CONFESSIONS OF A DJ

…is the name of a piece of mine recently published in n+1. I mentioned this before – now there’s an excerpt online.

This issue also contains a nice Bolaño poem, yet another anxious-to-crown Bolaño review which leaves you with the impression that the reviweing author hasn’t read anybody else from Latin America except García Márquez and maybe Vargas Llosa (we don’t need more reviews of The One Or Two Big Foreign Authors, we need more translations – of everybody else), and David Harvey discussing the financial crash.

Here’s the beginning. An excerpt of the excerpt. if you’re into it, it’s worth getting the journal, as the piece is long, offline and in full honesty/demystification mode:

I’ve DJed in more than two dozen countries. What I do isn’t remotely popular in any of them.

It’s hard to reach North Cyprus—the Turkish portion of the island that seceded after a war with Greece in 1974—not least because only one country, Turkey, officially recognizes it. Yet there we were, whizzing through arid country past pastel bunker-mansions, the architectural embodiment of militarized paranoia and extreme wealth, en route to an empty four-star hotel. We were going to rest for a day and then play music in the ruins of a crusader castle. It was the year 2000. I was the turntablist for an acid jazz group from New York City. The band didn’t really need a DJ, but it did need someone to signify “hip-hop,” and that was me. There were six of us—our saxophonist leader, Ilhan Irsahim; a singer, Norah Jones, before she was known for anything besides being Ravi Shankar’s daughter; a bassist, a drummer, and a Haitian sampler-player. There were four attendants in the hotel casino, bored behind the gaming tables, and only two other paying guests—British pensioners, holdovers from remembered pre-1974 days when Cyprus was undivided.

I sat beside the pool talking to our host, trying to figure out why we were there. Down the coast, thirty miles away in the haze, a tall cluster of glass-and-steel buildings hugged the shore. “What’s that city?” I asked. It looked like Miami. “Varosha,” she said. Completely evacuated in the 1974 conflict. A ghost town on the dividing line between North and South Cyprus. The only people there were UN patrol units and kids from either side who entered the prohibited zone to live out a J. G. Ballard fantasy of decadent parties in abandoned seaside resorts.

If North Cyprus represented the forgotten side of a fault line of global conflict, how were we getting paid? Who owned those scattered mansions that we saw on the way from the airport? Was our trip bankrolled with narco-dollars, to please the criminals hiding out in an empty landscape, or with Turkish state funding, to win tourists back? I never found out. I bought a laptop with my earnings, quit the band, and moved from New York to Barcelona.

RAI HEAT, GAZA LORDS

a new piece of mine on rai, in The National. Yalla!

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and another in n+1. about… how the international DJ thing works? The article isn’t online. Issue launch party in Brooklyn tonite.

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Mode Raw of Bigger Judgement put together an incredible two volume comp, Gaza Lords. Which melts my brains. Lots of Jamaican heat, Di Genius shivering everyone’s spine. I’ll write it up proper in one of those ‘best of MMVIII’ lists, until now, if you harbor a soft spot for gangsta synthetics:

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Blak Ryno – Mek Di Paypa

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MUEZZINS AND MCS

w&w: “jace offers less a review than an extended essay on the sounds, significations, & marketing of a west african / “islamic” hip-hop comp”:

Beat Happening, an essay of mine published in U.A.E. daily The National.

bilde
[Sister Fa, courtesy Piranha Records]

I played two songs from Many Lessons on the Ramadan/Eit radio show, streamable, makes a nice soundtrack for this article. also available in podcast form.

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Timeblind (Mr rastObama) blogs the collapse, with the up-close details of someone who plays (played?) the market a bit. also here:

“It hasn’t bled out into the real economy yet, but this stuff is more significant than 9/11 in what its going to do to the real world economy and to the American psyche. . . So anyway I have many positive things to say about the way that social and economic structures can be rebooted, and I’m really excited to see how the western ingenuity adapts and moves forward. I think this is all a positive development, despite what it just did to your parents’ life savings.”

CUUUUUUUUMMMBIA

más y más

cumbia outtake main

[Pablo Lescano / Damas Gratis.]

Slow Burn, my cumbia feature for the July/August issue of The Fader magazine, is now available online (albeit without the lush full-page photo spreads). Several years of listening and research followed by a whirlwind week running around Buenos Aires gave rise to this article, I hope you enjoy.

To accompany the essay, I did a cumbia mix for Eddie Stats’ weekly column, Ghetto Palms.

Click here to find the downloadable mix along with my tracklist & some notes about what’s what. (and if you facebook or whatever, this page has the mix in its embeddable internest-y glory.)

Y si lees castellaño, aquí tenemos un artículo bastante académico sobre cumbia villera. [spanish-language cumbia villera article, thanks W&W]

[RIP IMEEN – this is where the IMEEN player went]

SLOW BURN: THE EXPLOSION OF CUMBIA

 

slowburn

it’s out! The Fader’s summer issue (F55) is in stores now and sports a lengthy article on CUMBIA by yours truly, along with AMAZING IMAGES from photojournalist Gabriele Stabile.

How awesome is Gabriele? Consider the following: Fader sent us to Argentina for a week – during this time he lost his only jacket, almost broke a rib, was unsuccessfully mugged (thank you, taxi driver!), stepped in dog poop like 3 times, was buzzed by armed youth on a motorbike and nearly shot at (twice, technically), was denied return passage to America (he made it out a few days later, only hours before the airport was closed due to brush fire), and still managed to take a thousand or more photographs (on actual film no less!). It was an honor to roll with someone so dedicated.

 

the magazine is available as free PDF download (45MB); our piece begins on page 59, but you should seek out the print version, if only to do justice to luscious, intense, Gursky-eat-yr-cold-and-sterile-heart-out centerfold photos like this one, taken at a Damas Gratis show. Yes, they are moshing. to slow keytar-driven cumbia:

 

fantastico

NO SLEEP MORE MATÉ

Three continents in less than a week has left me burning the midnite oil, sipping yerba mate, and falling into deep R.E.M. sleep the moment I sit down in NYC’s shuddering metro system. Naturally, the blog suffers.

But you can expect a grip of print pieces from me in the near future: Fader, Frieze, repeat.

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We’re just trying to find the greatest next 3 minutes of your life” – a great Observer (Guardian) article on mp3 blogs, in which MuddUp! is featured!

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I’ve been wrapping my ears around lady ‘harp’ music from Peru. Especially Anita Santivañes, totally hypnotic even though it all kinda sounds the same, these intermodulating waves of complicated & repetitive string arrangements falling from cracks in the sky down to a world holding less love than it needs.

Here’s Anita Santivañes from Anita Santivañes vs Anita Santivañes. Guess who wins!

Anita Santivañes – Bebi La Miel de Tus Labios

(heartbreak poetry encoded at 56 kbps, a MuddUp! low-fidelity record!)

anita santibañez

& because it is late-nite and late-nite allows for little if any organizational logic, here’s a scratchy old banjo-powered recording of Algerian chaabi great Dahmane El Harrachi that i picked up at the Barbes Fassiphone shop a few days ago, where Sonido Martines took great pleasure in watching the Parisian Arab girls in impeccable makeup make fun of my musical selections.

Dahmane El Harrachi – Khabi Serrak

Nettle covers this tune in fact; this is the first time i’ve heard a recording of it by its original composer.

dahmaneh

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speaking of Sonido & cuuuumbia, He’s straight outta Bogota via BnsAires and ON TOUR IN EUROPE RIGHT NOW! AY AY AY! & he’s got some killer CD-r mixes with him… be sure to ask…

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