Next is my conversation with Adriana Astorga-Gainey and Jesenia Gardea of the Pacifico Dance Company. The Los Angeles-based non-profit company takes a serious approach to folklorico dance that centers on training professional dancers.
One of the things keeping my sanity intact during the COVID-19 pandemic is music. There is, thankfully, still plenty of new music being released on a regular, normal basis. That sense of normalcy is appreciated. That being said, I present some artists & tunes I’ve been listening to for the past month or so while dealing with short bursts of existential dread. Enjoy!
Barzo & Un Rojo Reggae Band – “Electrified”
DJ/producer Barzo of Costa Rica teams up with Un Rojo Reggae Band on this track, which Barzo also published via his label, Lacteo Cosmico.
Carré – “This is not a band”
Carré is a French trio based in Los Angeles. The track above is the group’s debut single and reminds me of the types of bangers prevalent during the early and mid-2000s when Soulwax, Ed Banger, Justice, and Digitalism ruled dance floors worldwide.
Cheo – Sorpresa
Jose Luis Pardo makes his solo debut. Well, technically, it’s his debut without using a stage name. He originally went solo as DJ Afro in 2007 with the EP-1 four-track album. followed by the 2011 full-length album, Free. He was still a member of Los Amigos Invisibles, which he founded, during then. In 2014, he dabbled with a nu-disco project under the name Orquesta Discotheque and released an album of disco-fied covers titled Musica Moderna.
On Sorpresa, Cheo expresses himself fully, completely, and honestly as a singer, songwriter, musician, and producer. Says Cheo:
It took me some time time to write my own music again and re-invent myself after years of writing for a “sex-infused party band.” Who was I now?
In June 2019, I had a break from producing and decided to check all the song ideas to make a selection and produce them, maybe as someone else’s album, the same way I produced as my job.
The result is Sorpresa. What came out was a surprise to me in every way. I didn’t know I had all that music inside me. I didn’t know I was going to be an artist again…these songs feel like a book I needed to write after living so much, after I thought my career as an artist was done.
Esteman – “Hasta Que Tú Me Quieras”
The Colombian artist provides a peek and the soundtrack to what will hopefully be pandemic-free summer nights ahead. Here’s hoping the beaches and piers on the west coast can be reopened by late June.
LASTMONDAY – “Audemars”
Bronx-Dominican artist LASTMONDAY got stuck in Miami, FL when the COVID-19 lockdown went into effect. He and director Modern Day Auteur made the most of the situation and shot a video for his track “Audemars,” off his upcoming mixtape Yo! Tigerito.
N.Y.P.D. 南洋派對 – 南洋派對
Google Translate tells me that the name of this band is N.Y.P.D. Nanyang Party. I don’t know much else about these guys other than their lyrics/vocals are in Cantonese and that their album was released via Yeti Out’s HK label Silk Road Sounds. Oh, and it’s damn good garage/punk rock n’ roll.
Superposition – Form//Less
Superposition is the “meditative antidote to a world of digital overwhelm” created by the duo Justin Boreta and Matthew Davis. The five-track EP makes a great soundtrack for rest, relaxation, and soothing your anxiety, which is exactly what many of us need these days.
Good news! I’m contributing to Gamecrate once again! Here’s my first article after a two-year hiatus:
“From Sapiens to Ludens” is a phrase plastered across the online homepage of Kojima’s company, Kojima Productions. Ludens refers to Homo Ludens, aka “man who plays,” and is an idea that is at the heart of his company’s mission. The company statement includes a phrase explaining that “playing is not simply a pastime. It’s the primordial basis of imagination and creation.”
There are a number of references to Homo Ludens within Death Stranding itself. The most direct is found in a letter from the character Heartman titled “Bridges Needs Homo Ludens.” In it, he writes: “Homo ludens – they who play. Be it deliberate or unintentional, Homo ludens unite people – creating culture, shaping the very world around them – not through violence, not through laws or proscriptions, but rather through metaphorical acts of play.”
Cultural theorist Johan Huizinga coined the phrase Homo Ludens in 1938 when he published Homo Ludens: A Study of the Play Element in Culture. In it, Huizinga writes about the necessity of play for humans and its central role within human cultures.
First, an admission: today marks nearly a year to the day that I left for a week-long trip to Barcelona and I still haven’t fully edited the photos and videos I took during that trip. OOPS!
I have more free time now due to reasons related to that-one-virus. I hope to finish editing, uploading, and sharing the rest of the photos/videos from that trip beginning with this post of photos I took while walking the various streets of the city. Enjoy!
“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.”