Currently Listening To: 2019 Mid-Year Edition

I have had a few artists on a heavy rotation these past couple of months as I weathered my final semester of coursework at SDSU:

Frikstailers – Extrasolar

The Argentine duo forced us all to wait six years for a new album, but it was worth the wait. One could argue that they made us wait only two years as the duo released an album of music under the name Klik & Frik for musical aesthetic purposes. That album, Telepat, however, was a slight digression towards a sound stripped to nothing but electronic beats, sans the direct Latin American influences and genre mixture Frikstailers are known for. This album under their original moniker brings them back to their original sound with the help of musical guests Mateo Kingman, La Yegros, Aterciopelados, and Marrón.

Vudufa – Congorito

Vudufa is the name of this new project by Lima-based producers Pounda and NoModico. Their debut album, Congorito, features eight tracks of a sound they’ve dubbed “Afrobass with Peruvian flavor,” which is a darker version of the already-dark tunes of Dengue Dengue Dengue and Animal Chuk. What differentiates Vudufa from their peers is their focus on African beats and rhythms with nary a hint of cumbia.

Gustavo Dudamel – Celebrating John Williams

I interviewed Dudamel of the LA Philharmonic for FLAUNT magazine (you can check that out here) and, thus, spent days listening to much of his work. My favorite is the recording of his concert at Santiago de Compostela where he conducted Beethoven’s 9th with the Galician Symphony. His latest album is a live recording of his tribute concert for legendary composer John Williams with the LA Philharmonic at Walt Disney Concert Hall in January 2019.

Capsula – Bestiarium

Capsula is a band I’ve covered extensively throughout the years since first learning about them many years ago. I think it was at SXSW eight years ago. In any case, they released a new album earlier this year. Bestiarium is a concept album based on numerous mythological creatures of ancient folklores and some damn good rock n’ roll, as always.

If These Trees Could Talk – The Bones of a Dying World

I learned about this band and album thanks to the Radio option on Spotify. Now before anyone accuses me of crafting a sponsored post without attribution, Spotify is my main method/app to listen to music and podcasts followed by Podcast App, Mixcloud, direct streams, and good ol’ fashioned terrestrial car radio.

Anyway! This band has been one of my favorite instrumental bands since I learned about them. It’s great music to study to, to drive in the rain to, to cure writer’s block to, etc. If anything, give the song “Earth Crawler” (my favorite track) a listen.

Crim – Pare Nostre Que Esteu a L’infern

Crim are a punk band from Tarragona, Spain who I learned about thanks to a concert flyer I found while in Barcelona in April (more on that in a forthcoming post). They’ve got a political slant as any good punk band does with lyrics that focus on many of the modern social problems in their home country.

Arpaviejas – El Último Cartucho

Arpaviejas are also a punk band from Spain but these guys are from the outskirts of Barcelona. JR Kubensis founded the band in 2000 and continues today as his pet project feat. a rotating cast of musicians that form his band.

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Gustavo Dudamel: The Maestro Cometh

Friends, enemies, & the aloof: I present to you my first magazine cover story!

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In the Cause & Effect issue (number 165) of FLAUNT magazine, I interview LA Philharmonic director & conductor Gustavo Dudamel. It’s available now physically and also digitally here: https://www.flaunt.com/content/gustavo-dudamel.

An excerpt:

“Think about it. What is art, ultimately? What is culture?” he asks, gesticulating with his hands as if conducting, though in a much more subdued manner than when he takes the podium. “It is a people’s identity. Do you know what I mean? The great artists, the geniuses, no matter where they live or where they were born, gave all of humanity a gift… This means that when we play Beethoven in Peru, for instance, we can play him as a European composer with a Peruvian identity, or a Venezuelan one, or Argentine, or Japanese.”

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David Beckham Is A Statue: LA Galaxy Enshrine Their Biggest Star

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Statue of David Beckham. Photo by Ivan Fernandez (Afroxander).

David Beckham returned to Los Angeles this past weekend to add another trophy to his extensive collection. However, this is one award he won’t be able to take home as the LA Galaxy honored its former star player with a large statue of his likeness. His is the first to grace the newly christened Legends Plaza located at Dignity Health Sports Park’s main entrance.

“This city has always felt like home to me,” said Beckham, flanked by members of Dignity Health, AEG, Major League Soccer commissioner Don Garber, Rob Stone of FOX Sports, former teammates Chris Klein and Robbie Keane, and former Galaxy coach Bruce Arena.

More at LA Taco: https://www.lataco.com/david-beckham-statue/

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The Early Stage of a Future Doctoral Thesis

https://www.academia.edu/38306987/A_Meditation_On_Association_Football_As_Global_Aesthetic

The link above leads to a paper I wrote (and rewrote) last year. It touches on the possibility of association football as a global aesthetic based on the ideas of Chinese philosopher Li Zehou, specifically within his work found in Four Essays On Aesthetics: Towards A Global View.

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Academia Page

For all the academics out there: https://ivanfernandez.academia.edu/

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Before the L.A. Galaxy, Chivas USA, or LAFC, We Had The Los Angeles Aztecs

I wrote about the Los Angeles Aztecs of the North American Soccer League (1970s) for L.A. Taco:

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Perolli’s crew burned through the opposition, and won the Western Division Trophy. Weeks later, they won the NASL Championship Trophy after they defeated the Miami Toros (unrelated to the former LA/SD team) after penalties. It was the first time a professional soccer final was televised nationally in the United States.

“It was one of the most exciting games of the season,” says Gregory, “because we tied the game in the last minute, three to three.”

That debut season would be the only year that the Aztecs ever won a title. Their sister indoor squad didn’t fare any better as they won a single division championship in their final year, 1981. Gregory sold the team after the first season. He and Perolli accomplished the goals they set for that first year and he wanted to focus on his medical career.

“It grew so fast that it grew right out of my hands,” he remembers. “I was a doctor and I was actively practicing and I could never have handled it after that.”

Read the rest at L.A. Taco!

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Digital Football Review Roundup!

This one goes out to my fellow gamers and football fanatics! Below are short takes with links to the full reviews of both Pro Evolution Soccer 19 by Konami and FIFA 19 by Electronic Arts. Both reviews were published on Gamecrate.

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Writing about sports video games eventually evolves into an exercise of avoiding sounding like a broken record. The scenario depends on what the new, annual replacement brings to the table. Five years after my first review of a Pro Evolution Soccer title for this website, the scenario now teeters a bit into the negative side of things than the positive as Konami have delivered another solid entry but with fewer extras that gamers have come to expect from sports titles.

Review: Pro Evolution Soccer 19 & the power of football without many extras

FIFA19ReviewHeader

The Champions League is here! I’m not simply referring to the annual return of the Union of European Football Associations’ insanely popular football (nee: soccer) tournament. Electronic Arts has committed a huge coup with FIFA 19 as it’s the first title in the franchise to feature the European tournament in fully-licensed glory, along with the Europa League and the Super Cup. The inclusion marks another step forward for the franchise in EA’s quest to create the total digital football experience.

Review: In FIFA 19, champions, and a franchise, rise

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