Archives for posts with tag: LA

Jhene-Aiko-I-AM-in-Love

 

The most recent quote on Jhene Aiko’s Tumblr reads, “Sunshine all the time makes a desert.” This arab proverb is perfect for Aiko’s attitude towards life and music. To paraphrase from a past interview she’s said, “I just believe in progressing through life..I really take things that most people would see as negative as motivation..tradegy etc., those are the things that make me even more motivated and inspired.” It can be easy for some to hear her music, her voice and instantly be drifting away in a kind of bliss. But there is darkness, and complexity within the beauty.

Jhene is about a year older than me, a Pisces, born March 16th 1988 (raised in LA). While I was trading Pokemon cards and playing video games in 2002 (Jhene was probably doing that too:)), she was getting her music career started, contributing vocals to past R&B group B2K. It was fun to realize I had heard her voice way back then and not noticed. You can spot Aiko in their video for “Uh Huh” (my favorite of theirs).

 

She toured with them for a bit, and took a break from the music industry for several years. During this time, she had a daughter and had a record label meeting that would influence the future creation of the Sailing Souls Mixtape, Sail Out EP and upcoming debut album Souled Out. She was told the classic tale, that you need to sell yourself if you want to get somewhere in the business. A play on words would change “sell” to “sail”, and that attitude of freedom and artistic integrity would fuel her future work.

 

I admire her energy and perspective on the world within and around her. She doesn’t believe in setbacks and takes each moment good or bad, as energy for her music. It’s that roll with the punches feel that’s helped give her this angelic, as well as raw presentation as an artist and person. In her Sailing Souls mixtape (Prod. by K. Roosevelt, Fistcuffs, J.LBS, Bei Maejor and Tae Beast), the relationship songs are all about one particular, unnamed person. The audience has a window into her life, and that vulnerability and honesty has connected with a massive and diverse group of individuals. That mixtape’s had over a quarter of a million downloads, and features Drake, Kendrick Lamar, Miguel, Gucci Mane, Lite, H.O.P.E., Roosevelt and Kanye West.

Her productions on that mixtape were smooth demonstrations of R&B, soul and pop, some of my favorites being “Stranger”, “Hoe Feat. Miguel & Gucci Mane”, “Real Now”, “Higher” and “Space Jam.”

 

 

Jhene lost her brother Miyagi to cancer in July 2012. She wrote “For My Brother” solely for her dying sibling, and he passed away shortly after hearing it. That fall, “3:16 AM” was released as a single from Sail Out.

In 2013 she was featured on Drake’s “From Time” off his marvelous Nothing Was The Same album, was involved in a car crash with her daughter (who was thankfully unharmed) and released her Sail Out EP (Prod. by Fistcuffs and No I.D., via Def Jam and Artium) in November. With each release, from the mixtape to this EP I hear a mighty evolution that further puts Aiko in her own creative space. It’s refreshing, organic music, that doesn’t sound anything like current mainstream cheese. The same labels that brought Sail Out are now prepping Jhene’s debut album, Souled Out (out May 2014). I’m itchin’ to hear where she takes us next.

* You can catch Jhene Aiko at Coachella 2014 *

 

Jhene Aiko - Facebook Twitter Tumblr Soundcloud

- Jimi Jaxon

References: Jhene Aiko Interview – The Truth With Elliott Wilson, Wikipedia, Jhene Aiko Interview With Manny Norte

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My friend Astronomar is wielding monstrous sonic energy with his recent productions. I’m buzzin’ off these recent promos from Marlon and his Main Course label. After some time apart, we’ve reconnected and here’s our conversation. See how he’s doin’ in his new home of LA, the mindset behind some of his tracks and the inner-workings of the super-rad Main Course label. 

 

 

DD Whatsup man? It’s been exactly a year since I had you on Disco Droppings. How are you doing?

AST I’m doing very well thank you! Hard to believe a whole year has passed!

DD Originally from Alaska, we met during your time in Seattle where I’m still at. Your now in L.A., and I’m happy the Emerald City is part of your list of hometowns. How has your most recent move impacted your life?

AST Yeah man I love Seattle! Still come to visit and/or DJ relatively frequently. Being in LA is amazing. Creative energy is through the roof, and it’s so easy to feel inspired.

 

DD The new tracks of yours that first perked my ears up were Like This / Pay Attention. These two sit between a few styles in their own distinct and fun way. Equally playful and demanding. To me, you are a breath of fresh air to the dance community and a formidable producer/DJ coming up. It doesn’t surprise me that your tracks have sparked the interest of DJ’s playing clubs and festivals all over. What was your intention with this release? These tracks seem perfectly made for the environments I mentioned above.

AST Thanks dude happy you like them! Ya I kind of imagine them fitting perfectly somewhere in the middle of a banging club set. Not over the top face melters nor are they very deep; rather something wide & hopefully groovy enough to help people get loose and prepared for a more demanding set of tracks.

DD I think “Untrapped” is a brilliant little term and you really nailed these 3 remixes for your self-released Untrapped Vol. 2. My favorite is your edit of Djemba Djemba’s “Stahp”, really kool! These all seem very fun to put together. What’s your mindset like in the studio? Is a high fun factor something you aim for? I keep coming back to this theme of your productions being colorful and also filled with attitude.

AST I really enjoy making edits! There is so much inspiring music coming out all the time I can’t help but want to ruin them, haha. The whole untrapped thing started from liking what was happening in EDM trap, and  I wanted to incorporate those into house paced sets. So the mindset is really to destroy/rebuild while still respecting the original piece, as well as pushing my personal genre boundaries. For Untrapped 2 I made an old school jungle edit of DJ Fresh VS Diplo “Earthquake”. I sent it to Diplo, then a couple days later I got an email chain back from Diplo with Ministry Of Sound guys saying they wanted to do something with it. I doubt anyone would ever expect me to make a jungle edit of anything, but it was a personally enjoyable musical exercise and to have it be embraced is pretty rewarding.

 

DD One thing I notice in a lot of interviews are the same questions being thrown around like, “where does your name come from?” I like that your playing with people a bit, based on these different responses you’ve given to different people. No question there, I just think it’s funny.

AST f you want to know where my music name comes from its in a different interview lol!

DD I think we are kindred spirits in a few ways, one of them being that we both operate labels. You now have Main Course; which is co-run by Neoteric and Bot. I relate to your guy’s approach of getting good music out there, regardless of genre. How is the work load split in the running of Main Course? And how has this area of management improved other areas of your artist world?

AST Main Course is awesome! I run it with two guys I have great respect and admiration for. There are very few clear lines as to where the duties are split; we all help where we can, when we can, and make decisions on a 3-way basis most of the time. My role is a bit of a mover & shaker on the ground, listening to lots of promos and talking with the artists whom naturally grow into friends (if they aren’t already). But I feel like working with a lot of the incoming music has helped me listen much deeper than I used to, and has helped me give clearer and unbiased feedback. Then, I turn that same ear to my own productions.

 

DD How was your trip to EDC Vegas 2013? I went in 2011 and 2012 and I wish I could’ve seen you at that time!

AST EDC was incredible!! was unreal and hope to make it back to play again in the future.

DD I’d say you are a highly passionate and motivated individual. Are there reminders or pieces of wisdom you use to stay on your desired path?

AST Ayye I appreciate that! I am just grateful that my output is appreciated & realized. Any success no matter how inconvenient is one worth pursuing. Nourish the vibes where you can, shake the hands and recycle the cans.

 

Astronomar - Facebook Twitter Soundcloud 

maincourse.me

- Jimi Jaxon

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A couple days ago I was inspired by an episode of Breaking The Set with Abby Martin. She is an artist, founder of Media Roots, B.O.D. of Project Censored and host of my favorite news program, RT’s ‘Breaking The Set’. She has a fearless attitude toward investigative journalism, presenting her stories with a burning passion. I think some people watch the show and think that she’s coming on too strong, or too radical. Unfortunately, many newscasters read their teleprompters in such a robotic, insensitive fashion, that they make others appear over the top. It reminds me of an M.I.A. interview from a few years with Q TV. I’ve mentioned it in the past, and continue to return to her words, as I think she nails this topic. She says, “The only reason why you think I’m causing a stir is because no one else is doing it. Like, that’s why you think I stick out like a sore thumb as someone whose obviously so wrong..”.

 

In the episode posted above, at 7:51, Abby begins her “Artists’ Duty” segment. Nina Simone once said, “An artists’ duty is to reflect the times.”. Abby goes on to say, “In today’s society, art is going through a transformational crisis. Contemporary artists are becoming victims of the consumer culture of mass commercialization and corporatization.”. She empowers and challenges artists to carry on with Nina Simone’s message, instead of becoming another victim of a twisted system. One such person exemplifying this attitude to a T is LA-based street artist and muralist, Mear One. Abby Martin interviewed him for ‘Breaking The Set’, starting at 19:08. This was my first time seeing his work, and I was completely blown away by his politically charged art.

They discuss a few of his pieces including “Freedom For Humanity”, “Humanity vs. The Machine” and “Allegory of Complacency”. These political satires depict the socio-economic system that has a stranglehold on our lives. This system is often hidden from the majority of the public, and sadly, conversation about these issues can result in people being dismissed as crazy and/or conspiracy theorists.

Mear One - New World Order

The remedy for this lack of conversation often comes in the form of art. It can speak in ways that words cannot, conveying messages that penetrate deeper than any argument. It has the ability to reach and challenge people across all borders of language, ethnicity, sexual orientation and political affiliation.

 

Since 1986, Mear One aka Kalen Ockerman has been building a body of work that has gained him the title of “The Michelangelo of Graffiti”. His bio states,  “He is considered by many to be Los Angeles’ most prolific graffiti artist because of the way he revolutionized graffiti with his fine-art realism, breaking out of traditional 2D letter forms, and using perspective to develop complex characters with dynamic backgrounds in epic scale.”. He takes his inspirations; ancient technology, science, philosophy, mythology, mysticism, political and cultural revolution and the apocalypse, and blends them into deeply powerful statements through the medium of visual art. 

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MearOne-1

Mear One - 12.21.12

Mear One - Twitter Tumblr  Facebook 

mearone.com

- Jimi Jaxon 

For the final day of Decibel, I choose the Friends of Friends showcase (Fb). This 21+ party happens at The Baltic Room, with sets from Shlohmo, Salva, Groundislava, LOL Boys and Lazy Brow. Back in 2010, I met Henry Laufer aka Shlohmo outside of Neumos after his Decibel set. He wasn’t 21 at the time, so the venue booted him out. On the positive side I got to hang out with him, and soon after, a Shlohmo interview appeared on Disco Droppings. Those that get hyped on variations of hip-hop, and the environments created by The Weeknd, Flying Lotus and Baths should swing by The Baltic Room on 9/30.

 

It’s difficult to create a worthy remix for Wheez-ie’s “Keep Yer Chin Up”. I say that because the original is so fucking incredible. Leave it Salva to come up with something magical. Groundislava has a new album out entitled Feel Me on Friends of Friends. His superb XLR8R mix can be heard ova here. The track selection, mixing and dreamy narrative fit snugly together. Lazy Brow is the label head of FoF, and he starts off the night with a DJ set. 

 

 

Friends of Friends - Facebook 

fofmusic.net

Decibel Festival - Twitter Facebook 

dbfestival.com

- Jimi Jaxon 

 

 

The Brainfeeder description of Outmind from Matthewdavid is far superior to anything I could come up with, beautifully written..

“Peel back a layer of smog from the LA sky and fold yourself into the blanket of haze. The golden half-light catches glimmers that pass by most eyes. Up here, there are treasures for those who tune in. Matthewdavid operates In this magnetic cocoon, unspooling magic radiance. His music reflects beautiful, fleeting moments and magnifies them. Matthewdavid’s compositions float like crackling clouds, antenna amplifying the dreams of the city below.

 

Matthewdavid is a man who builds with warm tones. He travels new paths gathering sounds to enhance the intricate dimensions of his creations. It was this hunt for inspired trails and blazing progress that pulled him to California. Matthewdavid made the move from southern states and was immediately embraced by the Los Angeles community. A willowy figure with wide smiles, his gentle presence and generous talents made him a welcome addition to internationally applauded LA creative circles: dublab, Poo-Bah, Low End Theory and Brainfeeder. Constant collaboration with these collectives helped inspire Matthewdavid to a build a platform of his own. His Leaving Records label has an ear to the next and an eye on the original. Through all these outlets Matthewdavid is dedicated to sharing elevated sounds and visions.

 

The songs unveiled on Outmind are destined for infinite replay. Light, gauzy moments blend with those densely layered. The biggest swing gives way to the slowest sway. These are classic jams obscured in fuzz and fog. Nostalgic jeeps bump invisibly to thumping bass. Outmind was lovingly crafted and resonates with Matthewdavid’s heartfelt glow. His music’s mysterious simplicity sparks senses. These songs come from far out to resonate within. Rotate your dial to a space between frequencies. Catch these ghost channels of golden pop. Outmind blends familiar rhythms with those lost long ago and others yet to come.

 

Matthewdavid’s live performances are akin to watching a sorcerer conjure spirits from the deep. He pulls tones like artifacts from an astral trail that ebbs and flows with fresh discoveries. Along the way Matthewdavid collects exotic sound figures: spiraling amethyst cones and wild flowering buds. He treats each found sound like a bright fiber to be weaved into new waveforms. Outmind pulsates with this sense of constant discovery. It is a mosaic sparkling with mystic, radiant matter.

As you listen to Outmind set your ears to slow dissolve. Let yourself be wrapped in warmth and levitate skyward to an elegant high. This is the place Matthewdavid resides and if you want to get into the mindset you must get far far out out.”

Matthewdavid - Soundcloud

Brainfeedersite.com

- Jimi Jaxon

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