Dessa: A Badly Broken Code Review

75/100

A great deal of time and effort has gone into Doomtree MC Dessa’s second solo album, a Badly Broken code, and it shows.  Out of the record’s fifteen tracks, not a single one smacks of frivolity – if songs could have sweat stains then these would be literally dripping in crusty dankiness.  It is obvious that Dessa puts a lot of grind and emotion into her art and the effort doesn’t always take her to the happiest places.   In some ways a line from leadoff track “Children’s Work” says it all when the MC ruminates about her mother wondering if she had done something wrong to produce such a “serious little girl.”  That serious little girl has grown up to be a serious young lady who doesn’t exactly take a lighthearted approach to her songwriting.

That being said, if melancholy is your thing then know that Dessa is the fucking Chan Marshall of female emcees.  A Badly Broken Code is a somber emotional catharsis, which gives equal stage time to Dessa the forlorn R&B vocalist as it does Dessa the indie rapper.  No matter what the style, each track touches on some piece of the singer’s inner-psyche. The aforementioned “Children’s work” reflects on the artist’s childhood and relationship to her brother, while “Mineshaft II” is a lesson in failed relationships.   After hearing Dessa’s recent track on False Hopes IV “Scuffle” I was hoping that she would take the aggression a bit further, but other than in “Bullpen” most of the rhymes aren’t that strong-chinned.   There is quite a bit of beauty in the melancholia though – especially in R&B ballad “the Chaconne,” which features fantastic backup vocals by Matthew Santos, sounding not a little like Antony Hegarty.    “Matches to Paper Dolls” too has some of Dessa’s best lyricism to sultry strings, as does “Into the Spin,” in which the masterful violin of Jessy Green (Foo Fighters) comes into play.

With as much emotional weight as it contains, ABBC’s heaviness occasionally prevents the music from really taking flight.  Overall though, Dessa’s vocals skills and creative wordplay are enough to keep it from becoming a drag.  Dessa’s CD release takes place on January 22nd at the fine Line Music Café.  Tickets can be found here.  Shortly after, the singer is taking to the road with fellow Doomtree alumnus POS which should be a treat for all you whom are wise enough to live in warmer climes (Astronautalis will also be around for some of that ride – which is extra cool)

— JON BEHM

Listen to Children’s Work

Video for Dixon’s Girl

Myspace Website Buy

Dessa’s CD release show takes place at the Fine Line Music Cafe on January 22nd. Tickets can be found here.

Romantic splurges. (romantic getaways in the Hawaii Islands)(Hawaii A La Carte)

Sunset August 1, 1995 Romance is inevitable in a place that awakens all five senses with its natural beauty.

Fragrant tropical flowers, body-massaging trade winds, palate-pleasing cuisine, and sonorous ocean waves – whether romance is the purpose of your trip or just a fortuitous by-product, the Islands provide an incomparable setting, creative options, and experienced professionals to help with suggestions and arrangements.

THE BIG ISLAND Head north through the lava-laced fields spreading outward from Kona, and you’ll find fabulously lush resorts tucked into coves and carved out of the lava flows. Mauna Lani Bay Hotel and Bungalows, a few miles up the coast, pulls out all the stops when it comes to romance. Prices range from $250 for an intimate Hawaiian wedding ceremony to $23,275 for a lavish “Flaming Passion” escape. This package includes five-day accommodations in an oceanfront bungalow; Cristal champagne upon arrival; and a private ballroom dinner for two with piano accompaniment. You’ll also take a trip by limousine to Waipio Valley for stargazing while being served a picnic of caviar, fruit, and champagne by your own personal butler. The decadence continues with oysters on the half-shell and cocktails served to you in your private Jacuzzi. oldlahainaluaunow.net old lahaina luau

Couples not availing themselves of a package will still find romance on the Big Island. They can indulge in a candlelight massage for couples followed by a catered supper and pupus at Querencia Spa in Honaunau, near the Place of Refuge (call 328-2569(*) for prices; try to reserve at least a week in advance). Starry-eyed romantics can visit the Ellison Onizuka Visitor Center at the Mauna Kea Observatory, perched at a height of 9,000 feet, for stargazing with a portable telescope on Fridays and Saturdays from 7 to 10 P.M. (Call 969-3218 to verify weather.) MAUI For a traditional treat, check out the Old Lahaina Luau for authentic food and entertainment capped by a slow dance on the beach to the accompaniment of the Hawaiian Wedding Song – hopelessly corny, but irresistibly romantic! Reservations are required; call 667-1998; tickets are $56 for adults.

On Maui’s sun-drenched dry side, the sumptuous hotels of the Wailea Resort are linked to one another by a paved beach-walk ideal for a romantic sunset stroll. We recommend a “progressive” dinner to sample the fine cuisine of these hotels – Stouffer Renaissance, the Grand Wailea Resort and Spa, the Intercontinental Resort, Kea Lani Hotel, and the Four Seasons Resort. Try cocktails at one, dinner at the next, and dessert at still another, strolling off any excesses along the beach as you proceed to your next indulgence. site old lahaina luau

New at the Hyatt Regency at Kaanapali is the Tour of the Stars program, held on cloudless nights on the hotel rooftop and featuring a computer-guided telescope and a “director of astronomy” to explain the sights. Viewings are held at 8, 9, and 10 P.M.; admission is $10 per person (nonguests are welcome), and reservations are required. Call 661-1234.

For a daytime dalliance, head upcountry to the flower-filled slopes of Haleakala and visit Enchanting Floral Garden in Kula. Here you can stroll through a lush garden of more than 500 species of exotic plants, pausing at one of several shaded gazebos for a private picnic or merely to ponder the stunning view across flower fields and ranchlands to the beach below. The tiny gift shop sells dried arrangements as well as sensual flower extracts, oils, and lotions. Open from 9 to 5 daily; admission is $4.

KAUAI Lushest of the Hawaiian chain and blessed with a sultry, flower-scented humidity, Kauai offers seclusion and detachment amid first-class amenities.

Premier among them is the regal Princeville Hotel (managed by Sheraton), perched on a dramatic cliff overlooking Hanalei Bay. The staff can arrange a dinner on the beach lit by flickering torches and starlight, with a musician providing accompaniment on a slack-key guitar, or a private horseback ride featuring a picnic by a waterfall and a swim in an island stream.

The new Kauai Marriott (formerly the Westin) at the Kalapaki Beach Resort has replaced its Versailles-inspired fountains and columns with waterfalls and tropical trees more in keeping with the island’s sensual nature. To celebrate its reopening, the hotel offers introductory packages through December 15, 1995. Try the Pampering in Paradise package ($1,225 to $1,375 double), which includes a luxury room for five nights, a compact car, champagne and chocolate upon arrival, a champagne breakfast for two, and a romantic canoe ride through lagoons and a tropical garden. Lunch is also provided.

OAHU Even action-packed Waikiki can be surprisingly romantic. For a taste of the timeless Hawaii that inspired romance long before honeymoon packages were invented, the lovingly restored Moana Surfrider Hotel retains the magic of that bygone era. Stop by for afternoon tea on the veranda beneath the huge banyan tree, and let time stand still. Another fun stop nearby is the venerable Royal Hawaiian, home of the mai tai cocktail.

Or, for your own private retreat, book the well-located, well-appointed Aston Waikiki Beach Tower. This all-suite hotel offers spacious accommodations, including a full kitchen. The pool is uncrowded, as is the Jacuzzi, so you won’t have to share the experience with dozens of fellow tourists.

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