Tag Archives: divine

Jamaica

~ 0 ~
SFO in the early morning
MtVC
sleep
triple couple brunch date
SFO in the afternoon
work
packing
eating
yellow fever film
SFO late at night
Japanese, Mexican, American, or Chinese?

~ 1 ~
Hank Williams on the
turbulent red-eye
flashlights in the early morning
United Club at IAD
hella babies on the
flight to Jamaica
the first Jamaican woman to speak to/about me:
“it’s not fair. he’s not even using it,”
referencing my hair
all customs agents are the same stern
accosted by taxi drivers
one is hella chill so we go w him ($15)
he walks slow as hell
“we grow up w weed”
tried to sell me some but his guy is out
Caribic House
gentleman clerk
third floor balcony view of the sea
buy weed from souvenir shop ($20 for crap)
Pork Pit
buy weed from random vagrant (J$200 for crap)

~ 2 ~
breakfast at the Mocha Cafe
Knutsford Express to Negril
buy Blue Cheese from taxi driver ($5 for quality)
Yoga Centre
stroll and smoke along the beach
the German dude
yoga in the evening
shower and drinks
Alfred’s Ocean Palace
couple drinks and cricket at the Sunrise

~ 3 ~
smoothies and breakfast at the YC
chillin on the beach
spring rolls and papaya salad
Natalie naps / Americanah
drinks at One Love bar
curried conch w rice & peas at sweet spot

~ 4 ~
goodbye YC & Negril
KE to Kingston
wild winding ride east
the big city
the Spanish Court,
free rum punch on arrival
walking in the rain to
Devon House
coffee for her, coffee i-scream for me
walking in the lightening rain
Natalie goes chic in the city
divine Indian at Nirvanna

~ 5 ~
free breakfast: eggs, platanos, festival, bacon, fruit, coffee, water
taxi drive with a former yam farmer to
the National Gallery of Jamaica
walk through saturday downtown market
taxi to the grocery
Tashanna the angel
Natalie runs on the treadmill, i walk to KE
sunset swimming in the freezing infinity pool
hot bath w love
shower the hair
dress and small dinner
last home drink
up up up the hill to
dub club
smoky dub music in the clouds
danced
saw fireworks
and popcorn
and dancing
circles, circling back to a
champagne glass next to the drivers seat
flask of herb wine next to mine
slowly, slithering back to New Kingston
in the nighttime of a new day

~ 6 ~
free breakfast: kitchen sink omelet, fruit, coffee, water, festival, platanos, and a complimentary mimosa
walking to the banks, several failed withdrawals
packing up
waiting for Robert
red shirt, tan truck, big smile
cash out
ride up
the treehouse
the tour
the pool and trail
dinner at 6?
acki and shellfish, peas and rice, greens not calaloo
reading and drinking
scrabble in bed under the net
never ending music for a wake, then an end

~ 7 ~
wake up puffy eyed a little before 9
shirtless on the balcony
big rainbow across the sky
Chef says breakfast is on the way
coffee, scrambled eggs w veggies, fried plantains, breadfruit (looked like dry pineapple slices), slices of mango, a peeled orange, everything fresh, juicy, lovely
more coffee, Bobby and Chef smoking
prep
driving to Holywell
the waterfall hike
smoke at the falls
kiss on the hills
walk to David’s coffee plantation
the Chinese crew, little kids giggling and playing games, the two big dogs loafing and eyeing everyone, the coffee man deeply darkened by the sun yet profoundly lightened by endless cups of coffee
walking back home
Natalie’s forgotten R1: the run
gap cafe too fancy
walk thru the military yard
flask of clear rum, water, cheese puffs, and chocolates at the bubbles stop
walk home
cold shower (Ginger on drums)
wifi, soup, and dinner (more Fela)
seafish, fried carrots and greens, potato, yams, plantains
greasy spliff
drinks and reading

~ 8 ~
up a little earlier, round 830
coffee and breakfast on the taller balcony
acki and fish, breadfruit, fried plantains, papaya, orange
reading reading reading
the ride to Craighton
the $25 tour w Jerome
280,000 coffee plants—arabica not robusta—the latter 52% of the world coffee, the former 48%—though like the #1 most traded good (oil), the #2 (coffee) is often adulterated as there’s no standard nor authority—and Blue Mountain arabica is something special, with 70% of its sales going to wealthy Japanese—Jamaicans themselves drink instant coffee—unless they’re like Robert—usually Arabica ripens in 5-7 months, in Blue Mountains it takes 9-11—juicier, sweeter—Twyman and other north side farmers get less sun so their harvest is shorter
three cups of coffee after the lesson
walk to red light
bananas and coconut snack from the roadside rasta
walk from red light
Natalie loses her shades
hitching a ride w the 33 year old who spent 20 years living in Kingston before moving to London, comes back to visit family every xmas, warned us of the dangers of hitch hiking
eits cafe
walking up and a ride w David, bobby’s coz
walking to prince valley
glasses for a drink and phone
meeting, laughing, smoking w omero from Oakland and Tazia from near Kingston
drinks and dinner: beans, greens, and pumpkin rice, perfection
sunset
beer and adieu
reading, reading, hearts, reading

~ 9 ~
up a little earlier, around 815
Ovid on the balcony
coffee and breakfast in the usual spot
acki and fish, plantains, coco bread
packing up and paying
peace
dj dale down the mountain
bob Marley museum
best dinner (fried chicken, beef stew, pork stew, or curried goat?) plus rum
two wedding episodes of friends

~ 10 ~
coffee, toast, and fruit on the balcony
Mahogany Beach
food and drink on James (same menu)
crazy dance boat party TV
Turtle Beach
souvenir shopping i
drinks on James
moms restaurant (fish stew)

~ 11 ~
coffee, toast, and fruit on the balcony
souvenir shopping ii
passage to passage to India (naan, South Indian chicken, chicken tikka masala)
chilling at KE
KE to Mo Bay
El Greco, cocktail on arrival
cocktails and joint on the balcony (Half Pint)
bellboy escort to room, J$400
atm, the old walk
1/2 lb ribs at pork pit
the walk back
another round

~ 12 ~
up around 8
finished Herzog
breakfast: one American, one Jamaican (mine is fried fish, greens, small banana, yucca, dumpling, and Nat’s French toast)
old white retired everywhere
blacks go J, whites go A
down to the street, rum up
packing, Brilliant Corners, checking out
smoke on the cliff side
delayed flight
walk down to the park shade
bk fries
taxi to airport
lines, lines, food court, hearts
exit row flight
chaos at CLT Continue reading

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selections from Plato’s Lysis, Symposium, and Gorgias, translated by W.R.M. Lamb (1925)

PREFACE recension (n.) a revised edition of a text; an act of making a revised edition of a text. The Greek text in this volume is based on the recension of Schanz. (v) ————— ————— GENERAL INTRODUCTION Though [Socrates] seems, … Continue reading

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Emily Dickinson favorites (701-1100)

To Whom the Mornings stand for Nights,
What must the Midnights – be! Continue reading

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lines written on a capital from the Temple of Artemis at Sardis

i lay atop the capital, body on slab of stone, a sacrificial animal to some deity unknown. she shone her light upon me, with neither smile nor reproach; shivers traveled down my spine with each syllable she spoke: “ever waxing, … Continue reading

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Emily Dickinson favorites (501-700)

Beauty – be not caused – It Is –
Chase it, and it ceases –
Chase it not, and it abides –

Overtake the Creases

In the Meadow – when the Wind
Runs his fingers thro’ it –
Deity will see to it
That You never do it – Continue reading

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selections from Electra and other plays by Sophocles

And I am as you see me now. Continue reading

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Live!

what happens when you are the input and the output

what happens when you only have two states: drunk and hungover

what happens when you refuse to sip on anything but top-shelf lit

the obvious cognitive dissonance in selling your words but not your music while knowing full well that rhythm is rhythm

what happens when you decide to quit

what happens when the people you love think that’s a great idea

what happens when you think the people you love are a great idea

what happens when a work of fiction is not real fiction

what happens when the fruits of your entire consciousness are simply the back page scribbles of someone else’s story

a single glass of four-day-old $4 wine

what happens when you only dance and cuddle, no no fuck

what happens when wave

what happens when you want to be the pacifist shark in the tank

a dark, long-haired man kissing Israel, hugging Palestine

what happens when you crack an egg over bibimbop pizza

“this is happening,” concluded the stubbly subway sound engineer

what happens in the city does not stay in the city. Continue reading

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selections from Oedipus the King and Antigone by Sophocles

sure, i’ve read them before, but this one has a different translator (Peter D. Arnott), so here are some of my favorite selections.

OEDIPUS THE KING

For city walls without their men are nothing,
Or empty ships, when once the crew has gone. (56-7)

Words will not scare a man when actions do not. (286)

My strength is in my truth. (345)

I am what I am. (425)

It takes men and money to make a revolution. (523)

I prefer not to talk about things I do not know. (550)

For time alone can tell an honest man
While one day is enough to show a villain. (595-6)

Hasty thoughts are dangerous. (598)

OEDIPUS: “Kings must still be obeyed.”
CREON: “Kings, but not tyrants.” (608-9)

And man turns his face away from heaven. (876)

When a man is old his life hangs by a thread. (927)

What has a man to fear, when life is ruled
By chance, and the future is unknowable?
The best way is to take life as it comes. (943-5)

Oh, oh, then everything has come out true.
Light, I shall not look on you again.
I have been born when I should not be born,
I have married where I should not marry,
I have killed whom I should not kill; now all is clear. (1144-8)

Time sees all. (1174)

Tears, ruin, death, disgrace, as many ills
As there are names for them; not one is lacking. (1243-4)

Oedipus is no more. (1301)

Nothing can kill me now. (1409)

There must be moderation in all things. (1468)

When I do not know, I do not speak. (1473)

That is why we wait until we see the final day,
Not calling anybody happy who is mortal
Until he has passed the last milestone without calamity. (1481-3)

ANTIGONE

Anything is better than to die a coward! (99)

Nor have I time for anyone who puts
His popularity before his country. (176-7)

The state keeps us afloat. (183)

CHORUS: No man is fool enough to ask for death.
CREON: That is what you would get. But hope of gain
Has often led men on to their destruction. (214-6)

Of all the institutions of mankind
The greatest curse is money. It destroys
Our cities, it takes men away from home,
Corrupts men’s honest minds, and teaches them
To enter on disreputable courses.
It shows them how to lead immortal lives
And flout the gods in everything they do. (290-6)

It’s in the hands of fortune now. (323)

The world is full of wonderful things
But none more so than man,
This prodigy who sails before the storm-winds,
Cutting a path across the sea’s gray face
Beneath the towering menace of the waves.
And Earth, the oldest, the primeval god,
Immortal, inexhaustible Earth,
She too has felt the weight of his hand
As year after year the mules are harnessed
And plows go back and forwards in the fields.

Merry birds and forest beasts,
Fish that swim in the deep waters,
Are gathered into the woven nets
Of man the crafty hunter.
He conquers with his arts
The beasts that roam in the wild hill-country,
He tames the horses with their shaggy manes
Throwing a harness around their necks,
And the tireless mountain bull.

Speech he has made his own, and thought
That travels swift as the wind,
And how to live in harmony with others
In cities, and how to shelter himself
From the piercing frost, cold rain, when the open
Fields can offer but a poor night’s lodging.
He is ever-resourceful; nothing that comes
Will find him unready, save Death alone.
Then he will call for help and call in vain,
Though often, when cure was despaired of, he has found one.

The wit of man surpasses belief,
It works for good and evil too;
When he honors his country’s laws, and the right
He is pledged to uphold, then city
Hold up your head; but the man
Who yields to temptation and brings evil home
Is a man without a city; he has
No place in the circle of my hearth,
Nor any part in my counsels. (327-64)

Nothing makes you happier than to get yourself
Out of trouble; but it’s quite another thing
To get friends into it. But there’s nothing
I wouldn’t do, to keep myself from harm. (425-8)

CREON: And yet you dared to go against the law?
ANTIGONE: Why not? It was not Zeus who gave the order,
And Justice living with the dead below
Has never given men a law like this.
Nor did I think that your pronouncements were
So powerful that mere man could override
The unwritten and unfailing laws of heaven.
These live, not for today and yesterday
But for all time; they came, no man knows whence.
There is no man’s resolve I fear enough
To answer to the gods for breaking these.
I knew that I must die–how could I help it?
Even without your edict; but if I die
Before my time is up, I count it gain.
For when a person lives as I do, in the midst
Of evils, what can death be but gain?
And so for me to happen on this fate
Is grief not worth a thought; but if I had left
My mother’s son to lie a homeless corpse,
Then had I grieved. I do not grieve for this.
If what I do seems foolish in your sight
It may be that a fool condemns my folly. (437-58)

In his wisdom, someone coined the famous saying
That when a god leads a man’s mind on
To destruction, sooner or later he comes
To believe that evil is good, good evil,
And then his days of happiness are numbered. (607-11)

Two heads are sometimes better than one. (670)

So wear an open mind; do not suppose
That you are right, and everyone else is wrong.
A man who thinks he has monopoly
Of wisdom, no rival in speech or intellect,
Will turn out hollow when you look inside him.
However wise he is, it is no disgrace
To learn, and give way gracefully.
You see how trees that bend to winter floods
Preserve themselves, save every twig unbroken,
But those that stand rigid perish root and branch,
And also how the man who keeps his sails
Stretched taut, and never slackens them, overturns
And finishes his voyage upside down.
Let your anger rest; allow us to persuade you.
If a young man may be permitted his opinion
I should say it would be best for everyone
To be born omniscient; but otherwise–
And things have a habit of falling out differently–
It is also good to learn from good advice. (688-706)

There is no state, when one man is its master. (720)

Love, whom we fight but never conquer,
Love, the ravager of proud possessions
Who keep eternal vigilance
In the softness of a young girl’s cheek,
You go wherever the wide seas go
And among the cottages of country-dwellers.
None of the immortal gods can escape you,
Nor man, whose life is as a single day,
And, to whoever takes you in, comes madness.

The minds of honest men you lead
Out of the paths of virtue to destruction.
Father is at odds with son
And it is you who set this quarrel in their hearts.
One glance from the eyes of a ready bride
Bright with desire, and a man is enslaved.
On the throne of the eternal laws
Love has a place, for there the goddess Aphrodite
Decides men’s fates, and there is no withstanding her. (764-81)

To err is human,
But when we err, then happy is the man
Who is not stubborn, and has sense enough
To remedy the fault he has committed. (974-7)

No human being can defile the gods. (994)

Truth is always best. (1230)

I am crushed beneath my fate. (1268)

To be happy it is first of all necessary
To be wise, and always remember
To give the gods their due.
The measure of a proud man’s boasting
Shall be the measure of his punishment
And teach him late in life
The nature of true wisdom. (1269-75) Continue reading

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thoughts and Walden

The sun is but a morning star. (382) Continue reading

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my top ten albums of 2013

in the twelfth month, like the rest of the stinking Internet and its rabid music fans, i like to compile my top ten favorite albums from the past year. i do things only slightly differently from the rest. for one, i don’t rank them. i used to rank the albums, but it’s truly an exercise in bullshittery because–let’s be frank–a list of the “top ten” albums is silly enough already… no point in making it any sillier. secondly, like the rest of my blog, i keep it pretty personal. so don’t mind the two albums from 2012 and the two from the late 1970s that accidentally found their way in. whoops!

without further ado…

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Allah-Las — Allah-Las (2012)

it’s worth noting that this is the only rock & roll album to make my list this year. certainly that says more about me, and how much disco took over my life this year, than it does about the current rock scene. or so i hope.

thankfully, there’s at least this album floating around my mind. hailing from southern California, this would be modern-day garage rock revivalist at its finest… if it weren’t for Thee Oh Sees. but where dOCs are violent, Allah-Las are chill… where dOCs jam and jam for ten minutes at a time, Allah-Las are content with a little four-minute ditty… where dOCs push garage rock into its punk rock tendencies, Allah-Las wade into the psychedelic center between beach and the desert. “Sacred Sands.”

from the straightforward drums to the steady bass to the twangy guitar to the inviting voice, this music easily tricks listeners into thinking it came out in 1967, not 2012. even the number of tracks–12, or six to a side–feels like a throwback to 60s LPs. it’s only 40-minutes, and it’s just plain good.

—————

Cest+Chic+Chic

C’est Chic — Chic (1978)

i’m just going to be straight up: Nile Rodgers appears on this list three times.

it’s quite overdue. if ronblog were a shitty music awards program, i would be making a big speech about how we all worship Nile before handing him a “lifetime achievement award,” secretly masking the fact that we basically snubbed him for 40 straight years from the actual awards. in short, 2013 is the year i discovered how much Nile matters to music.

Carly Simon. Chromeo. Daft Punk. David Bowie. Diana Ross. Duran Duran. Larry Levan. Madonna. Notorious B.I.G. Sister Sledge. The Sugarhill Gang. Will Smith. the list goes on… and yet it doesn’t matter. the influence this man had on disco, funk, soul, and all music forever and ever cannot be computed.

while i had listened to many the above artists and even a ton of songs performed and produced by Nile, it wasn’t until Daft Punk’s collaborator series that i actually sat down and listened to Chic albums. i listened to a handful of the essential ones, but none are quite as perfect through and through as this one. unlike much of the disco hits of the late 70s and early 80s, “Le Freak” is actually far from the highlight of the album. from the opening cheer to the b-side’s house-y opener to the closing track’s irresistible grooves and laughter, it never lets up. even the slow songs are superb.

what more can i say? music like this never goes out of fashion. c’est chic!

—————

AFTMB001769501LP

good kid, m.A.A.d city — Kendrick Lamar (2012)

i am a sinner who’s probably gonna sin again
Lord, forgive me… Lord, forgive me things i don’t understand
sometimes i need to be alone
bitch don’t kill my vibe, bitch don’t kill my vibe
i can feel your energy from two planets away
i got my drink, i got my music, i would share it but today i’m yelling
bitch don’t kill my vibe, bitch don’t kill my vibe, bitch don’t kill my vibe, bitch don’t kill my vibe

the year wasn’t yet halfway over, and i was already treating these lines like a prayer. whether freezing in a lake in Yellowstone National Park or freezing while biking through San Francisco streets or pissed off or annoyed or frustrated at somebody or no one, all i have to do is close my eyes, breathe, and recite these lines. what mantra could be better than “bitch don’t kill my vibe”?

and yet, at the same time, the very use of the word “bitch” makes some of the feminists in my life (and even a bit of the feminist in me, if such a thing can be said to exist) flinch at the word. not just the word, but the aggressive, over-the-top, gangsta machismo. “i pray my dick get big as the Eiffel Tower, so i can fuck the whole world for 24 hours!”

it’s silly… stupid even. but is it excusable? is it okay for a black kid from Compton to throw around “bitch” at the expense of women just so he can tell his own troubling story of an unprivileged life, of unavoidable heart-wrenching loss? does he even know he’s doing it? is this a step forward for everyone, or a step backward? is he talking about real pain? is this real pain? is this okay?

these are not my questions to answer. all i can say is “bitch don’t kill my vibe” while i rock my head to these sweet beats. and listen.

—————

4e6c6fb2

Random Access Memories — Daft Punk (2013)

big. fucking. surprise.

no, but really, if you had asked me a year ago whether i’d put the upcoming Daft Punk album on my 2013 list, i’d have responded, “i don’t know… i really hope so.” it’s like i was traumatized from an experience in high school, when Nine Inch Nails made its epic comeback with the dullness of “The Hand That Feeds” and the okay-whatever of With Teeth. poor teenage ronny.

what would i do this time, besides try desperately to not have expectations? i would hope.

i still remember the moment when i heard the name of the album for the first time. when i saw the album cover for the first time. when i heard the first 15-second clip of “Get Lucky.” when i heard the second 15-second clip of “Get Lucky.” when they released the minute-long teaser at Coachella, complete with sparkly Pharrell, Nile, and robots. i remember playing that minute over and over again. i remember watching the collaborators’ videos. i remember waking up in the morning to see if a new one had been posted. i remember telling all my friends that the video series was too much, it was becoming a shitty marketing gimmick. i remember i kept waiting every day for more and more. i remember the full release of “Get Lucky” and playing it in the living room. i remember playing it multiple times at my house party that weekend, no shame. i remember the video they released the morning of the album’s release, i remember hearing the beginning of “Give Life Back to Music” with its epic dad rock intro, and i remember–at that very moment–feeling, at its most potent, the insane concoction of fear, hope, humility, and ecstasy that had been brewing in my brain for months, years.

then… i remember reserving a conference room at work, stepping inside, and pressing play.

i didn’t know what to think. it felt so cheesy. the intro to “Give Life Back to Music.” the emo voice on “The Game of Love.” the two whole minutes of talking on “Giorgio by Moroder” and its F-Zero finale of a guitar solo. more emo piano and singing. emo indie rock. and then “Get Lucky.” and then the rest of the album.

everyone was talking about the album online. most people loved “Giorgio,” which i didn’t quite understand. maybe, to their ears, it made up for the album’s lack of hard-hitting house music. the lack of Discovery. i didn’t really have a strong opinion. i felt confused and intrigued, and that delighted me.

i listened again. and again. and again and again and again and again. and it kept getting better. an accelerating Nilephile, i quickly cherished the funky-as-a-feather guitar work on the first track and the two singles. the perfect musicianship on “Game of Love” floored me time and again, and still does today. “Get Lucky” doesn’t get old for me. “Beyond” feels like the 70s and, like the songs we love from that time, so far beyond. the ending track… an experiment in noise and rocketry. and… “Touch.” the track that Xanthe thinks i only claim to actually like because she hates it so much. but i understand. it’s out there. it’s almost ten minutes long. it’s orchestrated, it sounds more like Sufjan Stevens than Daft Punk. but it’s so joyous and heartfelt and wonderful that once, while listening to it on a pier at the Embarcadero, i almost cried along to its sublimity.

they’d captured me. they brought in virtuosic studio musicians, recorded an orchestra onto tape, toiled over hundreds of tracks, and released not just an homage, but an autobiography. a love letter. a perfect, beautiful album.

—————

daftside

Random Access Memories Memories — Daftside (2013)

only one month after the release of RAM–i swear to god–Nicolas Jaar and Dave Harrington released this ridiculous rework of Daft Punk’s entire album. and i loved it.

every single component that made RAM what it was, they inverted. Nile Rodgers, the guy who played drums on Thriller, orchestras, and analog tape decks? we’ll just do this in Ableton. millions of dollars of hype and months of marketing? we’ll just upload this to SoundCloud. seven years making your album? we’ll do this in one month.

it’s half a joke, which is obvious when you hear the 2-second version of “Lose Yourself to Dance,” but, taken as a whole, it’s really not bad! Darkside knows what sounds good, so their screwing around with a great Daft Punk album in Ableton for a month actually isn’t a waste of time.

it sounds good, and they get a thousand points for creativity.

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Shaking the Habitual — The Knife (2013)

The Knife challenges you to look at this art, as they challenge you to listening to this album. The Knife challenges you to listen to this album, as they challenge you to understand what it’s about.

life is hard. waking up for work is struggle enough for some of us, but making it to 5pm can be even harder. when we get home, we want to drink beer, smoke a bowl, put on the game, and/or hear the smooth, pleasant “Heartbeats” of our favorite artists’ best songs. we don’t want to think about how many people don’t have jobs or money. we don’t want to think about the countries where, with our salaries, we would be considered the 1%. we don’t even want to think about how 50% of the world–our mothers, sisters, and daughters–automatically face a disadvantage in what we call the civilized world. we don’t want to wonder whether these things could possibly be connected, or how.

but we probably should.

you are given time to think about these things on the 10 eerie minutes of “Fracking Fluid Injection,” nothing but shrieks through a delay pedal and clings and clangs for percussion. you are given time to think about these things on the 20 spaced-out minutes of “Old Dreams Waiting to Be Realized,” which sounds like the soundtrack to a haunted planetarium show from 1972.

no, we are forced to think about these things on all nine-and-some-minutes of “Full of Fire,” which you think starts abrasively, but only grows increasingly frantic and insane as the minutes going on… until the last 10 seconds, when Karin ruins your favorite Salt-N-Pepa chorus with the line, “let’s talk about gender, baby, let’s talk about you” in a toilet flushing frenzy of distortion and noise.

you can feel the passion.

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Slow Focus — Fuck Buttons (2013)

to be honest, i can’t say too much about this album because i’ve only listened to it a couple times. so why does it make the list?

one, because it’s that damn good. Fuck Buttons is always damn good. to my ears, they’ve maintained consistently solid jams from Street Horrrsing to Tarot Sport to this. i wouldn’t say they’ve changed what they do very much, but that’s fine. they’ve got a good thing going.

two, because i saw them play it live. i was right near the stage in a small venue, i had ear plugs in, and i still felt myself going deaf. it’s just two guys, a shitton of electronics, and a floor tom, and yet their energy infected the crowd. electronic drone post-rock should be electrifying… just like this.

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Tomorrow’s Harvest — Boards of Canada (2013)

like the Fuck Buttons record, i’m not really an expert with this one. but i’ve listened to it just enough times to know it’s damn good.

even moreso, Boards of Canada have selected a tone for themselves and they know how to house themselves within that tone in a way that doesn’t become boring and repetitious. instead, they make the tone work for them in new and strange ways that keeps listeners like me and Mark F coming back for more.

besides, its theme shares sentiments with The Knife’s album: if we don’t look at this problem seriously, the problem being all of us, then we’re most certainly fucked.

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We Are Family — Sister Sledge (1979)

damn, look at those pretty sisters.

their luscious, harmonious voices match their smooth brown skin and the flowers blooming in their dark hair. they sing about how “He’s the Greatest Dance” and how they’re “Lost in Music.” they even plead at the end of the album that you “kiss me, say it one more time.” two decades before Daft Punk asked anyone to do anything “One More Time.”

from beginning to end, it’s all Edwards and Rodgers ripping up the bass and electric, laying down divine disco guitar for the four lovely ladies above to help you lose track of time.

dance music that Larry Levan, James Murphy, and your mom can very much get behind. we are family.

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Yeezus — Kanye West (2013)

Kanye says a lot of stupid shit. i mean a LOT of stupid shit. the shit on Kendrick’s album becomes standard fare salad at your local buffet when you compare it to the raw steak dripping fat and blood that are the words that never cease to spew from the mouth of Mr. West.

it’s worth repeating: anyone who listens to the Kanye’s music for the lyrics first is walking a risky road. even on The College Dropout, this guy was no poet.

but those beats.

i listen to the first 33 seconds of the first track–you know, the whole 33 seconds before Kanye says a single word–and i’m already convinced that this album is better than 99% of the music released in the past decade. i restart the track, just to make sure, and turn the volume up to 11… oh god yes. that’s the good shit. it’s that crack music.

how much does Kanye not give a fuck? enough to drop an angelic sample singing, “oh… he’ll give us what we need…. it may not be what we want,” in the midst of the hellish analog synth terrordome that is just song number one.

next song? panting human breath all throughout. next song? ghoulish screams chained to ice cold death. next song? Kanye thinks we’re trying to make new slaves, and he makes a damn good point. i’m not feeling very comfortable at this point. i feel somewhere between Kendrick and the Knife, and it’s a bit maddening.

it doesn’t get lighter. if anything it gets darker and madder and more ruthless… until “Bound 2.” gentle singing women, sampled brilliant by Yeezus to carry us away on a cloud of… confusion and love.

if any musician created passionate, unrelenting, avant-garde art in 2013, that musician is Kanye West. Continue reading

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