Category Archives: GUEST EDITOR

From The Desk Of Orenda Fink: David Lynch

Orenda Fink is known for her quiet, introspective songs and her unobtrusive approach to singing. Her music, both on her own solo albums and with Azure Ray (the band she fronts with longtime friend Maria Taylor), tends to be forlorn and unsettling, albeit imbued with an underlying belief in the ultimate goodness of existence. The songs on her new album, Blue Dream were inspired by the death of her dog, as well as general meditations on the limitations of existence on the material plane. On the LP, Fink goes deep into the primal questions of death and the meaning of life. The lyrics are dark, but the music is bright and buoyant, although still played at the laid-back tempos that are her forte. Fink will be guest editing magnetmagazine.com all week. Read our new feature on her.

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Fink: David Lynch is one of those directors for me who can do no wrong. Like no other, he perfectly captures those moments where dream meets reality, where perception shifts, and you are certain that no one can be seeing things quite like you are. His genius makes the surreal seem real and the real seem surreal. And, at the critical moment where you can no longer tell the difference, you can free fall into existential bliss and follow him on his dark ride through the subconscious. It’s always a trip worth taking.

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From The Desk Of Orenda Fink: Dreams

Orenda Fink is known for her quiet, introspective songs and her unobtrusive approach to singing. Her music, both on her own solo albums and with Azure Ray (the band she fronts with longtime friend Maria Taylor), tends to be forlorn and unsettling, albeit imbued with an underlying belief in the ultimate goodness of existence. The songs on her new album, Blue Dream were inspired by the death of her dog, as well as general meditations on the limitations of existence on the material plane. On the LP, Fink goes deep into the primal questions of death and the meaning of life. The lyrics are dark, but the music is bright and buoyant, although still played at the laid-back tempos that are her forte. Fink will be guest editing magnetmagazine.com all week. Read our new feature on her.

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Fink: I am a strong believer in the wisdom and healing power of dreams. Dreams are not arbitrary or superficial. There is a language to them, and if you learn how to read that language, you can discover powerful information about yourself and the nature of the universe. There is no greater source of self knowledge than your own subconscious, and dreams are a direct way to access that knowledge. We live in a mysterious and wonderfully complex world. There is so much yet to be discovered about time, space and consciousness. Dreams hint to us that the impossible is possible.

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From The Desk Of Orenda Fink: Tropical Islands

Orenda Fink is known for her quiet, introspective songs and her unobtrusive approach to singing. Her music, both on her own solo albums and with Azure Ray (the band she fronts with longtime friend Maria Taylor), tends to be forlorn and unsettling, albeit imbued with an underlying belief in the ultimate goodness of existence. The songs on her new album, Blue Dream were inspired by the death of her dog, as well as general meditations on the limitations of existence on the material plane. On the LP, Fink goes deep into the primal questions of death and the meaning of life. The lyrics are dark, but the music is bright and buoyant, although still played at the laid-back tempos that are her forte. Fink will be guest editing magnetmagazine.com all week. Read our new feature on her.

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Fink: Well, OK, almost anywhere tropical will do. I never feel more at home on planet Earth than when I am in or near the tropics. The heat, the stickiness, the white sand, clear ocean water, the moon, the sun, avocados, fresh-caught seafood, mosquito nets, canopy beds, ceiling fans vs. air conditioning, the languid air, the politics, the slow pace, rum, menthol cigarettes, the music, tropical fruits, salt water and diesel fuel, ceramic tile and hard wood, cement houses and screenless windows, tropical storms, vibrant colors, indigenous cultures, ex-pats and the ruins of colonial architecture that fall apart so beautifully. I have a medium friend who says I had something going on there in a past life. That seems about right to me.

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From The Desk Of Orenda Fink: The Perfect Martini

Orenda Fink is known for her quiet, introspective songs and her unobtrusive approach to singing. Her music, both on her own solo albums and with Azure Ray (the band she fronts with longtime friend Maria Taylor), tends to be forlorn and unsettling, albeit imbued with an underlying belief in the ultimate goodness of existence. The songs on her new album, Blue Dream were inspired by the death of her dog, as well as general meditations on the limitations of existence on the material plane. On the LP, Fink goes deep into the primal questions of death and the meaning of life. The lyrics are dark, but the music is bright and buoyant, although still played at the laid-back tempos that are her forte. Fink will be guest editing magnetmagazine.com all week. Read our new feature on her.

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Fink: One of my favorite drinks in the world next to a proper Haitian rum punch is a well-made martini. I used to bartend at the 40 Watt Club in Athens, Ga., where an unlikely assortment of townies, sound men and service-industry folk would come in on slow nights just to have me make them a martini. Here is how I make mine:

Step 1. Chill the glasses by filling them with ice and water
Step 2. In a shaker, combine lots of ice, your choice of top-shelf vodka or gin (I like them both depending on the mood), olive juice (not too much) and the juice of one small wedge of lime. (This is a secret trick I picked up from another bartender. You don’t want to taste the lime, but the effect of having it in there is quite nice.)
Step 3. Shake the living hell out of it
Step 4. Take the now-chilled glasses and coat them with dry vermouth. I pour a little in and swirl it around the glass, and then pour the excess out.
Step 5. Pour the contents of the shaker into the glass and garnish with two large olives (blue cheese or goat cheese stuffed are delicious).
Step 5. Enjoy and repeat.

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From The Desk Of Orenda Fink: Alejandro Jodorowsky

Orenda Fink is known for her quiet, introspective songs and her unobtrusive approach to singing. Her music, both on her own solo albums and with Azure Ray (the band she fronts with longtime friend Maria Taylor), tends to be forlorn and unsettling, albeit imbued with an underlying belief in the ultimate goodness of existence. The songs on her new album, Blue Dream were inspired by the death of her dog, as well as general meditations on the limitations of existence on the material plane. On the LP, Fink goes deep into the primal questions of death and the meaning of life. The lyrics are dark, but the music is bright and buoyant, although still played at the laid-back tempos that are her forte. Fink will be guest editing magnetmagazine.com all week. Read our new feature on her.

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Fink: Director, actor, writer, playwright, Psychomagic shaman: Alejandro Jodorowsky has been one of my biggest inspirations these last couple of years. I have always been a fan of his films, especially El Topo, Holy Mountain and Santa Sangre, but it wasn’t until I read The Spiritual Journey Of Alejandro Jodorowsky and Psychomagic that I began to view him as one of the greatest minds of our time.

“Everyone is an immortal consciousness, an exact reproduction of the universe. Your unconscious is a particle and at the same time the totality of the cosmos. And say what they will with respect to your limited body, you are the complete consciousness. Let them tell you what they will about your ephemeral flesh: If you achieve integrating yourself into the divine consciousness, you are immortal.” —Alejandro Jodorowsky

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Orenda Fink: The Warmest Color

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We’re not of a mind to disagree with Orenda Fink’s sweet, death-obsessed dreams

Orenda Fink is known for her quiet, introspective songs and her unobtrusive approach to singing. Her music, both on her own solo albums and with Azure Ray (the band she fronts with longtime friend Maria Taylor), tends to be forlorn and unsettling, albeit imbued with an underlying belief in the ultimate goodness of existence.

“I suppose melancholy is the word that fits,” Fink says, speaking via phone from her home studio in Omaha. “I know people tend to glaze over when I say it, and I’m not fond of the term gothic either. I wish I could come up with something more catchy to describe my sound.”

Fink breaks off for a moment to grab a pile of blankets and toss them on the floor of the studio to soak up the rain that’s seeping in through the floor. “We had a tornado, a hailstorm and thundershowers just before the interview started. It was a surreal experience.”

The jarring weather could be some cosmic metaphor for the unexpected prism of emotions that’s reflected in the songs on her new album, Blue Dream. They were inspired by the death of her dog, as well as general meditations on the limitations of existence on the material plane.

“Losing my dog sent me into a deep depression,” she says. “I saw a therapist, who specialized in Jungian dream analysis. She told me that when you’re ready to deal with your dreams, something awakens in your subconscious mind and (dreams) come flowing out. I started having powerful dreams about my dog’s death and death in general. It was a crazy period. I started writing the album after that. The songs didn’t come specifically from the dreams, but I was in that zone between dreams and waking while I was writing. I’m inclined to have one foot in each world, even when I’m awake, but losing my dog erased the boundary between those worlds for a while.”

On the LP, Fink goes deep into the primal questions of death and the meaning of life. The lyrics are dark, but the music is bright and buoyant, although still played at the laid-back tempos that are her forte. “Bill Rieflin, who used to play with Ministry, played the drums in a light, un-Ministry like manner,” says Fink. “I thought his rhythms were too pop, but he said the lyrics were so sad, it would make a good juxtaposition. Ben Brodin, who plays with Conor Oberst, did all the guitars. I kept going, ‘It doesn’t sound like a dream.’ Then he’d go, ‘What does a dream sound like?’ I told him I’d know it when I heard it.”

The finished album is dreamlike and comforting, despite its preoccupation with mortality. “Although it’s about death, the record has a celebratory feeling for me,” says Fink. “The experience of making it helped me come out on the other side with a firm understanding that there is a life after death, that you can weep until you’re crying tears of joy and epiphany.”

—j. poet

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From The Desk Of Strand Of Oaks: Kurt Vonnegut’s “Slapstick”

Tim Showalter’s hellishly abrupt near-demise late last year via a car accident was hardly the sole inspiration for Strand Of Oaks’ disarming new release. There was plenty of real-life drama before the accident to form the angst-ridden basis for what is easily Showalter’s most cathartic musical statement to date. Really, it was the culmination of a series of mini-mental breakdowns that began quite out of the blue, when Showalter was touring overseas for 2012’s Dark Shores, an album he wasn’t particularly proud of. On the road nonstop for two years, he was witnessing his marriage unravel from afar, and pretty much hating what he saw in the mirror. Emotionally spent and creatively unbound, he churned out 30 songs in three weeks. Ten of those made HEAL, an LP as off-putting as it is invigorating, and one that abandons the folky trappings of previous Strand Of Oaks releases—perhaps for good. Showalter will be guest editing magnetmagazine.com all week. Read our new feature on him.

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Showalter: This is my favorite book ever. I could write pages and pages about it, but I won’t. Honestly, I need to pack the van and get my ass to a show. Trust me. Read it. Hi ho.

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From The Desk Of Strand Of Oaks: The Last Minute Of “The Sopranos” Episode “Join The Club”

Tim Showalter’s hellishly abrupt near-demise late last year via a car accident was hardly the sole inspiration for Strand Of Oaks’ disarming new release. There was plenty of real-life drama before the accident to form the angst-ridden basis for what is easily Showalter’s most cathartic musical statement to date. Really, it was the culmination of a series of mini-mental breakdowns that began quite out of the blue, when Showalter was touring overseas for 2012’s Dark Shores, an album he wasn’t particularly proud of. On the road nonstop for two years, he was witnessing his marriage unravel from afar, and pretty much hating what he saw in the mirror. Emotionally spent and creatively unbound, he churned out 30 songs in three weeks. Ten of those made HEAL, an LP as off-putting as it is invigorating, and one that abandons the folky trappings of previous Strand Of Oaks releases—perhaps for good. Showalter will be guest editing magnetmagazine.com all week. Read our new feature on him.

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Showalter: The apex of the visual form called television. Tony sitting on the bed staring to a distant light. All of his masculinity dismantled. I’m crying right now. Then the hushed fade in of Moby’s “When It’s Cold I Like To Die” washes over the scene and completely devastates my shit. I have faith in humanity if we are still able to create such beauty. I recently watched this Sopranos episode for the first time since James Gandolfini passed away, and it was just too much to handle.

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From The Desk Of Strand Of Oaks: Getting A Late-Night Call From Joe Pug

Tim Showalter’s hellishly abrupt near-demise late last year via a car accident was hardly the sole inspiration for Strand Of Oaks’ disarming new release. There was plenty of real-life drama before the accident to form the angst-ridden basis for what is easily Showalter’s most cathartic musical statement to date. Really, it was the culmination of a series of mini-mental breakdowns that began quite out of the blue, when Showalter was touring overseas for 2012’s Dark Shores, an album he wasn’t particularly proud of. On the road nonstop for two years, he was witnessing his marriage unravel from afar, and pretty much hating what he saw in the mirror. Emotionally spent and creatively unbound, he churned out 30 songs in three weeks. Ten of those made HEAL, an LP as off-putting as it is invigorating, and one that abandons the folky trappings of previous Strand Of Oaks releases—perhaps for good. Showalter will be guest editing magnetmagazine.com all week. Read our new feature on him.

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Showalter: Joe Pug is one of my top humans ever. He took me on my first real tour, and we had some fucking crazy adventures. We spent more than three months in a van with one another, and I’d do anything to get that time back. Even if that can’t happen, we still have these epic late-night phone calls. I’m on my porch in Philly, he’s on his porch in Austin, and we probably consume a case of beer each during the talk. Listen to him sing “Hymn 101,” and you’ll know how lucky I am to have him as a friend.

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From The Desk Of Strand Of Oaks: The National’s “Pink Rabbits”

Tim Showalter’s hellishly abrupt near-demise late last year via a car accident was hardly the sole inspiration for Strand Of Oaks’ disarming new release. There was plenty of real-life drama before the accident to form the angst-ridden basis for what is easily Showalter’s most cathartic musical statement to date. Really, it was the culmination of a series of mini-mental breakdowns that began quite out of the blue, when Showalter was touring overseas for 2012’s Dark Shores, an album he wasn’t particularly proud of. On the road nonstop for two years, he was witnessing his marriage unravel from afar, and pretty much hating what he saw in the mirror. Emotionally spent and creatively unbound, he churned out 30 songs in three weeks. Ten of those made HEAL, an LP as off-putting as it is invigorating, and one that abandons the folky trappings of previous Strand Of Oaks releases—perhaps for good. Showalter will be guest editing magnetmagazine.com all week. Read our new feature on him.

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Showalter: The most important song for me in recent memory. A lot of music is great but not important. Listening to “Pink Rabbits” became mandatory for me. I would associate this song with my lost month or months last fall. I unfortunately discovered that drinking potato vodka alone with the only the National to keep you company can be dangerous. I would find myself talking with angels and other crazy shit when this song was on repeat. Then I realized I don’t have to get fucked up to love this record. This song saved me and destroyed me simultaneously.

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