a few months back, i was sitting at a diner on the upper east side with my old co-worker and friend juan (wamoo papez), talking about feeling lost. we talked about the beauty of deep, dark periods of our lives; that if you can push yourself and come to terms with the numbness, you can use it for the good and turn it into something else. something extraordinary. well, two weeks ago juan succeeded in just that. together, we did a listening party for his new album zebra and he killed it. juan creates his music like audio collages by collecting clips from all over the place and then pieces them together to make something totally new. he also orchestrated an insanely cool video, mirroring the sounds and deep emotions of his album (see above). while, his sounds were inspired by a dark period, there was a lot of life to them. the video flowed seamlessly; i enjoyed the mixture of colors, text and clips. there was a lot of texture and depth to both his sounds and his video. and you could actually feel his emotions reverberating through his work. i've honestly never heard anything like juan's music before. he seriously killed it! i've watched juan come along way this year, from his first dj gig at my new york's finest party to now. i love watching my friends grow and expand on their craft, and gain creative confidence by just doing their thing and getting it out there. after the event, we talked about how we both felt this wonderful mixture of emotions -- proud of ourselves for pulling the event together but also in full acknowledgement that there's still work to be done and we couldn't be more excited by that fact.