RJ’s January Mix

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Good afternoon folks. Today may be the last day of January 2014, but it also marks the one month anniversary of the birth of ronjohhnson.wordpress.com. Yes that’s right, it has only been one month that I have been generously sharing my thoughts, my life and my favourite music with you… It feels like we’ve known each other forever doesn’t it? Of course it does, and because our friendship has flowered, I have a special treat for you on this lovely friday afternoon. I have expertly (or so I think) compiled some of favourite and most inspiring music from the month of January into a 42 minute mix which can be enjoyed below for your listening pleasure. In this mix you will find artists who I blogged about, some new music and some older stuff that just had me dancing or crying all month long. The style is primarily downtempo electronic and hip hop, for the purposes of a seamless mix (or so I think). You can also download the full mix for free, and listen to it on the bus on the way to your next prostate exam.

Listen to the full thing, or skim through to you favourite tracks, I don’t mind, just know that this mix is really for you. Without you, I wouldn’t have spent hours making this delightful (or so I think) mix. Seriously, a big thank you to everyone who has picked up on my blog thoughout the past month, it means a lot to old Ron. Oh shucks, I told myself I wouldn’t cry. It’s only been one month, but I really can’t wait to see where Ron Johhnson will go from here.

Tracklist:
DJ Rashad – Pass That Shit (feat. Spinn & Taso)
Clams Casino – Cry For Me (unreleased)
Flying Lotus – Colemans Groove ft. Andreya Triana
King Krule – Easy Easy (20syl remix)
Paper Diamond – Snowfall
Fitzroy – Cabriolet
Saint Pepsi – Mr. Wonderful
Ryan Hemsworth – Lorde – Ribs (let’s have a sleepover version)
Sable – You Too
Bishop Neh-ru – You Stressin (Prod. by Disclosure)
Gramatik – We Used to Dream (feat. Exmag & Gibbz)
Four Tet x Grimes – Human Once Again
DJ Rashad – Feelin (feat. Spinn & Taso)
FKJ – Instant Need
Mr. Carmack – Humbled
Electric Mantis – Flips and Flops, Drips and Drops
Flying Lotus – Osaka Trade
BADBADNOTGOOD – Fall In Love

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Tobacco

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Something about this past week hasn’t made much sense to me. Although I wallow in the aspect of a constant flow of new music, it sometimes just doesn’t do it. The internet is a never ending influx of sounds and visuals and sometimes you lose track of what is and what isn’t. Instead of trying to make sense of it all, it’s often better to leave it be, and let the whirlwind tire itself out. And at the end of it all, something beautiful usually pops up anyway. In the meantime, here is the video for Tobacco’s Hawker Boat, which will hopefully explain just about everything you need to know in life. This song and video sums up exactly how I’ve been feeling today. Enjoy

Thundercat – Lotus and the Jondy

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“Walking through the forest, straight trippin in the darkness. Straight up seeing goblins, where no need to be frightened.”

Thundercat has moved me today. After sitting in my favourite armchair for five hours straight, I had to get up and walk over to my stereo to turn up the volume, while listening to his most recent album Apocalypse. Some might call me lazy, but I like to think of myself as static, more than anything. In fact, today was all about reminiscing on my past experiences and thinking about the future, and Apocalypse is the perfect album for that. Thundercat has been dubbed as somewhat of a bass guitar virtuoso, but on this album he completely defies that generalization. His improvisational jazz bass is spectacular, no doubt, but his voice is soothing and the songs are beautifully composed. His good friend (and ours), Flying Lotus, produced this one, which begs me to think that this might be the lotus whom he refers to in the song. Every track off Apocalypse is great, but Lotus and the Jondy is the one that struck me the most. It’s just one of those songs that has you thinking about that thin line that separates us from complete idleness. Or maybe that’s just me. Enjoy the live performance of this fantastically cool song, I think I’ve replayed it about 17 times today.

Funky Monday

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Despite Taylor Swift’s head-banging, Nate Ruess’s child of a moustache and Katy Perry’s “performance”, last night’s Grammy awards actually had some very memorable moments. Yes it is still mostly a popularity contest, with the likes of Bruno Mars and Perry still getting nominated in way too many categories, but there were some pleasant surprises nonetheless. First, was Lorde taking home the awards for best pop solo performance and song of the year for Royals, which had me feeling like a proud daddy. Then of course, was Daft Punk bringing home five awards in all five categories in which they were nominated and becoming the first electronic artists to win the album of the year award.

But despite all the nice surprises, there were also some unfortunate ones, like Macklemore & Ryan Lewis taking home the best rap album over Kendrick Lamar’s Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City. Clearly, Macklemore felt the pain with this post-Grammy statement to Kendrick: “He deserved best rap album… I’m honoured and completely blown away to win anything much less 4 Grammys. But in that category, he should have won IMO. And that’s taking nothing away from The Heist. Just giving GKMC it’s proper respect.” Much respect to you big Mack, and keep fighting for the cause. After all, it’s all about the cause, not the music right? I don’t know. The Grammy awards will always be riddled with bullshit, and when it comes down to it, it’s still a veritable popularity contest. Anyway, if you missed last night’s Grammy’s here are my top 3 moments:

1. Pharrell William’s hat. Yes, the soul singer was nominated in a total of seven categories but it still begs the question; is he hiding his cat in there, or training to be a Canadian mountie? I don’t care, it’s awesome.

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2. Taylor Swift getting down and dirty to some Kendrick. Ya, we know you’re from the hood Taylor, you don’t have to prove it.

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3. Daft Punk’s performance. With a lineup that includes Stevie Wonder, Nile Rogers, Pharrell Williams and Daft Punk, you really can’t go wrong. This super-group threw down the groove right from the get-go, with a mash-up of hits Get Lucky, Le Freak, and Harder Better Faster Stronger. This was easily the performance of the night for me, and a perfect celebration of Daft Punk’s return to fame.

But of course the Grammy’s are not everything, and while Jay-Z and others drooled over themselves, a few musical notes were popping up here and there. Luckily, after being up all night to get gnocchi, sorry to get lucky (haven’t had lunch yet) and being in an incredibly funky mood after watching the Daft Punk performance, I bring you two little funky gems that popped up on my radar this morning. First is a cover of Bob Marley’s I Shot the Sheriff, by producer N.A.S.A. and Yeah Yeah Yeah’s singer Karen O. This one puts a funky melodic spin on the classic tune, and will have you feeling more than okay on this monday morning.

And then there’s the incredibly funky mixtape released by Montreal’s Fonkynson! I just discovered this young producer this morning, and well, I think it’s fair to say he has the coolest name ever. He just released this mix gathering his influences in electronic funky disco house music. Yay! This shizz will have you dancing right into Tuesday morning, and then stopping abruptly to get back to work. Seriously, make sure you get back to work at some point ladies and gentlemen, your kids need to eat.

Gramatik – The Age of Reason

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I woke up this morning in a jiffy. Or maybe it was a speedy auto glass. Regardless, I got out of there fast and chose not to question how the events of the previous night had led to my eventual demise in said auto repair shop. Today being January 25, the official release date for Gramatik’s new album, The Age of Reason, I had serious business to attend to. I managed to slip home before the family awoke, grabbed myself a fresh cup of Joe Rogan and a blueberry scone and settled my tired ass in front of my laptop for some much anticipated listening. I was immediately blown away by the first track Brave Men, featuring Eskobars. A very slow bluesy build up, laced with a saxophone-sounding guitar, eventually leads into a tremendous dubstep drop, which explores a creepy bass sound that gave me immediate goosebumps. After this first track, I was already feeling blessed by the energy that Gramatik creates so well through his music. As my family began to wake up, the bass was cranked to the max and we found ourselves having a proper Ron Johhnson morning rager in the kitchen.

Throughout his career, Gramatik has explored a number of styles, from hip-hop, to dubstep, to R&B, blues and jazz. His early works, Street Bangerz vol. 1, 2, and 3 were more jazz and blues inspired, while 2011’s Beatz & Pieces vol 1 was more centered around hip-hop instrumentals. As he progressed as an electronic producer, he became well versed in the dubstep genre, adding funky bass sounds to his jazzy productions, as is evident on releases such as #digitalfreedom and No Shortcuts. With nine official albums and two EP’s in the last six years, Gramatik has proven to be one of the hardest working producers in electronic music. And in true fashion, he gives away all his music for free with the philosphy of “freeing music, by making music free.” He is a firm believer that art should be made available for free and if that if people are truly appreciative of it, then they will pay what they think the artist deserves.

This latest album is really a crossroads of everything that Gramatik has worked on throughout his career. It combines his signature funky sounds with electronic bass, live instrumentation from his band Exmag and the very talented guitarist Eric Mendelson who just seems to jam along throughout the whole album. Contrary to the heavy sampling of his past releases, The Age of Reason features live vocals from a basketful of singers such as Gibbz, Cherub, Eric Krasno and Orlando Napier. The album is truly a masterpiece for Gramatik, similar to Pretty Lights’ most recent release A Color Map of the Sun. I could honestly talk about this album all day, but I’d rather let the music speak for itself. You can purchase The Age of Reason on itunes, or pick it up as a free download/pay what you want, courtesy of BitTorrent, by clicking here. And for those who aren’t familiar with the Gramatik sound, have a listen to Expect Us, a song that I really feel epitomizes all aspects of the new Gramatik sound. And be sure to get your hands on some quality speakers or headphones for this one, because you don’t want to be missing out on any part of this monstrous tune.

Nicolas Jaar, Chet Faker, Washed Out

Okay, I know what you’re thinking: “Ron, what the shizz are all these fancy names up here on my computer screen? I can hardly keep up with all the Del Rays and the Gambinos, now you’re telling me about jars and fakers! I don’t know who to believe anymore!” Rest assured my friend, you’re not alone, and always remember the old saying: Ron Johhnson is here for you.

Today has been a challenging day for me. The highly anticipated album by one of my favourite electronic artists, Gramatik, has accidentally been leaked over the internet, a day before it’s official January 25th release. This major slip-up presents a huge conundrum for Gramatik fans such as myself; do I listen to the leaked version, or do I stick it to my homie Denis and wait for the official release tomorrow and pick up the free download? You guessed right. Being the loyal fan that I am, I shall wait, but expect a killer post tomorrow that will pay a huge tribute to the great artist that is Gramatik. In the meantime enjoy three tunes that I have specially selected just for you, and to make the wait a little less brutal. These three artists will receive their own Ron Johhnson posts on their next releases, but for now, enjoy them as merely vessels in which to help you pass the next 12-24 hours of your life, and for that they are perfect.

Washed Out’s incredibly lush remix of Moby’s Almost Home:

Electronic innovator Nicholas Jaar with a 7min and 38sec trip to bring you saturday afternoon to a whole new level.

Finally, Australian crooner and Flume-collaborator, Chet Faker, on his unplugged-style rendition of No Diggity.

Jessie Andrews, the DJ of your dreams

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It must be pretty easy to make it as a Dj when you’re Jessie Andrews. I mean looking like a pornstar is certainly an advantage in the entertainment industry, but being an actual pornstar is on a whole other level. You may recognize Jessie from her recent induction into the indie electronic blogosphere, or maybe you’ve seen her adorable face in the latest beaver picture. Regardless, her fame in the porn and modelling industry has certainly propelled her latest venture as a DJ/Producer. Throughout 2013, she released a number of disco house tunes on her Soundcloud, toured around the United States and Canada and even released a few mixes that were well worth listening to. Whether she is working with a ghost producer or not, I do not know, but even then, some of her songs are actually quite good and she seems to have a fair amount of knowledge within her genre.

Normally, I aim to post about artists and bands with a keen musical talent and that really push the boundaries of contemporary songwriting, but I respect Jessie Andrews for having accomplished something completely out of her element. Sure her work in porn helped her get recognized as a DJ, but she does not use it as a crutch. She has developed a persona as Jessie the DJ, and not just Jessie the pornstar. Okay fine, maybe I was a bit seduced by those eyes, and those… songs, but I really do see potential for this young producer, especially as the disco house genre seems to be making a serious comeback. Check out one of her better songs,You below and be sure to grab the free download. And If you’re not into the song, just rest assured that you can go watch Keiran Lee bust a nut on her forehead instead!