Since my career as an English speaking journalist isn’t exactly popping, I’ve had to fall back on my Spanish speaking one, in which I have more clout and somewhat of a trajectory. Things are progessing slowly, but we are moving forward.
A whole lotta
love links and stories after the jump: Continue reading
I can’t guarantee it’ll happen to everybody, and maybe my perception is deceiving me, but every time I listen to a Manly P. Hall talk it ends ups solving a personal problem. Somehow it touches on something I’m struggling with. It’s never obvious from the topic or the title, in this case: I’ve been complaining to myself about not having an ideal space to meditate in. My neighbors are too noisy and nosey, the walls are not thick enough and to top it off, since it started raining there’s a mosquitoes invasion.
In the video after the jump, the legendary Canadian scholar told me about some temple in Tibet that makes the apprentices monks meditate under a huge bell that they keep ringing – Ring Ding Dong/ Ring-a-ding ding ding dong -, the objective being to develop “a complete indifference to interruption”. The absolute quietude has to be internal. Since another sage informed me the idea is to work with what you have, I’ll use the constant noise and blood sucking instead of said bell and go from there. Let the battle begin.
Anyway, to some of us Manly P. is a beacon of hope and a calmed voice in a sea of screams and desperation. To others, he was a Freemason, thus bound to secrecy to the organization, thus cannot be trusted. According to the official story he joined the order in 1954, already a middle aged man, and was recognized as a 33° Mason in 1973. Since your instincts are the only thing you should trust, I urge you to listen to him and decide for yourself if what he says rings true for you or not.
The talk’s title is “Esoteric Alchemy – The transformation of attitudes”, as opposed to the mere transformation of metals and the materialistic approach to the science. It’s absolutely fantastic and you shouldn’t miss it, but since hearing someone speak for an hour without video or anesthesia is a pretty daunting activity, I took the liberty of digesting it for my beloved audience. Below you’ll find S&E’s Companion Guide, it divides the talk in broad topics and includes several key quotes and notes.
May it help the wanderer (you) return home.
Come inside, you’ll find 2 or 3 lines of opinions about the Oscar nominated movies I’ve seen so far in the order I did so: “Arrival“, “Hell or High Water“, “Hacksaw Ridge“, “Nocturnal Animals“, “Moonlight” and “La La Land“.
Light SPOILERS after the jump, BE AWARE.
So yeah, I didn’t follow through with the whole getting-this-blog-into-shape thing. The world has been incredibly distracting, but I have another excuse: I’ve been writing in Spanish. I stopped publishing around when I started with “La Tormenta” a million years ago, and now that the alchemical process is about to give results, I’m getting a head start in reclaiming my old journalistic career back.
It’s been harder than previously anticipated, but I got a semi regular column in Venezuela’s premiere electronic music site Dj Profile, in which I have written about Massive Attack and Justice so far:
1.- http://www.djprofile.tv/mentes-trabajando-independientemente-regreso-massive-attack/ (–> English version)
And I wrote about my favorite female emcees for Spain’s sexiest literary site, Culturetas:
Last but not least, I keep my music tumblelog at the edge of everything with constant updates:
That’s my story and I’m sticking with it.
I would love to justify my lateness alleging that I was waiting for the new Run The Jewels to drop, but actually I just couldn’t find the necessary silence to finish this beauty until today. Or the will. This December in Venezuela was odd and noisy, even with fireworks out of everybody’s price range.
Anyway, back to the topic at hand… without further ado and starting at the top:
The third mixtape by the half emcee/ half singer from Chicago is half gospel hip hop/ half club music. On my first spin I thought at last, through Chance, I was going to be able to appreciate this new wave of mumble rap the children seem to be crazy about. It features Future, Young Thug and that idiotic kid Lil Yachty and none of those songs make me want to rip my ears off. I even liked “Smoke Break“at first. On repeated listens though, I tend to skip them and the Justin Beaver one. That sound just doesn’t appeal to me even with Chance and his production team in the mix.
As for the gospel, I propose it’s the reason this album didn’t really blew up worldwide. It was critically lauded across the board, the Grammy academy changed its rules just to be able nominate it, Chano appeared in every screen and became a household name, but the music per se got to a point and then stalled. You can talk about God all you want, just ask Kendrick, but.unlike jazz and funk, gospel is completely specific. It has all those catholic connotations and people from other walks of life don’t want to hear that shit. Also, personally, gospel doesn’t speak to me. I have no memories associated to it like most gringos. Anyway, “Coloring Book” didn’t really explode like it was supposed to.
As for Chance, his singing sounds better than ever in this mixtape, the very musical pieces bring out the best in his voice. His rapping though, It’s not on “Acid Rap” level. He’s got some slick lines here and there, but the melodies and not the lyrics were his main focus and the hip hop part suffered. The exception is “How Great”. On that note, let’s talk about Jay Electronica’s verse: Incredible. It’s not even that good by his standards and it’s still one of the bests of 2016.
In conclusion: Overall it’s a good project, parts of it are great, but Chance, do yourself a favor and drop acid before starting on your next one.
BONUS, the clips:
Until a few weeks back, the only constant in their whole discography was 3D. The first one to run from the toxic and confrontational environment was Tricky, who was a member of the band until the phenomenal “Protection” in spite of what Wikipedia says. For the “Mezzanine” sessions they included live instrumentation; Mushroom wasn’t satisfied with the changes in sound they were experimenting with and, in spite of the album’s success, was the second one to go.
From that point on they were flirting with the idea of working separately and publishing everything under the Massive Attack moniker, but what ended up happening was the conflict between Daddy G and 3D kept the former out of “100th Window” and only semi involved in “Heligoland”, even though he’s credited as a composer in all of those songs.
In 2013 their name returned to the spotlight with unorthodox plans and good news: 1.- They were writing songs with Tricky; 2.- They were releasing EPs instead of an album and 3.- The first one was going to be the work of 3D and the second one Daddy G’s, each working with their own team. Then they disappeared for 3 years, Tricky released his most underwhelming album to date — “Skilled Mechanics” — and when the world was not looking, “Take It There”’s fantastic videoclip starring John Hawkes appeared all over the Internet:
In November 2015, I predicted Anderson .Paak‘s rise to stardom while discussing Dr. Dre‘s “Compton“. And I had no idea he was such a talented individual back then. I consumed a couple videoclips for the “Venice” singles and wasn’t particularly impressed but his voice was unique and got stuck in my head. Two days later, “The Season / Carry Me” dropped and I was floored. It was exactly what the world needed, it was obvious. As the release date approached, “Come Down” appeared and the funk was within us.
Still, I wasn’t expecting such a consistent and well-thought-out album. When “Malibu” arrived it was already over. Anderson .Paak won by knockout. As the year went by he became the vocalist to call and was invited to participate in virtually every project that came out of the USA. He began appearing as a musical guest in talk shows and, surprise!, Boom!, he played the drums and had a band. Later on, he stole the show at every music festival and his fate was sealed. In a move that surprised no one, Dr. Dre signed him to Aftermath. “… and fuck fame/ That killed all my favorite entertainers”… beware of your own words, Mr. .Paak.
In The Needle Drop‘s “Malibu” review, Fantano made a good point: even with the presence of superstar producers, the album sounds synthetic and relies too much on loops. It has some, but it could be even better with more live instrumentation. His “Tiny Desk Concert” is proof, the already wonderful songs come alive and breath fresh air. Simple and sexy, butter and velvet. It’s ridiculous. Still, I don’t listen to “Malibu” that much. Maybe it’s too R&B for me. Maybe too happy. Maybe I’m waiting for a live album or one for the more aggressive Nx Worries project he has with producer Knxwledge. One thing’s for sure, there are no filler songs in that album and .Paak more than proved himself as an artist. The kid is just starting, let him spread his wings and he’ll burn the world down.
At fist I thought this was the most rock Radiohead had put in al album in over a decade. I was wrong. I’m not an “In Rainbows” or “The King of Limbs” fan, but I love the rest of their output. This new one, I don’t feel like listening to it too much. There’s no deniying the high quality of the music inside “A Moon Shaped Pool“, but Thom Yorke is still in crying mode and Jonny Greenwood still won’t play guitar. In spite of that, they archieved something special. It just doesn’t appeal to me specifically.
I’m still in awe about “Burn the Witch“, and the video is probably my favorite of the year. I also enjoy “Decks Dark” and “Identikit” tremendously. I don’t like “Daydreaming” at all, but I wouldn’t move the dial if it came up on the radio. “True Love Waits” grew on me, even though I’m not a ballad man. The rest is alright, and it has sublime moments, but I cant’t help but miss the old days, when they were a rock band. The album is still #2 among the critics and #1 among the public according to Album of the Year, so I guess Radiohead will survive the judgement of my two or three paragraphs.