FILASTINE FREQUENCIES

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Grey Filastine spent the holiday season doing an incredible DIY tour of Indonesia. Better yet, he’s writing about it (rather eloquently), posting video and photos — in short, Filastine has started a blog, and it looks to be a good one: Filastine Frequency.

here are 2 dreamy floaty tracks from his Burn It album

(buyable: eMusic | Amazon | iTunes US , UK)

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Filastine – Palmares

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Filastine – Ja Helo

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FETISHISM IS SO VAGUE

Plan B just published the full text from interview I did for a short feature about the role of the internet in the work of artists/labels releasing “outernational” music. I’m glad they upped the entire interview.

Here’s an excerpt. [full text]

Plan B: People also talk of the “fetishization” of non-Western music by Western listeners…

“I don’t care what ‘Westerners’ fetishize. They’ve been fetishizing black people for centuries now, who cares? You simply exist in all your complexity and let them deal with it. Fetishism is so vague. I care a lot when Westerners rip off non-Western musicians, even by rendering them anonymous like Sublime Frequencies often does, but random concepts of fetishization don’t really mean much. It’s almost too abstract to matter.

“Musicians like getting paid to play, they like getting credited for their work, and if they’re singing or rapping, they want you listen to their words. It’s simple. I think Western fetishization is an awesome thing if it means, say, more African bands can travel and make a living outside of their home countries. Who’s to say what’s the difference between fetishization and interest? How many kids fetishize Bjork or Radiohead? Is use of the term “fetish” racist in and of itself, would you just be talking about ‘fans’ if it were Western bands?”

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OK. Time for a song about an elephant.

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Ray Barretto – O Elefante (SHH remix)

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CONTEMPLATION OF ACTION

 

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[image: R. Alkadhi]


Amid loose gravel and stray shoes, stains and rubbish, Action sees a grid parsing an Iraq in miniature. Within that microcosm, people wander around as if in a daze, pointing, staring, contemplating in silent disbelief. Action observes these miniature people, some of whom may in turn bend down to study the atrocities on the ground below them. – Rheim Alkadhi, Contemplation of Action

& memories pried from decades-old shellac give rise to an equally real & mythopoetic Baghdad as the one Rheim documents

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Kementchedji Alecco – Taqsim

from Give Me Love: Songs of the Brokenhearted – Baghdad 1925-1929. This article opens a window on this music. In a short time a city can swing from open to closed, from something fluid & made of multiples to occupied, divided, entrenched. What awaits us?

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edit: Rheim just directed my attention towards this excellent post, which has more Iraqi shellac and explains why the Honest Jon’s comp sounds so good:
“For those who are wondering, 78rpm masters have shockingly less surface noise than the final product, the mass-produced gramophone record copy of the master, which often contained loads of garbage, or filler, along with the shellac – Paramount Records used sand and cement in their mix, for instance, making virtually all of their records sound like crap. . . Very few companies exist which still have accessible masters or clean file copies of their original 78s, much less are willing to work with a small label for a release.”

COLUMBUS ON HOLD

Columbus, a man of action and intelligence, did not court frivolity. One hand directed Johan to keep swabbing the deck while the other pushed buttons on a tiny Korean phone that didn’t need recharging.

“You said the boat would run on biodiesel!” he shouted into the mobile. A starboard breeze brought tears to his clear blue eyes. At times like these the infinite ocean around him felt like the edges of his mind. Any thought was possible, but everything looked the same in every direction. Canvas sails creaked in the wind. The crew – mostly illiterate – had begun to vandalize the sails with crude drawings of genitalia and caricatures of their captain. The doldrums made everybody restless. The corn oil wasn’t working. And the possibility that he had he been swindled out of all that royal gold filled Columbus with rancor, which in turn exacerbated his heartburn.

“How do you expect me to reach India if my ship has no fucking fuel!?” It was a legitimate question. Rebecca Stead, a sallow-faced English girl staffing Eco-Go’s Bangalore call center two days a week to support her outrageous heroin hobby, didn’t know how to respond. She pushed a yellow button and quietly cradled the phone on its receiver. Eco-Go BioSolutions couldn’t afford wireless headsets yet – at least not for their sales representatives. But the pay was okay. Ten thousand leagues away tinny music poured out of the phone. Rebecca sighed, requested a bathroom break, and went to snort a line. Needles mean habit. This was a hobby.

In the perfumed Iberian courts everything had seemed so easy. Too easy thought Columbus bitterly. Look at him! Columbus stood stranded in the middle of an unknown ocean populated by monsters and mermaids and mannish seals with humanoid chest hair that sang like castratti, unable to control his crew, sick of tuna casserole and vitamin C tabs and dried cod, lugging around 200000 litres of potentially useless corn oil. On hold.

CHARTRES-TOPPER

in addition the 2nd day of Musique Action tonite, a last-minute Rupture solo DJ set will go down in Chartes (Orleans) tomorrow, and I’ll rejoin The Ex + Getatchew Saturday in Kortrijk, Belgium.

Outside our hotel there’s a Turkish restaurant where they’re listening to music on the room speakers & simultaneously blasting saz pieces from laptop’s YouTube link.

Expect more polyrhythm/cacaophony as our attention spans shatter along digital fault-lines.

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havent had time to listen, but: new Boy Better Know mixtape, as blogged by Prancehall, who also knows.

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the cumbia bug is infectious! Time to release more spores:

Afrosound – Ponchito de Colores

I’ve got multiple versions of this song, here’s the weirdest one– whoop whoop, plus someone quacks the bassline. This version is by Afrsound (thanks Sonido). All the others are from Ecuator. At this moment, a stronger blogger could resist the urge for ‘cute alpaca foto’…

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…as it’s downright SUMMERY in France, time for a romantic cumbia sonidera from the kung-fu-influenced Mexican-Peruvian Grupo Ginnsu outta NUEVA YORK, with wah on the guitar. (Ginnsu’s website is noisy but kinda crazy.)

Grupo Ginnsu – Cumbia de los Patos

(“Ducks’ cumbia”? am i missing something?)

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KNOWN UNKNOWNS

Greg on Sublime Frequencies, Diplo, and The Anonymous as Exotic.

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speaking of anonymizers, here’s a lovely 9-minute Berber pop tune released on the Reve d’Orient label’s ‘real’ 3 CD set with no tracklist or artist info on it (in any language).

Mudd Unknown – track 1 from Les Maitres de la Chanson Amazigh vol. 1

the artist is either Agouray or Baha Lahssen or Dujella Hassan or Mustafa Ouaadou.

i have reason to believe that WILEY KAT is the opposite of anonymous (thanks Lamin!):

GLOBALISTAS PERIFERICOS

An article on global ghettotech just appeared in Folha de Sao Paolo, Brazil’s largest newspaper. Journalist Camilo Rocha interviewed myself and several friends for it. Below is the full text of my interview.

. . . . . .

Folha: DJ RUPTURE, Sum up your musical mission.

that’s your job

 

F: What made you pay attention to music outside Western culture?

about 15 years ago I heard some Moroccan music and it was incredible. I’ve been listening to it ever since.

 

F: How do you see the popularization of what Wayne&Wax called “global ghettotech”? Why has there been so much exposure and interest for these types of sounds?

The exposure and interest is overrated. ‘Global ghettotech’ club nights are a minority, it is just a few individuals in a few cities doing it. What has changed is the access — via blogs and wikipedia, a lot of music is suddenly easier to access for people removed geographically from where it gets made. This amplifies the connections and influences, but it simultaneously amplifies and reproduces mistranslations, errors, and power imbalances.

F: How is the acceptance in America for your kind of musical approach?

right now not a lot of people have the musical views that I do. but things change. My mixtape ‘Gold Teeth Thief’ opened up a lot of doors for people, fans constantly tell me that it changed that way they thought about music and mixing, which of course makes me very pleased.

F: You have done a few tracks with a middle-eastern influences. Where have you travelled in that area?

Maghrebi culture is in Europe. It is also in the Maghrebi, but I’ve spent far more time in Maghrebi spaces and situations within southern Europe than in north Africa itself. The music flows through geographic borders.

F: Any peculiar stories about your music-researching travels? Weird or dangerous incidents?

yes.

 

F: A lot of ghetto music bypasses copyright as it is commonly made on pirated software and samples freely. Meanwhile, you defended Oink on your blog for providing good quality free music and comparing it to a library. Do you think we are going in an inevitable direction, where music will become free? Will that be a good thing and why? Should music have a price? Do you manage to make any money selling records?

Free access to quality information is a wonderful thing. And so is artists being able to live from their creations. It’s a strange time now, lots of economic models are melting.

 

F: You seem to have a strong social concern and awareness. Do you sometimes feel there should be more political lyrics in global ghetto music (I’m thinking of Rio funk, reggaeton, kuduro and kwaito which are largely sexual and/or party-oriented)?

Sometimes you need music to be a kind of escape, sometimes you need songs of love. It’s a silly idea to think that vocalists should somehow also be political leaders.

The fear that the “natives'” music is too sexual, too crude is at least 300 years old, if not older…

It is precisely _because_ I have a strong social concern and awareness that I don’t place too much importance on the lyrical content of music.

If you want to talk politics, follow the money. If you want to talk politics in music, follow the distribution, see who benefits from what.

Imagine a ‘socially-conscious’ funk carioca hit… owned by a Westerner who profits from it while the artist gets underpaid. The song appears to be good & politically just, but it is simply an extension of an old colonial relationship. So examining lyrics won’t answer any questions of power.

 

F: Do you perhaps feel that these musics could have more of a commitment to change or denounce their situation (if you think they do promote some kind of social change, please explain why)?

The way in which music creates social change has nothing to do with the lyrics. It has everything to do with the spaces that the culture surrounding the music creates. Certain musical scenes bring together different parts of society and allow for new social possibilities. This is rare, but it can happen. Other scenes *reduce* the chance that various people will mix and share ideas.

What new stuff (styles/artists/producers) have you discovered recently that has really impressed you?

I’m discovering the world of cumbia — there are multiple fascinating cumbia scenes past & present, it’s incredible. Also, reggada, and some Algerian chaabi and Kabyle music.

WE WOULD ALL BE LIVING IN CAVES

Wayne’s been quiet as of late, which makes his recent piece on nu world music all the more welcome. i voice my preliminary response in the comments, and will flesh things out more fully here no doubt…

a few weeks ago Andy sent me this wonderful, thought-provoking interview with John Storm Roberts, founder of the Original Music label and author of Black Music of Two Worlds and The Latin Tinge.

Interviewed twenty years ago, Roberts’ thoughts remain freshly relevant to the discussion Wayne has sparked. some excerpts:

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YOU’VE TALKED ABOUT THE INFLUENCE OF AMERICAN AND CUBAN MUSIC ON AFRICAN MUSIC. IN YOUR CATALOG, YOU TALK ABOUT ‘BLAND SYNTHESIZED AFRO-POP.’ DO YOU THINK MUSICAL CROSS-POLLENIZATION IS A BAD THING THEN?

Absolutely not. All music is cross-pollenized. With the stuff I was studying, the African pop music which I was writing about very enthusiastically, the term in those days, which was said with a shudder of good taste, was ‘westernized.’ Nobody complains that African music is ‘Arab-ized.’ It just happened earlier. Is it OK because it happened a hundred years ago but it’s not OK because it happened 30 years ago? I mean, there are legitimate though unfounded fears. It’s been said to me ‘It’s not the fact that westernization is good or bad but that the Arabization of African music happened over a longer period.’ The enormous amount available of foreign culture is the problem. It’s like a tidal wave versus the tide coming in.

But the thing is that this is overstated. Firstly, in most countries, there’s far more local music going on than people realize. Also, there’s this kind of well meaning neo-colonialism. People who fear for foreign cultures, certainly big cultures, are really kind of neo-colonialists. The implication is that these are poor, weak and therefore second-rate cultures and because they’re so weak, anything that happens to them will cause them to disappear. In point of fact, there were many Ghanaians that were worried that highlife was being killed by Congolese music. What was happening was that it was fashionable and the guitarists were borrowing licks but they were still also playing highlife. In 1970, I was told that James Brown was killing highlife dead. James Brown was hugely popular. But highlife was still going strong. It was just another influence. Fads and fancies come along all the time. For a while, it seems to be everywhere- the bands are playing the music and the kids are wearing the T-shirts. But it doesn’t last long. The original music just goes on.

Musicians pinch from everywhere. It’s true that the real small cultures have tended to disappear but they always have. The Latin culture that people are proud of is the result of various other cultures not only mixing but also blending into it. My own culture, the Scottish music and Celtic singing styles, are thought to be the remains of English music with strong middle-eastern influences. Most of the music that people think of as traditional Italian or whatever now was a new style that grew up in the nineteenth century that pushed out something else from earlier. We would all be living in caves if things didn’t change. Some things disappear and it’s a balance.

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WHAT DO THINK ABOUT THE POPULARITY OF ‘WORLD MUSIC’ IN THE LAST FIVE OR TEN YEARS?

It’s only become mildly more popular. When you can figure out why towns in this country now have Thai restaurants which 20 years ago would probably have regarded the pizzeria as the most exotic restaurant in town, I’ll tell you why world music is more popular. I think it’s just that the extremely provincial American outlook is beginning to change at all sorts of level. You’ve got to remember that from the point of view of someone who’s come here from elsewhere, this is a very isolated as well as a very large country with a little bit of trickle of Canada at the top (which seems like a 51st state to most Americans anyway) and Mexico at the bottom of it (which is still for most Americans just a place to go for honeymoons). As far as any personal experience is concerned, the fact of the matter is that this is a huge and isolated country. Americans are as isolated as the Tajiks, in fact more isolated because the Tajiks are in the middle of large numbers of cultures even if they’re not cultures we know.

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WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THE ROLE OF MUSIC IN AMERICAN CULTURE AS OPPOSED TO IT’S ROLE IN OTHER CULTURES?

It’s a tricky question. Music is an integral part of African culture and is used in ways that it isn’t used in the States. It’s more interesting that it’s more activity-related. There is bed-wetting music as well as putting-baby-to-sleep music in some countries. It’s possible that as Western societies have become less communal, the thing has changed. There are a lot of aspects of music that people don’t know the background of. Call and response singing was far more common in Europe than is now because things were done differently. When people were farming by hand, they sang call and response songs. But there are certain differences. The mass in Roman Catholicism remains a valid mass even if there is no music. You cannot have a valid Santeria ceremony without the appropriate rhythms because the gods will not come without the right rhythms.

the whole interview is quite fresh, and Andy informs me that the LPs Roberts put out are amazing… In an unintended nob to Andy (whose band works closely with a number of Ethiopian musicians), Waxidermy hosts an Alemayehu Eshete tune from Authentic’s early catalog (Roberts later changed the name to Original).