Category Archives: GUEST EDITOR

From The Desk Of Cold Specks: Paradise Playlist (Portishead’s “The Rip”)

Ladan Hussein, the woman who records and performs as Cold Specks, is quietly intense. On Fool’s Paradise (Arts & Crafts), her third album, Hussein’s music is stripped down to the essentials. Soft, mournful synthesizers drift through a melancholy space, with elusive percussion accents in the background. Her hushed, jazz-inflected vocals are full of passionate yearning, the sound of a soul on the verge of tears or explosive anger. “This is a deeply personal album,” says the Toronto-based Hussein. “It deals with a variety of topics from self-love, identity and diaspora dreaming during the apocalypse. I wrote most of the record in a period where I was feeling as though I needed to detach from the world, for the sake of my own sanity. The album is a brutally honest document of it all.” Hussein will be guest editing magnetmagazine.com all week. Read our new feature on her.

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Hussein: Apathy during the apocalypse is the goal. Switch it off and sigh. Here are songs to keep you warm during the disconnection process. (You can keep up with my Paradise Playlist on Spotify.)

I’m a total night owl. I’ll often stay up until sunrise diving into sounds. Third is a brilliant collection of songs to get lost to in the dead of night. “The Rip” is utterly perfect. I remember buying an ARP Quartet after hearing this song.

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From The Desk Of Cold Specks: Paradise Playlist (John Maus’ “Hey Moon”)

Ladan Hussein, the woman who records and performs as Cold Specks, is quietly intense. On Fool’s Paradise (Arts & Crafts), her third album, Hussein’s music is stripped down to the essentials. Soft, mournful synthesizers drift through a melancholy space, with elusive percussion accents in the background. Her hushed, jazz-inflected vocals are full of passionate yearning, the sound of a soul on the verge of tears or explosive anger. “This is a deeply personal album,” says the Toronto-based Hussein. “It deals with a variety of topics from self-love, identity and diaspora dreaming during the apocalypse. I wrote most of the record in a period where I was feeling as though I needed to detach from the world, for the sake of my own sanity. The album is a brutally honest document of it all.” Hussein will be guest editing magnetmagazine.com all week. Read our new feature on her.

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Hussein: Apathy during the apocalypse is the goal. Switch it off and sigh. Here are songs to keep you warm during the disconnection process. (You can keep up with my Paradise Playlist on Spotify.)

Anyone who knows me well is painfully aware of my obsession with this song. It was my anthem for a number of years and probably is on every playlist I’ve made in the last five. It’s a pretty simple lo-fi pop song that moves beautifully. I listened to it a lot when I was attempting to disconnect from toxic people. I don’t know what it is about this song, but it really helps me turn ex-lovers into ghosts who never linger.

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From The Desk Of Cold Specks: Paradise Playlist (Massive Attack’s “Dead Editors” And “Safe From Harm”)

Ladan Hussein, the woman who records and performs as Cold Specks, is quietly intense. On Fool’s Paradise (Arts & Crafts), her third album, Hussein’s music is stripped down to the essentials. Soft, mournful synthesizers drift through a melancholy space, with elusive percussion accents in the background. Her hushed, jazz-inflected vocals are full of passionate yearning, the sound of a soul on the verge of tears or explosive anger. “This is a deeply personal album,” says the Toronto-based Hussein. “It deals with a variety of topics from self-love, identity and diaspora dreaming during the apocalypse. I wrote most of the record in a period where I was feeling as though I needed to detach from the world, for the sake of my own sanity. The album is a brutally honest document of it all.” Hussein will be guest editing magnetmagazine.com all week. Read our new feature on her.

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Hussein: Apathy during the apocalypse is the goal. Switch it off and sigh. Here are songs to keep you warm during the disconnection process. (You can keep up with my Paradise Playlist on Spotify.)

Rob is probably the most talented person I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with, and Roots Manuva so cool it hurts. (Flashing light years flashing right here.) I did some arrangements and vocals for Massive Attack a while back. The creepy choral arrangement on “Dead Editors” is mine. A great deal of the sounds on my new record came to life after working with Rob and getting a glimpse into his working process. Massive Attack are one of my favourite bands, and I probably listen to “Safe From Harm” once a day. Endless love and respect.

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From The Desk Of Cold Specks: Paradise Playlist (Poly Styrene’s “Trick Of The Witch”)

Ladan Hussein, the woman who records and performs as Cold Specks, is quietly intense. On Fool’s Paradise (Arts & Crafts), her third album, Hussein’s music is stripped down to the essentials. Soft, mournful synthesizers drift through a melancholy space, with elusive percussion accents in the background. Her hushed, jazz-inflected vocals are full of passionate yearning, the sound of a soul on the verge of tears or explosive anger. “This is a deeply personal album,” says the Toronto-based Hussein. “It deals with a variety of topics from self-love, identity and diaspora dreaming during the apocalypse. I wrote most of the record in a period where I was feeling as though I needed to detach from the world, for the sake of my own sanity. The album is a brutally honest document of it all.” Hussein will be guest editing magnetmagazine.com all week. Read our new feature on her.

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Hussein: Apathy during the apocalypse is the goal. Switch it off and sigh. Here are songs to keep you warm during the disconnection process. (You can keep up with my Paradise Playlist on Spotify.)

As a young black girl creating strange sounds, Poly Styrene was my hero. When I found out she was Somali, my whole world changed. I found a familiar face in a sea of offensively mediocre, boring white dudes. In fact, she is a part of the reason I call myself Cold Specks. I even had a pseudonym behind my stage name for a while (Al Spx), which was an homage to her band X-Ray Spex. (The Al was for Allah.)

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From The Desk Of Elizabeth And The Catapult: “Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, & The Prison Of Belief” By Lawrence Wright

Keepsake (Compass), Elizabeth Ziman’s fourth record, began when her landlord was considering jacking up the rent and she had to move across the street into a tiny apartment, far away from her recording gear and the baby grand piano on which she loved to write. Or it began when she started keeping a dream journal, writing down snippets of visions in the middle of the night, or first thing in the morning on awakening. Or it began when she started leafing through old journals and diaries, little half-finished snatches of lyrics and couplets and freewriting, and tried to see if she could shape them through to some kind of completion. Well, who’s to say where anything begins or ends? But for Ziman, who records as Elizabeth And The Catapult, Keepsake was definitely a milestone record—the end of one thing, and the beginning of something else. Ziman will be guest editing magnetmagazine.com all week. Read our new feature on her.

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Ziman: I started reading up on Scientology because I heard that it was a cult that promised its followers not only future salvation with aliens, but also super powers! Yay! I’m a huge sci-fi and Marvel comic fan so I thought I’d at least get a kick out of a religion founded by a science-fiction writer. Then I read Going Clear by Lawrence Wright, which paints a much darker picture of the religion. The origins might be entertaining, but the reality is pretty terrifying. (It’s a lot like if you were stuck in a Twilight Zone episode that never ends.) What fascinates me is how far people will actually go for the idea of salvation. Also, spoiler alert: If you’re a Tom Cruise fan, you will never watch his movies the same way again.

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From The Desk Of Elizabeth And The Catapult: Amy Sedaris’ Web Show On Taking Care Of Bunny Rabbits

Keepsake (Compass), Elizabeth Ziman’s fourth record, began when her landlord was considering jacking up the rent and she had to move across the street into a tiny apartment, far away from her recording gear and the baby grand piano on which she loved to write. Or it began when she started keeping a dream journal, writing down snippets of visions in the middle of the night, or first thing in the morning on awakening. Or it began when she started leafing through old journals and diaries, little half-finished snatches of lyrics and couplets and freewriting, and tried to see if she could shape them through to some kind of completion. Well, who’s to say where anything begins or ends? But for Ziman, who records as Elizabeth And The Catapult, Keepsake was definitely a milestone record—the end of one thing, and the beginning of something else. Ziman will be guest editing magnetmagazine.com all week. Read our new feature on her.

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Ziman: I have been a rabbit owner for going on nine years now, and it makes me proud when people refer to me as “The Bunny Lady.” Sometimes my rabbit, Oslo, hurts his paw or starts jumping funny or makes weird squeaking noises when he’s sleeping (bunnies sleep with their eyes open, by the way; they are pretty much possessed). When this happens, it’s comforting to know I can go on the web and look up Amy Sedaris’s Howcast on how to take care of rabbits. I’m a big fan of hers to begin with, so watching her with a bunch of buns really just seals the deal.

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From The Desk Of Elizabeth And The Catapult: Dancing Parrots

Keepsake (Compass), Elizabeth Ziman’s fourth record, began when her landlord was considering jacking up the rent and she had to move across the street into a tiny apartment, far away from her recording gear and the baby grand piano on which she loved to write. Or it began when she started keeping a dream journal, writing down snippets of visions in the middle of the night, or first thing in the morning on awakening. Or it began when she started leafing through old journals and diaries, little half-finished snatches of lyrics and couplets and freewriting, and tried to see if she could shape them through to some kind of completion. Well, who’s to say where anything begins or ends? But for Ziman, who records as Elizabeth And The Catapult, Keepsake was definitely a milestone record—the end of one thing, and the beginning of something else. Ziman will be guest editing magnetmagazine.com all week. Read our new feature on her.

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Ziman: I’ve always loved birds and am especially drawn to parrots because of their outrageous mimicking skills. I knew you could teach them to sing, relatively in tune (Mozart once taught a parrot to sing the opening theme from one of his piano concertos), but until I saw this dance video, I had no idea that they also mimic specific dance moves, as well. I promise you, you haven’t lived until you’ve seen a tiny parrot jumping up and down to the song “Gangnam Style,” a macaw swaying back and forth to Stevie Wonder or a cockatoo head banging to heavy metal. You’re welcome.

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From The Desk Of Elizabeth And The Catapult: “Neal Brennan: “3 Mics”

Keepsake (Compass), Elizabeth Ziman’s fourth record, began when her landlord was considering jacking up the rent and she had to move across the street into a tiny apartment, far away from her recording gear and the baby grand piano on which she loved to write. Or it began when she started keeping a dream journal, writing down snippets of visions in the middle of the night, or first thing in the morning on awakening. Or it began when she started leafing through old journals and diaries, little half-finished snatches of lyrics and couplets and freewriting, and tried to see if she could shape them through to some kind of completion. Well, who’s to say where anything begins or ends? But for Ziman, who records as Elizabeth And The Catapult, Keepsake was definitely a milestone record—the end of one thing, and the beginning of something else. Ziman will be guest editing magnetmagazine.com all week. Read our new feature on her.

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Ziman: I often feel when watching stand-up that there’s a lack of vulnerability, especially with male comics. Guess it’s the easy and expected route to come out confident, guns blazing, maybe a bit angry and ready to make fun of some shit. (If there’s self deprecating stuff, it’s more for laughs than to make a meaningful point, so there’s not much emotional range.) It’s rarer to find someone who will really expose himself in a serious way. But in 3 Mics, Neal Brennan does just that. He had the brilliant idea to set up three microphones—one for crafted jokes, one for serious stuff, the last for one-liners. His accounts of his depression, his up-and-down career and his relationship with his father laid out a rich emotional backdrop for the rest of his act and was incredibly moving. I’d never seen Neal Brennan before this, and I’m really glad I did.

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From The Desk Of Elizabeth And The Catapult: “Tampopo”

Keepsake (Compass), Elizabeth Ziman’s fourth record, began when her landlord was considering jacking up the rent and she had to move across the street into a tiny apartment, far away from her recording gear and the baby grand piano on which she loved to write. Or it began when she started keeping a dream journal, writing down snippets of visions in the middle of the night, or first thing in the morning on awakening. Or it began when she started leafing through old journals and diaries, little half-finished snatches of lyrics and couplets and freewriting, and tried to see if she could shape them through to some kind of completion. Well, who’s to say where anything begins or ends? But for Ziman, who records as Elizabeth And The Catapult, Keepsake was definitely a milestone record—the end of one thing, and the beginning of something else. Ziman will be guest editing magnetmagazine.com all week. Read our new feature on her.

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Ziman: I found out about Tampopo many years ago during a recording session for my second album. My producer at the time liked to play us movies between sessions in his living room, and I absolutely fell in love with this one. Critics have called it a “satirical spaghetti-Western” or “ramen-Western”; I just call it food porn at it’s best. It includes a large cast of hilarious characters from gangsters to cowboys to a poor widow, all in search of the perfect ramen noodle. But it’s not just absurdist comedy—there’s beauty and poetry in it as well. In one of my fave scenes, a beautiful couple very lovingly eats an entire meal off of each other’s bodies. In another, an old widow breaks into a supermarket late at night to squeeze and fondle the fresh fruit while being chased by the cops. Definitely hilarious, definitely hunger inducing. Mmmmm, ramen.

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From The Desk Of Elizabeth And The Catapult: Giant Knitting Needles

Keepsake (Compass), Elizabeth Ziman’s fourth record, began when her landlord was considering jacking up the rent and she had to move across the street into a tiny apartment, far away from her recording gear and the baby grand piano on which she loved to write. Or it began when she started keeping a dream journal, writing down snippets of visions in the middle of the night, or first thing in the morning on awakening. Or it began when she started leafing through old journals and diaries, little half-finished snatches of lyrics and couplets and freewriting, and tried to see if she could shape them through to some kind of completion. Well, who’s to say where anything begins or ends? But for Ziman, who records as Elizabeth And The Catapult, Keepsake was definitely a milestone record—the end of one thing, and the beginning of something else. Ziman will be guest editing magnetmagazine.com all week. Read our new feature on her.

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Ziman: I first heard of giant knitting needles from my friend Diva, who is so passionate about knitting that she once knit a mile-long scarf named Emilio 🙂 I personally haven’t used the large needles yet, as I’m rather clumsy and seem to stay at the same basic level of knitting no matter how many years I’ve been at it. Still, I do like to buy needles on the larger side so I can finish my annual scarves in time for the holidays. Not sure my friends necessarily want another scarf from me, but they can always expect one.

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