Chuck Johnson’s latest album Balsams was the first music I heard after my son was born. In its own low-key way, it was the perfect introduction to the world for a newborn baby. This is some of the most sumptuous, warmly crafted, undeniably human ambient music I’ve heard in years.
I finally visited one of the best record shops in the country, a little place called Gramaphone Records, nested in the north end of Chicago. This place feels tailor-made for my tastes, focusing on house and techno, providing room for all the weird corners of electronic music that most shops tuck into a dark corner.
Gramaphone is a groove music mecca, and appropriately enough, the place where I found one of my personal holy grail records. I can’t wait to go back some day soon, when my life looks very different.
I don’t often take note of federal holidays, especially when I’m not let off work, but Martin Luther King Jr. Day is perhaps the most important one in American history. It’s a modern holiday celebrating the life of a man whose passion for justice and equality changed the shape of our country undeniably for the better.
Unlike our other named holidays, nodding to historical figures with dubious or downright depressing impacts – can we end Columbus day already? – this one is an unquestionably good thing. King is one of the truest heroes my nation has ever produced. Recent world-shaking events have shown how vital his lessons continue to be.
Because this is a music site, I feel like sharing my favorite song that samples King’s words. This tune takes the fiery energy from his final speech, “I’ve been to the mountaintop,” and wrings every ounce of suffering from it. This is a harrowing but strangely soothing epic. It’s called Motorik Life (DJ Sprinkles’ Mountain of Despair):
It’s rare to meet real friends as an adult. The kind of friends who just stop by unannounced, who hang out at your place doing nothing in particular, who connect with you about art on some instinctual level, those kind of friends you meet as a kid and grow old with. They’re not someone you expect to meet in your third decade of life.
Chad Osborn, however, was one of those friends.
I’m leaving the country for a bit. I promise it’s not because of the election. I’m just lucky, I suppose. I’m going to be in Ireland.
I probably won’t be able to post much, but I’ll be writing the whole time. I seem to write more when I’m away from the internet. But maybe it just feels like it.
The last time I left the country, I spent the flight back home writing about what David Bowie means to me. I’d just heard that he died and spent breakfast on the verge of tears before having to get on a plane. It felt like an appropriately cold reintroduction to my home.
This time, I’m hoping for a little less turbulence. If things take a turn for the worse, maybe Ireland will let me stay. Either way, I’ll be writing again soon. In the meantime, I’ll probably update on Twitter or Facebook.
Bye for now!
As I was mixing tracks tonight, I felt like writing down a bit of what was happening in my head. It’s a brief glimpse but it’s real. What follows is written chronologically.
This is what I said about the mix in question: “I’m trying to contextualize some of the jazz that leads me into modern stuff like techno, balearic, and vaporwave.”