Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Best of 2012 So Far

2012 has been a hell of a year so far. It started with my nephew being born on New Year's Eve, then a massive fire near my apartment New Year's Day, then my grandmother passing away a few days later, pets dying, friends getting pregnant, kids getting older, people losing homes, selling homes, buying homes. As I write this I am on the brink of possibly moving to the East Bay after living in San Francisco since 1993. I keep reminding myself that the only constant is change, and that attachment to things is the source of all misery. Much easier to say than actually feel. Although when there was a massive fire blazing four doors down from us, I realized that as long as I had my wife, I had everything I needed, which was a nice lesson to learn. Of course, when I heard our neighbor's apartment had been broken into last week and was unsure about ours, all I could think of was "Not the PS3! I've put like 30 hours into Borderlands!!!!"

Which all goes to say that there has been an undercurrent of stress running in the background for me and mine this year. It's like background noise that you get used to and don't notice until it goes away. Or water slowly boiling, to use another analogy. It's nothing we can't handle, and much less than many people deal with. The key is learning how to adapt to it, and to try to not let it all bog you down.

One constant outlet for me is music. I've been voraciously consuming music this year. I've probably bought or downloaded almost a hundred since the year started. I've gotten into jazz in a big way and discovered these new sets from Real Gone Jazz that collect 6-8 albums on 3-4 discs, all for around $14. The packaging and liner notes suck, they put two albums on each disc and the sound quality isn't amazing, but it is a nice way to get an overview of an artist's work. I've gotten sets by Thelonious Monk, Duke Ellington, Yusef Lateef, and Curtis Fuller.

There's also been some great rap albums released this year. YU started things off with The Earn, followed by the excellent Quakers album. Death Grips, Killer Mike, and El-P followed up in the Spring by releasing three excellent albums. And that's just the stuff I listened to. Oddisee, Schoolboy Q and Blockhead have all released new albums that have gotten praise.

Maybe the only constants are change, and music.

In related news, Death Grips has a video for "Double Helix" that was filmed using a car's rear camera:

And the video for Killer Mike's "Big Beast" features zombie strippers and more gore than a horror movie.

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