Category Archives: Articles

Los Angeles Artist Wil Key is Traveling Around the World to Record an Album

Amsterdam Session
Artists Wil Key and Romy Dya in Amsterdam

Globetrotter:Side B is an upcoming album from Los Angeles based soul artist, Wil Key. What’s notable about this project is that it’s being recorded all around the world. Just imagine the film Around the World in 80 Days but in this case it’s an artist recording an album in mumerous different countries with dozens of other artists. It’s not even the first time Wil Key has taken on such a monumental project. This is a follow up to Side A, which came out in 2018 and was recorded in 11 different countries. Globetrotter:Side B is set to feature well known artists like Ellene Masri, Romy Dya and many more. Each and every song will be recorded in a different country (United Kingdom, France, Germany, Australia, Belgium, Africa and Japan just to name a few.) One has to admire Wil for having tenacity to orchestrate and follow through with this epic artistic undertaking (and for the second time at that.) Stay tuned for more info on this work in progress, and we’ll be anxious to get our hands on the album and review it when it comes out.

https://open.spotify.com/artist/7xZgm67VqJPCxL2CUefHK0?si=l5frxFKBTHGxSl_uVtH06w
http://www.wil-key.com
https://www.instagram.com/wil.key/

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Jay Elle – Ease Up (Into Love)

EaseUpCover

Ease Up (Into Love) is a new single from Jay Elle, a NYC based singer, songwriter and guitar player. His style falls within the realm of adult contemporary/country pop. One thing I was really blow away by was the guitar tone on this track. It’s so crystal clear and has the perfect sparkling chime to it. It’s the first thing that hits you and really leaves an impression, like you already know the song is going to be good. The vocals are really what give this jam its pop flavor. Jay has one of those bright, summertime voices that leaves you feeling upbeat and optimistic. He also employs some nice echo and reverb, giving the track a slightly dreamier ambiance than what we’d normally associate with country. This song is definitely chartworthy, and I wouldn’t be surprised to hear it playing in a commercial during a football game or something. It’s well crafted, professional, and a top tier representation of its genre.

For more info:

https://www.jayelle2222.com/
https://twitter.com/jayelle2222

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Interview With R&B Singer-Songwriter Kelvin Frazier, Ph.D

kelvinfrazier222

1. Kelvin, we are intrigued about your science background. When did you know you would be merging a career in science with a music career?

My first love was always music, so I always planned to go to college and study music. When I was in high school, I graduated in the top 10 of my class and my fellow classmates felt like I was too smart to study music. I did grow to love chemistry and decided to make a compromise and major in both chemistry and music. I loved them both and thus started my career trying to merge them.

2. Do your scientific friends enjoy your music and do you ever bring a little science to the stage with you?

Yes, my scientific friends love my music and are impressed how talented I am in both careers. They are very supportive as well by coming out to my shows. As far as bring science onto the stage. Yes, I have done a song about Avogadro’s number on the stage to showcase a mix of music and chemistry. I learned the song back in my high school chemistry class with Ms. Lisa Callahan and never forgot it.

3. Tell us about your upcoming release, ROLLERCOASTER.

Anyone that knows me know that I love to ride roller coasters. So, I decided to write a song about roller coasters because not only love is like a roller coaster but life as well. We should I just enjoy the ride.
The single is available now for Pre-Order: https://lnk.site/1/roller-coaster

4. When can we see you performing next?

Right now I am focusing on finishing up my EP, but if a show comes up you can get notified by tracking me on songkick

https://www.songkick.com/artists/9409919-kelvin-frazier-phd

5. The greatest part about being a musician is…
The freedom of expressing yourself and not to be put in a box.

6. Tell us a bit more about your next moves for the rest of this year.
Focusing on finishing up my EP and promoting my new single “Roller Coaster”

Thank you! If there’s anything else you want to share with our readers, please feel free to add in.
“Your Music Will Shine Its Brightest If You Never Lose Sight Of Who You Are”

Follow Kelvin On Social Media

kelvinfrazier.com
https://www.instagram.com/kelvinmusicllc/
https://twitter.com/KelvinMusicLLC
https://www.facebook.com/KelvinMusicLLC

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Interview With Rising Young Starlet, KSENIA

ksenia

1. Ksenia is a beautiful name. What is the origin?

Thank you very much! The name, Ksenia, comes from Greece. Xenia translates as hospitality. Fun fact, my name is ranked the 6430th most commonly used name in the world. It’s pronounced Kiss-en-ee-uh.

2. Your voice is beautiful. When did you first begin singing?

Thank you very much. I began singing in the kindergarten. Good times! And then I could not stop. I was singing and singing and still singing. I love it.

3. Tell us about your background in film and comedy as well!

I love film and comedy. I got an MFA in acting for film; In school they taught me how to make a movie from scratch. And that got me started. I made many short films and even one feature film, romantic comedy “THIS MUCH”, I co-wrote, produced, starred in it, and did all the soundtracks. I even won best actress for it, just like I dreamt to. The other thing is I was always funny, not even on purpose. I was doing my singing shows and talked to the audience in between songs, and everyone was laughing. And then I thought maybe i should take a standup class, and I loved doing standup. But then I was too exhausted doing all of it and recently made a decision to focus just on music. I am happy that i’ve had so much comedy and film experience, it only helps my music, i am looking to incorporate it all in my music videos.

4. You have a lot of followers on IG. Do you enjoy being an influencer?

Believe it or not, having lots of followers on Instagram is a lot of work! I do enjoy it I guess. I don’t know, I look at it like at the portfolio of everything I’ve been doing, and I love connecting to my followers; everyone is so supportive of what I am doing.

5. If you could play any stage, anywhere…where would it be and why?

I would love to have a show at the Staple center. I went to see so many shows there, Sam Smith, Ariana Grande, Lady Gaga, Adele, Alicia Keys, Grammys, Cher. It’s time I have a show there :wink:

6. What is the new single entitled? Can you tell us a bit about the song?

New single called Let Somebody Love You is about a person who has a hard time letting people in and giving and receiving love. This is how most of us are these days. No one wants to commit to any relationship; we are playing it too cool. We have all been hurt, and we don’t want to get hurt again. Inspired by true events, of course. I think lots of people can relate.

7. Where are your favorite places to go in NYC ?

You know I love comedy, so I love to go to a Comedy Cellar for a good laugh. I enjoy live music shows at places like Rockwood Music Hall, and I love watching Broadway shows. I watched so many already. I also enjoy watching movies by myself. I am a bit weird. I also enjoy long walks in Central Park.

8. Do blondes have more fun?

Nah. With all the work I constantly have to do I feel like I don’t have any fun at all lol. So, I believe people of all hair colors are capable of having the same amount of fun. :wink:

9. Please list your links for our readers. Thank you Ksenia.

THANK YOU!!!

Web: www.iamksenia.com
Insta: @iamksenia
Soundcloud: @iamksenia
Facebook: @iamkseniamusic
Twitter: @iamkseniamusic

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David F. Porfirio – Descarado (Between Her Hair)

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Descarado (Between Her Hair) is a new hip hop single from New Jersey based guitarist, David F. Porfirio. The blending of acoustic guitar and hip hop is interesting. When the song begins, it almost seems like it’s going to be a standard Spanish classical guitar song, but then as the beat kicks in and we are treated to vocals from SELGAS and Ken Stout, the track takes on an eclectic, hip hop identity.

The melodic guitar work of Porfirio combined with SELGAS emotive vocals elevate the song above the typical indie hip hop fare, which usually just involves rapping over pre-set beats. Descarado’s composition works in a way that the song could even succeed as a standalone instrumental track. That’s a cozy framework for any song. The vocals enhance the music by providing a narrative. Descarado paints an emotional picture of a troubled couple in a love triangle. I won’t give it away, but the song ties things up in a bold ending, where things don’t turn out all warm and fuzzy. I recommend watching the music video for a clearer understanding of the dynamic. Descarado is a solid song which does a decent job at merging genres to create a unique sound.

For more info:

http://www.facebook.com/david.porfirio.5

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/descarado-between-her-hair-single/1455015425

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Bearzerk

bearzerk

“Bearzerk” is a Los Angeles based artist management / music company. They also operate their own record label. They tend to focus on EDM, House, Hip Hop, Techno, Trap, R&B and Dancehall genres of music. Bearzerk has also been known to be involved with events and afterparties, usually featuring well known DJs and hip hop artists. Though the entertainment company is headquartered in LA, Bearzerk also operates in Australia, New Zealand, Canada and The Caribbean. Recently they promoted a one-off show in New Zealand featuring R&B icon, Nelly. I don’t know much else about this company, but I have to admit they have a cool logo. They seem to be at the forefront and cutting edge of 21st century musical promotion.

For more info:

http://www.bearzerk.com
https://www.instagram.com/bearzerk_inc/?hl=en
https://www.facebook.com/bearzerkinc/

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One Week 20 Years Ago

BARENAKED_LADIES_ONE_WEEK

[Fran and Stephen are observing from the roof of the mall]
Francine Parker: What are they doing? Why do they come here?

Stephen: Some kind of instinct. Memory of what they used to do. This was an important place in their lives.
– Dawn of the Dead (1978)

Hard to believe it’s been 20 years since Barenaked Ladies’ One Week was a popular, chart topping hit. I remember driving around Tempe in the fall of 1998 listening to The Edge 106.3 FM, and it seemed like this song was on the radio every 5 minutes…sometime between songs such as Harvey Danger’s Flagpole Sitta and Third Eye Blind’s How’s It Gonna Be? These songs were heard many times on trips to and from Blockbuster Video (as well as Hollywood Video) to rent and return erotic thrillers, midnight outings to Denny’s, lonely drives to North Phoenix, my job at Abercrombie and all the rest.

One Week was one of those cheesy songs that I would have never admitted to liking but knew the words to and would secretly enjoy when it came on. It wasn’t passionately hated enough for me to like ironically, the way I later did with boy bands and Vitamin C, it was at least preferable to rapcore, a genre which I loathe to this day. In 1998, I would have complained about all the music on the radio sucking except the oldies station. This seems laughable in the context of today, when nearly every pop song is processed gibberish. In hindsight, we didn’t know how good we had it! One Week has the feel of a relic from a much more innocent and carefree era. It might as well be 100 years ago and a different country. The plethora of pop culture references in the lyrics are characteristic of Generation X works made at what Bret Easton Ellis refers to as the “height of the empire.”

Watchin X-Files with no lights on,
We’re dans la maison
I hope the Smoking Man’s in this one
Like Harrison Ford I’m getting Frantic
Like Sting I’m Tantric
Like Snickers, guaranteed to satisfy

I remember thinking these lyrics were so dumb, but not because I was opposed to the idea of cheesy pop culture references in songs. It’s just that the particular items referenced weren’t things that I personally was into. I did after all, write a song about Michael from Melrose Place. To revisit and paraphrase that memorable line from 1978′s Dawn of the Dead, such things had an important place in our lives.

I felt as though I owed it to Barenaked Ladies to write something about One Week, given how much enjoyment this jam gave me in 1998. 20 years later I can finally admit it.

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What’s the Score on the Man With the Moon in Taurus?

moon_in_taurus

The shopping. Oh, the shopping.

Guys with this placement LOVE to go shopping. This probably doesn’t sound like a bad thing to some people. Ok, most people. I’m a Capricorn, so I’m practically allergic to mindlessly spending my hard-earned cash on anything that isn’t a necessity.

A guy with a Moon in Taurus wants to shop to achieve a certain ~*aesthetic*~ though. What’s fascinating is that they try to achieve this at the most affordable price, which I kind of admire. This makes sense because Taurus is ruled by Venus, the planet of aesthetics and beauty.

They’re very loyal.

I tend to be flighty because my moon is in Gemini. If you have a similar placement in your chart, then you’ll find a Moon in Taurus a very reassuring presence that anchors you. They love stability and commitment. They’re not prone to erratic behavior.

They love routine.

A guy with this placement enjoys doing the same thing every day.

The same thing. Every day.

If your chart favors this, then you’re in luck. If it doesn’t, then you might find yourself restless and bored at the suggestion to go to the same four places every day. This placement loves the familiar and comfortable, so fire and air signs beware.

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I Dreamed a World and Called It Love

I_dreamed_a_world_and_called_it_love

As I walked toward the museum entrance, my eyes were drawn to a giant red sculpture of what appeared to be a caged tyrannosaurus rex. I found it interesting because it seems like something you would see at the Science Center. It isn’t the kind of highbrow, avant-garde work one expects to see outside an art museum. I briefly entertained the idea of making that piece the focus of this article and avoiding the hefty admission fee ($18 with a student ID) altogether. Ultimately, I decided against it. The museum building itself is constructed in a mid-century modern architectural style, which is fairly common in the downtown Phoenix area and consistent with the age of the building.

The lobby of the museum is a loft-like, large open room with high ceilings. Immediately upon entering, one is greeted to the sight of a 3-D “snowflake” sculpture located near the center of the room. The walls of the hallway adjacent to the lobby are decorated with thousands of black paper butterflies. I’m not sure whether the appearance of the lobby shaped my experience in any significant way, but the open, echoey ambiance and imposing decor gave off the impression that some overwhelming works of art would be in store for my visit.

The galleries are laid out like themed rooms in a multi-level labyrinth maze. The pieces in each gallery tend to fit with the distinct style of each particular collection or exhibition. A gallery will usually feature works from a variety of artists within the particular movement which is being showcased or which the curator specializes in. For example, one of the exhibitions displayed prints by Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg, two iconic “pop” artists who worked together and were involved in a personal relationship with one another for a period of time. I think the galleries are presented this way to organize different styles and emphasize what is unique or distinctive in each of them. It also gives the visitor a more complete exposure and makes the exhibitions themselves seem more thorough. The maze-like floor plan allows the visitor to seemingly “get lost” in all the artwork. It gives guests the opportunity to peer around corners and discover new rooms filled with art, just when they thought they had seen everything the museum had to offer.

Since it was early in the afternoon on a weekday, guests were few and far between during my visit. If I had to guess I would say there were maybe thirty or forty visitors, sparsely spread out in the building. I did notice an elderly couple being chided by an employee for touching a large concrete art installation. I found this mildly amusing, imagining that the couple probably thought the art piece was simply a weirdly decorated bench for them to sit on.

For practical purposes, I had made up my mind ahead of time to select a work of art that was a representational painting that depicted some kind of elaborate scene. Regardless of whether I liked or disliked the piece at all, this would assure that I would have sufficient material to talk about for an entire article without having to resort to over-intellectualizing trivial observations or reaching for contrived meaning. Of course, once I arrived at the museum, that plan went completely out the window, and I ended up selecting a work that I was actually interested in and felt extremely drawn to.

My first impression of Jim Hodges’ I Dreamed a World and Called It Love was that it was shiny and made attractive use of color. From a distance it appeared to be a large, abstract painting which was created utilizing either metallic-colored acrylic paints or perhaps a collage made with colored translucent paper. Upon closer inspection, it appeared to have the consistency of colored tinfoil (is there even such a thing?) or cellophane. Upon reading the label, I discovered that most of my assumptions had been incorrect. The material used for this piece was actually stained glass that was cut and meticulously placed on a thick canvas (Lindsay). I was also grossly errant in assuming this was intended to be a “stand alone” work. It turns out that this is just a single panel in what was originally a larger and much more ambitious installation. The full installation apparently included 38 panels in total. It was exhibited at The Gladstone Gallery in 2016 (“I Dreamed a World and Called It Love”). The mistaken assumption that this was a stand-alone work was significant in this case. Unlike trivial observations like what kind of paint was used or whether the canvas was primed, this actually relates to the content of the work. If a visitor had been presented with the entire installation they might have come away with a completely different reading of the piece. Similarly, if an alternate single panel had been selected from a different section, one which featured a substantially different array of colors, this might provoke alternate interpretations of the overall mood or tone of the work. Some artists might even be annoyed at having their work partially displayed in this manner, but it seems that Jim Hodges has opted to be a good sport.

What’s most notable about this panel of I Dreamed a World and Called It Love is the usage of bright, vibrant color. The colors are not sharply divided but are intricately intertwined like crawling vines. There are solid primary colors, secondary colors, tertiary colors and just about everything in between. Various shades of orange, red and maroon near the bottom give the area a volcanic presence. Turquoise blues, grayish whites and purple globs project an image of partially cloudy skies.

The lines are not rugged or chiseled in their appearance. They seem to flow and curve effortlessly to create soft, peaceful separations for the floating splotches of color. This phenomenon also gives the work a sense of motion, as though we’re visualizing the brain activity of someone in the middle of a dream. If we’re someday able to actually record dreams, I would imagine the earliest successful attempts to do so would produce an image like this (before the technology is perfected.) It’s as if someone freeze-framed a psychedelic animation film at one of the most visually pleasing points.

As I hinted at in my initial impressions, the texture here is shiny and metallic. It reminds me of sheet metal (even though it’s actually glass.) The piece is reflective but not with the same clarity as a mirror. In the museum lighting, reflections are visible, but appear distorted and difficult to make out. It’s similar to seeing one’s reflection in a car window or metal pole. There are also small bubbles visible, which are situated between the glass and the canvas. These bubbles are more likely to be a side effect of the process of attaching the glass to the canvas. I don’t believe they were consciously included as a creative choice. However, these bubbles inadvertently create a sense of physical depth to the work. They contribute to the sense of flotation and are consistent with the dreamlike ambiance of the piece. The bubbles create a liquid or aquatic texture for those fortunate enough to notice them.

I’m inclined to label this piece as non-representational rather than merely abstract. It doesn’t appear to depict any tangible object in the physical world. However, if one looks closely enough (and long enough) at the blobs of color, outlines vaguely resembling animals and human shapes in varying stages of motion can be spotted. I’m almost positive this is just a case of pareidolia though. One can drive themselves bonkers believing they’re seeing faces on Mars or the Virgin Mary in a piece of toast. At the end of the day, one doesn’t need to reach for things that aren’t there in order to recognize the impressive substance in what is plainly visible.

What this work means is anybody’s guess. Other than the title, the artist himself offers few clues. It’s worth noting though that the original gargantuan installation reflected color onto the floor (“I Dreamed a World and Called It Love”). This made the floor an additional part of the artwork. The plethora of different panels allowed visitors to see their reflections in different color combinations. On some level, maybe the artist was trying to help us empathize with all different types of people by having us view so many divergent images of ourselves. These reflections allow us to step into the shoes of others and perhaps into the art itself. Just as the light reflects onto the floor, it illuminates the visitor as well. We become part of the whole of the work.

Besides the fact that I found the color and composition of I Dreamed a World and Called It Love appealing, one of the main reasons I selected this work was that it seemed to stand out among the works by much more famous artists which were hanging nearby. This panel was located in a section of the museum which included paintings by icons like Andy Warhol and Keith Haring. Though Jim Hodges may have received substantial critical acclaim over the years and has probably had an illustrious career, he is by no means a household name. The fact that his panel (which turned out to be only a component of the actual work) managed to outshine (literally in this case) the adjacently displayed artwork of legendary figures made me relate to him as a relative underdog. People will go to the museum specifically just to see Warhol’s soup cans, but maybe someday they will make the trip just so they can see this.

Works Cited:

“I Dreamed a World and Called It Love.” Gladstone Gallery, 2016,
www.gladstonegallery.com/exhibition/11992/installation-view#&panel1-1.
Lindsay, Taylor. “Dozens of Cut-Up Mirrors Get Rearranged into a Magnificent
Glass Room.” Creators, VICE, 29 Dec. 2016,
www.creators.vice.com/en_us/article/9anxy8/cut-up-mirrors-get-rearranged-into-magnificent-glass-room.

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Thoroughbreds

thoroughbreds

Watching eccentric low-budget films is a gamble. The writer and director, one and the same in this case, is at liberty to avoid using formulae in his creative process, the result of which is about as likely for the viewer to be either rewarding or punishing.

Wikipedia says Thoroughbreds is a thriller. It does have faint echoes of something like Rear Window thematically, but thriller is still not the word I would use. It also says comedy, but I remember laughing on only a couple of occasions while watching it. Despite this, I still found it enjoyable, and odd in a positive way.

The film is about two teenagers from a rich area of Connecticut. One of them, Amanda, appears to be psychopathic. Lily, Amanda’s friend, is not, but Amanda’s personality gradually impresses itself upon Lily throughout the film, eventually culminating in their plan to kill Lily’s obnoxious stepfather Mark. First they intend to blackmail a third party into doing it for them. When that fails, they speak of doing it together, and finally Lily just kills him herself.

From the outset, the soundtrack is remarkably good at setting a tone, particularly those parts that were ambient or just sounds rather than songs, e.g. discordant violins and what sounded like a guitar string snapping, along with odd jungle-music percussion, which was appropriately unnerving during tense moments, or character-establishing moments such as Amanda’s arrival at Lily’s house near the beginning as she explores all the bizarre, quaint finery within; Roman busts, a katana, etc, which gives an impression of Mark as an obsessive of some sort who likes to enrich himself with various aspects of Eastern and Western culture. This goes alongside the camerawork, the most striking example of which, and recurrent all through the film, involves following the subject just behind and above the head, with an attendant unsettling effect.

The only song I remember enjoying greatly was one made by an obscure French singer, and it plays while Lily experiences doubts about going through with the plan. This uncertainty later dissolves.

One will find that the aforementioned house, although aesthetically pleasing, is irrelevant to the plot. It is not, as far as I recall, made clear whether it belongs to Lily’s stepfather or to her biological family, but I would not think too much of it since it just serves as a backdrop and as a vessel for the eccentric outward expressions of Mark’s personality. That and the noisy contraption he keeps upstairs, on which he is killed by Lily near the end of the film. Similarly, the various shenanigans of Lily’s school life are barely worth paying attention to and only come up fleetingly, although it is implicit that she too has psychological problems.

The film depicts, in a way that reminds me somewhat of The Crush, a particular, unusually modern instantiation of WASP culture, which is as fascinating as it is charming even though it seems quite divorced from present reality. The most clear and obvious common thread is the convention of horse-riding in prestigious schools, which comes up at the start of Thoroughbreds when Amanda gets in trouble for gruesomely killing her horse. This is apparently what the title refers to.

The handling of Amanda’s psychopathic personality was fun; it becomes the subject of a lot of talk between the two protagonists, and Amanda remarks at some point that her diagnosis consisted of the psychiatrist’s “throwing random pages of the DSM-V at her”, briefly mentioning schizoid symptoms and other illnesses. She acts out her “feelinglessness” in an engaging manner, such as winning £300 (or whatever) in an online game and having no reaction whatsoever. This is what leads to, arguably, the climax of the film when Amanda allows Lily to drug her and then land her in a situation most people would obviously not willingly submit themselves to. Amanda does not care, because she lives, as she says, a “meaningless life”.

The division of the film into chapter headings, what would normally be called “acts” I think, seemed superfluous even if they did not noticeably detract from the experience; this was an effort to appear quirky that the film could easily have waived. Do most books have 4-5 chapters? The runtime I definitely appreciated, however. It is exactly as long as it needs to be; I normally have to go looking for pre-Code films  to find stuff shorter than two hours, and Thoroughbreds is 90 minutes, so I at no point felt bored.

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