MUDD UP BOOK CLUBB: CASABLANCA EDITION

The idea is simple: every six weeks or so we gather somewhere for informal talk centered around a good muddy book, then go eat delicious food. We’ll have a live Ustream feed so Cousin Internet and Miss Larry Antitroll can participate.

The inaugural edition will convene on a Casablanca rooftop, around late afternoon/sunset, about six weeks from now. Tea will be served; pastilla بسطيلة afterward — all you need to do is read the book.

Our selection: Maureen F. McHugh’s Nekropolis, a science fiction novel set in 22nd century Morocco involving biochemical slavery, immigration, genetic chimeras, and — last but not least — a new mode of sexuality. All written by a white American lady who has never set foot in Morocco! (And it shows, but that’s OK. Just don’t tell her that Fez doesn’t really have a necropolis) There’s more to say, but I’ll wait for the roof. (Thanks to Anne ‘Odalisqued‘ Boyer for the for the head’s up.)

For more summer reading: Beyond Digital Beach Books pt. 1.


Speaking of modulated Moroccan futures… here’s a now-thing chaabi stormer I bought in the big Casablanca souq — a bit further in I saw an Auto-tune hardware rack unit for sale! The song comes from fantastic recent varietes chaabia compilation CD Nojoum Wislane. I’ll write more about this CD later — it features a new development in Auto-Tune… — once I’m there I’ll be able to get sleuthy with the info. But for now, enjoy, this is very much what’s bumping in the Casa street these days:

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? (Mudd Unknown) – ? (Nojoum Wislane)

BEYOND DIGITAL BEACH BOOKS – part 1

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[photo by Beyond Digital’s Juan Alcón Durán]

We’re been putting a lot of work into preparing for the June stretch of Beyond Digital, when our team of eight people (and rising!) will converge in Casablanca, Morocco… Website coming soon, along with a proper update.

But for now: part one of the Beyond Digital Summer Reading List! An outpost of the Dutty Artz/Mudd Up Book Club. I’ve been asked a few times for some BD related texts, so here you go: a handful of books I’ve read recently that struck chords with how I’ve been thinking about BD, in one way or another.

 

BEYOND DIGITAL SUMMER READING LIST: part one

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1. Pitch Perfect, my Auto-Tune essay for Frieze magazine, originally published in 2009.

The best article on Auto-Tune or your money back… Carolyn (Beyond Digital’s Paris point person, who’ll be joining us in Casa) just conducted a video interview with Moroccan producer Wary, who makes an appearance here.

 

2.The Radicant – Nicolas Bourriaud

Yes, the “French science fiction writer” from Hennesey Youngman’s hilarious video. This book is cool though. St. Nic is all about translation. We’re into it. (So is Michael Larson.) Bourriaud writes: “Translation may represent that ‘basic ethical effort’ that has been mistakenly associated with recognition of the other as such. For translation always implies adapting the meaning of a proposition, enabling it to pass from one code to another, which implies a mastery of both languages but also implies that neither is self-evident.” The Radicant is a slim book (perfect for the subway), which explains why I can’t find it right now. Probably on my desk. . .

“As a critical methodology, multiculturalism resembles a system for distributing meaning that assigns individuals to their social demands, reduces their being to their identity, and repatriates all meaning toward an origin regarded as a political revealer. It is this critical model that is in crisis today, this multiculturalist version of cultural diversity that must be placed in question, not in favor of a systematic universalism or a new modernist Esperanto, but rather in the context of a new modern moment based on generalized translation, the form of wandering, an ethics of precariousness, and a heterochronic vision of history.”

 

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3. Bab El-Oued, Merzak Allouache

This is a novelization of Allouache’s Bab El-Oued City film. It’s not great — it’s not even set in Morocco — but hey, how you gonna be mad at a novel that opens with the theft of a mosque’s loudspeaker (a handsome young baker throws it into the sea) and chronicles its impact on a working class Maghrebi neighborhood? Allouache sketches a social realist panorama, with a subplot involving romance novel smuggling.

Coming in Part Two: one of the best books about music, ever (hint: Umm); non-annoying non-Beat avant-garde lit about the aftermath of a terrorist bombing written by an expat in Marrakesh; sci-fi set in Fez dealing with biological slavery and a new mode of sexuality; Appadurai’s ethnoscapes, and more…

In the meantime, some heat from the first volume of DJ Amine’s Maghreb Mix Party series:

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Bakr – N’reserve Wenelhagha

WEB WIZARD NEEDED

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My Beyond Digital crew is currently looking to hire a web designer to help us construct the Beyond Digital: Morocco site. Experience with multi-lingual sites and WP-installs that can switch between languages is a plus. We need someone available immediately.

Interested parties, please send your portfolio/resume and an email of introduction to: activate at beyond-digital.org.

TOUR HASSAN SIGHTINGS

I’m a week into this preliminary research trip for Beyond Digital – Rabat, Marrakesh, and tomorrow, Casablanca.

A huge thanks goes out to Marjana, her helpfulness and generosity have made this excursion far more efficient and amazing than would have otherwise been imaginable. Here’s a photo she took of me peering into the distance at Rabat’s Tour Hassan. The Atlantic meets the land in Rabat with a specific kind of rough poetry. I always enjoy seeing how cities deal with the bodies of water that touch them.

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The last time I was in Morocco was twelve years ago. And then only briefly. I feel like I’ve changed more than the country has, which may be true of most places + people with a dozen years between visits.

Musically, this has been a rich trip. Learning a lot! One of today’s discoveries: Izenzaren إزنزرن, a kind of golden era Amazigh Nass el Ghiwane, spiritual godfathers to Oudaden, if that means anything to you… For reasons I have yet to discover, unlike Casa and Rabat, there are no MP3 CDs for sale in Marrakesh. It is all audio CDs! A surprise in today’s increasingly compressed times.

I’ve been recording some late-night radio as well as purchasing CDs — also sharing some music I have with those who want it here. Unfortunately I can’t rip or upload audio right now. For a muddy fix, tune in to my radio show tonight – Monday 7-8pm EST WFMU 91.1fm NYC, and check back here very soon for Maghrebi sounds. In the meantime, Youtube. Here’s Izenzaren: They sing in Amazigh and say YES to vocals through generous delay. Especially around 2:45, when someone sets it to a trippy half-second setting. So many ways to negotiate the relationship between body and voice. The last person I saw to sing through delay like that was Lizzie from Gang Gang.

After some meetings in Rabat, we drove to Marrakesh, where I’ve spent most of the week. Late night radio there (90.5 and 97.1 FM) sounds a bit like this, or at least it did yesterday. Abdelhadi Belkhiate عبد الهادي بالخياط. His ‘oriental’ style is a welcome reminder that the best Arab singers of the 60s and 70s got the best backing bands.

That’s all for now…