SF: Ben Khan

The following is an extract of my article for Sampleface:

“Ben Khan’s Drive (Part I) is another reason why I love Twitter and Soundcloud. Some beautiful people on the first social network put me up on this record, hosted on the latter, and you know a song is good when it boasts over 100k plays. Ben Khan’s enigmatic approach to music reigns true: a Soundcloud with one song; a YouTube with one video; a Facebook page with one post; Twitter account following no one. Bearing uncanny resemblance to the musical myth that is Jai Paul, the hype around Mr. Khan is growing quickly. Drive (Part I) is addictive, almost trance-like. The repetitive electronic synths remind me slightly of J. Cole’s Power Trip, if it were to be remixed by Jai Paul… or Ben Khan, I guess. An airy, lazy vocal rides the powerful production, without ever taking any of the spotlight. It’s been a while since I’ve heard a record which was allowed to breathe, vocally. The pauses coupled by short, rhythmic BVs really add another depth. I’m excited to see what he does next.”

Read the article in full, here: http://sampleface.co.uk/one-to-watch/one-to-watch-ben-khan/

Advertisements

CALM: Social Anxiety

The following is an extract of my article for CALM:

“Feeling anxious can be an absolute nightmare and, much like depression, it’s a lot more common than we believe it to be. There are many forms of anxiety including panic disorder, OCD and post-traumatic stress, but I wanted to touch upon the most common one: social anxiety disorder.

Social Anxiety – as explained by the NHS – is a persistent fear of social situations and being around people. Much more than just “shyness”, social anxiety disorder causes intense, overwhelming fear over what may just be an everyday activity, like shopping or speaking on the phone.

The thought of being in a new – almost alien – environment can bring a horrible discomfort to the point where you question whether you should even go. By cancelling a potential meet up, you’re saving yourself from the mental anguish that builds inside. It stops you from worrying, feeling socially awkward and self-conscious. Being at home is better because your surroundings are comfortable, safe, and there’s no need to feel on-edge for an entire evening. But, how long are you going to stay cooped up indoors?

A very close friend of mine suffers from severe social anxiety, so I spoke to her about her personal experience, and how she’s gradually beating her fears.”

Read the article in full, here: http://www.thecalmzone.net/2013/08/social-anxiety/

About CALM

The Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) exists to prevent male suicide in the UK.  Suicide accounted for the deaths of more young men in England & Wales in 2011 than road death, murder and HIV/AIDs combined.

We believe that if men felt able to ask for, and find, timely and appropriate help when they need it then hundreds of male suicides could be prevented in the UK.  We believe that there is a cultural barrier preventing men from seeking help as they are expected to be in control at all times, and failure to be seen as such equates to weakness and a loss of masculinity.  We believe that suicide is neither inevitable nor an indication that the individual was a failure in any respect.

We’re a campaign for all men, not just ‘service users’ – we avoid mental health terms and start with the belief that all of us, at one time or another regardless of gender, will hit a crisis. We could all do with specialist support when things go wrong. For more information: http://thecalmzone.net

CALM are a registered charity, no. 1110621.

What’s Her Love Like?

There’s a Spring in his step,
when a beautiful smile catches his attention.
Of which he’ll never forget.
He waits for her return, year after year.

What’s her love like?
Does Summer miss her when she’s away?
Because the sun has no will to shine,
if he can’t have her attention.

He heard her voice for the first time.
She sings through the fall of Autumn leaves,
whilst he hopes she never stops singing,
because her notes that flutter in the wind, seem to stop time.

Does Winter long for her at night?
Because his cold and crisp demeanour,
is softened by the warmth of her thoughts,
every time she ambles by the moonlit river.

She thinks about how his smile makes her glow.
How his presence makes her feel invincible.
How she falls more and more in love with him,
every time they meet in his dreams.

CALM: The Dreaded Graduate Job Search…

The following is an extract of my latest article for CALM:

“After utilising my time out of conventional work by making two years’ worth of music (and confusing the hell out of myself on the HMRC website), I set myself up for a string of musical releases which was a good start, but the quarterly royalty income I was getting as a newbie musician wasn’t cutting it. I jumped on the internship bandwagon because I was determined to use my skills – and degree – doing something I loved (digital/social media, video production, writing). However, the majority of internships only covered expenses, so I ended up doing a lot of work for no money. Ah, the curse of the internship.

The problem being a graduate in this economic climate is the fact that jobs are really hard to come by. A lot of companies know this and abuse their power by hiring interns to do invaluable work for peanuts. And they get away with it because experience is an invaluable asset in the long-term career hunt for those on the first rung of the career ladder, plus they have a bottomless well of eager graduates queuing up for that experience.  You want to get paid, do you?  Well in that case, we’ll find someone else willing to work for nothing.  Don’t let the door bump you on the arse on your way out. You get the picture.”

Read the article in full, here: http://www.thecalmzone.net/2013/08/21775/

About CALM

The Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) exists to prevent male suicide in the UK.  Suicide accounted for the deaths of more young men in England & Wales in 2011 than road death, murder and HIV/AIDs combined.

We believe that if men felt able to ask for, and find, timely and appropriate help when they need it then hundreds of male suicides could be prevented in the UK.  We believe that there is a cultural barrier preventing men from seeking help as they are expected to be in control at all times, and failure to be seen as such equates to weakness and a loss of masculinity.  We believe that suicide is neither inevitable nor an indication that the individual was a failure in any respect.

We’re a campaign for all men, not just ‘service users’ – we avoid mental health terms and start with the belief that all of us, at one time or another regardless of gender, will hit a crisis. We could all do with specialist support when things go wrong. For more information: http://thecalmzone.net

CALM are a registered charity, no. 1110621.

SF: Indigo Summer

The following is an extract of my latest review for Sampleface:

“The past couple of summers have been dominated by the nostalgic sounds of Frank O, and the sultry tones of Miss Jhené “I-still-want-to-marry-her” Aiko. Since then, I had yet to find a complete body of work to kick it with. Don’t get me wrong – there have been some incredible albums and singles since 2011, obviously – but nothing that quite resonated with me as much as those two ‘tapes (Nostalgia/Ultra; Sailing Soul(s)) did. This may have been down to the fact that ‘hype’ becomes ridiculously off-putting and I’m sorry, but an album cannot be considered a “classic” after a God-damn week. Bandwagons are irritating.

Anyway, I was casually updating my Soundcloud one evening when a random song started playing in my headphones. The mellow instrumental provided good ambiance for the moment, but it only caught my attention when I heard one of the most beautifully kissed vocals, ever. I stopped everything I was doing to find out who this woman was, and searching led me to the Indigo Summer EP by Chi Town’s very own, Nylo. You know a new artist is dope as f*ck when she has Nas singing her praises, as well as hosting the launch of her EP. Yeah. She’s that good. She’s also a graphic designer, producer and session musician, which is pretty cool too. I gave the EP a listen that following evening.”

Read the article in full, here:
http://sampleface.co.uk/reviews/review-nylo-indigo-summer-ep/

#MP7 – Balance

Finding a happy medium in life is what we as human beings strive to have: the perfect harmony of all elements allowing for smooth runnings and ultimately, a peaceful existence. A lot of people assume balance is literally that: balancing every part of your life equally with everything else – it’s not. In fact, that’d probably make sh*t a lot worse. Let me start by asking you this – what are you looking for?

“Our true self is the part of us that is always in balance, no matter what is going on around us. Finding personal balance is about doing the inner work to choose peace, no matter what the situation. Whenever we are ready, the great news is that our true selves are there waiting to be rediscovered.
     Personal balance can be about work-life balance, about work-fun balance, or simply about being healthy. But at a deeper level, the goal of personal balance is ultimately about finding some peace of mind and joy in life, no matter what the circumstances. Like our true selves, personal balance is always there for us to rediscover. As we search for health in mind, body and spirit, we don’t need anything except the willingness to look inside to find it and to do the things most of us already know how to do.” – Will Ellis, Finding Personal Balance: A Path to Inner Peace in a Life of Doing More.

What are you looking for?

The reason I’m writing about balance is mainly down to how the topic arose in the first place. After my initial #MP entries, I decided to ask people what they wanted me to write about; if there was a particular internal issue they were facing and needed advice on. After going through responses, I saw a comment which simply read, “balance.” When I asked the commenter to elaborate, he expressed his desire to find balance in his life.

He said, “to be real with you, I’m having an internal battle at the moment. I don’t sleep because I think I should be doing something productive. The following day I’m really tired, but I feel guilty by resting: I don’t want to get so relaxed that I become lazy and have to double my input to get back on track. Sometimes I get paralysed in a mental deadlock of indecisiveness that is crippling to the positive energy I want to put out into the universe. I want to work harder, train, spend time with loved ones, and still have that peace that allows me to look at every aspect of life with an unbiased, harmonious view to inspire others.” The reason this caught me off-guard was because this person is a very good friend of mine, a creative, and one of the most well-rounded people I have met.

It’s clear that in this day and age, you have to work a lot harder to make a lot less money. You’re constantly trying to maintain a strong working ethic, whilst having personal time, family time, a social life and creative balance. We find it challenging and virtually impossible to create that level-playing field. But why is it so difficult? An Einstein quote reigns true: “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

Balance is important because you get to do all the things you wanted to do, see the people you want to see, and most importantly, just enjoy living your every day. People also look for balance to find peace, happiness, and sometimes because they just want to be more efficient (see, work balance). I want you to know that although these tips won’t immediately guarantee a sudden zen, the more time dedicated, the closer you’ll be to achieving your desired goal. You can attempt to do them all, or selective ones.

  • Prioritise: I know you’re probably thinking that this goes without saying, but there’s a difference between listing priorities and actually acting upon it. So, state all of the main tasks and elements in your life, order them in regards to importance. What are your main priorities that demand immediate attention? And what little things are floating around in your head that can be left to do at a later date? Sift through them, and dedicate a block time for each in order of importance.
  • Lists: I find the best way to get through the day is by making a to-do list the night before. In addition to this, set a monthly to-do list for ongoing tasks and deadlines. Make sure to put any significant social date into your diary as SOON as it’s confirmed, too. That way you can plan around events you can’t miss (birthdays, weddings, and so on).
  • Rest: you’re human, not a vampire. Over-working yourself will usually result in lower standards of work anyway, so why waste time having to re-do it all? Sleeping is glorious – your mind and body are in ease, and your relaxed state will allow for greater productivity. If you’re a snoozer, set your alarm really loud, and put it at the opposite end of the room. You’re forced to wake up, and all is well, homie.
  • Downtime: you’re allowed to have fun, and this is the best form of balance, I feel. Allow yourself to do something you love, or just do something mindless. If you’re working for hours on end, put some time aside that evening to watch a film that makes you laugh. In my case, after writing for ages, I browse BuzzFeed for ten minutes. (Any longer though, and it becomes an almost Candy Crush-like addiction. Key: balance).
  • DON’T play Candy Crush. There’s enjoying yourself, and then there’s shooting yourself in the foot. With candies. And that re-growing chocolate BS. And those stupidly needless liquorices that absorb all the power. I f*cking hate Jelly, too. Jelly can go to hell. Sorry.
  • Don’t aim to please everyone: not everyone can demand your attention. Remember, if you keep saying yes to doing things you don’t want to do, solely to please others; the more times you’ll subconsciously be saying no to yourself, doing things you’d like to do. Get it? If not, I apologise for how poorly that was phrased.
  • Exercising and Meditation: I’ve noticed a few friends getting into meditation, and a few others that have been exercising a lot more. Needless to say, they all seem to be feeling a lot happier, and are ridiculously pro-active.
  • Arts: finally, one for the artists. Even if you are lucky enough to be doing something you love for a living – you still need time away from it. Don’t let your art fall into routine. Take breaks, if something doesn’t immediately click then leave it for a few days. Come back at another time and start fresh.

So once more, what are you looking for?