a 4 minute primer in contemporary American political rhetoric…
The better a song is, the harder it is to craft a remix that does it justice. And sometimes the best remixes are the lightest — the laziest — at the level of execution.
On the other side: my inbox is increasingly clogged with promo “EPs” built from two original songs with at least four remixes, most of which are mediocre in the exact same way. It’s like the producers and the remixers only feel comfortable expressing one idea, the same idea, an idea they learned from reading blogs, the same blogs. I love music, but I also love silence, and the delete button too.
But back to the good songs.
As I wrote before, “You can think about a song – a good song – as a miraculous moment when all the dissonances that frame a person’s life drop out of sight long enough to see how it looks without them. So when a band you like hits that groove, sometimes all you can do is listen, because that moment will be leaving.”
Here are two such songs with their recent remix/edits. First off, “Jarabi” from the gorgeous Afrocubism album:
…which gets a kickkicksnare treatment from Subsuelo, who rebrand their creation “Cinco Pasos.” Five steps. Two bodies. One song which is endless, and nobody we trust wouldn’t dance to it. How can real joy be optional?
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For round two, Caribou (as Daphni) takes on Thomas Mapfumo.
Thing about Thomas Mapfumo & The Blacks Unlimited is that they are even better than their name, even better than their album covers. The style is Chimurgenga, which emerged from Mapfumo reconfiguring traditional Shona music for modern niceties such as the electric guitar, back when he was a Rhodesian chicken farmer.
How can you remix this — and not be an elephant in the flower garden? You can’t. So Canadian producer Caribou treads lightly. He pitches “Shumba” up a bit. Then he stretches it out to more than twice the original length. The resulting tune is released on a 12″ called ‘Edits‘ (not remixes). Fair enough.
This game — original and edit, version and stretch — could go on all day. It could go on forever. It does. Frictions of power and access and stewardship notwithstanding, it’s one of the the only games we musicians know how to play with each other.
Music is excess. Always bigger than itself, spilling over. . . The worlds sketched out by Kool Keith’s acts of negation in “I Don’t Believe You” are hilariously life-affirming. (It’s a rap song equal to at least 1.7 million self-mythologizing tweets.) “Recoupment (Skit)” came right before “I Don’t Believe You” on his 2000 album, Matthew, so I decided to up it here as well.
Turns out the only thing in Justin Bieber’s corpus better than “U Smile” 800% Slower is “U Smile” 800% Slower (Sped Up 800%). In which the 36-minute long Bieber smear gets restored to its original radio-friendly length by the same algorithmic process:
It’s a poignant reminder than nothing can ever be fully undone, that life is transients, that the attack matters most… Everything else is simply hundreds of offset and overlapping grains playing back at varying pitches centered around the original frequency.
Furthermore, 800% Slower (Sped Up 800%) restores the Canadian entertainer’s lyrics to full audibility so we can once again appreciate Mr Bieber’s elegant (if unoriginal) Lacanian proposition – rare in a successful pop song – that through the mimetic impulse, immanently subjectivizing and spliced with a libidinal charge impossible to master or suppress, we are all socialized. For better and for worse.
“You smile,” sings Mr Bieber, “I smile.”
File under: advanced banjee realness
A quick two hits of swampy high 90s DJ Screw on what may be the last HOTT day of New York City’s hottest summer on record.
Both arrive courtesy of Houston-native Carlos, who watches windmill wax as wonder wanes.
First up, classic voice Teddy Pendergrass slowed down slightly (brings back childhood radio memories):
DJ Screw – Teddy Pendergrass – TKO (from Straight To The Bedroom’s precursor series, Late Night F&%kin Yo Bitch, Chapter 16)
Then we sink deeper with Richie Rich’s existential reflections dedicated to Tupac. Needless to say, the sensitive/religious/emotional thug is a great mode which I’m always happy to see more of. Masculinity melt!
DJ Screw – Richie Rich – Do Gs Get To Go To Heaven? (from Killuminati)
today’s keywords: soul, Soul, rap, screw, humidity, swamp-philosophy, gender-melt
It’s like this: last week Kalup Linzy & I recorded a collaborative track for his radio program, The Kalup Linzy Variety Show. We sifted through a bunch of unreleased beats kicking around my hard-drive, finally choosing an instrumental remix of Chief Boima that Matt Shadetek & I had just completed. I’ve been a fan of Kalup’s video/performance art ever since I saw this, so it was great to lab up – look for more songs from us in the coming months…
You can listen to our radio episode here.
And the tune:
Kalup Linzy – In My Head AKA Chief Boima – Techno Rumba (DJ /rupture and Matt Shadetek remix feat. Kalup Linzy)
He lived in an obscene overwhelming jungle where murder is the norm. And also he could not help it: he was a murderer too.
But is it really George’s fault? Or is it the Man in the Yellow Hat’s fault, for taking an agent of chaos out of the jungle and trying, against all hope, to civilize him?
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and speaking of jungle…
I know noble accents
And lucid, inescapable rhythms;
But I know, too,
That the blackbird is involved
In what I know.
– Wallace Stevens, Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird
Perhaps you didn’t know that the soft drink Tropical Fantasy is manufactured by the Ku Klux Klan and contains a special ingredient designed to sterilize black men. (A warning flyer distributed in Harlem a few years ago claimed that these findings were vouchsafed on the television program “20/20.”) Perhaps you didn’t know that the Ku Klux Klan has a similar arrangement with Church’s Fried Chicken—or is it Popeye’s?…
People arrive at an understanding of themselves and the world through narratives—narratives purveyed by schoolteachers, newscasters, “authorities,” and all the other authors of our common sense. Counternarratives are, in turn, the means by which groups contest that dominant reality and the fretwork of assumptions that supports it. Sometimes delusion lies that way; sometimes not. There’s a sense in which much of black history is simply counternarrative that has been documented and legitimatized, by slow, hard-won scholarship. The “shadowy figures” of American history have long been our own ancestors, both free and enslaved.
– Henry Louis Gates, Thirteen Ways of Looking at Black Man
The train ride out to Bard College is lovely – green things everywhere! water! So the conference happening there this weekend may be worth your while (perhaps especially if you have a car…)
Confronting the ‘Race Doesn’t Matter!’ Moment: Rethinking Race after Obama.
Keynote Speaker: Kendall Thomas, Director of the Columbia University Center for Law and Culture
AVERY AUDITORIUM 12PM-8PM, MPR 8PM+
RECEPTION with complimentary lunch for conference attendees (Salvadorean, Indian, Jamaican)
KEYNOTE SPEECH and Q&A with Kendall Thomas
PANEL: Pop Culture, Politics, and the Personal: Confronting the “Race Doesn’t Matter!” Moment
(Kalup Linzy, DJ Rupture, Otis Gaddis Kendall Thomas, Baratunde Thurston, Lara Stapleton, Greta Edwards, Carmen Oquendo-Villar )
DINNER (requires complimentary conference ticket)
PANEL: Race After the “Post-Racial”: De Facto vs. De Jure in Public Space (Law, History, Architecture)
(Jesse Shipley, Tabetha Ewing, Ashwini Sukthankar, Michael Tan, Binyavanga Wainaina , Mitch McEwen)
COFFEE BREAK: change
with Kalup Linzy, DJ Rupture, Sienna Horton, and others