Monthly Archives: July 2012

BREAK THE RECORD: free anti-Olympic song by Andy Moor and Anne-James Chaton


Andy plays guitar in The Ex. Anne-James is a sound poet. Together, and sometimes with Carsten Nicolai/Alva Noto, they make incredible music, built around A-J’s insistent/hypnotic voice interacting with Andy’s spiky, agile guitar playing. Today – An Olympic Day! – they release a free single & video called “Break the Record.” GET IT HERE.

As they explain, this piece references “…what has happened to the Games, and the situation of people, the great sportmen and women, and their loving public, in respect to an event bombarded by advertisement, branding, and security arrangements, and how London has come to resemble something close to a city in a state of war.”

French version features Anne-James’ vocals; they enlisted me to voice the English version. Yannis Kryiakides did a minimal video piece as well, both are below-

French version:

English version:

RADIO TOTAL FREEDOM

Last week’s radio show, my first back in-studio in a few weeks, was fun. Began with ‘Moroccan grime’ aka the standout track from Fnaire’s (not very good) new album which sounds like it was produced by Wiley in 2005. Check it, and lots more new heat:

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[DJ Total Freedom, Paper Mag]

And this Wednesday, July 18th, we’ll have special guest artist Ashland Mines aka DJ Total Freedom in from Los Angeles!

Total Freedom was responsible for my favorite club DJ set last year – we played together at the Tormenta Tropical 4-year anniversary in LA and it was one of those rare sets were every song was a gem that I hadn’t heard before, exquisitely mixed and sequenced. Sometimes it can be very hard for non-DJ types to understand why (or how) a certain DJ is good at what they do; but on the flip side sometimes you can catch a tiny piece of a musician’s set and that’s enough to be wowed. Plus, when I DJed Wildness back in 2009 and spent a few days digging around the cumbia stores in downtown LA, everybody was like, “oh, you need to talk to Ashland.”

Ashland’s in town for Blasting Voice, his installation-performance-piece at Suzanne Geiss gallery: “on nine nights throughout the show, this stage will be activated by 27 performances — both linguistic and non-verbal, acoustic and electronic — exploring poetic and formal dimensions of amplification.”

From 8-9pm on WFMU this Wednesday, Total Freedom will play some tunes from his upcoming compilation, and we’ll talk about Blasting Voice, what’s going on in LA, thee olde arte of DJing, Monster Energy Drinks, Discos Barba Azul, and more.

BOOK CLUBB: NALO HOPKINSON’S MIDNIGHT ROBBER

I’m a fan of judging books by their covers. Check this one out:

Awesome, right?

Our August Mudd Up Book Clubb selection is Nalo Hopkinson’s Midnight Robber. The novel kicks off during Carnival on a Caribbean colonized planet, where the AIs speak patois, and expands from there.

Folklore from Hopkinson’s native Caribbean meshes with a mind-expanding take on African diasporic technologies, issues of gender and sexual abuse, themes of exile and utopia and lawlessness, all written in a Creole-laced language whose musicality is a delight. Yuh see mi a say? Like Octavia Bulter, another Clubb favorite, Hopkinson renders a complex black woman protagonist at the heart of a tale that manages to be badass, weird-with-possibility, and filled with empathy even at its most harrowing.

Plus, let’s face it, we listen to a lot of music from the Caribbean but rarely do we read novels that spring from, engage, and extend that tradition. So–

Midnight Robber. We’ll meet in Manhattan on Sunday August 12th to chat about the book then go eat some doubles. (you join the Mudd Up Book Clubb by recommending a book).

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[Nalo Hopkinson, December 2011]

“She had was to learn, she had was to come to consciousness. Them days there, the programmers and them had write she protocols in Eleggua, seen — the code them invite to write programmes to create artificial intelligence?”

“Yes, me know.” Old-time story. Antonio sipped at the rum he’d brought to share with the Obi-Be’s son… – Midnight Robber

My Sufi Plug Ins project was underway when I read this book last year, but there was serious inspiration to be found, both in her approach to technology and in the role that language(as-interface) plays in the book’s writing itself as well as in the technologies depicted within it. Here are two interview excerpts where Nalo Hopkinson discusses these issues in Midnight Robber:

“So many of our stories about technology and our paradigms for it refer to Greek and Roman myth and language: we name rocket ships ‘Apollo’ and communication devices ‘telephone,’ a human-machine interface a ‘cyborg.’ It shapes not only the names for the technology we create, but the type of technology we create. I wondered what technologies a largely African diasporic culture might build, what stories its people might tell itself about technology. So a communication device that sees and hears becomes a ‘four-eye;’ literally, a seer. The artificial intelligence that safeguards all the people in a planetary system becomes Granny Nanny, named after the revolutionary and magic worker who won independent rule in Jamaica for the Maroons who had run away from slavery. Rather than being a ‘Big Brother’ paradigm it is an affectionate reference to her sense of love, care, and duty. The operating system that runs a dwelling is an ‘eshu,’ named after the West African deity who can be in all places at once, who is the ghost in the machine.”

“I grew up in a Caribbean literary community. It is perfectly acceptable there to write narrative and dialogue in the vernacular. It’s not that difficult to understand. I was interested in the way that Creoles can be accorded the full status of languages. The Creoles in this novel are the formal, written form of the language of the people in it. And the language shapes thought. If I had written Midnight Robber completely in English Standard, it would have had a very different feel and rhythm. I could say ‘Carnival revelry,’ but it wouldn’t convey movement, sound, joy the same way that ‘ring-bang ruction’ does.”

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Here’s the Mudd Up Book Clubb reading list – it’s been going for over a year now — in reverse chronological order:

Nalo Hopkinson, Midnight Robber

Michael Taussig, My Cocaine Museum

Tatyana Tolystaya, The Slynx

Augusto Moterroso, Mister Taylor

Vladimir Sorokin, Ice Trilogy

Lauren Beukes, Zoo City

Samuel R. Delany, Times Square Red, Times Square Blue

Juan Goytisolo, Exiled from Everywhere

Cesar Aira, How I Became a Nun

Maureen F. McHugh, Nekropolis

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& dont’ forget the Nalo Kindle-formatted screensaver!

RADIO: TITANIC SINK


[old photo of Izenzaren's lead singer, Igout Abdelhadi]

This week’s radio show was a slowdown stretchout, July 4th, fading flags. It begins with Izenzaren’s Akal, a lovely brand-new banjo jam which I saw them perform just a few days earlier down in Agadir Morocco. We later ran into the lead singer Igout Abdelhadi very randomly, while waiting to meet the king of Berber Auto-Tune… This whole trip was like that, one weird world after the other, bridged by serendipitous glue.

But radio. Most of this episode of Mudd Up is devoted to Gavin Bryar’s moving piece The Sinking of the Titanic; here I play the 1975 version produced & released by Brian Eno in its 30-minute entirety.

Next week I’ll be back in the studio for realtime radio, and week after that I’m very excited to announce that Total Freedom aka Ashland Mines will be the special guest. Details soon.