New York Part 2

D-man went to New York to see old homies and unhinge to the riffs of reverb-soaked guitar; I went to get laid. Too crass? I went to make some love that lasts. Better? Maybe.

h/t flowebro

It was a Thursday and it was snowing. Blizzarding, actually. I think we got two to three feet in as many days. Our bus driver plowed fearlessly through the storm, past rest stop scrums of eighteen wheelers and snow blasted billboards. My mom always says that some people were put on Earth for a reason. Well, I swear our bus driver was put on Earth to pilot Greyhound buses through blinding snow storms. After seven hours of certified rotten movies on mute and the intestinal cramps that accompany brake lock-ups, we were unceremoniously dropped off in the middle of Manhattan. That’s not true, the unceremonious bit, we – us riders – clapped when the bus slid to a final stop. Good job, boss, I got a lot riding on this.

I’d taken the weekend off. Sort of. I told my boss my grandfather was having a procedure done in New York City and needed me to accompany him. ‘Bad juju, man,’ D-man once told me when I pulled the same stunt to beatjuice around San Francisco with him. It’s one thing to drag your brother’s health into the karmic doghouse, but now your grandfather’s as well? Shit. Whatever. I’d had New York and its… colorful potential circled on my mental calendar for months. Girls from college, one in particular. I must have choreographed the reunion thousands of times in my head, during the purgatory of early-morning commutes and late-night, stare-at-the-ceiling boredom. Time to act, BopPop would understand.

 

I am acutely aware that my daydreams often play out less shapely and conclusive than the versions I conjure on the movie screen of my imagination. Especially the sexual ones. Oh, but it played so well in test screenings, my make-believe critics remark after each flop. I suppose that one scene was a little ambitious. The ice cube? That was never going to happen.

I pull my duffel bag from the snowbank where our bus driver had enthusiastically deposited it and begin down the street, blissfully ignorant of my location within the city, unabashed to be lost in the romance of no return ticket. Pulling out my phone, I announce my arrival in the city like a Cessna pilot carving a vapor trail message in the sky. Except by taciturnly worded text, not prop plane.

 

Wait, but that message wasn’t supposed to go out until later tonight, or even tomorrow, when forwardness is blunted by several scotch & sodas. Look at that, I’m already aberrating from the script. This screenwriter sucks anyway, I tell myself, hasn’t written a hit in years. Cars, plows, people, music, shouts, murmurs and light of all colors throb through the streets I tread like blood flow in our veins. Eight million heartbeats or just one? I can’t tell. I’m drunk on New York without taking a single sip. Time to be lucky.

The capacity to make such dubious gifts is a mysterious quality of New York. It can destroy an individual, or it can fulfill him, depending a good deal on luck. No one should come to New York to live unless he is willing to be lucky.                                                        – E.B. White

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DIIV – Reverb and Delay Pedals

It’s been a week since I was in New York, but I still haven’t fully recovered. My body can only be nocturnal for so long. But NYC is truly great. It’s loud. It’s crowded. Unapologizing. And you can go from a boozy lounge to a filthy metal bar in just ten blocks.

The highlight of the trip was seeing old homies but the most lasting impression was being introduced to DIIV (Dive), a Brooklyn based band wrapped in controversy and intrigue.

The controversy is multifaceted – ranging from 4chan message boards to substance addiction. Most notably, headman, Cole Smith, was arrested in 2013 with girlfriend / model / musician Sky Ferreira, on their way to Basilica Soundscape, after cops found a “plastic bag containing 42 decks of heroin.” Two weeks ago, Smith announced on Instagram that he was signing himself into long-haul inpatient treatment to beat his addiction – “mom. sorry.”

His absence is ill timed considering the band is getting a reputation in Brooklyn for wild, live shows. It’s their guitar, which is soaked in reverb and delay pedals, creating a dizzying, euphoric effect. Be mindful, the impact isn’t immediate. The songs start innocent enough and then the guitar starts chattering, circling around and around, picking up momentum, until you can practically hear DIIV getting carried away with their own sound.

NYC Show: MSDOS, Ted Ganung & Anthony Granata

In 2013, fellow Aftermath founder D-Man and I had the opportunity to study abroad in Cape Town. Of the many meaningful and exciting aspects of that adventure, the music still stands out. The South African scene, without the level of commercial background in the US or UK, has a distinctly raw sound. I recall many nights, after a long day of surfing, going to the Drum n’ Bass sets at Fiction on Long Street. That was the first time I had heard Drum n’ Bass at a club, and something about the genre’s pace fit perfectly with my lifestyle at the time.

Averaging around 150 – 180 BPM, Drum n’ Bass is fast. However, as I recall from my time sweaty and dancing in the crowd at Fiction, there’s another way to hear it. Nodding on the 1st and 3rd beat, the song feels like 160 BPM, but by nodding only on the kick on the 1st beat, the song suddenly is cut in half, feeling like an old Dubstep tune at 80 BPM – try it. Listening in this way, it’s easy to transition from a restless fidget into a calm sway. That ability to seamlessly transition my pace at will, is why Drum n’ Bass fit that adventurous and self-determined lifestyle so well.

Recently, in an effort to temporarily relive my experience at Fiction, I went on a hunt for a good DnB show in NYC – that is how I found Ted Ganung & Anthony Granata. Founders of Deeper Vision Recordings, the duo are responsible for bringing many great acts to NYC, working hard to maintain a vibrant DnB scene here. When I found out about their upcoming MSDOS event, I reached out to them immediately to learn more about the event and Deeper Vision, hoping to reach farther into what this genre means.

According to Anthony, Deeper Vision’s philosophy is to “produce and release music we love and work with people to create a synergy that elevates us all.” Their focus is specifically on Jungle / Drum n’ Bass, but he acknowledged that they’re not confined to those genres or tempos. They believe that “music is a powerful vehicle that communicates a message.” Anthony noted that, having “defined his own liquid Drum n Bass sound” in Europe, this is MSDOS’s first US appearance.

The show, hosted on April 24th at Drom, promises good tunes, good times. Come along, enjoy the music, and take it your own pace.