DJ+Still+Life

Here at Dutty Artz we spend a lot of time highlighting our artists and releases, but there’s a lot more going on behind the scenes. Stephen Bowles, aka DJ Still Life, did great work as lead-publicist for Matt’s The Empire Never Ended album – landing some great, well written features, by writers who really understood the context that Matt’s work is coming out of. The work of publicists is becoming more and more important in an age where artists can launch a career off of an online crafted image (removing the artist and their work from any greater social context). Stephen’s work definitely showed many of us here how a publicist can help craft stories in a way that speaks to a project’s form, content, and context, and so with integrity, without sensationalizing.

When Stephen sent over his great remix of Schlachthofbronx’s Apizaco, I thought it would be the perfect time to bring his great behind the scenes work into the spotlight. I asked Stephen to give me a little background of what he’s been up to in his DJ life, and he sent over a great story of his personal journey. Check out the track and story below!

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Ben Aqua, the man behind Austin’s #FEELINGS label, released his debut EP today. I’ve been a fan of #FEELINGS’ forward-thinking, genre-spanning dance releases for a minute now (especially Lōtic’s 2011 More Than Friends EP), so it was my pleasure to contribute a remix of the A-side. The initial idea behind my remix was to combine my love of New Orleans bounce music tropes with the tempo of Chicago footwork/juke.

Check it out below, followed by Ben’s original, and cop the whole Reset Yourself EP at Bandcamp.


[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HReAXbds2zo[/youtube]
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I had the pleasure of working with Brent Arnold, who will be featured on my second album, Transitions; thanks to Jace who put me in contact with him. Brent is also involved with Jace’s collaborative project, Nettle.

Brent is looking for some support to help get this incredible album out to the world.  Do not be fooled by his humbleness, the cello is an extension of his body.  To really feel the excitement behind this album check out the video bellow, and visit the kickstarter page to learn more about the project.  Seriously worth your time if you are a fan of the cello. I for one am a huge fan!


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Mike Tummolo aka 2melo is a man of many skills- Deeply rooted in NYC underground warehouse scene, 2melo has been a DJ // Event- organizer // Promoter for the past decade.  He is a part of Cumba Mela as well, a crew that consists of Thornato, 2melo, and myself.  Mike has recently been getting his feet wet with music production.  If you have not heard his edits and remix’s yet, be sure to check him out at his soundcloud, 

Check out this remix we collaborated on.  Unfortunately, Mike found this track as part of another remix compilation, which did not include the proper credits.  Please contact us if you  know the name of the artist!

distritocosmico

What are your stereotypes about Washington, DC? A place to go for protests? Full of suits and wonks? Epicenter of evil? Totally boring?

We residents of the District call bullshit. Sure, there is some truth to be found in those assumptions, but the reality is so much more than that. We’re a place of people fighting on the front lines against gentrification and for social justice, a place with many stories of amazing music, dance and creative cultures. Not enough people talk about this. These aspects are lost not only on most people from elsewhere, but even on some in the area.

Thursday’s release of ‘Distrito Cósmico’ hopefully will help change that. “It’s a song inspired by the Maracuyeah community — music elevating and uniting people beyond the mundane in collective and collaborative experiences that celebrate culture, community and fun,” says Lucy Pacheco AKA La Yorona, who wrote and sings this DC cumbia original (G-Flux composed the music and Luis Torrealva weighs in on chorus).

She’s talking of course of local DJ and booking collective Maracuyeah! (in which I’m something of a sub-comandante to comandantes rAt and Mafe) which has been expanding the dance and party universe in our city for over a year. “Maracuyeah has a role as a creative forcefield in this release,” says rAt, describing how she and Mafe helped the song come to fruition. The various players were all doing their own thing until they came together in Maracuyeah space. “La Yorona and G-Flux have been collaborators with us,” says Mafe. “They met each other at a Maracuyeah gathering and decided to work together. We’ve been part of the process through creative input and media outreach and are very excited to present this new single.”

Maracuyeah siempre sabrosa
Fiesta tropical — travesura
Fiesta tropical — baile duro
Fiesta tropical con mi gente nocturna

Says La Yorona:

“Synchronicity connected me with Mafe, rAt, G-Flux and Luis Torrealva and ‘Distrito Cósmico’ just seemed like a fitting representation of this collaborative representation of DC’s tropicalismo. My approach to MCing is based on playfulness, fun and encouraging others to let loose and enjoy themselves, to notice the inspiring spaces and experiences we are all creating together. The song is a representation of playfulness; I love it. I love that it’s DC artists meeting and creating together through music.”

Global sonidos turnin’ up the heat
Booty beats all up in the street
Cuz we takin’ over like a tropical boom
Tropical monsoon, tropical typhoon

Maracuyeah, like sister collective Anthology of Booty and several other projects, is part of a new wave of music and party innovation that has a long history in our city. “We have created a space for collaboration of people interested in exploring alternative tropical sounds,” says Mafe. “This single reflects the coming together of individuals who have been in the DC music scene for a while, collaborating with individuals who are newer to the scene.”

At Maracuyeah’s one year anniversary in April, the incredible local cumbia band Los Tribaldis played, along with Dutty Artz wunderkind Chief Boima plus rAt, Mafe and other local DJs. It represented the dual efforts of Maracuyeah — highlighting amazing DC talent as well as bringing folks to the city who otherwise wouldn’t come here, like Chancha via Circuito, Zuzuka Poderosa or Pernett.

“We are excited about the vibrant community that keeps growing and mutating and producing exciting experiments like ‘Distrito Cósmico,’” says rAt. “We are excited to see what comes next. I love to see creative people criss-crossing ‘flavor lines’ and expanding the concepts of self-interest and solidarity, in meaningful, long-lasting ways.”

The download for ‘Distrito Cósmico’ will be available on Friday — the release party is Thursday night at Tropicalia on U Street. Birthed in transitional 2012, La Yorona says she’s “gonna keep creating and collaborating and dancing.” Same goes for Maracuyeah… and DC.

My friend Asumaya has been actively collaborating with Ghanaian musicians and producers for the past few years, and I recently re-mixed one of these collaborations (cop it below). Here is the background in Asumaya’s words:

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I first met Awuni “Judicious” Bismark back in 2003, when I was a Peace Corps volunteer and he was a student at Zebilla Secondary Technical School in the far Northeastern corner of Ghana.  I had come to West Africa with ears accustomed to Smithsonian Folkways recordings, old highlife, and the Nonesuch Explorer Series and expected to arrive in the pulsing birthplace of polyrhythm.  Instead I washed up on the shore of a musical landscape dominated by Celine Dion bootlegs and a homegrown style known as hiplife.

As the name implies, hiplife is a fusion of hip-hop and modern Ghanaian highlife, and Judicious was the first person I met who took his love of the genre beyond the realm of listening.  He wrote lyrics constantly, and wherever he went he carried with him a book of songs waiting to be born.  The book kept getting fuller, but I never got a chance to hear a finished track before I left.

In the years following Peace Corps I returned to Ghana twice to teach for short intervals, and work with traditional musicians around Zebilla on putting together a group called Bawku West Collective.  While I didn’t see Judicious on either of these trips, the word got around that he was living in the capitol, Accra, and recording music.  It wasn’t until he summer of 2012 that we were finally able meet up again.  Hiplife had grown up considerably in the four years since my last visit, and it had just spawned the Azonto dance-craze that spread its appeal arguably farther than ever before.  This time in Ghana it was clear that Judicious was the teacher and I was definitely the student.  He introduced me to the producer Mad Beat Z in Ashaiman (just outside Accra) and I watched as the talent of the neighborhood drifted into his Phayaworks studio at all hours of the morning, afternoon and night, day after day.  It was there that I met BB and Reeload, two other Ashaiman musicians Mad Beat Z and Judicious had collaborated with in the past.

The track “This is Africa” was originally built around a Bawku West Collective recording of a traditional musician named Alalba Awin from the Northern town of Binaba.  BB, Judicious and Reeload tossed around lyrical ideas for the better part of June and July while I was there.  I didn’t get to hear the final track until I was back in the States again in August.  I passed it along to Chants and now you can hear the result.

–        Luke Bassuener (Asumaya)

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Bonus video:

 

Big shout out to Jahdan Blakkamoore writing and singing the chorus on this new Snoop Lion joint.

via Prefix mag

“The latest Snoop Lion track featuring Mavado and Popcaan might be his best yet since replacing the Dogg moniker. The song is one of the genre bending tracks that have become prevelant in 2012 and it’s held together by excellent production from Dre Skull and Major Lazer. We guarantee you’ll be singing the chorus by the end of the five minute track. “Put your lighters up / Get high with me / Fly me / Ain’t no dividing us.”

“Lighters Up” will be officially released on Dec. 18.”


photograph by John Carluccio

I was quiet for most of 2011 when it comes to releasing original music. To be honest, I was a bit hard on myself. I’m finally getting out of that muck, and feeling ready now. I’m planning to put out several releases this year, on Dutty Artz as well as branching out to other labels.

Please find details for my first release of 2012 below. Titled Dubious Prey, it comes out on limited vinyl January 30th, then a digital release with additional remixes shortly follows. London label Sticks N Stones is releasing it… SNS a small new label owned and operated by my friend Aramac, and distributed by ST Holdings. Artwork, tracklisting, YouTube and SoundCloud previews – all below.

artist: Lamin Fofana
title: Dubious Prey
label: Sticks N Stones Recordings (Distributed by S.T. Holdings, UK)
date: 30th January for vinyl / 27th February for digital

Vinyl
A – Brokedown City
A2 – Dubious Prey
B – Brokedown City (Aramac Remix)

Lamin Fofana ‘Dubious Prey’ EP 12″ Vinyl Preview – Out  January 30 by Sticks “N” Stones

Digital
1. Dubious Prey
2. Brokedown City
3. Brokedown City (Aramac Remix)
4. Brokedown City (Svpreme Fiend Mix)
5. Brokedown City (Mayster & Contakt Rebuild)
6. Brokedown City (La Ola Criminal Remix)

Yesterday, XLR8R premiered the first cut from Dubious Prey, “Brokedown City”

NYC-via-Sierra Leone DJ/producer and Dutty Artz affiliate Lamin Fofana is set to release a new EP, Dubious Prey, the follow-up to his 2010 debut EP, What Elijah Said. The new EP features two originals, including this one, “Brokedown City,” a dark but still active piece of techno with a steady four-on-the-floor. The song’s notably tropical percussion is buffeted by potent synth lines, which bleed in and out of the song, and a barely audible vocal sample that occasionally slips into the mix…

[audio:http://media.xlr8r.com/files/downloads/mp3s/Brokedown%20City.mp3]
Head over there for the DOWNLOAD.

[youtube width=”525″ height=”355″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DwoAJIGoTgI[/youtube]