Author: Karamea Pearl Puriri

An advanced RAMP deck helped Karamea slice through the fresh pow and chill temperatures with ease. Photo: Jake Vivori

The last thing I expected when I started working at SLUG was to write anything about snowboarding, let alone to actually learn how to snowboard. I am a desert rat from a Polynesian family—I wasn’t exactly bred for the cold. One thing I discovered upon moving to Salt Lake was that winter ultimately sucks and I hate it. But after noticing how excited my friends get when it snows each winter, I decided that learning to snowboard might give me a reason to want to “pray for snow” right along with them.
   
My adventure in learning to snowboard began with a search for my board. Keeping it local, I went straight to RAMP Sports, a ski and snowboard company who handmakes their products right here in Utah. Based out of Park City, I had heard many positive things about them—like their sustainable/environmentally friendly production processes—and knew they would not let me down. I picked out the Sagebrush Advanced/All Mtn. Board to get me started. Obviously, I am not an advanced rider, but I figured the mentality of learning on a board made for someone with more skill might actually make me better!

The day my board showed up was like Christmas. The FedEx man carried in a black bag with RAMP across the top, and I was in love before I even unzipped it. Unwrapping the board, with its bright-green sagebrush print on the top and sleek, black bottom, made me anxious to jump on it and get started. That night, I had fellow SLUG staffer Mike Brown take me to Salty Peaks to show me what else I needed. I had no idea there were multiple styles of boots, gloves, bindings and whatever the hell else I ended up getting. Luckily, the peeps at Salty’s know their stuff, and had me set up and ready to go in no time. Over the next few days, the gear sat on my floor, basically taunting me. I knew I would have to figure out how to get it all on and off by my myself, so I strapped myself into my board a few times, successfully doing up and undoing the bindings without getting stuck.

Then it was time to hit the slopes … I enrolled in a couple of lessons at Brighton to get me started. I had heard plenty of good things about the Brighton Ski and Snowboard School and knew that was the best place to start. I showed up at Brighton early one Sunday, completely clueless about what I was doing. Spock, the Assistant Director of the Ski School, greeted me and got me all taken care of. He even let me borrow his gloves for the lesson because I managed to leave mine behind.

Between the two lessons I took, I learned how to fall without breaking my wrist, successfully get on and off the lift without being run over by the chair, turn heel and toe side in order to stop, learned how to make slow, wide S-curves, and managed to master the art that is “falling leaf.” Both of my instructors, Alisa and David, were extremely patient, riding next to me to make sure I didn’t bomb the hill those first few times, and giving me great tips and tricks along the way. David commented that my advanced board, with its rocker tip and tail, was probably helping me get the hang of things … just like I knew it would.

Over the next few weeks, I put those skills to use by venturing out in some of the most extreme conditions I have ever been in. I spent a day at Brianhead in the middle of a small snowstorm, experiencing my first “fresh pow.” I rode to the top of one of the advanced runs with my brother, and like all good brothers, he told me to meet him at the bottom and took off. I managed to get stuck in the powder a few times, and had to unstrap from my board to get out. But by the end of the first run, I realized how much fun I was having and immediately got back on the lift to do it all again.

The fresh pow adventure was followed by a freezing adventure at Brighton a couple weeks later. I arrived to a balmy zero degrees and blue skies. With three extra layers on, I spent the day exploring the Majestic side of Brighton, doing my best to stay in the sunny parts of the mountain to keep from turning into an ice cube. At one point, I ended up stuck, and my only option was to either unstrap or head down a previously ridden path through the trees. Being the adventurous person I am, I picked the tree path and accidentally ended up going off my first jump. It was more like a little bump in the path, but I’m pretty sure I let out a little “woo-hoo!” going over it.

By the time I was done, my hair was white and frozen and my face was numb, but I had successfully braved the weather and actually enjoyed it. My adventure in learning to snowboard is far from over, but thanks to my pals at RAMP and Brighton Snow School, I now have a reason to at least appreciate the snow. The cold, never, but through this, I have also perfected the art of layering. It’s a dream. See you in the halfpipe, yo.

Photos:


Photos: Tim Navis; Design: Joshua Joye

“Sometimes, you have these ideas, and it’s hard to make them real and get them from your head and out into the real world,” says Scott Hansen, aka Tycho, in an interview with SLUG.

The ability to create something—a painting, a song, a piece of clothing, jewelry, whatever it might be—to communicate an idea because it’s the only way that you know how to get it out of your head and into the world, is powerful. The way Tycho expresses his ideas and feelings resonates deeply with a wide audience, which is telling of his intuitive talent as a musician.

Tycho’s music reminds me of a soundtrack to a movie I’ve never seen. Watching a car driving down the Oregon coast, windows down, going nowhere fast. Each track is full of a certain softness contrasted by an overwhelmingly emotional sound. The airy notes are created with an array of synths, keyboards, drum machines and compressors. If I could see Tycho’s music every time I listened to it, it would look like a slow-motion show of sunbeams dancing through the trees, exploding stars and bioluminescent fish swimming through the sea.

There is something to be said about a song, or an entire album of songs, that makes you feel like your heart might explode. I tend to lump the sounds of Tycho, and how they make me feel, into the same emotional realm as Sigur Rós, Explosions in the Sky or Múm. If you have never listened to Tycho’s first album, Past is Prologue (in headphones), I would suggest doing so.

I was introduced to Tycho by my design teacher in college. He was showing us examples of “good design” and had pulled up a few of the works found on Hansen’s blog, ISO50.com, which mainly included ethereal posters promoting these gigs that someone named Tycho would be performing at.  While perusing through his blog later that day, “The Disconnect” came on in my headphones via the embedded music player and I was hooked. One thing led to another, and I realized that these two creators were one and the same.

Hansen has always been visually oriented and had always wanted to make music, but had no instrument training and wasn’t quite sure where to start. Things changed when he turned 21 and got his first computer. “When I got my first computer was when I really started making music and doing computer–generated design instead of just illustrations,” he says. He started doing graphic design to create covers for the mix-tapes he was making for his friends, and designing posters for the Tycho shows. “I gave design a good decade of my life, and I accomplished a lot of things visually as far as articulating the ideas that I have been working towards for a long time. So, I decided that it was time to do the same thing with music, and I quit doing all freelance work about three years ago just to focus solely on Tycho,” says Hansen, though he continues to create his own album covers, show posters and video graphics. “The project is still audio-visual at the end of the day, so I want the imagery associated with it to be very similar,” he says.

Tycho’s third studio album will be released late March 2014. “There’s a lot of stuff that could’ve sat on the outside of the past record [Dive], but there’s a subtle evolution in the new songs. The album is a lot more driven—it’s a lot more heavy,” says Hansen. Tycho’s touring drummer, Rory O’Conner, plays drums on the album, and Hansen and Zac Brown (Tycho’s touring guitarist), wrote and recorded everything together. “[Zac] has a rock background and is purely a guitarist. With him writing now, it changes the flow. There’s something different going on,” says Hansen.

The two met a few years ago, through fellow musician, and Brown’s cousin, Dusty Brown. Hansen invited Zac to a few shows and they would spend the night freestyling through songs. “I always heard guitars in my music, and I had always wanted to add something like that,” says Hansen. Zac came in later on in the recording process for Dive, and created the track “Ascension” together with Hansen. Zac also played guitar on the title track. “Now I really enjoy performing and having other people up there and being able to create the music in a more live way than with just one person,” says Hansen.

Tycho will be playing at Urban Lounge on Sunday, Nov. 3. I had the opportunity to see them perform last summer and 10 seconds in, it became one of my favorite shows of 2012. From the video graphics designed by Hansen to the music, it was an experience in and of itself. “This will be the last chance to see us play any of the old material the way we did last year. The new material is a lot more complex on the live instrumentation side, so it will be an interesting experiment to see how we’ll pull that off live,” says Hansen. Discover more Tycho at tychomusic.com.
Photos:

Daughter
If You Leave

4AD
Street: 03.13
Daughter = Rhye + St. Vincent

It’s hard to put into words the emotions that Daughter’s full-length debut, If You Leave, bring up. Each time I turn it on, it’s as if Elena Tonra’s voice is reaching deep into my soul and shaking up all of those miserable, broken-hearted experiences, and then serving them back to me in a beautifully decorated, melancholy cocktail. The album starts with “Winter” and Tonra telling of a loss: “Drifting apart like two sheets of ice/Frozen hearts growing colder with time.” Tonra’s lyrics—paired with the sounds of her and Igor Haefeli’s guitars and Remi Aguilella’s steady but strong percussion—hypnotize me every time. In “Smother,” Tonra admits, “I’m a suffocator/Sometimes I wish I’d stayed inside my mother/Never to come out.” Each time I hear those words, I swallow the handful of emotions that are welling up behind my eyes. The first song I heard from this album was “Tomorrow,” a painstakingly cathartic track that shatters my heart with a hammer. As Tonra sings, “Don’t bring tomorrow/’Cause I already know I’ll lose you,” I feel my heart breaking all over again—not for myself, but for her. The ache in her gentle voice, mixed with the ever-growing power of the music, wraps itself around me, and there are times when I feel as if I might drown in the sorrow that is floating through the speakers. Listening to If You Leave is a terrifyingly beautiful experience: There are moments of pure understanding and others full of heartache. This is an album to listen to when you want to feel something—anything at all. Like Tonra says in “Touch”: “I’m dreaming of strangers kissing me in the night/Just so I can feel something.” –Karamea Pearl Puriri