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Song of the Day #161: Let’s Go

Stuck in the Sound – Let’s Go

Stuck in the Sound is a Paris-based indie rock band formed in 2002. The official video for this song, Let’s Go, was released as a single with their 2012 album titled Pursuit.

The concept for this video, a dedicated Chinese boy who commits himself to becoming an astronaut only to find something unexpected, is amazing. The visuals don’t just accompany the song, they elevate it to another level.

Check out Stuck in the Sound on Spotify.

Published on November 6, 2014
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Song of the Day #160: Kodama

20Syl – Kodama

Created by 20Syl, member of C2C and founder of the Hocus Pocus hip hop group. I especially love this because the Akai MPC 2000XL (a vintage drum machine that I’ve had since 2008) is featured so prominently.

Check out C2C or 20Syl on Youtube. Both of these channels have fantastic music.

Published on October 11, 2014
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Song of the Day #159: Adventure

Disasterpeace – Adventure

Fez OSTFez is an independent game released in 2012 that I never got around to playing. Now that I have, I am blown away by the soundtrack, which was entirely produced by a guy from Oakland working under the moniker “Disasterpeace”. Video game soundtracks are almost always entirely forgettable, but there are some notable exceptions like Fez and Hotline Miami.

With the game Fez featuring a colorful pixel-based art style, you would expect the soundtrack to conform to a retro game aesthetic. But it comes closer to sounding like a video game interpretation of the Blade Runner soundtrack by Vangelis, with bright synths and heavy reverb which gives the overall sound a dream-like quality. It also sounds like Boards of Canada.

Two other songs which I really enjoyed on this soundtrack are Flow and Beacon, also on Youtube along with the full album. This is a game I have really enjoyed so I expect that I will write a review of it when I’ve completed the game.

Check out the Fez official soundtrack on Spotify or read the Wikipedia entry on the music of Fez.

Published on October 8, 2014

City Zen @ Little Bar, Chengdu

City Zen

The new band of my good friend and frequently collaborator, Kafe Hu.

Published on September 16, 2014
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Song of the Day #158: Easy Rider

Action Bronson – Easy Rider
Mr Wonderful

Mr Wonderful cover art

Three years after I started listening to Action Bronson and he remains as much a figurehead of wacky creativity in hip hop as he was then. This song is the first single from his upcoming album, titled Mr. Wonderful. The lyrical presentation of this song is in his established style, which is to say, it’s completely off the wall.

As usual, this video is just fun, and discards many of the tired conventions of rap. The music production, as in all of his music, is unconventional, funk and rock-influened, and oozes character.

An obese blue-eyed, red-bearded Albanian trekking cross country on a chopper, hallucinating on LSD while rapping. Amazing, and roughly in-line with everything else that this guy does.

Read about Action Bronson on Wikipedia or check out Easy Rider on Rap Genius.

Published on September 6, 2014
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Song of the Day #157: Sweatpants

Childish Gambino – Sweatpants

I feel like I’ve slowly grown into Donald Glover’s rap persona, Childish Gambino. A good friend who’s knowledgeable on hip hop recently said to me that he likens him to a Drake who can’t sing or rap as well, but I see it a little differently: he’s clearly not singularly focused on rap or the rap lifestyle, but he has oddball charm to spare.

On his most recent album, Because the Internet, which Sweatpants appears on, he was songwriter, producer, and performer. Outside of being a singer, rapper, and record producer, he also has acting, standup comedy, and television writing careers.

Read about Childish Gambino on Wikipedia or check our Sweatpants on Rap Genius.

Published on May 15, 2014
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Song of the Day #156: Rebel on Roots Corner

Tippa Irie – Rebels on the Roots Corner

Last night a UK reggae MC named Tippa Irie performed in Chengdu at a local performance venue called Here We Go. Although I listen to a lot of reggae, I had never heard of Tippa Irie before – judging from the people I’ve spoken to and Wikipedia, it seems that he was most well-known during the 1980’s and 1990’s in England. His performance was very good though, and it’s been a few years since I performed as an opener when the legendary Jamaican record producer Clive Chin came to Chengdu on tour of China. Before that one of my most memorable reggae performances I’ve seen was Jah Faith & Family Tree at Dub Club in Echo Park, Los Angeles.

Of all the songs that Tippa Irie performed last night, this one (“Rebels on the Roots Corner”) was easily my favorite. Brilliant production by Mad Professor on this track.

Read about Tippa Irie on Wikipedia

Published on March 3, 2014
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Song of the Day #155: Land of Lords

The Underachievers – Land of Lords

These days I’m always looking for modern hip hop produced in an esoteric, nostalgic, distinctly East Coast style. Underachievers fit that criteria perfectly.

If you didn’t know, The Underachievers are a Brooklyn-based rap duo founded in 2011 who embrace the 1990’s sonic palette of NYC hip hop. They’ve only released a pair of mixtapes but both are laced with this style of sample-heavy, boom bap, jazz-oriented music. First studio album coming in May 2014, which I’m looking forward to. Almost as much as Action Bronson in 2014.

Read about The Underachievers on Wikipedia.

Published on February 27, 2014