Summer Bliss

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Have a new mix, this one is called Summer Bliss. These songs celebrate my love for summer and how great a season it is. It's the season where you take a break from school/work and spend it enjoying it with great friends and doing fun things and basically having a carefree time without a worry in the world. It's the time of year where life is meant to be enjoyed at it's fullest.

"There shall be eternal summer in the grateful heart." -Celia Thaxter

Kiwis and Music

Sunday, June 21, 2009

New Zealand has something else besides Flight of the Concords and Peter Jackson. Ruby Suns is indie pop/rock band straight from kiwi-land itself. Their music is surreal and enigmatic, using acoustic rhythms to achieve a very tribal and lo-fi kind of feel. In their second full-length album release titled Sea Lions, the Ruby Suns achieve a very eclectic and unique sound. The songs Oh Mojave and Tane Mahuta transport you to a tropical paradise with it's Beach Boy's inspired vocals, African hi-energy guitar, and it features a chorus of Maori singers. Ruby Suns has an amazing unique sound that I really haven't heard before, and their album Sea Lion, transports to an exotic soundscape.

Here's two of their music videos. they are very surreal and probably one of the weirdest music videos I've ever seen.

Parisian Dreams

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Made a new mix, this one is called Parisian Dreams. It's music that puts me in the Parisian mindset of love, enjoying life, and taking in the beauty of art. Music is a powerful and beautiful thing, it's able to create strong associations with other things that are important in our lives, such as strong emotions of nostalgia, or remind you of a good friend, or bring back memories of a place you once loved, or it can take your imagination to places you want to go and things you want to do. Music is audible beauty, my friends.

Here's the mix, tell me what you think:

Be Water, My Friend

Friday, June 12, 2009

A couple of years back I read the book Zen in the Martial Arts by Joel Hyams. In the book he describes into detail the philosophies of Bruce Lee. Now we all know Bruce Lee as the immortalized action hero of Kung-Fu Hong Kong cinema, but Bruce Lee was much more that action superstar, he was a philosopher. Bruce Lee’s philosophy resonated a lot with the Taoist philosophy of “go with the flow”. Lee expressed that water is the perfect substance. Water is formless, has no shape, and has no set size. Water never stops; it keeps on flowing no matter what happens. If a rock gets in the way of water, it either goes around it or sneaks through every little crack possible. Water is an unstoppable force that can adjust and adapt to every situation. Bruce Lee applied the physics and the properties of water to his fighting style, his philosophy, and, most importantly, his life. Lee believed the best way to live is to be like water. To adapt to any situation that life brings you. If any problem occurs in life it’s better to just keep on going with the flow. Its better not linger around in frustration or struggle your way out of a bad situation. What is more powerful; a gigantic boulder crashing in another boulder or water crashing into a boulder? Which one would ultimately cause more damage? The boulder would have to crashing violently into the other boulder in order to get through, but water get’s through without a struggle. Sometimes most problems in life are brought on because we struggle. We struggle to keep the status quo, we struggle to control the situation, and we struggle because of regret and the frustrations that brings with it. If we stop struggling and just continue forward, and adapt to the situation instead of fighting against it, we will be able to achieve true happiness. Going with the flow is about relinquishing the desire to control; we all have the desire to control our lives, to control our environment, and most commonly the desire to control other people. Most of us don’t even realize our undying desire to control every situation; we go through life having an infinite series of frustrations and disappointments because we try to control everything in our lives. Let me put this in metaphorical terms; imagine yourself swimming in a river, the river represents your life. Now this river is infinite in length and has a steady constant flow. Now remember that this river is a whole lot more immense than you. When we try to control a situation we are trying to swim against the current on this river. Swimming against the current is an immense struggle, not only would you exhaust more energy you will also not be advancing. Trying to control your life is like trying to control that river, it simply can’t be done. Now when we relinquish control and we act more like water by just going with the flow, we pass the bad situations and eventually just keep moving forward with life. Sometimes we just need to let go from the doldrums of control and just let life sweep us off our feet and takes us into unknown territories. Another famous analogy I heard was that imagine life is a long stretch of highway at pitch dark night, you are in a car with only the headlights on. While driving forward you only see the next couple feet ahead of you, but you are still unable to see the full stretch of the road. Even though we don’t see our destination we know it’s there, we just see a consecutive number of short stretches in front of us and nothing more. Life is similar sometimes when we don’t quite know what’s coming we can anticipate what is going to happen but ultimately we can’t control the destination. This brings me to another important Taoist philosophy, the journey is more important than the goal. We all have to live in the present, the here and now. What happens in the present is the most important thing, what happened in the past is not important because it’s the past and we can’t change that, what happens in future is not important because we have no possible idea what happens in the future. Living in the present, paying attention to the journey is more important because that is reality; we are in the present and nowhere else. Lao Tzu once said "A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step.” We have to take life one step at a time, pace ourselves and enjoy everything around us. It’s better to live in the moment, to clear your mind of regrets and worries and just take in the magnificent beauty of what is the present reality. There is something to be learned out of every mistake and misfortune so take advantage of everything that happens and don’t let life pass you by because you were stuck in a state of melancholy and regret. Like Bruce Lee said “Be water, my friend” it’s better to be like water, to just keep moving forward and not to stop, because stopping would be a struggle. By just going with flow a sense of calm and peace will overcome you, you will start to appreciate things a whole lot more and take in all the intricacies of life. Life is a beautiful thing and it should not be rushed or spent fighting against misfortunes, life should be spent in the moment because it’s too precious to go to waste. To be like water is the best way to encounter life, to encounter mistakes, to encounter misfortunes, and to encounter happiness. Happiness is truly achieved when we start to care less about controlling everything and learning that leaving things out of our control is a blessing, which allows us to be peace with ourselves and with the world around us. Be water, my friend.

Who Is This America?

Thursday, June 11, 2009

I fell in love with Afrobeat ever since I discovered the legendary musician Fela Kuti. Afrobeat is unique fusion of indigenous African rhythms and instrumentation mixed with Jazz and Funk. What comes out of this mix is an explosion of up-lifting beats that put you in a trance. Afrobeat, unlike with other genres that mix a variety of ethnic music such as Salsa, is both the type of music perfect for lounging around and also getting up and dancing. Afrobeat was originally the quintessential protest music for war-torn Africa. It's up-lifting and festive beats provided a positive aura promoting peace and love, while it's lyrics promoted anger and mockery at a corrupt political regime and ultimately called for a positive change in society. Fela Kuti, who can be dubbed the original pioneer of Afrobeat, once said "Music is the weapon of the future.". He, like John Lennon and Bob Marley, used music to get a message out. A message promoting peace and love in our society that is currently filled with violence and power struggles. Music is indeed in the weapon of the future, and here comes in the group named Anitbalas, which means "Bulletproof" in Spanish. This Brooklyn-based band mixes Afrobeat, funk, dub, Latin beats, and traditional drumming from Cuba. In their latest album Who Is This America? they stay true to Fela Kuti's spirit in the music and the traditions set forth by him while expanding the music and the message to apply to a new audience who hasn't experienced Afrobeat from the 70's. The message they convey is a strong one, they express their anger with the past and current U.S. administration, with all the corruptions and lies they fed us on a daily basis. The song Indictment conveys this message perfectly, in the middle of the song they yell out all the names that they believe are responsible for the disaster in both the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars and they also yell out all the names of the people who were shut out of the public eye because of their urge to expose the truth. This entire album is filled with great rhythms and hypnotic beats accompanied with lyrics that call for the truth to finally come out. Staying true to Fela Kuti's belief that music should not only be something good to hear and dance to, but music should also convey a deeper message, whether it's through it's lyrics or it's rhythms, music can be incorporated as a weapon. Maybe the strongest weapon ever, you can kill so many people with guns and bombs, but music is eternal. Music can not be dismantled or under-powered. Music is the strongest weapon of them all, it conveys an idea, which cannot be killed or destroyed. Music truly lives on. Give Who Is This America? by Antibalas a listen soon, it's an amazing album that has amazing music and conveys an awesome message.

Hipster Rave Mix!

I made the perfect playlist to really get that blood pumping and those party juices flowing. This mix mostly consists of remixes of popular indie songs. I suggest you hear it in order first, starting with the song Electricity by The Avalanches, because it was designed to have maximum high octane blood pumpage in this specific order. Now give it a listen and tell me what you think.

Here is the tracklist in the order I intended:

  1. Electricity - The Avalanches
  2. The Bears Are Coming (Partyshank Remix) - Late Of The Pier
  3. The Reeling (Calvin Harris Remix) - Passion Pit
  4. Ares (Villanins Remix) - Bloc Party
  5. Gifted (Steve Aoki Remix) - N.A.S.A.
  6. Out At The Pictures - Hot Chip
  7. Shake A Fist - Hot Chip
  8. Taken Away (Disco Trash Music Remix) - Digitalism
  9. Technologic (Kids At The Bar Remix) - Daft Punk
  10. Time To Pretend (Bass Weazal Anthem Mix) -MGMT
  11. Live At Dominoes - The Avalanches

Escaping Reality.

Monday, June 8, 2009

I really want to watch this documentary. Even though I am not a hardcore gamer, well barely a gamer at all nowadays, I can still relate to these people. We all find ways to escape reality, whether it's listening to a 3 minute song, or two hours watching a film, or over the course of a couple of days reading a book, or 50+ hours playing a video game. Sometimes we all need an escape, an escape to a completely different world where real life is completely irrelevant. The thing that fascinates me is that video games nowadays offer an almost total immersion to a completely different world. It's a whole lot more immersing than a movie or book could ever achieve, where instead of reading about the the character, in a video game you are the character. A more personal and involving relationship is created between you and the virtual world. The friends you make in these online video games start becoming your real friends and one starts developing real relationships, but all in a totally unreal world. It's fascinating how these virtual world can be so important to a person's life. The world becomes such gigantic escape from the real world, that one starts feeling part more from a virtual world than the real world. I guess that's happening in much of our society nowadays. The line between reality and virtual is blurring. At least here in the United States most of us take part in a virtual community, whether it's Facebook, Twitter, World of Warcraft, Fantasy Football, or the countless Message Boards offered online. Even though most of these virtual communities, like Facebook, are virtual mirror images of our real-life communities. We still use them as escapes from the real-world.