Confirmed: cocaine is really addictive

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Cocaine might be much more addictive than we originally thought – with a new study warning that it can get people hooked even from the very first use. 

According to research published in Scientific Reports, the drug can trigger a dopamine release in the part of your brain responsible for cravings. This reaction is common in people who have already developed addictions, but…

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21 Summer Rum Cocktails To Help You Forget Winter is Coming

Rum is the perfect alcohol for warmer weather, which is why it’s so popular in places where the sun shines 10 months out of the year. It’s light, can be spicy or clear, has a nice high proof, and can disappear into less dense, tropical flavors. Rum also tends to bring on a low, slow […]

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Photographer Camilo Jose Vergara Photographs The Same Locations Repeatedly Over 40 Years

No heat, landlord in front of New St. and Newark St., Newark, 1980

New St. and Newark St., Newark, 2015

 

Photographer Camilo José Vergara has committed more than four decades of his life to his photographic archive project “Tracking Time”. Year after year he has returned to poor, minority communities around the United States to re-photograph them from the same vantage points. In 2013, Vergara was awarded the National Humanities Medal by President Barack Obama, and was the first photographer ever to receive this honour.

See more images of his incredible project below.

Artist Spotlight: Miwon Yoon

Lovely work by Korean artist Miwon Yoon. See more images below.

“Solo Together” by Artist Paula Crown

Artist Paula Crown creates 150 ceramic replicas of those iconically cheap disposable red cups for her latest sculptural installation, inviting us to consider the complexity of the mundane and the temporality of togetherness. See more images from “Solo Together” below or on display at 10 Hanover gallery in London until June 8.

“Light Barrier” by Artists Kimchi and Chips


An otherworldly audio-visual phenomenon by South Korean artists Kimchi and Chips (aka Mimi Son and Elliot Woods). Constructing an elaborate apparatus out of hundreds of projectors, mirrors and speakers the duo experiment with the materialization of objects from beams of light. Check out more images and video below!

Lil Yachty: Teenage Emotions

The most polarizing figure in hip-hop today never asked to become a provocateur or rap reformist, but he was happy to oblige. When confectioner Lil Yachty and his team of teenaged separatists broke rank, more influenced by Kid Cudi and Chief Keef and pop-rockers Coldplay than the cliche rap Mt. Rushmore types, they challenged long-established ideas about what rap should sound like.

Yachty’s refusal to engage with rap’s legacy renewed a culture clash that’s been waged between warring factions for decades now. But his enthusiastic, sometimes silly delivery and his all-around cheerfulness have endeared him to a new generation of rap fans. Feel-good tunes quickly made him both a leader of the current rap youth movement and the one most likely to cross over to pop audiences. Platforms of positivity and inclusivity seem a fitting countermeasure in a climate where the most popular rap group in the country will denounce a colleague for being gay. A selling point has always been the whimsy, Yachty’s flippant disregard for convention, focusing on playful melodies that sound like jingles for Nicktoons. He is most comfortable when gleeful and thrives on fun, but can struggle to sustain ideas. Lil Yachty’s debut album Teenage Emotions, released after a breakout mixtape and an Apple Exclusive, is his most complete work yet, but it doesn’t contain the nuance its cover and title suggest.

Teenage Emotions feels hollow next to the real, complicated emotions of teens; his stories here are usually rendered without depth or dimension, more like sketches of impulses. But in his element, Yachty’s rare feel for earworms and his unorthodox cadences let him cut corners, unleashing a series of non-sequiturs with such levity that it’s like frolicking in a bouncy castle. He is our master of joy. Songs like “All Around Me” and “FYI (Know Now)” fill bubblegum productions with his animated flows. “Harley” leaps and bounds through repetitions. The intro, “Like a Star,” beams with exuberance before drifting into a more delicate tune, one that is genuinely pleasant, and it’s the first of many signs that Yachty is figuring things out.

Yachty has polished the edges of his Auto-Tuned warbles since the Lil Boat mixtape, which were often grating in their attempts to find a pitch. And he’s growing more proficient in songcraft, constructing tunes that don’t suddenly sputter and stall out. Early records sounded like they were carelessly-assembled and that cheekiness was almost half of the appeal. But Teenage Emotions is refined and moves with more purpose. Over a woozy WondaGurl production, Yachty pushes in and out of falsetto on “Lady in Yellow,” turning a repeating stanza into a refrain but occasionally changing the lyrics. Opposite singer Grace, who he originally teamed up with for DJ Cassidy’s “Honor,” he seems poised for a crossover on “Running With a Ghost” and his Diplo collaboration, “Forever Young,” is a satisfying pop rap delight. These moments showcase Yachty’s charms. Where he gets into trouble is when he seeks the approval of rap pundits. 

At some point, the finger-wagging purists got into Yachty’s head because being the scapegoat for ruining an entire genre can have that effect on a person. But he dramatically overcorrected, spending far too much energy trying to pass himself off as an acceptable rapper’s rapper, or as someone agreeable to classicist sensibilities. Several songs on Teenage Emotions try to fit into a model Yachty was never built for, and he ends up with lines like, “She blow that dick like a cello.” Listening to him tense up during tough talk on “DN Freestyle” and “X Men” is painful. These moments are off message and off brand. What results is an album that’s half fun, half struggle—loosening one minute then tightening up the next, but always dilly dallying.

Despite some indecision on whom to speak, Yachty does challenge himself to take on new roles on Teenage Emotions, and in certain instances he’s bewitching. On “Made of Glass,” a soothing synthpop ballad, he sings of unrequited love, unseen by the girl of his dreams. As he moves in unison with the sample on “No More,” which is distorted and disorienting, he laments being pursued by gold diggers. It’s one of the few times he engages thoughtfully with his celebrity. On “Priorities,” he assesses the decisions he’s made, finding a nice singsong balance. Though far too long and sometimes aimless, Teenage Emotions is the mind of a child star blown-up and on exhibition at the epicenter of modern rap. It’s there to be gawked at and appreciated, and then maybe enjoyed.

Mulatu Astatke: Mulatu Of Ethiopia

Just about a decade ago, amid the faded 1960s grandeur of Addis Ababa’s Ghion Hotel—Mulatu Astatke’s favorite spot for coffee—the man himself leaned over and asked, “What exactly is the Red Bull Music Academy?” This was after a wide-ranging interview about his career as composer and musician, traveling from the UK to the U.S. to Ethiopia and in between. Mulatu had been tapped to give a lecture in Canada, but he didn’t understand exactly why he was being asked to talk about his music—the bulk of which was recorded between 1966 and 1974—for a bunch of young people.

Originally released in 1972 and newly-reissued, the groundbreaking Mulatu of Ethiopia easily answers that question in under 30 minutes of adventurous, head-nod-inducing music that still sounds new today. These seven melodic tracks take the listener down moody rhythmic paths, all the while accompanied by organ, flute, horns, and Mulatu’s trademark vibraphone.

Born in western Ethiopia, Mulatu palnned to study engineering. But upon moving to Wales, and later London, his field changed to music. He became the first student from Africa at Boston’s Berklee College of Music, focusing on percussion as well as vibraphone. In the late ’60s and early ’70s, Mulatu recorded on trips to New York, working with a range of session musicians, many schooled in Latin rhythms; playing alongside Cubans and Venezuelans, he observed their experimentation. It sparked his desire to invent his own style, which he called “Ethio-jazz.” “I used the Ethiopian structures to create melodies, but instead of using cultural instruments, I used western instruments like the piano and the contrabass,” he once said. “I somehow created ways to use the Ethiopian modes, being very careful not to lose the feeling.”

Mulatu’s style—he really is the originator and sole exemplar of “Ethio-jazz”—is unmistakable. First, unlike most Ethiopian music of various traditional and contemporary genres, Mulatu doesn’t use vocals. He’s unique in his instrumentality, and his mix of styles was crucial. There is a clear ’70s funk influence at play—with the wah wah on “Munaye,” the driving tempo paired with rolling saxophone on “Chifara,” the floating flute on “Mascaram Setaba.” Afro-Cuban rhythms also appear on “Mulatu” and “Kasalefkut-Hulu.” And those familiar with the Ethiopian washint (flute) will recognize the different wind sounds on “Kulumanqueleshi.” It all joins the melancholic minor rhythm and handclaps, which are reminiscent of traditional Ethiopian Orthodox church music. The melodies, too, use the five-note-scale pentatonic mode common to Ethiopian music.

Though crate diggers developed an enthusiasm for Mulatu’s music in the early 1990s, wider acclaim occurred initially in Europe through the 1998 release of the fourth in the Francis Falceto-curated Éthiopiques series, entitled Ethio Jazz & Musique Instrumentale, 1969–1974. A number of tracks from the compilation were then used in the soundtrack for Jim Jarmusch’s 2005 film Broken Flowers (those paying attention will identify that the cinematic “Mascaram Setaba” appeared first on this record). But Mulatu of Ethiopia showcases perhaps the widest range of Mulatu’s talents—including jazz, funk, and what sounds like atmospheric soundtracking—and acts as an excellent initial entry into his catalog.

What is perhaps most significant about this reissue—and for this one needs to purchase the 3xLP set—is how it illustrates the process that went into the creation of Mulatu of Ethiopia. The CD and LP versions include the original stereo release and the pre-mix mono master, but the 3xLP gatefold set adds a whole other LP dedicated to the outtakes of four songs: three of “Mascaram Setaba,” three of “Kulunmanqueleshi,” two of “Kasalefkut-Hulu,” and an extra “Munaye.” These glimpses into the studio provide insight into the explorations that led to the final versions. Some outtakes place the wind instruments out front, others focus on the percussion. These are looser attempts that play with motifs and melodies.

Mulatu, however, is audibly the bandleader. Before laying out the rhythm and counting the band in on “Mascaram Setaba,” you can hear him arguing with the musicians: “No, no, no,” he says, telling the bassist exactly what he wants to hear. After a minute or so, he stops the music again: “Watch me for the chords, ok?,” he instructs. From this three minutes of tape, it’s quite clear that Mulatu knew exactly what he wanted in order to fulfill his concept of Ethio-jazz.

Since Mulatu’s 2007 lecture in Toronto, more and more people have become acquainted with the funky, atmospheric stylings of his Ethio-jazz. This has spurred Mulatu’s recent work, born of connections with London’s Heliocentrics and Boston’s Either/Orchestra. There has also between a rash of recordings sampling Mulatu, and for good reason. Nas, Damian Marley, K’naan, the Gaslamp Killer, Four Tet: all have added in bits and pieces of Mulatu’s music. If there’s one way to invigorate a style, it’s by drawing from the unique cadences of Mulatu Astatke’s inventive sounds, showcased on this 45-year-old classic.