15 February 2016

Precursor to Winter Daze

There is a secret win in Michigan
For those awake at dawn and dusk
For colors show transition's glow
Before the grey light brusque.

And to the days that fade away
Surrounded nigh by night
These horizon formed sunlight morns
Bring end to darkness blight.

22 November 2015

winter settling

white static silent
reticent; pervading
the slow patrol
celestial spotlight
catches dancing flakes
averse to slumber.

we were averse to slumber.

21 September 2015

Warming Willing Souls

The fire casts a hundred faces on you
a shadow dance, a metamorphosis
release energy and the projection
of dendric ghosts giving you warmth.

Your gaze owned by the wooden seance
because you are looking within and
backwards, paying homage to your lineage
whom you've survived staring the same way.

The embers pulse with the celestial drink above
slowly vibrating, the Void's heartbeat
of entropy and spontaneous rearrangement.
Inhaling and exhaling without consequence.

And so are you and so am I.
Infinitely in the midst of this all.
Trapped only by what we choose not.
I choose to burn away like the fire...

22 April 2015


An early-stage functional brand of psychosis.
Where conscious opts itself into deregulation
and instead of censoring unbridled thoughts,
allows them to playfully waltz off my tongue.

Simultaneous, not simulacrum, as I watch
my self forge logical circuitry and realize,
the power is there; perpetual motion.
So long as I remain blind 
to the dog chasing its own tail.

04 December 2014

Best Albums of 2014

It's that time of year again! The end of another Spring, Summer and Autumn. We're back to Winter (particularly in Michigan!) After the onslaught of amazing albums last year, including several seemingly 'unretiring the jersey' groups uniting for another go, I was convinced that the music of 2013 would be one for the record books. After analyzing the releases of 2014 (by analyzing I mean consuming in great quantity the many albums released this year), and growing this list from 10 albums to 20 and now to a whopping 36, I've determined that things just keep getting better!

Without further ado...

Honorable Mention: 

Pilote - The Slowdown: Epilogue

Stuart Cullen follows up last year's instaclassic The Slowdown with this newly compiled EP of tracks. Four of the EPs ten tracks are remixes/alternate renditions of songs of last years release, along with six new tracks which otherwise were B-sides or unreleased songs from the original 2013 full-length. Cullen's unique blend of psychedelic-electro-bluegrass-pop leisurely whirlwinds itself together to create more of what made last years release so seminal, along with a few new gems such as When the Romance Been Gone and Long Knoll.

35. jj - V

jj. An enigmatic Swedish band that never ceases to amaze me. A one-two punch of beautiful, lush beats conjoined with lyrics devoid of a single fuck. Their fifth and latest release, the aptly named V, is darker and more severe than previous releases by the band. Gone is a lot of the whimsical and light beats acting as a foil to Elin Kastlander's crooning about casual drug use. Decidedly darker and longer than any previous jj release, the sole reason for this albums placement on the list is the standout track harkening the brilliance of early jj, All White Everything. Go listen to that one over and over.

34. Invisible Allies - Conversations with Bees

The long-awaited reunion of esteemed producers Evan Marc (Bluetech) and James Watts, better known to his fans as KiloWatts. These two artists' collaborative efforts have been featured in the likes of Headphone Commute's "Music for Awakened Spirits and Open Minds" compilation. Conversations with Bees is the second collaboration between this superproducer tour de force team. This latest release dropped on Shulman's Aleph Zero label earlier this year, and the anticipation (at least for me) was high! Their previously endeavor Hyperdimensional Animals took me far out into the headspace, and I expected nothing less from the new album.

Masters of the craft that is melding the organics of the natural world with the synthetic prowess of the human mind, Invisible Allies tap into the foundations of psybient, minimal, IDM, world sounds and even hints of jazz. I can't recommend enough taking this start-to-finish journey in its entirety, making dedicated pitstops for the likes of tracks Rainfall (Jazz on Tin Roof) and Mending Time.

33. Trampled by Turtles - Wild Animals

Trampled by Turtles continues to make bluegrass accessible to the masses. They don't hesitate to crossover into rock territory from time-to-time and they make sure that what they do they do particularly well. Polished is a great way to describe this album. The album opens and continues with an air of moody darkness (particularly accentuated in a beautiful way by the plethora of strings used!) and continues its momentum of haunting beauty throughout. Standout tracks include Nobody Knows and the title track. The former conjures up a gospel feel in a unique and fresh presentation for the genre!

32. Quixotic & The Human Experience - From the Outside Looking In

Quixotic and David Block (The Human Experience) team up for a short but spot-on 6-track release. Block spent the better part of several months exchanging tidbits of these tracks, grabbing essential violin/viola and handpan (otherwise known as the hang or "hang drum") to formulate many of the beautiful, sweeping tracks on this release. The album wraps up with a Whitebear remix of a collaborative effort of The Human Experience and Mindex. Recommended listening is the title track and Grandma's Piano.

31. General Fuzz - Oughta See

General Fuzz is a really fucking cool dude. He is not a career musician, but rather a musician hobbyist who gives his music away with the ability to donate if you like it. I like it a lot. His music is reserved, yet deep. I often find my mind swimming out into the murky depths beyond whilst listening to the Fuzz.

His latest album, Oughta See (Odyssey), continues the album name wordplay. Previous albums include Soulful Filling and Miles Tones. Oughta See dropped this past September and is particularly beautiful. More of General Fuzz's signature sweeping dreamscapes and piano nudging the ambiance along, I highly recommend listening to it on a Sunday morning brunch over coffee and a pipe.

Check out: Turtles All the Way Down and Sustained Release

30. Daedelus - The Light Brigade

Alfred Darlington, better known as the prolific multi-instrumental music chemist Daedelus, brought us a departure from his signature electronic sounds, resulting in The Light Brigade. The album is soft, emotional and intimate. Simplistic guitaring opens up the spacious depth between the notes, and drives the album in the most melancholy way. The album centers around the Crimean War, and takes its title from Tennyson's famous poem, The Charge of the Light Brigade. The album is muted and warm and perfect for this early winter dreariness.

I recommend: Tsars and Hussars and Onward

29. Panda Bear - Mr Noah

Go listen to the title track, which comes in slow before blowing up dripping psychedelia and is a dark foreshadowing to the upcoming Panda Bear Meets the Grim Reaper due out in January. Not much else to see here, move along.

28. Bluetech - Cosmic Dubs

Where Bluetech brought the heat with his earlier mentioned Invisible Allies project, Cosmic Dubs as a standalone Bluetech project surpasses the collaborative efforts in originality and brilliance. Evan Marc appears an introspective dude, and as such, I'm a firm believer that his solo work tends to reflect his 'happy place' a bit more than his collaborative works. Cosmic Dubs is 5 tracks clocking in at 35 minutes (what's with all these short EPs, etc. in 2014). I guess the slogan for this year's list is generally 'short, but sweet'. Standout track: Dersu the Tripper.

27. Bonobo Flashlight EP

3 tracks arrive late in the game for this list. The EP dropped 02 December 2014. Completely rationalized on making the list. All three tracks (Flashlight, Pelican, and Return to Air) are simultaneously classic Bonobo and what I like to call nu-Bonobo. Simon Greene's "The North Borders Tour" has fundamentally enabled his sound to flourish. Where a lot of core Bonobo sound is found on these three tracks, there also exists much experimentation with clicks and other precision noises interspersed throughout the tracks. If it had come out a few months earlier, it might've wound up further down (up?) this list!

26. Run the Jewels - Run the Jewels 2

Run the Jewels second album calls to attention anybody and everybody that they want to call out. Nobody is safe. Conservative politicians, the general fuckery of mainstream media, inequity gap, funny jokes at the expense of anybody. El-P and Killer Mike have been around the scene for awhile. They're pushing 'dad rap' age, but are bringing the freshest, realest rap available in 2014, or maybe the better part of a decade. The last contender I remember being close to these guys is Eminem (pre-dad rap phase). Standout tracks: Angel Dust and Close Your Eyes (and Count to Fuck).

25. Mr. Oizo - The Church

Mr. Oizo (pronounced Wahzo) is back. Adding fuel to my sweeping stereotype that French producers all kick-ass, Oizo has talent. While he differs much from other French acts (Air, Daft Punk, Justice, C2C, etc.), Oizo's talent relies on his musical portrayal of avant-garde and weirdddd. The album goes all over the place and reminds me of an animated childrens film with dark undertones and suggestions. Oizo makes music for himself, pushing the conventions that the rest have developed to remain comfortable.

Recommended tracks: The Church and Bear Biscuit

24. BoomBox - Filling in the Color

The grooviest electronic funk duo, Russ Randolph and Zion Godchaux (yes, that Godchaux), return for their third full-length album via the Kickstarter-backed Filling in the Color. Doing so allowed them to release independently of a record label, an increasingly popular trend with musicians. The latest release, Filling in the Color, takes the grooviness we've come to know and love from BoomBox and turn it down in lieu of a more mellow approach.

Good vocals, great use of loop pedals, and amazing flow from track-to-track, it certainly is great for existing BoomBox fans looking for another good time, albeit perhaps a bit more directed towards the living room than the club.

Recommended tracks: Lost Ya and Waiting Around

23. Machinedrum - Vapor City Archives

Vapor City Archives is the follow up to Machinedrum's 2013 release Vapor City. I think it might stand to be a little bit better than the original (probably controversial, but I don't really care). Machinedrum wants us to all have our own personal piece of Vapor City–conveniently segmented into districts. The new album is spectacular and gives us more of the experimental side of Vapor City!

Recommended: Only 1 Way 2 Know and Endless <3

22. The War on Drugs - Lost in the Dream

The creation of Lost in the Dream was grueling. Adam Granduciel is a perfectionist. Luckily for us, we got the polished result of his blood, sweat and tears. His turmoil feeds through into the music too. A recipe for success, though at a high personal cost. The album has wrought with anxiety, tension and passion. If you don't quite get how fine-tuned it is, go check out the 9-minute opening track, Under the Pressure.

21. Ludique - The Road

Funny story about Ludique. Through some sort of freak accident (definitely not user error), I watched the first half of the Philip K. Dick rotoscoped film A Scanner Darkly with no sound other than an earlier Ludique album playing. I thought it was weird, but artful and went with it for awhile. Eventually, somebody had to take a pee break, and we paused the movie...except Ludique kept playing. We'd missed the dialogue for the first half of the movie. I wasn't even mad, and have been a fan of Ludique ever since.

The new album is more of what Ludique does best–beats that are both pumping and thoughtful. As the album title suggests, it makes for amazing driving music (preferably late at night on the highway). Check out the title track The Road, as well as Blauw.

20. Woods - With Light and With Love

Woods is a band that is consistent, good and simple. This album exemplifies that.

Recommended tracks: Moving to the Left and Leaves like Glass

19. Sturgill Simpson - Metamodern Sounds in Country Music

Whatever you think you know about modern country music, set it aside in a box until you've listened to this. Proclaimed the 'acid country music guy', Sturgill Simpson is combining the heart of country music with progressive conceptual thoughts based around his own personal psychedelic use and expansion of consciousness. The result is stunning. Picking up where country music should've gone post-Johnny Cash, Sturgill makes it into the ranks of not just digest-able, but purely brilliant country music. Gone are the anecdotes about tractors and binge drinking, replaced with psilocybin and consideration of what it means to exist. Standout track and bonus music video Turtles All the Way Down.

18. Odesza - In Return

In Return is a very. fun. album. It fuses electronic music with pop very well, selects all vocal appearances with some amazing up-and-comers, and sounds highly original, yet inspired by so much that already exists. That is to say, Odesza adapts without imitating. There is a good mix of accessibility which could even reach mainstream radio, interspersed with lush, sunset gradient-inspired tracks with amazing degrees of depth. I find myself...erhm...returning to In Return over and over again.

My faves: Sundara and Bloom

17. Hundred Waters - The Moon Rang like a Bell

Some call it "Digital Folk", some appreciate the future sounds of the synthesizer, and some seek out the hushed and powerful vocals. Combining the three, Hundred Waters latest effort is the most polished yet. Compounding on their previous recipe for success, they've upped their game even more this time around. Without discrediting the originality and angelic sound of Hundred Waters, they are reminiscent of a love-child born of Björk and Múm. The songs flow together well, but standalone strong as individual pieces. I find the album to be very personally rejuvenating and would be doing y'all a disservice not to share it here.

Tracks of choice: Cavity and Show Me Love

16. Bassnectar - Noise vs. Beauty

Bassnectar continues to elude any conventional labels. As he states in Noise, "I do what I wanna do, I do what I liiiike...", Lorin has brought album after album without any hesitation to delve into exactly what he feels like, when he feels like. The result is sometimes a bit disconcerting, but always stands the test of time. Noise vs. Beauty brings the next chapter of Bassnectar with several unique vocal tracks, along with some of those magical mystery beats that Lorin summons from his dream world. My favorites are "Ephemeral" and the Lafa Taylor backed Don't Hate the 808.

15. Caribou - Our Love

Dan Snaith became Manitoba. Manitoba became Caribou after a ridiculous lawsuit. As dynamic as his persona has been, his music like so (but doubly). This latest Caribou release is in some ways a departure from the characteristics which blasted him into the spotlight after the 2010 release Swim. Four years is a long time, however, and with it has come a new sound. In the interim, he experimented with dance floor music under the moniker Daphni. The result is a fine-tuned and inspired deep house (first time I've said that today, I swear) album which exudes a playful curiosity. The album is intimate and the closest to Snaith's heart yet. Our Love is the projection of his love, and it shows. Scope out the tracks: Silver and Can't Do Without You.

14. Jon Hopkins - Asleep Versions

A 4-track follow-up EP to last years Mercury-nominated Immunity, Jon Hopkins revisits four tracks (one of them with the assistance of friend and crooner King Creosote), designed to be an organic, straight through 25-minute continuous listen. If you liked Immunity remotely, get on this right meow. If you don't know what I'm talking about, go check it out anyway, it's only 25 minutes :)

13. Dirtwire - The Carrier

David Satori works his banjo and soundscapes like no other when not blowing minds and festivals with his Beats Antique project. Dirtwire is electronic folk music like nobody else is making. Following up their self-titled album, The Carrier continues to push the bounds of both electronic and folk music. Rising Appalachia cameos on the opening track to bring their syrupy-sweet deep south siren vocals to the Dirtwire sound. Later on in the album, a track created around one of my favorite childhood tricks–blowing on top of bottles with different levels of liquid in them to make hollow whistling sounds. Highly recommended to widen the scope of sound which one can gain access to. Dirtwire does it best.

Recommended: Thunderbird and Bottles

12. Aphex Twin - Syro

The first Richard James album since 2001's (just barely after 9/11) Drukqs. It's fine-tuned, deliberate and a 65-minute long exploration of sound. Insanely melodic, the beats are the makings of most modern producers. Many of the forerunners of this list cite Aphex as direct inspiration for their sound. The forefather returns in 2014 with his latest release, one that does not disappoint and reminds us all that James still has it all these years later. He brings with him in Syro, the sounds of the 90s, but with the technology of the 2010s. Like Portland, Richard James proves that the dream of the 90s is, in fact, still alive.

11. Kaminanda - Liminal Spaces

Kaminanda is the reigning king of what I like to call 'future ritual'. His music would be the ultimate score to a movie where an ancient central american people interface extradimensionally with non-terrestrial beings. He creates a breathable, palatable space in which one can journey amongst the stars without concern. It is humbling and uplifting music. I recommend Elementals, Euphoric Space, and Opal Eyez.

10. Lone - Reality Testing

Matt Cutler is Lone. Reality Testing is an album that strives to, through the science of music, differentiate (or blur) that which is perceived reality and the question of objective reality. That which is human equates to hip-hop beats (some of which sound distinctly inspired by the late J Dilla). The other half of the equation is the deep space ethereal which was so prevalent on his previous release, Galaxy Garden. The beauty of Cutler's latest album is the folds that exist between those two realms, digging deep into the dark unknown. A beautiful album with great momentum to keep the late-night party going.

Tracks of choice: Jaded and 2 is 8

9. Lord RAJA - A Constant Moth

Brand new the same week as Bonobo (02 December 2014), the long-awaited Lord RAJA album does not disappoint. This is RAJA's debut on Ann Arbor-based Ghostly International. Touching on complex drum patterns, soft ambiance, chaotic footwork and elsewhere, the album feels boundless. The samples are well executed and the guest vocals of Jeremiah Jae are spot-on (Anand refers to Jae as the "Jodorowsky of rap"). The album title derives from the notion of isolation in being surrounded by others, and the frantic nature of the beats fulfill that prophecy.

Standout tracks:  Black Top, TV Talk, and Van Go (ft. Jeremiah Jae)

8. Flying Lotus - You're Dead!

Flying Lotus is a crazy motherfucker. Then again, what would you expect as the nephew of Alice Coltrane? Steve Ellison's signature blend of hip-hop drum-machine powered jazz fragmentation has fluctuated in pace and power throughout his career. Always experimenting, his music seemed to seek direction until his astronomically constructed (pun intended) Cosmogramma. Consensus was that he'd peaked. His next release, Until the Quiet Comes, functioned as the antithesis to the previous masterpiece, demonstrating his ability to not only use, but functionally create emotion with space. His latest endeavor, ambitious as ever, has Flying Lotus toying with the conceptual grasp of death. It's a concept that he executes well on. Playing within these confines, he excels in exploring death (not an easy task for somebody not only alive, but thriving in the day-to-day. Much respect for how far Steve pushes the envelope without ever quite letting it tear. It demonstrates his adept ability to forge new boundaries whilst leaving his ego far behind.

Standout tracks: Coronus, the Terminator and Turtles

7. Thievery Corporation - Saudade

Saudade - A feeling of longing, melancholy, or nostalgia that is supposedly characteristic of the Portuguese or Brazilian temperament. There is no direct translation to English.

Thievery Corporations latest release delves away from the merry-go-round of dub-infused world sounds in favor of pure, unadulterated Bossa Nova. It works...REALLY WELL. A very cohesive release, maybe one of the best from the duo that is Rob Garza and Eric Hilton. The album reaches out for sentiment softly, without pretense. It desires without being desperate. Every time the needle goes around the b-side, I sit there in pensive contemplation. I love it.

Standout tracks: Saudade and Depth of my Soul

6. Bibio - The Green EP

Surprise, surprise. Another EP. The Green EP is powerloaded with nostalgia. In fact, I'm pretty sure Bibio is latin for nostalgia. Maybe not. Anyhow, this release comes in at just about 25 minutes, but those 25 minutes take you back to simpler times. Bibio music conjures visions of cabins, dinghies (see Dinghy), fishing lures, bokeh, sepia, music boxes, the smell of fresh cut wood, and meandering down trails nearby.

5. SBTRKT - Wonder Where We Land

A hard-hitting crossover album that touches anything it can possibly get its hands on. The bass is heavy, Sampha's lyrics are strong and well-executed. Underrated? Yes. Did critics hate it? Yes. Am I predicting is now as future cult phenomenon for being too hip for 2014? Yes.

Standout tracks: Maybe and Lantern

4. Tycho - Awake

Clocking in at just over 37:00, Tycho's latest full-length album barely calls itself that. That said, what the album lacks in time duration it makes up for in sheer talent. As Scott Hansen continues to master the balance between ethereal and corporeal, this time around integrating a live band into the mix, he enhances the dreamscape he's thus far created with his unique Moog-based sound. An album that allots itself the ability to be played (likely in its entirety) at any given point, Tycho's Awake has some serious staying power among the ranks of best albums. Be sure not to miss out on my favourites, L and Dye.

3. Todd Terje - It's Album Time

Todd Terje didn't emerge out of nowhere. He's been on the scene for awhile. Fortunately with his 2014 first full-length LP, along with an amazing performance at Norway's premiere Øya festival, I was brought up to speed in the best way possible. Teetering near the top of my list throughout this year, Terje rekindled a love for disco that had only barely been resparked by last year's Random Access Memories. Both releases are highly polished, but where Daft Punk put a little bit more glitz and glam on their release, Terje is unconcerned, focused, collected.

The album is killer through and through, great listening any time of day and ultimately I've slow-grown it on anybody who otherwise claims to loathe disco music. Give the live performance a looksie in the link above to really solidify just how talented Terje and his live crew are! Standout tracks include Inspector Norse and Preban Goes to Acapulco.

2. Kalya Scintilla - Open Ancient Eyes

This album sat much lower on the list for quite awhile. My fault! Not having given it the time it desired (remember what I said earlier about 'short, but sweet'? This one was a standalone and hard task clocking in at 1'42"), I'd put it in a corner for quite a few weeks. Fortunately, through some re-prioritization exercises and the need to meditate upon some deep tracks designed for such, I revisited this important album from one of our generation's most talented electronic producers. Kalya Scintilla works us through a narrative of recalling what exactly it is we're doing here. The answer? I'm not going to spoil it :)

I'll leave it short and sweet in that this album is particularly scintillating and I refuse to recommend a given track, as it commands a full and focused listen in its entirety to understand the respect it deserves.

1. Tipper - Forward Escape

Precision is David Tipper's M.O. His latest release, Forward Escape, proves to be both a masterpiece crafted with the utmost degree of subtlety. Each note carefully calibrated to fit as it does in conjunction with one another. The result is such effort and attention to detail is a cohesive masterpiece that I've spent the better part of this year comparing it to a modern day Classical Master (in the same vein as Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, Mozart or Bach if they'd had modern electronics to create with). When it comes to Forward Escape, detail-oriented is an understatement. Tipper refuses to allow his music on this release to be classifiable in any remote way. While every single track successfully takes me into a deep, pineal journey, the back-to-back gems Life Raft for a Death Trip and The Re-Up provide some of the albums highlights above and beyond it's standard mastery of the craft. Forward Escape is an album of duality–simple, yet complicated, minimal, yet complex, and so forth. I expect that pending the technological singularity, humans and robots will look back on this fondly while partaking in a marijuana.

Thanks for reading, I'd love to hear in the comments other albums I might've missed or should otherwise check out from this year!

23 November 2014


Austerity in posterity,
the gaunt ruin of the dark tower.
With Grim realization and compliance
to sever our mind and spirit.
The psychopomp stares
with icy patience; unnerving,
compromising all but the most
ascetic, whom have the least to lose.

But for the unsustainable rest
huddled for warmth, surrounded
by desolation,
the sterility of what remains
is defined by our trajectory.
History's revolver topples
even the most titanic of empires.
Reapers of what we sow.

Live from RoosRoast

The act of existence is explicitly so in our namesake. A human, being. The unfortunate reality is that, for most humans, simply being  does not suffice. As a result, many seek answers to questions such as:

"Why are we here?"
"What is our purpose?"

which are currently out of the scope of human comprehension to answer adequately, short of accepting that we're here to exist. Our purpose is to exist. We aren't called Human figure-it-outs.

Rising in parallel with our knowledge as a species is our ego, and with that growing trajectory, a further disconnect from the natural world. 

04 May 2014

A Briefer History

Since then I've been introduced to punk-rock pancakes and to the alchemy of coffee
We've found ourselves in two Outbacks–one a destination and the other a vessel
Perpetually in motion in search of downtime, we strive to outrun Han in Kessel
The balance of motion and stillness; questing for ever-present tranquility so softly.

13 April 2014

The Wind Dancer

What happens when the wind dancer finds neither the wind which moves her effortlessly nor the desire to put the next foot forward and walk the forest rows long(ing)?

The soul extinguished, whence powered by the movement of air, lay to rest this past, emotionally-taxing Winter. They say the only thing guaranteed in life is death and taxing—what they don't say is who dies and that all is taxed.

A Spring burial finally permits the breaking of ground. Even the metal claws of men advised against it during that time of perpetual darkness. The ground now flooded with water pays a several billion year homage to the original cellular orgy as life begins anew. The seeds strewn vindicate our solar absence.

We hold séance to summon back the subtle winds which, in lockstep, awaken our sleeping phoenix prima ballerina. Akin to uprising from rooted incubation, the perpetual balancing act of temperature and pressure re-kindle the firestarting winds of warmth.

31 March 2014

Thinking in FLAC

The wavering of her voice, I can hear her think out loud
and uncompressed; down to the very vibration of the vocal cords
having an identity crisis thinking that they're vocal chords.
The audible vinyl pop and crack of her knees as she paces
back and forth, floorboards shriek under duress, feeling 
barely less stiff than her sore legs, or so she says...

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