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FYI

Essentials… with Dana Sipos

Each week, Essentials allows Canadian musicians to share the things that have helped them get through the pandemic, and why they still can’t live without them. Here are the picks of an adventurous BC singer/songwriter.

Essentials… with Dana Sipos

By Jason Schneider

Each week, Essentials allows Canadian musicians to share the things that have helped them get through the pandemic, and why they still can’t live without them.


 

If it’s a given that an artist’s environment directly shapes their creativity, then it speaks volumes that Dana Sipos lived a good portion of her life in the far north and now resides within the old growth forests on Vancouver Island. These are places where time seems elongated, and sound travels further distances.

That may be one way to describe the songs on Sipos’s fourth album, The Astral Plane, out June 25 on Roaring Girl Records. It follows her acclaimed 2018 release Trick Of The Light, and finds her once again working with Toronto producer Sandro Perri, whose sonic adventurousness consistently enhances the mystical elements of Sipos’s songwriting.

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The Astral Plane is a deeply personal nine-song collection, touching on themes of loss and inherited trauma—specifically, in songs such Skinny Legs, the lives of Sipos’s maternal grandparents who were both Holocaust survivors—as well as the current global ecological crisis on songs like Hoodoo.

But overall, The Astral Plane is a haunting showcase for Sipos’s unorthodox approach to traditional musical forms, which in many ways aims directly at the listener’s subconscious. The more she reveals of herself in her music, the more it seems to reveal about ourselves. Find out more at danasipos.com

 

Essential Album: Arthur Russell, Another Thought (Point Music, 1994)

I love Arthur Russell’s music so much, and his Another Thought was on repeat throughout the past year and a half. I find it deeply meditative, with enough spaciousness to sort of drift off while at the same time staying tethered to the trancelike nature of many of the songs.

Essential Book: Jessica Moore, The Whole Singing Ocean (Nightwood Editions, 2020)

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This is such a rich book. It is essentially a long poem, full of luminous exploration. Jessica is also a friend, and we realized when both my album and her novel were incubating that they both held up a mirror to memories, often painful ones, and scratched at the surface of climate grief and anxiety.

Essential TV: Big Mouth (Netflix)

I loved all the seasons, but last year’s [Season 4] delved deeper and gave their BIPOC, femme, queer and trans characters a lot of airtime with the show’s sometimes strange and never-nuanced humour.

Essential Movie:Nomadland (2020)

This was a really beautiful and moving film. I like films that don’t necessarily have a clear beginning, middle or end because it feels like you're getting a glimpse into an actual moving picture. It also felt very authentic because it was—a large portion of the cast was played by real-life “nomads.” Frances McDormand is such a brilliant actor, of course. And it’s rad that the writer and director, Chloé Zhao, became the first woman of colour to win the Oscar for Best Director with this film.

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Shaq’s Classic Song ‘You Can’t Stop the Reign’ Featuring Biggie Is Finally on Streaming Services
Rb Hip Hop

Shaq’s Classic Song ‘You Can’t Stop the Reign’ Featuring Biggie Is Finally on Streaming Services

There's a more explicit Biggie verse in the vault, according to the NBA legend.

Shaq’s classic with Biggie is finally available on streaming services. The news was broken by FakeShoreDrive on X earlier this week, and the Hall of Fame big man confirmed the news Thursday afternoon (June 13).

The year is 1996 and Shaquille O’Neal and the Notorious B.I.G. are two of the biggest figures in their respective fields. Shaq was entering the last year of his deal with the Orlando Magic before he headed west to the Los Angeles Lakers at the end of the 1995-1996 season. Biggie was getting ready to release his sophomore album, Life After Death, while in the throws of a beef with 2Pac. Big name-dropped the NBA player on the song “Gimme the Loot” off his debut album, Ready to Die, and the two had a mutual respect for each other ever since.

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