Nujabes

Seba Jun was a Japanese hip-hop record producer, better known by his anagram Nujabes (his name in reverse). Like many others, I first saw his work in Samurai Champloo, Shinichiro Watanabe’s anachronistic jidaigeki. It’s absamuraichamploo-departuresolutely a peach of an anime!

Best of Nujabes (Mix Tape) : https://youtu.be/Aj8UnnMdMcA

I find his work absolutely incredible. Why is it that I find these amazing artists only after they die?

His sound is unique. There are layers, sampled from other songs, mixed together. But it is not for your to distinguish them: there is a flow to it, almost like the undulating flows of a river. It’s mostly what people would call “nu jazz”. Of course, he has  produced a lot of hip hop. Over the years, he collaborated with a number of artists, from Japan and America, to produce top-grade stuff. It didn’t end in Gangsta brags, but segued into a soulful journey of undulating beats.

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A tribute to Seba Jun’s life. Rest in beats. Credits: chrisgoods.tumblr.com

Unfortunately, in the late February of 2010, Jun Seba met with a car crash. He was pronounced dead in the Hospital.

 

Numerous tributes have been given to him, underlining his importance in the DJ\Indie movement of Hiphop.

Hiphop has become obnoxious in recent times. Apart from a handful of artists, I think most Hiphop artists sell only because they are popular. People buy them when other people tell them to: peer pressure of music scene.

And worst of all, music becomes popular because of music videos. Just fill the music video with vanilla love and overt teenage sexuality, and you have a popular song with a billion views on YouTube. Just don’t forget to add the lyrics in the video (but most people don’t care what you are saying when the lyrics rhyme anyway).

The recent EDM rush just illustrates my point better (ever heard of The Chainsmokers?)

After listening to popular music, I feel like my ears have taken a beating, I feel like I have been subject to an onslaught of electronic bullets. Nujabes then becomes a guilty pleasure. I am listening something which might be deeply unpopular, or not heard of; it is certainly not something you can use to discuss with your friends over lunch, since they haven’t heard of him! But it’s amazing, and you don’t care about these things.

You just put him on, and listen to the beat.

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Nightmares and Daydreams

I was browsing the web when I found out this awesome page of photographer Nicolas Bruno.

Mr. Bruno has an extreme case of sleep paralysis, a condition in which the mind wakes up during REM (Rapid Eye Movement) cycles. REM is when we start dreaming, and the body, in order to stop us from doing awkward and dangerous things in life, removes the ability of the neurons to accept signals. This causes an effective temporary paralysis, called REM atonia in medical jargon.

Of course, when you wake up, and your body is still doing REM atonia, no jargon can make it sound less scary. Sleep paralysis has long been associated with demons and monsters and all the things in between. As the human mind is very susceptible to wild flights of fancy, it could have invented incubi, succubi, and even alien abduction, all the while making it believable for the people who have had the unfortunate experience.

Mr. Bruno illustrates in artistic awesomeness how scary these can be. Our minds are capable of showing us truly befuddling nightmares. And it can turn even these into art.

I also feel this goes on to show how ignorance really gets our wildest conjectures to fly the highest. The problem starts when we settle our curiosity with conjectures. People who were accused of being witches and wizards could very well have had neural disorders.

And anyway, it’s the dark wizards we need to be concerned about.

Season

What a season it has been!

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Congratulations to the champions, and better luck next season to others! At the start of the season, I could only vaguely hope that Antonio Conte would make some magic happen at Stamford Bridge. I couldn’t have predicted this outcome. Everyone thought that Chelsea had over-performed to become champions in 2014/15. But look at this team now!

I guess it’s right what they say: true grit is getting back up every time you fall down. And that’s why I like this team: they have grit. They fall, they stumble, they get up. They play with courage, ready to charge down shots, and create moments of magic that I can not see elsewhere. Slick football is nice, but what counts outside of it is courage.

This season has been a special one, even without the Special One. This really reminds of Chelsea’s heydays from 2009/10. What grit, what magic! To think a defender ousted for being not suitable to the premier league comes back to give one of the most memorable centerback displays! To think, that a tactical change at a crucial time of the season changes its plot! And, a diminutive midfielder becomes a modern legend!

This will forever be remembered as the magical 3-4-3 season. The season Antonio Conte arrived in Chelsea.

 

PewDiePie and all the Swastikas: Part II

Part I goes here.

Felix is no such person. If anything, he’s a decent fellow. His jokes sometimes stretch too far, and he uses a lot of clickbait. He’s no anti-semite: it’s like saying Sacha Baron Cohen was anti-semite because he made “The Dictator”. He has made a few Hitler jokes, and has used the swastika sometimes in clickbait images.

Let’s talk about it. The imagery is frightening because of its association, not because it’s inherently bad. The swastika, for example, is a symbol of good luck and prosperity, transcending religions and even cultural boundaries. A good article on it can be found here.

Just like his book, Adolf Hitler’s symbolism is given too much power in the west. Charlie Chaplin reduced Hitler to a laughing stock, caricaturing him in his famous film The Great Dictator. People need to shake off these associations. These don’t give fascists power. What gives them power are our fears.

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At a time when technology is making people, many of whom are too old to learn something new, lose jobs, fear is at its highest. Where certain ideologies are making people, innocent in other ways, take up arms and fight for twisted lies, fear is driving the cause of global conflict. Far before Global Warming or rising sea levels, a large scale war can be a fatal blow to our already precarious environment.

Fascism uses these fears. It puts up a symbol of strength: a man who’s calling on ancient customs and shows the way forward to an utopia. People rally around him; people do whatever they can to get back a glorious past or an imagined glorious future. The one party with a majority uses fears and propaganda against a group of people, isolating them from a national narrative. Targeting them, they use this group of people as a common enemy uniting their followers. This is fascism, as defined by Benito Mussolini, who was a journalist and therefore knew about the power of a national narrative. If this sounds insinuating, you may find fascism working somewhere around you.

And the media is silent.

That’s the second tenet of fascism: silence your opponents. No one can break the national narrative, which is aggressive and loud. Mussolini and Hitler did it by assasinations; one can say a similar thing about Japan. If you do not participate in the ideology of the ruling party, your life is forfeit.

It’s no wonder fascism is a favourite with dictators; it gives them immense power without opponents. Voldemort’s system was a classical fascist system: riling fear and hatred towards a common opponent and institutionalizing oppression and elimination of undesirables. Even the newspaper of the wizarding world, the Daily Prophet, went towing Voldemort’s line after he took control at the Ministry of Magic. Any other publication, like ‘The Quibbler’ (which is run by Luna Lovegood’s father, Xenophilius), that tried to challenge Voldemort was silenced. Rowling knew what she was doing. This is the worst phase of human history, after the colonization centuries.

But Mussolini or Hitler weren’t Voldemort. Voldemort had real power, but the others were simple humans. They could have been killed and gotten rid of if only people had questioned.

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The one you should really be scared of. The rest, pooh.

That is the fourth estate! That is where the media comes in. You would imagine with all the connectedness the world has, one wouldn’t find these things happening, but they are.

They are happening because our media is out of touch with the people, chasing their own agendas and advertisement money. Trying to persecute an innocent swedish guy who shouts and screams for living as a Nazi-monger. This is sad, because I don’t want Voldemort to come back. Nobody wants to hear a patronus in a wedding party say, “The ministry has fallen. Scrimgeour is dead. They are coming.”

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We only need to know that happiness can be found in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.

PewDiePie and all the Swastika: Part I

Wow, I didn’t realize there was something so drastic going on in the world right now. PewDiePie is a racist and a Nazi patriot! BREAKING NEWS! We have to tell all the world about this because we don’t have anything important to talk about today!

For the people (which in this case is mostly everybody) who are wondering what all the fuss is about, the Wall Street Journal, that iconic newspaper idolizing the mecca of capitalism, wrote an article about PewDiePie’s apparent Nazi messages. Be careful world! Here is a Swedish YouTuber from the south of England ‘normalizing‘ Nazi rhetoric, imprinting it in the minds of impressionable twelve-year olds.

Looking at the grave concerns of a corporate herald, Disney cut ties with an independent creator, relegating him to a ‘hopeful’ tier of internet anonymity.

Oligarchies have once again won against individuals.

Continue reading “PewDiePie and all the Swastika: Part I”

Well, that’s a long break.

I thought I would write something, but things just kept on piling up. Things need to be dusted, otherwise you get sootsprites hovering over it.

Sootsprites, if you don’t know what they are, are japanese yokai, thought to dwell in unused, decrepit buildings. You’d know them from Ghibli movies.

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They also appear in My Neighbour Totoro. I love their representations. They are that invisible, unseen, unexplained boundary between reality and fantasy: we make them up because we can’t see in the darkness. But darkness isn’t something malicious or dangerous or somthing to be afraid of. Darkness is absence of photons. Darkness is fluffy and harmless, just something that wants to find a home where nothing else lives.

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Well, I will have to open up the house now. And let these susuwatari wander off into the night. Adios!

 

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