Study this case study

This morning I woke up with a smile on my face and a clear, cool Summer breeze blowing in from the open window introducing this fresh new day. And it so happens that the universe likes to compliment these beautiful moments in my life by providing me with the matching music. This morning my fresh Summer breeze was Daniel Caesar’s new album CASE STUDY 01. This album isn’t special because of its features (even though Pharrell Williams or freaking BRANDY are pretty amazing ones), this album is special because of Daniel Caesar’s expanded mindset and references to physics, chemistry, neurology and spirituality, all wrapped up in a beautiful sound experience.

So this is actually a Summer breeze with a deep meaning behind it. Starting out the first song “ENTROPY” with a snippet from an interview with the American physician J. Robert Oppenheimer about the Trinity Test which started the nuclear era with the introduction of atomic bombs…that’s a symbolic statement. Caesar uses this to compare the state of the world with the chaotic state his own life is in. He sings: “So come on, baby, in time we’ll all freeze, ain’t no stoppin’ that entropy”. Entropy is a term used in thermodynamics mainly used to measure the system’s disorder (please don’t quote me on that, I tried to simplify it), so in symbolic terms it represents the degree of disorder or uncertainty within a system. In relation to that Caesar references the theory of “The Big Freeze”, also called the “Heat Death” which is a theory by scientists about how the Universe could end. If you’re interested you can read more about it here.  

The next song “CYANIDE” is named after a chemical compound which is highly toxic and symbolic for the toxicity of the love affair he is singing about. In contrast to that the next song “LOVE AGAIN” featuring Brandy is about finding hope for a love that has been faced with challenges “Even on your worst day, love you in the worst way, circling around for eternity, going through the motions you’re turning me, internally”, Caesar sings.

And just as these first three, the following songs are equally a mixture of darkness and light, the challenges of life, the confrontation with ugly truths, beliefs, faith, love and fear. I had initially started going through each song one by one but I would like to take another approach instead and invite you to listen to each song yourself and find your own interpretation and meaning in it. I feel like this album is like a piece of art and it will speak to each one of you in a different way, that’s the beauty of art.

So open your window and let the breeze in.

 

High on a low tide with Leven Kali

If there’s one thing you should do this weekend, it is to listen to this new 11 song project called “Leven Kali: Low Tide”! Having already dropped singles like “Do U Wrong” with angel voice Syd and the two related love songs “Nunwrong” and “Sumwrong“, I was wondering how much more greatness this album could even reveal.

But the creative Leven Kali does certainly not disappoint. After starting off with an appropriate warm “Welcome” intro, consisting of his oddly familiar signature sound, Leven jumps right into “Mine” singing, “It’s been three whole weeks, since I saw your face, and girl I need you here, when I call your name”. What I love about Leven is that he manages to write the most beautiful laid back love songs without sounding corny at all. He just seems to speak his mind and heart with realness and honesty and makes showing emotions look cool.

I also love the fact that he likes to make references between his songs. Just as “Sumwrong” is the sequel to “Nunwrong”, “Mine” can be seen as the sequel to his previous track “Yours“, which he also references in the third verse of “Mine” when he sings “I know everybody wanna have the world babe, but I just wanna hear you say I’m yours”.

Next off is “Cassandra“, which has a nice little groove to it and makes the most classy use of autotune that I’ve heard since T-Pain. The following intro “ardnassaC“, yes you’ve guessed it, Cassandra backwards, functions as a musical extension to the song and shows Leven’s attention to detail and love for sound. The intro “My Pen” probably includes one of my favourite lyrics “I’m a victim of my past life”…aren’t we all? “My Offer” is definitely a highlight of this project, with its acoustic emphasis on all types of jazz instruments for the first 2:50 minutes of the song, followed by a call to tell someone you love them.

On “Mad At U“, Leven is giving us a completely new perspective on fighting in a relationship, by singing “I’d rather be mad at you than be faking and be hanging with someone new, it’s really not the same I hope you feel the same”. By describing the relationship as a movie and the fights as the parts that he doesn’t like and wishes he could rewind, he is expressing his love through the good and the hard times and it’s beautiful.

And then finally, before finishing off with “Sumwrong“, Leven Kali is serving us a romantic slow jam with “1 On 1” that manages to introduce the Leven Kali sound into the familiar R&B soundscape and that electric guitar solo starting around 3:28 is truly giving me life.

So all in all, an amazing breath of fresh air Leven Kali project that will be playing on repeat throughout the years. Find the music video to “Do U Wrong” below to catch a vibe.

Pink Sweat$ – Artist to Watch

So for today’s *Artist to Watch* I want to introduce you to Pink Sweat$. Originally a songwriter from Philadelphia, this guy has now decided to start his own singing career. And I am glad he did! His songwriting story is interesting because he even wrote for Country artists “Florida Georgia Line” which honestly I hadn’t even heard of before. But I think that says a lot about his open-mindedness and his general love for music and meaningful lyrics. Why stick to just one genre when there is great stories to be told in all different types of music?

When reading Pink Sweat$’s interview with Billboard there were a few things he said that made me smile. Talking about the origin of his artist name “Pink Sweat$”, he explained that the name originated from him wearing his pink sweatpants to the studio all the time. The fact that the inspiration behind his love for pink was sparked by Cam’ron just shows that he’s not just a talented singer and songwriter but also a really cool guy.

Another thing I like about Pink Sweat$ is his critical view on the disrespect for women in the music industry especially in rap music and his emphasis on meaningful lyrics that move people and inspire them in a way that makes them want to share the music with others. Essentially he’s taking his talent for writing songs in order to spread more love in this world and I think that is a really beautiful thing.

Having lived in Philadelphia, New York and L.A. and having been strong enough to fight a rare disease that could’ve costed him his life, it seems that he’s found an inner balance that he is now able to channel through his own music. His first EP “Volume 1” consists of six songs that each are special in their own way. I personally am glad that he has decided to sing his own songs because his voice is way too powerful to remain hidden from our ears.

Now if you only ever just listen to one of his songs I want you to listen to “Honesty”. This 3:11 track has touched my soul right when I first listened to it. What makes it so special is that I think everyone can find something in it that they can relate to. The song is about making yourself vulnerable with someone else and revealing parts of yourself that you might prefer to keep to yourself. It is about the type of surrender that is required in order to open up to real profound love. I love it so much because it is encouraging depth and emotions in a time where most people hide behind their masks and protect themselves to the point where they deny their own soul.

Pink Sweat$’s mission is to touch people with his music and he really does have a gift in doing that. I’ve been listening to this EP over and over and I’m excited to know that Volume 2 is in fact already finished and on the way.