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Beyond Wonderland 2015

Music was good, visuals were better

The music at most edm festivals mostly miss, but sometimes ya find a hit. Unfortunately that hit wasn’t the music this year at Beyond, but the visuals.

I met with a visual supervisor from the Mad Hatter’s stage and he let me check out what he does at a live set. Let’s just say there’s not much glamour in his performance, but the performance he puts on was breathtaking. Not for the epileptic though. It seems the visualsm from the lights to the costumes and exhibits are evolving quicker than the music at these festivals.

I’m not much for the harder, bass driven music that’s still popular today, if you couldn’t tell yet. So like every year before it I put together a playlist that I’d love to see live (mixed right). The first year I did this was general high bpm dance tracks, but the second year I went specifically for the bass. This year was the best of bass since we started Silence six years ago. It may not be defining what I love now and probably won’t for many years, but it did have its place and may once again. It’s all about soul right now (and has always been).

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A Symbiosis Story

Go for the music, stay for everything else

Symbiosis Gathering and festivals like it are an experience everyone should involve themselves in at least a few times in life, especially for the type that aren’t already going. Symbiosis brought together electronic music and other activities for mind growth & body. I went for the music, but I got more out of everything else.

People are picky in what music they’ll listen to, especially me, but other activities for growth are much more universally appreciated. That is, if you’re open to learning. I got a chance to listen to a few panels while dodging the daily scorching heat and every one of ’em gave me at least a little new perspective.

One particular speaker comes to mind was Shylah’s talk on natural birth. She took all of three minutes to flip me from ‘seems like an option some people should look into’ to ‘your child’s birth is pretty much one of the most important moments in your life (and theirs) and of course we’re getting it wrong, like always.’ She went off on a few other like-minded tangents that felt more rooted in emotion than actual urgency, but her zest towards it all was refreshing.

As much as the panels and music were worth the adventure out to Oakdale where the festival was held, all of the brief interactions were what made it so memorable, most memorably my missed connection [see below].

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Zhu · Automatic

featuring AlunaGeorge

I sent a friend Zhu’s Automatic yesterday. She seemed to like it.

Lauren on Zhu

It didn’t show the artist & title though, so she wanted to know who it was, but I thought why not keep it a mystery. That’s what Zhu would do. Hopefully she reads this post and gets her answer.

Automatic is the start to Zhu’s next project, Genesis Series. It’s just as mysterious as his first, but that whole no-persona persona seems like a gimmick compared to the sounds he’s creating. Automatic is a small progression from his earlier work, but it’s still a hit meant for mainstream. Or ideally for mass consumption. Just not as redefining as his first EP, Nightday.

Back to his sounds. The string work at the start and the deep toned piano three verses in were definitely a step up in sound. He makes sounds out of instruments with clarity I’ve never heard before. The high hat trap at the end was a nice touch, along with the sax solo, but that could have been hinted at towards the beginning. Would have tied it all together better.

AlunaGeorge’s vocals fit into Zhu’s sound almost better than Zhu himself, but his ghostly vocals make for a good backdrop to Aluna.

Wonder what other collaborations are in store for Zhu’s Genesis Series. I’m sure it’ll be top talent.

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Hiero Day 2015

Annual festival in Oakland

Hieroglyphics is a hip hop group out of Northern California. Each year they celebrate new hip hop talent with their own festival in Oakland on Labor Day. I got the chance to cover their show this year and even though there were over a dozen quality performers to see on each stage, I was there for one.

It took me over three hours to get to Hiero Day, public transit wasn’t doing so well. When I got there the temp had to be hitting on 90 and everyone was looking for shade to sit in. But I had to find Anderson Paak. The main reason I was there.

I caught him right before his performance on the Third Eye stage. I ran up to him like a giddy fool and blathered about my love for his music. When I realized how foolish I was sounding, his manager assured me that they all felt the same way too. We talked a bit longer about other LA emcees, I actually told him the only other one that could compete with him was Doja Cat. He got a kick out of it.

His performance on stage had just as much character as his music, along with the short time I talked to him. The day was a highlight I’ll be holding on to at least until next Labor Day.

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The House that Jack Built

Here's a little help to get that swag in your step

Back in high school a friend of mine invited me to a show at First Avenue in Minneapolis where Prince recorded Purple Rain. One of the side stages was playing all house music and when I stepped in I thought, I am the only white dude here, except one other guy we’ll get to in a second.

I’ve been to clubs in London, San Francisco, Tel Aviv, where ever, but I never saw anything like this. Guys were thrusting their pelvises into women. Women were thrusting women. Men thrusting walls and anything else they could their hands and waists on. It seemed like a comic over embellishment. Some were thrusting so hard they knocked the other person over.

The other white dude I was just talking about thrusted a girl so hard she fell off the stage. When she got back up she thought I was the guy and started bitching me out, but quickly realized I wasn’t him.

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A Symbiosis Gathering

It's almost completely perfect, except one thing

Doing some digging on the Symbiosis website and social, I noticed that Madelyn Grant had liked their Facebook page – she’s featured on Emancipator’s latest single, Seven Seas. So instantly I thought, Madelyn might be there too! I asked her, she’s not :(

She’s one of the main reasons I keep this thing around, so I gotta at least try to get her out here and play live with Emancipator at Symbiosis. I think it would be their first time playing live together, at least I’m pretty sure it would be. And who cares! She needs to be there!

So what do we gotta do to make this happen? Mind you, I’m well unaware of the logistics of getting her out here. Or if she’s even available. And I’m probably just being selfish and no one wants it that bad. But they should! And I have to try and so do you if you feel so inclined.

Feel inclined!

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The 13th Grade

Talent has found eachother

I was introduced to The 13th Grade by way of One T. I don’t know how I picked up on his Audible, but I never would’ve guessed the treasures I’d dig up because of it. Shortly after looking into him I looked into his collaborators. Most notably Josh J the freakin guitar wonderist and the rest of the honeypot collectively known as The 13th Grade.

The supergroup is based out of LA and houses 14 musicians, though a few are based in San Diego, Vegas or London. Not only do they have incomparably talented producers, DJs, instrumentals and vocalists, but their music ranges greatly. And they’re well on their way to making a label as sexy as any of their musicians.

So in good fashion we did what we try to do best, made a playlist out of ’em. Unfortunately we couldn’t get all 14 on here for one reason or another, but managed to get most. The list starts off with some funk n soul into jazz and half way through gets into the harder stuff. We end it where we started off, ’cause there was way too much soulful shit to only feature one from each artist. Like I’ve said already enough, there’s a lot of talent in The 13th Grade.

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Paris Wells · Overbite

Don't forget, just smile at assholes

Paris Wells’ Overbite was produced by Eat More Cake, a producer we’ve covered a few times on this little old thing. And his production is only overshadowed by her lyrics, more specifically how Paris Wells says ’em. So many one-liners.

I have no idea what she’s talking about, what the whole story is on Overbite, but she says it with such pizzazz like Gaga. She got that ‘tude like Tove Lo though. Boogie-oogie sliide gets me every time. Shit’s a hook.

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Phenom · Together Forever

I've danced to this tune too much

About a week back I was reintroduced to Phenom’s Together Forever. And within 24 hours after that I had danced to it at least over 20 times, no bs. In fact, I had listened to it so much for the remaining part of the day that the chorus was burned into my brain, it got real tiresome.

Day after I was back on the bandwagon and I’ve got more obsessed since. I’ll probably get burned out a few more times before my obsession subsides.

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Shormey · Party Down

Get down. Ya sure know how to move

That hook! Gonna get me reminiscing for days.

Shormey’s Party Down was meant for some coming of age movie classic from the 70’s 80’s. At a high school dance or some shit, but she’s more than that. She’s a song for reflecting, tapping into the moment and thinkin about your past.

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