2010s: Empty Essence A working title

"Tokyo Loft" by Tim Sirois (edited)

We are celebrating the end of the decade through lists, essays, and mixes. Join us as we explore the music that helped define the decade for us. More from this series

Art of Illusion

We don’t even have to think about music anymore. Music is actually everywhere this decade. And we’ve begotten the perpetual illusion of tangible sound. Us: * vibing with the movement/force of music emoji* If you and I have ever interacted IRL/URL together, I respect that moment eternally; there’s so much sound we’ve felt [upon levels] that together we’ve practically shared an ethereal energy, forever. Unequivocally, sound traverses “everywhere” this decade because,,,

Bluetooth technology currently shapes the size of sounds in all spaces, wirelessly. Whether you streaming sounds while cooking in the kitchen, through blaring speakers poorly taped to rusted handlebars biking down 8th Ave., peering across the sands-faded umbrellas of Long Beach, while soaping up during a midnight shower, or directly into your ear canal, Bluetooth technology is reptilian and as adaptive as you want it to be. As we consume music/sounds, we — individuals — possess the ability to behold music/sound immediately, molding it as the resonating acoustics of our space. And, for me, the immensity of sound absorbs my anxiety at an intensive healing rate.

We mentally embrace the ownership of music/sounds surrounding our lives.

Some of us appreciate the nostalgic abandonment of Sophie B. Hawkins’s “As I Lay Me Down” while trapped in a T.J.Maxx on 125th Street, whose chorus I can’t stop whistling for the next three hours, not buying a thing. Feeling the immensity of “Love In This Club” during Young Jeezy’s verse somewhere handling Summer 2007 and “feeling the burn.” Carefree back-skating on blades in the rink to “Say My Name,” sweaty on the outside, going at my own pace. Listening to Nirvana and being called a “poseur.” These are my shitty-/contextualized-personal examples of the way I absorbed the culture of music in my youth.

At some point, the word “modern” has to deteriorate in meaning.

When we hear “Immaterial” by SOPHIE off OIL OF EVERY PEARL’S UN-INSIDES, how do you feel?

I can listen to this near and with anyone. I don’t care; this song makes me feel myself. I can wake up from a deep-drunken sleep and survive an hour subway ride, still listening to “Immaterial” over and over off a Sony-clip speaker, and I have no idea what it is, other than the purest legal drugs. Music is the future of medicine; “Immaterial” was effervescence throughout Summer 2018.

When we hear “Everybody” by DJ Rashad & Freshmoon off the I Don’t Give A Fuck EP, how’s your individual emoticon?

I remember having my good-friend Ken listen to “Everybody” after a long day at the beach, while my wife was buying a gallon of ice cream inside Fairway, just after watching the infamous video this song was based on. Ken was equally amused and astonished at the level of intricate trolling in “Everybody.” He equal parts dying-laughing and O_O, as “Everybody” penetrated both of our individual experiences. My wife opens the door and immediately pauses the music because I had turn’t the car’s audio speaker system.

When we hear “Call Your Girlfriend” by Robyn, where ya soul be at?

Buzzing my head completely at 29 years old, including my face, looking like Caillou. It’s around 3:43 AM on a Tuesday, and I’ve drafted a text — “Taking an emergency day off tomorrow. I’ll fill out HR paperwork and send my coverage schedule shortly” — that I’ll send out at 4:45 AM, which includes a completed form for paid time off and a coverage email ready to click moments after. Showering around 3:59 AM, water spraying off my head as I rub my hands across it, dancing inside my mind, Robyn filling my confidence by +10.

Music was my segue into Tiny Mix Tapes. I was confident writing about music after reading Keith Kawaii’s Chocolate Grinder post on some Umberto track that had me vibing at the time of its release. It was P’s review of DJ Rashad’s Just A Taste Vol. 1 that made me believe in the power of Tiny Mix Tapes’s audacity to taste it all. CUT TO: a future that flourished in abundance of,,,,,


My illusion for the past nine years was the feeling of readers witnessing me listen to music through my writing as C Monster. No subscription. I’ve always appreciated the time we’ve spent together, whether I was listening to your music and/or you were reading me on Tiny Mix Tapes. If we’ve yet to share this time, it’s always around! Let’s_start_a_conversation.

Enchantment of the Arcane: The popularity of Curator Selected systems vies with the popularity of Collector Systems, to a degree

Curator Selected

- Spotify, iTunes, TIDAL, and satellite radio.
- YouTube, SoundCloud, DatPiff, Bandcamp, and MixCloud.

- Experimedia, Boomkat, FatBeats, Midheaven, Bleep, and Tomentosa
- What.cd, OiNK.me, and Soulseek
- Labels, straight up.

Collector Systems

- The public library[periot]
- Musicians/artists/podcasts
- Discogs.com
- Bandcamp
- Record Stores, Thrift Shops and Garage Sales are the dig

Digital music’s major impact on genre expansion/melting and how this affects this personification of tangibility

to feel this music: chameleonic adaptation. Now we have physical tapes and records and CDs again. However, streaming platforms be birthing URL communities and ostracizing/destroying DIY communities, while digital platforms can also provide tangible experiences through concerts in the middle of a Fortnite match, and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare been draggin’ Pryce since, forever. #foreverdrizzle

Music enchants us all to be; behold the side effects of music:

- Pinhead In Fantasia to morph into baroque cenobites.
- Eye Contact to dance amidst the indie scene standing around and nodding.
- Just A Taste Vol. 1 to believe change is real and sustainable.
- A I A to protect us from the aliens we’ve become.
- OIL OF EVERY PEARL’S UN-INSIDES to break us free of our cocoon.
- Beyoncé to push goddess selves outward.
- Black Is Beautiful to egregiously forget.
- Eccojams Vol. 1 to thieve the best.
- Pop 2 every song be like,,,,,,,,

- 1992 to wake me up for two years straight; flag football legacies.
- The Narcississt II to feel vulnerable.
- Double Cup to be in heaven.
- Floral Shoppe to: “Never sleeping again!”
- PRODUCT to making the most out of anything.
- DARK WEB to the old heads.
- Quarantine to DeForrest Brown, Jr.
- My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy to being four months too late.
- Cocaine Daughter to spending the perfect day off; to horcrux.
- Espresso Digital to exerting one’s energy into one’s every last fiber of being.
- Sounds of Sisso to
- Arca to bringing it back to square one.
- Age of Transparency Vol. II: The Avatar Sessions to love everlasting.
- Whack World till about 15 minutes, exactly.
- If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late to enduring mid-decade excess.
- Teen Dream to low dip.
- Real Raga Shit Vol. 1 too hot at a venue in Brooklyn that you only in your boxers, with no AC, and ya best friend still snapping photographs of a musician’s van who keeps telling your best friend, “Please don’t take photographs of our van, please. Thanks!” *Click*
- Higher Powers to every last grain of sand on a deserted island.
- PC Music x DISown Radio to M$O$N$E$Y.
- Slime Season to repeating a ritual so routine it becomes overwhelmingly calm.
- Carrie & Lowell to finding guidance within the slime.
- Between Two Selves to chew the lady-go.
- Valley Tangents to having a superpower that is music and to only believe in Jesus if it means every last drop of music were in His name; no, I’m not religious, but Jesus was tight, and I’d want to be his friend, so I think there’d be a way for that to happen//////////
- RIP Chrysalis to feeling all the feels and it feels. :D
- Capacity to inhale and exhale, simultaneously.
- Superimpositions to embracing the embers.
- Skid Row to knowing there was a proper follow-up made for Terminator 2.
- Boogie Chillen / Hills Of Cypress to those night rides back, lost, from Brooklyn, the person in front of you throwing out a revolver from the passenger seat; I look like a cop!

- Freetown Sound to continue love eternal in NYC.
- Canto Arquipélago to navigating island-jungle terrain on an excursion, with a guide frothing meditation.
- Babylon to showering in your own voice echoing in the bathroom.
- Angel Activate to shroud yourself in the immersion of undefinable sound.
- Secret Mix to proper hoe-out.
- Pharma to take all the drugs in the bag.
- A Public Ranking to conjure the depths of disparity.
- No.00 in Clean Life to resurrect,,,,,

- On Patrol to staking out with a mustache wearing sunglasses, slow-sipping on a disposable straw around midnight.
- White Flame to living and breathing the proof of truth.
- Theme For Gasoline Weirdo to purify yourself in splendor.
- CLASSROOM SEXXTAPE to text the wrong person a string of bad ideas while they respond in emojis, so ya strangers be riffing and are both oblivious.
- JE M’EN TAPE you as in we, the Queen’s “we,” also you’ve been granted impenetrability from everything ephemeral and physical, Terminator 2-mode.

I DARE YOU TO: go through all the music articles on Tiny Mix Tapes between 2010-2019 and witness how much we covered. We are the 99%. I believe in all the catfish-and-strangers who’ve participated in Tiny Mix Tapes the past nine years. Our words have provided energy to people either through the gravity of their meaning or just by writing “OMG Listen to this!” Tiny Mix Tapes is the enchantment of strength in belief.

Writing for Tiny Mix Tapes has beheld the enchantment of feeling hidden, using pseudonyms, not relying on the demand for clickbait article titles, and replying “No” to PR emails. One of Tiny Mix Tapes’s most common writer-motifs: observation is both literal and visual; setting the achievable goal of tying together what’s in between the audio and the written word.

Tiny Mix Tapes is my mental strength that binds me to an enhanced musical experience. It’s so hard to communicate with people about myself; this is why I will forever communicate to people about their music. If you made music or helped perpetuate it this past decade, I really appreciate you. You’ve enchanted me with tropes of socio-mental protection and armor that helps me simply live. C Monster has been the best fake-it-till-u-make-it mentality ever, so thanks, y’all!

Tiny Mix Time Travels

Defining and recalling music is like eating lunch the next day thinking you heard James Ferraro play a live set in your dream last night. Outside of sound, one recalls music (REAL DATA COMING):

- memory
- media/marketing
- storytelling/world-building/Conceptronica
- creative inspiration
- clear mind; stop ripping me offfffffthxffffff

Yet, like these frames of mind, we all evolve with the music that’s shared with us listeners (e.g., Future > Young Thug > Playboi Carti > Lil Uzi Vert). This entire decade, I been writing like nobody reading. C Monster is the documentation of my early

adulthood and how I thought about expanding my mind from home, tangible creativity at the touch key/-board stroke, enhancing theory without ever acknowledging it and feeling completely alone. Because of this, I’m impatient and good at keeping track of time. I gauge lots by time, including sobriety and standard lengths of tasks. Unfortunately, I lose lots of memory, because I’m spending time on organization and prioritization.

I’ve been writing from my couches for years. Two-to-three-to-four-to-five hours on Friday and Saturday nights of my life have been reserved the past eight years

for Tiny Mix Tapes. This is where I behold my personification of music from varying sounds, absorption, and the space I occupied with music. I don’t like going out to shows or clubs; I always preferred staying at home listening to music on my couch playing The Tekken Tag Team Tournament Two, tho, wearing only boxers and slides. Sucking on the legal drug of music with a side order of weed sneeze:

Beige Loveseat from Larkspur

This couch was on the brink of rotting by mid-2010. It was faux-leather and deteriorating, passed down from the house I lived in as a child, gone through Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees. My future-wife kissed me for the first time on it. And its existence stopped in Fairborn, OH while I was looking for an exit:

Broken beer bottles around the edges of the beige loveseat being pushed into the carpet, and Rick Ross confronting every last bit of mentality on a Thursday night. I still go to Family Video, where my boss asked me why I’m renting Crank: High Voltage, so he gives me a discount, and I’m blasting “Shine Blockas” by Big Boi & Gucci Mane and drop back down on that beige loveseat, watching Jason Statham get tore up on mute with Teen Dream, Crazy For You, and Sleigh Bells harkening off CPU-aux speakers behind me. CUT TO: after getting bummed over Before Today, Halcyon Digest, Stridulum, and Yellow Swans’ Going Places, crying a little in my underwear, unsure of any direction. Cuts on my feet. The next morning on the same couch, where I’d front on Sun Araw, James Ferraro, Pocahaunted, and Dylan Ettinger’s New Age Outlaws, falling in and out of sleep on my beige faux-leather loveseat, thinking I’m brinking. But it was all just noise and new feelings.

Before we moved all our stuff to Port Washington, NY, our dog, Mahdi, hadn’t seen me for eight months, so when she did, she jumped on me while I was laying on the beige loveseat, licked me like crazy, and peed all over me. My future mother-in-law and I left it by the apartment dumpster in Fairborn, OH.

Black Leather Couch at Beverly Manor

This the couch where I slept for a minute, sleeping in a room over my 56-year-old mom and 93-year-old Grams. The black leather couch was my Grandpa and Grams’ couch. They had it lifted onto the second floor when the wall was gone, because it was impossible to get up the curved steps. There I became “Demon Eyes,” entranced by the mysteries of music.

Deep dives into Monopoly Child Star Searchers after the 2009-2010 crossover with stickier percussion and transhuman expletives. LA Vampires featuring all our favs (Matrix Metals, Zola Jesus, Ital). Then them Outer Limits Recordings be sending out all the mixed signals with Rraro and OESB. Crystal Castles picks up where Treats left off, and Love Remains becomes the longing for my future-wife, who still lived in Ohio.

Savage Young Taterbug accessed my escape. Hung on to Hubble’s Hubble Linger for months, as the Empire State Building contended with the Chrysler Building in the NY skyline, thinking of shows fading with Shea Stadium. And then I get a taste of basement-fight beats from Bolo Yeung with a Vol. one - two punch, and I’m smacked with a nod.

Big Blue Couch (Savannah’s find), 2011-2012

I’m living full-time again with this person who moved to NY for me. I lived with her for a year prior, had an eight-month hiatus, and now she living with me and my mom and Grams (both of whom she had never met). Shortly after, we moved across town and had our own big-blue couch to watch Wheel of Fortune; clap through with Pat Sajak, but emotions coverly lay tremulous.

Late nights recovering in a stooper of depression and OD trailing along with the healing properties of Dolphins Into The Future (past-and-present) off the tape deck, blaring Robyn’s Body Talk via simultaneously to rid myself completely of negative crystal energies. Fall sucker to My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy’s immediacy, feeling like a fool listening to it three months later and becoming the revert of cultural appreciation without really talking to anyone about it, when Kanye West fucked me up mentally and I didn’t share my feelings with everyone else, so I became a shell. This decade is all Kanye’s fault, but I’llleave it at that.

At this point… first came what was gorgeous and defining from last decade into what we’re calling “This decade.” James Ferraro’s Last American Hero was an anthem for ambient fiends, rockers, and ballad believers. The ultimate jam sesh you listened in on but refused to participate in for the glory of serendipity was KWJAZ’s self-titled release on Not Not Fun. NNF also brought us the glimmering gems dazzling on each hazy track of Peaking Lights’ 936, including Orbital Express by Cruise Family, in a marble-madness of sequence and careful manipulation of mind. Cruise Family at the time ran the label SF Broadcast, which dropped the greatest 20 minutes on cassette that this decade had to give, Nachtbote.

Grouper’s A I A all at once became the epiphany of music and equinox states of extraterrestrial being, dripping in outsider-rock lite, presenting it in a clouded package of pure unabashed relaxation and stress so overwhelming it knocks you into a coma-like state of existence. Meanwhile, the laugh factory of Run DMT’s Dreams co-existed in a hailstorm of LAWLZ and unpredictable sentiment. All while The Pathway Through Whatever ushered in what Chuck Person had trouble angelically figmenting, Mediafired™ being the sole established author of vaporwave.

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Ford Fusion (back seat), 2010-2015

Flashback: Barack Obama was president for the majority of this decade. He gave us Cash For Clunkers, and in November 2009, I took that deal. I traded in a Jeep Cherokee Sport, including a 40oz-smashed windshield, broken wipers, a door that didn’t open, other doors that wouldn’t lock, and a rusted-out hole in the passenger seat. I got a 2010 Ford Fusion, which first introduced me to the power of .

The last few releases that meant “soul” to me in Ohio, before I lost belief in the existence of a “soul” in New York, was Dirty Beaches’ Badlands, Best Coast’s ‎Crazy For You, Pocahaunted’s Make It Real, and maybe something by Dum Dum Girls. Maybe Japandroids. However, after moving to Long Island and upping my daily speed with the rest of the meat, typical music with guitars and stage-presence ego made me feel like either musicians were “playing with themselves” (a.k.a. guitars are dicks) or lead singers were copies of copies of Michael Keaton from Multiplicity. Long Island got me stressed on traffic, so after every day of work — where the loud, towering TMT rap god Samuel Diamond made me the biggest fan of MYSELF — I’d smoke a bong (that lived with the spare tire in the Fusion’s trunk) out behind a paper company dumpster and bang all musics. Mysteries of the mind like Ferrari Jackson’s Lush, BEBETUNE$’s Inhale C-4 $$$$$, or Chuck Person’s Eccojams Vol. 1 making it feel like mind expansion was as free drugs as YouTube or torrents. When footwork/juke hit in that Fusion, time seemed to propel: DJ Rashad’s Just A Taste, EQ Why’s Chitokyo Mixtape, Paisley Parks” GETO GALAXY, and Everything DJ Nate. Satanicpornocultshop’s remake ep on repeat. The ecstasy.

Rich Forever branded a hip-hop odyssey, while Kool Keith’s Total Orgasm brought the veteran rapper a whole new audience to disect. Seapunk somehow polluted hip-hop by the wonderful way of Fantasea by Azealia Banks. Mykki Blanco raised the bar for on-the-low artists in Cosmic Angel: The Illuminati Prince/ss. The cartoon world of Captain Murphy’s Duality. And then just random one-offs that cycled the for weeks at a time: “Beez In The Trap,” “Nightmare On Figg,” “Spend It.”

Vaporwave hit different in the Fusion’s , but it blended with early beat-tape culture. Experiencing each aaronmaxwell EP dripping just quick enough to keep me hooked, fully arrested by the full-nude bombardment of beats in Cops and Cops 2, and the overly blown soul in Matthewdavid’s Smoke Hustle Mix was all equally reframing how I drove, let alone how I experienced sampled music. Saint Pepsi birthed the blend between big-time beat and ethereal vape, ‘specifically Empire Building. The covert psychedelic softness that oozed through the Fusion’s while listening to Empire Building may have been what snapped all circuits I had left scrambling around in my mind. Until I interviewed Ryan (Saint Pepsi) in the front seat of the Fusion, eating Taco Bell, and driving around Jones’ Beach in the fall… never actually transcribing and publishing the interview, forever keeping all the secrets of vaporwave.

Here’s a brief reminder: Alex Gray can not only club as D/P/I, but his culture of remix is bafflingly honorable, as one’s brain melts down the back of they spine. The Fusion also beat the shit out of releases like DJ Clap’s Best night Ever, shit I digitally fucked with in Chocolate Grinder mixes, and of course the most beautiful E+E track, “Energy.” Also, any time I was listening to Sun Araw, I was absolutely whacked out my twisted mainframe, so as “Impluvium,” The Inner Treaty, or Belomancie slithered from the , out the Fusion’s back window, dark, 6:44 PM coming home from work, headlights shining bright: EVERYONE IS A FUCKING COP!!!

The greatest pieces of this decade was SOPHIE’s “Ray-Ban x Boiler Room 005.” I’ve listened to this set so many times I can whistle it all by heart, including the annoying intro prank call. SOPHIE was the transpheric atmopurity been waiting for, whether or not it was “live” within illusion of all grandeur. “Ray-Ban x Boiler Room 005” was the blend of curator and collector remix culture, playing both her “singles” of PRODUCT and collections of edits. The enchantment was 100% body armor. I AM unstoppable listening to this mix. Thanks, Ray-Ban! This DJ set was the last thing I listened to in the Fusion; I crashed the Fusion to SOPHIE’s “Ray-Ban x Boiler Room 005.” This is absolutely one of the greatest things that has happening****** to me, constantly. #blessed

Brown Corduroy Couch, 2012-2015


This couch lived at the Beverly Manor (a.k.a. “Ye Ol Morrissey Estate”); scotch-on-the-fucking-rocks. When one day I get a package — which Grams called a “Bonanza” — from Monet Maker with MISTA THUG ISOLATION, which I put on immediately while opening the seal to a package I think contains a USB, but it’s chocolate instead. I toss Grams’s spaghetti dinner on the stove and offer her first bite of the chocolate to “completely ruin” her dinner. She absolutely dared to ruin her dinner. On my way to put her pasta on the plate, I eat the rest of the chocolate and immediately realize it’s weed chocolate. Three games of Scrabble later and a careful balance of water and scotch, Grams’s vocabulary is of a poet, and we still chillin’ on that Brown Corduroy Couch. #holoGrams


This is Papaya in the New Kingdom at TMT.com. He was my most neutral influence on music. Landon straight don’t give a fuck. I still buy weed from the service Landon slanged from for a minute. My man Cesar now has what I need. But Landon got me reading zines in the city library parking lot like I just had stolen it from a child inside. Lots of Dolphins into the Future talk, internet CLUB, and The Narcissist II being hella tight on genre. Banking on outsiders like Angels in America and Gem Jones, while deep-diving Monopoly Child Star Searchers zones, followed by Dreams West epiphanies. “Huff” —ing. Witnessing a double-dribble without any cyber-/bathdub Heat Wave Fuckd in the Game. Addressing the inches of Motion Sickness of Time Travel Ballades. Finding foliage among Macintosh Plus’s Floral Shoppe. Eerie echoes of Earn’s dubious grin in Romantic Comedy. Landon was the first I head of Guardian Alien and kept me steady on Torn Hawk.


We talking wifey? Mature Themes was us taking marital showers at the gym because Hurricane Sandy knocked out all our power; white-knuckling the Fusion steering wheel after a three-hour trek home from work in feet of snow during the Nor’easter, only to find Brad from Digitalis sent me a huge box of goodies to write up. Savannah holding the box next to Grams, as this couch at the time was at Beverly Manor. Arriving late in a yellow cab and missing Gang Gang Dance play Eye Contact at the south pier of Manhattan Island with Mickey, only to end up three-way wobble dancing to Diplo bumping a half-ass “Bam Bam,” while Savannah was still *future 100-emoji*. Cuddling at our apartment finally to Dean Blunt and Inga Copeland’s Black is Beautiful and Josephine Foster’s Blood Rushing. Texting Domino’s deliveries to Jonathan Dean with heated marital conversations like, “Why is you flexing our spending?” (my words, not hers…). The only place to dance to The Knife’s Shaking The Habitual is sharing a single blanket, grinding and reading on this couch. And learning how to best Robert my Pattinson while nodding with:

Savannah accepted the humor in Mac DeMarco’s Rock and Roll Night Club and Free Weed, because of Ween by way of The Beatles. Hearing her in the shower sing every last Magic Eye song. Wading with post-Lost withdrawal in the finite tide of Ou Du Monde by Mpala Garoo. And being goofy together. Discussing the intricate heartfelt creepiness of Autre Ne Veut’s Anxiety on vinyl spinning before us, having went to the album release a night before, and Daniel Lopatin tryna kiss a woman by the bathrooms downstairs in the venue she playing, “No, no, no.”


DeForrest eats garbage! Well, he ate garbage when we first met. Him listening to old-man Swanson nonsense that actually hit. I invited him to stay at our place on Long Island one night. Discussing Actress. Feeling his vibes with wanting to connect. Talking about synesthesia and thinking back to him bug during the last nights for 285, with Jessie, slamming Britney Spears and not really connecting dots. DeForrest gushing forever about Quarantine. Hashbrowns the next morning.


A frequent couch conversation every Saturday night on Xbox Live:

C: What celebrity does Lil B cool-it with?
M: Whatever celebrity lives in Berkley. Lil B has never not been in Berkley. I’ve met people from Berkley who know Lil B and The Pack, and not as some kind of joke.
C: We saw Lil B live in Amityville, NY….
M: Omniscience! Didn’t you read his fucking book?
C: He published a book?
M: Yeah, he been published a book, forever. Ima find this shit on Amazon. Yeah, his book is $99. GoodWill Seattle is the only one selling it.
C: What makes White Flame the stand out BasedGod mixtape of this decade?
M: It’s purist world-building. So many BasedGod mixtape tropes were built within White Flame. Lil B gaslights you into the idea of Basedgod. You think, “Yeah, I know.” But you don’t know. It feels like you know, but you don’t. And the lyrics; he just assume you know.
C: More gaslighting than Red and White Flames, and Blue Eyes?
M: White Flame is the hottest flame of all. Well, but then there’s invisible flame. Like that Ricky Bobby fire. That’s the realest. I’m waiting on Lil B’s Invisible Flame… tbh, I think he was just way more high recording this album. White Flame ain’t no joke.


Marshall initially introduced me to Tiny Mix Tapes. Mr P asked Marshall at my wedding, “So you’re the guy who ruined Clifford’s life?” Marshall only listens to Guided By Voices now, alone. When we dangle, he usually puts up some 90s grunge. Listening to music from when we was in middle school, playing Resident Evil, The Tekken Tag Team Tournament Two, Left 4 Dead 2, Halo: Legacy, etc. has physically put a groove in this couch, wherever it is now. Mahdi somehow magic-trick stealing only the patty from Marshall’s Whopper, like a tablecloth: the meat be gone, but the lettuce, onions, pickles, buns, ketchup all still remain.


Mahdi put up with all the music Savannah couldn’t. Mahdi was our dog/prisoner. She had time outside. She had a cell inside. She was more like our prisoner on house arrest. She was NOT a fan of the drastic ups and downs in Arca’s &&&&&. She loved to cuddle to anything Inga Copeland. We was bad-asses as, mid-November, Savannah asleep, windows down and leaves blowing in, Dirty Beaches’s Drifters/Love Is The Devil, together wearing glasses, inside, at 1:13AM. Completely smacked, both sprawled in front of the couch, she took a few tongue-laps of warm saki from my mug when I wasn’t looking, as we piece together Nu.Wav Hallucinations, get saved by Seth Graham’s and Lieven Martens’s entire collection, and mellow on The Bardo Story by Salvia Plath.

Diving deep into Skyrim with double-decking Home™ and ClearSkies™ by PrismCorp Virtual Enterprises on cassette, Mahdi jumping at dragons on screen. Finishing our outdoor adventures with Unknown Mortal Orchestra II, tailwaggin’. Finding ourselves plant-gazing to D/P/I’s Fresh Roses. Finishing off this couch watching Mahdi trying to bite and drag my speakers out our system when Cocaine Daughter hits the 23-minute mark, I’m in and out of sleep on this couch, in a haze, watching her successfully disconnect all sound after sitting on the carpet before me smiling, speakers down, wires everywhere.


Lots of time on this couch was spent thinking about everyone else listening to what I was listening to, and Birkut was that guardian angel. Ya standard bloke, too. It was probably Alex Gray’s D/P/I or DJ Purple Image works that had me notice. I kept following his works on TMT, wrote to him in the editorial back-end of the website frequently, and was at ease knowing others were experiencing the same. While understanding FULL WELL everyone else at TMT did the same. Just, this was different, maybe. I could see P or Keith listening to wild nonsense, but seeing Birkut in pictures in Europe looking Ivy was almost reaffirming basic bitches bounce. When listening to Classical Curves and Angel Activate, I felt Birkut was laughing along. Finding the majestic vape dynasty of Infinity Frequencies felt like I was some on the same wavelength as Birkut. Losing my mind with Birkut listening to Correct Sound and Бh○§†. I’m not crazy or obsessed with Birkut, but he eventually (later) came to my job, and the night before, we were talking over Miles Bowe at a bar quoting White Flame. Real Raga Shit is the narrative of my delusional friendship with Birkut.


Stephen’s a brother of mine. From Ween to Nicki to Britney to SOPHIE, Stephen introduced me to nearly everything after leaving my moms. Stephen is the only person I feel the most music with, and when I feel music alone, I feel music like Stephen feels music. Even if Stephen doesn’t like the music I’m feeling, I feel the music Stephen might not like, like Stephen would like that music. Sort of like when you start sneezing or laughing the same way another person sneezes or laughs because you been by them for such a long time. When I am Stephen listening to music, it enhances my Joy Factor a hundred-fold. This next couch we physically had trouble putting into our apartment, so we removed the door, and I almost hit a bridge in Astoria picking it up from Stephen’s place….

Blue-Couch: Reincarnate, 2016-2019

This is when I moved into NYC; wifey and I moved to Flushing, Chinatown — the Korean “part” — and Mahdi died two years later; we owned a shitty blue coach that owned the last fibers of canine in our apartment and then got a gigantic blue couch that Mahdi would’ve dug like a son-of-a-bitch. Grams died Christmas Eve day, and I started working at the [most-best full-time job I could ever imagine] (shout-out to co-worker in-life Ken Francis, who’s totally not in this at all, maybe, pictured above… I can’t remember at this point, legit), I started to miss not talking to Mr P at my publishing full-time job. Before Flushing, I’d watch epics like Waterworld, the Blade: Trilogy 3.85, and Terminator(s), writing web-copy for the entire week — after writing for four-to-five hours on Tiny Mix Tapes the night before — and work for TMT full-time dippin’ too much slime too. I’m so grateful for Mr P to let me write as C Monster on TMT for so long. I should’ve been fired lonnnnnng ago. :)

I don’t remember what year Savannah and I got married, but it was the second time I met Marvin (Mr P) after that one long night, having met Gumshoe, his wife, and Marvin at a Not Not Fun show in Austin during SXSW, just before out first (next-day) sex-toy factory showcase, and vibes was chill. Mike McHugh came thru, and Dave Gurney and Liz Louche and

Joe Davenport wrote:
Jonathan Dean 2016.
. We saw Marvin with Keith and Lee this year. Whenever I want to gChat w/ Mr P and can’t because he’s being an UltraMan, I write to him on TMT. I’ve tango’d with too much of “chat with Marvin, hubby #2?” or “write on Tiny Mix Tapes.” Marvin is a digital pimp. And he got C selling too much taste. Here’s the past few years thinking back while on our Blue-Couch: Reincarnate, because time travel: LET’S GO!!!

Beyoncé’s Lemonade is a stolen moment from me on this couch by Marshall and Stephen one day I wasn’t around, and they went IN on the visual album with Savannah. I have REM-dreamt of this moment happening with me also, more than twice.
• Tierra Whack’s Whack World will be the prefect transfer between the 7-train to the D-train at 5:25 AM for exactly 15 minutes of early-morning commute energy.
Charli XCX’s Vroom Vroom filtered karaoke nights in K-town lip-syncing to the music video drowning in soju slushies.
Blood Orange’s Freetown Sound was a three-year background noise cooking breakfast on Sundays, like a soulful Sesame Street jam-sesh.
Lolina’s Live in Geneva blared throughout our apartment as I walked around after coming home from work when a squirrel broke in through the plastic of our AC unit; I swatted at him under furniture with a long bamboo stick, and paused the album to call our super, only for him to laugh at me through the phone.
Typhonian Highlife’s The World of Shells had me rush and lose my apartment and car keys lost down a sewer in Chinatown on my way to see Spencer play the album live, went with him and Lieven and Matt to an all-red Russian bar, took Rambo shots, puked at the bar, got water and cleaned it up so quick it convinced me I had experienced magik, just in time for me to get home in Chinatown around 3:33 AM to fish out my keys from the sewer with a wire hanger.
Mount Eerie’s A Crow Looked at Me: fuck this shit get me crying on the subway after work, like — WTF? Why ya put yourselves through this? There’re other ways of release!
• Björk’s Post ,,,oh, yah, finally felt this release this year. Never listened to it. Stephen always loved it. I fake-hated it b/c i was never in the mood, but I be cool with that, then. Now I stay Post.
Jeremih’s Late Nights: The Album got so many people pissed off from loving this shit, like,,, why LOL — also OMG remember the reign of Brooklyn Russell,,,,,, ultimate crunch, b “THANKYOUYES!”
Lorenzo Senni’s Persona made me the rave voyeur of all the Boiler Room and “life” sets I listened to while gleefully avoiding the anxiety of being at these events.
• Big Thief’s Capacity gave me one last taste of rock appreciation, feeling like playing guitar in front of my senior high school class and thinking I’m the coolest kid in the whole world!
• Nina’s Complications gaslighted the vast array of Dean Blunt expectations without his touch, learning Korean from old grumpy men in the corner store before moving uptown.
Shygirl’s Cruel Practice keep me doing mad male kegel exercises.
Sleepy Crew Street School II: strolling through Times Square a little full on cart food, a couple of beers from the pub, few pulls from the vape — “Every vape is different” *cough*cough* — and ending with talking to Douglas about a new Uber app that’s “beyond Communifest Manifesto; he’s on Das Kapital Vol. 1 Section 3 levels of rethinking it,” as he passes out bus-tour flyers to hoards of tourists passing by.
DJ Nate’s Take Off Mode is knowing when enough is enough, but feet stay moving.


C Monster v. Tiny Mix Tapes, 1259 U.S. 1769, was a landmark decision of the U.S. Supreme Court, in which the Court ruled that the Constitution of the United States protects under-compensated freelance writers’ (on the internet or otherwise) liberty to demand a tax-bracketed salary enough to obtain health insurance without having to rely on government systems.

C Monster sues Mr P for gradual hearing loss from 2011-2019, citing Chocolate Grinder posts, Music Reviews, and DeLoreans as evidence.

I could’ve been Pitbull if I learned Spanish; thank you, Miles Bowe, for witnessing me. Turns out, C Monster has always just been “A working title.” Also, stay listening to what kids be listening to in middle school “these days.” It’s just as awesome/bad as when all of us were in middle school. You can be in middle school forever through music!

We was “we” when we was older (i.e., “How do you listen to music?”). Frigrurie it out 4u,b:) If you read this far, you’ll care enough to know that…

We are celebrating the end of the decade through lists, essays, and mixes. Join us as we explore the music that helped define the decade for us. More from this series

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