A big key to the musical success of Wonder Where We Land, the new LP from SBTRKT, is its craftsmanship. The middle portion shines like a climax should; it’s packed with hooks, with each coming at you differently. ”Temporary View” is a breezy, danceable standout, but it doubles as a partner for the track following - the sensational Ezra Koenig-featured staccato of “NEW DORP. NEW YORK.”
Full appreciation for SBTRKT will come when this album finally drops and you can listen to it front to back. It’s paced and ordered near-perfectly, able to marry five separate vocal tracks from Sampha with seven other guests (including a weirdly impressive singing A$AP Ferg) without getting stale.
For now, I’ve got “Temporary View” on repeat.
I’ve been really taken by London Grammar lately, starting with their Osheaga set and arriving at the brilliant “Strong” video.
There’s a lot in Esquire’s The Falling Man that makes me think about 9/11’s place in my life.
I was ten years old at the time. What’s strange is how anecdotal moments from my childhood don’t crystallize like those around 9/11. There were two moments from that day that I remember so vivid, more than anything else.
The first was arriving at school, walking up the back staircase at Christ The King and being surrounded by noise. 10 and 11-year-olds with no idea of what a plane hitting a building meant. A relatively short moment, but one where I felt just as lost as everyone else.
The second memory is getting picked up for school by my Mom (in our ‘85 gold DeVille), getting in the back seat and asking, “What happened to the buildings?” She would tell me they came down. I remember not knowing how that could happen.
Sometime the next day, my Dad bought a copy of the Free Press. Finding it in storage months later, I realized it had never been out in the open. I guess with a five and ten year old at home, it’d be hard to justify a burning building on the coffee table.
He held on to it, though. I’m not sure if anyone purposefully looked at it again. It just stayed in a Rubbermaid container, accumulating dust like memorabilia nobody really wanted.
Months and years later, I’d pull it out and put myself back into those two moments from the day of. Though it was just helping my understanding, it felt voyeuristic - much like reading The Falling Man and its new forward today.
This is one of the best complete works of journalism I’ve read in my life, because it is so resonant. The photograph, the New York Post cover, that Free Press - all these remind us so horrifically of tragedy that we feel dirty looking. Yet, the argument that we should not turn away sticks with me.
13 years later, I see Twitter hashtags like #NeverForget and brands capitalizing on “digital impact” - modern alibis for petty attention grabs. Reading this piece is so important because it allows us to put aside the useless cynicism we might draw from seeing that.
It allows us to avoid jade altogether, be constructive in our understanding and remember how profoundly personal 9/11 was, even thousands of miles away.
I didn’t expect seeing Slowdive would feel like a once-in-a-lifetime privilege, but after the sheer volume and power of “Golden Hair”, it was hard to feel another way. Long live shoegaze.
Inside the gym and out, I’ve been getting a lot out of BBC’s Essential Mix over the last year. I ran my first half marathon to Steve Angello (2013) in the spring after doing my longer warmups to Eric Prydz (2013) and Arty (2012). These are mostly dance-centric, though, which never really have much staying power with me.
The mixes I’ve gravitated to outside of the gym have had much more profound impact. Flying Lotus’ 2008 mix avoids the dance floor for most of its run time, and may be my favourite work of the LA producer. It embraces his ubiquitous synaptic style through most of its run time, before elevating it into his own life-affirming form of dub house (something we hadn’t heard before from Lotus and haven’t heard from since).
The one that stands above all, though, is this fascinating, arresting 2012 mix from Nicolas Jaar. Nothing here represents what Essential Mix is at its core. A show that starts at 1 a.m. on Saturday night should be fun, it should be lively, and it should get you moving. Jaar - as the intro details - instead stays in the dark woods, playing with classical, movie soundtrack, and vocals from Feist, Beyonce and (yes) N’Sync to achieve two hours that demand your full attention.
Jaar shows that the mix is a liquid form that takes the shape of the artist creating it. Much like his work on Darkside, this mix shows the American-Chilean producer has a lot more musical IQ than you or I - which works out in the favour of both sides.
As a critical element to the team’s fortunes next season, Jonas Valanciunas needs to focus on improving the one obvious deficiency in his game.
My first piece for SB Nation’s Raptors HQ is on Jonas and the need for improvement in one easily attainable area. I woke up today to find this on SB Nation’s NBA home page, in the Best of NBA section - which is humbling and amazing.
This still gives me massive chills. What didn’t translate on a hot summer day certainly does on a rainy evening inside.
A great song to put a long August in perspective. The melody and strumming sings of the dog days of summer, as the lyrics simply overwhelm.