Fleetwood Mac – Dreams (Psychemagik Remix)

An oldie but a goodie. Psychemagik’s take on Dreams has the older ethereal electronic sound and marching kick-snare that AFTMTH was founded on. That, coupled with Stevie Nicks time-tested voice and powerful lyrics makes this a classic that can appeal to a wide audience but also remain genuine.

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Bill Evans – Peace Piece

It’d been a while since I’d done anything on a Tuesday night, over a year since I’d seen Esther (EMK), and longer still since I’d been to Smalls Jazz Club.

But as we walked down the dusty stairs into the brick-walled bunker, a flood of memories came back to me: the Sunday I discovered Smalls, Johnny O’Neal’s “I’m Your Mailman,” the four-mile bike back to Williamsburg in the rain. I don’t know Smalls’ reputation in the Jazz world, or much about Jazz really, but I have a strong appreciation for the cool, calm, and friendly environment that relieved me during my early adjustment to the chaotic and unsympathetic New York City.

Esther laughed. I was surprised to find out that Esther, who lived in Brussels, had been here before with her mother.

“Yeah. She said the Jazz was terrible!”

We both laughed. Fortunately, this night the Jazz wasn’t terrible. Half a glass of whiskey later, the sedative sounds of the improvised quartet had me entranced.

Whereas electronic music is the work of meticulous planning, Jazz is a mastery over the unexpected. The eye contact between musicians suggests a strong comradery that keeps them in sync despite the rise and fall of sounds and emotions.Their focus is intense, but the musicians convey a sense of ease. At least for me, it’s both jolting and relaxing.

By the end of our glasses, we’re near asleep. We head out.

After we said goodbye at the train station, I immediately put on my “dreams” playlist, a collection I first started when Esther was living in NYC two years ago.

Bill Evans fluttered my ears, a final toast to good whiskey, terrible jazz, and continued adventures with an old friend.

Mount Kimbie – Break Well

It’s the first day of fall. Not technically, but last night a crisp air flooded NYC and turned the leaves in Queens. From the Ridgewood M station platform, the flat roofs give way to the treetops in Highland Park.

Usually, I’ll throw on the headphones and avoid shifting eyes for the 48-minute commute into the city. Today, I actually see the other passengers: a boy running a toy truck along the window, a quiet woman juggling papers, coffee, and a cell phone, a brace-faced teen laughing with her friend while studying for a test.

Between the weather, the view, the unusually serene train ride, and the following song, my mind saves this memory as the mark of a new season.

Alexander – Truth

Alexander, aka Alexander Michael Tahquitz Ebert (aka lead singer of Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros) has a unique background, which might explain the odd mixture of influences and distinctiveness of his music.

According to his wiki page, his father, Michael Ebert, would take him on long trips through the desert, where his mother took footage of him chanting while cradling his daughter. One of his names, Tahquitz, is an homage to his father’s favorite climbing rock. His influences include Johnny Cash, R&B and a South African elementary school teacher, Ruth.

He has all the requisites of an artist: Wikipedia even makes note of his troubled teen relationship with his father.

Of course, good music is more than a series of check boxes or a troubled childhood resume. So, just listen and see if his story resonates: