Format Archives: Video


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

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

Infinite 115 @ Columbia University

Years ago I met a Chinese live visual artist named Miao Jing. At the time he was a student at an art university in Chongqing transitioning from painting to interactive media, and we did about 20 shows together across Western China.

As of a year ago, one Miao Jing has moved to NYC and has been setting up and maintaining art galleries and exhibitions in the city. This is the latest one, in collaboration with the Columbia University Arts Initiative, is called Infinite 115.

Needless to say, this is amazing work and Miao Jing has progressed very far from when I first met him. But I still have a framed painting of his from 2008 hanging on the wall in my living room. A portrait of a surviving child of the 2008 Sichuan earthquake.

Published on May 12, 2014

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

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

Song of the Day #154: After the Disco

Broken Bells – After the Disco

American indie rock band Broken Bells released their second studio album today, a follow up to their 2010 self-titled debut album. I’ve been listening to this and Beck’s new album Morning Phase on repeat for several days now. I can already tell that these are going to be two of my favorite albums of 2014 – they’re both amazing.

Read about Broken Bells on Wikipedia.

Published on February 4, 2014

One Second Everyday: Year 2013

About half a year ago I discovered an app called One Second Everyday, which captures and sequences one-second long video clips every day. The genius of this app, like so many outstanding apps, is that it’s so limited in what it tries to do. It doesn’t allow you to use more than one second at a time, nor to use more than one clip per day. It takes only a second to record and edit your clip, and then the clips all reside in a calendar interface.

Although I wasn’t as diligent as I could be as far as recording a clip every day, I quickly found that after the first few weeks you have to be mindful about what you record. Most of us live within a restricted range of motion, so to speak, wherein we become habituated in our routines. This can really come through as you look for interesting things to film each day.

I’ve found that after months of recording clips, I began actively looking for those unique moments which made each day memorable. One Second Everyday is all about identifying, capturing, and collecting those.

Some highlights from 2013 which are depicted in this video:

  • The Natooke shop, bicycle polo, and group bicycle rides
  • Outdoor street parties, club DJ gigs, rock shows, and music festivals
  • Street scenes all across China, and a few in Europe
  • Time spent with some of my best friends in 2013, too many to count
  • Countless challenging and fulfilling days spent in my office
  • Unforgettable memories at Dojo throughout the summer of 2013
  • Too many more memories to count

Now that I’ve assembled clips from the last six months into one two-minute long clip, I have renewed interest in continuing this habit into 2014. If this has piqued your interest, download One Second Everyday and start collecting your own clips. It’s great fun.

Published on January 3, 2014

Song of the Day #153: Melody Day

Caribou – Melody Day (Four Tet Remix)

Caribou - JiaolongOne of my favorite albums last year was Caribou’s “Jiaolong” (pictured at right). This remix from Fourtet combines the best of both artists’ unconventional take on modern music and produces something warm, analog, and not very electronic sounding at all. Released on the Secret Love 6 compilation album on Sonar Kollectiv late last year.

Read about Caribou on Wikipedia.

Published on December 23, 2013