Tag Archives: music

Sixteen Military Wives


With all the diplomacy going on with the possible drumming up of war, or the drumming up of diplomacy, over Syria this video only seemed appropriate for a Friday Refrain. I can’t think of anyone who does a better job of mocking the U.N. and US foreign policy than this video for Sixteen Military Wives by The Decemberists. Plus, well, it’s just enjoyable.

As one of the top commenters on YouTube said, the video really is like a Wes Anderson film. Awesome.

The Perfect Soundtrack to a 90s Child


To anyone born in the ’90s, do you remember growing up playing Nintendo? Or maybe you watched Cartoon Network’s Toonami, which was heavily dominated by anime classics like Sailor Moon and Dragonball Z. Maybe you weren’t quite that nerdy. Maybe, instead, you were the cool kid in elementary school and had the largest collection of tamagotchis in your class.

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There are few things in the world I would say I fawn over – even less when music and musicians are taken into account. I can say with absolute certainty, though, that Bonobo, real name Simon Green, is one of those rare musicians that not only do I love, but that I must also share with everyone. People speak of artists that manage to change their lives and I always wrote it off mere exaggeration. Now, though, I do realize funnily enough that Bonobo has had an actual impact on my life.

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GKEN-E’s Positive Beats


It was almost exactly a year ago to the day that GKEN-E found me. It was a rough time – approaching the end of my senior year of college without any concrete plans – and I was thoroughly stressed; I spent a good amount of my free time listening to trip-hop, especially Bonobo. As I mentioned a long time ago, no other type of music styling can ever make me feel as free as the dreamy beats and sounds of trip-hop can.

So, I was both pleasantly surprised and shocked when, after posting a tweet about Bonobo, a random new musician began following me on both Twitter and Instagram. Usually I don’t pay much attention to amateur musicians, as they generally are only interested in getting ‘follow-backs’ and building their own base. GKEN-E seemed different; first of all, he was offering giving away all his music for free at his Bandcamp website. As of now, his music is still available for anywhere between free and five dollars – definitely a great value!

Often times, trip-hop can seem almost melancholically beautiful. Being stitched together from different samples, or created electronic sounds, along a single rhythm, trip-hop seems almost to embrace and circle around the notion of quietness – even though it is generally composed of multiple layers on top of each other. I suppose the general down-tempo nature of trip-hop could explain this reaction to the music.

GKEN-E’s version of the genre is different. While working within the loop and beat framework of trip-hop, GKEN-E added something that was generally absent – the notion of ‘positive beats.’ All throughout his works are the ideas of positivity and energetic beats, lending an uptempo sound to a genre that was generally more about chillness; although, to say that GKEN-E isn’t chill would be a disservice. His music, like all trip-hop, is still fantastic to put on and daydream to.

GKEN-E’s music does not fail to engage the listener. Like all great composers within this genre, he makes his music accessible yet interesting – the sounds continue to change, as he further orchestrates and has the sound build upon upon itself. The music never becomes too heavy or bogged down, however, and allows your mind to wander freely – as if floating peacefully through clouds of positive beats.

Ah Be Kardeşim


I absolutely love this song; I can’t stop listening to it, which is great since having Turkish stuck in my head is only beneficial. There’s something too about the interplay of Yalın’s lyrics and the sound of his voice with the horns that is just perfection. It reminds me, at least in content, also of some old Bloc Party tunes as it mournfully asks “Oh, my brother, what ideas came into your head?”

Urfa’s Wild Nightlife


Before I went to Urfa, I imagined the city – the center of religious pilgrimage in Turkey – to have a very quiet and conservative nightlife. Indeed, a good amount of the population is conservative, I’m sure. Except for the three or four women I saw in full black chadors, though, I saw no outwards sign of religion. Well, except for all the mosques. This didn’t put a damper of the city’s nightlife in the least bit, however.

After a long day seeing sights Friday, I went to a guest house – Türkü Konağı – for an early dinner; I was lured in by their sign claiming to have live music every night. I must have arrived way earlier than any expected customers, though, as all the workers of the hotel were sitting together about to have their own dinner. When I ordered food, they brought me a luke-warm chicken kebab wrap. Not wanting to raise a fuss, but also not wanting to risk eating this – I was warned about food-poisoning in Urfa – I made up an excuse to the waiter and was heading towards to the door when one of the eating workers gestured to an open seat next to me and told me to sit.

Continue reading Urfa’s Wild Nightlife

To Antep (In Spirit)


This weekend I was supposed to go down to Gaziantep, and Urfa, for the weekend. Unfortunately between the exchange of Syrian and Turkish shelling over the past two days and a terrible, sudden, stomach upset I’m instead spending the weekend relaxing in Malatya.

In spirit, though, I’m further down south in Brave Antep and Glorious Urfa.

The Vibrations of Music


I was watching a movie in a seminar about Rumi last Fall semester, struggling to stay awake as always when in a three hour long class at night with the lights off, when something caught my ear. The film was a documentary about the role of music in Sufi practice and a particular Turkish sheikh – whose name I unfortunately forgot – was being interviewed about the vibrations of music. Although I can’t remember exactly what he said, the general impression was something like:

[quote style=”1″]All things in this world vibrate. Drums vibrate when you beat on them just as your voice box vibrates as you sing. Even atoms vibrate and spin, creating inaudible music as they take part in creation.[/quote]

The general idea of this message really caught me off guard. It suddenly made all the music I loved seem like much more than music; instead they became gateways to my soul. I don’t think I’m alone when I say that sometimes, in the exact right conditions, certain songs have extreme power over us. For instance, when I saw mewithoutyou last Friday the opening band – Buried Beds – closed their set with every member of the band playing a simple beat on a drum. The rhythm became so strong it simple washed over me and I felt very open, in some way, as if the music was freeing me. Continue reading The Vibrations of Music

Trip-hop: Great or Greatest Genre


I’m a big fan of dreams, and dreaming is definitely one of my favorite past-times. For a long time I used to keep a quasi-dream journal when I was younger, and I still remember some of my most vivid dreams all the way from elementary school – they really stuck with me, even though they had no reason to do so. There is just something about dreaming – it’s ethereal nature, sudden shifts, and the double-edged sword of extreme wish fulfillment and absolute terror – that inspires so much…

Just like this song:

Although not soley trip-hop, although what trip-hop truly is is up to debate anyway, this song captures both what is amazing about dreams and the genre. The sampled computer generated vocals, strong beats, and switching melodies are so beautifully enchanting and mesmerizing, they can only be compared to dreaming; which, as it happens, works out perfectly since Paprika (a must see movie too, by the way) is all about the intersection of waking and dreaming life anyway.

Trip-hop can do more than just function as the soundtrack for a fantastic movie. Whenever I feel contemplative and emotional, but in a way I cannot truly comprehend, I know DJ Shadow fits the mood perfectly. This song, Midnight in a Perfect World, for instance conjures up feelings and emotions I can’t describe. Unlike Afterhours, which makes me just want to fuck and rage, this song’s emotional response is deeper… it just makes me feel human.

I could go on and on, listing songs and how they make me feel and the reasons why trip-hop is my favorite genre even though I listen to it no where nearly as much as I do to other types of music. Really, just like dreaming, or really anything else for that matter, trip-hop is something that needs to be experienced to enjoy. So, I would recommend to everyone to just sit down, share this post with as many people as you know, and enjoy whatever emotions and dreams trip-hop elicits from you.

Also, I’ve realized that up until now there has not been much ‘trip’ in my trip-hop examples. This song will rectify that.



“Do you want to see my tits?” is probably something every girl wonders at some point when talking to a guy, probably, I blanketly assume.

With Deadmau5 you don’t need to wonder; he definitely does. Actually, listening to his album Afterhours by Melleefresh vs Deadmau5, it’s easy to believe that the only things either of them care about are tits…and fucking…and grimy grimy house music. And, you know what, that is completely a-okay.

Actually, it is way better than a-okay. It is fantastic – amazingly, disgustingly, epically good. If you were to press me on why this album is so great, though, I would be at a loss of words to explain it to you. So, please, bear with me as I try to explain what it is about this album that makes it impossible for me to stop listening to it. Even now, as I write this post in my office cubical, just thinking of the album is causing me to hum it obnoxiously to myself. To fully understand, check out the video below.

Do you understand why I am addicted to it a little more now? There is something almost hypnotically engrossing about the filthy (in the best possible way) sludgy beats, the highly processed female vocals, and of course the super explicit lyrics. The fact that Melleefresh also did voice acting for Star Wars: Ewoks only sweetens the deal – how can you not love someone whose career spans both Star Wars and progressive-house music, perhaps two of the best things ever?

All effective music should also evoke some emotional response. In terms of this album, I cannot help but picture myself dancing balls-out (literally) in a dank divey club – the best sort of club. Can’t you just picture the sordid atmosphere with traces of mist from the fog machines still floating in the air? Or finely dressed women dancing on couches for no reason? This song, and album by extension, captures that feeling of wanton abandon and sleaze perfectly.

When my friend Ryan first played this album for me I remarked about how it made me want to fuck the first thing I saw – in that case, my desk. I stand by that statement, and Ryan – not surprisingly for anyone who knows us – agreed with me wholeheartedly; although, to be fair, it is a fairly erotic desk. Apparently when Ryan first played this album for his girlfriend, her first response was to say she wanted to fuck to it too. There is just something about this that so successfully taps into people’s psyches that we all react the same way.

Or, maybe we’re all just horny stupid college seniors…nah, it’s definitely because its Deadmau5 and Melleefresh.

So, in short, this album is heavily recommended if you like: nauseatingly dirty house beats, explicitly sexual female vocals, moaning, sex, filth, clubs, Ewoks, and Deadmau5. Not a bad list, huh?