Concert review: Imogen Heap (2019)

Imogen Heap is a musical genius. She is one the most creative, innovative and interesting musicians out there. I never thought I’d ever see her live since she hasn’t gone on a world tour for eight years or so. It was so worth it.

Honestly, this was a dream come true. There have been countless times in which I’d replay her CD (yes, I actually bought a CD) because it made me happy, hopeful and inspired. Her music came to me during a time in my life when I was still discovering my identity and personal preferences. Learning about her made me admire her even more. Her songs validated these indescribable experiences that mainstream pop songs just couldn’t do. Imogen is also super talented and it is wonderful to see someone with so much knowledge and skill be recognized.

Hearing the songs I’ve enjoyed for years live is an unreal experience (Goodnight & Go, Let Go, Breathe In and Just For Now to name a few). For some of these songs, she performed with her long-time collaborator Guy Sigsworth. This was such a treat! Despite her being sick, her vocals were amazing. Imogen performed with musical, high-tech gloves that assisted her in manipulating the music while she sang. They are called Mi.Mu Gloves and she created them. This is definitely a progressive way of performing and an invention that is, in general, the bee’s knees! She spoke about them in her recent performance at NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert video featured above.

The crowd was so eclectic. There were people dressed in nice dresses, casual jeans, cowboy boots and all in various age groups. Perhaps it’s because her music has been featured on various platforms like the television show The O.C. and the soundtrack to the film Garden State. Her song has been covered by Ariana Grande, sampled by Jason Derulo and she collaborated with Taylor Swift. She even composed the music for the Harry Potter and the Cursed Child play.

She chatted with the audience quite a bit and even had a quick Q & A. I admire and appreciate her ability to just be real and relatable on stage. I’m not sure when she will be performing next, but I will definitely be looking out for her next big idea and song release.

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this feeling | Young Blood (Stripped) by The Naked And Famous

It’s song you hear at night when the moon comes out and crickets chirp louder than the streetlights. It comes during a time in your life when reflection is a frequent visitor and even if you weren’t in that state, hearing this song will get you there. Nostalgia creeps in and you wonder about the past you no longer live. Her voice whispers in your ear, randomly, as you move along with your day and it makes you crave this feeling that you’re feeling now. You go ahead knowing you’ve likely missed a lot of opportunities in life already, but inspired because you also know there are more possibilities out there.

Imogen Heap

I love Imogen Heap. I believe my first introduction to her music was from my researching Frou Frou, a duo group she was a part of many years ago. Let Go is my favorite song in one of the best soundtracks I have ever heard from the film Garden State. Her voice is just so encompassing and involved; grabs me into the tumble and twirl of the song. I am sitting here just reminiscing about the feelings I had when I decided to purchase her CD and play it entirely through without a pause. It’s similar to how I feel when I slowly drink a good glass of chilled cranberry juice. It’s an acquired taste. Although not mainstream, her music is still very popular among those who have an appreciation to her eclectic style and unique techniques in creating music.

fear to free

I’ve had the Bittersweet Symphony song in my head for a few days now. Why? Not sure. It’s not a song I typically listen to, although, I haven’t really indulged in music in general lately anyway. Perhaps it’s my mind wanting the vibe it gives because it certainly does give one, doesn’t it?

A close friend from college told me his favorite movie was Cruel Intentions. And for those who aren’t familiar, this song was featured in this movie. It isn’t my favorite, but it made me wonder a lot of things about life. Why some people value certain things while others do not. There’s a whole lot of things in this landscape of life that makes absolute no sense to me.

The moment you realize you do not need is the moment you realize you are free. There are pieces in life that keep us attached because of what we fear or what we can’t let go. And then there are times when we are forced to face our fears and let go of things we never intended to in the first place. Talk about cruel intentions.

But maybe it forces us to see ourselves and this world the way we should. To give us that power to make changes we know we ultimate want to progress or to feel comfortable with the beings we were born to be.

Wherever you are in your journey today, I want to let you know that you aren’t alone. I find myself always changing and progressing; no matter how slow or fast or unpredictable or impractical this path makes it.

it’s coming // it’s come and gone

music: sleeping at last – saturn

I didn’t think I’d write a “wrap-up” post of 2017. I guess this isn’t really the case; it’s more like a “2018 is coming” and how I’m feeling kind of post. Um, maybe a mixture of both. I’ll get to it now..

I’m not sure how I’m feeling about 2018. I think it could go a few different ways and there are always possibilities that I don’t see coming. I think last year I was more excited. And rightly so, 2017 is/was a great year in multiple areas of my life. But 2018 is interesting.

………………………………….

I wrote the above entry in 2017. I had no idea what a hard year 2018 would be. The terrible circumstances that life threw at me were a lot last year. And I’m still recovering. Coming across this post in my drafts is odd. It’s odd to see the song I was listening to at the time. A music video that goes backwards as if I somehow knew I’d go backwards in time with this post.

Despite the rough times that have occurred last year and all the years passed, I always seem to have this small part of me deep down that knows I can get through it. Whatever happens. I am a fighter. For a long time, I did not really recognize that in myself and I don’t think I ever needed to until when I absolutely had to. I am grateful for it.

No matter what, the judgements, the insecurities, the resistance… know that the voice that remains the one to be heard is yours. Not the one that puts you down. Listen to the one that is strong enough to raise you up. Because that is the one that will save you; through and through.

“You taught me the courage of stars before you left
How light carries on endlessly, even after death
With shortness of breath, you explained the infinite
How rare and beautiful it is to even exist.”

-Sleeping At Last

 

on repeat

Right now, I’ve played the same song for about three times now. It’s the middle of the night and I’m feeling here. For a long time, I haven’t felt present. There’s always been multiple thoughts residing on one space in my mind. I want to be aware of this presentness and to appreciate it. Knowing it’s not common anymore has made it a treat; a sweet surprise.

I often wonder if musicians and singers know how much they can affect so many lives of strangers. It must feel so fulfilling knowing that their creations made others feel so connected. And somehow, this here-ness, have made me feel this overwhelming feeling of gratitude—for everything.

….to be here and right now at this moment. I never thought I’d ever have a blog. Never thought I’d write publicly and have others read upon my thoughts. Writing became a companion of mine after my father told me that writing in a journal can help with my emotions as a teenager. Little did I know, writing has been a huge part of my life. Thanks dad.

And for you. Thank you for reading my words. Thank you for being here.

color & design: photography and music videos

color blinds
“color blinds”

I think one of the most surprising things I learned about myself is that I really value design and color. They could be about anything; food presentation, home interiors, choreography and fashion. It’s silly to not know before, but now that I do, it seems so obvious. I did not have a desire to study graphic design or art academically. But I did for film production. I remember being a young critic on how films should have been directed. Or how I would notice all the little details on their set and the most random props. I don’t do this anymore, but I would be the kind of person who would watch a film and then re-watch with commentary from the director or the actors because I was fascinated with their viewpoint or thoughts on a scene. For fun, I would take photographs of buildings in strange angles or preferred to watch dance competitions as opposed to American Idol. Now that I think about it, maybe that was why I was so drawn to indie films. Although they are using traditional forms and processes of media, they present different and unique ways of doing them. They create visuals that are more interesting and memorable. They all kind of live for being imperfect in their way.

A few years ago, I experimented on color and light with a friend. I compiled edited footage of each experiment we did and made a short film.

And then I wondered, how many other videos are out there that have some really cool editing techniques? I used to spend so much time watching different music videos. Here are a few I thought were especially unique that used color or editing in interesting ways.

Chvrches

Kishi Bashi

Coldplay

In case you’re curious, here are some photographs from past color and light experiments. IMG_0987IMG_2981

 

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Do you see the toilets?

music therapy

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it’s the piano keys hitting the downer notes. it’s the guitar that strums along with the beat. it’s the lyrics that dance along the melodies. it’s the meaning behind all the words; every single letter that created the masterpiece. i used to live in this bubble of misconception that what i listened to defined who i was. and in some ways it does, but not anymore. to me, it’s a lot about how i’m feeling. a lover of mine said that to me. that’s how he listens. he hears the music that defines how he feels. i got it then, but i can feel that now. there are so many ways in which we can cope with whatever we’re going through, but music can uniquely somehow speak for what our hearts are saying. i’ve learned about new artists and songs by just going with how i feel as opposed to what i think i should be listening to.

my heart has been saying a lot lately and it’s hard to describe it to others. it’s communicated through my eyes and my actions. it’s through the ways in which i show my gratitude and love. it’s how i say nothing at all. i learned through my parents that actions are much louder than words. all of our definitions of love aren’t quite the same, but we all sort of know when it comes to us.

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love heals

“look at the stars” – coldplay

yellow leaves

I never thought I’d listen to Coldplay as much as I have in my life. I even own one of their cds randomly, oddly, since I don’t consider them one of my favorite bands. But maybe I do now. There’s just something about the words they sing. Or the messages they have. I think I’m more into their older stuff. Their song Yellow is one I always liked. Something about this song in particular makes me feel like time can just stand still a little longer than it has nowadays. It makes me feel like it’s okay to take my time. It’s okay to take deep breathes. It’s okay to dream and to remember the good ol’ days.

Look at the stars
Look how they shine for you
And everything you do
Yeah they were all yellow
-Coldplay

heartbreak

There is so much building inside my heart. The sorrow I feel is so full that I can’t contain the tears and they just fall. Aimlessly. I do not know what it is my heart is trying to say. Am I crying for what was? Am I crying for a release? Am I crying to tell myself something?

Heartbreak is defined as “overwhelming distress.” There is so much of this feeling lately.

Hearing this song has given me comfort in a deeply meaningful way. The answers do not come. But the feeling of knowing I am not alone has. The thing about heartbreak is that it is a very common occurrence and every single person has felt it in some capacity. Yet, it is such a solely individual feeling. We can all commiserate and relate, but the inner thoughts we have are ours alone to keep and carry.

The particular way our heart breaks is so painful that the arrow that made the shot hit right at the spot where no one else can touch it. The wound is so tender and frail that even the softest touch can sever any connections at all.

But this is not forever. This is true. Our hearts are strong. They rebuild. They mend. We heal ourselves piece by piece. Every day. And one day, when we feel this pain again, we know that it will be okay. Love is and always will be the answer. Feel that.

song featured: O (Fly On) by Coldplay (extended)

Music video review: MONDO GROSSO / ラビリンス

There’s something so powerful and romantic about this video. The cinematography is shot well with a clear vision of beginning to end. I admire and wish I could dance so freely as the woman in the video does; so comfortably in city streets as if she’s in her home like a child at play. Similarly, to my last review of a music video, this video is also done in one shot. I noticed how the smooth flow of the shot was filmed without any shakiness (as I’m sure most professional cameras can do by now). Following the woman walk through the streets, into restaurants through back alleys gives this sense of exploration without feeling like you’re intruding in people’s lives. But she definitely stands out in the scene. This video makes me want to travel as that is what traveling is to me: a lot of observation and exploration into a culture by being a part of the environment. Although the song is in Japanese and I don’t understand a single line of it, I feel so connected to it. It is because of this music video that gives me this context. I feel that a lot of music videos out there kind of waste a good opportunity into making a good piece of art; failing at connecting the song to the visuals, but obviously, I feel that this one did not.

singer spotlight: Birdy

Although her Fire Within studio album was released a little over four years ago, I’ve only just sort of discovered Birdy. Sort of in that I think I have heard some of her songs in the past, but for some reason, it was only now did I feel connected to her music. There’s just something about her voice that settles really nicely in my ears and in my heart. Speaking of which, her voice is phenomenal. I got caught in the YouTube rabbit hole of videos and came across a few of her covers. I especially like her version of the song Let Her Go by Passenger, which garnered over 14 million views (I’m not alone!) The way she sings the words feels a bit more personal and sacred. You know how the chorus to songs kind of feel a bit overplayed after the second time? I felt like this didn’t happen here. She took her time with each beat and each word was sung carefully. She made me wish I could play piano because the accompaniment was so smooth with the violin; makes me want to create something as kismet.

Music video review: Want You Back, HAIM

After watching and listening to this song for a few days now, I decided to write some thoughts that stood out to me about this music video. Firstly, I believe it was filmed in one shot, which is really amazing. It’s being live, but not. The timing & execution for everything (the dance moves, singing and camera movement) has to align just right or else it’ll have to be shot from the beginning again. With that in mind, I really admire the time and practice that was put into it. Secondly, the choreography of this is really well done. I like that the instrumental sounds were highlighted and weaved into their dance. It was so natural and quirky. I haven’t seen a lot of their music videos, so I’m not sure if this is just a part of their style. Thirdly, I like how simple and unique it was. One shot in particular that stood out for me was when the camera quickly pulls backwards at the end. I wonder if this was filmed with a drone or a crane? Overall, I thought the catchy song worked well with how they filmed it.

temporary relationship roadblocks

Silver thimbles hung on twiddle thumbs
On guitar strings strumming goodbye songs.
Uncover the lost messages in this puzzle game
As I spew out metaphors of this heartfelt strain.
Wrap me over your shoulders as I hang on tight,
Like a baby girl sleeping in soft blankets delight.
Nourish my wounded ego with salted teardrops
Avoid crossing the lines and running red light stops.
We have to make it. We gotta get there.
But how does that saying go, “life’s not fair?”

 

inspired by singer-songwriter mitski’s song first love/late spring.