Intensive Care, With Pure Cocoa Butter (Calvin Harris, Funk Wav Bounces Vol. 1 review)

Every summer features an album that perfectly establishes what that feeling should sound like, but the challenge for me is that I eventually tire of summer and want to cool off with fall weather. This summer we’ve found our winner.

 

Calvin Harris – Funk Wav Bounces Vol. 1

released Jun 30, 2017
******** 8/10

Adam Richard Wiles, better known as Calvin Harris, is a Scottish producer, disc jockey, singer, songwriter, and musician – though he’s mostly a DJ producer. He first charted with 2007’s I Created Disco, apt given that his music is often given modern pop treatments, with a hint of disco years past.

But that was ten years ago, and four more records have been released since then. Funk Wave Bounces Vol. 1 is the fifth studio album from Harris and it’s easily his best one yet.

Featuring only a couple of real misses, which I’ll outline below, the collaborations on this one are on point, and should be welcomed with open arms. Of particular note are Frank Ocean, Migos, Future, Khalid, Pharell Williams, Katy Perry and Big Sean. But by far, the diamond in the rough of this record is the appearance of new comer Jessie Reyez.

Hard To Love is just such a great closing track, and Reyez vocals really compliment Harris’ use of guitar and simple drum tracks. Reyez reminds me of a combination of Macy Gray, Alessia Cara, Corinne Bailey Rae, and Billy Holiday. It’s just an amazingly satisfying track to listen to. And that’s the power of Harris, he just seems to know intuitively when to pair sounds together with artists and make beautiful music.

He is better at sticking with production and leaving the lyrics to his contemporaries. A great example of this is combining the talents of Future with Khalid, and man does it ever work to our benefit on Rollin.

Of course I would be remiss not to at least write a couple of sentences about the standout song of this record. It’s mindless fun, but man is the song Feels enjoyable to listen to, and I’ll never be afraid to catch feels again thanks to the message being drummed into my head over and over. This is feel-good music, featuring the appropriate amount of trilling and hip hoping.

It might not be an album laden with singles, but Funk Wav Bounce Vol. 1 does a great job of promoting the range of sounds Harris is more than capable of exploring, and I think it assures us we’ll have another decade or two with the DJ producer.

Pros: When it comes to sunsoaked sounds, the essential tracks of Feels, Slide, and Rollin will do more then enough to please your ears, evoke the tropics, summer driving, and disco boogies.

Cons: Maybe it’s just Nicki Minaj that gets on my nerves, but Skrt On Me is super boring and barely there, making it even worse then the lounge sounds of Prayers Up

Runtime: 38 minutes

Points of Interest: Calvin Harris promises ten new singles for 2017, and four of the ten tracks have fulfilled that role. The album debuted at number two on both US and UK album charts upon release.

Ditching techno and EDM may have alienated some of his fans, but featuring Snoop Dogg on this record for Holiday is a very welcome experience and like LCD Soundsystem did way back in the early 2000s, I’m glad Harris traded in synthesizers for guitars. He’s one of the hardest working musicians in the business.

theories Summarized

I think we can expect even greater things from Calvin Harris in the decade to come, and while he didn’t share too much of his personality or feelings in the past, Funk Wav Bounces Vol. 1 definitely feels like more of a passion project then other works of years past. So don’t be afraid to catch feels Calvin.

Tim!

Summer Lovin’ (timotheories July 2017)

As I sit here and write this post late at night, in what is one of the hottest days of summer I have been witness to so many years, I have to wonder. Is it worth it to share this schedule with you creative cuties?

I think the short answer is yes, because it keeps me honest AND provides you with context as to what is coming up each month. It is actually so hot right now though. And the heat is making me crazy. I thought that writing late at night would alleviate some of that heat. But I was wrong.

I feel weird saying this, but I think I hate summer more then I hate winter. And I need A/C in my new house. Speaking of new houses, I am moving at the end of the summer and I’m taking a vacation in two weeks with my lovely girlfriend Mysticque, so July is gonna be a whirlwind of summer lovin’. Because it’ll happen so fast.

*Disclaimer* As always, every week I purchase an album and movie one week ahead of the actual review release and while I have the best intentions, I don’t always get what I want… so if you follow me on instagram (@timotheories) you can actually see what’s coming.

timotheories summarized – July

Stimulating Sundays – (07/02) Cross Talk Ep. 27, (07/09) Sound Culture intro, (07/16) …, (07/23) Brendon Greene interview preview (07/31) Brendon Green interview
Melodic Mondays – (07/03) Vince Staples, (07/10) Calvin Harris, (07/17) …, (07/24) Jay-Z, (07/31) Broken Social Scene
Theatrical Tuesdays – (07/04) T2 Trainspotting, (07/11) Teen Titans: The Judas Contract, (07/18) … (07/25) Kong: Skull Island
Wisdom Wednesdays – (07/05) Nonverbal Communication, (07/12) Interpersonal Communication, (07/19) …, (07/26) Muscle Chow
Timely Thursday – (07/06) timotheories July, (07/13) Art Walk, (07/20) …, (07/27) Moving Your Art

I need to cut back on releasing Cross Talk episodes this month friends, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy our latest episode which we released this past Sunday – movies you love to hate. Man was that a fun episode to record, and I think even more fun to watch!

Also, I’m going to let you in on the latest and greatest on timotheories dot com. Sound Culture, the show where I and sometimes guests, but very often featuring a co-host, talk about albums, and sonic things you should listen to. Brendon Greene is my navigator in this journey.

Speaking of Brendon Greene, that is also who I’ll be interviewing this month. Brendon is the founder of Conscious Collective, and a classical fingerist when it comes to guitar. He is a super interesting guy, so get excited for that!

On top of that, we have tons of albums and movies to review, and I’ll wrap the series on communication basics, but there’ll be some timely posts on the Whyte Ave Art Walk and how to transport your art. Because I’m moving in August… woo-hoo!

theories Summarized

What are you looking for? More content? How about some recommendations on taking care of your diet? I promise that it’ll be awesome though.

And as much as the heat is making me crazy, I have a few theories to share with you, so subscribe to the mailing list, and leave me some feedback! We want to know what you think of our choices for July posts.

Tim!

Twilight Zone (Daylight Savings Time)

This isn’t nothing new. We’re playing for keeps in the daylight, in the dark, in the twilight of our hearts.

People have been setting back their clocks for the better part of a century now. First proposed by an American inventor and politician by the name of Benjamin Franklin, back in the late 18th century, Franklin’s idea was to have citizens of Paris wake up earlier in the day and take advantage of the natural light; a means of savings on candle usage.

Burning The Candle At Both Ends

Eventually the idea was refined and defined by New Zealand entomologist and astronomer George Hudson, with German and Austria-Hungarians being earlier adopters in 1916. Since that time numerous countries have adopted it into their calendar year with daylight savings time happening in late winter and ending during fall, when we switch back to standard time. The literal notion of daylight savings time is to spring ahead by an hour, but the rationale is far more complex.

In an industrialized society we follow a clock based schedule, with activities that are not dictated by sunlight, by changing the schedule as the days shorten, we effectively gain an extra hour of sunlight in the evening, when most people are off from their work.

But in agrarian work, daylight dictates how much time is spent in labour. Whether one way or another is better is unclear, but where you live in the world does make a difference in the impact of the event. The closer we get to the equator the less daylight varies throughout the year, while the further north we go, the more wildly the daylight length swings throughout the year.

Hands of Fate

To be honest, I don’t know where I truly fit into this debate. Having danced this dance for quite some time now, it often feels great to get that extra hour of sunlight during the day, but the disruption to my sleep in the first place is definitely unsettling. As something of a night owl, I usually better use of the evening hours anyway, and up in northern Alberta our winters are longer with less daylight, while our shorter summers with longer daylight can be a welcome distraction… And so I can see merit to both sides of the argument.

I will say this though. No matter what art form you choose to make dear readers, and where you live in the world, you absolutely need to find a schedule that works for your own predispositions. It is a daily fight to make that art, so no matter where you live, it’s your responsibility to work within the environment you live in.

theories Summarized

I’ve gotten quite accustomed to using the #liveyourlife whenever I can in social media creative cuties, and I think it rings true here too. Whether or not you need lots of daylight to function properly, and I’m betting that is true for most of us, then absolutely take advantage of what you can get in your climate. That may mean more productivity in summer months and hibernating in the winter, but only you can figure out what that really looks like.

With that mentioned, don’t forget to set your clocks forward this weekend, wouldn’t want you to sleep in on Monday and something melodic.

And just like that, I’m out of theories for the day. Or should I say time?

Tim!

 

In The Deep (The Shallows review)

Jaws did an excellent job in 1975 of creating a movie monster out of the great white shark. You see dear readers, for a long time people believed that sharks had never attacked a human being. And it wasn’t until the early 21st century that some attacks happened which inspired Jaws.

This lead to sport fishing of sharks over a few decades and a sever decline in several shark populations. But that was before scientists worked to prove that sharks were not vengeful man-eaters and as well, our medical ability to respond to bites has dropped the fatality rate down considerably.

But some myths are slow to die, and as such directors have to come up with inventive ways to tell a story…

da nuh

da nuh da nuh da nuh da nuh
da nuh na nuh na nuh na nuh na nuh na nuh na nuh na nuh na nuh na nuh na nuh

da nuh

 

 

 

The Shallows (2016)

Cast: Blake Lively, Oscar Jaenada, Brett Cullen, Sedona Legge
Director: Jaume Collet-Serra
released on blu-ray September 27, 2016
******* 7/10

the-shallows-poster

IMDB: 6.4
Rotten Tomatoes: 77%, Audience Score 61%
The Guardian: ***/*****

Jaume Collet-Serra is a Spanish film director and producer. Known for such films as House of Wax, Orphan, Unknown, Non-Stop, and Run All Night. Collet-Serra will also direct his fourth collaboration with Liam Neeson in the 2017 action-thriller The Commuter.

The Shallows is definitely his best film to-date, in a very lean thriller that makes good use of Blake Lively as both a comedic and dramatic actress. With that said, let’s go over the plot, shall we?

The film introduces us to it’s lead Nancy (Blake Lively) pretty much right away, with her on a trip to visit a secluded beach in Mexico, one which her mother visited while pregnant with Nancy. Seeing as how Nancy’s mother recently passed away, the daughter thinks it apt to surf the beach and think upon whether she ought to continue medical school.

Meeting up with two other young guys, she surfs the waves for several hours before the locals decide to head in. Nancy is not content with this and decides to ride one more wave. As she is preparing to surf, she notices a dead whale, and is then attacked by a great white shark.

Using her wits, some costume jewelry in the form of a stitch job, and befriending a seagull she names Steven, Nancy is able to bandage her leg wound with parts of her wetsuit, and perch herself upon a rock for the night. Unfortunately she is about 200 yards away from the shoreline, and while she eventually sees both a drunken thief eaten by the shark, as well as the two young men from the previous day attacked, Nancy still cannot get back to the shore. One of the guys was wearing a GoPro, so Nancy records a message to her dad and sister, and makes an attempt for a buoy.

I’m not going to tell you how the story ends, but I will say this. Yes you could compare it to Jaws, but in some ways it reminds me more of other survival stories like 127 Hours and Hitchcock’s The Birds.

Pros: It will get your heart pounding and engage your senses, while also making you feel like you’re there with Lively as she determines what to do at each twist of the plot.

Cons: The backstory of Nancy is somewhat tacked on, and there are moments where it was obvious she had been CGI’d right into the body of a competent surfer, making me wonder if an unknown but talented actress might have done a better job.

Runtime: 1 hour 26 minutes

Points of Interest: This is the second time Lively has led a movie, the first was The Age of Adaline. Jaume Collet-Serra was adamant that this movie be billed as one of survival as opposed to gore and that it was note a “creature movie.”

This summer was kinda bland. So it was nice to finally see a solid blockbuster thriller shot on a shoestring budget. The spirit of the film is definitely inside of this theme of survival, and while Blake Lively is not the most diverse choice on the planet, she does well in this particular role. If you have any interest in either survival films or movies that riff off of the common shark in the water homage, you’ll probably enjoy The Shallows.

 

 

 

I fully expected this movie to startle me and make me think on that classic tale of man vs shark, and the immortalized phrase… don’t go in the water. Well, if I’m being perfectly honest, I have no plans to go in the water for the next ten years at least. So good job to The Shallows, for giving me a deep fear.

Tim!

Flower Powers (Brendan Canning, Home Wrecking Years review)

Have you ever jumped into a pile of leaves dear readers? Fallen into a snow drift? Tumbled into a pool? Slipped in the mud?

Yeah I have too. Nature has a surprising amount of built in padding for both kids and adults alike. And yet we never seem to take advantage of it – Especially in summer. Consider this idea for a second… What if you were to dive into a bed of flowers?

I bet it would feel a lot like this album.

 

 

 

Brendan Canning – Home Wrecking Years
released August 12, 2016
******** 8/10

brendandhomewrec

Brendan Canning has been making indie music for a long time – 24 years to be exact. I know this because the year that he became active is the same year that my baby brother was born. Which in music years, means he is old as fuck. Just kidding Brendan! Anyway, Canning is a co-founder of Arts & Crafts sweeties Broken Social Scene, yay for Canadian content! Canning has also been a part of such acts as Blurtonia, By Divine Right, hHead, Len, and Vally of the Giants.

Yeah that Len, the Len that performed Steal My Sunshine.

But this isn’t a group record, it’s a one man show. Speaking of which, Canning has now made three solo albums, the most recent being Home Wrecking Years.

It is immediately accessible and feels like an album you should listen to on vinyl with some incense, hummus, and your most breezy shirt. You shouldn’t expect anything less than a comfortable and heartwarming experience with this record. That is, if you’re familiar with Broken Social Scene’s experimental, shoegazing, and noise infused sounds. Because most of the guest spots feature regular BSS members Sam Goldberg and Justin Peroff

It’s not quite as epic in scale of course; But that combination of guitars, horns, woodwinds, and string instruments is definitely there for you get a good feeling about.

Now, I could spend time picking apart each individual track and tell you the strengths and weaknesses found on the songs contained within this album, but to be perfectly honest, that’s not the way that I ultimately took this album in. I listened to it in my car throughout the week, on the way to work, on the way home, going to see friends, onto a date, taking my brother to the medi-centre, basically just out living life. I tried to set it down and pay really close attention to it, I swear, but it never felt right to do so.

As I mentioned already, this is music you put on to feel good about yourself and your unfolding story.

It’s a weird thing, as much experimentation as Canning puts us through in his shoegazing efforts, that’s okay. It’s allowed. We have music so many kinds of music out there on the market, it’s nice when an artist pulls back some of his cords and unplugs. And that’s what Home Wrecking Years is a raw and simple record, which is experimental for this artist. Ever heard the expression, hiding in plain sight? Yeah, pretty much that’s what this is. A great album, hiding in plain sight.

 

 

 

People get so concerned about stopping to smell the flowers, that they never think to dive right in. But I bet you that if you did take that chance, you’d find Brendan Canning just hanging out in your neighbours flowerbed, hiding in plain sight. A notion of summer well remembered.

I’m out of musical theories for now my friends, but you should check back tomorrow, when I share a movie review about another natural occurrence.

Tim!