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Channel Tres, best described with music

Music speaks to the heart and not really through words

Music is about feeling. And is best described through it. Even the words are written for the heart more than the head. My last decade has been defined primarily by music, curating here and at TuneIn, but more recently I’ve shifted towards spoken word. Podcasts, not specifically poetry.

Podcasts have the buzz these days, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have the substance. They’ve got more of it for the head than music does. The insights from the conversations and questions that come out of podcasts are only matched by the feelings I get from music. But I can find dozens of new inspiring podcast episodes each day. I can’t say the same for music. Music has a greater barrier to greatness and is far more subjective as an art, but the ones I do love I can listen to forever. All the more reason why curation is so important to music. People need as much context and connection when discovering something.

Most of the new music I found in 2019 came from SXSW and I guess that’s how I found Channel Tres. He wasn’t at the 2019 showcase, for all I know, but he was there in 2017 supporting Duckwrth. It was one of the most memorable shows of my life. Dudes could dance, in unison.

Channel Tres has grown into his own thing since then and I was so honored to see him at the Starline Social Club in Oakland this last December. The presence him and his dancers, Jessie & Nique, embodied on stage reflected in his audience. Their routines livened the whole club up. A progression from his dance moves with Duckwrth just two years ago. It felt like something out of a movie. The whole experience. It’ll be etched in my body forever. And the music even more so.

Trying to describe in words something that is far deeper is challenging. I’ll keep it simple, Channel Tres can make a small Jewish boy from Minnesota feel like a cool ass black dude from Compton. Empathy at its finest.

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The Gray Area Festival

Where art breaks stigma

Like MUTEK a few months before it, The Gray Area Festival pushed the boundaries of visual art & music through technology. It felt progressive in style and message.

The most memorable panel was ZERO1’s, which brought together a handful of the top projects – and their creators – from its international artist incubator. Particularly memorable was Rashana Bajracharya with an immersive experience to help women explore their bodies and get a better understanding of common health issues like yeast infections. Rashana comes from Nepal, where the lack of education around women’s health is even (much) more problematic than in The States. It’s compelling to see how art can help break through the stigmas behind women (and men)’s health.

I have yet to find her work with ZERO1 online, but here is something she made with the WCA out of Hong Kong. It’s just as inspiring as her talk at Gray Area.

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Porter Robinson’s Second Sky Festival

It's not just about the headliner

There are quite a few people in the music industry where I appreciate their influence more than their actual work. Porter Robinson is a great example. It’s not that I don’t enjoy his music, but what he’s done for a few underserved musicians I know and many more will be far more long-lasting. And that’s one of the reasons why Second Sky Festival exists. To showcase musicians that deserve a more global presence, or at least one in Oakland, California, where the festival is being held.

This year has been all about expanding my music taste globally. SXSW took me to Brazil, MUTEK to Italy, and now Porter Robinson’s Second Sky to Japan.

I found Wednesday Campanella going through the festival’s 10 acts. KOM_I’s voice, lead singer of the group, will probably take me years to get used to, but it’s festivals like this that will open me up to sounds, and more specifically languages, I’m not accustomed to. The group’s sound is a beautiful intro into the Japanese language.

KOM_I created a recent YouTube Original to document her new album. Re:SET speaks on the parallels between the desire to grow your art, fan’s judgment on that change, and the twisted nature of reality (literally.) I don’t know if anything else could have gotten me more excited to see her perform live.

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MUTEK.SF

An electronic festival not suitable for a furniture store

MUTEK is a global touring electronic music & arts festival that started in Montreal. It debuted its US spot in SF last year and was back for another round this year. The festival isn’t just a bunch of dj sets but touts an immersive quality to it with technology pushing forward what your ears, eyes, and every other sense feel.

I went through the 100 or so djs, producers, and musicians performing, but they’re meant more for a setting other than Living Spaces – my girlfriend wanted to test out couches for what felt like four hours.

Usually listening to music beforehand gives me a better picture of what I want to see. With MUTEK, you can’t prep. Well, at least not until a suitable VR experience is available. It was about listening there, especially Friday, the first day of the festival. The night astonished me a few times over.

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Motez with the GoldLink Remix

Unpacking a song takes more than a few listens

The best way to figure out if someone’s gonna like your track is to expose it to them in a few different ways. Not by flooding their Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram with impersonal self-promotion, but going to where they listen.

I first heard about Motez’s remix of “Palm Trees” by GoldLink when I dug into GoldLink’s catalog two years ago. It was just a good remix at the time but set the seed for something bigger.

Six months ago, I saw the GoldLink remix pop up in my Discovery Weekly playlist on Spotify. After that I started placing it everywhere I listen: resharing it on SoundCloud, playlisting it on Apple Music, Spotify, and YouTube Music.

What makes it so special is its longevity – when novelty doesn’t fade fast and nuance unfolds slowly with every listen. When a track you’ve heard at different times in your life becomes a part of your story. I’m still unpacking this one two years later.

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DRAMA, a duo

Sad stories & house music

I first heard about DRAMA through their Fuck Dave track, featured on our with Soul playlist from 2017, but I didn’t realize what the duo had to offer up otherwise until now. It’s gonna help define the beginning of my 2019.

Via Rosa, the singing half of DRAMA, sings with ease in sound and heartbreak in story. She reminds me of Madelyn Grant. The inflection in her voice. A raspy whisper you hear even when she’s just talking.

Na’el Shehade, the producing half of DRAMA, gives Via some sexy four on the floor tracks and at times brightens up her sad songs.

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Dream of Falling

It's like tropical house, but not terrible

In the wake of the tropical house bubble, back in the time of Kygo, came something much better. This ethereal style of house, popularized by ODESZA, will be appreciated far longer than its tropical house counterpart. Although the depths of it, beyond ODESZA, isn’t appreciated enough. That’s what this playlist is for.

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Famous Hips

Pop music remixed with groove

Remixes get a bad rap. They’ve got a famous song to compete with and the production value probably isn’t as good. That said, you gotta appreciate what they give us.

Remixes are meant to take the songs we love and make them something for the club. Give it groove. The production might not be 100% on all these, but for some they’re better than their original.

Sadly, this is the first playlist out of our latest that won’t be available on Spotify or Apple Music. Usually, the two music services have at least 50% of what YouTube Music and SoundCloud have, but this time it’s close to zero. I don’t know if one of these remixes are on Spotify or Apple. Thankfully, Dubset is changing that.

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o f f b e a t

Strange is something, especially with sound

This style all started for me with the quirky, anime & classic video-game sampling kawaii music. It’s grown into all sorts of future bass and trap offshoots. And I love it so much for its experimentation.

I first wanna here melodies and rhythms I’ve never heard before. It resonating is second, albeit more important.

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Jack Your Body

A different style of house music

Loose Control, BURN DISCO, and Four on the Floor are playlists for dancing, and Jack Your Body is the latest to add. A different style of house than the four on the floor it’s known for, tech house & g house are a different rhythm to dance to. Along with trap, which makes a few appearances on here.

Jack is the first playlist we’ve had that has the full catalog on Spotify. YouTube Music is the one missing a track for once.

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