I’ve really been enjoying the stuff that Dre Skull has been doing on his Mixpak label. He’s been covering a ton of the musical styles I enjoy including Dancehall, House and other forms of interesting beat music. We caught up when we played together at the Brooklyn Electronic Music Festival and he mentioned that he was doing a compilation of southern inspired hiphop beats by electronic producers. It turns out that that’s what I’d been working on as well and so I offered to contribute something. I’m really happy with how the comp has come out, there are some great contributions from the other producers and I’m happy to be a part of it. Here’s my track The Machines which I just added to my soundcloud. Below is a link to a playlist on the Mixpak Soundcloud with all the tracks available to stream. The compilation will be available on iTunes and all other fine digital retailers on September 25th, 2012.
Wednesday’s radio show with special guest DJ Javier Estrada is now streaming! El programa de este miercoles con la participaciÃ³n especial de Dj Javier Estrada ahora streaming!
We go in deep, with Javier explaining why he made 430 songs in the last three years & gave them all away for free; an introduction to the legacy of cumbia in his hometown of Monterrey Mexico and how that manifests itself in his remixes, making crowd-pleasing norteno aliens, talk of indigenous gods, and lots more. Bilingual to boot.
The evening ended with a fantastic LES rooftop hangout: Rotterdam’s Munchi, Javier, Bass Squad, and myself — incredibly, it was the first time that Munchi and Javier had met IRL! And Munchi and I finally had our breakcore conversation…
On a recent Brooklyn bound A-train ride, Geko and I were feverishly brainstorming places to host a New York performance for Titica,Â once we found out she wouldnâ€™t be able to stay in town for Que Bajo next Thursday. Feeling like now is a crucial time for LGBTQ issues in Africa, we didn’t want to miss the opportunity for Titica to gain some visibility outside of her home context, and help open up the dialogue in regards to what is permissible in the realm of â€œAfrican values.â€ While that will perhaps be a longer fight, the “Space” problem was quickly resolved when our traveling companionÂ Thanu YakupitiyageÂ offered herÂ iBombaÂ party at Bembe on Monday night. Thanu’s work and focus made for quite theÂ serendipitousÂ pairing, perfect to host Titica in NY, thus initiating a kind of an informal inaugural collaboration between Thanu and Dutty Artz, the collective of cultural agitators with its spiritual heart in the county of Kings, New York.
On the eve of that event, it is my pleasure to introduce Thanu as the collectiveâ€™s newest official member (something weâ€™ve been planning before that fateful train ride)! While weâ€™ve been bringing you blog posts, music, parties and merchandise of various sorts for a few years now, Dutty Artz has been steadily heading in a direction in which weâ€™re trying to find ways to expand beyond music and the limitations of the Internet. It has always been our desire to facilitate ways to nurture a creative community across social and cultural borders. Adding Thanu to the lineup is a key part of us manifesting that intention in the real world!
While those experiences will definitely add a new dimension to the aims of Dutty Artz, it is her interests and passions in the role of global music and dance in the creation of transformative political and cultural spaces that dovetail nicely with the work weâ€™ve already been doing. For her, politics, music, and dance are intricately linked. She is an aspiring DJ and late last year, joined forces with DJs Beto and Mios Dio to organize and bring new acts and guest DJs to iBomba. We think that Thanu is a perfect fit and welcome addition to the family.
Check out a sample of her bad gyal writing on politics and pop culture here:
This Wednesday, Gang Gang Dance’s Brian DeGraw stopped by my WFMU show to drop a deep hourlong DJ set. Brian does electronics in GGD and is deadly on the decks, too. Open ears will be rewarded. Now only that, but during the interview we learn that lately Brian has been feeling the tribal guarachero from Mexico! The radio show is now streaming:
Be sure to check out Brian’s visual art as well; he thinks across stylistic & formal boundaries, with consistently fresh results.
Radio last night was lively, with large exclusives from Traxman and DJ Matabaya, upcoming soca power from Poirier, the overlooked Luciano remix of a Salif Keita & Cesaria Evora song, and an overall energized future lean like Jay Electronica’s crushingly expansive Eternal Sunshine (The Pledge). Lets’s get open! Here’s lookin’ at you, two thousand one two! Streaming:
Grey Filastine‘s ecologically-minded Indonesia-based Kickstarter project is pretty awesome. Filastine, Nova, and friends are looking to cover post-production costs for their two music videos filmed in sites of massive ecological friction in Indonesia.
I’ve seen a lot of the footage and heard the music and it’s impressive. For example: “Gendjer combines a lost style of clandestine Indonesian soul music with traditional shadow-theater as a ritual of counter-hegemonic brainwashing. Get it? You will when you see the video.”
When we finish up at Kowdo Eshun’s new school lecture Ill be walking down the street to see MPEACH/Mariana release her new video. When I first went to Mariana’s house it was long past lunchtime and she rolled out of bed wearing electric blue tights. Tropical blood.
If your in NY next week come by
please rsvp to VIP RSVP to: firstname.lastname@example.org
TUESDAY OCTOBER 25TH
ABSTRACTOR, MEX AND THE CITY AND AMYLULITA
MPEACH RELEASE SHOWCASE
@DROM 85 Avenue A, New York, NY (btwn 5th and 6th St.)
$5 Ron Santa Teresa 9pm-11pm
Door 9pm. Showtime 10pm
W/ MPEACH Debut Live Show (Abstractor) – GEKOJONES (Que Bajo?)
DJ CASTOR (Candelation) & party pics by PIAN (pian.me)
“VENGO POR TI”
NEW EP AVAILABLE 10.25.11
on www.abstractor.net & www.nwla.tv
“Norte Sonoro is a festival and a musical residency. Via musical experimentation, this project seeks to establish a dialog between norteÃ±o sounds and international artists. Using the sounds of north Mexico as materia prima, 6 invited artists will create new works that bring together these norteÃ±o elements with their own styles, and it’ll all be made available for free. . . To top things off, all the artists will join forces for a free live show in Monterrey, sharing the stage with local musicians and DJs” (local like the chicos of 3ball MTY? Let’s hope so.)
Norte Sonoro is doing a Fondeadora to help make it happen and spread the word (Fondeadora is like Kickstarter for Mexico. Note that prices are in pesos, not dollars. They’re offering some great rewards). Here’s the Spanish-language video:
Los artistas invitados viajarÃ¡n a la ciudad de Monterrey en noviembre para realizar una mini-residencia de una semana. Estas residencias culminarÃ¡n con una fiesta en la que se presentarÃ¡ el resultado de su trabajo.
I’ve been on the road lately trying to get my worldwide airmiles up like the Jetlag King- DJ /Rupture. Miles to go before I sleep or even come close on that one, but the result thus far has been getting to play with a lot of ladies and gents I respect and admire and making friends of them along the way. Coming up in a couple weeks here in NYC, Que Bajo?! and Conrazon are collaborating with SOB’s to debut a friend and inspiration of mine by the name of Humberto Pernett. I wanted to take the time explain to you all who this guy is on a personal level as I’ve recently spent a great deal of time with him in Cali for the Petronio Festival and got to know his story.
Pernett’s dad was one of the founders of el Carnaval de Barranquilla. He grew up around amazing musicians his whole life. His aunt Carmencita Pernett was one of the first artists to take cumbia to mexico. Artists born in this type of conditioning? Femi Kuti comes to mind..
I think just by looking at the record cover you can tell dude’s family were some serious party people.
It was inevitable from his upbringing that Pernett would go on to explore los ritmos de la costa. Tambora, cumbia, bullerengue, puya, mapale sound more like the names of root vegetable or ingredients to a sancocho stew than names of rhythms but then all these styles are so distinctly satisfying on the dancefloor that their cohesion only make sense when you think about them that way.
Taking a blessing from his musical godmother, Toto la Momposina, Pernett would go further south to Bogota where he would meet Richard Blair, a UK-born producer and they would go on to form the band Sidestepper whose 3am: In beats we trust album would reverberate worldwide.
As someone who listened to the 6 degrees music label early on, and a researcher of world music fusion for quite some time I can say with confidence that the music from that album would go on to inspire a great many producers for years to come. Our global/tropical bass scene has a lot to thank them for. Electronic music, indeed, but at its essence their sound was a less mechanical and rooted deeply in Colombia’s rich musical heritage. It was a clearly defined turning point for Latin music.
Moving on to work on his own projects Pernett has continued folding time and space to create his own blend of psychodelic caribbean sounds. Carving a sound very much his own.
I invite you to listen to his soundcloud where he has over 100 original tracks and remixes uploaded
Change isn’t an overnight thing. The last car in the roller coaster sees the turn before it happens. But from where I’m standing, Pernett is a largely unsung hero who has and is helping shape the future of latin music.Â He’s someone that we should pay a lot more attention to. He’s so far ahead of the pack that it will probably be another couple years before the world catches up to his sound let alone his performance capabilities.Â His ableton live set up lets him trigger and effect tracks, while playing gaita or any number of traditional instruments which he can also effect, while singing and dropping some surreal visuals using his filters on his laptop cam. He’s one of those artists that keeps pushing himself to do more. To be more. And you should too. Be there to see him Oct 9th and feel more.
Que Bajo?! & Conrazon Present
Oct 9th @ SOB’s $10 /10pm
204 Varick Street
New York, NY 10014-4810
One of my favorite musical investigators will be joining me live on Mudd Up! a week from today: Chris Kirley. You may know him from the Music from Saharan Cellphones compilation, or the Ishilan n-Tenere LP on Mississippi Records, or his TOP LEVEL blog, Sahel Sounds. As I was working on Beyond Digital this summer, Chris was (relatively) nearby in Mauritania doing all sort of amazing & related work, and I can’t wait for him to take us through it.
Chris will be coming to the WFMU studios on Monday September 26th, stopping by Mudd Up! from 8-9pm. In a recent email, Chris details what we can expect:
I’ve been looking over the music I have and putting together a rough collection of stuff to bring. The music is representative of some of the local popular styles and genres, often the synth / drum machine / DIY PC aesthetic.
I’d also like to talk about the work of sound archivist/producer and the different ways of collecting, be it old school field recording style or searching for mp3s. One of the fascinating things to me with the whole cellphone project has been how music exists in the sahel — its creation, propagation and experience, via cellphones or cyber cafes — and how this creates these p2p networks that exist similar to but independent of the internet.
In terms of specifics, I’ve got Mauritanian synth wedding recordings, Hausa music, “Balani Show” Bamako parties, and hip hop — pretty diverse stuff, but cohesive in character.
Nettle is from NYC, and Hassan’s from Souss Berber country in Morocco’s south — we’re using these days to develop and record new songs together. It’s not that music ‘transcends’ language, it’s that music is language, and our motley crew is enjoying its communicative glow. Lindsay’s learning the words (in the Berber language of Tashelhit) to an Archach song we’ll cover; Hassan’s Amazigh banjo lines help us extend ‘Mole in the Ground’ even further; Abdellah’s joining in on rebab and bendir… and things are just getting started.
Here’s a quick video of our first practice together:
RSVP on the Facebook event page if you’d like to let the C.I.A. know you support us. Offline, we’re making event posters at a truly special letterpress studio that’s been open for over half a century.
bonus: late-night afterparty at Morocco Palace (located on a street called ‘the Devil’s Alley’, one block over from Tangiers’ synagogue, which had a congregation of around 200,000 during its heyday) with Adil El Miloudi!!
I’m about 600 pages into Roberto BolaÃ±o’s 2666 –a book that is both horrible and hypnotic, one of the few BolaÃ±o works I’ve been able to finish (Amuleto was the other one). Don’t get me wrong, I’ve read a lot of most of his books, some in English and some in Spanish; I simply think he’s overrated and overtranslated when compared to the amazing wealth of other contemporary Latin American writers. 2666’s spot-on epigraph begins things with a quote from Baudelaire: “An oasis of horror in a desert of boredom”. The 1000+ page book is divided into five parts. I’m drowning in part four, “The Part About The Crimes”. It describes, in blunt unaffected language, dozens upon dozens of brutal rapes and murders that occurred in Santa Teresa. The Mexican border city is BolaÃ±o’s fictional stand-in for the very real Ciudad JuÃ¡rez, where hundreds of women have been killed in unsolved murders stretching back to 1993. As in 2666 , many of these women worked in the American-owned maquiladoras in the nearby desert, making products for export north.
If it were the stand-alone work of an unknown writer, The Part About The Crimes would be an insane, unpublishable anti-novel . But BolaÃ±o’s writing has long embraced themes of systemic violence and the relationship (if any) of literature to any actual world.
Today, taking a break from the dark gravity of Part Four, I came across several related articles.
The New York Times reports that: “Foxconn, a Taiwanese firm that makes iPhones, Dell computers and other electronics, is one of several Asian companies taking root. It opened a plant in JuÃ¡rez last summer. . .Despite several murders a day, trade between JuÃ¡rez and Texas rose 47 percent last year to $71.1 billion.”
And The Guardian says: “Not by coincidence, Juarez is also a model for the capitalist economy. Recruits for the drug war come from the vast, sprawling maquiladora â€“ bonded assembly plants where, for rock-bottom wages, workers make the goods that fill America’s supermarket shelves or become America’s automobiles, imported duty-free… ‘It’s a city based on markets and on trash,’ says JuliÃ¡n Cardona, a photographer who has chronicled the implosion.”
That quote brings to mind a scene from 2666‘s Part Three “The Part About Fate”, which chronicles a black New York City journalist who ends up in Santa Teresa covering a boxing game but learns about the killing of women (and ultimately engages in a favored BolaÃ±o trope: having an outsider enter in a potentially lethal situation and extract a person at risk with the power of words or at least without physical force). This excerpt is rich in its typical BolaÃ±oid blankness (“the sandwich was full of all kinds of things”), laced with a humor so dark you almost forget the room has no windows and we’re running out of air:
He could see hills on the horizon. The hills were dark yellow and black. Past the hills, he guessed, was the desert. He felt the urge to leave and drive into the hills, but when he got back to his table the woman had brought him a beer and a very thick kind of sandwich. He took a bite and it was good. The taste was strange, spicy. Out of curiosity, he lifted the piece of bread on top: the sandwich was full of all kinds of things. He took a long drink of beer and stretched in his chair. Through the vine leaves he saw a bee, perched motionless. Two slender rays of sun fell vertically on the dirt floor. When the man came back he asked how to get to the hills. The man laughed. He spoke a few words Fate didn’t understand and then he said not pretty, several times.
“Not pretty,” said the man, and he laughed again.
Then he took Fate by the arm and dragged him into a room that served as a kitchen and that looked very tidy to Fate, each thing in its place, not a spot of grease on the white-tiled wall, and he pointed to the garbage can.
“Hills not pretty?” asked Fate.
The man laughed again.
“Hills are garbage?”
The man couldn’t stop laughing. He had a bird tattoed on his left forearm. Not a bird in flight, like most tattoos of birds, but a bird perched on a branch, a little bird, possibly a swallow.
“Hills a garbage dump?”
The man laughed even more and nodded his head.
And that’s that. The complex — and extremely macho — intensity of BolaÃ±o’s Grand Novel can certainly benefit from queering interventions & inversions more about seeds than graves. First there’s Rihanna’s new single, in which the pop star from Barbados goes reggae as she recounts gunning down Chris Brown “a man”, in broad daylight, with immaculate hair and styling. Personally, I believe guns should be illegal. But I’m willing to make exceptions for Rihanna.
Edging further towards 2666 is Rita Indiana’s punk-mambo apocalyptic embrace of a song, whose title translates to “The Devil’s Takin’ Us Away”, which we produced and released on Dutty Artz awhile back — Rita was in NYC recently and whipped crowds into a frenzy with each performance of “No Ta Llevando El Diablo”. Here’s footage from her Summerstage rendition of it, “a tune so bold and out-of-this-world, that it really seems like a trip to hell.”