Saturday, May 25, 2013

Shae Parka ("Talking French")

This months cover by Aleksandar Ares.
Layout by K.K.W

Music now: Shae Parka's "Talking French". By K.K.W

They say " imitates art.." (1) and vice versa; and when it comes to the world of Hip-Hop, like other musical forms,  the same is true.
Shae Parka as "Shae Chaplin" 
"Talking French" is the latest release from Parka (& his first music video) showing his ambition, creativity and drive. Taking part f his look and style for the video from Charlie Chaplin, "Talking French" is a visual splice between 3 alternate realities showcasing a non-linear story that borders on art. 

While the video is seriously good, some of the color scenes seem like home-movie footage, which may have been on purpose. The black & white scenes are exceptional in its way, mimicking the noir-look, style and feel of the Chaplin era. The movement from one reality to the next, scene to scene is at times extremely well done showing top-notch editing, cinematography and art direction.

The song itself is arguably one of Parka's best, with intricately crafted lyrics that seem to go with the theme of the Chaplin-like story line. And there is the crux of the whole thing, is Parka just adopting something of the tramps style and look to further his own game? Is he making a statement about reversal of fortune, "minstrel shows" (Hollywood & the black-face era)? A challenge to the status-quo cleverly disguised as narcissism, personal struggle, and hip-hop bravado?

In a way I think its all these things, though perhaps not consciously. However you choose to look at "Talking French", the fact is its an amazing, ambitious video thats far better then most others at Parka's level.   
A scene for the beginning. The name of the
television network is actually the name
of Parka's label "NightShift Records".
And one of the programs, "City Of Walls",
is the name of a graphic novel by Abede Lovelace
who appears in & helped with the video.
Image courtesy of the artist.

Shae Parka - AKA: Steven C Griffen II.
Image courtesy of the artist.
If you would like to know more, go to: Art is the reason, art is the way. (1) from The Decay of Lying, by Oscar Wilde.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Antoan Kurt

This months cover by Aleksandar Ares.
Layout by K.K.W
Music now: Antoan Kurt - artist profile. By K.K.W

Described by some as an alternative electro-pop singer & songwriter, the man in question certainly is that. However,  I'd like to think he's more of an artist who is also a composer, producer, actor, multi-instrumentalist, poet and fashion icon (in his own right). 
Antoan Kurt - image courtesy of the artist.
Whatever you consider Antoan Kurt, he's arguably one of the most interesting Europeans operating in New York. Founder of the fusion Jazz project "Taurus Funk Power" (a straight cool groove), he drew inspiration from the NYC sub-culture underground: Mutant Funk, Jean Michel Basquiat, Sonic youth and DJ premier. 

When it comes to his music the verdict is clear; damn good, if not at times great.
"Me Myself, And I" is dramatic as it is smooth and emotional. The vocals melding with flow, and beat perfectly. There's an obvious personal quality to the lyric's, though its the passionate delivery that gives it life. 

"Feel on me" is an amazingly vibrant, funky, electro-pop song that makes you want to dance, grove to it, and pass it on to everyone. There's a genuine good feeling to it, without the sense of cheap commercialization.     
Antoan Kurt - image courtesy of the artist.
As a producer, his work with others? Almost near to being flawless. "Up N'Down" ft. Antoan Kurt, by MAYA (debut EP)is a dope track with a hard-hitting electro-synth-pop sound. "Cigarette's" by Sasko Kostov & The Waiting Waits is perfect. The sound, flow and editing is smooth harmony. The song & band is one of my favorites.

He's also produced remixes for such greats as Beyonce (yeah, Beyonce!) and Albanian pop diva Tuna. Labels he's worked with include Sony Music, Model Electronic Inc, JMC Entertainment, Signs Fiction Inc, Bothom2Top Records and VoxPop Arts. With a record like this and the talent to back it up, Antoan Kurt is certainly one you should be listening to.    
Image courtesy of the artist.
If you would like to know more, go to:, or:

"Art is the reason, art is the way"

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Cafe Tibet

This months cover by Aleksandar Ares.
Layout by K.K.W
Tibetan Cuisine on Cortelyou Rd. Photos & text by K.K.W

Over the last 5 years Cortelyou Road, part of Ditmas Park, has changed a great deal. New kinds of food, places to eat and booze (respectfully so) how New Yorkers like it; the international way!
The entrance, right next to the Cortelyou Rd
train station stop (Q-line)
First stop, Cafe Tibet. Its a slightly narrow place with a small area before the front doors for out-door seating. It has a cozy inviting feel, somewhat at odds with the area giving it an other-world feel.

For an appetizer I had the "Sukuti"; deep-fried tender pieces of beef with a touch of ginger, garlic and a side of tibetan hot-sauce. Its a tasty little dish full of flavor, the diced vegetables accentuating the pungent taste of the meat.    
The "Sha-baklap" could be a meal by itself. 3 traditional tibetan beef-paties filled with minced meat, fresh ginger, garlic, onion, with a touch of spices. Its pan-fried in a freshly kneaded dough - soft yet crispy with the zesty juices inside keeping the meat moist and tender. It comes with a side order of house salad with a creamy dressing thats an excellent compliment to the "Sha-baklap". 
The house salad
If your wondering they do have plenty of vegetarian items on the menu (I was in a carnivorous mood that day). There's the "Carrot soup" (carrot, rice with a touch of black-pepper), "Shogo-ngopa" (spicy curried potatoes with spinach, stir-fried with onion ginger, garlic and tomatoes). 

So far its a great little place with a convenient location, giving the area nice taste of the exotic. Do be advised, they don't deliver and as of yet have no liquor license.       

Cafe Tibet is located @ 1510 Cortelyou Rd (right next to the Cortelyou Rd Q-line Station).  "Art is the reason, art is the way"

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

"The good music label"

This months cover by Aleksandar Ares.
Layout by K.K.W
Music now: Filter Label (The good music label) By K.K.W

The rise of online platforms to easily upload, distribute music, and coupled with the inception of many small labels has created an abundance music (some of it not worth your time). 
Image courtesy of Filter Label
However, this has also seen the creation of some truly great labels, distributing amazing music. Filter being one of the best. Operating out of Skopje (capital of The Republic of Macedonia) since 2007, the label has been providing an alternative to mainstream and larger labels. Something that is of vital importance. 

Album cover for soundtrack of  "Penelope X"
Image courtesy of  Filter label.
Working with great artists like Herzel & Genoveva, Nikola Kodjabashia (one of my favorites, & well-known outside of Macedonia) two very different musical styles and genres, if you will, showing the labels diversity.

Not to mention Akasha FX whose latest release is fantastic, Flextronic, Josh Chambers, pILLOW THEORY, Djaikovski, Abstract Butta, and Little Birds whose current EP is a wicked composition of sounds. Two of Akasha FX's previous tracks were featured on the T.V shows Nikita ("True Self") and CSI ("White Space").

The label has gotten to a point where its releasing some truly great music,  thats having a serious impact. Lets hope it gets even better.
Image courtesy of the Label
Image courtesy of the label

Image courtesy of the label
If you would like to know more, listen or purchase, go to:, &:

Sunday, May 5, 2013

El loco burrito

This months cover by Aleksandar Ares.
Layout by K.K.W
In Bklyn: Soft taco's in Bushwick.
Photos & text by K.K.W

Two things I'll never forget about Bushwick sector of Bklyn; the fact that its damn hard on most streets finding a spot to park my bike (a lot of cyclists in the area), and the food @ El loco burrito.

It is a thing of beauty.
Modeled after the style one finds in California (the great places with soul)the food exudes a unique home-cooked taste that always leaves you wanting more.

Fresh ingredients, and lots of it.
Simple, yet divine.
I highly recommend the soft chicken tacos ($2.45 each) to start (of course if your a veg-head, they've got you covered). The meat is shredded (but not too thin), moist and simmered in a tasty sauce served with fresh toppings (black beans, diced tomatoes & onions, lettuce, cheese) on a tortilla thats just right. 
The decor is simple & without pretension.
The walls clad with various stickers, 1960's-70's
concert posters.  
They serve a few different kinds of beers; Corona, Dos Equis, Negro Modelo, and some no-alcoholic drinks along with bottled water.
And of course they have excellent burritos, along with the usual ethnic selections. Most of the times there's a movie playing on the flat-screen T.V (last time it was "Shrek"). There's no table service, so you order @ the front counter, then get a table or take it to-go. Also there's usually a selection of local newspapers & magazines to read.     

The view from the dining room, always great.
El loco burrito is located @ 345 Graham Ave in Brooklyn N.Y and open until 11pm (718 388 8215). & you can find them on

Herzel & Genoveva

This months cover by Aleksandar Ares.
Layout by K.K.W
Music now: Herzel & Genoveva. By K.K.W

So far I've posted about these two 4 times, including now, and why? "Music soothes the soul of the savage beast." And we all get a bit savage @ some point.  
Herzel & Genoveva. Image courtesy of the artist's.
Back in 2011 they were my first introduction to electronic music out of South-Eastern Europe, and still my favorite. Their music transcends the mere boundaries of any classification and dwells in the area of art. Just listen to the release's "We are alike" and "The action of staying".   
Image courtesy of the artists
What the two produce is lush atmospheres, unforgettable vibes, beats that are hard to forget, with haunting vocals. What they tend to create is tracks that display an understanding for sound that exceeds most others ("Distant Shapes", "Chroma feel", "Memories on tape", "No more lies", "The mirror").

Ghostek (a great electronic musician) rated "No more lies" as one of his favorite 3 releases ( And Igloo magazine said "There's a mesmerizing quality to the sound." While Phonologue said "No more lies" "...strikes as an unusual balance of being a record very much of this moment, and at the same time showing original sound design and compelling collaboration that imparts a kind of timelessness." 

Although Herzel & Genoveva are a duo, both are also solo artists who collaborate with other musicians in Eastern & Western Europe. Theirs is sound that has a distinct feel to it, fluctuating between energizing and meditative.      
Image courtesy of the artists.
Herzel & Genoveva @ Kanal 103 radio-station.
Image courtesy of the artists.
If you would like to know more, or listen, go to:, or:, "Art is the reason, art is the way."

Allen Spion

This months cover by Aleksandar Ares.
Layout by K.K.W
Music now: Allen Spion. By K.K.W

When it comes to electronic music (trance, house, techno, dance, etc) you either like it or you don't - similar to "Instrumental" & "Classical". And while I'm no expert, die-hard fan, or hit-up clubs that often, I know what I like.  
Allen Spion. Image courtesy of Spion.
Operating out of Pula, Croatia, Allen Spion is more then likely one of their best. The first track of his I heard was "Sunday Chords", a dope beat, great flow & a mellow vibe.  (especially when biking in the city @ night) 

"ER45 Podcast 012" (From the release "Few Quarks More")has a rich layered sound thats  smooth & fluid with excellent change-ups, each rolling into the other with ease. My other favorites are "Afternoon foolin'", "Chord Grab", "Rusty Pipes", "Sunday Stories Mix" and "Quantum Emotions" (excellent beginning that sets the pace for 52 minutes & 55 seconds something memorable).

In a genre where one can find a lot generic music, Spion's is one of those that stands out. A composer whose work could make any party/club an awesome event, or walking through the city at night listening with headphones,  more interesting then usual.   

In the studio. Image courtesy of Spion
If you would like to know more, or listen, go to: "Art is the reason, art is the way."