[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zYpkpGfmPgE&feature=player_embedded[/youtube] (h/t Kari)

I’m leaving America next Sunday. There’s nothing left for me here, and I’m not coming back. At least, not for a year. I’m not quite ready to leave, but I’m contractually obliged to- so this Sunday I’ll fly from JFK on a convoluted itinerary to Buenos Aires. I found out in the spring that I had received a Watson Fellowship. Wayne and Jace deserve credit as much as I do- they helped me craft my proposal. And there was some tactical chaos magic that nudged my chances just enough to matter.

So I’ll be gone for twelve months starting this august- attempting a sort of grand tour. Five months in S. America. A month in Jamaica. Six Months in Africa. Or something like that. So far only the first three months are planned. I’ll be in Argentina for a month, then Brazil for two. There’s a project behind all of this- a nebulous (now) attempt of getting a grasp of what it is that we (Dutty Artz) are engaged in from a broader prospective then I’ve previously had access to.

I’m looking for sustainable/scalable business models, new productions techniques, pirate economies, massive sound-systems, broken_links, and a bevy of things that I’m only faintly grasping at right now.

I’m taking a fancy camera and some HD recording devices and there are notions of collecting my documentation outside of the internet- creating a kind of visual/taxtual accompaniment to the Global Ghettotek fascination that I’ve been continually inoculated against but cant seem to quit. The whole project will be as open source as possible. I have no fucking idea what I’m doing, and need a lot of help. But there is powerful positive energy in the universe and I have my stars aligned and my crystals vibrating at 60 HZ just like the man at the botanica told me to do.

My email is TallyBower AAAATTTTTT GGGGMMMAAAAIILLL so if u have any suggestions, any friends anywhere along the way, beef to pick with the colonial underpinnings your reading in my mission, a favor to ask, food to try, places to surf, or anything that I need to know, or that you want to do for me, or that I can do for you. please just let me know.

It’s nearly impossible to leave New York- there’s too many people that I love, and projects that I care about- but nows as good a time as ever to get away.


Check 1:40 for the real moment(s) of clarity here.

Dutty Artz is a book club. You might have thought we were a record label- given that we’re releasing tracks every month and constantly feeding the internet with audio files- but it goes a lot deeper then that. If you want to be part of the club, you should read Octavia Butler’s Parable of The Sower. If you’re not in the Northern Hemisphere- you might want to wait until Summer, caus this one is dark, and if read before bed, almost guaranteed to induce the vivid nightmares that lodge in your psyche for days before revealing themselves as dreams and not memories.

We’re scrambling just like everyone else right now- trying to figure out what it means to be a record label in an era where recorded digital media has no value- and the only people making money are slicing off pounds of flesh to get branded. You’ll see us move in that direction too. It’s inevitable. Hopefully we can do it without losing too much respect. Until then you can find me steady dreaming of new distribution paradigms as we pass each other printed relics.


New hotness from New York homies Cubic Zirconia feat. our boy in South Afrika Mr. Ghost Bones himself Spoek Mathambo.  I’ve known lead singer Tiombe Lockhart for a while now ever since me and Zack released a track of hers on Shadetek Records (back when that was still a going concern) and always loved her singing.

Now she’s teamed up with Nick Hook and the rest of the Cubic Zirconia fam to form this band project and they are killing it a lot.  I got to play with them and hang with them at SXSW this year and they put on a killer show.  Sort of house music with a band (for lack of a better term) really fun live and Tiombe is a super charismatic front-woman.

The video is on some ill Orson Welles one-shot auteur film making shit directed by Khalil Joseph and looks like a million bucks although knowing that Cubic are on a similar DIY go-for-self vibe as we are and releasing on their label I’m guessing it didn’t cost that.  Download this minimix from their new Black and Blue EP and vote with your dollars to support good independent music on Tuesday June 15th when it drops.

Their release party is this Tuesday June 15th at Damon Dash Gallery (?!) with an art opening to boot.  Flier:

This, their previous video ‘Josephine’ is crazy too.


Man, when Beyonce makes songs and videos like this it just really makes me hope that those scurrilous rumors about Jay-Z being gay are not true and that he is taking care of his responsibilities on the home front.  Otherwise, WHAT A WASTE!  I like this on a lot of levels.  Especially the Betty Page style old film look and costumes.  And although I don’t always feel what she does I think this song actually has some passion and intensity.


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):



Erykah Badu – Love

Alright, Spring is here & Miss Badu has blessed us with yet another extremely good album.  I’ve returned to it already a few times this week — New Amerykah Part Two (Return of the Ankh). At first, I was unsatisfied (I had that same feeling when I heard Worldwide Underground, as if the project was unfinished/not completely realized) but for New Amerykah Part Two, with each listen, something magnificent is revealed –subtle, satiric undertones buried in samples, live instrumentation, and that voice – raw emotional honesty (+ sometimes turbulence.) I’ve said it before, if you think Erykah Badu’s music is only serious/militant/political/etc. — which it obviously is — you’re missing the point.  She’s more playful, more humorous than she’s often credited for, and this album has some of the most amusing moments in R&B you’ll hear this year.


Gil Scott-Heron – On Coming From a Broken Home (Part 1)
I’m New Here (XL Recordings, 2010)

I’m New Here, Gil Scott-Heron’s first album in sixteen years was released last week on XL Recordings. The album was recorded between 2007-09 and produced by Richard Russell. On the opening and closing tracks “On Coming From a Broken Home (Part 1 & Part 2) – Scott-Heron offers a tribute to the women of his family, not so much an explanation but a reflections, giving us a portrait of the women who raised him.  Producer Richard Russell provided the perfect backdrop, a sampling the intro (just a few seconds on loop) to Kanye West’s “Flashing Light.”

We’ve decided to throw a last minute benefit show to help make a financial contribution to the ongoing relief efforts in Haiti. If you’ve followed this at all it is an absolutely harrowing, horrible catastrophe that has befallen a place that was already a very difficult place to live for many people. The show is in only two days so PLEASE email this to your friends in New York, put it on your Facebook, Twitter, etc. and help us get the word out. We as DJs will not be taking any payment from this and the proceeds will be donated to charity. We are currently seeking expert advice on who to donate it to, suggestions are welcome.



DJ Rupture
Matt Shadetek
Lamin Fofana
Feliz Cumbe

THIS Saturday 1/16 10PM


Bowery Poetry Club
308 Bowery
$10. More is welcome: All proceeds donated to Haitian relief

“Let us imagine a man who stumbles into an alien ritual in its closing stages when the devotees are winding down to a concluding chorus of amens, and who immediately and enthusiastically takes up the singing with such loudness and gusto that the owners of the ritual stop their singing and turn, one and all, to look in wonder at this postmodernist stranger. Their wonder increases tenfold when they ask the visitor later what kind of modernism his people had had, and it transpires that neither he nor his people have ever heard the word modernism.” – Achebe, Home and Exile

* * *


DJ Sprinkles  – Sisters, I Don’t Know What This World Is Coming To

From the incredible album Midtown 120 Blues by DJ Sprinkles (aka Terre Thaemlitz) which the always fascinating Word The Cat put us up on several months back.  That photograph of Tina Turner is what comes to mind now when I hear this track.  Perhaps because the image (that expression) of Tina Turner (from the Brooklyn Museum exhibition Who Shot Rock & Roll: A Photographic History, 1955 to the Present) is somewhat similar to the Midtown 120 Blues artwork, or perhaps because whenever this track comes up I’m always on the A train looking at an ad of the aforementioned photographic exhibition.



Geeshie Wiley – Last Kind Words Blues
American Primitive, Vol. II: Pre-War Revenants (1897 – 1939)

I discovered Geeshie Wiley’s “Last Kind Words Blues” while reading a piece from Best Music Writing 2009 anthology – John Jerimiah Sullivan’s Unknown Bards (the blues becomes transparent about itself.)  Sullivan detailed the rigorous, painstaking process of seeking, restoring, and analyzing forgotten American treasures/some of the oldest/rarest (country-blues) recordings on earth. Sullivan dedicated a great amount of time and attention to Geeshie Wiley’s “Last Kind Words Blues,” giving a deep and thoughtful analysis of the lyrics and singing with help from Pre-War Revenants curator/’American fingerstyle guitarist’ John Fahey.

“Last Kind Words Blues” is about a ghost-lover. When Wiley says “kind” -as in, “The last kind words I heard my daddy say” – she doesn’t mean it like we do; she doesn’t mean nice; she means the word in its older sense of natural (with the implication that everything her “daddy” says afterward is unnatural, is preternatural.) Southern idiom has retained that usage, in phrases involving the world “kindly,” as in “I thank you kindly,” which – and the OED bears this out – represent a clinging vestige of the primary, archaic meaning:[…]

Not many ciphers have left as large and beguiling a presence as Geeshie Wiley. Three of the six songs she and Elvie Thomas recorded are among the greatest contry-blue performances ever etched into shellac,, and one of them, “Last Kind Words Blues” is an essential work of American art, sans qualifiers, a blues that isn’t a blues, that is something other, but is at the same time a perfect blues, a pinnacle.

What you do to me, baby, it never gets out of me.
I believe I’ll see ya,
After I cross the deep blue sea.



Washington Phillips – Denomination Blues Part 1

In the late 1920s, gospel music performer Washington Phillips recorded 16 songs. The songs featured Phillips’ voice and an home-made instrument, — some argued not a Dolceola, but a common fretless zither (possibly both of the Phonoharps in the photo above.)  The instrument(s) add an ethereal effect to Phillips’ voice (on first listen, I thought I was hearing the voice of a woman, a trace of Nina Simone.) Earlier this year, Dust-to-Digital, a record company based in Atlanta, Georgia released Take Me to the Water: Immersion Baptism in Vintage Music (1924 – 1940) and Photography (1890 – 1950) – a 96-page hardbound book containing amazing historic images and an incredible 25-track CD of songs and sermons. It’s available everywhere.


Freddie Gibbs is the one rapper I would put money on right now. And, though it may be irrelevant to his gift, the criminal life that Raekwon raps about on “Cuban Linx II” is still very familiar to Gibbs. When I spoke to Gibbs on the phone, he told an unadorned story about growing up in Gary, Indiana. “We don’t even have a movie theatre,” he said. “We don’t even have a mall. I can’t ride around Gary and get inspired—we don’t have anything.” Several years ago, Gibbs was selling drugs out of a friend’s recording studio. He eventually decided he could rap better than the people coming in to record. His efforts found their way across the Web to Interscope Records, and Gibbs was signed. He moved to Los Angeles in 2005, and began to work at a relentless pace. “I was two hundred per cent into this rap thing,” Gibbs said. “Four P.M. to 1 P.M. the next afternoon in the studio.” When Joe Weinberger, the man who signed him, left Interscope, Gibbs was dropped…

The New Yorker pop music critic Sasha Frere-Jones on Jay-Z, Freedie Gibbs, and the end of hip-hop.

Grab the NO DJ version of Gibbs’ Midwestgangstaboxframecadillacmuzik.

The new mix from Waer Rock is so good, it required a new category – and we’re calling it “noir noir.” Packed with unreleased cuts from artists you probably never heard before, it’s titled The Downbeat Treaty. Head over to Culture System for download, tracklist, and info.