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Matson on Music

Music news, concert reviews, analysis and opinion by music writer Andrew Matson.

May 14, 2012 at 5:49 AM

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Last night Riz Rollins saved my life

Now that I listen to this song again, I realize what a sentimental mood I was in last night — it was Mother's Day, after all. But driving back to Seattle from the Eastside around 11 p.m. and hearing venerable DJ Riz Rollins play Ernesto's "Reelin'" on KEXP 90.3 FM, that glassy, warm combo of piano and voice cut all the way to my heart. I looked at the digital readout on my car dash and vowed to remember the track. Genre says it comes from deep house; I say it can be called "night bus," soulful music which sounds best while cruising through urban areas at night. Both are specialities of Rollins' late-night show "Expansions" with co-hosts Kid Hops and Masa. What "Expansions" does on KEXP is cast audio spells for that hypnotizable time between asleep and awake. The radio station has an international listenership at, but "Expansions" doesn't necessarily coincide with the time of day in, say, Sweden, where "Reelin'" was released on Rakkaus Records. It all adds up in Seattle, though, where you can find KEXP on the terrestrial dial. And I'm glad it does, because I've had more than one transformative experience with "Expansions," and am roughly the one billionth Seattleite who can say last night Riz Rollins saved my life.

Fun fact: the source material of Ernesto's "Reelin'" is "Liberian Girl" by Michael Jackson.

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