We are meeting this Sunday, March 24rd, to discuss Augusto Monterroso’s short story “Mister Taylor.”
Those unfamiliar with the Guatemalan writer who lived most of his life in Mexico City are in for a treat! Monterroso’s agile and darkly comic meditations on “resource extraction,” colonial mentality, distribution chains, citizen-hostile bureaucracy, and the impact of North American appetites on life in Latin America pack as much of a multilayered punch now as they did when “Mister Taylor” was first published, sixty years ago. Nuanced and outrageous.
Here’s the first sentence, from Edith Grossman’s pitch-perfect translation:
“Somewhat less strange, though surely more exemplary,” the other man said, “is the story of Mr. Percy Taylor, a headhunter in the Amazon jungle.”
The original Spanish text is online, the English trans. will be provided in advance (it’s a fast read, takes less than 10 minutes), and we’ll meet at 5pm on Sunday in this special short-notice edition… Interested? Join us. Keep it muddy.
“What do you get when roughly 300 academics, journalists, and musicians gather to talk about music and the urban jungle?… The participants will explore sounds of the city–the reverberations of people gathered en masse. . .Presenters will pay particular attention to what urban environments have meant for race, gender, and sexuality”
The talks are free and open to the public, but advanced registration is strongly encouraged, and today is your last day to do that… Many, many fascinating talks are scheduled.
I present at 4pm on Friday, in conversation with the brilliant Jayna Brown. I’ll unveil my Sufi Plug Ins project — free music / software / tools based on nonwestern & poetic notions of sound in interaction with alternative interfaces. It’s easiest if you come see them in action. But then there is Julius Eastman! And Berber Auto-Tune! And a brand-new video to debut! And how it all relates to the roundtable’s stated topic of “The Time and Space of Alternative Sonic Blackness,” with professors Daphne Brooks, Tavia Nyong’o, Brown, and more.
PS: the week/end will conclude with a quick & dirty Mudd Up Book Clubb meeting on Sunday. Short story edition, details soon.
Here’s an image the Bayati Maqam synthesizer I’m working on… Sufi Plug Ins are free music software I’ve been developing with some talented friends. Four of the SPIs are synths hard-wired to north african tuning systems, with everything clearly labeled in the Berber script of neo-Tifinagh. Amazigh apps! We decided to make a nice artist print version too –
Lots more information on the SUFI PLUG INS coming very soon.
If I start writing (again) about my time in Jamaica it could take up the better part of this morning. So let’s keep it simple: in late December I journeyed to Jamaica to report on the collaboration between iconic roots reggae group The Congos, and L.A. experimentalists Sun Araw and M Geddes Gengras for The Fader. It was an intense time down there in the lion’s den, adjusting my internal clock from NYC-breathless to Rasta time-management systems, entirely immersed in perhaps the strongest musical culture I’ve ever experienced, plus Ashanti Roy’s crazed grandchildren as sunrise alarm clocks, fish tea, George Michael with lasers, a minor yet disturbing horse-trampling, lots of Symbolic Murals, the melodious span and flexibility of patois, and so much more.
[photo by Alex Welsh for The Fader]
The article is now online, accompanied by several photos from Alex Welsh. Writing for The Fader spoils you — it makes me want to travel everywhere with top-notch photographers ready to dig deep and go after the spirit of the thing.
Oneohtrix Point Never’s 2011 album, Replica, was a rare type of excellent — not only was it a moving & detailed work of experimental/ambient goodness, it also felt significantly different from OPN’s earlier releases, adding uniquely arranged samples and rhythmic moments which conjured a pop spirit into experimental sound bodies. The trend tends to be for musicians to become more… standardized? commercially groomed?.. as their visibility rises, so it was so refreshing to hear Replica pull things even further out.
So. Join us on Wednesday night to hear OPN share music and chat about his songwriting + live performance approaches, VHS-visions in the era of YouTube, synthesizers, slowness, what he is up to co-running the Software label. Also for discussion: Mexican border sci-fi (Sleep Dealer reference anyone?), and, if we’re lucky & can get the muddy scoop declassified in time, we’ll get to learn about Lopatin’s very recent work mixing a great indie band.
The show will be two-hour special, 7-9pm on Wednesday March 14th.