April 23, 2019

Crystallize DEBUT LP by DJ Dark Flow OUT NOW!!!!

This June 1, 2019, Crystallize, my debut electronic LP, will be released into the world on all music platforms! I have had a long and exciting journey with music ever since my DJ alias was founded in 2008 for my late night radio program. Now, 11 years later, and 4 years after the release of my debut self-titled EP, comes my first full-length release!

A collection of heavy and smooth electronic tracks trade the spotlight in this kaleidoscopic release, and I hope I can convert some new fans of electronic and hip-hop music over to my current and future releases! Crystallize is a photographic snapshot of my production sensibilities now, where I've been, and the seeds of what more may come from it in the future.

My digital discography is specially discounted at this time, and pre-orders of Crystallize come with early downloads of my title track and last single, Cracking the Code. All in all, it's been a neverending journey of growth and discovery. Here's to hoping you will join me on that journey.

Bandcamp Pre-order: https://dj-darkflow.bandcamp.com/album/crystallize
Crimson Sky Paperback (+FREE OST Download Offer): https://dj-darkflow.bandcamp.com/merch/crimson-sky-paperback-edition

April 7, 2019

Milestones Part III: Writing

Ever since I was exposed to music, I really felt an appreciation for written lyric, and wanted to be a songwriter myself... As you might already have noticed, all of my milestones and creative passions funnel back to music. For that I always have to thank my dad for inspiring me and promoting it in my life. From writing written lyrics with my acoustic guitar, I began to get a feel for rhyming and poetic storytelling. It was exhilarating creating and recording my own acoustic songs on my 16-track Fostex, some of which are still around today, buried in my computer files. 

Additionally, reading fantastical stories of adventures in western wastelands (Stephen King's Dark Tower series) or bleak post apocalyptic winters (Cormac McCarthy's The Road) would leave marks forever burned into my memory. As I combined these and other intense stories with instrumental playlists I would create, I was enthralled and inspired by the power of written storytelling.

As an undergraduate at the University of Connecticut, I was interested in exploring a broader school of literature and chose the degree path of English with a concentration in Creative Writing. It was a rewarding experience and it helped facilitate more regular writing exercises and poems. I also created a personal blogging space where I'd promote my college radio show and at this time, I put it on myself to start writing music reviews to music that I believed needed to be heard.

After graduation and looking beyond into what was in store for me, I started searching job sites intent on finding a writing job that would be both worth my time and creative. In this search, I found a very interesting ad from a psychotherapist who was looking for a writer to adapt his book into a screenplay. His name was David P. Johnson, and he had a book which was based on one of his patients. His book's called Nine Little Ronnies, and it was a true story account of dissociative identity disorder in his patient, and the repressed memories of his abusive childhood which came flooding back to him in his first year of therapy. For me, it was a heartfelt, tragic, yet fascinating story that needed to be told! There wasn't any payment offered, just the experience of working on a creative retelling of Dave's factual account of the therapy sessions, and the copyright license to share Dave and Rick (not Ron's) story.

As a young kid, I was always drawn to psychological thrillers and stories that focused on mental disorders, and I took it a step further as I researched and took notes on several movies based on this exact subject of multiple identities, including the historic film Sybil. I was intent on keeping Rick's story as close to the facts and reported sessions as possible. Although it had taken me some long stretches of breaks, I was proud to complete my 130 page treatment of Dave's book in 2014, and I was ready to start seeing ways to shop it around to writing festivals and cold email literary agents. At the same time, I had successfully compiled my first collection of poetry into my first collection: Poems of My Past, and subsequently published it on Amazon Kindle and paperback.

I felt hugely accomplished as a writer, having fully realized two large writing projects, and ready to present them to the world. In the years following, I took a break from my writing, and started to focus on my own original electronic music production, as my radio show was coming to a close in early 2015. The overnight time slot no longer worked for my schedule, and I was intent on keeping music in my life. These years, in 2015 and beyond, I started releasing my first music (debut self-titled EP and singles) as DJ Dark Flow, and left my writing on the back burner.

In 2018, after the release of my single "Cracking The Code", I was ready for my writing to get reignited. In April, I realized that I had let my music journalism fall to the wayside (with exception to a couple of good friend's hip-hop albums), and as a result, I had let plenty of amazing albums get released without having the opportunity to write a solid review of them. I vowed to not let my writing sit on the sidelines again as I developed further musically, and last April, I released my first review in over a year, for Jack White's funky, experimental rock album Boarding House Reach!

During this late spring and summertime of 2018, I also unearthed a work of written fiction I had written while in college, inspired by heavy, dark electronic and industrial music. I was just under 50 pages into my horror story, and I had left it unfinished, but over 90% outlined since nearly 7 years prior. I pledged, as I worked on my full length debut electronic album, and while regularly writing music reviews, that I would also commit to finishing my first original literature, Crimson Sky.

Crimson Sky was originally inspired by the industrial, dark, orchestral music of Nine Inch Nails's album The Fragile, a huge musical influence for me and an incredibly visual album for the amount of different sounds that flows through it. It was an album that inspired story ideas in my head, and these story ideas became what's now known as Crimson Sky. Because of this early inspiration and listening to my own instrumental playlists while reading books, I always desired to create a written work, but also to compose an original soundtrack to accompany this written work. I saw this as the ultimate combination of both of my passions for music and for storytelling. After my writing was finished (I was feverishly aiming to hit my personal deadline of release before Halloween and my 30th birthday, October 29), the music came almost magically. It flowed right through me and into my production program, Logic Pro, and before I knew it, I was a creator of a project and a story that I had been dreaming up since my days in high school!

Crimson Sky, the book and original soundtrack, was released on October 20, 2018, on Amazon and all music platforms, in Kindle and paperback editions. I had a great amount of support for this release and I still intend on sustaining its momentum into its 1 year anniversary. This April of 2019 is my 1 year since pledging to write more regular music reviews, and become a valuable press asset to any independent artist who needs promoting. Since a year ago, I have written 17 unique album reviews and several personal update posts. I have been continually impressed by my turnaround time for new albums which come out and catch me by surprise, and I have opened up the door for "retrospective" reviews, as well as "masterpiece" albums (as I would rate them) that have been released during my lifetime.

Ultimately, I am not going to let writing fall away from me again. Once my debut full length album, Crystallize, is released in May, I will be putting together my third publication, my second poetry collection in my ongoing poetry series, Poetry in Motion: Oceans Overflowin', for a hopeful release this coming October, and I'll continue developing my next couple of novels in the genres of a science fiction thriller, and an epic psychological fantasy. There are a lot of stories I have to tell and poems I have to share before my time is up. I hope to have the chance to share this with you. 

April 3, 2019

Marvin Gaye - You're The Man Review

Preserved in a time capsule and shelved for decades, Marvin Gaye’s “lost album” You’re The Man finally sees the light of day on March 29, 2019, nearly half a century after its originally intended release, and I can’t believe that I have the pleasure of reviewing a Marvin Gaye album as a “brand new” release! The original sequel to his landmark classic album What’s Going On, You’re The Man was shelved due to political differences between Gaye and Motown Records founder Berry Gordy, and also due to poor reception of his title track lead single, but whereas What’s Going On was intended as an anti-war album, You’re The Man is a triumphant anti-hate album.

Opening with the title track which originally put Gaye off from releasing this wonderful album, "You're The Man, Pt. I & II", introduces this LP with catchy, guitar licks and Marvin's calls for a good leader to step up in our country. "If you've got the master plan, I've got the vote for you. You're the man." His experience with our war-torn country was exhausting and inspired his best work to this day. You're The Man, from its lead single on, is the next logical step to healing our nation.

Another spot on reflection of the kind of world that we're living in is his second track, "The World Is Rated X", which begs the question: how could Gaye have his finger so well on the pulse of our world's tribulations? It proves this album would have been absolutely timely, during its original release year in 1972, all the way up to our year in 2019. It's a call to take a more active role in being a part of the solution that our world so desperately needs. Afterwards, in a more slower paced tune, Marvin croons with a heart that aches in “Piece of Clay”, singing “children are told to give, not just to take, if we were all children, the world would be a better place”, in a beautiful gospel-soul number, complete with a full backup choir, and Gaye’s spiritually healing falsetto.

It's tracks like this and a lineup, which makes Gaye's vocal talents, messages, and backing band a completely needed therapeutic listen to battle the evils of this world that's going on in the background. Other tracks focus on loving your woman or significant other, with "I'm Gonna Give You Respect", "You Are That Special One", and "Woman of The World". They are all designed to remind us what's most important while we're here on this earth, and it's these reasons You're The Man becomes elevated as another classic album by Marvin Gaye, and a piece of required listening for all people.

You're The Man - 9.25/10

Recommended Tracks: You're The Man, Try It, You'll Like It, We Can Make It Baby