Toasted Jams: Music for Jah Weekend and Jah Lyfe

A review of the new Thievery Corporation album “The Temple of I & I” and some inspired listening to accompany it.

Editor’s note: The Corporate Buddha will be doing music focused posts under the “Toasted Jams” label. They will cover music both new and old, and always be completely and totally focused towards listening while consuming and enjoying cannabis.

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The New: The Temple of I & I

Every good cannabis enthusiast has some familiarity with Thievery Corporation. With a career spanning 20+ years, songs like 2001: A Spliff Odyssey, Lebanese Blonde, The Richest Man in Babylon, and countless festivals and tours, they are a group that is hard to miss.

Over the course of their career Thievery Corporation has blended all sorts of genres into their music. From Bossa Nova, and eastern Indian to reggae and hip-hop and everywhere in between, their eclectic style has become signature to their sound. It’s one of the things to love about them. Each album weaves a tapestry of influences from around the world.

The best way to describe The Temple of I & I as a whole is reggae-chill. That is not to say that it lacks some tracks that are upbeat, rather overall the album is decidedly on the chill side of reggae and this is evidenced by the opening track. Signature reggae sounds meeting the bong rips of ambient chill. One can just feel stress melting away on deep riddims. In one album longtime fans will find odes to Thievery’s signature sounds and reggae enthusiasts will find a new take on a beloved genre.

“In one album longtime fans will find odes to Thievery’s signature sounds and reggae enthusiasts will find a refreshing take on a beloved genre.”

A couple of tracks offer up some solid hip-hop and a few are straight up ambient/chill in true Thievery Corporation form. As a whole, this is a great album. It’s perfect for a relaxing smoke session and warm feelings for any time of year. Got some snow where you’re at? Give this a listen and it’ll feel like summer is just a spliff away. Hanging out on the back porch in some flip-flops? Throw this on and it’ll do you just right. Also, if you have Amazon Prime, it’s free, though this is one album that merits repeat listening for years to come.

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The recently uncovered: “Why don’t I know this?”

I was heading down to the market in my town to collect some fruits, veggies, spices, and Asian staples. After parking, I was making my way to get a bhan mi from a local food truck and a dude pulled up in his shiny red pick up truck. He was blasting some music – it was reggae, that much was clear – and I watched him park and then get out. The dude who got out was a black guy with dreads and a rastafarian knit hat. You know the kind. It’s large enough to hold dreads while looking nice and colorful. He seemed friendly enough, and I am always on the hunt for good, new music so naturally I asked him what he was listening to. Sho nuff, it was Stephen Marley with the song “Rock Stone”. As soon as I got home, I did a search and found the whole album “The Revelation Pt. II: The Fruit Of Life” free with Amazon Prime.

The incident described above took place a couple of months ago, but I just can’t get away from “The Revelation Pt. II.” Seriously, it’s a great record. With lots of upbeat tracks, some you might hear in a club, then just good music the rest of the way through, it holds its own. After listening from start to finish a few times, it is hard to find fault with anything. “The Revelation Pt. II” is right up there with “Welcome to Jamrock” as far as a fun, great, reggae record is concerned, and dare I say it has surpassed “Jamrock” in my book.

“A tough world meets feelgood reggae”

That being said, it is definitely a modern addition to the genre. With the use of Pitbull, Shaggy, Damian Marley, Bounty Killer, Wyclef Jean, and a whole host of others, the whole album is fresh, inspired, and striking. Great lyrics, great music, and overall a really fun, enjoyable listen.

At 24 songs including the bonus tracks at the end, you get your money’s worth. Some of the highlights are: Revelation Party – a total blast, upbeat, but chill, it will have you singing along and tapping your feet; The Lion Roars – a little bit more emotional, this is a heartfelt ode that depicts the depth this album can take; Pleasure or Pain – Busta Rhymes lends his voice to this minimalist track that shines for it’s ability to highlight lyrical work; Paradise – sensuous melodies plus Twista, it’s just awesome; Tonight (It’s a Party) – can definitely be played at your next party; Ghetto Boy – it is the surprisingly listenable story of a ghetto boy; Rock Stone – going to lose some hearing to blasting this one at high volume, just like the guy in the red pickup; When She Dances – another great song for a party or good feels.

“The Revelation Pt. II: The Fruit of Life” is a new classic. A tough world meets feel good reggae. The intro says it all. It is a clip of Charlie Chaplin’s famous speech from “The Great Dictator” imploring us to unite against tyranny, oppression, hate, and greed, set to a solemn drum beat. But despite the hardships and difficulties in life, there is a lot of fun to be had, the Fruit of Life as one might say. This is not one to be missed.

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Cannabis-Infused Exercise

I’ve been experimenting with light cannabis use prior to my workouts for the past several weeks, and the results have been impressive, though slightly counter-intuitive at face value.  When viewed through the historic lens of lethargy, couch-lock comas, and an air of demotivation and apathy, exercise and cannabis seem to be enemies diametrically opposed. However, power users can attest that this historic lens is a false representation of the actual effects that this wonderful plant can produce. In fact, the strain, composition, and even the users’ mindset can drastically change the consumptive effects.

I’ve found the best pre-workout fuel to be 2 to 4 hits on the Pax2 at heating level 2, 10 to 15 minutes before walking through the gym doors.  This gives ample time for the calming, focused effect to wash over and put me in the zone for that days exercise. I find a hybrid (light on The indica) is a great mix as it combines a focused mind with a relaxed body.

Here are a few of the results I’ve personally experienced. *Mandatory Disclaimer: The below experiences are reflective of a daily medicator and anyone deciding to follow a similar experiment should be very familiar with their individual tolerance and their personal reactions before introducing canabis to their regimen.*

Core body temp rise and Accelerated heart rate with less vigerous work. As ganja can accelerate your resting heart rate (the reason movies or TV are SO Intense!), you’re starting off on an elevated baseline. So you’re getting more bang for your buck as your HR will be slightly higher compared to the same work load or level completely sober.  Higher heart rate during exercise raises the body temp as blood volume circulation increases, forcing sweating and accelerating the metabolism.

More in tune to body, breathing, and muscles. This is a big focal point I’ve noticed. I am extremely intuned to each movement and the effect on and response from my individual muscles and my body as a connected machine. There is a complete, laser focus on the task at hand without outside influences clouding the mind. From breathing concentration, to full range of motion during lifting reps, to a rhythmic groove during a run or other cardio exercise, I am in the moment, fully connected to the task at hand. It adds a theraputic element to the workout, contrasted with a sober view of dreading the intensity or having the mind wander to other outside influences instead of being in the present moment.  One of the biggest benefits of exercise is the physical and emotional reaults, and cannabis helps inspire and direct focus towards that well-being in my experience.

Higher degree of set and rep completion along with a plateau breaking desire to keep pushing. This is another benefit I’ve been impressed by. There is a determination to complete the reps, sets, mileage, or timing goals that are set by the workout. Cannabis creates an internal competition where I don’t want to admit defeat and I’m able to push through for that last 20 seconds or the last 3 reps when my body is saying “That’s it”.  My cannabis brain says, “just a few more; push through this temporary pain for long term payoff”.  The result is a better workout and a consistent improvement to push through perceived barriers.

Stretching. Finally, when I’ve completed the days’ workout, there is one more benefit that cannabis provides and it’s in the arena of stretching. It relates back to being connected with your muscles, and I feel it allows me to really get deep into my stretches because I am able to feel that stretch in a more complete way than without the cannabis influence. Its a way to regulate the breathing, get tension relief into those areas you just pushed to an extreme, and connect mentally to the positive effects of the exercise that you just completed.

All in all, I feel that cannabis and exercise are great compliments to one another and allow for a total mind-body well-being combination.

If you’ve had any experience related to cannabis and exercise, please share your insights in the comments section. 

Privacy and the Internet of Things

While Apple took a stand for privacy and against unreasonable requests from the US Govt and NSA this past week, the news isn’t all rosy.  Now, according to The Guardian and other reports, smart devices can be used to spy on you.  From Amazon Echo, to your samsung TV, to eventually your refrigerator, thermoatat, and virtually any electronic device will be connected by an Internet of Things that the government has every intention of exploiting for surveillance purposes.

This is both an exciting and concerning time to be alive, friends.

 

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/feb/09/internet-of-things-smart-devices-spying-surveillance-us-government?CMP=edit_2221

Beach Beasts of Burden

A lonely beach has always been good to me. Melodic ebb and flow, soft sand and hot sun, blowing good in the ocean breeze; the experience always brings me closer to the earth. It feels to me like proof that all things are interconnected, and uncovers what really matters in life.

I wonder my reaction if I happened upon a Strandbeest.

Amazing Dutch artist/engineer/complete badass Theo Jansen creates his Beach Beasts as living entities, and as such each sculpture (machine? animal?) “dies” and “evolves” as he learns what works and what doesn’t. This is STEAM at its finest.

If you’re lucky enough to be in the great City of Chicago, you can see his ‘beests live and in person. Until then, roll up, lean back, and form your own interpretation.

 

Improve Your Sneaker Game

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The sneaker game is big business, and it ain’t that way on accident. Inundated with images of athletes, rappers, and even Mark Cuban’s weak-ass Sketchers commercials, it’s hard to escape the Don Draper marketing effect. While I get by with a sturdy pair of Red Wings, slip-on Birkenstocks, and a couple pairs of Vans, I realize where they all end up; at best the landfill, at worst washed up on a pristine beach.

Nice steps are being taken for those that give a shit about our future: Nike’s Reuse-a-Shoe and Adidas 3D-printed Ocean Plastic shoes are great gestures by the big boys, but my favorite is a small player from Amsterdam. Oats, pictured above, not only look dope but are fully biodegradable. Put your favorite seeds in the stash pocket in the tongue, bury them, and watch your harvest bloom.

And trust me, Jordan will eat just fine without your $250 this month.

 

From Fear to Beauty

First off, I realize what I’m doing to you Puff fans with this post. While many seek out unique experience and visuals with your daily puff, knee-jerkers might immediately see a see a nightmarish creature and skip right on by. That said, photographer Nicky Bay will change an outlook with these insane micro looks at some of the most hauntingly beautiful examples of evolution in our six and eight-legged cohabiters. If only I had a photo of that banana spider I found in my mid-range when I was 15…

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Bird Dung Spider

See the rest of Nicky’s Friends