Time was once a friend of mine. We’d spend the afternoon skateboarding in the grocery store parking lot, practicing a single trick on a curb for an entire afternoon- fully contented with our day’s efforts. We used to go for long bike rides through the city to the beach, headphones on, music loud, not a care in the world. Time and me would stay up late, then sleep in later. We’d move at a comfortable pace from season to season, watching clouds drift and leaves blow, thinking big rambling thoughts in circles, feeling quite alright without coming to a definitive conclusion.
But oh how things have changed. My old friend time is not the same. These days I’m chasing fragments of thoughts as they flee from looming concrete demands that will not compromise. With time no longer on my team, the daydreams become to-do lists, and the lists are endless. I’m trying to figure out a way to patch things up, I still believe it’s possible, but without time the map is blurry.
From this frazzled state, in desperate need of peace of mind, it’s my oldest homie Music who keeps reminding me that there is hope. That time isn’t mad at me afterall, just busy with his own meanderings, while I’m the one who’s changed. Music still gets me high in 3 minute doses, showing me possible worlds that have yet to be explored. Now more than ever, each effective song is precious. And today’s selection are effective indeed! Very cool flag/blanket above comes courtesy of Nacho Becerra.
Getting back in the swing of things a bit, as 24-hour diaper duty transforms into a cyclical rhythm. I’ve gotta admit I’ve been a bit absent from catching the latest releases, but I’ve managed to snag a few things here and there. Some new era funky stuff to share with you all today, plus a couple non-commercial hip hop joints that are a nice break from the un-danceable new mumble-trap that is dominating top 40 hip hop airwaves these days. I’ve also included a touch of disco and finished off the set with some trippy mellow heartstring material. I hope you dig! For those of you in the LA area, mark your calendars: next Thursday is the proper album release party for “Night Visions” at El Dorado downtown. I’ll be performing live again with Chico Mann, good times guaranteed. Artwork today comes courtesy of Gerhardt Richter, check him out.
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