Entries Tagged as 'Culture on the Hill'

It’s Spring Break!!

3.21.2017

And to help you celebrate, we come bearing a dope playlist:

 

New Year, New Music

3.07.2017

By Justin Hermstedt

2016 ended over two months ago, and just when you thought you were caught up on that year’s music, 2017 comes around and brings a whole new lineup. There are truly no off-days allowed in the pursuit of good music, but we’ll give you a pass just this once. Here are a few albums you may have missed this year already. Now keep your ears to the streets so you don’t miss any more.    

Process – Sampha

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Sampha built up hype for his debut album through his collaborations with popular artists such as Drake, Kanye West, Frank Ocean, and Solange. Big names, one might say. Released early in February, Process is an intimate introduction to Sampha.

The first few songs reveal the pressure and anxiety Sampha experiences: “It’s so hot I’ve been melting out here / I’m made out of plastic out here.” This feeling builds until the fourth track, “(No One Knows Me) Like the Piano,” an endearing ballad dedicated to Sampha’s mother, who died in 2015.

The album has a very special way of finding highs and lows from song to song. The quiet songs build a desire in the listener for something danceable, which eventually comes in “Reverse Faults” and “Timmy’s Prayer.”

Process solidifies Sampha as a pop artist with unrivaled soul.

Plural – Electric Guest

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Plural is Electric Guest’s sophomore album, arriving five years after the commercially successful Mondo.

As in Mondo, the music in Plural is characterized by tight, dancy percussion and synth. Electric Guest seems to draw influence from, say, Depeche Mode and your common elevator music. Plural leans slightly towards the elevator music side of the spectrum compared to Mondo. Plural is notable for its optimistic tone. Songs like “Dear to Me” and “Sarah” are more smiley than we’ve seen Electric Guest in the past.

Although Plural is generally high-tempo, there’s still a hint of the uneasy brooding of Mondo, like in the opening track, “Zero.” The best new development in this album is a more diverse vocal performance, aside from the band’s signature mellow falsetto. Check out the surprising passion in “Back For Me.”

KU Freshman Jack Hatzfeld Turns Coffee Into Art

1.30.2017

By Justin Hermstedt

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On any given morning in Hashinger Hall, one subtle sound that breaks the silence is the hum of Jack Hatzfeld’s coffee grinder. Hatzfeld starts his morning with a cup of coffee like anyone else, but caffeine addiction does not drive this morning ritual. Hatzfeld is a KU student devoted to the art of coffee.
“Third wave coffee” is the artisan approach to coffee that Hatzfeld practices. Third wave coffee makers seek the highest quality ingredients and get them directly from their origin, whether that is Colombia, Ethiopia or any other coffee hub. Hatzfeld says coffee becomes an art form rather than a mundane daily beverage, when it is produced with the acute attention to detail that sets third wave coffee apart from Starbucks.

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“The quality of water, the temperature, the brew time—there’s so many variables that actually go into making coffee and it really takes a lot of skill and knowledge to be able to isolate those,” Hatzfeld said. “That’s kind of what third wave is about.”

Ian Walla is a coffee colleague of Hatzfeld’s. Walla says third wave coffee is like other drinks, such as wine and whiskey, only it is more complex. He says that he and Hatzfeld are drawn to the coffee industry partly because it is constantly evolving.

“As soon as someone knows everything, some crop disease happens in Asia and it totally changes the game on every front. And then you have to relearn everything”, Walla said.

Hatzfeld has done the best he can to support his coffee hobby despite being restricted by the size of a dorm room. Last fall was Hatzfeld’s first semester at KU, and the first time in three years he hasn’t been working as a barista. Hatzfeld is a product photographer for a few coffee companies, which means he is sent samples to photograph, helping his personal coffee supply remain stocked. Although he’s grateful to still be crafting coffee for his own use, Hatzfeld longs to be back behind the counter in a coffee shop so he can share his work with customers.

“Luckily, coffee is a part of my life right now because I am photographing for companies,” Hatzfeld said. “I get that every day. I wish I could give it to other people every day though.”

Hatzfeld began working in coffee when his other art form of choice, photography, led him to it. Hatzfeld worked as a freelance photographer throughout high school. He has worked at several coffee shops around Kansas City, but his first job in coffee was at a coffee shop in Gardner, Kansas called Groundhouse, where he often used to hang his photographs. The manager reached out to Hatzfeld to see if he’d be interested in working there.

“I started picking up some shifts at Groundhouse on the side while I sold my art, and then I started to realize that coffee was kind of an art form in itself,” Hatzfeld said.

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Hatzfeld is studying graphic design at KU. He draws inspiration for design from coffee work, and vice versa. Design is prevalent in the coffee industry through media other than the beverage itself. Hatzfeld is fascinated by the incorporation of art in the atmosphere of coffee shops, whether it is through interior design, graphic design, or the packaging of coffee products. Hatzfeld’s dream job is to be a brand manager for a coffee company, allowing his work in design and coffee to intersect.

Hatzfeld says we are in the midst of a boom in third wave coffee. He hears of independent coffee shops popping up all the time around Kansas City as demand grows. His father, David Hatzfeld, says his son is poised to take advantage of this burgeoning industry.

“Jack has realized that as the coffee industry is starting to develop and mature into a craft like microbrews in beer, he’s seeing it as an employment opportunity at levels other than at the retail level,” David Hatzfeld said.

Hatzfeld says most people view coffee as just a drink, but he finds art in it.

Jack Hatzfeld and his father share this artistic mindset, but David Hatzfeld’s interest is in culinary arts. Jack Hatzfeld cites his father as an inspiration in his artistic development in coffee, and fondly recalls extravagant breakfasts that his father used to prepare for their family. David Hatzfeld and Jack Hatzfeld see past the surface level of their respective crafts and obsess over details.

“He looks at coffee at a deeper level, and picks up the nuances”, David Hatzfeld said. “I would talk to my kids and tell them food is an experience, not sustenance. He kind of took that to heart.”

 

Photography courtesy of Jack Hatzfeld

 

KU Improv Entertains Off the Top of Their Head

1.23.2017

By Justin Hermstedt

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Last spring, Teagan Fitzpatrick founded KU Improv. In its second semester, the group grew and garnered a consistent following at its many performances.

John Pace, a freshman from Olathe, joined KU Improv last fall. He’s been doing improv for a few years.

“It’s pretty much ‘acting without a script,’ to put it in three words… or four words. I can count; I swear,” Pace said.

Although the club is young, it pulls around 10 to 20 people at the average show. Those are solid numbers for a comedy startup, whose existence might not be known of by the majority of students.

Style on the Hill went to check out their last show of the fall semester, and KU improv brought the comedic heat.

This semester, be sure to support the good people at KU improv. It’ll be a merry (and free) time, especially if you like memes and/or muppet impressions.

 

Staff Picks: Albums of the Year 2016

12.30.2016

By Justin Hermstedt

2016 was a standout year for music. New Kanye, Beyoncé, and Frank Ocean barely scratch the surface. What were your favorite albums of 2016? Here are some personal favorites from the staff at Style on the Hill.

A Seat at the Table – Solange

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This album is soulful and spiritual and imaginative. Solange is too often overshadowed by her sister, and this album showcases her incredible musical talents. Her music is powerful.

-Rebekah Swank

Starboy – The Weeknd

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A pretty sexy album. It’s r&b and electronic without being too overbearing. The album seems to flow better when I listen to it as a whole.

-Georgia Hickam

Holy Ghost – Modern Baseball

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I came for the witty, angsty expressions of social hijinks/struggles which highlighted Modern Baseball’s first albums, but I stayed for the honest, introspective stories of surviving in the face of loss and mental illness. This album kicks ass.

-Justin Hermstedt

Disappear Here – Bad Suns

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Bad Suns had an awesome EP a couple of years ago and followed up this year with a dope album; Disappear Here is the perfect amount of peppy and artistic.

-Ellie Milton

Call Him a Doctor – GFOTY

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GFOTY (Girlfriend Of The Year) created the EPOTY with Call Him a Doctor. Rarely does an artist’s magnum opus manifest as an EP, but with Call Him a Doctor GFOTY infuses her signature wit/bombast with an unexpectedly refined pop-punk and PCMusic electronica.

-Logan Gossett

The Ride – Catfish and the Bottlemen

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Their first album was absolutely killer and this followed it perfectly. I honestly just don’t have any words for how great this band is.

-Ellie Milton

Awaken, My Love! – Childish Gambino

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This album is so different from anything Childish Gambino has done in the past, and a lot of people don’t like it for that reason. I thought it was spectacular. I think his voice was made for this kind of music.

-Rebekah Swank

Blackstar – David Bowie

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David Bowie hadn’t died in 2016, Blackstar would still be a top ten album of the year. But nothing exists in a vacuum, so the compelling narrative behind Bowie’s last LP secures an already enchanting album its place as my second favorite album of 2016.
-Logan Gossett

How to Be a Human Being – Glass Animals

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Each track on How to Be a Human Being tells the story of a real person who Glass Animals have encountered in their travels. The unique narratives of these colorful characters coalesce into a uniform anthology, just like how the diverse and whimsical sounds form an awesome, melting pot of an album.

-Justin Hermstedt

Centerfold – MOTHXR

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MOTHXR explored the decadent basin of New Romantic dystopia’s pits and excavated a dark, amethyst gem with Centerfold.
-Logan Gossett

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