Transcendental Model (Miguel, War & Leisure review)

So much protest, so much hate, so much to consider.

But also so much to celebrate.

There’s this theory (most would saw governing law!) in science about energy and how it can exist in a variety of forms, such as electrical, mechanical, chemical, thermal, or nuclear, and can be transformed from one form to another. I’m hoping this week’s artist can help transform sociological conditions into something a little more positive.



Miguel – War & Leisure

released December 1, 2017
********* 9/10

Miguel Jontel Pimentel, better known as Miguel, is an American signer, songwriter, actor and producer.

Son of a Mexican American father and an African American mother, he has been deeply invested in music from a young age; dancing to all of the R&B, funk, hip hop, jazz and classic rock that his parents introduced him to. He later switched gears as a teenager and began to dabble in creating music. While most kids were experimenting with sex and drugs in high school, Miguel was focused on learning about studio production, and by the time he graduated from high school, he auditioned for the production company Drop Squad.

After some learnings, he signed with Black Ice Records in 2004, but ultimately walked away to pursue an authentic look and sound. Then in 2007 he landed a deal with Jive Records and was finally ready to release his debut album, but was sued by Black Ice and had to wait another three years over a contract dispute.

Despite all of this, his debut album, All I Want Is You (2010), was a sleeper hit that garnered him much attention and success, against it’s limited promotion at the time of distribution.

That’s a lot of exposition.

And we haven’t even gotten to the dissolution of Jive Records, which resulted in Miguels move to RCA, and the release of Kaleidoscope Dream. This sophomore effort was a critical success, won him a Grammy and incidentally led to the generation of an internet meme (the Miguel Leg Drop). This third album, Wildheart, was also pretty good, but there aren’t a lot of nuggets there… so let’s move onto War & Leisure.

The first single Sky Walker is one of my favourites, with it’s upbeat tone and springbreak attitude, and like a good drink, it pairs well with the seventh track Told You So. That one could likely be another single later on, with it’s inverse of emotions. Pineapple Skies and Banana Clip both have a very California vibe to them, which makes sense given Miguel’s LA childhood.

Wolf has so much passion, that I couldn’t help but consider it as another of the must-haves. I’m a sinner, a savage, but mostly I’m a wolf. Yeah you are buddy, yeah you are. Blues and fierce. And if you like blues, check out Caramelo Duro.

Harem is a love song heavy on the bass and electronics, sans the gouda. And check out Anointed if you want it even more passionate, eat your heart out Fifty Shades of Grey. But at this point it’s obvious that Miguel is a capable lover, and a sympathetic one too (see Criminal, City of Angels), but this isn’t just a leisure album, it’s one of combat too. It’s a comeback of the best regard and we’re all along for the ride.

Pros: I love The Weeknd just as much as anybody, and especially as a Canadian. For he channels Michael Jackson pop oh so well, but now I don’t ever have to wonder what it would sound like if Prince and MJ set a play date.

Cons: Unfortunately I’m not quite sure where to place Come Through and Chill. It’s laid-back and very R&B, but the booty call element reminds me too much of R. Kelly and it’s out of place against the rest of the sex positive messaging.

Runtime: 48 minutes

Points of Interest: Miguel regularly practices transcendental meditation for balancing his life, and has been with model Nazanin Mandi since 2005, and in 2016 they announced their engagement. Now is the closing track on the album, but the first song that was worked on.

It’s always difficult to write a good review without spoiling the album for my audience dear readers. But thankfully, I’m struggling to put into words how much I enjoyed listening to this all week in a cold January (while I struggled with furnace problems, no less). Miguel manages to hit that sweet spot between entertainer and messenger this time around.

theories Summarized

Yes is the answer. The question is, should you buy this? I’m not even going to entertain the question of when. I have this theory we can continue to expect great things from Mr. Pimentel, transcendental even.


Truth, Records, and Goodwill (Brendon Greene, musician and record label owner interview)

We already know that vinyl records have seen a resurgence in recent years. Likely because collecting music is still an incredible enjoyable hobby, and even though music is even more readily accessible then it ever has been in the history of humankind, people are going to focus on specific sources of musical talent and just absorb what is within their radar. After all, it takes a lot of work to go diving for new music.

Believe me I would know. I Source the internet every week to find a new album to review, one that’s interesting, accessible and just plain entertaining to listen to. But the reality is that music taste is even more subjective then film or fine art.

So imagine being someone who manage a record label. You have to be fairly relaxed, forward thinking, and dedicated to the art in order to keep up with all of the demands. Plus if you’re a grass roots organization like Conscious Collective Entertainment you’ll also want to promote local up and comers, and hopefully maintain a community based imaged.

A musician himself, Brendon Greene has a lot say about why he has decided to have a record label – He started playing guitar 17 years ago, and began teaching guitar 14 years ago. In 2015 he also ran in the provincial and federal election for the Green Party. Immediately deciding upon the end of the campaign that he wanted to learn more about the management of artists, and production. So he incorporated Conscious Collective Entertainment. And he works for Goodwill Industries. AND has slowly been adding artists to his label. Don Bartlett (Modern Fingerstyle, Harp Guitar), Christiana Munch (Classical Fingerstyle), and a punk band called For The County.

If it’s not apparent yet, Brendon loves to teach music and he’ll do you one better. He also wants to help you get a record mixed and distributed for a realistic price too. He believes in stewardship and the value of a good mentor. I personally think he is a pillar for the community but I’ll leave that up to your discretion.

Plus, the interview has even more detail on how to get out there as a musician.

It was a a lot of fun talking with this guy about his business, he has so much passion, and a lot of great insights. I learnt a lot from him too!

I’d love it if you left a comment, and if you liked this artist interview leave one and then share it with a friend or two. Better yet, go visit Conscious Collective and Brendon on Facebook and Instagram, respectively – he’ll appreciate the visit.


And special thanks to Brendon for being bold, brave and brilliant. When it comes to passionate mentorship for burgeoning musicians, this Greene knows how to party with the best of them. It’s a new theory for 2018.