issue 06 - what are we loving for?
figuring out why we love what we love, milestone achievements for Asian female artists, the comeback of big room legends, the thunder of Thor, intangible infinities and more
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i’ve been ruminating on the thought of why we love, and where our motivation to love comes from. in other words, asking ourselves, “what are we loving for?” - and “are we loving for the right reasons? what are the right reasons?”
a great place to begin to identify this is in our personal relationships with others - within romantic relationships, but also platonic, familial and parasocial relationships (an audience member’s psychological relationship with figures in mass media, like celebrities). do we love others because we truly want to without expectation, or are we showing them love to encourage them to validate our existence or love us more, or loving with the expectation that we will get the same love back in return?
i’ve found it is a very complex, and often intertwined, web of reasoning and motivations - making it hard to distinguish when we are, or aren’t loving for reasons we want to be loving for. it’s easy to slip from one to the other seamlessly, and without consciously realising. whilst every reason for loving is valid, however morally ambiguous, i regard loving simply because we want to as one of the purest reasons to love - it is a motivation i want to connect back to more often. the older i get, the more i find myself distorted by other ideals imposed on us by society, culture, that make us believe we should love things that we don’t, or love in ways that we don’t want to love. FRESH is an outlet i want to use to reconnect with that pure love that i enjoy experiencing - showing you the things i love and care about, simply because i want to, and not because someone else told me i should, or had to.
that said, here are some things i currently have love for, because i wanted to love them:
FRESH: new electronic
Avalanche - Tourist
Tourist continues his singles rollout for his upcoming album Inside Out, due for May 20th this year. (expect full FRESH coverage on the album when it’s out!) this is the second single to be released, and the album is sounding absolutely promising so far!
Avalanche begins with a mellow, ambient intro and high-pitched vocal chops that would fit perfectly into Jai Wolf’s The Cure To Loneliness album, before venturing into breakbeat territory for the drop - a wonderful sonic juxtaposition of softer and grittier sounds!
if you enjoyed this, i highly recommend checking out his first single off this same upcoming album, Your Love! instantly catchy, uplifting and heartwarming - for sure one of my favorite tracks of 2022.
a notable mention to a very intriguing aspect of Inside Out’s continual rollout - there has been an ongoing interactive virtual reality experience over on touristinsideout.com, where you can use your phone’s GPS to ‘check in’ to real life locations on the website’s map, then access exclusive snippets of songs before they are officially released. the locations are scattered all over the world - i’ve had a go myself, it’s great fun!
I Hope It Lasts Forever (Remixed)
this is so exciting!!!!! Qrion’s debut album on Anjunadeep, I Hope It Lasts Forever, gets a full remix package from a plethora of artists both returning and new to Anjunadeep! (Anjunadeep has consistently been inviting artists new to the Anjunafamily whom have already been on my radar, so big ups to them being a congregational melting pot of electronic talent!!)
a special shoutout to SOHMI (whom you may remember from issue 01) - her remix of 11-11 grants her the title of being the first Korean female to have a release on Anjunadeep (and i believe also the first collaboration release of two Asian female artists, Qrion is Japanese)!! as one myself, i’m infinitely proud of Asian ladies holding their own and representing us in the electronic scene, but also creating amazing art in the process.
this also marks Frenchman Boston Bun’s debut release on Anjunadeep, with an acid-infused, groovy rework of Bright Lights worthy of any summer rooftop party! Dance System also joins Anjunadeep with his remix of Proud, an equally funky track with a killer baseline, and C418 gives Your Love a fun chiptune spin.
as for Anjunadeep returners - Juno Mamba brings Fireworks even further into downtempo territory, and Moon Kyoo adds a flowing beat to the ambient It’s All Over. the shining star on top of the tree for this remix package is Jordin Post and Qrion’s remix of Your Love, an ID that Qrion has been playing in her sets from the early days of 2020 quarantine Twitch-streaming (even before the album itself was released), that finally got its official release earlier this year. this track earns all the chef kisses from me, it is truly deep house and Anjunadeep at its finest.
Paradise Again - Swedish House Mafia
the reigning royals of big room house, Swedish House Mafia, return with their sophomore album - ten years after their debut EP, Until Now. i have a lot of mixed thoughts about this album, coming from a long-time lover of their music who has been wanting them to reunite ever since the trio disbanded in 2013.
Paradise Again is a long 17-track album, which has its foot in a handful of different genres: pop-electronic, progressive, tech house, rap, downtempo… but quite absent is the signature big room sound we’ve grown to associate with Swedish House Mafia and their superhits of old, a la Don’t You Worry Child. the trio are at no fault for wanting to reinvent their sound, especially after so long apart, yet there doesn’t seem to be a cohesive vision sonically for Paradise Again and the new era of SHM. i found myself not resonating with, even not enjoying, parts of this album, and that was a disappointing feeling to have after having so much anticipation built up for a full-length SHM album.
that said, we are still talking on FRESH and there were parts that i did enjoy - first off, their Coachella set from last Sunday! hoisting that massive ring structure above the Main Stage was worth the effort, it looked fantastically dramatic during the actual show in front of the visuals and with the right lighting added. (their 30 minute set didn’t really do them justice… they felt like an opening act for The Weeknd instead of a co-headliner, but i digress)
as for the album itself, i still have to say Moth To A Flame is the jewel of the tracklist - it is the perfect mix of old SHM big room sound, given a slight modern pop refresh for the 2020s. if the rest of Paradise Again was sonically congruent with Moth To A Flame, i think it would’ve been one of my favorite albums of all time - alas, it is not. however, i was pleasantly surprised at SHM giving their go at some Gesaffelstein-style techno on Mafia and 19.30 - both absolutely banging tracks that would hit just right in any dark, fogged up club. SHM producing downtempo was also not on my 2022 bingo card, yet here we are, with the crooning Home and gospel-inspired For You. all in all, it’s not the album i expected, but i think i’ll grow to accept and love it for what it is in time.
i discovered so much new music this year watching the Coachella streams, and wanted to collate them all in one place! i also reconnected with a lot of artists and tracks i hadn’t fully explored or listened to properly in the past - Fred again.., Emotional Oranges, Billie Eilish and NIKI come to mind. live shows completely change your experience of songs, so have a browse and hope you find something new you like in there too:
Thor: Love and Thunder - Official Teaser
this sure is shaping up to be a fun ride, with Marvel’s comedic kings Thor and Starlord teaming up for Thor: Love and Thunder! set to the jubilant tune of Sweet Child O’ Mine by Guns N’ Roses (still slaps), the teaser does what it’s meant to, and teases Thor’s life after the trauma of Endgame without revealing much plot at all - working on the biceps, teaming up with a few Guardians. i have to agree with people in the comments section giving props to the film (seemingly, so far) not skimping over Thor’s character development for the sake of focusing on comedy or drama, and giving him room to explore his journey of self-discovery.
this seems to be an ongoing thread in Marvel’s Phase 4 films and television shows, where beloved characters are given focused screentime and scenes to explore their humanity, psyches and personal relationships with other characters (think WandaVision’s deep dive into Wanda’s childhood backstory, and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier’s character study of Bucky and Sam’s dynamic post-Steve). after so many years of dramatic plot and fight scenes being Marvel Studio’s main focus, it’s a more than refreshing change, and arguably makes the superhero genre so much more nuanced and intriguing.
Thor: Love and Thunder is slated for a July 8 release later this year. very excited!!
Can You Survive The King Of Sass?
i’ve been on a bit of a throwback Survivor kick recently, after being reminded of this wild and wonderful reality show by a Youtuber i watch. somewhere back in middle school, i had a huge phase of watching Survivor and The Amazing Race - there’s something amusing and exhilarating about living vicariously through contestants willing to fend for themselves on a deserted island for 39 days, or run around the world for nearly a month, all in the hopes of a million dollar prize. i’m pleasantly surprised to see both shows still on air, after over twenty years and tens of seasons each!
Survivor in particular is a thrilling watch for the insight it gives into what we are capable of as humans when it comes down to the wire - physically, mentally and socially. you come to see people push their bodies and psyches to the limit from lack of food, sleep, shelter - but you stay for the drama when team members blindside each other and their formed alliances at Tribal Council, or even unexpectedly fall in love on the show. Sometimes, you also stay for the heart and truth about humanity that Survivor is able to reveal - in particular, i have in mind the one Tribal Council from Survivor 41 where a very impromptu yet timely discussion about blackness in the context of both Survivor and real life emerged, spearheaded by black members of the tribe in question. (for context, Survivor 41 was filmed in April 2021, not long after the Black Lives Matter movement reemerged in 2020.) (Survivor 41 was also distinct in its very diverse cast - with more POC cast members than ever seen before in a single season of Survivor, as well as vegans, non-American immigrants, LGBTQA and disabled cast members - i digress but i was pleasantly surprised by the representation i was seeing)
Jeff Probst is the show’s enthusiastic and dedicated host, but also honorarily its unrelenting team coach. it’s evident he respects the tactical and demanding game that Survivor is designed to be. he wants to see contestants bring their 110% and play the game well, and has encouragement aplenty for when they do, but if you don’t put your best effort in? you’ll come face to face with the King of Sass, who won’t hesitate to call you out and put you in your place.
i hadn’t realised just how snarky Mr Probst is with his one-liners and comebacks, but this supercut video captures it all in its glory. worth noting that this is a fun watch even without context if you’ve never watched Survivor before, and there’s also Parts 2 and 3. enjoy the sass!
sometimes i catch myself making the assumption that there are finite amounts of intangible things, like attention, affection, love. in the sense that if you love something, someone, then there is less room for you to love something or someone else. it’s not an unrealistic thought - we each only have 24 hours in a day, a set amount of time to think, feel, and love within. but how can you quantify the intangible? you can’t measure your love and dedication to something the way you would measure temperature on a thermometer. those things aren’t necessarily bound to the confines of our current linear concept of time and space - they exist beyond those, on a metaphysical realm. at least i like to believe so.
if you feel a lack of something intangible, there’s nothing stopping you from creating more of it - besides yourself. there is no limit to how much you can love something, or how many things you can love at the same time, and i think that’s beautiful. i lose sight of that when i limit my perspective to only what i can see in front of me, when that’s only one place where intangible infinities can exist. truth is, they’re everywhere around us. you just have to be willing to notice them. it’s difficult, but i want to try to.
To Not Run Away
this week i found myself in a moment of feeling really terrible, overwhelmed with anxious thoughts building up and wanting to cry. my usual default reaction to that is wanting to run from the feeling and escape - scrolling mindlessly though social media or burying my head into a TV show episode. this time, in that moment of decision, i had a thought of “f*** it, i’m going to feel this out”, and chose to put music on and sit with my feelings instead. it’s a space i feel equal parts vulnerable and uncomfortable in, yet i always find the process cathartic and stabilising. being able to physically feel the anxious thoughts seep away from you is a priceless feeling, and worth the effort to get there. this is a note to myself, maybe also to you, to stay instead next time too.
i’m really proud of how this one turned out - the GARDENS OF THE GALAXY necklace! (ba dum tss) when constructing this, i had in mind the overlapping orbit structures of galaxies, like our very own Milky Way, and wanted to capture that sense of separation yet interconnectedness in a piece.
somewhere along the way, i think i might have gotten jaded about loving things that i love, somehow convincing myself that it’s cool to not care. i don’t think that is true at all - caring is the coolest, most human thing you can do, so do it as often and as much as you possibly can.
with love and care,