DECISIONS DECISIONS DECISION

so I was talking with Sonido Martines the other day, and he was upset that a M.I.A. remix he did that gets played alot at Zizek ended up on Diplo’s blog without any mention of Sonido. Here’s a version with metadata intact.

MIA – Paper Planes (Sonido Martines’ Paper Guacharaca remix)

It’s hard to know when the data gets corrupted. You can even think about remix culture as an ongoing exploration of the pleasures of rough data, scrambled bits, a thing’s integrity compromised by dirty outside info (or the impossibility of a thing’s integrity made apparent, take your pick).

But i mostly think of remixes as a series of decisions (even moreso than original music). Taken or not taken. The song already exists, what will you do to change it, and how much change do you need to enact before you can call it yours?

What makes the Sonido Martines remix so radical, in my opinion, is the flagrant simplicity of it: he added a short guacharaca loop to the original… and nothing else. One decision was made. One. The 1-bar loop doesnt even change or drop out, its just there. For the entire song. And, deservedly, he puts his name on it!

It helps, obviously, that Sonido’s decision involves a guacharaca* loop and (critically) not a baltimore-break loop or a disco-electro loop or rap vocal or any of the overrused initial decisions that kids turn to when doing a remix. The cultural context for his remix is foregrounded (loud in the mix, constant, repetitive, inescapable, and, before too long, invisible, inaudible). This is remix as placement, building context – even if you can’t pronounce guacharaca and don’t know what the loping scraping rhythm does in its other manifestations…

Screwed music & cumbias rebajadas (get Sonidos’ screwed cumbia mix for my radio show, thnx 2 WTC) also have that singular decision — slow it down. And honestly, given the wealth of possibilities offered by digital audio software, making a remix that involves only one decision is often a surprisingly lucid declaration of intent / intensity / focus. In this sense DJ Screw and Sonido Martines are philosophical remixers/producers: thinking seriously about one thing, thinking that one thing’s implications through, fully.

*speaking of guacharacas, Jerónimo directed me to this vallenato youtubery featuring incredible guacharaca and accordeon solos.

7 thoughts on “DECISIONS DECISIONS DECISION”

  1. weird. I’m working at a radio station and just heard the original being aired, but that’s not why I’m commenting. Just amused that a song that jacked the clash’s straight to hell would inspire theses cultural musing.

  2. Thank goodness for this….I’ve been screwing electrocrunk tracks all morning and was feeling like kind of a shit for putting my name on them.

  3. Hey Rupture-

    This sound a lot like “voces de yuma” album– is really awesome!!.. so voces de yuma style is bayenato?– !!- is just amazing!!

  4. I was thinking similar along the lines of peter,
    all this about different folks and what they added to it
    and if their names are important or not w/ no mention
    of the crucial components coming straight to (from) hell…

  5. Here´s another classic vallenato figure, Maestro Pacho Rada

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QNU2NDEM1aU

    talking about:

    Crossroads and musician´s pacts with the devil (which shows the blues legend might be of African origin)

    How he “stole” his wife (and then had fight to keep her)

    Playing at a party that lasted “40 days and 40 nights without sleep”

    …vallenato guys are pretty hardcore (then again they are colombian)

  6. You can check Pacho Rada and other great colombian legends/accordionists in a beautiful documentary called EL ACORDEON DEL DIABLO (LA ESENCIA DEL VALLENATO Y LA CUMBIA) directed by stefan schwietert
    the title is also conected with this pact with some devil in the colombian jungle
    un saludo desde la paz bolivia!

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