This month’s Monthly Mixtape is from Jangala DJ, a DC native behind the trail-blazing Temporal Fusion podcast, which showcases talented electronic dance music producers and DJs from around the world. Jangala, along with long-time co-conspirator Xunfusion, has been on a mission to expose unknown deejays and producers to a wider audience Temporal Fusion‘s seven year reign is a testament to its draw of a true “head” audience with a voracious appetite for drum’n’bass, glitch hop, hip hop, dubstep, and trip hop.
When Jangala DJ first added me as a friend on Facebook, his profile picture was that of a shell (not to mention he is so humble, I had to convince him to actually send me a picture of himself for the article). The shell was a reference to a poem about “the shell of jangala.” In Hindi, jangal means forest–appropriate reference for the offshoot/kind of drum’n’bass music known as jungle. The metaphor of the shell always stayed with me–Jangala’s style has an organic echo and resonance to it and his flair for chiaroscuro is palpable here. This set starts out sort of quietly ominous and brightens up as the sun shining through the leaves of a forest. Few drum’n’bass DJs are able to freely pick from the many branches of the genre’s tree, usually staying grounded in one style, but Jangala has a facility and an unique talent in that regard.
“I mixed this with a thoughtful attitude, wanting to harmonize the dark and light; the old and new; the masculine and feminine; the complex and simple. Mixed together in this set are tunes from new school d’n’b badboys like Dub Phizix, Roy Green, Protone, and DatA along with up-and-coming Russia producers Nuage, Getz, Z Connection, topped off with smatterings of Dillinja and Ray Keith for nostalgia and a sense of completeness.”
“Now settled in DC, I have spent a greater part of my life split between the East and the West and have finally been able to embrace the contrasting and contradictory nature of the universe by mixing heavy baselines and effervescent drum beats.”
Check out his exclusive boundary and genre-defying set for ReadySetDC here and open your ears up to the sounds of the shell of Jangala.
“Losing things is about the familiar falling away, getting lost is about the unfamiliar appearing.” -A Field Guide To Getting Lost
“Lost in the city
Running out of choices
Going nowhere fast
Still hearing voices
Come on legs come on feet
I’m just tryin’ make a little bit of history.” – Cool Calm Pete “Lost”
“I just wanna live life and survive it.” – Ghostpoet “Survive It”
“I spread my mind’s wings and watched these verbs take flight.” – Emskee “Dreams”
When I set out to make the May playlist, I wanted to encapsulate the ethos of summer, while playing homage to my two great musical loves–indie/old-school-vibe hip hop and trip hop/downtempo. The idea was to [wax] tailor together a pastiche of beats and samples and tell a sonic story, with a palpable flow. Only when I was done making the playlist did some themes start to emerge, as though bubbling up from my subconscious. Summer always reminds me of being in the city, kind of finding one’s way, weaving and wandering through the urban terrain [Blockhead’s Insomniac Olympics is Jack’s Insomnia in musical form]. That’s why I had to put in DJ Vadim, Blockhead, Dan The Automator, DJ Shadow, MF Doom, who literally live and breathe the New York aesthetic.These tracks showcase the organic and very natural synergy between turntablism, hip hop, even dubstep, and downtempo, and showcase why the genre has managed to stay fresh because of its broad influences. Trip hop has long transitioned to/been a turntablist’s game, even if the most obvious examples one can think of are Geoff Barrow’s scratching on Portishead’s “Only You” or the seminal DJ Shadow Endtroducing. In the early 2000s, artists like DJ Krush, Blockhead, J. Dilla, Nujabes, and DJ Vadim continued to carry the torch, despite public opinion that “trip hop was dead” or relegated to Buddha Bar compilations–i.e. pretentious “chill-by-the-numbers” CDs.
If I had to name the themes here [as any respectable English major would], it would be the city, being lost in the city, dreams/miasmas, and love [not the cheesy “summer lovin'” type, I promise. See Murs’ “Love And Appreciate” and Slum Village’s “Fall In Love”] and its dark underbelly [Cage’s Scenester, Ivan Ives’ “Wedding Funeral,” Mickey Avalon’s “So Rich, So Pretty”].
Everyone has a summer.
Like most great chefs, Café Saint-Ex Executive Sous Chef Jesse Miller honed his skills the old-fashioned way, eschewing the chef-in-a-box culinary school route to earn his chops by working in kitchens for years. Originally from Baltimore, Jess studied painting at Towson University. To make money during art school, he worked at The Elkridge Furnace Inn, first as a dishwasher, then moving on to prep cook and sous chef. “You can be good at it [cooking] and hate it or bad at it and love it. It just bit me. I decided to focus on this art.” He spent seven years at the Elkridge Furnace Inn, which he describes as “a great place to learn,” and fortuitously met Saint-Ex’s Executive Chef Billy Klein there as well, who recruited him later to join Café Saint-Ex. Their collaboration continues to bear fruits—“we like pushing each other to get better.”
Café Saint-Ex’s menu is very seasonal and showcases the food of local farms. “We go to meet the farmers and it really makes you care about the food more. When you see how hard they work, it really gets you passionate about representing their food.”
At Fashion District, Jesse will be serving a King Salmon sashimi, with a Thai chili relish, yuzu vinaigrette and a soy reduction, with claytonia greens. The soy reduction has a deep, almost caramel undertone, resulting from the soy sauce being cooked for a really long time with a tiny bit of brown sugar, getting it to the right level of viscosity, with an almost-burned tinge for that little bit of char flavor. The yuzu vinaigrette is vibrant and really matches the equally springy claytonia [Miner’s lettuce] that is surrounded by the salmon.
Dan Silverman, The Prince Of Petworth blogger, is refreshingly old school in his sensibilities—mainly because he really is doing this for the community. His dedication literally emanates from him and his genuine love and appreciation for this city is clearly the only impetus he has. Utterly un-prince-like, Dan is charmingly humble and impressively curious and his knowledge of the city is what draws readers in. He goes out every day not in search of trendy happenings to report on, but for things that move people. His droll and thoroughly infectious enthusiasm for it is palpable—and gutsy—I mean only Prince Of Petworth can get away with posting pictures of doors because they are beautiful.
Like some modern day Lewis and Clark, he eschews the trappings of “cool.” You won’t find him to be a member of the hipsterhood, opting to instead literally tread this city on foot in search of beautiful things. Oh, and he definitely has a European definition of walkability—think 15-18 miles! With his trustee pocket notepad and a camera, The Prince goes in giant loops throughout the city, either following up on specific leads or just exploring. “My blogging day is very varied—I try to mix it up with a variety of things, not just keep it retail-focused. I try to find something that would be beautiful to share. When I discover something new, it’s the best feeling.”
“When I started the blog in 2006, I wanted to show was happening in Petworth, not in the whole city. When I moved to Petworth in 2003, my initial response was ‘I don’t see anything happening’ so I set out to write about things in my neighborhood. Things have definitely changed since then with tips coming in from people with the preface of, ‘I know it’s not in Petworth, but you might find this interesting.’”
5 Places I Love in DC:
1. Malcolm X/Meridian Hill Park. I can’t think of a more beautiful place year around. The fountains in the summer, the vegetation in the spring, even in the winter when the leaves fall off the trees… It also has some of the most beautiful sculptures around—Dante, Joan Of Arc.
2. The waterfront areas of the city. It used to be that there was just the Georgetown one. Now there is Yards Park, Rock Creek Park, and so much more—I love water.
3. The neighborhoods themselves. There is something unique about every neighborhood and it is so nice to see the contrast in the architecture, the variety of it all…
4. The Aquatic Garden and the Arboretum. They are harder to get to without a car, but they are so huge and gorgeous and changing with the seasons.
5. Embassies. The embassies have such interesting architecture and I love stumbling upon a new one. Not too long ago, I was in Van Ness and I saw some embassies that I have not seen before—Pakistan, Egypt…what jaw-dropping architecture.
7 Things Essential To Me
1. A camera. More specifically, a Canon G11. That and the Flickr Pool.
2. Community. I do this for the community and the community is such an amazing thing to behold. People taking photos, people giving tips to me and to each other, the Flickr Pool—all this is what makes this site unique.
3. Music. I work by myself all day long and having music to listen to is essential to me. I listen to a wide mix of things – Beastie Boys, Pearl Jam, Drive By Truckers. I usually walk something like 15 to 18 miles a day—this is how walkable this city is. When I first moved to Petworth, I felt isolated, like I had to drive everywhere, but I quickly learned I could walk. This is how you see all the beautiful things and have a chance to really see stuff you had no idea was there.
4. Comfortable shoes—for all that walking.
5. The Old School Notepad. My wife makes fun of me for it, saying that it makes me look like a geek. Yet, I can’t do without it. This is where I jot down a note when I see a “coming soon” sign. Or stuff like “Remember to come back to XYZ.”
6. Coffee. I started out very pedestrian in my tastes and over time, my appreciation has really grown. If I want something fast and quick, Dunkin’ Donuts is best for taste and speed. The structure of the cup is just perfect for mobility and walking around all day. I find that I need coffee way more than food too—I could go all day on three cups of coffee.
7. My forgetfulness. Being forgetful is a great trait to have in such a finite geographic area. It’s a beautiful quirk that allows me to stumble upon things and rediscover them.
Saturday’s fashion: District was a vibrant testament to the creativity, vitality, and relevance of DC’s fashion scene. Much akin to the much-maligned, non-existent DC hip hop scene, many would not exactly conflate DC and a fashion hub. ReadySetDC have single-handedly put DC fashion on the map, showcasing designers that are not only visionaries but who put out high-caliber, professional work well-deserving of the couture label. Plainly-put, it is not every day that you find yourself feeling like you are in Pret-A-Porter or The September Issue in the middle of DC and ReadySetDC are the ones who made it happen with such panache and flair.
Ginger Root Design were a true breath of fresh air with vintage-inspired, smart and original designs. Perfecting the art of upcycling [making something new out of something already in existence], the style was equally parts London-esque, tweed-and-zipper chique and something that Maggie Gyllenhaal in Secretary would wear. Zooey Deschanel/Manic Pixie Girl would definitely rock Ginger Root! Their designs were funky yet not groan-inducingly, self-referentially hipsterish.The colors were bold yet the patterns were not busy and relied more on a blocks rather than smashing of patterns approach.As the only designer to use “normal-sized” models, it was apparent that while Ginger Root make high-end fashion, their clothes were designed with a more pragmatic brush stroke and with at least some concern for practicality.Their menswear collection was particularly enthralling with two of the more memorable outfits being a tweed jacket with a zipper slicing a diagonal across the front and three leather straps as a closure and gingham shirt under a vest with a three-layered tie composed of overlapping triangles. The vest had a horizontal band of gray silk on the back, making for an extremely interesting layered visual effect.
Espion presented a really unique line of high-end evening couture. Some of the dresses were a really innovative mash-up of dominatrix meets Greek-goddess evening gown elegance. If you can imagine Athena channeling Madonna during the Blonde Ambition tour, you would get a pretty accurate idea. Other dresses were extremely regal—white and made of a stretchy material for a very sophisticated look.
Hugh & Crye delivered a very trendy men’s business wear line—it was solid and respectable and more than a little style. Artaya relied heavily on black, red, and white blocky ensembles with a nod to interesting textures.
SaintCHIC’s style was street-savvy yet high-fashion.For example, a lot of the skirts and pants relied on a “mummy” technique—they were comprised of overlapping-“bandages”/swaths of fabric.Definitely very unique and clever, and maybe a bit inspired by elements in industrial-scene wear which has been using straps on men-skirts for a good while now.The tops show-cased really layered framing necklines with a vaguely graffiti-esque feel that was equally parts hip-hop-dancer-sassy and classy.
Sika’s designs screamed creativity.Some of the fabrics had traditional African prints; some were very Asian.There were daringly plunging necklines and wee little bottom pieces, with bold colors such as orange and batik-like prints.Anthropologie would have been jealous!
Durkl’s line this season was downright underwhelming, at worst, and incredibly confusing, at best, especially considering how well-established and popular their line is.I think I was not alone in my luke-warm response to the fall collection, but maybe like the Post, I just don’t get it.At times, it seemed like they were channeling men’s wear circa Gap 1980, at other times, it seemed like their colors were literally popsicle- inspired [think patterns ala those fourth of July garish blue and red ones].
Derringer Friday deserve credit for figuring out how to make men’s ties swagger-worthy [common, it’s not an easy job]. Having female models strut around only in men’s shirts and thigh-high boots to “Ain’t Nuthin’ But A G Thing” will do that. Their end-of-the-show drinking-a-beer signature gimmick was also interesting, if a little befuddling. Oh, yeah—the ties were great too.
Fashion: District was a perfect mix of flair, swagger, style, finesse, and hard work and definitely an all-around rollicking good time.
Ph.D. Cultural Anthropology, Bulgarian, writer, cruciverbalista, lexicon-drunk. Mischief, Mayhem, Mangia!