much he has influenced Kanye and how much Kanye has influenced him, it’s kinda scary. Unfortunately the most skippable song on the album is the one with Kanye West “Piss On Your Grave”. A very interesting pairing of Travi$, Pharrell and my favorite contemporary artist Toro y Moi makes for a very enjoyable highlight on this album on “Flying High”. Complex melody choices and drum programming get a lil bit overshadowed by very basic choices of subject matter (drugs, girls, turning up and swagging on the ppl that doubted you). If you can ignore that and you just want to party this is very very much up your alley. Travi$ is giving you a feeling that can’t be denied.
Gems :: 90210 feat. Kacy Hill // Antidote // Flying High
10. Archy Marshall – A New Place To Drown
This album by Archy Marshall aka King Krule was a multi medium release, with it came a 208 page book of poetry photo’s and sketches and a documentary about the creative process with his brother. Instantly this record sounds like a destination and state of being. This record is absent of any of his guitar work but you don’t miss it what he supplies are tracks that slap quite hard and creates an atmosphere and a space for you to think and sink into. There are even some spoken rap bars scattered in here. This is very day after the rain music. I highly recommend walking through your city to this album (no Ubering) actually take a walk and feel your proximity.
(aka Albums I wish more ppl heard or talked about)
1. SiR – Seven Sundays
I think EVERYONE should have this album in their collection! Another notch in the Fresh Selects belt of quality releases this is some real first date music right here. SiR releases a pretty spotless project this year. “Seven Sundays” is one of my favorite releases of the year with heat from start to finish SiR’s vocals butter on thee hottest pancake as he seamlessly sings and raps through a tour of Inglewood (“In The Sky” featuring Fat Ron) and displays a wide range of languages of love (“Right By You”), consciousness (“Liberation” featuring a FIRE verse from Anderson .Paak) and conceptual pictures (“Bullet and The Gun”). I can’t wait to hear what he brings in 2016.
Gems :: The Real // In The Sky // Jay Z
2. Def Sound – Kings of Neon
This collection is everything you’ve known about Def Sound but just hadn’t heard from him yet. ∆∆∆’s . of . Neon is the 2nd installment in the Neon series (//Neon . Summer //). Everybody has energy, everybody has an aura displaying that energy, every aura has a color, neon isn’t a color, it’s the brightest state of a color. The only way you know how bright you are is in your darkest times. Writing his way through it “I N E E D Y o u 2 K n o w” which features production from Zack Sekoff and backing vocals and strings from Kadhja Bonet begins the awakening and sucks you into the 31 minute journey. Def covers a lot of ground on the project even asking very philosophical questions on “Eyes & Axx” like “If a womans ass can speak to you what would you say back? How would that conversation go?”. Ever evolving and finding new depths in his identity he waters you with “Black Boy” which is a very emotional and timely way to conclude thee project with poem that is sung as a black boy to other black boy’s about who they are and where they are in the postmodern world. Def Sound is an artists artist, this project is minimal maximalism it’s a full album without stressing you out with 18 songs. How much life can you fit into 6 songs? Kings . of . Neon . is thee answer.
Gems :: Trill Allah // I Need You 2 Know // Black Boy
3. Kelela -Hallucinogen EP
Kelea keeps it short and sweet on this release. This EP feels like a full night alone with Kelela just whispering sweet somethings in your ear. Every song feels sensual and perfectly placed. Kelela as usual finds herself collaborating with forward thinking producers but this time she enlists the very interesting cast of Gifted & Blessed, Arca and DJ Dahi. This album is unafraid give it a listen.
Gems :: Rewind // The High // Gomenasai
4. The Internet – Ego Death
Beautiful and very contemporary this album shows us a version of The Internet have come into full maturity, Syd as a vocalist has found her sweet spot and Matt has found a sound and assembled thee perfect band to bring the soundscape and ideas into focus and it all sounds effortless. Ego Death is an album you can start to end your day with, no matter your mood or mode The Internet will connect you to a higher frequency no AOL discs.
Gems :: Girl // Under Control // Gabby
5. Tiron & Ayomari – The Great New Wonderful.
From the moment I heard it this project felt very inspired. Tiron & Ayomari aka T&A have progressed into their own zone (Urban Americana as they would call it sonically) and decided to level with you and amplify their vulnerabilities while sampling life itself. Imagine if life was a song, they took all thee best parts and clips and snippets and created this record out of it. The Great New Wonderful feels like a maturation of two artists who are reaching the same conclusion at the same time. All we are is how we art. No more fear Love Is Real.
Gems :: Them Wallflowers // 2Kinds // Umbrella Song
6. J*Davey – P.O.M.P.
For those of you that don’t know P.O.M.P. it’s a lil inside joke that means Prince.Owes.Me.Pancakes (It’s true though, he really does). This release finds J*Davey in a new space which is still ahead of everybody else and they are just waiting for us to get there. With progressively danceable yet subtle production from Brook, Ms. Jck Davey sprinkles lines like “I’m on my tiny private island in a limitless ocean, no one around me so I’m drowning in my deepest emotion”. These Davey babies are their own genre.
Gems :: Strong Anticipation // Libido // High On Life
7. Young Fathers – White Men Are Black Too
Scottish evolutionary rap group comes with some very experimental sounds that are a vibe of their own. Young Fathers sing freedom songs for thee rebellious escapist in all of us. Very organ driven and soulful it’s church for thee non religious. Tabernacle.
Gems :: Shame // Rain Or Shine // Get Started
8. Versis – copeæsthetic
Versis provides a story that is both personal and our own. Colin has created a record that you can cry smiling to in the rain. No matter what your trajectory or taste level this album walks up to you and says “Hey man, how you doing? Fine. Word? Me too.” A 9 song 19 minute self produced masterpiece for thee headphones every sound bite and sample means something, you will find yourself not just listening to but living to as well.
Gems :: Rain On A Sunday // Love Is // Complacent Pl.
9. froyo ma – pants
Froyo Ma brings a very funky project for you to try on called “pants”. The entire record feels like you are sitting in on a hot afternoon jam session and every groove is speaking to you. A student from New Orleans he brings his own take on instrumentation keep your ears and eyes on him for 2016 and beyond. Listen to thee full project on http://froyoma.bandcamp.com/album/pants .
Gems :: hot // there
10. Sufjan Stevens – Carrie & Lowell
A very lush collection of stories are presented here on this very reflective concept album about Surjan Steven and his late mother. There is so much beautiful imagery and honesty in his penmanship on this project. I know it is something somewhere you will be lost in.
Gems :: Should’ve Known Better //Fourth of July // Blue Bucket of Gold
Video’s of Thee Year
1. Vince Staples – Senorita
Dir. By. Ian Pons Jewell
2. MIA – Borders
Dir. By. MIA
3. Kendrick – Alright
Dir. By. Colin Tilley
4. Thundercat – “Them Changes”
Dir. By. Carlos Lopez Estrada
5. Def Sound – I N E E D Y O U 2 K N O W
Dir. By. mad-as.hell (Leila Jarman + Mike Leisz) mad-as.us
6. SEVALIZA – That Other Girl
7. Downtown Boy – Wave of History
Illustrated & Dir. By. Faye Orlove
8. Panda Bear – Tropic of Cancer
Dir. By. Dave Portner
Director of Photography Giovanni Ribisi
The body is a vessel for something so much more. I believe we spend our lives developing the unseen. We name those developments the spirit, soul, character or even the aura. Recently I met a very humble yet vibrant spirit that goes by the name “Bells Roar” also known as Sean Desiree hailing from Albany. She played a very intimate show at a feminist art space called “Gal Palace” which I will never forget. Holding down the stage with just her guitar, laptop and impressive presence I knew I was witnessing something special. I knew I wasn’t just watching someone sing songs, these sounded more like beliefs. I wanted to share her new reflective video from her project “Second Chances Vol. 1”, which is actually a sequel/sonic revisiting to the self produced Bell’s Roar EP.
I encourage you to tag along for the casual journey of a day in the life of a free spirit in the new visual for “I Know” Directed by Devon Kirkpatrick, Cinematography by Moira Morel, Edited by Paige Bethmann, Colorist Candice Mars Williamson.
Shot/Directed/Visual Effects/Edited by mad-as.hell (Leila Jarman + Mike Leisz)
Art Direction/Make-up by Christy Roberts Berkowitz
I don’t usually post my own music. This is something I really wanted to share, like good art, like if it wasn’t my video I would post type art. Let’s start from the beginning my name is Emmanuel Ricketts, I’m from South Central LA, went to private school in Compton and my parents raised me vegan back in 1984. I create art under the name Def Sound, which is short for Definitive Sound (I wanted to name myself after a goal). I found MY voice as a writer at Da Poetry Lounge on Fairfax in Los Angeles. I wanted to go somewhere where all people cared about was the what you were saying and plus I wanted new friends and I didn’t know how to find them so I googled “poetry lounges in Los Angeles” DPL was thee first thing that came up. That was thee first place I felt valued as an artist. I ended up making the LA slam team the first year I did poetry. Going to Nationals woke me up and I wanted to bring those new tools of writing and vulnerability into my music.Musically the first artist I would say mentored me early on was Raaka Iris Science of Dilated Peoples, I met him at the DMV on the humble. He taught me how to count bars actually. Then meeting J*Davey was pivotal for me in every way imaginable. First of all they were my favorite band in LA. Add another story to thee story they were the first people to take me on tour nationally and internationally and let me open up for them as a performer and DJ their sets.
Fast forward to now, my latest project was created over the course of three years post tour where I spent a year and a half homeless w/ my girlfriend at the time. In between Motels, legally squatting in condo’s, couchsurfing, air BNBing and nights in thee car I created a project about reaching highest potential. Most of thee brightest ideas are created from thee deepest darkness. This song “i N e e d Y o u 2 K n ow .” was recorded on my iPhone 4 as a voice note in one take and young prodigy Zack Sekoff built thee soundscape around thee vocals. Kadhja Bonet guided by thee highest forms of inspiration blessed and added thee finishing sprinkles of strings and backing vocals.
This project is called “Kings • of • Neon” it’s being released Nov. 6th 2015 . It will tell our story. It will be thee first release from my newly founded independent audio visual label
I took a young hiatus from doing music write up’s due to thee fact I couldn’t figure out how to make them feel fluid, not like a music review, yet thoughtful. So much music drops every hour it’s overwhelming (a new Drake video drops just as I was auto saving that last sentence) I took a step back and saw that when people are in search of new music they are really just seeking a recommendation from a trusted source. So now as the music editor of Citizens of Culture I am starting a monthly go to space for you to find HIGHLY recommended music and visuals. Welcome to “Def.inately.Re.com.mended.
I have always believed the music was as important as the visuals. It’s become completely normal, and the new indie artist business model to getting signed. You have to make a great video independently and hope that video gets to the right eyes and get your paperwork right. Last year one of thee best music video’s I saw came to me in the form of the organically dramatic MadAsHell. directed MRK – River of Blood video (Peep thee 2014.Deffery.Awards.)
It is an honor to premier their newest visual collaboration *insert drum roll* thee very RAD
This is kind of song you would play at a very festive funeral. High in contrast from the very beginning, it starts with the world’s most friendly chimes in one instant then BAM very lage and jarring drums are being beaten into a driving rhythm. Daughter of a Reiki Master Madison Renee Knapp aka MRK is an Los Angeles based artist and performer. “27” is the 2nd single from MRK’s latest album “BLOOD” out now on Records ad Nauseam.
“27” was made with an analogue video synthesizer. MadAsHell approached the 27 video, in a way where they wanted a process that would visually parallel the way MRK’s singing about mortality dread and the fear of dying in total irrelevance. What they arrived at was an iterative process of dumping the final edit to VHS, running that through a Tachyons Plus Opti-Glitch video synth (http://tachyonsplus.tumblr.com/) and refilming different televisions displaying the corrupted footage. They ran the footage through this several times and ramped up the video destruction over the course of the video to capture the feeling of falling apart.
The directing duo MadAsHell is comprised of artists Leila Jarman and Mike Leisz. MadAsHell has exhibited their work in such spaces as CalArts, International ArtExpo, Tate Britain, Athens School of Fine Arts, and LACMA just to name a few.
If you are enchanted with this piece of psychedelia please find more MRK on her FB page and soundcloud. For more ditigal goodness follow and keep up with MadAsHell on their official site and their instagram @glitchdagram.
1. Anderson Paak – VENICE – My man Anderson had a monster year high key. Even songs that didn’t make this record were dope (i.e. Tokimonsta’s Realla). Anderson brought something truly refreshing to our ears this year. “VENICE” was one of the albums I heard this year that everytime I turned it on I found something new to love about it. The singer, rapper and drummer made a record full of singles across thee spectrum. Ranging from the vibed out mood setters “The City” and “Might Be” to the club rager “DRUGS” to the stimulatingly bright “Miss Right”. I’m a man big on options so this album is pretty much a buffet of gems.
2. FKA Twigs – LP 1 – FKA completely dominated the artistic music world from her self directed video’s (#throughtheglass for Google) to her luxurious baby hair. This record was so dope I’m still fixing my face from the drum patterns on “Numbers”. “Two Weeks” took her to deity levels. Full textures and falsettos that are outer worldly, this album is so dope she went totally normcore and didn’t even care to name it really. LP1 yea sure call it whatever, thee music is GREAT.
If you haven’t been keeping up with the artist formerly known as Breezy Lovejoy you might be overdosing on sleeping pills. Thee multi talented singer/rapper/drummer/producer now personified as Anderson Paak is here to guide your ears on a refreshing journey through his hometown on his new album “Venice”. The record floods with many genre’s, never taking you too deep into the “Venice” oceans w/o giving you a life raft in the form of an infectious melody or catchy hook of some kind. I love albums that sound like places. “Venice” provides a soundtrack to a backdrop where most feel is just hippies and drum circles, but rather introducing you the actual scene that most don’t see. This record is more of a well rounded full day and night experience on the shore of the beautiful and trippy. “Venice” the album much like the city is pretty and quite accessible. At no point is Anderson trying to out swim you, he would rather take you w/ him… Enter “Venice”
The drums welcome you on the album opener and true banger “Milk N’ Honey”. No lie this one shows up drenched in distorted bass and tickled w/ a lil bit of New Orleans bounce to it. Produced by DJ Nobody this joint puts the keys in the albums ignition w/ a story detailing a clever black male being black mailed by his own desires.
This leads us to thee next sight for your eyes and ears the cerified slapper “The City”
If it sounds familiar, it might be Minnie Riperton’s “Inside My Love” (The sample appears @ 3:07) previously flipped on Tribe’s “Lyrics to Go”. Anderson glides smoothly proclaiming his love for his city over the chorus with an open invitation to vibe with every element present in the picturesque portrait.
“The City” ends w/ a nice string accent that leads you to back the water. As you let thee waters splash at your feet you go in your pocket and pull out thee next song which is thee perfectly rolled joint “Might Be”. Click thee link to thee song. You won’t at all be disappointed, I even made the link open in another tab so you don’t have to stop reading this write up.
“Might Be” brings us to the Paak self produced “Miss Right”. This gem hits you right in the chest w/ it’s brightened up chords and bassline with a mind of it’s own.
This song is thee first exhibit a more live organic feeling. The baseline seems to be having the most fun.
It’s a cold groove you can’t seem to say no to. You can have one but you need the right one. Watch thee vid below.
By the time I get into the bittersweetness of “Put You On” I’m starting to notice every single movement feels kinda like a single moment. Chorus’ and verses are starting to get blurry and I like it! Lo_Def steals the show once again.
Staying within the organic section of the record the acoustically driven “I Miss That Whip” is every artist w/o a car but a real woman that holds him down w/ that transportations anthem. It’s not so much about thee girl behind the wheel as it is the experience of the ride. No matter how far they might have drifted apart on their hearts GPS’ the memory of thee journey is what’s missed most.
I can see him starting every set w/ this one. The key driven melody drives you to that front row crowd surf feeling.
Bring through smooth quotables
“If it’s love then it’s love
and if it’s not love
than its all love”
Even the juke section @ 1:50 that takes you to new heights if you let it.
I can confidently say that “DRUGS” is top 5 club songs I have heard in thee past full year. “DRUGS” is a really really fun night out that ends with you projectile vomiting on that really attractive person you went home with. Wild, yet memorable. Hands down or hands up there is no way any DJ plays this song and you don’t lose their minds. Even with the club drug subject matter Anderson find a way to let his writing shine through with quotables like ::
“No love is greater, in this whole world we made up
This love is made-up, it’s made-up, it’s made-up, it’s made-up, it’s made-up Your friend ain’t cute but my n*gga’s a trooper, he’ll take the L I’m high as fuck and you high as fuck so we parasailing”
I find it amazing that this song wasn’t placed earlier in the album.
Next “Luh You” is that super danceable 120 bpm banger that every KCRW DJ is looking for between the hours of 12-3 am.
It is a positive groove and has single tatted on it’s forehead.
Rounding out the album, we have my favorite joint on thee entire record “Right There” Produced by Austrialian super producer Ta-Ku
It feels so free and honest yet you could hear this on a dance floor somewhere sweating out your yesterdays.
In a day and age of short attention spans and EP’s, I’m always in support of an artist digging deep and bringing a fully thought out conceptual body of work.
If you are still on the fence like mehhh I don’t even like going to the beach much less Venice as entire city itself, Anderson even covered one of my favorite written songs EVER Postal Services’ “Such Great Heights”
Everyone should have a musical pen pal. A person you can send music back and forth with daily. It will enhance your life on so many levels. Don’t ask the person to be your musical pen pal. Just start sending them music and if they send some back to you, it was meant to be. Hundred Waters was a gift i unwrapped in my inbox one interesting morning. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vo-8Oa2t4Ro “Murmurs” was the first item of light that caught my ear. It was the most beautiful song my ears had heard in the past 366 days. I almost cried, honestly. Drawn in by the hypnotizing invitational chant of “I wish you , I wish you , I wish you , I wish you , I wish you , I wish you, could see what I seeeeee”. And in that moment I truly did. The coloring of the video even matched the song. Notice that everyone’s eyes (except the lead singer Nicole) were closed in the video. I’m not sure what that means, but I’m sure there is something interesting there. There was a soft epicness to it. You know a song writer is brilliant when they can say “yesterday was your birthday , happy birthday..” and it sounds amazing. I was entranced by this song for days. In the moment I snapped out of it I needed to know more about this band. So here we go down the rabbit hole. I came to find out that their newest record “The Moon Rang Like A Bell” was released on sacred ground out in Arizona in an experimental town inside of a molten bronze bell casting community by the name of Arcosanti. Inside this arch took place the amazing album release captured below. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gmvkjPrXvwI I came to find out this young band originally was formed in 2011 in Florida by members Paul Giese – electronics, guitars, Nicole Miglis vocals, keys, flute, Zach Tetreault – drums, vocals, and Trayer Tryon – electronics, guitars. Drawing inspiration for their name from Austrian painter Friedensreich Hundertwasser and his approach to letting the viewer/listener have their own interpretation and experience with the art. Now in Los Angeles, one of the wildest pieces of data I ended up stumbling upon about the band was that they are signed by Skrillex’s OWSLA Label. Taste levels aren’t limited these days. We are all cross genre blends. If you are reading this you are a genre! In an interesting coincidence (btw I don’t believe in random coincidences anymore, I believe in purposed purpose). I crossed paths with Nicole in DTLA at a very random Levi’s event where we discussed monsters, boiler rooms, art, her face, why there weren’t any free jeans at the event, and how good Thundercat smelled that night. I say that to say she is as interesting as she seems. Okay, back to the music, I watched a brilliant story unfold in a forest… Wanna see? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zFpvMiPAarI “Boreal” is a song with many movements, much like water , it openly twinkles around the mind if you let it. The visuals do exactly what all great art should do. Beautifully intrigue and almost confuse you. The next piece of light I want to share with you is the opening song on the “The Moon Rang Like A Bell” album. These angelic harmonies present in this prayer of a song called “Show Me Love” feel special and innocent. https://soundcloud.com/hundredwaters/01-show-me-love Layered with levels on levels on levels of meaning in every song, replay value is there. I see why they called themselves Hundred Waters. As I was looking for more pictures of the band I came across a love letter handwritten by Nicole about heaven of all places: There is something very deep, honest and innocent about their music. No matter where you are in the world you should try and catch them live touring with Interpol. ( Dates are below ) If you can’t catch them live watch this live performance of the song “Animal” in San Francisco. It’s pretty amazing. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R5nQV5KFanI Thanks for reading and listening. p e a c e _. -∂eƒ
I love foreign music. I love foreign music that feels familiar. I love familiar that tastes foreign. Music is the cheapest form of teleportation device I’ve ever owned. Most recently my ears took a trip to Sweden. Have you ever been? If not the production duo Sum Comfort Food has built a bridge from Sweden to Los Angeles just for you. With the new project “Flying Kites” on the horizon they building off of past collabs w/ the likes of Tanya Morgan’s Donwill, TiRon & Ayomari, Def Sound, Bobby Blunt, Jordan James, and Nelson Waters. These days they are broadening their brush strokes into new dimensions. Less sample based more vibey moodments (Yes, I just made a word up, combining the word mood and movements lol). The first demonstration of their new wave of production is on “Watch Your Step” mixed and mastered by one of the masters, Ken Barrientos. It’s hard not to be caught in the very ethereal wavy vocals of Ji Nilsson on this on enjoy the pool of sounds below
Sum Comfort continues building on to another level on the Kay Franklin assisted “TwoLovers”
Simply put, I like this. You could bathe in these drums if you don’t like showers, or swim in the bass line, it’s as comfortable as a Huxtable sweater. Young up and comer Kay Franklin breathes a little bit of Los Angeles on the vocals on this one. As long as you are open to moving w/ the moodments, this recipe feels gourmet. Sum Comfort become the chef’s that allow you 2 inhale the aromas of dope music for an extra minute and 12 seconds of just instrumental. You get lost in the vibes w/ no hope of GPS just you and the rhythm.
I love when music takes it’s time w/ you. So take some time and vibe w/ the “Flying Kites”