#030: Berlin • transcendence of twerking • I'M DEAD

Welcome to the thirtieth ceremony of Ephemerata: reflections, observations, and life at the edge.


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.


  1. Strolling pace
  2. Berlin
  3. Transcendence of twerking
  4. Music


I ended up getting slightly burned out from trying to keep a certain pace with episodes of Strolling—grossly underestimated how much editing and production is involved. I’m pretty happy with the finished products, but I need to go slower to avoid making the project a source of stress. Might also help to do more spontaneous or short single-take “record and publish” episodes.

It’s hard for me to overstate how restorative it is for me to explore music composition in the episodes: there’s still something there after all these years of neglect and I’m excited to reconnect with that part of myself.

Looking forward to doing fifty more, just need to go a bit slower.


Hoping to arrive in Berlin later today to do a month-long artist residency with moos.garden. Can’t wait to meet this collective of funky people who are generally exploring alternative ways to do things. I will also likely travel in Germany and maybe Europe after, so say hello if you’re around 👋🏼.


In the third episode of Strolling, I spoke with Elena Stoodley, who shared about her profound relationship with twerking; in the extended version, she goes deeper to talk about its connection to ancestral traditions.

I also love the story of a speech she gave to her mother as a child.


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

Playlist via Joybox


DUCKWRTH: I’M DEAD from I’M UUGLY (2016). Time feel for instant body shaking, decorated and supported with seventh chords, bass patterns that repeat with variation, and effects to create contrast between sections. Lyrics slot into the drumming like Lego. (via Elena Stoodley)

Zventa Sventana: Мужа дома нету from Мужа дома нету (2019). Combines electronic sounds with folk singing. Lots of cool percussion and odd production details throughout to keep things dynamic (several only occurring once in the whole song). Touches elements of techno music without being too formulaic, might be the combination with various vocal timbres that keeps it feeling alive. (via Alexei)

Hundred Waters: Particle from Currency (2017). Starts with delicate acoustic piano tones and chords. I usually find it interesting when to use blocky (predictable) patterns from techno music without the music feeling too repetitive; the constant contrast here makes it always dynamic and alive. Lots of triplets and dotted rhythms throughout, twice used in the melody to create this feeling of continuously moving, dropping (for example, around 57s). The lyrics and melody help evoke a sense of flying, soaring, falling.


Vulfpeck: Back Pocket from Live at Madison Square Garden (2019). Inspiring to hear a thousand-strong audience sing a complex line in three part harmony. Lots of beatboxing, music via voice and the body. Guitar shredding partially mirrored on voice. Surprising to clarinets at the end in this context. Good vibes, happy times, saudades for live music. (via Russel Ramos)

Pongo: Bruxos at COLORSxSTUDIOS (2021). Massive sound in this body-shaker, both in the powerful voice and in the beat. The synthy flute about halfway in is a timbre I don’t hear often. (via April)


Carpenters: Top of the World from A Song for You (1972). Caught me by surprise to hear this while looking for something in a local Asian supermarket—my mom used to sing it as a kind of showpiece and even recorded it once in a studio. Listening more closely, I hear for the first time that there’s electric piano everywhere, orchestral strings, and these cool IV-I cadences before the verses start.


Check out Fleeting Arrivals for more music.

(I heart music)

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. Have a great week 🙂.

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