[youtube width=”525″ height=”393″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NOnKNviBZrc[/youtube]

I have to say this is one of my favorite jams at the moment. Hard Mix is 19 year-old Noah Smith, a producer from Greenville, South Carolina. Look out for his album Weirdly Different, coming out later this year.


A friend of mine and fellow Dubspot instructor DJ Shiftee just did this video for Native Instruments. It’s him chopping the fuck out of Dead Prez’s ‘Bigger Than Hiphop’ and a dubstep tune by Caspa called ‘Dub Warz’ (which by the way sounds like a blatant ripoff of Mondie’s ‘Straight Riddim’ grime tune, to me).

The performance is crazy. He’s using Traktor and Maschine from NI to chop and re-trigger the audio using cue-points. He did this to a tune of mine ‘Manhattan Timeslip’ from my album Flowers in the mix he did for the Dubspot Podcast, below, and it absolutely blew my mind. Listen to the original, and then check it out on his mix, it’s near the beginning.  Listen to what he did re-triggering the tones from the intro.  Mad.


Dubspot Radio Podcast: Ep 3 DJ Shiftee by Dubspot

Finally, he explains it all in this video.


The second episode of Dutty Artz Radio is up! Me (Matt Shadetek), DJ Rupture, Mosholu Park aka Lamin and Taliesin all got together in the basement of Dubspot to all DJ some short 20 minute sets and do the first episode of our new book club!

The book we talked about is Octavia Butler’s Parable of the Sower.

I chopped the audio into separate parts for your mp3 player pleasure.  We streamed it on UStream although somehow the video got lost. The full chat transcript is after the jump though so you can read back if you want.  We’ll be doing this weekly on Thursday nights at 7PM NYC time (EST) at http://www.ustream.tv/duttyartznyc

This coming Monday we’ll have a special edition after Dubspot Radio which is at 8 (and I also run) with special guests NGUZU NGUZU! YAAAAA!  We’re very excited


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):



I muddled these together about two weeks ago, somewhere between Alabama and Louisiana, while heading to Texas on that Green Owl biodiesel bus. I had been listening to Everyday Bullshit (a 3-track EP with two stunning joints – specifically “Always Sharp” and “Holki”) by ANS, a producer from Liberec, Czech Republic — and thinking about a way to include one of his tunes in my section of our Superfront mix. The mix was already crowded with some of my favorite recent dancehall bangers. I asked Gex if he had a roots joint to cool it out with, and he suggested some remix of “Hail The King,” but he also had the acapella for which he was unaware he had.  Anyway, I went straight for the acapella and five minutes later, threw up on top of ANS’s “Holki.” This is the result, with some minor vocal edits.

Here are some photos from Tormenta Tropical at SXSW. I don’t have time to write a long post but suffice to say I was honored to play with all these great people and have such a great party. You are all legendary and I love you. Photos by El Subcomandante Quito, full album here.



















“There are so many Africas, and so many arts of Africa. Picasso and Matisse thought they had hit on the essence of Africa during the first decade of the 20th century. The African masks and sculpture that influenced such works as Les Demoiselles D’Avignon (1909) seemed to be the very embodiment of a youngish Spaniard’s priapic idea of the primitive: wonderfully, savagely stylised; bursting with a toe-curlingly alien erotic charge. How patronising of Picasso to think that that’s what African art amounted to. Well, perhaps that’s a little unfair. The point was that Picasso, ever grasping, ever restless, was seeking out new ways of representing the female body.

Yes, anthropologists quickly began to prove that Picasso was either wrong or telling just one tiny part of an immensely complicated story. In 1910, the first major excavations took place at Ife, a site in what is now south-western Nigeria, not too far from Lagos. (The walled city-state of Ife, legendary homeland of the Yoruba, flourished for 300 years, from about 1100-1400 AD). Thirty years later, in 1940, another great cull of objects from the same site hit the headlines again: “Worthy to rank with finest works of Greece and Italy”, shrilled the Illustrated London News.

Many of the works that those anthropologists found are now on display in this major show of north-west African sculpture, and the works here lend credence to that headline writer’s claim. At the same historical moment that Andrea del Verrocchio was doing his wonderfully painstaking, high-Renaissance drawing of a female head which can be seen elsewhere in this building, anonymous artisans in Ife were working with brass, bronze – yes, these Africans knew all about bronze casting long before the Europeans arrived to show them how – copper and terracotta to produce a series of exquisite heads that are not only the equal of Donatello in technical brilliance, but also just as naturalistic in their refinement. So much for African primitivism.” – Michael Glover (The Independent) reviews Kingdom of Ife: Sculptures from West Africa, British Museum, London – read the full article here.


Shackleton – Mountains of Ashes
from Three EPs (Perlon, 2009)

I have been somewhat of a perennial fan of Shackleton’s music (I think the first tune I heard from him was “Majestic Visions“) but for some reason, over the years I never got around to posting anything from him or his now defunct Skull Disco imprint (with co-conspirator Appleblim.) Shackleton released Three EPs on Perlon late last year. While the album (?) was somewhat of a departure, it was a brilliant one, with well constructed complex tunes free of unnecessary ornamentations.  The music is not as depressive as some writers make it out to be. In fact, I actually find some of it very uplifting – Shackleton actually sampled the Christian prayer tune/song “He’s got the whole world in his hands” on one of the tracks!


Check out this recent Q&A with Dave Segal of Seattle newspaper The Stranger – The Music of Imminent Apocalypse? – “A Feisty Q&A… with one of the world’s foremost purveyors of hauntological, deep-trauma, ethnodelic bass musick.”


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.”

Howard Zinn dies at 87

A real American (Brooklyn!) hero has left us. I dated a girl who had a brain crush on Dr. Zinn, so I was exposed to some articles, and People’s History‘s significance cannot be understated.

“From the start, my teaching was infused with my own history. I would try to be fair to other points of view, but I wanted more than ‘objectivity’; I wanted students to leave my classes not just better informed, but more prepared to relinquish the safety of silence, more prepared to speak up, to act against injustice wherever they saw it. This, of course, was a recipe for trouble.” – from You Can’t Be Neutral on a Moving Train

[vimeo width=”524″ height=”393″]http://www.vimeo.com/4318336[/vimeo]

The world will be tested by Texas Instruments and English diction…

One of my favorite bands released an album sometime in mid-2009, and I’m only coming across it/listening to it now. They have been gone for so long, and their buzz so quiet now. Nevertheless, it’s great to see Tjinder Singh & Co. return with more brilliant tunes. When I Was Born for the 7th Time is their most cited album and it’s charm is undeniable, a true classic— but (in high school and college) I found myself listening to Handcream for a Generation and Woman’s Gotta Have It more than anything else. 

hope is fading fast
[Freshjive Hope Is Fading Fast t shirt | The World’s Got Problems]


G-Side – So Wonderful feat. Chrystal Carr, G-Mane, and SupaKing


G-Side – Who’s Hood feat. Yelawolf

G-Side‘s latest effort the Huntsville International project was liberated last week, leaked in its entirety and contained some extremely solid moments for those of us who are still into rap music! Slowmotion Soundz, ST 2 Lettaz and Clova, Block Beattaz, and the various producers and guest artists offer strong, and even exceptional performances.  ST 2 Lettaz and Clova delivered moving verses on “So Wonderful,” “In The Rain,” and “This Is Life.” On “So Wonderful,” ST raps about difficult times, not just the current recession– more specifically, the lack of assistance, the extra huddle, and debt young folks incurred while making their way through college, the double-digit unemployment figures and lack of opportunity in black and brown communities, which predates the current financial crisis. ST also echoes the words of Young Jeezy and P. Dukes (my president is black, but we’re still in the same mess– Obama administration maintaining continuity.  By the way, P. Dukes made my favorite recession rap jam with “Make Me A Way,” and I regret not including it on the podcast.)  Clova is on-point also, with an interesting mix of low-key, sharp darts grounded in realism, at times interrupted with “next-level”-swag-so-advance raps (and oftentimes, he’s incredible with those lines.)

Yelawolf offered a crucial performance on “Who’s Hood,” delivering a dense, rapid-fire verse about Cadillacs, pit-fights, and nightlife in the Bible Belt (he sounds like a young Big Boi or something! last week we heard him channeling Bob Dylan for Juelz Santana.) Other highlights here include the solo track by ST “This Is Life,” which I heard in August when Traps N Trunks unleashed the Huntsville Alabama: Rochet City mixtape/compilation and the defiant and unforgettable “In The Rain” featuring Bentley. “This Is Life” and “In The Rain” are those outstanding rap songs you hear every now and again, and they stay with you– emotionally raw and honest lyrics delivered by a smart, ambitious/hungry rappers.  In the era of free musicsounds now move faster than the speed of contex– we are bombarded with ephemeral songs and disposable mixtapes. G-Side is offering music with lasting quality. The majority of tracks on their previous two album, Starshipz and Rocketz and Sumthin 2 Hate have held up well, withstanding countless listens and every now and then certain sounds warranting repeated listening.  The Huntsville International project has that– freshness, durability, rap music for 2010 and beyond.


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.

Francophonic 2


Franco & Le TP OK Jazz – Mario

L’ Okanga La Ndju Pene Luambo Lwanzo Makiadi –better known simply as Franco— died 20 years ago, October 12, 1989. Franco and his legendary TP OK Jazz band created some of the most wonderful and far-reaching African music for the latter half of the 20th century. He was (and is still) not just popular around the globe but he is adored all across Africa. Nevertheless, it seems to me the few American folks who are into Franco’s music are for the most part into his early recordings (look at the expansive Francophonic Vol. 1: 1953 – 1980 released by Sterns last year, celebrating the 70th anniversary of his birth.)
His 1980s hits are staples at African dances and celebrations, especially tunes like “Mario” and “Takoma ba camarade pamba” which are still extremely popular particularly among certain nostalgic African expatriates who migrated to Europe and the United States in the mid 1980s and early 1990s. In fact, it was in the mid ’80s that Franco and his band were at their most innovative, the era in which they packed nightclubs and stadiums all across Africa. In the ’80s Franco and TPOK Jazz were also surrounded by newer artists like Kanda Bongo Man and Pepe Kalle with exciting new musical and dance styles like Kwasa-Kwasa and Soukous which were faster with louder drums and and perhaps even sharper guitar melodies, not to mention the solos. Francophonic Vol. 2: 1980 – 1988 was released last week by Sterns. The songs on Francophonic Vol. 2, when listened to chronologically (the way it was intended/compiled for listening) one notices a shift in tempo and rhythmic programming as we move from song to song; the drums and percussive instruments are nudged forward, a bit to the foreground, and they become more restless and clearer/in the center, at times just behind guitar and underneath those sweet vocals, definitely not hiding anymore but creating space for and contributing to the undeniable grooves.

The track featured here is an epic hit and has a story that is all to real; “Mario” is a “song about a gigolo who despite being highly educated has chosen not to apply for jobs but would rather sit at home and live off his rich lover who happens to be a woman twice his age.”