Benny Sings & Clara Hill – On Christmas Morning

 

“Take me back in time, on Christmas morning.”

 

‘Tis the season to get slightly (or very) drunk on a mysterious combination of eggs, sugar, and brandy and reminisce to the times when your ‘nog wasn’t spiked and you had no idea it could or should be.  Innocent times before pain or any hint of cynicism. A time of pure joy and togetherness.  Merry Christmas!

YEAR: 2009
SETTING: Downing a breakfast ‘nog.
SEE ALSO: James Brown – Let’s United The Whole World At Christmas

Benny Sings & Clara Hill – On Christmas Morning

Cherushii – Far Away So Close

 

The tragic Oakland warehouse fire has sent shockwaves across the planet. As an Oakland resident, electronic music lover, and person who narrowly escaped suffering the same tragic fate as those who were lost, the past few days have been a difficult and perplexing time.   Only through a fortunate and convoluted series of events did I end up arriving 15-20 minutes after the fire had started.  To say that I am both extremely lucky and grateful is an understatement.

Cherushii (Chelsea Faith Dolan) was the artist that drew me to the event – though I’d been listening to her music for over a year, I only recently realized that she lived in the Bay Area.  I was attending with the hope of picking her brain on local house music and perhaps to talk a few production tricks out of her.  Sadly, her death was confirmed tonight.

Others who perished were surely talented artists (if not simply good people with bright futures) in their own right, and I’m sure we’ll come to discover their work and stories via tributes and publications in the coming days.  To everyone who lost someone, I am sorry. To the survivors and their loved ones, it’s my opinion that the best way to honor those who have been lost is to continue creating and fostering the local creative community. Take care of yourselves.

-Karthi

YEAR: 2015
SETTING: Reflection.
SEE ALSO: Cherushii – No Doubt In My Mind

 

Cherushii – Far Away So Close

Akufen – U

Criminally underrated Montreal producer Akufen returns from a hiatus with U, and the results are haunting, more akin to the work he produces under his Horror Inc moniker.  Eschewing much of his trademark sound in the extended intro, we begin getting a taste of classic Akufen in the second half: rueful Wurlitzer jazz riffs paired with heavily swung hi-hats and a bass line that’s quizzically funky, as it doesn’t hit on the one.  James Brown would scratch his head, but hey, it works.

YEAR: 2016
SETTING: Investigating paranormal activity in a dance club.
SEE ALSO: Luomo – Synkro

 

 

Akufen – U

Yussef Kamaal – Strings Of Light

 

Every so often an album comes along that reminds me of the role-playing game trope of a legendary sword that has been lost to time, lying broken and corroded. Unlikely heroes discover it and return it to the forge so that it may shine again, restored to its former glory in a time of dire need.  Such is the case with Black Focus, which is an ode not only to 70s jazz-funk but also UK-centric styles of drum’n’bass and broken beat. Yussef Dayes and Kamaal Williams (Henry Wu) deliver a seamless take on these inspirations and expound upon them with prodigious mastery. Just as the bed of strings ebb, a blistering trumpet cuts through the fray and fog like a searchlight, beaming the listener skyward for a mile high view of the scene. And would ya check out those bass fills?

In my estimation, Black Focus is one of the most impressive albums released this fall, and a candidate for my favorite of the year. Support these guys.

YEAR: 2016
SETTING: Feeling the heat of the crucible.
SEE ALSO: Kirkis – Cold Crush

 

 

Yussef Kamaal – Strings Of Light

Tears For Fears – Sowing The Seeds Of Love

“High time we made a stand and shook up the views of the common man.”

 

Aaaaaand we’re back from a brief hiatus. I now know what happens when I don’t update the blog – evil triumphs. Won’t happen again, folks.

There are so many things to say about what unbridled anger has wrought. Here some of those things: Our schizophrenic nation twice elected Barack Hussein Obama in a half-hearted attempt at rectifying its original sin, then in an electoral about-face, promoted a shameless reprobate with no political experience or ideas to the highest office in the land. Come January, Obama’s legacy will be erased with a few strokes of the pen and we will set off on an uncharted course. Brilliant work, real bang up job, folks. Folks – and it’s always folks – love a good folly. Like most of the world, I’m disgusted but I take solace in the fact that good will come of this terrible situation, much of it in art. Join me in drowning out the pain with music.

YEAR: 1989
SETTING: A fridge full of unopened champagne.
SEE ALSO: The shattered dreams of millions and the imminent acceleration of climate change.
Tears For Fears – Sowing The Seeds Of Love