Monthly Archives: February 2010

WFMU IPHONE APP

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[WFMU iPhone app v2.0.; watermelon bullet design by me & Slang]

first off: I own a red Google umbrella (no idea where I got it from!), I built a hackintosh once (which runs great), I’ve been a Windows guy 4 life (that’s not saying much, I know), and although I use an iPhone, it’s a secondhand 1st generation jailbroken with quasi-legal software, running on a carrier who is not AT&T.

I don’t really like computers; I prefer burnable books and breakable records and long romantic walks (with hot infovores) through pickpocket-infested bootleg markets where you can buy food, clothing, typewriters, imitation solar panels, freshly squeezed orange juice, and video CD-rs containing fake documentaries on how to raise llamas. For real.

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But you’re reading this online, which means that you too exist at least partially as a style-stream of fluctuating zeros and ones… so, disclaimers aside, let’s get supple:

WFMU, the most deliciously independent radio station in the world, just unveiled version 2.0 of it’s iPhone app. And it’s great! Direct iTunes link. Android version coming soon. In addition to realtime streaming, 2.0 allows you to listen to archives and podcasts, and for ‘accuplaylisted’ shows like (most of) mine, you can browse playlist and skip directly to specific tracks. There’s a bunch of other features too.

Cherry on the cake: WFMU is a real, FCC-approved, monoculture-resistant FM station with absolutely no advertising or corporate sponsorship. As you might expect, freedom sounds weird sometimes. Just the way we like it.

SCATTER

2010, for me, is shaping up to be a year of projects. There’s a lot of exciting stuff going on but before I talk about any of it, let’s look around for inspiring music:

Responding to my Columbus On Hold piece, @SinkDeep created lovely mixtape accompaniment to the prose – check it out!! (Her served crashed when I tweeted this over the weekend… time for a repeat performance?)

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Awesome Tapes From Africa has been busy lately, with many welcome forays into north Africa. As I tweeted recently: Jil Jilala’s banjo+drum machine phase was a great one. Digitized cassette evidence courtesy of ATFA.

also: let’s think about sufi plug-ins and sufi click-tracks.

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And while we’re on classic Moroccan chaabi from the 70s and 80s, try this post quartet:

Morocco II (Nass el Ghiwane 7″ rip & George Orwell waxing weird on tourism in brown-peopled lands!), III (Jil Jilala 7″ rip!), IV (folkloric stuff I don’t dig!), Morocco I.

RICHARD SKELTON: LANDINGS

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My article on Richard Skelton - a musician whose work I’ve returned to perhaps more than any other in the past year – has been published in the current issue of Frieze magazine. At newstands now (or soon), and available online. Excerpt:

“His music proceeds as if by geological processes: time feels stretched out, layers accumulate and interlock into complexity, and it’s underpinned by a gravity and drift whose appeal is at once emotional – Skelton’s biography looms large – and elemental, as if these sounds have always hung shimmering in the spaces between air and land.”

DUTTY ARTZ MINI-DOC

new on XLR8R, a nice video with Matt Shadetek & Jahdan where Matt breaks down some of the history & ideas behind Dutty Artz.

“DJ /Rupture and Matt Shadetek’s Dutty Artz label, blog and parties are indisputably ground zero for New York’s exploding global bass scene. Here, we speak with Shadetek and longtime collaborator Jahdan Blakkamoore about the rising tide of dancehall, daggering, Latin, and tropical and what it takes to push music into the future.”

OLD WORLD, OLD WALLS

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“Eight thousand people dead last year in Mexico, in narco related assaults,” tweets Mariana, “Or so they say. Narco whatever. War all over, and commemorations. This is the year Zompantil: wall of skulls.”

Death urges memory and a wall can serve many purposes. Recording fixes slices of life by writing them down, freezing the heartbeat, bugs in amber, a box of photos, stacked 78s. We were happy, there-; I danced to that song when I was young. Memories as records, they need a person to play them. DJing – listening carefully – mixes the dead or static back into life.

The album that has me this week is an unreleased CD-r from Ian Nagoski: Music of the late- & post-Ottoman, ca. late 00s – ca 1950: Greek, Turkish, Armenian, Syrian & Cretian. At the bottom there’s a note: All performances made in New York City..

Adjacent to ‘ancient cosmopolitanism’ but inverted – homeland music made in an alien place. Tunings, language, walls before assimilation. The fanaticism of the converted races neck-and-neck with the fanaticism of the departed.

In his excellent Baltimore City Paper article, Ian writes (emphasis mine):

The need for music from the motherland is something that has been consistent among each wave of immigrants to the United States for as long as the country has existed. The Prussian, Slavic, Anglo, and Scandinavian newcomers of the 18th and 19th centuries carried their songs with them in their memories and performed them for one another, often keeping traditions alive in the New World long after they’d faded away in their native lands. The African diaspora has retained essential aspects of the music of the lost homeland. And, as we all know, the styles commingled and transmogrified into “American” music–jazz, gospel, blues, country, rock, hip-hop.

The process of holding on to the songs of the Old World changed when recording came along in the first decades of the 20th century. Starting in the 1910s and ’20s, records were marketed to all of the major immigrant groups: German, Irish, Italian, Bulgarian, Serb, Pole, Arab, Jew, Armenian, Greek, Japanese, Philippine, you name it, the record companies were already going after a share of their earnings by selling immigrants something irresistible–a song from home. For a variety of reasons, including the restructuring of the record business caused by the Depression, the advent of radio, the intermarriage of ethnic groups, and the desire to become capital-A American, by the mid-20th century much of that wave’s imported music remained niche “ethnic” material, kept alive in enclaves or simply abandoned by the immigrants’ descendants.

A ‘song from home’, shot through with desire, recorded by a Greek named Markos Sifnios in New York City (always a place of bewilderment if you’re living it properly) 84 years ago:

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Markos Sifnios – Mrate Koritsia Sto Horo (1926)

Ian – compiler of Dust-to-Digital’s Black Mirror comp CD – came on my radio show in December 2008 and provided insightful, poetic commentary on what it means to find, listen, and discover the history behind old 78s – you can stream it here.

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MOMENTS IN MIXTAPE

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“Moments in Love” is a great title for a super sensual 10-minute epic which always ends too soon. Over in Los Angeles, Nguzunguzu can watch drag races and hungry coyotes from their backyard and build scale models of hillsides in the garage. The key is openness. Together we can make everything last.

as they say: “CARD CRAP CANDY FAT FLOWERS DIE THIS TUNE TIMELESS”

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Nguzunguzu – Focus Mixtape Volume I: MOMENTS IN LOVE

tracklist:
MOMENTS IN HOUSE: ESSENCE
GO DOWN BABY: DIAMOND K
MACHETE MOMENTS: ERIDSON VS. LUCIFER (NGUZU EDIT)
SUPERSTAR REMIX: DJ (7)+>
ART IN MOMENTS : DJ QUEST VS. LIEBRAND (NGUZU EDIT)
TONITE: 2 SMOOTH
MOMENTS IN LOVE: ART OF NOISE (A.MC EDIT)
EVERYDAY: DJ DEEON
MOMENTS: DJ GODFATHER AND STARSKI
TOOTSIE ROLL (QUIET STORM CLUB REMIX): 69 BOYZ
MOMENTS IN LOVE: ART OF NOISE (CASPA REMIX)
TIP OF MY TONGUE: JAGGED EDGE FT. GUCCI MANE AND TRINA
THE ART OF FUNKIN: DJ FUNK
MOMENTS IN LOVE: ART OF NOISE (UNKNOWN DRUM N BASS REMIX) (NGUZU VOCAL EDIT W/ AALIYAH)
MOMENTS IN LOVE (BEAT BOX REMIX): RHAZEL
MOMENTO ENAMORADO: LOS DADDYS
DOING IT WELL (REMIX): LL COOL J
MOMENT: JT AND THE BIG FAMILY
MOMENTS IN LOVE (EXTENDED MIX) SNIPPET: ART OF NOISE
MURDA MO: BONE THUGS N HARMONY
THE WORLD HAS TOO MANY FREAKS: KRAYZIE BONE FT. ADINA HOWARD AND PLAY N SKILLZ
PONY (BOOTY BASS REMIX): GINUWINE
RNB 24 INSTRUMENTAL (ART OF NOISE REMIX): DJ SMOOTH4LYFE
MOMENTS IN LOVE (LIVE AT HIGHLINE BALLROOM, NYC): HYPNOTIC BRASS ENSEMBLE

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TIGHTENING A CORD

from Islands in the Net, Bruce Sterling (1988):

Then one of the Inadin produced a flute. A second found an intricate xylophone of wood and gourds, bound with leather. He tapped it experimentally, tightening a cord, while a third reached inside his robe. He tugged a leather thong — at the end was a pocket synthesizer.

The man with the flute opened his veil; his black face was stained blue with sweat-soaked indigo dye. He blew a quick trill on the flute, and they were off.

The rhythm built up, high resonant tones from the buzzing xylophone, the off-scale dipping warble of the flute, the eerie, strangely primeval bass of the synthesizer . . . “He sings about his synthesizer,” Gresham murmured.

“What does he say?”

I humbly adore the acts of the Most High,

Who has given to the synthesizer what is better than a soul,

So that, when it plays, the men are silent,

And their hands cover their veils to hide their emotions.

The troubles of life were pushing me into the tomb,

But thanks to the synthesizer,

God has given me back my life.

 

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SOUNDCHECK WNYC & UPCOMING

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A last-minute note to announce: I’m returning to WNYC’s Soundcheck program at 2pm today, for a live performance and interview with host John Schaefer.

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This Monday, Boston people can catch me doing an “experimental set” at Beat Research, alongside residents Wayne&Wax and DJ Flack. FREE. @ The Enormous Room in Central Square.

Simultaneously, I’ll be hosting my Mudd Up! radio show on WFMU, with special guest DISCO SHAWN!

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Cumbia fans will know his as the innovator, along with Oro 11, of the Bersa Discos label and the Tormenta Tropical west coast club nights. A Bay Area native and former Buenos Aires resident, the Cuban-American DJ is coming to share tunes & discuss cumbia’s latest explorations into Remixlandia, what’s poppin over in the Bay, and more…