This week’s minimix is centered around creating, and given that you are reading this blog, I can confidently say you possess the capacity to create. So grab an art making tool (now or later) and get ready for our first selection, “Serenade” by Slovakian artist, Lightphaser featuring Hatsune Miku (初音ミク).
“Serenade” (including its accompanying visual) contains interesting juxtapositions. It is endearing while also strange. The symbolism and sound are somewhat abstract, but made using accessible items and tonal building blocks. To understand the exact intention of this piece, you can read Lightphaser’s extensive response to one confounded Youtube commenter. For me, though, “Serenade” expands the boundaries of what is possible when creating. It’s about tenacity, heart, and courage.
Now we’re going to get the blood flowing to your hands with a track coming to us from Argentina.
When I first heard Craz Digga’s “Brazilian Fresh”, I hoped he was the one performing all the scratching, and lo and behold, he is! Craz Digga’s scrubbed rhythms sound authentically connected to the New York City hip hop scene where scratching flourished so many years ago.* Craz Digga’s combination of old-school hip hop rhythms and warm Latin grooves symbiotically meshes to into something delightfully fresh.
It’s so fresh that while you listen, I recommend doing this with your hands:
Yes! Now that your hands and minds are free, let’s move on to a track called “Swedish Nights” by Canadian artist, Sorena.
I’ve listened to this track at least 15 times now – I can write to it, paint to it, dance to it, close my eyes and just listen…there’s something calming and simultaneously energizing about this sound. I also think the production is impeccable – each instrument lives in its own beautifully designed space. Also, check out what sounds to me like guitar fret slides being used as percussion (one obvious example is at 2:27). Super cool.
Now we move into flow state – this is when people lose track of time, maybe even forget they have a body because the flow is so strong. To accompany this sentiment, I present you “Labyrinth” by USA based Emancipator and remixed by CloZee.
This track is a journey all unto itself. The orchestral instruments are warm and build tension from the first string theme. When I listen to this, I picture rich colors of paint flying in slow motion around my head and am also transported back to the first time I heard the score from The Village by James Newton-Howard (which if you haven’t heard, I highly recommend).**
A good deal of electro/acoustic combinations can sound a bit disjunct to my ear, one side getting favored over the other, but the orchestral and electronic combination is extremely well balanced to my ear.
And that brings us to our last piece of the day. a modern, almost spaghetti-western sounding piece called “Cupcake” from German composer, Enis Rotthoff.
Ennis’s track contains a quirky darkness (arpeggiated opening of BoJack Horseman‘s theme, anyone?), along with an isolated climbing-up-the-walls of your own mind feeling, and most movingly perhaps is a tenderness that is heard in the gentle felty hits of each piano chord and lovingly crafted (with actual amps, nonetheless!) lead guitar performance.
And so, that brings us to the end of our time together today. I wanted to wrap this post up with a quotation I’ve often think about from Stephen King’s, On Writing:
“Put your desk in the corner, and every time you sit down there to write, remind yourself why it isn’t in the middle of the room.
Life isn’t a support system for art. It’s the other way around.”
And on that note, we can now pack up the paints, close the laptop, compost the dregs of our cold tea, and move from creating back into experiencing. What a treat it’s been to spend this time with you, Thank you again for spending this precious time with me!
*Scratching in this context is when you take a record and play it with your fingers to add rhythms to the beat. It’s an early form of remixing from the 20th century.
**This is a movie many people remember as bad, but I loved the colors and sounds so much that I didn’t notice the story or whether or not it made sense. Just listen to the music and I think you’ll understand why this music accompanied with gorgeous visuals is all a person might need: