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Next to You

The soul side of house music

Finding a name and cover art is the biggest pain in the ass putting these playlists together.

Our “Next to You” playlist is all sexy house beats, but naming it with some variation of Sex & House (ex: House Be Sexy) gets old fast. You do want those keywords for discoverability, but the name of a playlist is its second introduction, the artwork is its first. Both are important to catch the listeners eye initially.

I just fell in love with the Flamingosis track, Next to You. It may not have the same vibe as the rest of the list, but the name couldn’t match it more.

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Music of the Year, 2015

Went to way too many festivals

2015 was the year of live music for us. We covered eight festivals. I don’t think I’ve been to that many before in my life.

Hip hop seemed to make a return on here. That’s what we started on, but hit a major dip from 2010 to 2013. It started back up in 2014 with Kendrick Lamar, and predecessors have been poppin’ up all over the place since. Some with possibly more potential than Kendrick himself. One at the top of this list.

Other genres in electronic dominated the year even more. We got out a good amount of Kawaii in the first half, but future & trap took over the second. And of course house has been most dominate. Going from the deeper, heavier side and splitting into future & chill house near the end, as well as the funkier side of house music to jack to.

The amount of new singers seems to have dipped compared to past years, but the quality hasn’t. Anderson Paak, Madelyn Grant, Liz Vice & Joey Dosik to name out of the dozen others with clear personalities in their voices.

We’ve collected 29 tracks in total and a list of our 12 musicians with the most potential. Plus our biggest accomplishments of the year below that, the playlists. We put together 35 in total! That’s up from 25 last year.

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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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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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Madelyn Grant

How could you not want to work with this woman

The first time I ran into Madelyn Grant’s name was on Odesza’s Sun Models. I had recently uploaded the track to SoundCloud and she had contacted me about including her name in the title. The only reason I hadn’t in the first place was because they really chopped and skewed her vocals, making her voice barely recognizable. But she was real nice about it and it seemed more than fair.

About two months later and I see Madelyn Grant on FKJ’s Waiting. I didn’t remember she was on Odesza’s track at first, but once I did I was all the more in love. Madelyn has a breathtaking voice, but even better she knows how to use it – a much bigger problem with most vocalists.

Since then Madelyn has collaborated with a favorite of mine, Emancipator. I asked her how she got to collaborate with all these legitimate producers and she said, I sent them my demos.

That’s it. In Odesza’s case they were requesting female vocalists, but the other two she just sent them a sample. That’s all it took. How the fuck does that happen? Oh wait, that doesn’t. Minus with Madelyn.

I’ve put together a playlist of my favorite songs of her’s as well as another list for producers she should also send her music to. Although, this time I think they should be doing the reaching out.

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Top Ten Albums of 2010

A whole new appreciation for this year's best

Man on the Moon II: The Legend of Mr Rager #1 Album of 2010
Black Sands #2 Album of 2010
Broken Bells #3 Album of 2010
Plastic Beach #4 Album of 2010
My Dark Twisted Fantasy #5 Album of 2010
The Lady Killer #6 Album of 2010
Safe in the Steep Cliffs #7 Album of 2010
The Preview by Chiddy Bang #8 Album of 2010
Glowing in the Darkest Night #9 Album of 2010
Relayted #10 Album of 2010

Stargate Studios Virtual Backlot Reel (2009)

featuring Lionheart by Emancipator

We all need a mental vacation once in a while, and with Emancipator’s escapist sounds it’s the perfect remedy to let the mind at ease.

Stargate Studios recently used Emancipator’s “Lionheart” to help unfold the fascinating virtual manipulation that goes on in their studio. I don’t know which I’m more impressed by – Emancipator or Stargate Studios – but combine the two and get artistic look at how easy our eyes can be deceived.

Shit is unbelievable.

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[audio:Lionheart.mp3,When-I-Go.mp3|titles=Lionheart,When I Go]

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First Snow by Emancipator

A chill beat for a hot summer.

Banner - Emancipator live

A friend suggested I check out Emancipator’s Soon It Will Be Cold Enough a few months back, but I put it on the back-burner until recently. While browsing my feeds, I came across a song from the album that really hit the spot. Emancipator or Douglas Appling’s chilled-back, trip hop beats are steadily growing on me. I may not be an expert on the trip hop scene, but producers like this are moving me in the right direction.

The song that I mentioned above, as you probably figured out, is First Snow. Like a lot of the music I listen to, this song isn’t just for listening fun but seems to have a deeper meaning (yes, even without words). Another aspect I like about Appling’s music is how he switches up the tone in the middle of the track – a good example is at 3:00 in First Snow – similar to what DJ Frane does. I also found out, when researching the album, that it was mastered by Nujabes, a music legend for his jazzy/hip hop instrumentals. (R.I.P. Nujabes)

Alright, I’m off to listen to his latest album – Safe in the Steep Cliffs. Look this over and give me some input. What do you think the future for trip hop is

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[audio:FirstSnow.mp3|titles=First Snow]

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