Month: April 2016

Essence Murjani

Doing Things Our Way, The Black Girl Magic Movement

It’s 2016 and there’s something in the air. A thick, wondrous mystical aura clouds the atmosphere and it appears that the world has been cast by a spell. Word has it that it’s a crazy kind of magic but we’re not talking voodoo. This is a special power that shines through any darkness and it’s called Black Girl Magic. By now the term may ring a bell. The hashtag #BlackGirlMagic has been taken off by storm on all social media platforms, accompanied by gorgeous photos of sistas in all shades of dark doing their thang, and damn do they look good while doing it. The phrase was first coined in 2013 when CaShawn Thompson introduced it as a way to celebrate the fierce willpower of black women, resilient to the impact of an oppressive past that dared to defy their magic. Soon thereafter, T-shirts supporting the campaign were in high demand and stars like Amandla Stenberg strutted the electric words with utmost pride. Dear Black Girl, 💕 Do not be afraid to embrace your roots. …

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Beats From The Crossroads: Andy Stott – Too Many Voices (Modern Love)

Enigmatic Mancunian producer Andy Stott‘s output, these past few years, have been an exquisite portrait of what’s been going on in the post-dubstep electronic world. Dubstep’s ferocious bassweight is tempered with intricate, precise grime beats; weightless, ethereal, dreamy synthpop – all polished and poised, seemingly, by the human hand. This particular phase of Stott’s career started with 2011’s essential twin releases, We Stay Together and Passed Me By, when Modern Love label head Shlom Sviri suggested to Stott that he start incorporating found sounds, field recordings, and real world textures into his hardware-infatuated Detroit Techno emulations. Stott’s previously pristine Techno became slavered in hiss and static, seemingly emerging from some nightmarish late night radio program, tuned between stations. Stott further abandoned the cleanroom confines of the digital with the following two LPs, 2012’s Luxury Problems and 2014’s Faith In Strangers, which incorporated vocals from Alison Skidmore, Stott’s teenage piano teacher. Together, the pair dished out a kind of slo-mo post-industrial New Wave, somewhere between the graceful pop deconstructions of Arthur Russell, the existentialism of the …

LEVITATION FEST , photo by Cecilia Alejandra

[CANCELLED] I Just WAS Made For These Times: A Guide To The Psychedelic Sounds Of Levitation 2016

This weekend’s LEVITATION has been cancelled due to safety concerns regarding dangerous weather, the festival’s official website reported today 04/28/2016 Fans of every era of visionary, tripped-out, elevated cosmic music will find something that will make them float six inches above Austin’s cracked Earth, at the most recent incarnation of Levitation, formerly known as Austin Psych Fest. Psychedelia is defined as “music, culture, or art based on the experiences produced by psychedelic drugs.” It always seemed vaguely disappointing that so many artists and musicians interpreted this wide-open field of crimson clover and poppies as merely a re-creation of the late-’60s Haight-Ashbury scene. Sure, amorphous light shows are trippy, but so are late-19th-Century literary works like Alice In Wonderland or The Wind In The Willows, as are the speed-fueled paranoid guitar jams of proto-punk Garage Rock; densely layered, experimental Hip-Hop; dreamy, romantic Shoegaze; and basically every form of Electronic music that’s ever been made. Psychedelia’s experienced a number of fascinating evolutions, so far, during the 21th Century. We’re finally listening objectively, taking what we like about …

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[MUSIC VIDEO] BLOODBOY – “Human Female”

    Bloodboy is the artistic identity of LA based singer­-songwriter, Lexie Papilion. Her first single, “Human Female,” produced by Justin L. Raisen (Charli XCX, Sky Ferreira, Ariel Pink) expounds on her mission to create accessible, melodic pop music with a sonic and lyrical edge. The single dwells around two mantras on the musician’s life and music. Question what is expected. Walk the ledge of possibility. “So many people feel restricted for so many reasons,” Lexie concludes. “I’ve thrown those restrictions to the wind to say, ‘I don’t know if this is going to sound exactly the way I want it to, but I’m going to let everything peek through and see what happens.” Listen to the track at Spotify or watch the video below by Millicent Hailes Bloodboy – Human Female (uncensored) from Bloodboy  

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Songs For Neo-Tokyo: Bwana – Capsule’s Pride (Bikes) (LuckyMe)

Much like fashion, Electronic music has never been very good at looking in the rearview. In the accelerationist framework of the genre, producers and DJs have simply not taken the time to dig through the past to make sense of it all. There are whole continents of early ’90s rave tapes, the early digital trance ambient of Pete Namlook’s FAX Label and glassy early house music that’s been completely overlooked by the obsessive reissue culture currently en vogue, despite how pivotal these works might’ve been in creating the world we’re currently inhabiting. UK post-dubstep producer Bwana is remedying this, with Capsule’s Pride (Bikes) which not only resurrects early ’90s electronica for re-evaluation, but also takes a close, loving work at another significant cultural artifact – Katsuhiro Otomo’s 1988 Cyberpunk Anime classic Akira. Akira follows two young members of a motorcycle gang in a futuristic Neo-Tokyo, Kaneda and Tetsuo, searching for the lost urban legend of Akira. Tetsuo gradually begins to develop psychic powers, as the motorcycle gang fights off gangs of evil clowns, meet sentient dolls, and ultimately, meet …

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Incessant Longing by Katelyn Playford

For more than I try to avoid the unavoidable, It keeps pushing me towards the void. The constant voice, the incessant longing, echoing inside the very center of my body. What is this? What does it mean? Who is this beast? Sometimes I allow it to take me as if it wasn’t really my decision. Erase my body, pervert my mind, strangle my senses. We are born animals and let society tame us. I was light, sweat, sex, flesh, bone, and now I am just a bunch of feelings. Photography by Katelyn Playford    

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In the Spotlight, Designers Laura Kim and Fernando Garcia of MONSE

When Amal Clooney and Sarah Jessica Parker wear your designs months before your NYFW debut and Net-a-Porter immediately picks up your first collection, critical success is imminent. Such is the case for Laura Kim and Fernando Garcia’s new label Monse, which despite being only two-seasons old, has been worn by celebrities such as Sienna Miller, Kerry Washington, and Allison Williams, just to name a few. Monse, named after Garcia’s mother, is the brainchild of recently appointed creative consultants for Carolina Herrera and former Oscar de La Renta alums (Kim was the studio director and head daywear designer while Garcia oversaw the eveningwear designs.) Their first collection, S/S 16, came with high expectations and centered on creative interpretations and the deconstruction of a wardrobe staple: the button down-shirt. Kim and Garcia reworked this basic essential into dresses with oversized shirtsleeves wrapped and knotted across the shoulders, asymmetric blouses in jewel tones, and a beige taffeta skirt with pajama snap closures. Other looks included a black satin sleeveless gown with the label’s ubiquitous shirtsleeve-wrapped shoulders, worn a …

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Digital Cathedrals: Tim Hecker – Love Streams (4AD)

Historically, towns and city centers were organized around a sacred building, all roads leading to some chapel, church, or cathedral, which were the orbit around which Medieval life orbited. These buildings were designed to evoke a sense of awe & rapture – vaulted ceilings and flying buttresses, as sacred choirs filled the monolithic space with their cries to God. Love Streams, the excellent new LP from influential ambient composer Tim Hecker, begins with the simple, but convoluted, question: “What might liturgical music sound like, in the Modern Age?” Or, as he cheekily phrased it during the promo cycle “liturgical aesthetics after Yeezus” or “the transcendental voice in the age of auto-tune.” The human voice is at the center piece of Love Streams, with Oscar-nominated soundtrack composer Johann Johannsson composing chorales in Latin for an Icelandic choir. Not content to approximate some modern Renaissance forgery, Johannsson reversed the Latin script, before giving it to the Icelandic Choir Ensemble, which were further re-arranged and edited in post-production. These vocal compositions were then fleshed out with flutes, woodwinds, …

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Fade Into Three Colors, a photo editorial by Weisi Dai

In the film Three Colors: Blue (1993), French actress Juliette Binoche and director Krzysztof Piesiewicz tell the story of a woman who tries to disassociate herself completely from society after a dramatic accident, but she ends up realizing it is impossible to fully remove oneself from human connections. The movie is the first of three films composing The Three Color Trilogy, loosely themed on the three political ideals that triggered the French Republic. White is about equality, in the film we watch a man, Karol Karol (Zbigniew Zamachowski), who was left in humiliating circumstances. With no money or friends, left while living in poverty in Warsaw, Karol begins to restore equality to his life through revenge. Red is about fraternity and tells a story of human interconnections. The three movies are individually considered as an anti-tragedy, an anti-comedy, and an anti-romance. —Photo Editorial by Weisi Dai, styling Misha Lee, makeup Miya Chuang, hair Miley Shen, models Sofi Berelidze and Pirina D

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A View From The Ground Up. Babyfather – BBF hosted by DJ Escrow (Hyperdub)

The UK’s most mercurial, shape-shifting producer Dean Blunt gives the straight dope on life in the UK, with some of his strangest friends. Trying to put a finger on the pulse of a culture via its government and the mainstream media is futile. What you see is distorted by financial interests, hidden agenda, PR campaigns, and, of course, limited time to parse through the DATA. Hip-hop has always been “the voice of the streets”, since the early NYC block parties of the late ’70s. It’s supposed to be a glimpse into the real lives of real people. But what happens when Hip-Hop becomes Top 40. A certain perspective is lost, as we are subjected to endless calls towards consumerism in the night clubs. Today’s hip-hop is more about popping bottles than popping caps. Dean Blunt is setting the record straight, with the latest in the endless string of pseudonyms and collaborations, by way of the maybe-fictional personality DJ Escrow. For those that aren’t familiar, Dean Blunt is a busy, restless innovator, bridging the gap between …