Yesterday my friend visiting from Paris complained that all her friends here are raging alcoholics — she’d forgotten the desperate bent to good times in NYC. Here’s some sweet hangover soul restoration music from Afrolatin Via Kinshasa, a 2 CD compilation featuring Congolese guitars, Africans singing in Spanish, lots of Franco, etc. The liner notes are information-rich, but since I’m time-starved I haven’t had a chance to absorb their discussion of Cuban music’s influence (via sailors) in Kinshasa and beyond. But it sure sounds good:
The great thing about Omega fandom is that it requires no explanation. Either you haven’t heard of him (in which case, read the Omega profile I wrote for The Fader last summer) or you have, and his bad-assness is utterly self-evident. It’s simple: this former reggaeton choreographer is “El Fuerte”, one of the best musicians around in any genre right now, period, the undisputed dark king of Dominican merengue urbano / mambo. Plus he’s kinda scary – we’re not fooled just because he dropped the “y su Mambo Violento” from his name. (When you find an Omega fan, ask ‘em about Rita Indiana – they’ll have an opinion on her too.)
Omega El Fuerte plays twice this weekend in NYC – as I tweeted: “all NYC’s latin ‘cosmopolatino’ websites that *didnt* mention OMEGA’s gigs here this weekend: #FAIL” (gracias a Carolina for the head’s up). Although it’s always nice to be reminded that much of the craziest stuff happening on this planet is primarily offline, lazy journos & surfers miss out.
Ears a la calle… If you live in New York City and don’t have your ears to the street, then you won’t have noticed the strong strange Puerto Rican proto-reggaeton Playero revival emanating out of Dominican cars… That sentence might not make any sense, but it sounds exactly like this new Omega track bumping in a style that was popular in PR like 15 years back:
and an excerpt from my Fader profile on Antonio Peter De La Rosa Aka Omega:
His street-viral swagger means that folks at every point in the food chain—from Dominican TV producers to dudes in Washington Heights who cobble together concert recordings—figure they can make a buck by tapping into El Fuerte’s power. “We get a lot of fans buying flights to Santo Domingo just to see us perform,” he says via phone from the Dominican Republic. Visa and deportation problems have kept international Omega appearances scarce… [issue 62 PDF]
I can’t remember exactly, but tomorrow, July 4th, we Americans celebrate our Independence from Microsoft, or the Constitution, or Google, or the British, or the RIAA, or Illegal Immigrants, or Apple products, or People Around The World Who Hate Our Freedom, or maybe Slavery or the Birth Certificate itself. It’s an important holiday, especially if you like to eat dead animals.
So what better way to join the festivities then hunched over my laptop, carpal tunnel syndromin’, listening to incredible new Mexican music of the 1st decade – or is this already the 2nd decade? (Is it true that time isn’t circular but tubular?) – of the 21st century!
Erick Rincon from Monterrey gifts us with a sublime tribal guarachero refix that wraps hypnotic playful voices around some ill tubas. Deep sonic multitasking from northern Mexico. As the 16-year-old producer says: “Bueno pues ahora, Dejandoles algo de Tribal, Mezclandole algo de Norteño!! que suene la tubaaaaaa!!” Let the tuuuuuubaaa sound out!
I just listened to this two-minute song a dozen times in a row, now you can too:
I hit the cumbia rebajada motherlode in MX. slow & low, downpitched sublime. Cumbias rebajadas are slowed down cumbias that you can buy on the street in the right towns. Time gone viscous. Here’s a dark one, really stellar this. I twittered it yesterday:
[???? - Cleveland Museum of Art calendar screenshot]
Regrettably, I can’t understand or link to anything particularly useful on the Cleveland Museum of Art’s calendar/CMS/blog, but I am happy to say that I’ll be DJing a midnight set at this Saturday’s summer solstice party (whose pricing system resists simple understanding), taking an increasingly crunk crowd into darkness on the shortest night of the year. I play til close so we’ll have time to sink deep. Also on the bill, Javelin, Phenomenal Handclap Band, Omar Souleyman, etc.
Omar Souleyman plays dabke, and if you like his SubFreq-filtered brand of Syrian wedding folk-techno you should get yrself to a nearby Arabic Music Shop, because dabke is a hugely popular genre in several countries, and you’ll find gems like this 14-minute flute-float party number, here chopped off midway because I’m saving the best half for my Arabic mixtape, which will be coming “soon”.
I love all languages countries and people that have words or phrases for different denominations of ‘now’ and subtle variations on ‘soon’, like Mexican Spanish with ahora and ahorita.
Where where we? Brooklyn. Andy bought this CD in Bay Ridge. It’s either Palestinian or Syrian. The cellphone/music store has either sold or removed the ceramic black Sambo figurines it had on sale.
& here’s another song I might play. Latin fight song! A 128bpm banger from Papi Sanchez, Dominican in Miami, complete with ragga English language intro courtesy of Shabakan. Drop this at the right time & place and you will be rewarded. Or bottled. Maybe both.
Today, EarthDay, Thursday April 22, I’ll be DJing in Pittsburgh @ The Brillo Box. details.
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The cat pours the dog a stiff drink. The dog longs for opposable thumbs so he can reload the shotgun. His furry hindquarters rest on a handmade stool imported from Japan; the animals like it here because everything’s sized for them. But maybe this bar is in Japan (that would explain the good lighting) and the stools are locally sourced and it’s the liquor that’s imported. The cat and dog aren’t talking so we can’t get any clues from their accents. Honestly, we could be anywhere. Even Los Angeles.
Very Be Careful are an L.A. band who play Colombian vallenato with a hardcore purist aesthetic. Which of course is totally impure, willfully anachronistic, and leads to strangely dry album production yet their live shows are meant to be quite lively. I am suspicious of people who are suspicious of “remixes” and “synthesizers” although I do love accordion, voice, percussion, and respect this band for zeroing in on that, channeling OG vallenato heroes like Alejo “Big Black Man” Durán, writing new songs in an old style and keeping the VST plug-ins switched off even though they’re recording & mixing with computers just like everybody else.
VBC disdain ‘the contemporary vogue for hybridity’. They say: “[Ours] is a purist style that strives to pay tribute to the classics, and we aim to compose in the same vein. This is a greater achievement for us than dropping in some obscure unrelated beat to the music.”
An unauthorized cumbia remix of VBC (“Mi Fantasma”), stripped of identifying meta-data, achieved popularity in Buenos Aires bailantas against the band’s wishes. The remixer didn’t do much, this is the power of laziness!
And here’s the original version of Very Be Careful’s “Mi Fantasma”, an eerie, powerful track (someone have time to post a quickie translation in the comments?) whether or not a young Argentine has slapped a guacharaca-and-kick loop on top:
Today on Mudd Up!, 7-8pm, WFMU, we will be airing an exclusive all-vinyl mix from Los Angeles’ DJ LENGUA! It’s cracking, full of latin crate-digger gifts, visionary cumbia, overdriven Colombian psychedelia, and more.
Spent this week in the studio with Rita Indiana, whose effortless swagger is partially captured by this photo:
Tonight we will do a mini-set at the FREE Que Bajo megaparty, accompanied by Ivory on the guira. A proper EP will be out in September on Dutty Artz, but we are so excited by this music that we made a free 2-track CD to giveaway now, thanks to my favorite Chinese-run Mexican-staffed Harlem-based CD copy shop.
Here’s the cover artwork, dutty mambo voodoo punk:
I can’t believe I’m A) back in America B) back in LA and C) still awake.
But all these things seem to be true.
Postopolis kicks off today, and tonite I’m playing WILDNESS. BOTH EVENTS ARE FREE, LA.
Today’s ‘Postopolis pick’ is Fritz “Edible Estates” Haeg, who will be our very first speaker, at 5pm. Fritz’s long story made frightfully short: imagine if American lawns were transformed into food-bearing community gardens?
him & more… to come.
Then from 10pm-2am. join us @ Wildness! myself, Tammie Brown, and the Wildness crew @ SILVER PLATTER 2700 W. 7TH. They say: “Wildness is a self sustaining event. our mission is to invent new ways of visualizing, physically experiencing, and talking about complex identity politics that surround our queer lived experience through late night art-making and party having.” free forever libre para siempre