Calvin van Steensel-Curry is a 21-year-old Liberal Arts student hailing from India and residing in the Netherlands. He is majoring in Literature with a career in Journalism in mind for future endeavors. He has never successfully completed reading a book cover to cover, and plans to make the first one be one that he writes himself. He is influenced by Hunter Thompson, Andy Warhol, Nietzsche, and (insert someone less pretentious to appeal to readers). In his free time he keeps his Instagram followers happy with sultry pictures of filet mignon/ Spams his Facebook friends’ news feeds with music video links/ Collects black V-neck T-shirts/ Displays an unhealthy sexual attraction to watches.
Greetings fine people of the internet,
Here I sit hunched over a bureau in some distant tropic of the world under a torrential monsoon shower beating down at terracotta tiles, and have found myself engaged in the task of jotting down this blog post that I hope you will take interest in. I’m a 21-year-old student and as such I would consider myself to have an accumulated expertise in matters such as the internet, music, and man buns (*Please Note: I do not refer here to those of Justin Bieber, nor does this have any connection with his Instagram feed). In providing you with a back story to this seemingly sporadic outcry from a person on a computer in India that is not tasked with fixing your router over the telephone, I would like to give you a little context to where this stems from before we proceed. The fine young lady who runs this section of the interweb happens to have sat adjacent to me for not one, but two semesters in Literature related classes. After some light badgering over social media, as anyone who has tasked themselves with the occupation of writing will tell you is the norm, I acquired this space from the aforementioned lady, by which I wish to take you, the esteemed reader, with tabs galore open; procrastination bound, or deeply engaged in that inebriated quest for videos of funny animals, or other such entertainments this fine evening on a journey with me through the realms of Youtube, and my mind. I was once told by a professor that my English comes across as verbose, so bear with me if you happen to look for cheap thrills and academically spliced language owing to your own inability to trudge past more than four word sentences and three lined paragraphs. If you have made it to reading this far and have not fallen prey to a post modern aversion to anything that is not cats that resemble Hitler, I would like to applaud your patience in me, and the dying art of internet posts with a lengthy opening paragraph.
I was hoping to begin this paragraph with some eloquent sounding quote about music but I shall spare you, and instead talk more about myself (and perhaps the music at some point). My silly humour aside, I say this because I think it is important to note why this particular selection above all others has been made, which is why I wish to give you a brief description of my surroundings to clue you in on the kind of music I’m listening to and wish to share with you at the moment. It’s currently the month of July in India which means unplanned pool parties take place on highways all across the country. You may perchance be riding home from work on your motorcycle one day through knee-high water and fall in to a puddle and find yourself a part of the pool culture festivities. It’s been weeks of unrelenting downpours and if you happen to be dull like me, and not want to drown on your way home from work, you spend your time instead indoors. This particular malady of the monsoon conjures up two things: A stomach infection if you happen to eat anything that hasn’t been rustled up on your own stove, and long afternoons that melt in to sultry evenings listening to music as you stare out in to the deep abyss, or in my case, my neighbours cow shed. Here I assume some of you with an overly active imagination will picture me staring adoringly in to the eyes of a majestic bovine creature as I listen to some smooth jazz. You are not far off the mark, for as any proud Indian will tell you, this is the national pass time when cricket games get flooded, and the country is left in a state of dismay.
From the depths and oceans of wonder that lie in my neighbours cows eyes I have selected for you today a melange of chill tunes which I hope adorn your summer nights as I sit here swatting mosquitoes from my skin. I’ve chosen to use only live recordings of these artists, as I believe these to be a true rendition of their abilities and musical stylings. The mood I wish to evoke is one in which you have the urge to sip on a glass of chardonnay as you bash your friend’s ear drums with home-grown pseudo philosophy of what life really is about, till someone in the room shouts kings cup or beer pong, and the night heads in an altogether juxtaposing direction. Till that point however, I hope these come to be the sound tracks of your night. Enjoy!
1. Olafur Arnalds- “Near Light”
This session comes straight from his living room, and mixes instruments associated with western classical music with modern synthesiser beats from a moog, and an electric piano played by his family members (who aren’t trained musicians even). The mix of styles is wonderful and uplifting and is sure to have to turn to jelly in your chair, or perhaps make all the colours around you seem ever so vibrant. I hope however that the dreamy nature of this doesn’t make you doze off before you proceed to the next selection, as it is extremely relaxing.
2. Above & Beyond Acoustic – “Satellite / Stealing Time”
What happens when three men who primarily produce electronic trance music turn their songs in to an acoustic set? Sheer brilliance in my opinion. This particular set by Above and Beyond has been their proving ground in establishing themselves as brilliant musicians that don’t simply sit behind screens or have ghost producers do their job, but are also able to do this. I personally have been to three live shows of theirs and its been a spiritual experience every single time.
3. Bonobo – “Towers”
My friends have started to complain that I have a borderline unhealthy obsession with this artist. The brain child of Simon Green who plays the bass in this video; every single thing Bonobo makes is gold in my opinion. Here we see them doing a live instrument driven version of their song towers accompanied by vocalist Szjerdene. Bonobo uses unique elements and instrumentation in their production which gives them a sound that makes them unique and yet accessible; by which i mean everything fits well and no random triangles for the sake of being hipster. The most tragic event of my life is being unable to meet Simon Green who happened to be at my friend’s house due to being stranded at an airport with no means of communication. One day Simon. One day.
4. Cocorosie – “Lemonade”
Let me start by saying that they use a children’s toy that makes animal noises in their music. They often use a beatboxer and a harp in combination with native American instruments, and perform in night gowns and Yankee hats with painted on facial hair. I guess every artist has their own unique stage presence of sorts but cocorosie tends to have one that is at times hard to come to terms with. That being said their music is nothing less than spectacular with some interesting vocals and lyric content. It’s the kind os stuff that you think is too obscure to be nice on your first listen, but ends up latching itself to your brain subsequently and doesn’t leave, making you crave it. I am personally in love with how different their vocal styles are to each other, and how well they work together.
5. Nicholson & Fuzzy Logic – “Give Up The Ghost” (Radiohead Cover)
This new years day of January the 1st, I found myself at an after party on a helicopter landing pad in someone’s house at 6 a.m. as the sun came up. To add to this Nicholson was present which resulted in a major fan boy moment for me. I’ve been a fan ever since his first release started making its rounds on social media. Nicholson attended the same boarding school that i did, and i had a friend tell me that when he played her Radiohead’s ‘Fake Plastic Trees’ on the school chapels organ it moved her nearly to tears. Such i can attest is the power of Nicholson’s music because it gives me goosebumps personally every time i listen to his album. Here he is covering another Radiohead song along with Fuzzy logic. Watch out for this artist, I put my money on him to go far.
In conclusion you have, if you bear any inkling of my personality not bothered to make it reading this far. If you however find yourself enamored with my writing and music selections, I am humbled and deeply appreciate the time you have taken from your life to earnestly concern yourselves with such matters. For your efforts I reward you with this picture, that is an artists visual representation of my inner most feelings as I draw this piece to a close: