#010: mastery • Moon River • Josué Costa

Welcome to the tenth edition of Ephemerata, a weekly-ish digest of links, ideas, learnings, and sounds that I think are worth sharing.


I’m doing this to stimulate discussion around what I find interesting, and also to share things before they disappear into the void of my journal.

thoughts on mastery while travelling

does turning everything into an expression indicate mastery? when you enjoy working because it’s a puzzle and you want to toss and turn everything for fun, improvement comes from enjoyment over time and the practice is learning how to find your playful place as smoothly as possible.

master musicians sink their heads as deeply as possible in what evokes and provokes. you probably know what these things are already. go deeper, submerge in the tears of your own ecstasy.

mastery is how imaginatively one relates to the moment, and the art is in deciding what aspects of normal should be brought to question, from aspects of the music to aspects of existence.

people won’t know how to describe it in precise terms, they simply say that it’s cool and want you to do more of it.

find a price that makes most people go “no f***in’ way”.


A provocative idea on the power of names: (via @reef)

[Terms like ‘digital garden’ and ‘zero data’ imply a dissatisfaction with the current state of affairs.]

I heard lots of platform thinking and other delicious bites from @visakanv: (via the Home on the Internet salon)

[Twitter enables direct exchange between thoughts, independent of the people.]

[When me and the person I know are conversing on Twitter, the third person that doesn’t know us is watching. Replies are a performance for our shared mutuals.]

[Every child is like a traveller arriving from somewhere else. We instinctively want to help welcome and integrate them. In the same way, many people will want to be helpful if you approach them as a newcomer.]

Vincent Tunru recently launched a tool to generate RSS feeds from arbitrary websites using CSS. I wasn’t able to get it working yet, but I think many other people have, and so I would recommend giving it a try if you have GitHub: fork the repository and follow the two remaining steps.


If you’re enjoying this, consider contributing to my Open Collective. Virtually everything I create is public, accessible for free, and open-source. Your support helps me keep adding to the commons and making it available for everyone.



Brian Wiles (featured in #006) explains his “walking technique” to help learn languages more quickly:

[Walk around while hearing a podcast or any kind of listening material in the target language, and try to whisper back things you hear. You may not understand any of it initially, but over time things repeat and you can learn what they mean with something like Google Translate (which apparently has gotten better in the last few years).]

@f2k1de@cuties.social shares a very popular meme with examples of how German capitalization can completely change the meaning of a phrase: (via @douginamug@mastodon.xyz)

Die Spinnen (The spiders)
Die spinnen. (They are crazy.)

Der Gefangene floh. (The prisoner fled.)
Der gefangene Floh (The caught flea)

Wäre er doch nur Dichter. (If only he were a poet.)
Wäre er doch nur dichter. (If only he were more drunk.)

I recently learned that the French expression “rire jaune” (laugh yellow) means to force a laugh even when you don’t think something is funny. (via Juliette)


Thought from therapy: “Give a big yes to your body.”

Brené Brown shares her conclusion on what ultra-compassionate people have in common: “they define and respect clear boundaries.” (via Jessica Alonso)


A father tries to follow exact instructions from his kids on how to make a peanut butter sandwich, and it’s almost impossible to make.

In 2008 to 2010, Blake Fall-Conroy built Minimum Wage Machine: (via @LittleAlex@chaos.social)

The minimum wage machine allows anybody to work for minimum wage. For as long as they turn the crank, the user is paid in pennies as time passes. For example, if minimum wage is $7.25/hour (the current US Federal rate), then the worker is paid one penny every 4.97 seconds. If they stop turning the crank, they stop receiving money. The machine’s mechanism and electronics are powered by the hand crank, and pennies are stored in a plexiglas box. The MWM is reprogrammed as minimum wage changes, or for wages in different locations.

Mr. Goxx is a hamster trading cryptocurrency and currently down 3.37%—maybe send him to business school? (via @xuv@merveilles.town)

Tape Face makes you laugh without saying a word. Masterful timing, dexterity, surprise, turning nothing into something. Try to start watching and then stop as soon as possible once you understand what is going on, then let me know how long it took you. (via Dani)


All the following items can be accessed as a one-click playlist via Joybox without accounts or sign up—just open and play.


Moon River

Jacob Collier’s a capella Moon River from 2019 is a sublime celestial splendor sung by the chorus of a thousand stars. Not sure how I missed it but I think one cannot die before hearing this. I am still working my way through his in-depth hour-and-a-half music nerdery around the creation of this masterpiece.

Josué Costa

Imagine walking into a park and seeing a professional Brazilian guitarist sitting alone in a gazebo practicing his own complex jazz and classical compositions, in a pandemic, in a city where people don’t normally sit alone in parks and practice guitar. Thanks to Josué Costa for sharing his music (and letting me listen with social distancing).


Ilessi’s Dama de Espadas (2020) sounds complex, vital, emotional, and very not-weak-sauce: Dama de Espadas is a bold, rough and sassy blues in Portuguese; Oração pro Gil has onomatopoeic cantations over an African groove; the sort of hard rock vibe in Vivo ou Morto took me by surprise. (via )

Shaolin Afronauts’s Flight Of The Ancient (2011) features afrojazz, wild honky saxophone solos, dorian modes, to which you can dance for 45 minutes straight.

BaianaSystem’s O Futuro não Demora (2019) features various pop/dance rhythms from Brazil.


BNegão & Os Seletores de Frequência’s (Funk) Até O Caroço from Enxugando Gelo (2004) is a hip-hop and funk headbanger with a bad-ass guitar riff.

Fredy V & The Foundation’s Your Own Way from One Step (2021) has an intro bassline that’s so dark! A perfect groove to accompany the body paint and photography. (via Nantali)

A lot of punch in this beat in HANDZOFF from SZNZ (2021) by Mother Nature and BoatHouse, the self-professed ‘most dynamic hip-hop duo of all time’. I feel like the verses fill so much space that the breathing is dramatic. Massive sound, blast. (via Bandcamp Weekly)


I was imitating something last week.

How about some real oud this time? Observe how the playing in Hamza el Din’s Helalisa from Eclipse (1978) sounds like the voice with similar inflections. (via Brian Ginsburg)

Or some real Rich Brown? His Nguyên, live from a solo bass concert in 2012, has a celestial atmosphere with melodic vocal inflections. I dream of having this kind of expression when I play guitar. (via @flying_fisher)

I like listening to drum’n’bass every now and there, and there’s apparently an online radio station from Germany blasting it twenty-four hours a day. You might find yourself doing house chores twice as fast. (via @lectronice)

I always love receiving music. Send me recommendations anytime, anywhere!

That’s all folks!

Feel free to reply and share any reflections you might have, or just say hello.

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