audiobiography: we are mortals

Audiobiography, Interview, Soundtrek, TK:LA


WE ARE MORTALS® is an evolutionary gender-free urban streetwear brand.

We call ourselves MORTALS because we are the ones who understand the brevity of human life and the need to live it fully and limitlessly. We also believe that as MORTALS, we’re all equal. That is why we created our brand around this idea of a future in which we wear our personalities, not our gender identities or other stereotypicl labels.

Coining the phrase ‘The Future Has No Gender,’ WE ARE MORTALS® seeks to challenge the conventional and outdated his/hers formula of clothing design and retail. In the future, there will be room to exist in a ‘gray area’ in which our identities don’t rely on gender, sexual, or racial classification. Ultimately, we hope that by removing the traditional gender designations from our clothing, we can facilitate a cultural shift in the way we view gender, sexuality, and each other.”


WeAreMortalsliving soundtrack, sonic couture for the post-structural human culture, in founder Anji Becker’s own words…


(W) orld Town – M.I.A: “M.I.A. is an artist that speaks up for causes, represents underprivileged people in the world. she’s fearless, a powerful woman who doesn’t accept traditional gender stereotypes.”

TrapperKeeper: Danger produces dark ages; Danja produces requiems and renaissances


Danger produces dark ages; Danja produces requiems and renaissances. #blackoutsandbadgirls

Danja’s tracks open from a place of uncertainty, but an acceptance at whatever is to come. Everything builds: the bass drop’s density, the synth pitches, the hi-hat tisk, the snare pops, but more importantly: Danja’s slurred, suggestive coercions. From 2007-2012 here are seven of Art Nouveau‘s favorite Danja tracks.

SnappScenes: “Bad Girls” – M.I.A.


Live fast, die young… #badgirlsdoitwell… Maya Arulpragasm like the Mayans – had it right… even when wrong:

It turns out that the Mayans had it right. History is a giant alarm clock. As the bell starts to ring, we awaken from the dream, and remember who we are.

Bad Girls… from Eve and Mary (and Magdalene), to Cleopatra and Nefertiti, from Frida and Josephine, to Eleanor and Marilyn – are the backbone of wake-up calls and real talk, courtesy of rogue revelry. #doitwell

Top-to-Bottom two cents #topback: History is a giant alarm clock, and discographies are giant phonographs… as the bell starts to ring, and the needle hits the groove, we awaken from the scene, and remember who we are… This year, Maya got back into the groove: Kala style.

SnappScenes: “Give Me All Your Luvin'” ft. Nicki Minaj & M.I.A. – Madonna

A.V Hub, Soundtrek, TK:LDN, Vinyl Mind Flow

Oh that Madge… I can’t help it, I’ve got the biggest Cheshire grin plastered above my chin right now…

See the thing about it is, I wanted to not like this video – hear me out: I wanted to not like this video because after the hoopla and hype, after the media blitzes and reductionism, this era was gearing up to be the bark of Confessions with the bite of Hard Candy #notgreat then, there’s the distractions and the white noise pulling attention from the product at hand and towards the peripheral gossip… in a nutshell: I was ready to not like this video for the same reason I was gearing up to not like Born This Way – because people were going Gaga over Madonna; but lo and behold… Pop never lets you down.

Prose & Pastiche: “Run The World (Girls)” Video – Beyonce

A.V Hub, biorhythmic, Soundtrek, TK:NYC

The modern music industry’s Mitochondrial Eve returns with a fervor to prove – once again – that despite all patriarchal restrictions and destruction: she who bears the womb… the forever battlefield, and said burden… is she who is best equipped to commandeer the cultural revolution. Who rev the world? Girls.

The revolution will be feminized. She who betrayed Jesus, she who betrayed Adam, she who bears the weight of said world on her naturally sinful shoulders, in her superseding of submission, will ascend to prominence; born to blossom, bloom to perish, just as man destroyed that which he cannot create, so in the wake of destruction and suspension in social smolder, here woman returns to bear life again… Strong enough to bear the children, then get back to business

Who run the world? Girls. Girls, women, females have the unparalleled capacity to create life. Despite all social constructs, religious constraints, and artificial inferiorities women are able to create something lasting, something outside of themselves, and from their sin comes the succession – well, that, or a dance nation… my persuasion can build a nation #literally

#inanutshell Self-reference and atmospheric concept #letsbeyhonest #independentringonit

BlinkkBeats: GreatEclectic – “MEG▲LOMANI▲”

SnapTrakks, Soundtrek, TK:NYC

I’ve hit the point where Pop music is so good right now – so perfect – that I can’t even make sense of it because it makes too much sense in and of itself #senseless To be fair, that point started swinging as soon as the beast beat beneath Perry’s Dark Teenage Twisted Fantasy dropped, and it officially hit when Rozay held Brit against me; Pop: because I’ll take you everywhere – call me MC Hammer #imaboutscene. GreatEclectic isn’t a moniker, it isn’t a motto, or even a mantra – it is a melodic manifesto: #thus

Cover Me:

Follow Friday: Paper Cuts


Paper Magazine dropped their “Social Networking Issue” earlier this month and – amidst the usual prime Pop culture prose and noteworthy points – featured their own “Who’s Who” primer of the Twittasphere:


When the world says they’re on their paper chase, it’s no wonder why with Paper’s taste: impeccable. Their 140 keep Twitter witty and wise… and ego-checked. A look back at the month’s last – but furthest from least – list of Tweeps to follow, know, love, @, #, RT, and DM the %*!&# out of, courtesy of Paper Magazine… featured below are a few of the finest from the character reel…

@questlove : Questlove

questlove1Drummers keep the beat – Quest is no different keeping to the root of the Tweet


@whitegrlproblem : White Girl Problems

whitegirlproblems1Yep, even though Paris, Lindsay, Britney, Mary Kate, and Casey lead deceptively glamorous lives, white girls do indeed have problems, just like the rest of us.

Unforgettable, Vol. 13: M.I.A. – “Arular”

Soundtrek, Uncategorized


Where we left off with the sonic schizophrenia of Kenna’s face, we now delve into M.I.A.’s socially schizophonic scape. Maya Arulpragasam came onto the scene in 2005 with her debut, Arular. M.I.A. mirrors the past – leading by sample – and marks the future. From sound to sentiment to style, she lays the groundwork for the new underground of which she spoke in NME

In people’s hard drives and their brains, it just hasn’t been outputted yet. We need a digital moshpit like we’ve never seen, harder than how people were doing it in the punk era. We need that energy, but digitally. It’s coming.

On the brink of her third album, and apparent rebirth, it’s important to see that we still have the same M.I.A. – with the same perspective – in a different package.

Arular came out when I was a freshman in college, and – in conjunction with the urban landscape of Manhattan as my backdrop – was instrumental in my musical maturation. Just as New York is a microcosm of the world, so Arular was a concentrated synthesis of sounds and global societies. Just as I was cementing my identity as a world citizen, so Arulpragasm was constructing our cultural identity.

M.I.A.’s eponymous track – “Untitled” – marks her signature as much as ours: a general in the midst – and at the helm – of a lost generation. More so than most, Maya embodies this era: missing in action – we may not know where we are or what we’re doing, but we’re doing it big. Arular is that electronic indigenous sound of an era on the cusp of tradition and innovation. As M.I.A lays down her blueprint electronic to lead a tribe in the midst of unparalleled transition, so Arular reflects that ambiguity in being born free.

Music Monday: 40 Reasons, #40 – M.I.A.’s “Born Free”

A.V Hub, Soundtrek, TK:ATL, Vinyl Cut Prose

Maya Arulpragasam cemented iconographic status last decade as the brazen bamboo banga – the staple sound of subwoofers from Sri Lanka to Santa Monica. She laid out her vision for this decade in music in NME magazine – the running theme of which was, “whatever they did last decade: don’t.” M.I.A.’s Arular and Kala play as soundtracks to the past decade’s apocalyptic crusade against genuine culture. She went larger-than-life with indigenous-gone-electric sounds that were catchy enough to become a mainstream radio mainstay (because, well, that’s Pop). This decade she’s going bigger and badder in a politically-charged punk way that highlights the American idiocy in last decade’s domestic attempt to do the same.

THE DROP: M.I.A. and Lady Gaga – Where’s the Beef? An analysis…



This isn’t a drop: it’s a deluge.

M.I.A. sat down with NME to take a stand on where music is headed in the coming decade. Most saw her choice words, as choice cuts of beef served up at the table of Lady Gaga. However 1) Pop Stars don’t eat and 2) any avid reader and Pop Culture connoisseur would see that the article is not so much a direct attack on Gaga, as it is a misdirected critique of the mainstream, and industry in general; so that leaves the beef: untouched. M.I.A. is a major artist, an iconic figure from the past decade, commenting on the future of music; the future of music as we know it is Gaga, and so what better case study to reference than the Lady herself? Where the response has gone array is in people’s general lack of perspective on the artists, and the art form. Brass tacks: I read the article and thought I was reading a self-deprecating dialogue between Gaga’s Fame and Monster… some sort of existential exercise in literary catharsis for her new album… I don’t know. M.I.A. and Lady Gaga are a theoretical tandem, they share a Pop iconography. They both represent the future of music from the Sri Lankan hood to the Haus. Point/Counterpoint: for every question NME posed, and every response M.I.A. gave, Gaga has been posed a similar – if not identical – question, and below are her answers: verbatim. Before you pick a side, let this be your guide, a little Pop primer that gives reference points and poses the biggest question of all: “so wait, where is the beef?”


NME: Do musical tribes still exist?

M.I.A.: “There aren’t tribes any more – how can there be when we all live in computers, on social networks? People listen to and access music differently now, so the tribal thing has to be reformatted.”

Lady Gaga:People believe electronic music is soulless – and it’s not. Do you know why I know it’s not? Because the soul that I feel from my fucking beautiful fans at my show cannot be a lie – it can’t. I’ve never in my life seen the intensity in their faces – I mean they bloodsuck and kill to be together; I mean there’s glitter, and there’s sweat, and there’s dancing, and there’s hairbows, and they believe in it so much and it’s real. In those moments: it’s real; and they bring my music to life.”

My Two Cents: Tribes exist, and both M.I.A. and Gaga are tribal leaders (paws to lil’ monsters). The firewire sparked the bonfire around which the new musical tribes dance; the future of the musical tribe? Gonna be okay.

Dime Dailies: Health Care Reform Playlist

Soundtrek, Uncategorized

President Obama is on the road promoting the historic health care legislation he signed into effect earlier this week. So I’ve decided to compile a quick primer playlist to accompany his journey and ours to and through this momentous bill, to cut through the jargon, and to break down the “can dos if you choose” of health care reform.

Bad Romance: because now you can get your lover’s ugly and disease without worrying about high premiums

Just a Girl: because it is no longer a pre-existing condition

A Dime, A Dozen: M.I.A. and Radiohead


My year-end review is a recap of the greatest Pop artists of the past decade.

Pretense: Pop and celebrity are like high school; so, I made a list of my top artists and paired them up Homecoming style –– five couples in the court, two with the crown –– to give you “A Dime, A Dozen:” ten years, twelve artists (and an honorable mention couple, because in America: we’re all winners –– certificates of participation for everyone).

Court Couple the first: M.I.A. and Radiohead Foreign Firestarters

M.I.A.:  Mathangi “Maya” Arulpragasam, the technicolor artist – British by way of Sri Lanka – burst onto the scene with her explosive debut album, Arular, in 2004. By the official release of her first album she was already an underground staple with a collection of acclaimed visual art, and the widely-shared “Galang” and “Sunshowers” tracks storming the internet. Point blank: M.I.A. was much needed and right on time in 2004. In a sloppy seconds, twice warmed (and screwed) over Bush-era world we needed outright rebellion and revolution – of the rhythmic persuasion. Namely:

Distriction: Memorial Day ’09 Mix


Quick and dirty lunchtime/BBQ mix for the holiday. Literal mix of older, new-ish, pop, hip-hop, this and that. It’s a general smattering: a bit random, not particularly thematic, but a universally decent mix for a mid-day holiday meal.

Start off mellow for the swelter. Pre-interlude: less local, a bit bossa nova and ska over funk, try it on for size …