Brother Keep Us [mixtape]

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I began this mix in 2011, when I last returned to Michigan. In the midst of feeling directionless and alone, I was trying to start again, build something, connect myself with bigger ideas. Instead, I nearly ruined my life.

I was on a collision course with something terrible, and I had no idea it was coming.

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Alice Coltrane – Divine Songs

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This is a glowing gem known only to those who have burrowed deep enough into the inimitable catalog of jazz legend Alice Coltrane.

“Divine music is the sound of true life, wisdom, and bliss.  This music transcends geographical boundaries, language barriers, age factors; and whether educated or uneducated, it reaches deep into the heart and soul, sacred and holy…” – Alice Coltrane

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Flying Lotus – Coronus, The Terminator

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Just now, Flying Lotus dropped a second preview track for next month’s long anticipated album, You’re Dead! The song is titled Coronus, The Terminator, and you can listen right here:

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Best Songs of 2012, part 2: “N.E.W.”

This will loop indefinitely over the Elysian fields of an afterlife of my design.

Actress (aka Darren Cunningham) redefined ambient beauty with this piece, lighting the spiritual wires from the organ works of Camille Saint-Saëns through Brian Eno’s Discreet Music while sparking fresh air to flame.  Blooming the color of Arvo Pärt’s devotional tilt in an exploratory space odyssey from the dreams of Oneohtrix Point Never or Stanley Kubrick, N.E.W. is uplifting and warm, alien and awestruck.  We’re inside a nebulous pipe organ riding the cusp of a singularity, dancing on the membrane between ascension and obliteration.  Let it repeat.

I should mention the video:  I have no clue where the footage is from, but it strangely works.  This copy was chosen mainly, however, because it can be set to 720p, so the sound quality is superb.

Kendrick Lamar – Real

I’m real, I’m real, I’m really really real.

I’d heard a single or two from Kendrick Lamar over the past year, and knew I liked his voice and style but never bothered to grab his Section.80 mixtape. So anyone else who’s heard his official debut good kid, m.A.A.d. City can imagine how completely my hair was blown back in surprise: his bravura storytelling prowess, easy-like-falling cadence, all-star lineup of peripheral talent behind the mic and mixing boards; most of all, the entire album comes together in a cohesive narrative which completely justifies the subtitle of “A short film by Kendrick Lamar.” The spoken interludes are not only enjoyable but essential to wrapping the entire package up. Presented as a series of voicemail tape recordings from Lamar’s mother while he’s out on the town in her borrowed minivan, the final episode unfolds within this song, flipping aspiration to inspiration and leaving a lump in my throat.

Whether it’s the Erykah Badu-like hook and bouncing beat or the way “love” acts as a prism through which several verses are refracted, something about this track in particular allowed it to burrow under my skin and seal the wound from inside. Since Lamar is such a gifted storyteller this almost feels like a spoiler to share a song near the end… but it’s too good to keep to myself. If you haven’t heard the album yet, do yourself a favor and try possibly the best major label release I’ve heard in years.

There he is, eating cereal and sporting what looks like the exact haircut I had in 1991.

You can grab the album on Amazon, but I’m waiting for a vinyl copy.

The Durutti Column – Trust The Art Not The Artist

A few months ago I really wanted to share this incredible song with you and found, to little surprise, that it was streaming exactly nowhere on the internet. So I put my copy on youtube because everyone deserves to experience this distilled observation of profound humane love.

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Between My Head and the Sky

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Yoko Ono. Divisive to many, divine to few. And a patron saint of confident weirdness to certain odd souls, myself included.

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