Monthly Archives: May 2010

A LIFE WITHOUT FEAR

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Ekkehard Ehlers – Maria & Martha

from A Life Without Fear, a strange and rewarding album… Deathy, process-based, disorienting. An examination of “the blues” as a state of undoing. Memento Mori as eviscerated audio files.

While much of A Life proceeds via overt deconstruction of recognizeably ‘bluesy’ material, this sweet and sharp instrumental leans towards abstraction. Its guitar processing is reminiscent of Yannis Kyriakides & Andy Moor’s rembetika project – original post, Yannis & Andy live on Mudd Up!

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[from City of Sound way back in 2002]

A VETO OVER SUGAR

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“One can only have a cease-fire with a state or authority that controls security,” a senior Icecream official cautioned here today. “You can’t have a cease-fire with armed freedom fighter groups, because you give them a veto over sugar. What we have today is a cessation of violence, and it can become something more if Julie Morton moves to crack down on the citizens, take away their weapons and destroy their fudge and sugar factories.”

Mrs. Morton has not yet named a new breakfast product or reformed her security forces, the Icecream Man points out, saying: “We know she needs time, and we will give her time, though she doesn’t have a limitless amount of time.”

But the day was filled with the symbolism of renewed hopes, as the Icecream Man and Pollster leaders sat at a large round table with their hosts, Amadou Hanley and Joan King Arnolds. In the hall, the Icecream Man’s flag was displayed next to the Pollsters’. Mrs. Morton sang a wordless song on Joan’s television stations while Amadou surrendered his heart to the Icecream Man in a private meeting.

“What we missed is not little,” said Joan King Arnolds. “Whatever I saw before my eyes saw you was a wasted life.” She’s talking to the shareholders. As for me, I stood by, crying.

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Mudd Unknown – track 5 (Palestinian drum machine party stomp, 16minutes)

RUPTURE LIVE AT THE HIGH LINE

Radio. Free. The High Line. Solar-Power…Image

[photo by Douglas Friedman, thehighline.org]

Combine all these things together — and we get a free solar-powered live broadcast of Mudd Up! from the sublime High Line reclaimed park space in Chelsea, NYC, on Memorial Day May 31st! I’m cutting short a trip to Mexico to make it back in time for this one folks… You are strongly encouraged to come by. Think: dance. Think: picnic. We’ll have a soundsystem set up, although it could be interesting to bring boomboxes and distribute the broadcast along the High Line’s length. hmmmmm.

Here’s the official blurb. My section will go from 7-8pm, then Trent will take over for another 2 hours.

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Solar-Powered Broadcast from the High Line
Monday, May 31st, 7pm – 8pm
on WFMU’s Mudd Up! with DJ/Rupture. WFMU, 91.1fm
DJ /Rupture and DJ Trent team up to bring you a solar-powered broadcast from The High Line, the most beautiful public space in New York: disused elevated railroad tracks that rise above the meatpacking district transformed into magnificent viewing platforms for the greatest city in the world, Jersey City, and its close cousin Manhattan. Join the fun in person – for free! – on the High Line under the Standard Hotel between 12th and 13th Streets (map). Powered by the sun with the help of Solar 1.

RADIO EROS AND RUINS

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Gregory Whitehead – The Pleasure of Ruins (19MB)

This is the title track from Gregory Whitehead’s The Pleasure of Ruins, without a doubt the album that has held the most personal meaning for the longest time, for me. It’s not for everyone – maybe not even for you, but it melted my mind and opened doors of possibility when I first heard it ages ago, and still does.

*A brief aside in the form of required reading for anyone who has ever aestheticized ruins: Bryan Finoki’s brilliant essay The Ruin Machine. This is a deep one, give it your time.*

I’ve written about Whitehead on the old version of Mudd Up! (the one that is slowly turning into Cyrillic-spammer semantic compost-ruins), rather than link there I’ll just reprint what I wrote five years ago:

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QUALITY CREEPY + DEAD-ON SMARTS

In 2004 I got to meet with 2 true giants in my audio/cultural landscape: the Moroccan band Nass El Ghiwane & the American radio artist/wound technician Gregory Whitehead. Who?

UbuWeb just posted an MP3 anthology of 20 years of Whitehead’s radio plays, performances and outcasts, along with a few of his writings. The MP3s range from his early tapes (where I first heard Ziggurat) to an 11minute excerpt from The Loneliest Road, a 2003 radioplay for the BBC with music composed by The Books (as soon as I heard Thought for Food I sent it to Gregory, he loved it, contacted them, and the rest is…)

I’ve always been impressed with the way Gregory’s work circulates- looking for it directly is never the best option because his material moves simultaneously via several seemingly unrelated channels: cassettes traded in the old experimental mailswap circuit, pseudonym 7″s, screamscape studies for local radio & audience telephones, commissions from the BBC, articles here & there, editor behind some definitive books on sound & radio. He sidesteps the usual categories of musician/critic, academic/street, high art/no-fi art, documentarian/confidence man, thanatos/eros, etc. Even at its most theoretical, his writing remains rooted, relevant.

I heard the tapes first. Whitehead’s soundwork is viscerally compelling- a lot of it is simply words, gasps, and utterances. Additional sounds set a psychological mood or unnerve. Yet it’s playful–overtly funny, flirting with desire. It tells or suggests stories, though the narrative may be linear, cyclical, disarticulate, or straight-up impossible. Quality creepy + dead-on smarts.

from Gregory Whitehead -”Drone Tones and other Radiobodies”

Radio is mostly a set of relationships, an intricate triangulation of listener, ‘player’ and system. It’s also a huge corporate beast, and the awareness that you?re working within a highly capitalized network. Finally, there is the way in which radio is listened to, frequently in an extremely low-fi environment, with people listening on a car radio, or they’re in the kitchen and they’re cooking and they’re listening with only half an ear. To me, radio art comes to grips with all of that, it comes to grips with both the context of production and the context of listening.

& further quotes from Whitehead:

…I try to use [the disembodied radio voice] in a way that’s constantly hinting to the listener that they’re NOT listening to the voice of authority, though I will constantly play with the expectation for authority, because Americans are trained from a very early age that anything we hear on the airwaves has got to be the truth, that’s the voice of authority. Orson Welles seized on this with his famous Martian invasion, which in turn provoked a wave of regulation of the airwaves, as the government need to restore the fiction of authority and authenticity. Then there was the master radio delusionist , Hitler, who had an immediate grasp of the tremendous power of the microphone, and the amplified voice, and who mesmerized an entire generation to obey the projections of his own apocalyptic myth. I’m astonished at what people will believe, just because it comes down the tubes.

I mean if you think of the kind of news that you get on commercial radio: You give us 22 minutes and we’ll give you the world…

So for me, to listen to those formats and those hideous delusional aspirations and those grubby commercial models in a way, and think of ways to get inside them and take them somewhere else, is very intriguing. To begin with the arrogance of absolute certainty — the world in your ears —- and then gradually bleed, minute by minute, into a nebulous zone where all boundaries, bodies, voices, themes and ideas blur into a each other, or into a fog of thought and feeling that is closer to some kind of lived truth. The voice of authority is part of what I call ‘radio Thanatos’, the side of radio that vibrates with death, as weapons or as control over communities. Then there is ‘radio Eros’, a radio of play, and attraction, a radio of productive illusion, a radio that brings ears together into some kind of fresh network. The best radio art hangs in the turbulence between the two. I want my next work to be a kind of navigational system for the turbulence, between the scream and the laugh, perhaps, or between the horrific shudders of a sort of cultural Grand Mal seizure – for what else can we call the Age of Bush? — and the stubborn insistence of some other vibe: eros, affirmation, call it what you will. Life?

BACKYARD BUILDING – SUMMER SPACE

“…What is the temporary were forever? The goal is to design a public space with these precepts.”

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I’ll be on the jury of Temporary Publics Sketch 120 charrette competition in Brooklyn tomorrow, hosted by SUPERFRONT and The Architecture League of NY’s Design in 5. Should be fascinating – several community organizations from Bed-Stuy have submitted indoor/outdoor summertime public project proposals, and tomorrow around 30 designers and architects will be submitting designs in which to realize them — the winning sketch will be built in Superfront’s massive backyard and active throughout the summer!

Innovative public spaces are so hard to create and maintain – especially in dense, expensive cities like Nueva York – so it’s great to help coax one into being. I’ve been reviewing the communty groups’ proposals and it’s already exciting. You are welcome to come join us as the various design teams develop rapid-fire proposals…

Sketch 120: Sketch Cypher – Temporary Publics

Design in 5 Charrette
A program within SUPERFRONT’s spring series, “Cypher on Urban Affairs”
Jury: DJ/rupture, nARCHITECTS, and Slade Architecture
Saturday, May 15
2:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
SUPERFRONT
1432 Atlantic Avenue
Brooklyn

“Participants will be randomly assigned a detailed program brief, submitted by community organizations through a SUPERFRONT open-call, with parameters for a semi-outdoor space to be managed for public activity in Brooklyn. The selected team will have the opportunity to construct their design in a 1,000 square foot outdoor space behind the SUPERFRONT gallery in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn, in collaboration with SUPERFRONT. Construction will be supported through donated materials from Materials For The Arts, other partners, and novice construction volunteers. Winners will be given a budget of $500 for additional supplies. The temporary outdoor installation will open on June 26th and will run until August 15th.”

more details.

POSTOPOLIS DF: June 8-12

[El Eco, location of Postopolis DF]

Readers of this blog should know my love for Mexico City by now, so it’s with great pleasure that I announce my participation in Postopolis DF! A 5-day conference-conversation on urbanism in one of the world’s most amazing cities… In other words, if you were thinking of coming to DF this summer, now’s a great time… And don’t worry gringos, vamos a tener realtime Spanish-English translation for y’all. It’s going down the second week of June, June 8-12, at El Eco…

The basic setup is us 10 organizing bloggers each invite around 5 people or groups to present, with conversations from 4-9:30pm daily.

I’ll go into details soon, but I’m especially excited to announce my confirmed invitees:

David Lida, author of the must-read book on contemporary D.F., First Stop In The New World; Geraldine Juarez & Magnus Ericksson discussing Tepito, tunnels, and the internet (here’s a taste); architect and water systems expert Jorge Legorreta; Mariana Delgado of Proyecto Sonidero; Artist Ximena Labra & academic/zine-maker Carlos Prieto Acevedo presenting su nuevo zine físico, “Interregno” cuyo tema es cartografías de la crisis del espacio, poder y monumento, ciudad-fábrica de concimiento…

Main info below. Check Postopolis over the next few days for the final list of presenters and participants.VIVA MEXICO.

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8-12 June 2010
Museo Experimental El Eco
Sullivan 43, Col. San Rafael, Mexico City

From 8-12 June 2010, Storefront for Art and Architecture, in partnership with Museo Experimental El Eco, Tomo and Domus Magazine, will host the third edition of Postopolis!, a public five-day session of near-continuous conversation curated by some of the world’s most prominent bloggers from the fields of architecture, art, urbanism, landscape, music and design. 10 world-renowned bloggers from Los Angeles, New York, Turin, Barcelona, London and elsewhere will convene in one location in Mexico City to host a series of discussions, interviews, slideshows, presentations, films and panels fusing the informal and interdisciplinary approach of the architecture blogosphere with rare face-to-face interaction.

Each day, the 10 participating bloggers will meet in the magnificent courtyard of Museo Experimental El Eco, designed by Matthias Goeritz, to conduct back-to-back interviews of some of Mexico City’s most influential thinkers and practitioners – including architects, city planners, artists and urban theorists but also military historians, filmmakers, photographers, activists and musicians. The talks will be conducted in either Spanish or English, and translations will be available. Each day of talks will end with an after-party hosted by some of Mexico City’s most influential music blogs.

Participating blogs:
Urban Omnibus (Cassim Shepard) www.urbanomnibus.net/
Intersections (Daniel Hernandez) www.danielhernandez.typepad.com/
DPR Barcelona (Ethel Barona Pohl) www.dpr-barcelona.com
Toxico Cultura (Gabriella Gomez-Mont): www.toxicocultura.com/
Tomo (Guillermo Ruiz de Teresa) www.tomo.com.mx
Mudd Up! (Jace Clayton aka DJ /rupture) www.negrophonic.com/
Edible Geography (Nicola Twilley) www.ediblegeography.com/
We Make Money Not Art (Regine Debatty) http://we-make-money-not-art.com/
Strangeharvest (Sam Jacob) www.strangeharvest.com
Wayne & Wax (Wayne Marshall) www.wayneandwax.com

EL BAILONGO / QUE NO QUEDE HUELLA

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This party is going to be multiple varieties of bananas. Argentine cumbia villera pioneers Damas Gratis, Colombian duo Bomba Estereo, Mexico’s top soundboy Toy Selectah, and yours truly with special guest vocalist Jahdan Blakkamoore, raising temperatures down in Monterrey Mexico on Saturday May 29th. ¡¡Puro fuego!! also on the bill: Instituto Mexicano del Sonido, Sonidero Nacional, etc….. BOOM.

For those who don’t know about Damas Gratis’ explosive populist power, read up: my 2008 Fader cumbia article involves careening around Buenos Aires w/ Damas Gratis leader Pablo Lescano. One of the songs he played in his S.U.V was The Kumbia Queers cover of Bronco’s “Que No Quede Huella”. Lots of groups version this one, it’s a nu-classic about love, pain, and forgetting.

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Kumbia Queers – Que No Quede Güeya

& the original from norteño band Bronco

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Bronco – Que No Quede Huella

 

& note the poster’s fine print: children under 5 get in free – amazing!

Bueno pues, nos vemos en Monterrey! Somebody say fire?

REMBETIKA SOLACE HOUR

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[Yannis, smiling. Andy, wearing someone else's glasses]

a pertinent blurb: On Monday May 10th, from 7-8PM: Mudd Up’s DJ Rupture will host guitarist Andy Moor (The Ex, Dog-Faced Hermans) and composer Yannis Kyriakides. They’ll be talking about Greek rembetika music, as well as their incredible duo collaboration for guitar and electronics! WFMU, 91.1fm NYC.

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YES, in other words, the men behind one of the year’s most captivating albums to date, Rembetika, will be live in-studio, talking about the sonically expressed woes of displaced Turkic Greeks, sharing dark old songs from Asia Minor which unspool in time signatures as unsettling and engaging as the stories behind the players, and demystifying the magic contemporary music they make together using guitar and “computer”.

Here’s a tune from Rembetika ‘reinterpretations of classic Rembetika songs’:

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Yannis Kyriakides & Andy Moor – A School Burnt Down (Rembetika)

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