[The Audiofiles] Friday Finds

IMG_1997.JPG

Finally, it’s FRIDAY; hands down, one of my top five favorite F-words – quite possibly even in my top three. As the weather solemnly shifts from a hot, dry Summer to a delightfully crisp, slightly less warm Fall in Los Angeles – I’ve been more willing to toss on my neon running shoes and hit the pavement in the morning.  In fact, in an unprecedented move – I’ve managed to get my booty out the door 5 of the last 7 days! Not to say that I run the entire 3-4 miles – I skip a bit, definitely do a few mini tribals when the music is too good and I’ve been known to take a walk and or stretch break every now and again.  But, I’ve also gotten in a 9 minute mile and 3 miles in under 30 minutes – so, I don’t hesitate to call that a success.

My favorite part of my morning runs is plugging into some new music and letting the basslines ripple down my spine like an electric current is bringing me to life.  To say that music is my life is an absolute understatement;  I eat, sleep, breathe, run, laugh and cry in tonalities, seductive synths and delicately layered harmonies.  I dabble in all genres of music, and though I’ve found myself deep in the rabbit hole of EDM – I’ve found that my favorite producers and DJs of late truly incorporate and fuse live instrumentation and vocals for more than your traditional experience; and of the ones that deliver the untz and whompage that’s typically associated with the genre – they do it right, with complex layers and heavy basslines that leave you craving more.

This week’s discoveries include the latest from Dillon Francis a delicious Electro House collaboration with Martin Garrix that’ll make you forget he ever produced Animals, a few tracks from UK duo Gorgon City with some of my favorite female vocalists (Katy B and Jennifer Hudson),  PhaseOne’s remix of Xilent‘s Symphony, SLOWOLF’s  phenomenal remix of a  _MØ_ track that I can’t find an original for and last, but certainly not least, a deliriously haunting and equally beautiful track from up and coming star Sweater Beats. Rave it up, rock it out and have a wonderful weekend!

[2014: A Brave New Year]

Over the past year, I’ve made myself stop and notice when the workings of the world fall into step and New Years Eve was absolutely no exception to this rule.  From the ambiance and the incredible art (both created and sold at the event) to the plethora of people watching and incredible live musical acts, my creative pallet was equally engaged and satiated.  To boot, it’s officially been one year with the man of my dreams and I couldn’t have picked a better way to celebrate our love than in a ‘Sea of Dreams’.

When we came back from San Francisco last night, I’d developed a new-found bounce in my step and I’d found a soft place for my head in the clouds.  I’m still reeling, reliving and loving all of the moments from this trip – and let’s be real, from 2013 in general. So, what do I have up my sleeves for 2014?  For the long list, you’ll just have to stay tuned in to find out – but the short and sweet of it expect some stellar Festival + Concert Coverage, DIY-deas, Adventures around California, Yummy Recipes, Life Musings and More.  But, until then – let me leave you with some highlights of my last trip!

First stop – Menlo Oaks to visit my mom and gallivant through our awesome backyard!

San Francisco’s Ferry Building from Pier 14.

Pickled Quail Eggs @ The Alembic (Yummy!)

Playing tourist with my favorite Partner-in-Crime.

Sea of Dreams: The Ladder of Dreams created by Sea of Dreams founding father, Joegh Bullock

Thievery Corporation gettin’ down on the Main Stage and then with the ball drop…

Surprise! A-Trak brings Dillon Francis on stage for some back-to-back action.

Last stop – the Marin Headlands for that killer view of the city and the Golden Gate Bridge. Parting with the city is always bittersweet, but it’s lovely to have another place besides Los Angeles and Corvallis that I can call home.

[The Audiofiles] Dive Into a Sea of Dreams

Enjoying the festivities around the corner from my apartment at The Grove =)

When the holidays approach, there’s essentially one thing on every Audiofile’s mind: New Years Eve!  And then, of course, there are the quintessential questions that go along with it – what city to venture off to, what festival to attend, who to go with and last but most definitely not least, which sets to listen to and which you’re okay missing.

Whether you want to admit it or not, there’s a ton of planning that goes into celebrating the beginning of the New Year and as I’ve gotten older, I’ve developed a new-found appreciation for it because for my first three years in Los Angeles, my NYE plans were non-existent and I was more or less okay with being a recluse.  Which, after two years of going to Together As One and several years of simultaneously celebrating my best friend’s birthday with the coming of the New Year, was definitely not in my character – but neither were the circumstances in my life

Thankfully, 2011 was a year of change and evolution for me and I haven’t looked back since.  The year before, I dove into Together As One head first and without a safety net – I’m guessing that sounds slightly strange for those of you that have been following my adventures and incredibly bizarre for those of you that know me personally, but if you will – hear me out.  After going through four crazy months of reconciling an ex’s diagnosis of bipolar disorder I was on the hunt for myself again and New Years Eve gave birth to a version of myself that I’ve been waiting for.

Next Tuesday from 9pm to 4am, Sea of Dreams will take over Bill Graham Civic Auditorium for an evening of positive energy, creativity, vibrancy and connection. Created by the creative geniuses at AnonEvents and thrown by the good people at Sunset Productions and Another Planet Entertainment, Sea of Dreams is now in it’s 11th year in the San Francisco Bay Area.  The event itself is a menagerie of high end performance art, stunning live musical acts, an extravagant ambiance and breathtaking decorations fit for Burning Man.  And to top it off, the community surrounding the event is as rich and vibrant as the festivities themselves.

Photo: MKGraph

In the past, headlining acts have included crowd-favorites like Bassnectar, Sound Tribe Sector 9, Ghostland Observatory, Beats Antique, Adam Freeland, Tipper and FreqNasty – just to name a few; and this year’s lineup is definitely one to compete with!  In the past, the musical talent has fallen more on the experimental side – as you can see above; but, as times are a changing – so are the musical acts and the community around them, and it shows just how big the event has gotten with the unexpected addition of mainstream EDM acts like A-Trak and Dillon Francis.  Now, don’t get it twisted – I love them; I just didn’t expect to see them sitting on a line-up next to Emancipator and LowRIDERz. There’s nothing quite like getting myself musically ready for the event, so I’m pleased to announce this year’s lineup along with some required listening for the night’s festivities – enjoy, because I know I will!

Thievery Corporation

Hailing from DC, Thievery Corporation have been expertly meshing the musical elements of reggae, dub and acid jazz with Indian, Middle Eastern and Brazilian sounds to produce some of the best downtempo electronic music around since ’95.  I don’t know how it took me so long to appreciate their stylistic differences, but they’re refreshing to listen to – especially with all of the redundant EDM on the scene these days.

Little Dragon

Though they were formed in ’96, it wasn’t until the past year that Little Dragon migrated from an indie-electro, trip-hop Swedish trifecta into a hat-trick of musical geniuses appreciated the world over.

Photo: MK Graphy

Shpongle

A-Trak

When he’s not spinning next to Armand van Helden in Duck Sauce or getting into some family values with his brother, who just happens to be half of the indie-electro band Chromeo, A-Trak is handing out hit after hit on his Fools Gold Record Label. His style sits delightfully between bouncy Eletro-house beats and bass heavy Hip-Hop and after becoming the first DJ to win three major DJ competition titles (DMC, ITF and Vestax) as well as the first DJ to win five World Championships, he’s definitely one to be reckoned with.

Dillon Francis

Hailed as the creator of Moombhaton (The BPM of Dubstep, but cut in half) – Dillon Francis has etched a permanent position as the class clown of EDM.  But don’t let his affinity of cats, Taco Bell or his alter-ego DJ Hanzel fool you, Dillon Francis knows how to throw a party and in the past two years of seeing him perform, he has yet to disappoint.  To boot, he stands as one of the few DJs and Producers that I’m simply itching to be best friends and have kitty play-dates with.

Emancipator

Hands down, there’s nothing quite like the atmosphere that Emancipator creates with his music.  Originally from Portland, Oregon – Emancipator submerses the listener in a musical experience rich with live instruments and pulsing harmonies.

LowRIDERz (Laura Low & An-Ten-Nae)

Rob Garza (of Thievery Corp.)

Minnesota

Photo: MKGraph

We have three members of Claude VonStroke’s DirtyBird crew coming through –

J.Phlip

Worthy

Christian Martin

Thriftworks

And rounding out the lineup are SambaDrop, Nolan Gray, Jocelyn, Dax Lee.  With only five days left in 2013, do you know where you’ll be when the ball drops??

Photo: MKGraph

[Artist Spotlight] Lane 8 + Russ Chimes

It’s not often that I’m moved enough to share a favorite artist with the world, but when credit’s due – credit is due; I’ve been digging around through the deepest of house music for the past year and I feel like I’ve finally found my niche in it.  Just a little bit of bass, some soulful lyrics, a killer bridge and a dance-able beat – I’ve found it before so I know that it’s possible.  It’s the music Kaskade was giving us back in 2004 with his artist album ‘In the Moment’ and again with his last US tour, which he dubbed the ‘It’s You, it’s Me Redux.  The Deep House that is doled out nowadays can have a generic beat and at times, it can be hard to tell where a song begins and ends….and doubly so during a deep house set.  I can’t tell you how many times my friends and I have turned to each other and asked ‘Is this still the same song?’  So, when I discovered this latest artist I was beyond stoked.  I’ve been listening to my fair share of Finnebassen, Cyril Hanh and the guys on Crosstown Rebels but the one thing I’ve been craving is original work from a deep house artist.  Both Cyril Hahn and Finnebassen are more more than adept at remixing (or as I love to say, mixing down) oldies and goodies alike, including but not limited to: James Blake’s Retrograde and Jessie Ware’s Sweet Talk.

Over the last few months ‘Perfect Form’ and the B Side have come out – giving Cyril his first singles which were amazing; A+! In the meantime,  I’ve had a golden opportunity to discover two amazing new (at least to me) artists in the scene.  Russ Chimes and Lane 8 have been giving me chills for a few months now – between their adept remixes and ellquently catchy singles, I’m surprised these two haven’t blown up more than they already have! They’ve been dishing out hit after hit recently and it would take a real asshole to not enjoy their sound.  Perfect for a BBQ with friends, weekend getaway or poolside – catchy lyrics, dance-y beats, non-repetitive structures; totally my thing! Nothing like having a diamond in the rough, but I’m the type that loves seeing that lesser known artists start popping up in mixes, live sets and finally into festival lineups in my area.  There’s no sense in talking someone up who can speak for themselves, so without further ado – here’s a few mixes and original singles from Russ Chimes and Lane 8.  I guarantee you’ll be sailing smoothly into your weekend in no time!

Lane 8

Russ Chimes

[Doing it Right] HARD Summer 2013

‘It was deep, it was soulful , it was techno, it was disco – a kaleidoscope of sounds.’
A tribal beast of rhythm, a ceremony of sound, the gathering of the spirits that would lift us off the ground,
My vision was so clear, but it was still hazy in my mind;
I must have went to house heaven, because nothing’s that divine.

My Love

This Summer has been one of my busiest and best to date; but between the caliber of friendships that I’ve developed over the past year and the effervescent and ever-evolving music scene in Southern California why would I expect anything less?  This past weekend marked the annual mayhem and debauchery that is Hard Summer – one of the only multi-day EDM festivals left in the city of Los Angeles.  It’s taken a few days to recover, but somehow and somewhere between the laughs, the stories, the ‘did-you-guys-see-that?!’ moments and our tired joints we’ve managed to detox from one hell of a wild ride and revel in its glory.

One of the best things about the way HARD has transformed in the past year is that you could get fresh and funky one minute and dirty and dubstepping the next; with acts like Disclosure, Alex Metric, Oliver and Claude VonStroke‘s DirtyBird crewJ.Phlip and Justin Martin in the ‘Underground’ tent you could take a break from the ear thrashing bass (not that I don’t enjoy a good rage sesh every now and again) and groove to something different.  All in all, we couldn’t have asked for better company, weather, food trucks, people watching and amazing acts to see.

On the flip side my friends and I walked from the event with a few legitimate concerns about the safety of the set-up and layout of certain areas like the location of the food trucks, merchandise tents and the ‘Underground’ stage. The vending areas were in an incredibly central -read: profitable – area and disrupted an otherwise pleasant flow to the grounds. The biggest problem for me was having a tented off stage with closed sides. The Sahara and Gobi tents at Coachella created a similar relaxed, shady atmosphere but the addition of sides on the tent made the crowding unbearable and trampling a definite possibility. I was there for Disclosure and so thankful we escaped – the lack of oxygen was pretty brutal!

HARD works hand in hand with Los Angeles: when you purchase your ticket, you’re granted free access to the Metro systems in the city for the entire weekend.  It makes so many things absolutely easier on all of the festival go-ers – driving, traffic, parking, the possibility of accidents and DUIs; the list is endless and we didn’t have to fret about any of it! Once we hit Union Station, we were a mere hop, skip, jump and a ten minute walk to LA Historic Park.  On the way there was an amazing vendor handing out deliciously flavored, and might I add free, fruit-infused waters to all of us so we could fend off our impending dehydration – thank goodness!

Especially compared to the last few HARD events I’ve gone to (last year’s HARD Summer + Day of the Dead), the lines were so much more manageable this year and we barely had to wait; the addition of metal barricades between the lines was absolutely necessary and completely welcomed.  After a friendly little frisk by the security team, we were on and through to the other side: lights, camera, action – here we go!

I had-had-had to make sure we were inside by the time Keys n Krates hit the stage and rightfully so – I guarantee you one thing, they are part of an EDM revolution with the likes of Modestep, Infected Mushroom and the old Pendulum live sets.  There’s just something so damn magical about live instruments – especially the evolution and pairing of them with modern forms of electronics and technology.  It’s giving me a braingasm just thinking about it!  We bounced around between the stages essentially the entire day, because we have severe forms musical ADD and after Tommy Trash tore the city a new one the main stage never really sounded the same.

Day 2 was a whole horse of a different color when compared to the first day; chalk it up to people on Sunday needing to go to work on Monday (or, conversely, people on Saturday who planned on partying for 36 hours straight) but the vibe was a lot more low key and I heard lots more people interject with a “Sorry!” or an “Excuse me…”.  It was like we all got some unwritten memo about chilling out, and we did.  If the aggression of the first twelve hours dissuaded anyone from coming back to another HARD event I surely hope they let the second day change their minds.  Like usual, I came out of this festival with more friends than I went into it with; but, I’ve been doing one thing differently as of late that I hope everyone employs at festivals sooner or later: turn off your phone.  Not just the mobile network but the entire thing!  Sure, in emergencies whip that shit out and find your passe but while you have one: enjoy the moment and focus on the friends that are next to you instead of concerning yourself with people that aren’t around.   You’ll find your entire experience so much more enjoyable; trust me!

Justin Martin

Miau!

Zedd

For an excellent way to bounce through your day, peruse these fine sets from my favorite acts at Hard Summer; enjoy!

[The Audiofiles] Required Listening for HARD Summer, Day 2

Well, it’s happened – it’s August!

 It’s been officially one year, 200+ posts and 80+ subscribers since I started this amazing blog last Summer and I have to admit – it’s the best kind of therapy a girl can have.  Thoughts stream from my brain, through my veins and onto the screen with beautiful synchronicity and I’ve watched myself grow from a confused young lady to a less confused woman.  Also, I’ve realized that it’s a crying shame I never formally created a 2013 Bucket List because there’s a lot of things I could be crossing off right now – like this:

My first Drive Thru Car Wash!

To that effect, this week has been beyond bonkers and full of wonderful food and good company [ per usual; noticing a theme, yet? 😉 ].  First things first though, I love the way that new months are announced! Whether it’s a friendly ‘Rabbit, rabbit’ or someone posting Bone Thugs n Harmony, the first of the month is always full of wonder [ e.g. ‘I wonder how the fuck this year has gone by so fast! ]  I remember last Summer when I was getting ready for HARD – while most girls are sitting around debating about outfits, getting excited about makeup; I’m sitting around drafting schedules and figuring out who I must-see this weekend.

Tracklist:

  1. Justice – Helix
  2. Bassnectar – Upside Down
  3. Empire of the Sun – Walking on a Dream
  4. Zedd – Spectrum
  5. Crystal Castles – Plague
  6. Disclosure – You & Me (Baauer Remix)
  7. Dillon Francis – IDGAFOS 2.0
  8. Etc!Etc! x Brillz – Callisto
  9. Flosstradamus – Rollup
  10. Gesaffelstein – Control Movement
  11. Mr. Oizo – Secam
  12. Busy P – Still Busy
  13. Claude Vonstroke – Beat That Bird
  14. Breakbot – Baby I’m Yours
  15. Brodinski – Let The Beat Control Your Body
  16. Felix Catral & Clockwork – The Fire
  17. Rudimental – Feel The Love
  18. Justin Martin & Eats Everything – Feather Fight
  19. Eats Everything – Jagged Edge
  20. Paper Diamond – Can We Go Up
  21. Breach – Jack
  22. J.Phlip – Big Ass, Party Hat
  23. Cashmere Cat – Mirror Maru
  24. Don Diablo – M1 Stinger (gLAdiator Remix)

Unfortunately, with how much vacation I’ve taken and the limited amount of time I’ve been able to update, I haven’t done a ‘Wednesday Watercooler’ piece in forever.  And, with the amazing news that I’ve been hearing and reading about lately it’s truly a shame! So, before we get into the fun and fabulous post I had in store -I thought I’d hit you with a dose of awesome links and reads to make your cheeks hurt from laughing and turn that pretty mind of yours in circles.  We’ve got the whole spectrum: science, silliness and of course – cats, so let’s dive in

So, here it is – your Friday Fun Links:

Music: Revealed: The Part of Our Brains That Makes Us Like New Music

Funny: 16 Problems Every Petite Girl Deals With, illustrated by cats

School: Teacher Takes Student’s Phone, Sets Passcode as Math Problem Answer

Science: The trouble with teleportation: It could take quadrillions of years

Cats: Cat Stowaway Survives On Freighter From Philippines To LA

Equality: 75 Unforgettable Moments From Minnesota’s First Day Of Marriage Equality

And a few videos – just because they’re AWESOME:

Homeland Season 3 Preview:

Living in a Van Down By The River…

And with that, a fabulous weekend to you and yours! Xx

The Audiofiles: Required Listening for HARD’s Day of the Dead

Halloween is a magical time of year for most people but once you’ve been to Santa Barbara to celebrate the holiday Gaucho style, there’s really no turning back. Instead of just one day of tricks, treats and costumes you can spend the better half of the month in costume.  Now that I’m a little older and a tad more mature, I don’t feel the need to party the way I did for it in college.  I still have a hard time saying no to fun, but I’d like to think that I pick and choose my battles a little more wisely at this point.

Like I always rave about LA, there are so many – almost too many options when it comes to getting down with your bad self.  I tend to be swayed by the social factors – like which of my friends will be there and who would be down for group costumes; but it also comes down to taste in music, how far you’re willing to travel and preferred venue – house party, festival or club. And since I’ve moved to LA, I’ve basically covered all of the bases.  My first year, I went to Monster Massive, Hard Haunted and spent the week in Santa Barbara; in 2009, I stayed in to study for the GRE and hang out with my kitties; in 2010 I went to Avalon for Dirty South and last year it was a combination of a great house party in Newport thrown by close friends and seeing Nero slay it at the Music Box. And finally  this year I’m going back to my festival roots and hitting up HARD Presents Day of the Dead.

I have somewhat of a lovehate relationship with festivals – they’re crowded, the lines are terrible, lots of pushing and sound systems failing, the beer cups are small,  the drinking area is in an undesirable location and lets not even get started on the bathroom situation.  But then, there’s this glorious flip side: magical experiences with new friends and old, ridiculous people watching, amazing costumes, incredible performances, surprise guests and celebrity sightings. Over the past few years I’ve been known to say the phrase “Never, ever again…” while leaving but I just keep coming back for more.  I went to HARD summer and had a fabulous time so I figured why not give it another whirl – the Metro is free to ride and runs until 3am, perfect for us nocturnal kittens who thrive on the freaks coming out at night.

To better prepare myself for next Saturday’s mayhem, I’ve made a little playlist of the artists I want to see next weekend. Let the countdown to Day of the Dead begin!

Tracklist

  1. Knife Party – Internet Friends
  2. Justice – Genesis
  3. Zeds Dead ft Omar Linx – You and I
  4. Major Lazer ft The Partysquad – Original Don
  5. Blue Foundation – Eyes on Fire (Zeds Dead Remix)
  6. John Dahlback ft Erik Hassle – One Last Ride (Tommy Trash Remix)
  7. Tiesto vs Diplo – C’mon
  8. Jack Beats ft John B – All Night
  9. Dillon Francis & Kill the Noise – Dill the Noise
  10. Massive Attack – Paradise Circus (Zeds Dead Remix)
  11. Moguai & Tommy Trash – In N’Out (Tommy Trash Remix)
  12. Jack Beats – Get Down
  13. Bo Saris – She’s On Fire (Maya Jane Coles Remix)
  14. Chris Isaak – Wicked Games (Soul Clap Remix)
  15. Clockwork – Airflow
  16. Diplo ft Lazrdisk Party Sex – Set It Off
  17. Dillon Francis – I.D.G.A.F.O.S.
  18. Zedd – Stars Come Out (Dillon Francis Remix)
  19. MGMT – Electric Feel (Justice Remix)
  20. Knife Party – Centipede
  21. Major Lazer ft Nina Sky – Keep It Going Louder
  22. Florence + The Machine – Spectrum (Maya Jane Coles Remix)
  23. Felix Cartal – Love (Clockwork Remix)
  24. Knife Party – Rage Valley