Cartoon by El Roto

I don’t use Twitter and this is probably the only time I’ll mention it here, but: FRIENDS AROUND THE GLOBE WHO USE TWITTER. PLEASE SUPPORT #SPANISHREVOLUTION #ACAMPADASOL #ACAMPADABCN #ACAMPADAVALENCIA #ACAMPADAGRANADA #ACAMPADABILBAO #ACAMPADASEVILLA AND SO ON AND ON. <——That link will show you what’s happening at all camps, those in the Spanish State as well as the international camps which are growing rapidly and gathering strength in their own communities.

I can only speak to my own experience at acampadabcn.  The only official voice of acampadabcn is the nightly general assembly.  Anything I know about acampadasol is from what I’ve seen on the internet and reliable word-of-mouth.  You can view their manifesto here and watch what they’re doing here.  Pablo Simón provides thoughtful Spanish-language reflection.  And oh, by the way, AnOps is on board.  So it is on.

I just witnessed a five thousand person general assembly, with rapidly acquired knowledge of protocol and the appropriate gestures of agreement, moving on and so on.  During the day today, there were even volunteers providing sign language interpreters at individual debates and assemblies and committees (such consideration for the handicapped is all too frequently absent at all levels of organizational information dissemination and decision-making).  We have started our confrontation with a government and a political system that is openly corrupt, populated as it is by representatives who line their pockets with public money even as they attack us, the public (their bosses), with so-called ‘austerity measures’ aimed especially at those social institutions most intrinsically linked to our basic human rights (education, health, and justice).  We have begun this confrontation by taking the moral high-ground, which we currently have a strong monopoly on, and claiming all public spaces, which are rightfully ours.  We have done this peacefully.  Madrid has announced that they are taking on the Electoral Law as a starting point through which to redefine the entire structure of our democracy.  You are mistaken if you believe this will last only until the spectacle of the municipal elections is over.  As you can see at any time of the day in our plazas, we are far beyond that point.  Even their attempts to forbid protest are not enough to stop us, as we know (and the government has demonstrated) that legality and justice are not synonymous.

Photo taken by Juanfra Alvarez
General Assembly, Day 4 (Photo taken by Juanfra Alvarez. Click image for Flickr.)

Folks in the U.S. may have read about this in NYT or WashingtonPost or CNN or whatever.  You may have heard about this guy named Camps being like Berlusconi.  He is, but the point is that a lot of people here are, and they are a very specific portion of the population (politicians, bankers and actual aristocrats with their thumbs in so many pies most folks wouldn’t even know what to call their “jobs”). And that NYT article is sugarcoating the situation to say the least (I mean they’re basically quoting from El Pais articles, the centrist-looking version of what is basically our only news group).  For instance, they report that we are mostly young people, which is wrong and misleading.  In truth, our demographics depend on what time of the day you come at (my reference to demographics is not bullshit.  I am a critical demographer).  Here is an example from Okupemlesones, our occupied digital cable channel.

And anyway, why wouldn’t you expect to see young people when youth unemployment (in a place where people in their thirties are still often considered youth) is at 43%?  We noticed we had some time on our hands, so we decided to take it in our hands and wake our elders up (they had fallen asleep while watching TV).  And we are waking them up every night at 9 with popular caceroladas (banging on pots, pans and whatever else we bring), because 9 PM on a weekday is very, very early in this part of the world.


Thursday night, I saw Filastine accompany a crowd of thousands of people from right at the very center of Plaza Catalunya armed with only a bass drum and our thousands and thousands of pots, pans, tupperware, water bottles, keys and voices, with shouts of NINGU, NINGU, NINGU ENS REPRESENTA (NONE OF THEM REPRESENT US) and NO HAY PAN PA TANTO CHORIZO (THERE’S NOT ENOUGH BREAD FOR ALL THIS CHORIZO<—this is the term we reserve for the sketchiest of characters).  Here is some video that includes his arrival at the center after minute 6:00.  I can tell you that it does not capture the energy.  As holds true for all of the 15-M movement, you must go to the plaza yourself to know:

So please, we ask that you RT or spread the word as best you can.  Help us online so we can be in the street.  Some suggestions: Bombard sympathetic people who have tons of Twitter cache (Lady Gaga is as good a start as any) with requests that they support the #spanishrevolution.  4chan.  Camp out with others at your local Spanish embassy.  4chan.  Link to this post, or some other post on the #spanishrevolution that you are more sympathetic to, or anything else you may read about the 15-M movement or the individual camps, in Facebook.  4chan.  Flood your local Indymedia center with information on the movement.  4chan.  Or start your own camp in your own city.


Let’s talk about letting the weird back out. Let’s talk about the Eternals.

[from their literally genre-defining album Rawar Style]


Their new album Approaching the Energy Field is very much an Album Experience of the sort which appeals to my ever-nostalgic cracker cerebellum (strangely, it is the same part of me that loves noise). Most reviews of their work highlight the genre-hyphening aspects of their sound, which is understandable; dub, arkestry, punk and various other styles resonate in harmony within their mix. What I hear, though, is a personality that is at once singular, communal and universal.  You can stream a lot of the tracks off the album at the link above, but I feel like the deep listening that is best enjoyed far away from your computer is really the way to enjoy this stuff.

Don’t get me wrong, though.  The music here isn’t really about nostalgia as much as it is about saudade, for after the sugar-rush when we’re each weirder for having met one another.

So there’s another entry to add to the post-Screw canon: Expressway Yo-Yo Dietin. And, despite his wildly different sound (which sets him apart from the more accessible witch-house/drag scene and closer to the toxic sound of Houston’s small but sturdy noise scene), the methodology isn’t the wildest departure from DJ Screw’s lazy foray into the avant-garde. I may be wrong here but, advanced digital fuckery and ripped rap vocals aside, the thread that holds Expressway Yo-Yo Dietin’s Bubblethug together seems to be a simple delay. It actually sounds quite a bit like the default setting on Ableton’s Simple Delay effect, a nifty trick that gives rhythmic ‘umph’ to a lot of the weird excursions into various noise and drone territories that you’ll find on the album. So the results end up sounding like a Boredoms, Screw, Vibracathedral Orchestra and Sunroof! fan ingesting something nasty with 12 other people in an empty building of the warehouse district of your nearest industrial graveyard. The following track is my personal favorite, a dark dirge with nearly intelligible vocals that gains power from the track sequencing when listened to as part of the album’s messy whole.

[audio: Bubblethug 5.mp3]
Expressway Yo Yo Dietin’ – Bubblethug 5

Ten years ago today, a man who redefined the grind passed away. You can read more about him and his influence in Jace’s article for Frieze magazine (mentioned here last week), as well as in a couple of other pieces that are mentioned in the comments section. I’m just gonna add the following love song for the occasion.
Eightball & MJG – Reason for Rhyme (screwed by DJ Screw)

While delving a bit deeper into Kayhan Kalhor‘s repertoir following a Mudd Up tip-off, I came across baÄŸlama player Erdal Erzincan, who he collaborated with on the album The Wind. I can’t really tell you too much about him, except that the following video is amazing and that you should watch it in its entirety.


It’s mostly a showcase for his jaw-dropping technical prowess (the guy actually makes the tapping technique popularized by Eddie Van Halen sound cool), which goes beyond the virtuoso habit of playing a ton of notes and actually tells a story. There are a ton of subtle structural and sonic details (rhythmic shifts, open spaces, buzzing strings) that keep me coming back to this clip, which now that I think about it, has been pretty time-consuming…Anyway! Kalhor has this to say about him (via):

“I appreciated at once that Erdal is a very good musician, a very serious baglama player – but he is still, normally, working within the demands of Turkish music today,” says Kalhor. “Ihis means songs and maybe a minute of playing in free time, and then another song. In Turkey, if you have a CD the market says you need 14 tracks and you have to have singing. I didn’t ask Erdal to sing. I explained to him, ‘I’m looking for something that departs from nothing and then goes into developing material and then goes into something else really improvised. Maybe we’ll go for a climax in terms of melody and energy and keep it there…And I’m looking at this for a form for maybe an hour of music.’ And he said, ‘I haven’t done that before, but I would like to do this.’ And he showed that he was indeed very much able to do this, and many of the things he played surprised and delighted me. What I’m trying to do in these kind of projects – whether with Shujaat or, now, with Erdal is to learn the music and experience the world through their eyes. And I am not trying to change what they do so much as offer them another vision of it. Musical Turkey, for instance, is very much based on composed songs. Improvisation of the kind that Erdal and I undertake, developing material, is something that has been forgotten…”

And here’s a video of them playing a beautiful piece together live, with Ulas Ozdemir and Ali Akbar Moradi:


the Dutty Artz digital familia grows! Sisters and brothers let’s welcome Carlos! Like Cauto, Carlos is based in Barcelona, a city he calls home alongside Houston, TX. Carlos and I first vibed out over chopped & screwed Houston rap gems like S.L.A.B. but we quickly discovered shared affinities for drone/noise, flamenco, and I’m happy to say I introduced Carlos to the wonder of Bcn’s Moroccan music shops… He starts off in style with a post about flamenco. – /rupture

Flamenco is a famously conservative style of music. The voice, the guitar, clapping, stamping and jaleo (literally ‘ruckus’) are the key ingredients, and new additions to the mix are often met with some skepticism. This is less true now than it was before 1979, when Camaron de la Isla‘s album La Leyenda del Tiempo pulled sitars, rumba, jazz, and electric guitar into the music, but to this day, most flamenco acts willing to open their palettes to new colors do so tentatively, ultimately sounding like polite, virtuosic jazz fusion music.

This makes Enrique Morente‘s artistic path all the more remarkable. A veteran and patriarch (see: daughter Estrella Morente) of the flamenco game, he’s brought out the duende in its traditional form:


But in recent years, he’s been more interested in seeing what other shapes the duende can take, often through collaborations with surprising artists. Take this duet, with Rebel of Rai Cheb Khaled, where he gives proponents of the Flamenco is the Arabian Blues Declaration a reason to salivate, in appropriately regal settings (the Alhambra, which I used to live right next to). What I like most about this tune is how relaxed it sounds, when a meeting of two giants so often tends to be an overblown affar:


But for freaky noiseniks like me, perhaps the most mind-blowing project(and definitely the riskiest, in terms of flamenco cred) was his collaboration with Sonic Youth. They played several concerts together, but to me the gem is the performance below with just Lee Ranaldo, Steve Shelley and Morente’s “family”. Here Morente takes a more subdued role, clapping and wailing and staying in the background and Lee Ranaldo does his thing (the video’s out of sync with the audio and you can’t see Morente, but it’s the only uncut video of the whole thing):