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Music & Art in London

In fall 2010 my husband and I spent our belated honeymoon in London. We had planned our trip so as to accommodate our main interests: music and art.

Our main shopping destination was Sounds of the Universe, which is not just a record store, but a true institution. Suffice it to say that Sounds is associated with the mighty Soul Jazz record label, famous for its compilations of top-notch funk, reggae, avant-garde jazz, dub, no wave, and world music. Soul Jazz also publishes beautiful books (such as Kanaval—Vodou, Politics and Revolution on the Streets of Haiti) and releases DVDs. The atmosphere in Sounds of the Universe is not unlike San Francisco’s Aquarius Records, with knowledgeable and dedicated staff playing underappreciated albums and singles (the soundtrack to our record-browsing was some magnificent heavy dub). The difference is that Aquarius’s primary interest is avant-garde metal and noise, and Sounds of the Universe, just like Soul Jazz, has its main focus on Black music genres and their progeny, such as the various strains of contemporary bass music. Apart from Soul Jazz releases there are records and CDs put out by other independent labels. Sounds of the Universe recently started its own label, the first release of which was a 12″ by Chicago house and techno producer Hieroglyphic Being.

Sounds of the Universe. Photo courtesy of Julia Glosemeyer

To hear some cool new sounds live, we headed to Fabric. It is a giant, labyrinthine club, known for being very democratic: no one will turn you away at the door if your clothes are not expensive. Snobs might hate Fabric because it is so large and crowded, but I adore the fact that you can enjoy gigs by the most cutting-edge DJs in a non-elitist setting. When we were there, we heard sets by young dubstep producer Gemmy as well as drum ‘n’ bass institution Roni Size. If you want to brave Fabric and bypass the long lines, get a membership. For a monthly fee you will get not only priority entry, but also CDs delivered to you by mail. Recent additions to the Fabric and FABRICLIVE CD series have included mixes by Four Tet, Pinch, Agoria, and Pearson Sound/ Ramadanman. Continue reading

Postcards from Disneyland

Cue our second Disney-related post! Ayeon, our intern from Korea, is back with a few snapshots of her recent trip to Disneyland and Disney California Adventure Park. For her, it was a slice of her childhood.

What’s one place in the USA that people from all over the world can’t wait to visit? I think it’s Disneyland, the happiest place on earth! I was lucky enough to have a long vacation from work over the holidays, so I decided to make it special by spending the first day of 2012 in Disneyland. Disneyland is one of the main reasons why I wanted to come to the USA.

I’d love to introduce a few tips on how to really enjoy Disneyland.

Tip No.1: Enjoy the benefit of the Fast Pass

Disneyland is too huge to experience in only one day. It consists of Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure Park. You should take advantage of the Fast Pass system to spend your time effectively so you can visit as many spectacular attractions as possible. First, pick one from the list. When you insert your admission ticket into the Fast Pass machine next to the line for the attraction, it creates a Fast Pass ticket. If you visit that attraction at the written time on it, you could be the very first person in the long line.

Tip No.2: Place your luck on the game table

Forget fortune cookies for today and try luck your at one of the game tables. I think we need to return to the innocence of childhood sometimes, so be a kid again at Disneyland. Play, talk and love! At Disneyland California Adventure Park, there are some game booths where you can fish, shoot a target with a water pistol, or score a goal. You can be a superman in front of many people, so claim the spotlight and win the prize! Continue reading