The Jazz To Move Dat Ass

image

Kendrick
Lamar’s
latest album, To Pimp a Butterfly,
was undeniably brilliant. It was both lyrically and sonically divine. One
of the album’s most beautiful aspects was its funky, jazz-infused sound. I
wasn’t a fan of jazz before To Pimp a
Butterfly,
but now I’m obsessed. Thank you based Kendrick.

Jazz,
as a genre, can be quite daunting. I had no idea where to start with it. So I
did the only thing I could do: I searched for “jazz” on Spotify.  There was so much to listen to! I found some
cool Spotify playlists (Shouts to “Late Night Jazz”) that helped narrow down my
choices.  

So, two months of jazz-capades
later, here are my three favorite albums. If you want to get started with jazz—and
you totally should, it’s dope—these albums would make for an ideal starting
point:

1) The
Dave Brubeck Quartet – Time Out
      

image

Dave Brubeck sure can
play the hell out of a piano. This album’s sound is playful and sunny. Perfect music
for rolling down a grassy hill, or for a wine-soaked picnic on the beach. The
seven pieces on this album each elegantly swell to their euphoric peaks.
“Strange Meadow Lark” is my personal favorite on this album. It’s pure bliss
when the horns kick in:

2) John
Coltrane – A Love Supreme

image

About six minutes into this glorious beast
of an album, Coltrane puts down his saxophone to chant “A Love Supreme.” The
other instruments carry on, providing a smooth backdrop for his chant. It’s a
simple and fleeting moment, lasting only about thirty seconds. But somehow, it’s
my favorite thirty seconds on this album. It’s amazing. It’s catchy. It’s
Coltrane:

This album is abundant with such
moments of wonder. The whole thing just swings into your ears. Tension
frantically rises and falls in a majestic tide of harmony. This album feels
like an insane action movie. Like Die Hard. A Love Supreme is the jazz
equivalent of Die Hard.

3)      Miles
Davis – Kind of Blue

image

This is a phenomenal album. Miles
Davis
and his trumpet are a soothing balm to the ear. Also, the man himself,
John Coltrane, plays the tenor saxophone on this album.  

The album kicks off with pensive
piano notes, an oddball bassline and tentative bursts from the trumpet. It’s so chill:

This album makes me feel like I own a
yacht. That’s a great way to feel, no doubt about it. I listen to this album almost every day. I brush
my teeth to it. I fall asleep to it. I even ate pizza to it once. If you haven’t
heard anything on this album yet, get with the program.

But, don’t just take my word for it all. Venture into the wonderful world of jazz and experience the magic for yourself. In the words of the great jazz pianist, Bill Evans (He also played on Miles’s Kind of Blue. That album is straight up star-studded), “You can’t explain jazz to anyone without losing the experience. Because it’s feeling, not words.”

image
Pranav Shivanna

New Track: Earl Sweatshirt – Solace

image

Earl
Sweatshirt
is one of the most talented rappers out right now. He
produces a lot of his own beats and flows over them like none other.

Earl is plagued by
depression. He talks about a lot of his issues in his music. His latest album was aptly
titled I Don’t Like Shit, I Don’t Go
Outside.

With Solace, he bares himself like never
before. Earl dropped Solace on
YouTube earlier this week, without warning. He raps about
his sadness and pain with brutal honesty. Solace is a ten
minute voyage into Earl’s stormy mind. I’ve never heard anything quite like it,
simultaneously stark and beautiful.

The YouTube
description for Solace is succinct: “music from when i hit the bottom and found something.”
There isn’t a video to accompany the song. There’s just a plain, pink square
for us to stare at.

Solace doesn’t have a hook. It doesn’t
need one. Haunting instrumentals ebb and flow and transform. Earls three verses
are mostly mumbled and slurry, to good effect. His voice conveys his
hopelessness better than any words could.

Which
isn’t to say that the lyrics here aren’t powerful. Bars like “I spent days
faded and anemic/You
could see it in my face, I ain’t been eating, I’m just wasting away” and “My
brain split in two,
it’s raining a bit/I hope
it’s a monsoon, my face in the sink” are visual and cutting.

The
piano-heavy instrumentals create a dark, claustrophobic vibe. Disembodied moans
mingle with eerie chords. Shrill screeches pierce through, at points. Despite
all the melancholy elements, the beats are as smooth as melted butter. Earl’s production never ceases to impress.

image

Earl
is mired in regret and it keeps him up at night: “I done stayed up the whole
night…It’s me and my nibbling conscience.” He misses his dead grandma: “I got
my grandmama’s hands, I start to cry
when I see ‘em/Cause they remind me
of seeing her”

Earl’s
honesty pays off, because Solace is real
and relatable. The YouTube comments section is full of praise for Earl. Some
commenters even thank Earl for Solace. It
“strikes a chord” and “speaks volumes.”

Do
yourself a favor and give Solace a
listen. It’s amazing.

image
Pranav Shivanna

New Track: prints_ – Ghosts

image

In some ways, “Ghosts” is an appropriate name for the newest track by L.A. artists Carol Rhyu and Keil Corcoran, otherwise known as prints_. Rhyu’s whispery voice floats above ethereal synth lines, singing about being “lost inside this moment/no past, no future.” The dreamy keyboard textures are undergirded by a steady bass and skittering drums, keeping the track from drifting off into the spirit realm entirely. Still, it’s a fine track for those times when you feel like escaping from the real world for a few minutes.

“Ghosts” is the first new prints_ song in nearly two years, but that doesn’t mean the project’s members haven’t kept busy. Rhyu also makes music as White Blush, producing dark dream pop similar to that of prints_, and Corcoran is a member of the band STRFKR, who of course graced UW with their presence at last year’s ASUW Spring Show. You can listen to the rest of their collaborative tracks on Soundcloud (which are, sadly, limited in number) and check out the new video for their song “Wish” on YouTube.

image
LeAnn Nguyen

Throwback Thursday: Mikky Ekko / HAERTS Show (Ani Joon Review)

Something you may have missed over the break… Rainy Dawg Radio’s Ani Joon is sonically enlightened by Mikky Ekko’s performance in Seattle.

A local performance review (featuring audio and video from the show)!

image
Ania Kamkar

HAPPY SoX DAY: Chance the Rapper & Social Experiment’s Short Film

here is a present: an excuse to take a quick break from studying and watch this 11 minute film by Austin Vesley.

featuring all my favorites, including Chance the Rapper, Donnie Trumpet, Peter Cottontale, Stix, Nate Fox and Macie Stewart, the short film details behind the scenes of the Social Experiment Tour. 

have a look:

i love seeing the guys (and Macie) open up, even if its on camera. the laughter and camaraderie makes you feel welcomed as a bystander and the fun and vibrant footage of their tour makes you feel like you’re actually with them.

i don’t know about you, but this made me laugh out loud. happy SoX day 🙂

image

-gnovs