Mars Today, “Expand”

Sjimon Gompers

Fresh off the instrumental Awake EP, San Francisco’s Mars Today premieres the skyline dancing video for the consciousness enhancing track, “Expand”. A yellow and orange bathed setting sun descends upon the city of SF, joined by the quick moves from Shinobi Jaxx—squad leader of Oakland’s all-female dance company, Mix’d Ingrdnts, performing interpretive, inspired free-styling maneuvers. Choosing the southwest locale of Treasure Island, Mars Today enlists icons from the Bay Bridge to Alcatraz to make cameos in the backdrop to accompany Jaxx’s free-form dance, and syncing the saxophone tones from Daniel Casares with the sun’s golden glow.

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The producer and performer who has worked on material from Collie Buddz, Los Rakas, sayknowledge, and Zion I, creates a meditative journey with the Awake EP. Working with Different Fur’s Patrick Brown and Sean Paulson, Mars Today presents an adventure for the mind’s perceptive eye to gently indulge like candy drop lozenges for the ear. The collected chaos normally brought by the bustle and hustle of the Bay dissipates and disintegrates, becoming immediately transcended with audio production arranged to lift the consciousness of the listener to higher places, and elevated mental spaces. Taking in a sunset beaming above the city and surrounding waters, Shinobi Jaxx entertains the expansive, kinetic and rhythmic nature of “Expand” by answering the track’s own invitational movement cues. The dance ties the track closer together to the landmarks of the Peninsula habitat, with a sample of Mooji’s wisdom closing out the number to time elapsed images of the setting sun. Mark of Mars Today described the making of the Awake EP and video for “Expand” in the following words:

This project Awake is somewhat of a diversion from my usual song-based work. It’s made up of eight instrumentals specifically crafted to take listeners on a cerebral, meditative journey. I did not want to make a standard beat-tape that folks would try to rap over, or use as background music, so I added vocal samples (Mooji) to help guide the experience, and in doing so created something I hope will inspire self-analysis and contemplation.

Growing up in San Francisco, I was something of a cultural sponge, soaking up all the diverse smells, tastes, and sounds that the city had to offer at that time. This track [“Expand”] in particular speaks to the influence of Brazilian Bossa & Samba, and of the local baterias that always caught my ear during carnival. Seeing as there was also a slight housey-vibe to the track I reached out to Shinobi Jaxx (leader of Oakland based dance crew Mix’d Ingrdnts) to interpret my sonic ideas into movement. One crisp evening we met on Treasure island, and I shot her free-styling to the track, the city that raised me glowing in the background.

Mars Today’s Awake EP is available now via Bandcamp.

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