Hot Sugar

Hot Sugar (aka Nick Koenig)‘s music is not as sweet as his name although there is some fruity feeling coming out of it. It seems that my English is too poor to express what I feel like when I listen to it because it is a full experience where the five senses are summoned.

In a 2015 interview with NPR, he described associative music as “try[ing] to capture sounds the same way a photographer would capture an image: If something looks poetic, I’ll record it”

So much beauty to see, to hear, to touch (synesthesia involved.) So many colors, explosions of joy, of sadness, of vulnerability, of power; it’s insanely well composed and authentic. I could not choose one song. Sit down or and just listen to the whole albums God’s Hand (2015) & The Melody of Dust (2017). 

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Here are a few comments I found under his youtube videos :

“this makes me feel a deep unsettling happiness like falling forever into a purple ocean”

“this makes me think of what kind of music stars would make and a warm night on a beach with a lover”

“this makes me cry. why though?”

“painting with watercolours to this right now feels like the droplets of pigment are absorbing a little bit of this musical masterpiece”

“I’m dreaming ? Or this album is 2 good for this world ?”

“This just changed my life… again.”

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You see, the internet can be a happy, genuine, benevolent, lovely place when, in a middle of nowhere, something really beautiful and powerful pops out. Thank you Hot Sugar for your contribution to make the world a better place.

Please, give me another cup of Hot Sugar.

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Girl’s crush

This crush is a special one as we are going back in time.

Back in 2002, R’n’B was really cool and was the most popular type of music: Mariah Carey, Mary J. Blige, Usher, R. Kelly and of course Aaliyah (whom died in 2001 without me knowing her existence until then) were huge. Justin Timberlake also released the song “Cry Me A River” in 2002, big time. Timbaland was a big deal. I am just drawing a little background here, to help you visualize in what kind of world we were living. 

So we are in 2002, I am thirteen years old and I just moved in another high school. I am meeting some awesome friends. One of them totally is a R’n’B fan (and loves Michael Jackson too). Soon I followed her into this parallel and new Universe, as I was just listening to old french singers, classical music, piano and a bit of world or pop music.

One day, I am hearing Fallin, from Alicia Keys. And I see a picture of her. And a clip.

 

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Let me tell you I completely fell for her (didn’t we all?): her face was everthing I liked and she was just too cool, too beautiful with these braids and her piano. The song was great, with her soft yet powerful voice and this awesome voice choir. And the piano.

Photo of Alicia KEYS

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Afterwards, I never really became a big fan (I did like her collaborations with E.V.E, another cool girl) although I have to say she is a great singer. 

But I never forgot her face and this song, Fallin

Today I saw this picture on the internet (she is releasing a new album), which reminded me how beautiful she was – and still is

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That band I shall always love…

No matter how mainstream it became.

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Nirvana

A few weeks ago, my sister (she is 13 years old) and I were surfing the net together when a picture of Kurt Cobain came up. “Hey isnt’it Nirvana? Soooo mainstream!!” she said. I looked at her, speechless. I have to say the word “mainstream” in her mouth sounded really pejorative. My heart just broke. “Why are you saying that?  -Well, this band is everywhere: t-shirt, bags, pins… Everybody knows it.”

Wait a minute.

I explained to her that before becoming this hudge industry, Nirvana was a band. It means these three guys made music, and a pretty good one. “All these people that got something with this famous smiley or a picture of the band, do you think they know their music? I asked. -Not sure, I guess not. But we know the visual, she said.”

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That was my fear. Seeing Nirvana becoming a brand, a logo, does not bother me that much because it means they are famous and I genuinely believe they deserve to be listened over and over. Sadly, it appears that one can have one without the other.

Nirvana

Being 26, I was too young to live the exciting time when Nirvana exploded. Although I spent my teenage years, like most of my generation, listening to Kurt Cobain in my room, singing with him, crying with him. That is why I wish we would learn to appreciate again how honest and passionate they were, before putting a pin on a jacket. We must not forget that in a way, this fame and craziness killed Kurt, because he could not handle it, and for that he deserves to be heard.

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Kurt by Steve Gullick

Next time I see my sister, I am going to give her a CD (yes a CD, probably the old one I customised back in the days) and will ask her to forget about the mainstream spirit that goes along in order to focus on the music.

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Kurt by Mark Seliger

Color of the world

iron_and_wine_originalCredit Jeremy Cowart

Iron & Wine, aka Samuel Beam, is an American composer, song-writer and singer. He looks like a big teddy bear and his voice is smooth and delightful and you can easily picture him sitting in a rocking-chair while composing his next song. His music is perfect in the morning with a cup of tea and a shy ray of light, during lunch time with a tomato salad, in the evening surrounded by a peaceful sunset. Or take him in a road trip to experience this sweet feeling we call freedom. Iron & Wine’s music tastes like lemonade, smells like an old bouquet of colorful flowers and looks like a watercolour painting. He is also a great poet. If you do not believe me, here are the lyrics of the song called “Swans and the Swimming”:

“Take me again,” she said, thinking of him
“To the pond with the swans and the swimming”
Far from his room the familiar perfume
How it felt to her when she was naked
Lessons she learned when her memory slurs
As they marvel with love at the sunset
Walking away at the dark end of day
She will measure and break like a habit
Oh how the rain sounds as light as a lover’s word
And now and again she’s afraid when the sun returns
“Take me again,” she said, thinking of him
“I don’t care for this careful behavior”
A brush through her hair, children kissing upstairs
Keeps her up with her want for her savior
The sun on the sand, on her knees and her hands
As she begs for her fish from the water
But turn them away, she’s a whip and a slave
Given time she may find something better
Oh how the rain sounds as loud as a lover’s words
And now and again she’s afraid when the sun returns

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My number one favourite song is “House by the sea”, followed by “Grass widows”, “Such great heights”, “Love and some verses” or the famous “Boy with a coin”. Aren’t these lovely titles?! Go listen to his music, you will not regret it. After that, if you want to lay down in the soft green grass, I will totally understand why… and might even join you. By the way, he is signed by Sub Pop Records. Yes, Nirvana’s label, just that.

There is something about him

Yesterday, sitting in the living room, I heard a song coming through my flatmate’s bedroom. A slow and deep melody, a simple composition but oh! how powerful. I instantly started to shiver, knowing that she was listening to an artist I absolutely adore and also because the song showed me one more time how intense music can be. It says how strong Frank Ocean is: he has the ability to bring people together. My flatmate and I discovered this mutual passion for the guy and we ended up talking about him, his music, his sensibility, our feelings, spirituality and the meaning of life. Truly. And it all started with a song.

I mean, when he sings, he really talks to our soul, doesn’t he? When you listen to him, you can tell that his music has an universality; his stories become suddendly yours and his experiences become symbols. You can be a rocker fan, a Joan Baez groupie, a classical melomaniac: you could still fall in love with Frank Ocean’s music. Because he has something every artist will die to have: an authenticity. He does not fake it and people can feel it through his words and voice. We are no fool and Frank knows it. It is not only about his melodies, which I find absolutely brillant, but also about his lyrics. Mainly sad, sometimes sweet, oftenly filled by pain impulses, there are everything but stupid. Melancholy, hope, friendship, love, life; he does it all.

His soul seems to be as beautiful as his last name: deep, blue, obscure and infinite.

Frank, we sure are thinking about you.

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