Vinyl music

c/o chuen seng teoh

Today, we live in an age of infinite music streaming where we have access to the world’s audio library at our finger tips. This was what we all dreamt of, to have music where ever you go, in the palm of your hands. Discovery of new sounds and music became a lot easier too, expanding our taste in sound collectively and will surely need to a new sound evolution.

With this achievement, it could’ve been easy to dismiss the viability of past formats like compact discs and cassettes. Which brings me to the resurgence of vinyl records and turntable.

Bulky and unportable, uncrisps sound, expensive, these are all qualities of vinyl record that was the problem with it which the modern day audio streaming service was designed to solve. The vinyl record should’ve died a natural death and claim its place in the annals of history. But it didn’t happen.

Sales of vinyl record is on the rise. Artists are releasing their new work on it. Record pressing studios are hard at work. And I can understand why. Before getting into it myself, I was intrigue by what was said about music on vinyl records. How the sound is warmer and more authentic. Having gotten into it myself now, I am smitten.

For me, listening music on vinyl makes it an event again. Instead of an accompaniment to your workout or work, it returns music to something of its own. I enjoy the ritual of putting on the record and just listen. There is just something visceral and emotional about this. Humans are not ones and zeros after all.

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Master & Dynamic MA770

images-speaker1_800x800.pngc/o master & dynamic

The MA770 is a speaker designed by architect Sir David Adjaye for Master & Dynamic. In an exploration of premium materials and bold design, the end product is a speaker that is a departure from the standard fare.

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Made from concrete, a novel material for audio speakers, the shape is designed to work with the new material to achieve superb acoustic.

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This speaker is masterclass in executing a design where form meets function. In my opinion, we can never have enough of well-designed items. The thought put into design is a form of expression of our humanity, the pursuit of beauty and compassion.

I wonder if algorithms can produce such work. After all, nature is the master of design, matching form to function flawlessly. If an AI is set to learn this from nature, i can only begin imagining the potential.

For now though, we have the MA770 and I’m excited for that!

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This Is America

Art is a powerful tool for conveying messages. One artist whose work I have been following is Donald Glover aka Childish Gambino. He has been a prolific creator and I admire how he uses his craft to express his honest views to the world.

His latest video titled “This Is America” is his expression on the current mood and attitude in the U.S. on matters like black lives, gun violence and social media through a brilliantly shot video. No scene or action in the video goes to waste in portraying his views on the subject matter.

Watch this masterpiece here. This is America

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This is Water

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Life is what we make of it. An event is neither good nor bad until we assign an emotion to it. We are the ones who make it good or bad. The asshole who cut you off in traffic? Well he may be a genuine jerk or he is rushing to send his very sick daughter to the hospital.

As we go through our daily life, it is too easy to jump to conclusions about what we experience, often to our detriment. The video below is a commencement speech given by David Foster Wallace to liberty art students and he speaks about the importance of what we think and not just how we think. He uses a brilliant anecdote at the beginning to illustrate how we can miss something when we get use to the status quo.

This reminds me to detach myself from my current reality periodically, to challenge my present view and to be able to see again.

This is water.

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Malaysia Merdeka 2.0

c/o chuen seng teoh

Today is election day back home in Malaysia. Since Independence Day back in 1957, this is the 14th time we are at the polls. For 61 years, our democratic country was run by a single party. Things back home haven’t been great lately and the war cry for change have been growing ever louder.

As I am driving into dusk along the Polish countryside, news just came through that change is finally a reality. For the first time in Malaysia’s history, we will have a different party forming the federal government.

The vote counting continues but the result is sealed. Tomorrow, my fellow countryman will wake up to yet another Thursday however it will be a special one for us. It is a new dawn. This feels surreal to me now but I am especially proud and gratefulthat my Dad and my elders were able to witness this historic event in their lifetime.

I don’t know what to hope for specifically with this change but I am hopeful for Malaysia’s future. Hopeful on the fact that no matter what happens, we have prooved that if we band together, nothing can stop us.

Hope is a gift you don’t have to surrender, a power you don’t have to throw away.

Rebecca Solnit

So here’s to you my fellow Malaysians. Selamat Hari Merdeka 2.0. See you back home, soon.

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Poetry Tuesday – Camomile Tea

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“Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all”

– Lord Tennyson

I read today’s poem from a collection of poems edited by Jessica Strand and Leslie Jonath titled “Love Found – 50 Classic Poems of Desire, Longing, and Devotion”. The book is divided into three sections and this poem was from the section “Passion & Partnership”. From this poem, I appreciate the beauty and joy found in the most mundane of daily life when spent with a passionate partner.

Camomile Tea
by Katherine Mansfield

Outside the sky is light with stars;

There’s a hollow roaring from the sea.

And, alas! for the little almond flowers,

The wind is shaking the almond tree.

How little I thought, a year ago,

In the horrible cottage upon the Lee

That he and I should be sitting so

And sipping a cup of camomile tea.

Light as feathers the witches fly,

The horn of the moon is plain to see;

By a firefly under a jonquil flower

A goblin toasts a bumble-bee.

We might be fifty, we might be five,

So snug, so compact, so wise are we!

Under the kitchen-table leg

My knee is pressing against his knee.

Our shutters are shut, the fire is low,

The tap is dripping peacefully;

The saucepan shadows on the wall

Are black and round and plain to see.
Here’s to mundane love. Happy Tuesday all!

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Success : tbd

zug, switzerland, dusk
c/o chuen seng teoh

What is the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the word “success”? Is it a person? Is it an achievement? Or is it a number?

As a child, I was told that going to school is important as it is the path to success. And by success it meant getting a good well-paying job, buy a car, own a property, get married, have kids and live happily ever after. I would later find out that it wasn’t so simple and I am thankful for that realization.

The best thing I have heard about the word success was by Derek Sivers, where he says we can never truly say someone is successful unless we know what they set out to achieve in the beginning. Take Sir Richard Branson for example. If his goal was to lead a simple life but like a serial gambler he couldn’t help it but keep creating profitable companies, is that success? Calling someone successful without fully knowing their background and story has no meaning at all.

Today, I am very aware of the word success, how it is a nebulous term that gets thrown around too casually by a lot of people that I almost avoid using the word. When I do use it, I am careful to define the criteria for measuring said success.

My goal now is to leave this world a little bit better than when I found it and have some fun along the way. That is how I measure if I am being successful in life.

So, what do you think of when you hear the word “Success”?

 

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