17 December 2013

minimal?'s travels 2003 - 2013

Once upon a time, there was a creature named minimal? who came from Portland. It was very fond of Portland, but it also enjoyed exploring. Having no arms or legs, minimal? was happy to find a friend who would take it places.

The first place they went was San Francisco. Here is the first known photo of minimal? shot with a Motorola RAZR camera phone. It's not the best... (the photo, that is, Coit Tower is nice).

Over the next ten years, minimal? would have many adventures. Below is a map showing where minimal? has been (2003 - 2013) and now there's a movie too - featuring 41 photos of minimal? in action.

minimal? likes to have its picture taken. Sometimes the iconic places have ugly scaffolding or machinery in front of them so the photo has to be taken in an odd way.

Sometimes minimal? just likes having its photo taken in an offbeat way. The photos in this post didn't make it into the movie, but minimal? wanted to share them with you.

Unfortunately, minimal? can't remember where this photo was taken. Does anyone recognize this skyline?

Unfortunately, minimal? doesn't have any photos of itself in Glacier Bay, Alaska or the lovely city of Montreal. Perhaps the photos were accidentally deleted, or perhaps minimal? didn't make it out of the suitcase. 

minimal? hopes someone is good at photoshop, but worst-case it will go back and see these places again because they are nice. Below is the aforementioned slideshow movie with a song you might enjoy.

14 December 2013

Best of 2013 Mix

I've been working on this blog post (and this mix) for a few weeks now. Every time I listen to it, I wonder if there's some sort of theme - melodical or lyrical - tying all these songs together.

Zanna, a good friend of mine, got a quasi-preview. She says it has all the hallmarks of a Madhapa mix: handclaps, horns, a song in Spanish (you know how I do). But what do all these songs have to say about the musical year that was 2013?

I guess if anything, music from 2013 reminds me a smidge of 1993 - that sparkling post hairband / pre-grunge moment in time that gave us Whump! (There it Is), Informer, Mr Wendel, Two Princes and That's the Way Love Goes. Also like '93 we had a lot of female artists on the top of the charts in 2013. Check out the Billboard Top 100 from 1993.

This year's mix includes an above-average number of danceable tunes and virtually nothing that could have been released by 4AD.* I even have a tune on here that pretty much falls into the baby-makin' music category (Rhye's Open). Sorry, there's no Robin Thicke here (figured you've pretty much heard that one). But if you like twerking, boy do I have a song for you (NSFW).

Alright, let's get to it. Below there should be an embedded mix from 8tracks, the cover art is Buzz Aldren's head. If you can't see it below, click through to themadhapa.com or listen to the mix on 8tracks.

Here are the tunes in playlist order:

1. Moon Hooch - Number 9
(this band is only two sax players and a drummer; you will be amazed)

2. Ebony Bones - I See I Say
(Ebony Bones studied w/ Amy Winehouse and recorded her album with the Symphony Orchestra of India. How 'bout that?)

3. Kobo Town - Joe the Paranoiac

4. Major Lazer - Bubble Butt

5. Iron & Wine - Grace for Saints and Ramblers

6. Stealing Sheep - Shut Eye

7. Mean Lady - Bop Bop

8. Daft Punk feat. Panda Bear - Doin' It Right

9. Haim - Forever

10. CHUVRCHES - The Mother We Share

11. Neko Case - Man
(was there any doubt this would make the best of mix?)

12. Phosphorescence - Song for Zula
(Zula was the stand out for both people who got the preview mix)

13. Los Master Plus - El Extraño
(cover of Radiohead's Creep)

14. Rhye - Open
(possibly the first slow jam ever to appear on a best of mix)

15. Augustines - Cruel City
(reminds me of U2 from 20 years ago, plus a little somethin' extra)

* I'm still digesting the new Throwing Muses album and reserve the right to go back and add a tune from Purgatory / Paradise.

I'd also like to sneak in a tune from 2012. A couple weeks after I published my Best Music of 2012 post I was in Portland (of course) and heard Fitzpleasure (another great track from Alt-J's excellent album An Awesome Wave). My favorite track ended up being Dissolve Me, which you can hear in the first 1min 30 sec of this year's diving video.

A few years ago I started calling out my favorite new artist of the year. For 2013 it's Haim (the pronunciation rhymes with "time"). Three sisters plus a (male, non-relative) drummer you never see =  Haim. Mary at  Rats Off has my undying love for a lot of reasons, but especially for the great music she finds.

Haim definitely has a '90s thing going that I can't exactly put my finger on. Mary accurately predicted that there would be lots of quirky vintage hats at their show - right on as always, Miss Mary.

Best Cover Song: El Extraño
(Radiohead's Creep in Español)

Officially, my favorite cover song of 2013 is El Extrano. Unofficially, it's Brian Williams rapping Warren G's RegulatePeace out...