Thursday, July 30, 2015

Music Collective: vol. 34 {Stella by Starlight}


Since the release of Robert Glasper's 'Covered' album, I've began my mornings with the sultry sounds and complex harmonies of Mr. Robert Glasper. It helps me invite an atmosphere of peace into my space to start the day on a positive note. Even the commentary of this record is full of positive messages that speak to my soul.

The title of this project is self-explanatory, as he creates distinct renditions of classics, such as the familiar jazz song, Stella By Starlight. As many times as I remember hearing this song growing up-from Charlie Parker, Nat King Cole, Stan Gentz, etc.-I've honestly never heard it played quite like this.  Every time Glasper touches the piano, it blows me completely away. It's admirable that even as a musician who has the ability to be innovative and pioneer something this generation will never have a chance to experience in their lifetime, he always takes advantage of every opportunity to pay homage to musicians that influence his music. At such a young age, he has touched the world with this incredible gift that transcends time and truly inspires me. 

Press play. 

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Thursday, July 23, 2015

Create.

"Just like most things have a science to it, everything has an art to it. Art is everywhere. It’s how we communicate, move, feel, express, etc. Human beings are born with an almost supernatural inner power, I do believe, that gives us this unseen ability to manifest with our thoughts, so in essence, we are constantly in a state of creation. And what is art, other than creativity? It’s really incredible if you think about it, but I won’t go in too deep. Life is art and vise versa."  
-Chymere A.

Having the ability to create is an experience of pure freedom, especially when it's channeled appropriately. It's being able to look at our own experiences and observing what's missing and what areas need improvement in the world around us. Anything creative or innovative stems from a place of need; we naturally create what we don't already have. There's so much space in the world for more people who believed in the power of individual and collective creativity, for the common purpose of fulfilling multiple voids. It's embedded in our divine DNA!

The key to creativity is imagination.  Too often, we think of imagination as child's play; that care-free roller coaster ride through innocence and non-existent things, people, events, etc.  People tend to develop their own set of truths around a myriad of things, such as logic, science, religion, and spirituality, but refuse to give themselves permission to imagine. Because of this, people really see imagination, something that doe not exist, as this taboo concept that should be left behind, or traded rather, for realism.  Imagination carries us places we would never be able to achieve, realistically. 

As a person who strives for happiness in every facet of life, I find myself having to protect my spirit enough so that I never stop dreaming, that I never stop believing that anything I want to come true has the potential to manifest and surpass everything I hoped it could be. For a while, I doubted my own abilities.  I chose to accept the belief fear that the visions held no weight and my future would never actually be my reality.  Then I realized that it doesn't make sense to be capable of envisioning something, yet not be able to bring it to fruition and I don't believe our Creator would ever torture us that way. I want to challenge perceptions and self-inflicted limitations by investing all of my positive energy and owning my own super power to CREATE, rather than running away from the most amazing gift the universe has to offer.
  • Create happiness.
  • Create opportunities.
  • Create the world we wish to dwell in. 
In an interview dating back to May 2014 with Tyece Wilkins, author and a very dear blogger friend of mine, I discussed a new project that launched the prior month. During the conversation where I openly discussing my goals and plans for the project, I made a statement about what I believe art to be. 

The question posed was 'What role does art play in your life?' 

Clear as day, I recall how effortless the response flowed, "Just like most things have a science to it, everything has an art to it. Art is everywhere. It’s how we communicate, move, feel, express, etc. Human beings are born with an almost supernatural inner power, I do believe, that gives us this unseen ability to manifest with our thoughts, so in essence, we are constantly in a state of creation. And what is art, other than creativity? It’s really incredible if you think about it, but I won’t go in too deep. Life is art and vise versa."  

As easy as I could remember what was said, I couldn't remember when I stopped walking in that belief. Certainly, I'd like to accomplish great things in the realm of engineering, but who says I'm obligated to sacrifice one dream for the next? When did I become victim to this idea that designing the life of my dreams was impossible or out of reach?

I realized that I am the total sum of everything I believe to be true about myself; many dimensions, constantly evolving, always authentic.

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Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Album Review | Ego Death - The Internet


Artist/band: The Internet
Album: Ego Death (2015)

The moment the beat dropped on the opening track of Ego Death, I had a good feeling that I was going in for a treat with this album. So I pressed play to let the album ride and the baseline danced through my car stereo, the feeling of anticipation was revoked, because it definitely surpassed all my already high expectations and I was so impressed with the execution of this project. Without realizing it, I drove around for a little over 56 minutes, just to be able to capture the entire experience and it was in constant rotation-in my vehicle, while I cooked, while I prepared for my day in the morning, and before I went to bed at night- for at least a week after that. It was love at first listen and one of the best albums released in 2015. 

The story board of the of the album felt like listening to someone give a lyrical rendition of the thoughts scripted in a personal diary. It was a journey through a young adult's mind that recapped some of life's unexpected changes-in things such as dream chasing, relationships, and economy shifts-which are things someone of any age can easily relate to. For instance, Under Control, one of my personal favorites from this record, is the soundtrack of my life right now. Then there's Penthouse Cloud, another favorite that felt like a song for the culture. From my perspective, it really came off as an homage the black lives matter movement.  Probably in the most subtle and eloquent way I've ever heard in a song, this track vaguely highlighted the tragedies we face as a society. It sounded like a cry for help on behalf of those who felt powerless, almost like a prayer to a higher power.

Perhaps, my opinion is bias when it comes to musicians I love as much as or more than The Internet. Extremely underrated, Odd Future Records is compiled of some of the most underrated talent in the industry. The hipster swag and the eccentric sounds are slowly starting to make their way mainstream listeners' hearts without ever deviating from the underground artwork of who they are.

The Internet, a band that emerged from the label, has certainly come a long way since their humble beginnings in 2011, yet they still naturally embody that funky indie/neo-soul vibe that doesn't require auto-tune or remastering. With these musically-inclined kids from California who initially met on MySpace, it's all just pure talent.

This record very old-fashioned, 'in-your-mother's-basement' type music and that's what I have always admired about them. As long as they stay true to that, I'll always be a loyal fan and supporter.


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