If 2012 was the year Los Angeles reinstated itself as a center for R&B and hip hop, the L.A. native Miguel might be the overlooked megastar (an oxymoron, but accurate one) waiting in the wings. While Adorn has hit the LA radio waves in full force, the deliberate sexuality and sweeping musical references throughout his second release, Kaleidoscope Dream, show an artist with a larger repertoire than expected. Don’t Look Back, one of the finer cuts on the record, is peppered with such references. The melody recalls the Beatles And I Love Her, the outro calls from Time of the Season. His falsetto dips in and out as he croons about, on the surface, a predatory love. Twilight lovers could have a field day with the lyrics. Yet it is about a love of the night life, requesting freedom to prowl and enjoy the dark without regrets. In an album filled with fresh takes of R&B, these classic references only reveal this stars ascendancy.
Contrary to popular belief, not all gamers consume hot pockets and never leave their parents basement. Proper fuel is needed for gaming. After all, a promised reward is a fictious motivator. With the proliferation of food and cosplay, it would only make sense to bring the food from the screen into reality. So leave it to the creative crew at Gourmet Gaming to bring the fantasy to life. They dare you to sip the potion from Amnesia: The Dark Descent. But did you ever want to chug a health potion from Diablo? Or try your Pokemon‘s favorite Poffin? With recipes abound, shake things up for your next LAN party. Just remember: The Cake is a Lie.
Say what you will about electronic music, but in 2012 EDM emerged as THE style of mainstream pop. Boy bands, rappers, divas and DJs have whipped the world into one nation under a groove. We’re all just dancing along, somehow.
Fortunately that means there is ample room for growth and rebirth of genres on the fringes of the genre. Dominick Fernow remains one of those music makers that takes steps away from conventional electronica, as evidenced in his new project Vatican Shadow. Also known as the widely prolific noise rock/industrial “band” Prurient AND as a member of Cold Cave, his trademark feedback-enriched sounds and industrial grooves dominate this project. This EP, Kneel Before Religious Icons, churns and slogs through industrial, almost Gothic rhythms. Each track has been purified and muddied via cassette, allowing additional layering and distortion. The repetition to grind away the initial rhythms and minimal (if any) melodies. This deconstruction of melodies into drones and then into mere echoes, crawling under your skin, are elusive and enchanting all at once.
After almost too many years of waiting, the audience finally gets what it wants. The nerd/geek fantasy first came to life to the tune of billions of dollars of revenue and endless DVD sets, each claiming to be more essential, more complete, more fulfilling than the last. 9 years after snagging 11 Oscars at the 74th Academy Awards for its grand finale, The Lord of the Rings receives the beginning of the prequel that started it all: The Hobbit, elongated and trifurcated for our viewing pleasure.
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Austin Peralta, son of Stacy Peralta, passed away at the age of 22 last week. Peralta’s star was on the ascent with several full lengths and innumerable live performances. Even his collaborations at such a tender age were the stuff of jazz dreams. Chick Corea, Robert Glasper, Flea and Frank Ocean have all paid their tributes and now is our time as well.
Last year on the site we celebrated his Brainfeeder release Endless Planets. In February 2011 I took my then-girlfriend, a classically trained piano player, and some of my closest friends to the album release party in Eagle Rock, Los Angeles. It was a true Brainfeeder party, a motley assortment of LA’s young weirdos and music-obsessed. You can listen to that concert in its entirety in the Soundcloud player above. It contains his hallmarks: untamed expressiveness and music theory hung, drawn, and quartered. After the concert me and the lady had a conversation.
“I don’t get it.” She said.
“What do you mean?”
“He plays out of rhythm, out of the key, changes tempos. I was never taught to do anything like that.”
“But it makes sense, right? Even when he is off the deep end, he’s still in the water.”
“Yes it makes sense.”
“That’s jazz, B. It’s not supposed to make sense until it has to, wants to, or simply does. And even then, you have to trust it will find a resolution, like all music.”
Maybe that was Peralta’s biggest gift: his technical prowess and theoretical mind were soldered into his motherboard like few other musicians. Some guys have the chops, others have the theory. He had both. His modal recognition (in simple terms, playing different scales with the musical key) on the keyboard made sense into nonsense and back again. He could collaborate with anybody, from Flying Lotus to Teebs to the jazz greats, an essential link to the past and future of jazz. This is what we are missing. This is what we will miss.