• 2021

  • Oneohtrix Point Never and Oism

  • I’m a big Oneohtrix Point Never fan. Those who know me well, know that. Now, you dear reader, know this about me as well. Welcome to the inner circle.

    I was listening to Age Of the other day, and it stuck me that cover art is really something else. It really drew me in to inspect it a bit closer. At first glance, kinda witch-y, kinda cult-y, cool! I dug in further. A quick Google revealed the painting featured on the cover of Age Of is by an artist who’s name is Jim Shaw.

    Age Of Cover Art, Oneohtrix Point Never / Warp Records. 2018

    I kept digging and found some details of the original painting at artresearchmap.com. Check it out:

    Jim Shaw, The Great Whatsit, 2017
    acrylic on muslin, 53 x 48 inches, 134.6 x 121.9 cm.
    Jim Shaw. Installation view, 2017. Metro Pictures, New York.

    Some of Jim’s other work is pretty spectacular too. Check out the rest of Jim Shaw’s 2017 exhibition. This fleshy acrylic Head is just a marvel to look at. It’s haunting, disturbing and just glistens. Can’t look away.

    Jim Shaw, Head, 2017
    Foam, aqua resin, acrylic paint, and synthetic hair with metal base
    34 1/2 x 12 x 12 inches, 87.6 x 30.5 x 30.5 cm

    Shaw’s artwork seems to simmer in dense crockpot of American pop culture. Ripe with metaphors and symbolism, the musical motifs are certainly interesting to behold. Simon Lee Gallery has a great excerpt that captures Shaw’s penchant perfectly:

    Shaw’s ongoing project Oism contains a narrative core and ironically challenges the norms of an artwork. Marking Shaw’s attempt to create a functioning religion, complete with its own history, totems and traditions, Oism is drawn from profound and far-reaching research initiated in the early 1990s into the history of American religious practice and finds inspiration in the messianic cults active in America’s Bible belt. The creation and study of Oism has fuelled a wide range of artworks-cum-artefacts, and includes, amongst others, paintings, photographs, sculptures, collages, posters, films and musical instruments.

    Whoo. I’ll say! The Great Whatsit, is certainly effective pursuit of his Oism narrative. The Sunday school hymnal-esque illustration of singing women, bathed in MacBook sunbeams perfectly evokes the Warner Sallman white Jesus brand, with a hint of psychedelic vibes. If you ask me, Shaw hit the nail on the head. American culture on a spectrum. Both searching for a messiah, burning the candle at both ends.

    If we want to go deeper, Daniel Lopatin’s string choice for the title track, is a Hapsichord. Apart from snapping so fucking hard as an intro (it’s so good), it really sets the tone as a meditative album from the get-go. I just love the marriage between Oism and 0PN. It’s almost like they’re teasing a sort of recommended set-and-setting for this album. Such a strong connection that can’t be ignored, between these two artists. It’s perfect.

    Furthermore, Lopatin’s MYRIAD sets were literally mind-bending, world shattering Oism concerts. I mean just look at this. These fellas know exactly what they’re doing. Building myths, stories and tales forged in music and wonder. One of a kind stuff here. Excelsior.

  • 2019

  • Poolside.fm

  • It’s pretty rare these sorts of websites exist anymore, but here we are in 2019 and poolside.fm has me completely captivated. In my opinion, the same advice given to athletes, goes for websites, apps and startups too:

    Do one thing, really well.

    Poolside.fm does one thing very well indeed. Emulating a very specific aesthetic. Observe:

    Player detail. I just love this. Reminds me of System 8.

    It just so happens to play the most wonderfully curated playlists this side of the internet. Come for the aesthetic, stay for the jams. Right? Poolside is a labor of love from Marty Bell (@marty). Marty also admins a VIP entrepreneurs chat room called Jacuzzi Club.

    Poolside consists of the classic trappings of a decent music site: a delicious summery mix of jams, dancey tunes, indie tracks, seasonal goodies, lo-fi mixes and rarities that your neighboring college radio station envies — I could easily spend days here myself. It has a fantastic nostalgia too (Majestic Casual anyone?). It’s a good place. In an age where algorithmically generated playlists tend to breed boring, repetitive (and all too frequently predictable) Spotify playlists and Twitter trends, Poolside fills the void with serendipitous sounds that I seemingly never grow tired of.

    I feel like this exactly what the music community needs right now. According to The Verge:

    That’s intentional. Poolside.FM has about 32,000 followers on Instagram, and Bell says that the site has 4,000 monthly listeners. He wants to grow that number this year and continue building up the community. Part of that is welcoming new listeners, but he also wants to encourage other artists and musicians to submit their tracks. It’s a collaborative process.

    Spectacular. Very encouraging.

  • Ninm It’s OK, a Portable Bluetooth Cassette Tape Player

  • From Chaim Gartenberg at The Verge:

    Cassette tapes are having a minor comeback: sales were (somehow) up almost 19 percentyear over year in 2018, and where there’s a market, there’s a Kickstarter project looking to cash in. Case in point: the Ninm It’s OK. It’s sort of what a portable cassette player like an original Walkman would be if Sony continued to develop tape-based tech in 2019.

    So while the It’s OK does the usual tape things, like playing cassettes or letting you record to tapes, it also bills itself as the world’s first Bluetooth 5.0 portable cassette player (a claim of such niche specificity that it seems to be true). It allows you to listen to your favorite jams with wireless headphones or even link it to a Bluetooth speaker, should you wish.

    Call me crazy, but I think this is stellar. What a perfect time to revive cassette tapes too, right on the heels of the 40th anniversary of the Sony Walkman. Sign me up. Allow me to summarize my reasoning:

    1. I miss the TalkBoy.
    2. Now, all I can actually listen to cassettes again! Even the newly tapes from my friends bands.

    You can back the project on Kickstarter, and pre-order it here. Here’s a pretty great diagram of the bells and whistles on the It’s OK device:

    Images from Ninm.
  • The 40th Anniversary of the Sony Walkman

  • From Stereogum:

    It’s weird to think that, in the years before the Walkman, there was no way to listen to music privately while out in public. There were ways to bring music with you — on transistor radios, on boom boxes, on car stereos — but they forced you to subject everyone around you to that music, as well. The Walkman freed us up. It allowed us to make music more a part of our lives, to build our own private soundworlds. It was a transformative invention, one of the few that utterly upended the way we listen to music. Soon enough, more and more portable cassette players would hit the market, and the price fortunately dropped. But no matter which company made them, we still used the word “Walkman” to describe them.

    Only looking backward, can we appreciate how far we’ve come. It truly changed how we listened to music. We might not refer to our music players as Walkmans anymore, but in a sense — we still do. A simple progression of design thinking over the years reveals my favorite Bruno Munari’s maxim:

    An arrow can lose its feathers but not its point.

    Bruno Munari, Design as Art.
  • Genius.com Accuses Google of Lifting Its Content

  • From the WSJ:

    “Over the last two years, we’ve shown Google irrefutable evidence again and again that they are displaying lyrics copied from Genius,” said Ben Gross, Genius’s chief strategy officer, in an email message. The company said it used a watermarking system in its lyrics that embedded patterns in the formatting of apostrophes. Genius said it found more than 100 examples of songs on Google that came from its site.

    Starting around 2016, Genius made a subtle change to some of the songs on its website, alternating the lyrics’ apostrophes between straight and curly single-quote marks in exactly the same sequence for every song.
    When the two types of apostrophes were converted to the dots and dashes used in Morse code, they spelled out the words “Red Handed.”

    This is a pretty egregious report if you ask me. Also, it’s a really badass way of catching Google redhanded. Love that.

    Google just loves to get down-and-dirty, and equally so, loves to play coy in these kinds of scenarios. Google was lifting content verbatim (through a third-party or not). Gave the stolen content search prominence. To top it off, — genius.com lyrics, links to the artist, and god-forbid, links to the actual song were seemingly buried.

    Everyone knows people don’t like to scroll in search results. It’s tiresome and takes time. Precious time. Getting relevant search results to users as fast as possible is the name of the game for Google — but at what cost? Why is Google regurgitating crawled content as their own?

    It also means Google is directing a smaller share of those queries to other sites. In March, 62% of mobile searches on Google didn’t result in a user clicking through to another website, according to the web-analytics firm Jumpshot Inc.

    Apparently, it’s in their absolute best interest to not send you to a search result anymore. My thought process is, if you search for X at google.com for 20 seconds, then later begin a search for Y, you no longer have to “go back” to begin the search process over again. You can just re-open your last window and start searching again. Which, I get it — but I’m searching for something. Please give it to me. I don’t want Google’s remixed results (or any AMP content for that matter), I want a damn link.

    The longer Google can keep you on-site, the higher probability you may be served an ad, or click through a privacy-violating vortex. Genius might not have a solid case against Google, especially considering the lyrics in dispute are owned by artists and/or record labels. But that’s not the point here — the point is we now have a record of Google actively lying about sourcing crawled content, claiming it as their own, and actively promoting in search results over websites.

    If this pattern holds, the web will become a grim, cold place. A place of unconnected nodes, where good ideas, and links go to die because Google doesn’t give a shit what we want. Don’t get me wrong. Google makes some insanely great products. Search and display ads are their bread-and-butter, so why on Earth is Ben Gomes mucking up search like this? Something tells me, this isn’t coincidence. Ever since Giannandrea departed, stories like this have become more and more frequent. Something is going on at The Googleplex.

  • Ordinary Pleasure

  • Following up from my review of Toro y Moi’s latest album — they just released a new music video celebrating a really fun track from Outer Peace:

  • Be On Fire

  • I’ve been listening to Chrome Sparks for years now. Pretty much ever since his Bandcamp hit, Marijuana was featured on a viral video of a cat that swept Reddit like a wildfire in 2014.

    Those were good times.

    His newest EP, is pretty fantastic. It’s not a wild departure or anything, but I can tell that his taste and composition is certainly maturing. His tracks have had (for some time now), great rhythm exploration, thrilling bips, kits and sequence layers that are really just simply delicious to listen to. But this EP in particular has a heavy synthesizer, simple samples and overall has a decent homogeny that I just dig.

    His previous releases are also worth a listen, click here to visit his Bandcamp. Otherwise, checkout Be On Fire below via Apple Music.

  • 2018

  • A group photo of the band Page France

    An Interview With Page France

  • I really liked this interview. It’s also a shame to see this website go (thank you Internet Archive). I use to love surfing these music and band interview blogs.

    I was introduced to Page France at around the same time I began questioning my future, myself and my religious beliefs. You know, those formative teenage years. I remember everyone loving to dissect the (existent or non-existent) sentimental Christian symbols from their lyrics. Hell, even David Bazan is a victim of that.

    But, I thought this was such a great quote from Michael Nau (@naumichael) of Page France, I just had to share:

    “The ‘Christian band’ inquiry wears me out, to be honest,” Nau said in response to numerous articles which have painted Page France as just that. “As for the Christian symbols in my writing – sometimes I don’t even realize that they exist until someone points them out to me. There’s really no reason; it just rolled out that way.”

    While Page France is no longer producing music together, he continues to perform under his own name. 


  • “The next Steven Spielberg is Anthony Scott Burns.”

    Well, that’s what this Vimeo commenter said. This guy has an impressive resumé. Burns is a Canadian-bred filmmaker, visual effects artists, musician and producer — you know, like the rest of them. Is there something in the water up there?

    Anyways, I came across this trailer over at kottke.org and guess who scored this project? PILOTPRIEST a.k.a. Anthony Scott Burns:

    I freaking LOVED Akira. I thought it was mind-blowing. I mean, it still is actually. It’s a landmark animation piece. It influenced everybody from Steven Spielberg to Rian Johnson. So much so that, the destruction of Neo-Tokyo in Akira is literally a tirelessly repurposed knock-off trope reused over-and-over again in live-action Marvel movies.

    But at any rate, it’s really cool to see such talented people working on such incredible admiration project like this. You can read more about Awaken Akira, here.

    Here’s PILOTPRIEST’s latest release on Bandcamp.

    Very chill stuff. Ethereal. If I close my eyes, I’m transported to a Weyland-Yutani Marscape in the year 2089… or something like that. Good jams. Reminds me of my buddy Justin’s work, BOUT.

    Further Reading

  • Oneohtrix Point Never – Black Snow

  • Daniel Lopatin is insanely talented. I want to say this is the first music video he’s directed. Last year he scored Good Time, which is definitely worth a watch. Josh and Benny Safdie, are incredible in their own right. I’m excited for this full-length, Age Of.

    Rolling Stone did a pretty decent interview with Daniel.

  • Music: March Favorites

  • Last month, I shared some February jams. Coming out of January, last month saw more nostalgic plays than anything. This month, I’m feeling more exploratory.

    Wether it’s the Nashville babes Daddy Issues or the incredible Nosaj Thing’s latest LP.  I didn’t forget about Dent May either. He’s something else. Apparently, he’s a Mississippi transplant drying up in LA. He’s got some great imagery in his lyrics. May’s tracks reminds me of the 2016 summer fun — hanging out on Bushwick rooftops, and warm beer at Coney Island. I feel like his gloomy, but bouncy voice has a bravado I can just get behind.

    I couldn’t help but add a 2011 hit from Metronomy’s, The English Riveria. Looking inward, this was playing everywhere back then and was such a great soundtrack on late-night highway rides. Now, that I no longer own a car, this track has transmuted for me — a soundtrack for my early-morning/late-night subway commutes:

    Get up and we get down
    We’re always running round this town
    And to think they said
    We’d never make anything better than this
    ‘Cause we’re always in small circles
    And everyone thinks we’re trouble
    We didn’t read it in the big book
    And now we’re giving you the look look
    Just remember how we shook shook
    And all the things we took took
    This town’s the oldest friend of mine

    Enjoy the playlist 😀

  • Music: February Favorites

  • The last time I penned anything lengthier than 140 characters about music was probably during the times of xanga.

    Today was a busy day at the office. I was feeling a little inspired, and a little chaotic. Nonetheless, this playlist really brought me back down to earth.

    This past week, a lot of these artists got some play, and I decided to make the playlist which you can play below. There’s a few classic artists from the 2000’s. Some lesser-known indie stars and small-stage producers that never really stole that big post-millennium spotlight they so deserved. Lastly, some rulebreakers like Toro y Moi and Best Coast.

    So many of these artists just completely shaped my formative years. It’s like smelling a box of crayons — the nostalgia just completely overtakes. Enjoy!

    P.S. If you want to embed your own playlists from Apple Music, make them public, get the share URL from iTunes and paste it here for a iframe embed: https://tools.applemusic.com/en-us?country=us