Since the last time I posted, I have now become a dad. It is an entirely overwhelming experience that I won’t even try to blab about publicly on here for fear of sounding like an overly emotional burn-out psudo-guru. But yeah, last week marks a major change in my life. Additionally, my album with Chico Mann was finally released yesterday! This is another milestone many months in the works and I am feeling extremely happy to finally be letting this other baby out into the world. We’ve been having great luck with interviews and features, which have given us the chance to share how we first met, what our work process was like, why we chose the nocturnal theme and more. But I wanted to share a few more personal thoughts quickly on here about what this collection of songs means to me, and if you think that will detract in some way from the magic of your listening experience, then by all means read no further, just skip ahead and press play!
Despite already having made a couple collaborative songs together through the internet, Marcos (Chico Mann) and I had never been in the studio together when we decided to make this album together. He had just moved to LA from the East Coast and was just getting used to traffic and constant sunshine, I had just returned from 3 months traveling around Asia. We were both a little bit discombobulated, not sure what the next step was, but both confident that working together was a good idea. It happened really naturally, the music flowed out, egos didn’t really get in the way, songs came out freely and took shape quickly without any bickering between us! This is more rare than you might think. My love of the latest global electronic music trends seemed perfectly balanced by Marcos’ complete lack of concern for nearly all music recorded after the 80’s. I learned that my wife was pregnant about half way into making the record, which warped my whole sense of the future and filled me with excitement and hope. On the other hand, the changing political climate around us made us both feel much more anxiety and fear about the direction the world seems to be headed. Somehow, the simple fact of singing in Spanish seemed more political than usual. Songs emerged about refugees, breaking walls, going to battle. All bouncing lightly over the dance beats I was cooking up. Potent messages sitting clandestine alongside love songs, longing songs, party songs, and melancholy songs about loss. There was darkness, but we were persistently fighting our way towards the light. I hope some of this comes through when you press play. The reason I make music, and share music on here, is because I believe it has tremendous power. My hope is that the music on Night Visions will move you, inside and out, because we all really need it, now and always.
Now go support if you dig! Tell your friends, bump the album at parties, at BBQ’s, and while you’re cooking dinner. If you’re a nerd like me then you know vinyl is always best…
Daaaaaamn I know, so so long no posting music! I apologize. Took a short trip to South Africa to play at the extremely wavy Little Gig Festival, hang out with some homies, and meet new friends (including some folks who read this blog). Came home to mass protests at the airports and generally insane political turmoil. Did a few shows back here in LA and have been in the studio cooking up a new EP (stay tuned) while the Chico Mann collabo album “Night Visions” gets closer and closer to release day- FEB 24th! We are planning a release party for March 16th here in LA, so all you local people, mark your calendars and tell a friend to tell a friend, more info soon. As for today, I put together a long-overdue playlist of some of my favorite semi-recent Afrobeats joints (primarily from Nigeria) which have been staples in my DJ sets for a while now. The influence of this recent Naija music explosion has been massive- hitting Jamaican and US pop music hard. Sometimes blatantly (Busy Signal flipping “Personally” into “Professionally”) or sometimes a bit more subtly (recent hits by Alicia Keys, Drake & Rihanna & PARTYNEXTDOOR that clearly take inspiration). The most recent Major Lazer single “Run Up” had me doing a double take due to it’s similarity to Maleek Berry’s “Kontrol”– I hope he’s getting credit/paid off that one! Those of you who know me, know that I generally am in support of this kind of cross-pollination, especially when it means a proliferation of these Afrobeats that I survive on, but I am curious to see if 2017 will truly be a year of African music takeover. If so, I want to make sure to keep spreading the original Naija joints so informed people know where to give credit when Diplo gets another grammy. Finally- had to drop a couple classic South African tunes in at the end, keep following the roots! Pic above comes courtesy of my homie Abhay who I met last year in Singapore then reconnected with in Cape Town and now he’s traveling through Zanzibar & Mozambique starting a record label.
Feast your ears on this, the next installment from the upcoming Night Visions album with Chico Mann. “Cuentos de Anoche” (Stories From Last Night) is one of the more melancholy and downtempo tracks, but it’s cyclical melodic shapes and syncopated dancehall-influenced beat have really worked their way under my skin. Big up to The Fader for giving us a nice write-up and premier. Head on over to the Bastard Jazz Bandcamp page to pre-order the full album and you’ll get an instant download of this bad boy along with the other 2 singles that have come out so far. Full release drops Feb. 24.
Loooong overdue, I’m finally back with another episode of Mixtape Riot Radio. In this latest installment, I looked back over all my favorite non-mainstream material from 2016, selecting songs that stood out, that kept creeping back into my sets, and that will no doubt continue to keep me inspired moving forward. From the midtempo funk of Nao, Pomrad & Kaytranada, we pick up the pace into bass heavy dance tracks from Jean Tonique, Africaine 808, and Jus Now, finally finishing off with some slow and soulful material from The Frightnrs, Andy Shauf and BADBADNOTGOOD. True to the Mixtape Riot motto, this 70min mix is a seamless blend of eclectic sounds that know no bounds.
Full tracklist & mp3 download available here on BrooklynRadio.com
Another big new tune to kick off the new year! I’m happy to share this official remix I did for Peru’s afro-electro legends Novalima. I’ve been big fans of this group since their first release (which I played the hell out of), and really loved this latest album from them. Some of you will remember I shared a couple of tracks on here and included one in my mix for Metron Musik as well. I took the 6/8 rootsy vibes of “Como Yo” and brought them into a swinging, driving groove for the dancefloor. I have been including this one in a lot of my sets recently, so I can personally certify that this one goes over really well on the dancefloor! Check the full EP here, available from Wonderwheel Recordings.
As this brutal and insane year is approaching it’s end, I’m managing to find peace of mind in the confident belief that January 1 will present a much needed new beginning. Sure, I’m slightly terrified that Trump will start nuclear war with the Russians, but I have a baby on the way and an album that’s going to finally come out so I have to trust that love will prevail and the much needed colorful art that keeps me & my friends nourished will continue to do so. I’ll try to put together another proper episode of MTR Radio to highlight some of my favorite records from the past 12 months, but for today, just an overdue dosage of good things I’ve been listening to- mostly not on the dancefloor tip (although I snuck in a couple of full-on bangers). Artwork above comes from my mellow my man Jules Olitski.