Finally finagled ambient wi-fi with Maga Bo here in a sunlit Copenhagen flat around the corner from Christiania… playing tonite. screenshot details below. link. also facebook. I’ll be checking out WOMEX activities for the next few days, if you’re around, twitter (@djrupture) probably the best way to get in touch.
OK, I didn’t choose the title “Art of Noise”, but hats off to The National for letting me “consider the meeting of minds between two Iranian musicians who, working decades apart, both sought to produce genuinely Persian music with the electronic tools of the 20th-century avant-garde.”
the jam in question is Sonido himself remixing legendary Peruvian chicha cumbia band, Los Destellos de Enrique Delgado, with vocal assistance by Fefe, a Brazilian firecracker. In one example of how Sonido Martines works, he tracked down Los Destellos, explained to them what was going on in the slippery world of ‘new cumbia’, and with their blessings got permission to flip this remix. Now-thing realness with respect for the foundational musicians!
the comp esta muy wapo… Sonido Martines presents: Nueva Cumbia Argentina! fresh heat from nu-skoolers like El Hijo de la Cumbia, Fauna, and Chancha Via Circuito, and visionary early material from DJ Taz and Damas Gratis, and more! 12″ and digital out now: iTunes / Amazon / Boomkat, etc. K VIVA LA KUMBIA!!
On Monday November 2 I’ll be participating in the BEST MUSIC WRITING 2009 launch party in New York City – a night of readings hosted by Greil Marcus. It goes down at SoHo’s fantastic Housing Works Cafe, 7pm. Afterparty at Puck Fair around the corner.
Along with yours truly, there’ll be eight other authors from the anthology reading, with a bit of audience Q&A thrown in. I like it when critics get out and speak their words in public.
Monday, November 2, 2009, 7pm
Housing Works Cafe
126 Crosby Street, NY
Free (books to donate highly encouraged)
Greil Marcus, Guest Editor
and 2009 Contributors:
Josh Eells, Charles Talyors, Jace Clayton, Nick Sylvester, Carrie Brownstein, Jody Rosen, Paul Ford, William Hogeland, Jesse Serwer.
This Saturday I will speak at the New Yorker Festival, as part of a panel on The Music Biz: Remixing the Industry. It ain’t cheap, but with folks like lifelong industry uber-insider Danny Goldberg, Downtown Records boss Josh Deutsch, and bassist Melvin Gibbs in the mix, discussion should be lively.
I mean, there are only a few more years where we can actually sit down and talk about ‘the music biz’ with ‘record executives’ and such, so let’s make the most of it. And/or help the sick patient die faster.
Lucky Dragons’ performances overturn conventions of electronic music with generosity and grace. Today, Monday October 12 7-8pm on WFMU 91.1fm, they will join me to share sounds and discuss the relationship between social and sonic experimentation, Los Angeles, erasing the barriers between performer and audience, and more.
Lucky Dragons opened for Thom Yorke’s new band debut (both nights) in L.A. last week!! You know, that new band with Flea of Red Hot Chilli Peppers. So we expect 73,365 new L.D. fans will tune in. On Tuesday Lucky Dragons will perform @ Industry City out in Sunset Park, Brooklyn.
For a taste, check the incredible Fader TV episode where the editors gather around LD’s setup, making music by touching each other while handling Luke’s cables (with hand-knit sleeves) and freshly-gathered rocks, as he explains what’s happening (although the description/demystification doesn’t make it any less magical):
Says Light Industry: “Lucky Dragons, whose participatory performances jam 21st century musique concrète with the fervor of a tent revival, will play around and variously in dialog with five films by Rose Lowder, a leading light of French experimental cinema. Rigorously composed through single-frame 16mm shooting and elaborate in-camera editing, her work creates complex and rhythmic explorations of perception and its limits. The evening will run up digital against analog, silence against noise, and promises to be a heady a/v experience.”
Subscribe to the Mudd Up! podcast if you want downloadable versions: , Mudd Up!RSS. Listen, get involved, throw in comments, questions. Again, Mondays @ 7 PM. For those outside our FM broadcast range, WFMU offers live streaming and even has its own free iPhone app!
Ok, so Khaled isn’t the “Rebel of Raï” as this 2-CD set titles itself. Marketing-driven misnomers are rife; we don’t sweat it. Khaled is raï establishment, Khaled is raï king. And the Nascente CDs help explain why. Here as elsewhere, Khaled’s voice is honey, his performances nimble and generous. (For some raï context, check my 2008 piece in The National).
A survey of “the early years” (late 70s – early 90s), Rebel of Raï offers compelling evidence for the awesomeness of ’80s synths and drum machines. Nerdy listeners will enjoy the way various tunes reflect the production values of their times. There’s one glorious acoustic song from the 70s (“Trig Lycee”), and the electronic adaptations that came later, some propelled by brilliant slinky minimalism (“Hada Raikoum”): pitch-bent synthesizer, guitar snippets, Algerian rhythms inside the drum machine, voice. Here’s “Trig Lycee”, the only track on the compilation without a keyboard (cheesy or otherwise):
Look at it this way: if you don’t mind fruity keyboard lines & occasional studio overproduction, just think of all the music out there that you can now enjoy. Khaled himself sounds great no matter what’s underneath his voice. And so suddenly a huge swath of musical food chain opens up. Another way of saying: If you really like a style of music, you love it, which means you follow it through thick (reverb) and thin. You stick with raï through the 80s and beyond, and you do not frown on Khaled’s 2009 pan-afro-euro-club jams with Magic System. Même pas fatigué…
There are people who stopped liking reggae when Sleng Teng hit (There are people, fewer of them, who began liking reggae when Sleng Teng hit). In fact, thinking about late 80s dancehall may help tunes like this work as a gateway drug to the wonderful world of pop raï. Khaled alongside Cheba Zahouania, a hugely influential powerhouse in her own right:
I was speaking with Cheikha Rabia in Paris earlier this year, and when I asked about her favorite singer, her face erupted into a smile – the child inside looking out, eyes aglow – “Khaled!” Rabia said. “Khaled! He’s the best”.
Before Khaled was Khaled he was Cheb Khaled, and before that, he was in a Nass el Ghiwane cover band. I would love to hear a young Khaled singing NeG, if the band (“The Five Stars”, I think) recorded any…
I’m pleased to announce that my essay Confessions of a DJ, originally published in n+1, has been selected for inclusion in Best Music Writing 2009! It’s a honor to be part of the Da Capo series, especially on their 10th anniversary, with guest editor Greil Marcus.
The anthology is floating around some bookstores now, and will be everywhere next week.
Greil Marcus surreally misquotes my piece in his introduction: “I’ve died in more than two dozen countries…” (La petit mort? I’m not dead yet.) But apart from that unusual typo, Best Music Writing 2009 contains a spread of fascinating, varied writing.
It’s easy to fall prey to online narrowcasting, with the result being that you only read reviewers and blogs who cover music you like. Anthologies crack things open a bit (read: I wouldn’t seek out a three thousand word essay on Jay Reatard, but there’s one here, so I’ll take a look). Many entries are short and sweet, like Aidin Vaziri’s hilarious opener, but it’s the longer pieces (like, cough, mine) which are particularly welcome in our era of dwindling word count and blog-optimized blurbs. (Not that I don’t like a good blog-optimized blurb; it’s simply a very different pleasure when someone dives deep into long-form prose, and when people do that online I’m usually too impatient or distracted to scroll down to the end.)
Books as a medium whose metanarrative, in 2009, is slow down?
* * *
Slow down and listen. Bowed strings pinpoint a mood, amplify it, submerge us.