Brooklyn-based producers Old Money and Lamin Fofana continue their collaboration with Ethiopia/Nāga, the first in a series of three joint releases. The duo themselves describe the audio experience as “an examination of mysteries as articulated through fresh and distinct African Caribbean lenses” — which is dead on. These journeys, which I refuse to just call tracks, sound like solutions of different colored inks. “Ethiopia” is a nostalgia-inducing fusion of Afro-Caribbean drumming, electronic melody, and a Gregorian-type bass. It flows into “Nāga,” which feels like Chicago/London house music meets a Naeto C flow from “10 Over 10.” Buy the release, out now on Dutty Artz, and stream it below.
The Embassy is the name of my weekly WFMU radio show. We broadcast at 91.1 FM in New York and 90.1 in the Hudson Valley, and of course we on the internets. You can stream last night’s show and check here for the playlist.
Join us today, December 5th, at Brooklyn’s Spectacle Theater (124 South 3rd. btwn Bedford + Berry) for a live WFMU radio broadcast followed by a screening of Ahmed El Maanouni’s gripping and poetic Nass El Ghiwane documentary film, TRANSES (1981). Nass El Ghiwane, a group of working class musicians from Casablanca, revolutionized Maghrebi music in the 1970s and remain Morocco’s most important band. TRANSES captures them at the height of their power. The radio show will be built from a YouTube selection of some of my favorite Moroccan tracks and Nass el Ghiwane cover versions.
Here is an oft-compiled Nass El Ghiwane track, Mahmouma. This version comes from Stern’s epic 18-CD “Africa 50 years” box set (“The most comprehensive compilation of African music ever achieved. . . 183 classic recordings by 183 important artists from 38 countries in North, South, East and West Africa.”)
Sterns cut Mahmouma down to half its length, but the mastering is good:
Join us for an intimate night of sound & celebration on Saturday, December 3rd @ Vaudeville Park in Brooklyn (L to Graham). Mint tea, dates, and homemade deliciousness will be served.
We are celebrating the release of Nettle’s new album on Sub Rosa, El Resplandor: The Shining in Dubai. (get it at: iTunesAmazonBoomkateMusic actual record stores, etc)
“Dubai may be a cipher masquerading as a city, but it’s not a complete blank slate unencumbered by theoretical and contextual baggage, and El Resplandor depicts it as you might expect: ancient and dignified ‘Middle Eastern’ airs buffeted by howls of the ghosts in modernity’s machine. This is not to say that the album is merely conventional, however, for El Resplandor contains some of /Rupture’s most vivid and striking music… provocative and as chilling as anything in the real Shining” – Peter Shapiro, The Wire Nov 2011
Sat. December 3rd: Nettle (live), Lamin Fofana (dj). Vaudeville Park, 26 Bushwick Ave. Bklyn. doors at 8:30pm $8. Come early warm bodies shining ghosts.
Imanaren is beautiful mystical music from the south of Morocco. Jace found them during our Beyond Digital residency project last summer in Casablanca- and after becoming close friends with the band leader Hassan, we decided to re-release their self titled, DIY full length. We traveled to Hassan’s hometown of Issafen via a grueling 12 hour drive into a sublime desert of martian rock formations and dusty oases. Nearly half way through our stay, Hassan’s father finally asked us why exactly we had come. Hassan isn’t allowed to play music in the house, so we recorded with his local friends and fellow musicians in a natural amphitheater carved out by a waterfall in a dry gorge. We will be selling an extremely limited number of the original Moroccan CD pressings that Hassan had distributed on a small scale through Morocco- other then that, stream it all on Hassan’s youtube channel – or cop it amazon, boomkat, or any other fine digital shop. Watch the video we shot in Issafen for “Flowering Of The Wise” and Hassan’s first collabo with Nettle below.
Mzien! Next Monday November 7th, live radio & a great, rarely-screened film at a special location in South Williamsburg.
Join me at Brooklyn’s Spectacle Theater for a live broadcast of my WFMU radio show, “Mudd Up!” from 8-9pm, built around a YouTube selection, followed by a screening of the fantastic musical comedy, 100% Arabica. Set in the rough suburbs of Paris, this 1997 film by Algerian director Mahmoud Zemmouri stars raï kings Khaled and Cheb Mami. 100% Arabica uses satire and incredible live music scenes to tell the tale of an up-and-coming raï band that must deal with shady cops, cassette bootlegging kids, a conservative imam, and more.
Released just 2 years after Mathieu Kassovitz’s stark social drama Le Haine (Hate), 100% Arabica joyously offers alternatives to a narrow sociological exploration of urban tension by using the same location and same broad themes to celebrate Arab and African immigrant culture in Paris.
Homemade mint tea and dates will be served ’cause we’re nice like that.
As Pitchfork announced on Friday – We’ll be releasing the new Nettle album on October 25, on avant-garde/experimental powerhouse label Sub Rosa! (Sub Rosa has been publishing quality weird for over 20 years, from archival material by James Joyce and Marcel Duchamp to albums by Pauline Oliveros, Luc Ferrari, and Tod Dockstader).
For this album, we imagined a remake of Stephen King/Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining set in a luxury hotel in Dubai, U.A.E. El Resplandor: The Shining In Dubai is our soundtrack for that nonexistent film.
I produced and arranged El Resplandor, working with musicians Abdelhak Rahal, Jennifer Jones, Khalid Bennaji, Andy Moor, Brent Arnold, and Lindsay Cuff. Artwork is by Emirati photographer Lamya Gargash, taken from her incredible Presence series documenting “unwanted houses and structures in the United Arab Emirates that have been abandoned or left for demolition.” Architecture writer and Studio X co-director Geoff ‘BLDGBLOG’ Manaugh gave us some mindbending liner notes.
What else can I say? I put a lot of time into making this album & I hope you enjoy it. October 25 is the U.S. date; it should reach shops in Europe about 2 weeks before that.
This Wednesday I’ll be at the Decibel Festival in Seattle, giving a free, all-ages presentation of my setup for concerts with Nettle (laptop/gear/instrument- and vocal-processing): real talk about strategies to make live electronic music more dynamic and flexible.
El Resplandor tracklist:
01 El Resplandor
02 Radio Flower
03 There Is a Hole in the Middle of the World Filled With Languages That Don’t Have Names
05 Empty Quarters
07 Simoom (Wasp Wind)
08 Red Masque Ticker
09 El Resplandor: In the Marsh
10 Shining One
11 Khalid’s Song
Tomorrow, I’m kicking off my Sunday morning radio show on WFMU! All summer long, 9am to noon – I’ll be playing music, noise, and whatnots on WFMU 91.1 and 90.1 MHz FM. For the past couple of years, I provided extra oils to keep Rupture’s Mudd Up! wheels greased proper, all the while filling in, co-operating, and board-opping for everyone from Rob Weisberg to Glen Jones, and now I got a three-hour spot on the longest running freeform, independent community radio station in the United States! The show doesn’t have a name, and for now we’re just calling it Lamin. If you have a good name suggestion, let’s hear it! As for a description, let’s just say we’re staying true to WFMU’s commitment to unstructured-format broadcasting. Go here to stream my last Sunday morning broadcast.
Forget Bogart. Casablanca is an utterly modern city, North Africa’s largest, with traffic-choked roadways and upscale neighborhoods and swaths of shantytowns whose residents have satellite dishes but no running water. While most tourists skip Casa to spend their dirhams in more scenic towns, the gritty magnet metropolis pulls in folks from all over the country looking for work, and powers Morocco’s music and art scenes. I’m here for a month with FADER photo editor John Francis Peters and an international crew of six others. Music brought us. . .
This next tune is a song halfway between traditional Berber songs from rural Morocco—popularized in the 1970s by Le Comptoir’s main artist, Mohammed Rouicha—and our Auto-Tuned, pixelated tomorrow. It’s by Adil El Miloudi. Adil performs across Europe and tells me that this summer he’ll be making appearances in to Florida and Boston, for the first time. His breakthrough song, “Nothing Nothing”, has well over a million YouTube views. Adil lives in Kenitra and performs regularly at a Tangier nightclub called the Morocco Palace (free entrance but they gouge you on shisha and drink prices).
The Palace has a light-up disco dance floor and really good subwoofers. Everything else is covered in intricate Islamic pattern woodcarvings, except the enormous flatscreen TV right above the stage, which is set to a music video channel and is never, ever turned off, even when live bands are performing underneath it. Adil rolls around town with a phalanx of young guys whose primary duty seems to be handing him various cellphones at the appropriate moment. I know this because, after calling several of those phones, I found myself, along with Maga Bo, at Adil’s house at four in the morning a month ago. “This is Tom,” he said, pointing at his manager. “And this is Jerry,” he said, pointing at his cat.
We’re halfway through the WFMU Fundraising Marathon! Two weeks out of the year when the commercial-free, fully-independent, listener-funded radio station interrupts its irregular schedule to reach out for support.
There are many ways to contribute, but the best is to donate during my show tonite, 7-8pm EST, when I’ll be giving out great muddy CD/book prizes to some of the lucky donors. For a gift of $75 you help out the best FM radio station in the world and receive a copy of my Mudd Up! ‘DJ Premium’, a data CD compilation with 320mp3s + cover artwork scans called After Tropical Comes Arid: “3 hours of high-quality Maghrebi songraft, with an emphasis on Morocco, shared between club-thump and mindbogglingly deep listening tunes. All non-interneted material, rips from DJ/Rupture’s cd/cassette/offline-gathered personal collection.” (I know this happens to be similar to one of the Kickstarter prizes, but there will be no overlap in tuneage so no worries for the altruistic. More Arabic music in the world is a good thing.)
The WFMU blog hosts an excerpted track from my DJ Premium.
And on next week’s show, Monday March 14th, get ready for special guests NGUZUNGUZU! Daniel and Asma are my favorite anthropomorphic canoe prow figureheads, and they’re coming straight from L.A. to discuss life, coyotes, DJing for MIA, building microutopias, bodies playing drum machines, and more, while sharing songs which are guaranteed to melt our brains, gently, with lots of love.
Ali Hassan Kuban was a Nubian singer, bandleader, and producer from the south of Egypt/north of Sudan, a “region is revered as a link between black Africa, the Middle East, and the Mediterranean.” His family moved to Cairo when he was young, and as a teenager he performed traditional Nubian songs at weddings. He released several albums in the 1980s and ’90s, updating traditional Nubian rhythms into powerful party songs. “Bettitogor Agil” is from his 1991 album Walk Like A Nubian, recorded in Berlin and produced by Sabah Habas Mustapha (a Brit, real name Colin Bass of pro-rock band Camel and some other weird whirled music projects.)
Come out to Zebulon in Williamsburg tomorrow night for a live performance by Nettle (Jace/Rupture’s band of real musicians and noisemakers!) Yours truly will be adding extra bump between the live sets. Solo guitarist Piers Faccini will also be performing.
Nettle is a band I started in Barcelona which knows nothing if not change. This spring we will release an album — a soundtrack to a remake of The Shining, set in Dubai — on a label I’ve admired for awhile. (details soon…)
This Thursday we’re playing a free show at Zebulon in Williamsburg. It’s an intimate space where you can come get close to our strange music. There will be a little bit of singing and 100% no guitars. We use old instruments made from trees (Lindsay’s violin, Brent’s cello, Bill’s bendir frames), and homebrew digital tools (Sufi plug-ins, #mudd) and if you like to listen then this is your night. Icing on the cake: Lamin Fofana will DJ throughout the evening.