Monday, June 18, 2018

Music: Selector In, Choreographer Out; 2 Jamaicans featured on Jay-Z Beyonce Collab

L'Acadco founder and lead choreographer L'Antoinette Stines is not pleased about not being credited on the album Everything Is Love by The Carters, aka Jay-Z and Beyoncé.
L'Antoinette Stines

Rory Stone Love

It was released on Saturday on streaming service Tidal.

Stines' voice is featured on the track Black Effect.

“It was brought to my attention by my daughter who is overseas; someone told her about it. I just don't understand why I wasn't credited,” Stines told the Jamaica Observer yesterday. "They interviewed me when they came here earlier this year and I didn't know that it would've ended up on an album.”

In March the American power couple were spotted in the Trench Town community of Kingston shooting scenes for a promo their upcoming On the Run II Tour. They were on a motorcycle driven by Jay-Z.

Music producer and sound system selector RoryStoneLove is credited on the album for his vocals on the track Summer.

He explained how he got involved in the project.

“I got a text last week while I was overseas that they wanted to use my voice on a track, but it was kinda top secret. I was really surprised that they contacted me for something like that. I heard that Jay-Z has been a fan of mine for a long time,” said RoryStoneLove.

He added, “They sent me a script and I just did it. I am very honoured to be a part of the album and it's a good look for selectors in general.”

RoryStoneLove has been in the sound system arena since 1983 when he started out with a house party 'sound' called Champagne. The following year he joined Stone Love and his career took off.
In recent years he has ventured into music production. Last year he produced singer Samory I's debut album, Black Gold.

Two of the songs on Everything is Love, namely Friends and Heard About Us, were produced by Jamaica-born Matthew "Boi-1da" Samuels.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Watches: How Omega Conquered the Deep
When texting with friend and fellow aBlogtoWatcher Zach Piña about the Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean, he messaged me the above quote that I think perfectly encapsulates why I find this collection so special. Introduced in 2005, it seems like the Planet Ocean has been around for as long as many of us have been watch lovers and enthusiasts, as a staple in the Omega line that fits in as comfortably as the Speedmaster. In this article I am going to go through the evolution of the Planet Ocean watch and track the various models, major milestones, and short but robust history of this luxury dive watch.
Of course, in modern Omega history, the Planet Ocean came fairly late. The Seamaster Professional arrived in 1993 and was the watch first used in Omega’s second-greatest marketing feat (after the Speedmaster being the “Moon Watch,” of course). Indeed, the Seamaster Professional (SMP) adorned the wrist of Pierce Brosnan’s take on James Bond 007 in 1995’s Goldeneye (the Planet Ocean got this honor over a decade later in 2006’s Casino Royale). After the SMP 300 came the dressier Seamaster Aqua Terra in 2002, with the Planet Ocean arriving in 2005 as the line’s higher end sibling and rounding out the collection.
Planet Ocean: The Full Story Of Omega's Iconic Modern Dive Watch Featured Articles
Too often I find myself frustrated with the historical baggage so many watches I love are saddled with. What I mean by “baggage” can mean a lot of things: unwillingness to innovate because of a romanticized view of a piece’s history; watches focused on anniversaries or years commemorating landmarks; ad nauseam mention of iconic “effortlessly cool” celebrities who wore a watch 50 years ago (seriously, imagine it’s 1970 and watch enthusiasts are losing their minds over what Charlie Chaplin or Cecil B. Demille wore just before the Roaring Twenties). I love that the Planet Ocean line has to deal with none of this and can proudly present itself as a genuinely modern dive watch offering. It’s obviously important to note that that my points above are restricted to the Plant Ocean, not Omega as a whole because that’s an entirely different conversation altogether.
Omega created the Planet Ocean to be a modern luxury dive watch that would compete with the “tried and true” comparable offerings like the Rolex Submariner. It’s also worth noting that the Seamaster line overall has always been intended as more of a luxury piece in the body of a solid tool watch rather than a tool watch that eventually found its way on the wrists of well-heeled watch lovers.
One point of note, I am going to keep this list to non-precious metal models and will also not go through the history of the Planet Ocean chronograph because that discussion, or any discussion of a non-Speedmaster chronograph from Omega would require a thorough side by side look with the various Speedmaster references being made at any given point, and that is a very long conversation for another day. That being said, all the core references, along with the GMT models, and ultra-modern innovations like the Deep Black, will all be accounted for.


The Planet Ocean was the first diver Omega outfitted with their calibre 2500 movement that featured a co-axial escapement, and it came in three variations when it was launched, which is hilarious compared to the 27 models and 109 variations I see in the catalog now, some thirteen years later in 2018. The first Planet Oceans came in either 42mm or 45.5mm, with a black or orange bezel. The color orange is the unofficial color of the Planet Ocean line, claimed to be one of the most visible colors underwater (a claim I have heard refuted a few times, actually), but I have a feeling the aesthetic stamp was alluring to Omega as well.
Planet Ocean: The Full Story Of Omega's Iconic Modern Dive Watch Featured Articles


The model that initially inspired the first Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean collection back in 2005 was the Seamaster 300 ref. 165.024, which dated back to the 1960s. This can be a little counterintuitive when understanding the history of the Planet Ocean since they released a true to the original modern watch in the Seamaster 300 Master Co-Axial back in 2014. While nothing close to a vintage reissue, the first generation of Planet Ocean watches clearly wears this design influence on its sleeve. Or rather, on the design of its bezel, hands, and dial. The Planet Ocean asserted its own style, however, with an aggressively sporty look and touches like a helium escape valve. Later Planet Ocean generations would move on with the times in terms of material and style, securing the collection’s place as a luxury dive watch that is very much “of the moment” and isn’t afraid to evolve.
The first generation of Planet Ocean watches featured the aluminum bezel, about 1/3 of which was the untreated inner ring with the outer 2/3 being done in either black or orange. The 120-click coin edged unidirectional bezel is one of the aesthetic markers and tactile standouts of the Planet Ocean line, joined with the signature helium escape valve at 10 o’clock which has carried through into every Planet Ocean watch. It’s a somewhat vestigial addition that can be about as divisive a feature as date windows, and personally I would probably like the option to not have a helium escape valve.
The matte black lacquered dial along with the faceted arrowhead hour and minute hands (with Super-LumiNova) make for a highly legible and attractive dial across the range. I love the Arabic numerals at 6, 9, and 12 o’clock and the date window is about as least intrusive as it can be, since the background of the window matches the dial and there’s no magnifying lens over it. The simple, attractive design coupled with luxury finishes (that have been updated and upgraded with time, as this article will lay out) has been a cornerstone towards the success of the Planet Ocean.
Planet Ocean: The Full Story Of Omega's Iconic Modern Dive Watch Featured Articles


Being a top-tier Omega dive watch, the Planet Ocean watches are all water-resistant to 600m (2,000 feet) – double the resistance of the Seamaster Professional of the time. Earlier models like these first generation watches have a steel caseback with the engraved Omega Seamaster logo featuring the recognizable seahorse, aka Hippocampus. Interestingly and of note, Omega claims that with the Helium escape valve unscrewed the watch is still decently water-resistant to 50m. I assume this is relevant if only to ease the minds of forgetful owners who like to play with their watches.
One final thing to mention about all Planet Ocean watches, old and new. These have always been thick watches, with some recent chronograph versions reaching a downright fat measurement of 18.87mm thick. The 42mm version of the first generation Planet Ocean doesn’t approach this level of thickness at 14.5mm thick, but the 45.5mm model is a hefty 17mm thick. To compare, a 41mm wide Seamaster Professional at the time would have been about 12mm thick.
What’s always been impressive about the Planet Ocean is the fact that though it features a domed sapphire crystal, it has always remained highly legible due to the smart decision to use ample anti-reflective coating. More than one Planet Ocean owner I’ve talked to has pointed out how great the AR is, and I’d absolutely agree with them as I’ve always been impressed with the clarity on the dial of my own PO.

Music: Spain Brings "Musical Winds" to Jamaica

The Embassy of Spain in Jamaica will host two events, dubbed West Winds — a musical experience, based on West Side Story. The performances will be held at Rose Hall Great House in Montego Bay on Saturday, June 23 starting at 6:00 pm, and the second will be held at the University Chapel, Mona, on Monday, June 25 at 7:00 pm.

West Winds features performances from Spanish saxophone quartet Sigma Project, and violinist Cecilia Bercovich, and pays homage to the 100th anniversary of the birth of American composer Leonard Bernstein, known for his role in promoting arts with his television lectures on classical music.

Ambassador of Spain, Josep María Bosch, views the concerts as a cultural exchange between Spain and Jamaica. He is particularly enthused about sharing the experience with attendees from the west, where most of the Spanish businesses and hotels are located. “We are excited to host one of the concerts in the beautiful location of Rose Hall, Great House, thanks to the collaboration of Michelle Rollins, a great supporter of the arts. We want to contribute to the cultural life in the area where our investors and most Spaniards reside, in order to get closer to the communities and its people.”

He also hopes the performances will resonate with the Jamaican audience, who may be familiar with the music and have a natural liking for the saxophone. However, he sounds a warning. “Wait for and expect sounds you would never have thought saxophones could make”— the quartet, Sigma Project, is known for its contemporary interpretations on the saxophone.

The four Spanish saxophonists, Ángel Soria, Andrés Gomis, Alberto Chaves and Josetxo Silguero, and lone female violinist Bercovich will also meet and share lessons with youth in Kingston and Montego Bay. Montego Bay Community College in St James will host the workshop for students in the western part of the island, while youngsters in Kingston and surrounding areas will gather at Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts.

Sigma Project has performed at more than 150 concerts across the world. For her part, Bercovich is a multifaceted performer of violin and viola, and is an enthusiast about contemporary creation. She was artist in residence at the Banff Centre in Canada.

The concerts are being presented in association with The Spanish-Jamaican Foundation, Spanish engineering company TSK, and Lasco Icool.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Auto: Nissan Brings Racing Lessons to New GT-R

The Nissan 2018 GT-R Nismo GT3, slated to arrive to customers in January of 2019, looks to improve on its 2016 model using data gleaned from actual racing.
front view 2018 nismo nissan gt3
Nismo, the abbreviated name given to Nissan Motorsport International Limited, is the in-house tuning, motorsports and performance division for the car company. The merger between two Oppamaa Works (known as Publication Division 3) and Omori Works (Special Car Testing Division), both founded in the 2960s, resulted in Nismo, and since 1984, the devision has been producing cars that have participated in JSPC, JTCC, 24 Hours of Lemans, and 24 Hours of Daytona, not to mention their current competition in Super GT, the Blancpain GT Series, and the WeatherTech SportsCar Championships.
back view nissan gt3 2018
The 2018 GT-R Nismo GT3 is the updated version of Nissan’s customer race car. The GT3 has benefited from significant mechanical redesigns, starting with mounting the engine 150mm (6 inches) farther back than the 2015 model, as well as mounting it lower thanks to the shallower oil pan and a new dry sump oiling system. The suspension geometry and frame crossmember have been cleaned up for better rigidity and handling. Updates to the aerodynamics have also improved the balance between low drag and high downforce. The six-speed sequential transmission was also redesigned and demands less maintenance

Music: "Sweet and Dandy" and "Lovestone", et al. The Riffs This week

A new version of “Sweet and Dandy ” the Toots classic by singers Soul Sisters Six, and guitarist
Andy Bassford. A new single from ‘ECOSYSTEM’ an album by singer Courtney John. Soul Sugar’ remake of Marvin Gaye’ “I Want You” NEW SINGLES: “ I Hear His Whisper” by Malayky; “ No Mediocre Vibe” by

“Silver Words” a new version by Maxi Priest. Sadiki’ “Blue Mountain Acoustic” “Lovers Paradise" The Best of Canada-Jamaica’ Jay Douglas. “Down The Road” with Eddy Grant, more songs from ‘PLAISANCE’ his new album.

‘ THE SUNDAY RIFF’ 6/17/18: R+R NOW “Collagically Speaking” a new  album by a dream band led by pianist Robert Glasper. Featuring saxophonist Tia Fuller, and flautist Mayu Saeki. An exploration of Ballads—“Lovestone” by saxophonist JD Allen

 Catch the RIFF


Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Books: "Black Leopard", James' Latest, "Breaks Cover"

The first book in Man Booker winner Marlon James' new Dark Star trilogy, Black Leopard, Red Wolf has a release date, as well as a cover, by Venezuelan artist Pablo Gerardo Camacho.
Here’s the official synopsis: “Tracker is known far and wide for his skills as a hunter: ‘He has a nose,’ people say. Engaged to track down a mysterious boy who disappeared three years earlier, Tracker breaks his own rule of always working alone when he finds himself part of a group that comes together to search for the boy. The band is a hodgepodge, full of unusual characters with secrets of their own, including a shape-shifting man-animal known as Leopard.
As Tracker follows the boy’s scent — from one ancient city to another; into dense forests and across deep rivers — he and the band are set upon by creatures intent on destroying them. As he struggles to survive, Tracker starts to wonder: Who, really, is this boy? Why has he been missing for so long? Why do so many people want to keep Tracker from finding him? And perhaps the most important questions of all: Who is telling the truth, and who is lying?”
James is drawing from African history and mythology for this ambitious effort, and considering his past achievements — including the brilliant, Man Booker Prize-winning A Brief History of Seven Killings — there’s reason to hype this title as one of the biggest of 2019.
“I really believe you should write the books you want to read,” James tells EW of Black Leopard, Red Wolf. “And the fantasy nerd in me would have given an eye tooth to geek out on a sword and sorcery book with people like me in it. But to write this book I had to unlearn everything — about how language works, character works, story works, even how truth works. The trade-off is that I also ended up with Werehyenas, children made of air and dust, and vampires who have no problem hunting you in broad daylight.”
Black Leopard, Red Wolf will publish on Feb. 5, 2019

Movies: "Sprinter" Gets Out The Blocks at American Black Film Fest

Sprinter, the sophomore film from writer/director Storm Saulter, will have its festival premiere this week at the American Black Film Festival (ABFF) in Miami, Florida.

ABFF runs from today to June 19. Sprinter will be featured tomorrow and have its grand premiere the following day.

The coming-of-age story follows Akeem Sharp, a 17-year-old Rastafarian high school track-and-field student who has ambitions of qualifying for the national youth track team. He hopes to reunite with his mother, an illegal immigrant in the United States, by competing at the World Youth Championship.

Speaking at a media briefing at the Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO) headquarters in Kingston last Friday, Saulter said he wanted to tackle different issues with this film. Having made his directorial debut with Better Mus' Come (2010), he wanted to avoid stereotypical roles of the Jamaican “bad man” or poverty-stricken youth.

“It's about a boy trying to figure out who he is and what his motivation is and why he is even running in the first place,” Saulter told the Jamaica Observer. “I think the power of family and parents is super-important, and not having a parent around or a parental figure does impact kids. They are left to figure things out for themselves; inevitably you're gonna have a few misfires sometimes 'cause you need someone to guide you. That's not a rule against everything, but it's important.”

The 90-minute film was shot in Jamaica and Los Angeles over five weeks.
Social media star Dale Elliot (popularly known as Elli The Viner) makes his film debut as Sharp. Shantol J