Sunday, January 20, 2013

Ayutthaya


On Tuesday we decided to head north to the old capital city Ayutthaya to visit a historical temple. The original capital city of Ayutthaya was founded in 1350 and by the 18th century was known as one of the world's most important cosmopolitan urban areas, surrounded by several rivers all leading to the sea making it ideal for trade and commerce. In 1767 it was ransacked by the Burmese army leaving many archeological remains. Unable to rebuild the capital at the same location, Bangkok was developed as Thailand's new capital, just downstream, even closer to the Gulf of Siam.


We visited the beautiful Wat Yai Chaimongkhon temple. You still get a strong impression of the ruins despite the temple's restoration which began in the 1950s. There were many tourists there but I felt a stillness and peace while walking the grounds. We did a Buddhist ritual prayer, and put gold flakes on the corresponding buddha to the day of the week. We donated a few baht and shook a series of sticks in a cup until one fell out. The one that fell out had a number on it which you took to receive your fortune. Although mine wasn't the best of fortunes I thought some of it worth considering. Pim told me to leave it there go make my own. Turned out my fortune was at the Ayothaya floating market.



One thing that seems to be happening here in Thailand is the "double back." There is so much to see here that it takes time for my brain to process everything. So what happens is that after I walk past a wall of crispy fish skin and glistening pork skewers it takes about four to five other (equally delicious) stands to realize that I need to turn around and go back. I also should emphasize how good the fish skin was with a cold beer, and the pork skewers... after I scarfed those bad boys down I had to ask Pim to go back and tell the guy how incredible I thought they were. She said the secret to most skewers and satay is in the marinade. I asked the guy if I could take a picture and he told me, "if you take a picture of the food, you should take a picture of the guy who makes it!" Should you find yourself here, look for this smiling face amongst all of these tasty, subtly sweet and magical pork wands. Surrounded by snacks at the floating market, I remembered, "hey didn't we come here for river prawns??"



We drove a while, through a landscape of stilted houses and rice fields. By the time we reached Ton Nam River View I was hungry again. Passing through the restaurant seeing fresh fish on coals and half of the dining room floating on the Chao Phraya river, I knew I was in for a real treat. Pim's mom and her friend wasted no time ordering up, as I poured an already icy Singha over ice. Pimmy on my right and the railing on the left was the only thing between me and some playful yellow fish feeding on bits of rice I kept throwing over the edge, to my own amusement. We had some chicken wings, som tom, and some crispy fried anchovy-like sheetfish which tasted great with the fried rice.












All of this in mere anticipation of these glorious river prawns: BEHOLD!


The picture itself is even more than words can explain. The ethereal orange red goop left us in a beautiful moment of quiet indulgence. After a flavor-overload spoonful of the brain juice, we spread the rest out on the tail of the grandaddy of shrimps with the accompanying sauce, a perfect union of lime, chili & garlic. Khun Mae! Thank YOU!


The last thing Pim was raving about before the trip was the silk thread dessert, a specialty of Ayutthaya. We grabbed a bag of this cotton-candy-like treat at the floating market earlier in the day and despite some skepticism I was really impressed with this pandan & black sesame flavored stuffed crepe, especially for it's contrasting textures. Look how excited she is!


Thursday, January 10, 2013

2013: A Good Start

It's always funny to imagine the last thing things you did before a long journey halfway around the world. Relatively speaking it wasn't that long ago we were eating fish stew, drinking mags of beaujolais (côte du py-off!), lauguing it up with Carl, Anne-marie, Jeremy, & Erica. Flash forward... and I'm exchanging timid yet loving smiles with Pim's mom over fried chicken & fatty rice with spoonfuls of spicy ginger-laced sauce. A four pack of Chang tall boys, cheersing smuggled wild turkey with Pim's brother Derm and a 1-block history stroll of her old Bangkok stomping grounds was all that I needed to feel "at home" halfway across the world.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Seasonal Tunes Mix Series Vol. 11 "spring 2012"


YAWWWWWN!... This guy has been hibernating! Spring has officially sprung and I'm back to give you a taste of some of my favorite tunes from the past 6 months or so. Apologies for my dormant nature during the winter time. I was finding myself in front of my turntables less and less, but after a new mixer purchase (Rane Empath) and a new living room arrangement I've been much more active in playing/buying records.

Mixing this seasonal tunes was truly exciting, I found that things came together quite naturally this time around. Sometimes I have to cut tunes that I don't want to just for the sake of making the mix fluent. This time around I found things much easier and surprising. Let's talk about some of the highlights! 


Starting things off with Tropics "Mouves" was essential. I knew this was the opener the second I started working on this mix. The song is visual: a cloudy, dreamy, weightless flight. Chris Ward, a young talented multi-instrumentalist is responsible for nearly every piece of sound on his colorful debut full-length album Parodia Flare (planet-mu). "Mouves" is a shining example of the rest of album, highly recommended! I get into a little afro-vibe after this with tunes from Four Tet, TEED, and a cool, dancehall afro-beat remix by Daphni (Dan Snaith/Caribou). Clark releases a brilliant new album Iradelphic which in his own words is, "looming, ambiguous, radiant. Glowing, whole, invincible, complete." "Secret" jumps back and forth into a 3 dimensional listening soundscape from a present female vocal to deeper rhythmic backing vocals then huge shuffling drums and growling synths all held together by an almost brazilian guitar melody. I really love the way this dives even deeper mixing into Jamie Woon's "Blue Truth," immediately follwed by a monster of a tune "Dive Summers" produced by former Good Looking Records artist Blu Mar Ten. "While You Dooooo" by Teebs was one of my single favorite tracks of 2011. There is something very specific about where this track resounds in my head. Sure it's dreamy and a bit repetitive but Teebs knows something that other beatmakers can't touch. There is an organic element to his music that I really connect with, where other cats just seem to keep making cold digital/analog rackets. Jumping ahead in the mix, fellow label-mate on Brainfeeder Lapalux is making some serious racket right now. I really wanted to play "Moments" off the When You're Gone EP but something about his (beatless) take on Fink's "Perfect Darkness" that somehow IS a perfect darkness. It's so moody. I love it. 

Looking back at the cover art for this and having relinquished my desire for naming these seasonal tunes mixes, I realize that the context, the feeling that these songs evoke are what define the period in time where I really HEAR this music. There is something blooming about all of the songs on this mix. They are all desperate to break the surface, undulating energy turns into bright colorful pieces. "Swing Star" by disco/balearic genius Todd Terje is the perfect example of this. The tempo change about halfway through the mix really woke me up too.  The energy carries on into Modeselektor's unhinged "Blue Clouds." It's one of those songs that could just keep building for 20 minutes and I'd still be teetering on the edge. Towards the end of the mix you'll find more warming and textured pieces like Balam Acab's "Motion" and "Daniel" from Twin Sister which mix together beautifully. Also don't miss full length albums from John Talabot and Tanlines both have been on heavy rotation and helped wrap up the mix as closing songs.

BONUS. New video from Tanlines!


Thanks for listening and I hope this turns out to be an essential soundtrack to your Spring!

DOWNLOAD HERE (right click... save as)

tracklist 

tropics - mouves
four tet - pinnacles
totally enormous extinct dinosaurs - waulking song
cos ber zam - ne noya (daphni mix)
jonti - red on green
clark - secret
jamie woon - blue truth
blu mar ten - dive summers
when saints go machine - parix
teebs - while you dooooo (extended)
atlas sound - te amo
bullion - what does she know
todd terje - swing star (part 1)
modeselektor - blue clouds
fink - perfect darkness (lapalux beatless remix)
balam acab - motion
twin sister - daniel
neon indian - polish girl
john talabot - journeys (ft. ekhi)
tanlines - yes way

::mixed live on 4.7.11::

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Underwater Creatures setlist

 For those of you who don't know, I hold a monthly event at The Charleston in Bucktown called Underwater Creatures. Every second Thursday of the month catch me diving deep for sunken treasures. This month we celebrated the birthday of lovely bartender extraordinaire Sara Voden. As you can see below, good times were had. See you next year on 1.12.12!

tracklist 12.08.11:

dexter wansel - life on mars
bomp - disco power
recloose - electric sunshine
jonti - nightshift in blue
daedelus - make it so
caribou - the snow capes
aphex twin - bucephalus bouncing ball
telefon tel aviv - 8 track project cut
jimmy edgar - inner citee color reprise
maurice fulton - naoka's f
spacek - la bougie feat. mpho skeef
gb interprets the beach boys - i just wasn't made for these times
thundercat - is it love?
james pants - ka$h
subtle - f.k.o.
ms. john soda - by twos
the stepkids - shadows on behalf
poets of rhythm - smilin' (why you're crying)
weather report - 125th street congress
pharcyde - passin' me by
a tribe called quest - bonita applebum
de la soul - say no go (say no dope mix)
stetsasonic - all that jazz
kurtis blow - the breaks
man parrish - hip hop, be bop (don't stop) (extended remix)
midnight star - operator
egyptian lover - alezby inn
mr. fingers - can you feel it
george kranz - trommeltanz (din daa daa)
j.j. fad - supersonic
jonzun crew - we are the jonzun crew
new order - confusion
jenny burton - rock steady (dub)
stevie wonder - happy birthday [happy birthday sara!!]
luther ingram - oh baby don't you weep
the upsetters - popcorn
bob marley & the wailers - simmerdown
the skatalites - malcolm x
the specials - nite klub
willi bobo - spanish grease
perez prado - mambo no. 5
os mutantes - a minha minina
up bustle & out - los locos cubanos
hu vibrational - mirto (hu vibrational mix)
piano overlord - stay home
four tet & rothko - rivers become oceans

The Charleston
2076 N. Hoyne
Chicago, IL

Sunday, October 23, 2011

RIP François Barmès - Alsatian proponent of Bio-Dynamics

We are shocked and terribly sad to hear about the sudden passing of François Barmès. After visiting Domaine Barmès-Buecher last summer it was clear that his wines are some of the very best in Alsace and more so the world. François Barmès was more than a winemaker, you could feel his presence in a room. His unyielding devotion to bio-dynamics as expressed in his custom built cellar, satellite control vineyard, and ultimately in his fervent gestures, are in inspiration to look further into the connection between man, nature, and beyond. I'm truly grateful to have enjoyed the hospitality of him and his lovely wife Geneviève. Our thoughts are with the Barmes-Buecher family. The legacy of François will live on through his wines. RIP
read more about the estate here @ wine terroirs

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Seasonal Tunes Mix Series Vol. 10 "summer eyes"

Here comes the HEAT... Summer jams in effect. Squash Blossoms. Stuff 'em (i like buffalo mozz & anchovy). Fry 'em (yeah, tempura). Jumping right in: SBTRKT! I finally found out that you are (to no surprise) Aaron Jerome. I've always been a fan of your versatility and squeaky clean production, your work as SBTRKT is no different on the self titled full length out now on Young Turks. "Never Never" is easily a fav and I knew it was going to be my opener right when I heard it. Keeping the pan HOT with "Bricks" and Big K.R.I.T.'s theme song, part of his entirely self produced album (!) Return of 4eva. The whole thing is great, grab it, it's FREE. This is the first seasonal tunes where I drop drum & bass. I began my djing career in 1999 desperately scrambling to buy up the hottest dnb tracks before my friends did where we all ended up playing for each other anyways at Top Cats in Cincinnati. Marcus Intalex was almost always an automatic buy for me. To this day he's still producing quality spacey rollers: "Celestial Navigation" has been on heavy rotation for the past few months. In a truly serendipitous mix, the new Björk single "Crystalline" blends perfectly. HEAVY rinse out at the end is serious business... Gondry killed video too.
Gloss Drop from Battles is their new release on Warp, "Sweetie & Shag" featuring Kazu Makino from Blonde Redhead is a head-nodder. Summertime so far has been great for doing everything humanly possible but sometimes I'm happiest laying around in the park doing nothing... right Tom Vek? I'm sorry but Jamie xx's remix of Adele's super-hit "Rolling in the Deep" is the fucking JAM. I had to put it on despite the fact it came out in January. Besides, it sounds way better now than it did then. John Talabot is putting out some seriously good tracks right now and his latest podcast on XLR8R is amazing. "Families" featuring Glasser has been one of my favorite tracks of the summer so far. It sounds what it feels like to have the late afternoon sun in your eyes. The last bit of the mix I sped up the tempo starting with Junior Boys EPIC dance floor instant-classic "Banana Ripple" and Joakim's remix of Mitzi's "India" mixed so well with Zomby's "Natalia's Song." Like a warm starry night, and in light of the dnb debut on seasonal tunes, Photek closes things out with FaltyDL on the eerily beautiful remix.

DOWNLOAD HERE (right click... save as)

tracklist:

SBTRKT - Never Never
S-x - Bricks
Big K.R.I.T. - R4 Theme Song
Curren$y - You See It
Dorian Concept - Thank You All The Time Forever
Bibio - Don't Summarise My Summer Eyes*
Tokimonsta - Little Pleasure (feat. Gavin Turek)
Marcus Intalex - Celestial Navigation (feat. S.P.Y.)
Björk - Crystalline
Battles - Sweetie & Shag (feat. Kazu Makino)
Tom Vek - We Do Nothing
Panda Bear - Drone
Adele - Rolling in the Deep (Jamie xx Shuffle)
John Talabot - Families (feat. Glasser)
Washed Out - Amor Fati
The Morning Benders - Cold War (Star Slinger Remix)
Pictureplane - Body Mod
Junior Boys - Banana Ripple
Mitzi - India (Joakim Remix)
Zomby - Natalia's Song
Photek - Sleepwalking (feat. Linche - FaltyDL remix)

*cheers to bibio for the name idea

Saturday, July 16, 2011

52 Portraits w/Jay Schroeder

My Buddy Jay Schroeder is easily one of the most talented photographers that I know. Between him and his (also very talented and lovely) girlfriend Wendy, they take such beautiful and well lit shots. Both of them so good at capturing people in their element. As you'll see here, they somehow managed to catch me in mine. I was, to say the least, flattered by his interest in shooting me for his blog 52 portraits. A blog where he features a new subject every week for an entire year. Ambitious. I know how hard it is  because I can barely keep up with writing mine! p.s. I still intend on writing about my recent travels through Spain & France so stay tuned! Anyways go here to his blog to read about the details of the shoot at Websters.