Akwaeke Emezi’s Playlist for Her Novel "Freshwater"

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In the Book Notes series, authors create and discuss a music playlist that relates in some way to their recently published book.

Previous contributors include Jesmyn Ward, Bret Easton Ellis, Celeste Ng, Lauren Groff, T.C. Boyle, Dana Spiotta, Amy Bloom, Aimee Bender, Heidi Julavits, Hari Kunzru, and many others.

Akwaeke Emezi’s novel Freshwater is one of the strongest debuts I have read in years, an innovatively told and engrossing book.

The New York Times wrote of the book:

“Remarkable and daring . . . Poetic and disturbing . . . Rooting Ada’s story in Igbo cosmology forces us to further question our paradigm for what causes mental illness and how it manifests. It causes us to question science and reason.”

In her own words, here is Akwaeke Emezi’s Book Notes music playlist for her debut novel Freshwater:

Freshwater is a book about multiple realities existing at the same time, disjoint and dissociating worlds, clashing in their overlap. I find that making a playlist for it, like writing it, rather echoes that experience.

Big Big World, by Emilia
When I held the finished copy of my book in my hands for the first time, one of the things that struck me the most was the copyright page, where this song is mentioned. I remember listening to it as a teenager in Nigeria and back then, there was no world in which I could have predicted that I’d end up having to clear the copyright for that song because I used it in my book. For the Ada, this song begins as part of her homesickness when she arrives in the US, but it also bonds her and Soren, another international student, and that catalyzes some rather brutal things later on.

Eleko, by Mayorkun
I’ve spoken elsewhere about how writing my book required me to step into the Igbo spiritual reality that it’s centered in, and how, even after the book was done, I never left. Part of that immersion involved accepting the existence of forms of communication that were new to me. Anyway, the brothersisters who I wrote about in the book sent me this song once as an admonition against stubbornness and a reminder to surrender. It was a delightful surprise—spirits speaking through afropop and I loved it. Writing Freshwater was one of the first surrenders, there have been many more since then.

Zero, by Lamb
This is a love song that plays in the marble room with the Ada, Asughara, and Saint Vincent. They’re all into the strings, and it makes sense how much loss is in the song, how much hurt, how it’s still a love song with all of that, how it manages to hold all their energies at different points. I see them lying in a pile against the cool floor, heads resting on each other’s bodies, playing the song in an infinite loop.

Monster, by The Automatic
There’s actually a nod to the chorus of this song in the text of Freshwater itself. In exploring both Ada and Asughara’s characters, I thought a lot about monsters—that feeling of being a terrible thing, of trying to hide it from other people or in Asughara’s case, being frustrated that no one can see you. The idea of a monster coming over a hill resonated strongly with me because the anticipation of that approach speaks of recognition.

Cantaloop (Flip Fantasia), by Us3
This is the song referenced on page 53 of Freshwater—the song the Ada danced to in the house down the hill, when she was in college, the one that the volleyball boys played for her on a loop, with the horns blasting. It was like a drug for her, the way it shifted realities, a door or a portal, if you will, leading into a suspended space.

All I Believe In, by Amadou & Mariam & The Magic Numbers
This was another song in which the chorus was used as a message. A few years ago, I was in suicidal in Accra—one of those moments when embodiment hurts too much to live but I’m not allowed to die. The book goes very much into detail about what that’s like. I mention Baron Samedi briefly in Freshwater and chose not to go into more detail, but he sent me this song when I was curled up sobbing in bed from the pain. Much later, one of my friends who was there told me she saw him around for the rest of the trip.

Say Nada (Remix), by Shakka ft JME
I like this song because so much of it embodies Asughara’s energy, but also because the vibe it has aligns with my personal ambition. I grew up as a kid who loved the spotlight and when I was seven, I wrote a third person bio describing my goal of being ‘a world famous writer and artist.’ Twenty years later, I left my job to focus on my art full-time and I wrote Freshwater. I listen to this song for the lyrics—One day I’ll make a million/I’ll get that four finger ring/I’ll be hustling until then—and it hypes me up, you know? To keep writing these books, to believe that not only can I survive by my work, I can thrive. Also, I genuinely intend to get a four finger ring at some point.

Akwaeke Emezi and Freshwater links:

the author’s website

Los Angeles Times review
New Republic review
New Yorker review
New York Times review
Publishers Weekly review
Toronto Star review

BTW interview with the author
Electric Literature interview with the author
Ms. Magazine interview with the author

also at Largehearted Boy:

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Book Notes (2015 – ) (authors create music playlists for their book)
Book Notes (2012 – 2014) (authors create music playlists for their book)
Book Notes (2005 – 2011) (authors create music playlists for their book)
my 11 favorite Book Notes playlist essays

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weekly music release lists

M.I.A. Expresses Vindication Over Facebook Cambridge Analytica Scandal

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“It’s nice when you end up the smart one at the end of the day. Not some paranoid crazy person.”

New Kendrick Lamar Cultural Biography Announced

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The Butterfly Effect: How Kendrick Lamar Ignited the Soul of Black America is written by Pitchfork contributor Marcus J. Moore

Here’s The Ultra Music Festival 2018 Set Times

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Are you counting down the hours until Ultra Music Festival takes over Miami, Florida? With so much hype around the special guests at this year’s music festival, Ultra has released the official Ultra Music Festival 2018 set times. With so many bigger artists, now comes the hard part. Will you see Porter Robinson’s Virtual Self,

The post Here’s The Ultra Music Festival 2018 Set Times appeared first on EDM Sauce.

Beats co-founder Jimmy Iovine set to assume reduced role at Apple Music in August

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The first chapter of Apple‘s foray into the digital music streaming marketplace is set to close with the impending departure of Beats co-founder Jimmy Iovine later this year. The music industry veteran is expected to leave his role at Apple Music in August and move into a “consulting role” after that according to The Wall Street Journal, largely passing off the day-to-day responsibilities of overseeing Apple’s music streaming platform. Last year reports broke that Iovine intended to leave Apple Music, though at the time the rumors were unsubstantiated and Iovine denied any planned departure.

Since the tech giant’s aquisition of Beats Electronics in 2014, steadily shifting away from the Beats Music brand has translated into a meteoric rise for the ensuing Apple Music brand that replaced it. Internally however, the total overhaul of Beats’ original platform and look over the last four years has distanced some of the platform’s top executives — including Dr. Dre. Iovine is just the next in line to hang it up, or at least take a backseat at Apple Music. The Interscope Records founder reportedly doesn’t quite fit the platform’s new model like he did half a decade ago, though the timing seems to work out quite nicely in his favor. Iovine’s compensation from the 2014 sale fully vests in August, likely making way for a mutual changing of the guard, while still allowing Apple to retain Iovine’s expertise and widespread label connections.

Earlier this year reports suggested that Apple Music could surpass Spotify’s US subscriber base by the summer. With Iovine stepping back and possibly fresh blood coming in to assume his responsibilities, look for Apple Music to continue to trend upward in 2018 as they close out Iovine’s incredibly successful run at the top.

A ball of light is chasing you up the coast, and the only thing that can save you is the new Field Hymns batch, featuring Larry Wish, Oxykitten, and Lips and Ribs

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Extra! Extra! More delicious tapes-shaped-like-cookies coming your way in a freshly baked batch! This time they’re emerging from the deep dark elsewhere of Field Hymns! Three tasty releases from Oxykitten, Larry Wish, and Lips and Ribs, all dolled up and sprinkled with flaky sea salt!

Oxykitten’s Gleeking the Cube is a soundtrack to being chased round your living room by an extra-dimensional orb of brightness. The pulsing synths carry you away until your life goes totally 8-bit on you, and all you can see ahead is some nighttime highway with the Pacific Ocean in the almost-invisible distance. You’re on the run. Watch out, the pinball’s pinging your bumper, friend.

And oh, what’s this? You lost the orb and pulled off in some small town, dove inside an odds and ends shop to pass the time? Sure. And deep inside that little shop there’s a stack of old CRT displays busting out brightly colored and fragmented oscillations from a couple decades ago. A sound wells up. It’s Larry Wish wondering How More Can You Need?. Through the melting sonics you’re not sure how to answer, so it’s back to the 8-bit mobile parked in the alley.

A few miles down the highway and it’s boss fight time. You’ve avoided for too long, this towering beast that used to just be a glimmering ball of light has metastasized and with just the phaser in the glove box you’re not sure how much damage you can do. But on the radio a sound starts leaking out. It’s Lips and Ribs with Battle in Nagoya. The sounds are bitcrushed and perpetually speeding up. This is what each and every of us crave when faced with this kind of certain death. You whisper a thank you and stop the car.

All three releases are out on April 1, but you can stream AND pre-order them right now right here if your heart (and/or rumble-y tummy) desires.

Gleeking The Cube tracklisting:

01. Battle Choads
03. Spaced Rum
04. Dry Whistle
06. Tryest
07. Boss Dogg
08. 4×4
09. Getaway Avoidance Syndrome
10. Ace
11. Affection Fail

How More Can You Need? tracklisting:

01. Buying Things on TV (2.0)
02. Never (Star Track)
03. A Lot of Fun
04. Coin Invention Coin Convointioin
05. The Person is Gentle
06. The Best Feeling is WUXGA
07. I Can Fly in Love With You
08. Sleeping With the Dance (Dancing, Sleeping)
09.Hidden Ffolderes?S-Files
10. Near

Battle in Nagoya tracklisting:

01. Battle in Nagoya
02. Alpha Male War
03. Into Your Uniform
04. Woman Walking
05. Ending in Amiens
06. Oranienstrasse
07. Weep for Me
08. Hilltop with Mother
09. Celebrate!
10. Woman is Here
11. V-Dance
12. Go Ethnic!
13. Down Wedding
14. Hans
15. Legs Part
16. Beginning in Budapest

♫ Listen: Tarkamt – Live at the Necropolis

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Cherif El Masri, who’s from Cairo, probably considers the idea of playing the Giza Necropolis in the same way as we think of rocking the neighborhood dive bar or the classic basement punk show.


No big deal. It’s a thing on the weekends, right? We do it. We don’t think about it too much.

Or maybe El Masri, inspired by luminaries such as Yanni and The Grateful Dead, was so energized by the idea of modern technology juxtaposed with ancient history that he spun a setlist perfect for the most bitchin’-est laser light show the Sphinx has ever seen.

Or maybe he just really, really wants to play in a tomb. That’s my guess.

Live at the Necropolis (Doom Trip) wasn’t actually recorded live at the Necropolis. In fact, it wasn’t even recorded live. El Masri, a guitarist (Invisible Hands, with Alan Bishop; Nadah El Shazly’s live band), does, however, conjure long-lost spirits on his debut as Tarkamt, a dark, motorized, forbidding psychedelic/noise feast fit for the damned. He even plays all the instruments himself, like a high priest presiding — except of course when he allows Alan Bishop to flay his enemies with a ripping sax solo on “Et Sic Infinitum.” It’s a welcome guest turn.

Not content to simply ride a ritualistic wave of a post-punk séance, which he does with great success, El Masri allows the forces he’s assembling to speak with their own voices at points, such as on white noise hellscape “Churning the Ocean of Milk” or the clanging “Death Takes a Vacation,” on which an evil spirit (probably) masquerades as a text-to-speech program. These ghosts sound pretty angry, pagan entities existing to lap up the psychic residue of the living. And yes, in the thrall of Tarkamt, these spirits actually are willed into corporeal existence.

They will get in your head. They will stay there.

Tarkamt is the portal.

Thus El Masri shocks with otherworldly affect, powered not only by electricity but also by the currents of the underworld. The sacred and the profane mix, and never have the dead felt so alive. And if you allow Tarkamt to hook himself up to a necropolis near you, he may just end up playing a live show that’ll blast the gigantic stone nose right off your face.

Live at the Necropolis by Tarkamt

David Guetta Teams Up With Sia On New Single ‘Flames’

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David Guetta and Sia are the “Titanium” team. Following the success they had with their prior release, Grammy-winning DJ, David Guetta has teamed up with Sia once again for their release of “Flames.” With Ultra Music Festival 2018 right around the corner, David Guetta plans to perform the “funky” new dance track with its “big

The post David Guetta Teams Up With Sia On New Single ‘Flames’ appeared first on EDM Sauce.

Steve Angello releases breathtaking orchestral piece, ‘Nothing Scares Me Anymore,’ from forthcoming album, ‘HUMAN’

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steve angello

Steve Angello has crafted a sweeping original in”Nothing Scares Me Anymore.” Beginning with dramatic orchestral progressions and moving vocals, minimalist percussion builds into a whirlwind of groovy waves of bass, prominent horns, and mellow beats. Featuring grammy award winning artist, Sam Martin, “Nothing Scares Me Anymore” shows off Steve Angello’s flawless production technique with a chilling, highly emotive style.

The producer has also announced the release of his forthcoming album, HUMAN, which is set for April 27. With the hype surrounding a possible reunion of the iconic trio, Swedish House Mafia, at Ultra Miami, Steve Angello adds fuel to the fire with his most recent creation, keeping fans anxiously awaiting for the rumors to be confirmed. Only time will tell if Swedish House Mafia makes the long-awaited appearance on the mainstage, but in the meantime, “Nothing Scares Me Anymore” will be on repeat.

Henny B has reportedly passed away

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Sources have confirmed that Chicago rapper, Henny B, has passed away. Henny was a fixture on the local scene, and …