Frank Ocean and Channel Orange


The
transition from working in coloring books, to drawing pictures on a blank piece of paper must be a *bitch to little kids. When you work in the predefined lines of a coloring book you can safely make awesome shit. You can make some very realistic flowers in a field, or get Super Troopers  drug hallucination inspired and make pictures of purple elephants frolicking in green rivers. With either approach to coloring you benefit from those set lines. You have a base idea what the final outcome is going to look like. The first time your parents hand you a box of crayons and a blank sheet of paper, you have no idea what it’s going to end up looking like. It’s a small act of bravery to begin TRYING to draw. Your attempt at making an elephant can easily end up looking like an illustrated guide to a womens vajay jay. That’s a frighteningly age inappropriate reality for kids that still find Yo Gabba Gabba to be a compelling show.

The Hip Hop and R&B game, stays firmly in the world of “coloring books”. Most albums fall into very predictable subject matter and execution. There’s songs for making love, songs about falling in love, songs about falling out of love, and songs celebrating human anatomy. There’s some autotune, maybe a club joint from some Swedish pop singer. The execution varies slightly, but at the end of the day, you know what the album will sound like. Channel Orange—Frank Ocean’s debut album, throws back to the more adventurous days of R&B. Back in the days, dudes made seven minute long R&B jams about life that could double as progressive rock songs and mad people conceive babies while listening to it.

From the opening track “Start”, a sound collage of everything from an iPhone text message noise to heavy breaths to Street Fighter 2 soundtrack music, you realize you’re on some different shit. The album begins with “Thinking ‘Bout You” a delicately sung, slow burning song that expands the sentiment of childhood “do you like me” notes into an examination of newfound love. It’s the sort of track young girls want to hear on mixtapes given to them by dudes they have crushes on. But, the dudes they have crushes on don’t have the courage to rock joints like this until it’s no longer age appropriate to lead with mixtapes. Such is the tragedy of young love. While this is standard fare for an R&B album, a couple of songs later you get a suite of songs “Sweet Life,” “Super Rich Kids” and “Not Just Money” that unravel a story of privileged black kids enjoying a life of luxury. These are totally songs you could make babies to (“Sweet Life” especially feels like some old D’Angelo shit) but it’s an odd lyrical choice to focus in on the black upperclass for the middle third of your debut album, yet it fits with the young love theme of “Thinking ‘Bout You.” Odder still, is the decision to have one of these songs work off of a piano melody that sounds a lot like Elton John’s “Benny and the Jets.”  

The rest of the album is similarly out there in a low key way. “Monks” features some odd metaphors about moshing monks and instrumentation that brings to mind Stevie Wonder as played by Phrenology era Roots.  The combination of “Bad Religion” and “Pink Matter” is an OD level melancholy testament to unrequited love and longing, but it also sounds a lot like a Jon Brion (early Fiona Apple producer/Eternal Sunshine for the Spotless Mind composer) jam, with all that melodic melodrama preserved.

While Channel Orange has a lot of jams on it and beautiful lullaby compositions, it’s also incredibly brave and nuanced. For a first album (depending on what you consider Nostalgia Ultra it shows an assuredly distinct and mature musical voice. This is one of the first R&B albums in recent memory that plays out as a whole instead of a collection of singles. It’s clear that whether it be on Tumblr or in his music, Frank Ocean isn’t afraid to make bold and defining statements. Judging by Channel Orange, they’ll all turn out pretty well for him.

Practice: The Legend of Zelda Symphony of The Goddesses by San Diego Symphony.


we caught the San Diego Symphony practice one day before concert at Comic Con 2012, In advance I apologize for the quality as everything was improvised and caught us by surprise. we had technical difficulties with people messing with the equipment before the end of one of the song. never the less, please enjoy this exclusive!

Abraham Lim – Glee Project Season 2!!

So one of my friends is on The Glee Project.  He’s a damn talented singer, and he’s got really cool red hair.  You might’ve seen him at MinSokChon back in the day, but he’s moving on to bigger and better things.  Still, he makes the best Hello Kitties this side of San Diego.  Who am I talkin’ about?

Abraham Lim.  So, by the CEO powers vested in me at Team Mixed Nuts, we officially support Abraham Lim’s bid to be the winner of the Glee Project Season 2.  Go Abraham!

And yes, I secretly wish I could climb an escalator like Abraham.  He found out, though.

-Francis

Twitchy’s Anime Rocking Chair – Bubblegum Crisis

This was “fanservice” back in the day. No, really. Moe Moe Kyun.  Pictured from the left, Linna, Sylia, Priss, and Nene.  Asswhuppin’ in a can, baby.

Remember when cyberpunk dystopian environments were all the rage?  I do.  And believe me, it made for some pretty damn awesome entertainment.  Even Anime wasn’t exempt from the cyberpunk bug.  What you see above you was one of the most pivotal titles to ever hit the US.  BUBBLEGUM CRISIS.

Bubblegum Crisis chronicled the adventures of an all-female mercenary group-for-hire called the “Knight Sabers”.  Equipped with powered exoskeletons, these 4 girls would fly off into the night and keep the peace.  During the day they would have to deal with their normal day-jobs.  Apparently in the future, shit’s gone so crazy that people rely on robots(or are they?  They’re half android/biological organisms) called “Boomers” to do most of the really gritty work that people don’t want to touch.  What happens when those boomers run amok?  The Knight Sabers come in and whup some robot ass.

The group is lead by Sylia Stingray.  She runs a lingerie shop in the daytime, but at night she’s the driving force of the Knight Sabers.  The main muscle of the group is Priscilla “Priss” Asagiri, and she’s your go-to girl for up-close in your face combat.  Rounding out the group is Linna Yamazaki, who has athletic precision when she fights, making her an excellent support character for any situations they would come across.  Finally we have Nene Romanova, a cutesy tech geek who absolutely hates fighting.  She’s really suited for hacking into computer networks and stuff.  The primary antagonists of the series are the shady GENOM corporation, a giant Japanese zaibatsu responsible for the creation and maintenance of the “Boomers” that the modern world depends on.

What made this series so popular, you ask?  For one, the characters were all real characters who had their own shit to deal with, on top of their duties as Knight Sabers.  Priss is a biker that lets her temper get the better of her.  Linna is a tad money-hungry and she serves as an aerobics instructor/manager to get by.  Nene is a police officer, and she feels conflicted with her duties as a cop, and her vigilante assignments as a Knight Saber.  Sylia is still haunted by the murder of her father and the coverup by the GENOM corporation.  Real heroes with real problems.  Sorta like Marvel.

Second, the art was simply fantastic.  The characters were drawn out by Kenichi Sonoda, the artist behind the Gunsmith Cats.  Animation duties were handled AIC and Youmex.  The art reflects the doom and gloom technological psychobabble that cyberpunk series at the time were known for.  Shit’s not all roses and rainbows in post-apocalyptic cyberpunk Tokyo.

Third?  THE MUSIC.  This anime series has one of the best damn songs I’ve ever listened to EVER.  Here’s some of the music from the original series.

Okay, I know some of the fashion’s a little off.  It’s the 80’s.  Shit was crazy in the 80’s.

As is the case with cyberpunk stories, the issue of humanity is touched on quite a bit.  What makes something human?  Can machines feel like we do?  How far can we go with technology before shit blows up in our collective faces?  You blend this all together and you get one of the most iconic anime series EVER.   BGC has a pretty good following in its native Japan, but in the US…..HOLY SHIT.  It’s HUGE.

Growing up, I always wanted to watch the series, but once I was old enough to actually start buying anime, the series went out of print.  It was a battle to find them in my local electronics stores.  Only last year at Comic Con 2011 was I able to buy the entire boxset.  AND IT WAS WORTH IT.

 

SMTown World Tour III – May 20th, 2012.

I’ll be blunt.  The show was brilliant.  There was not a single act that I wanted to skip.  Hell, even Shinee killed it.

  • Shinee was the opening act, and they performed Juliet and a bunch of their hits.  Awesome sauce.
  • Super Junior followed, and they got the crowd pumped.
  • TVXQ, Tohoshinki, whatever you wanna call ’em, they got EVERYONE hyped.
  • f(x) performed next, and I’m beginning to like Amber.  Reverse Traps!
  • SNSD!  SNSD!  SNSD!
  • EXO is SM Entertainment’s answer to 2 PM/ 2 AM.  And apparently they’re really popular.  They got the most cheers.
  • BoA is…amazing.  Simply amazing.
  • Afterwards, they had mix up acts featuring different members from different groups doing collaborations.  My personal favorite?  SNSD’s Jessica and her kid sister Krystal from f(x) performing Katy Perry’s “California Gurls”.  YES.  PROUD TO BE A CALIFORNIAN.

Even though the lineup was considerably smaller than the previous concert, it was way better.  It felt like SM Town catered their event towards an american audience, and the show stayed at a high energy level throughout.

Sorry about these pictures, I was seated kinda far and my phone’s camera wasn’t that good.  Enjoy the slideshow.

See Justin, I’m not cheating!

It’s been an insane May the 4th.

May the 4th be with you.  While most of the geeky blogosphere is celebrating the unofficial Star Wars day (we are too, you must’ve read Eileen’s entry earlier), I want to extend our condolences to the Yauch family and the Beastie Boys.  After a long battle with cancer, Adam Yauch passed away at the age of 47.  Adam and the rest of the Beastie Boys gave us some of the best hip hop songs for the better part of 3 decades.  Plus he was a staunch supporter for the sovereignty of Tibet, wanting freedom for them and working tirelessly towards that goal.

Adam, you will be missed.  We of Team Mixed Nuts honor your efforts and accomplishments.  Now, let us all have a moment of silence.

…..

Time to fight for your right to party, readers.

-Francis

HUGH.

God damn look at that garment. You know the one I’m talking about. The majestic and wonderfully buoyant looking fur puffball that somehow encircles the massive corpus of one Rick Ross as he stands in a wind tunnel/Maybach storage space. That coat sums up Rich Forever perhaps better than any song or video. I want that fucking coat!
 Surrounding the coat is a delightful new video for Rich Forever standout “MMG Untouchable.” Following up last week’s amazing and goofy “Yella Diamonds” video, we sure have gotten an eyeful of Richard’s heaving bosom recently. Though this time he is, more or less inexplicably, accompanied by Timbaland, who makes that dumb Timbaland face like he does. Is this a sign that they’re working on music? Please?