JIBAL AL NUBA – from Minesweeper to Alsarah


I’m not entirely sure why French producer Débruit gets top billing in this new project, since Khartoum-born, Brooklyn-based vocalist Alsarah sings in Sudanese over his interpretations of melodies and rhythms from her homeland, such as this lovely song “Jibal Al Nuba”, which you may have first heard sung by Mahmoud Fadl’s chorus in the opening track of my Minesweeper Suite mix way back in 2002, before the internet was invented.

Although the title translates as “The Mountains of Nuba,” their video confuses with its volcanic rock & lips AfterEffects melange — weirdly reminiscence of Shelley Jackson’s ‘mouth objects‘. That said, Alsarah’s rendition of the Nubian traditional is an unmitigated joy. It’s from their new album on Soundway, Aljawal الجوال .

NORTE SONORO EP 2 – Tijuana Edition

Norte Sonoro EP 2 Tijuana
Last November I invited a half dozen incredible musicians to Tijuana, Mexico to participate in the second edition of Norte Sonoro. Now you can watch a mini-documentary about the project and stream/download the songs produced. Here’s the English-language writeup, y aqui lo tienes en Espanol.
They say:

Mexico’s musical landscape is fascinating, from the emerging proposals that have traveled the (virtual and physical) world, going through the traditional music and sounds of our country. Nowadays is inevitable to keep it away from the cultural hybridization, and actually under that premise –and context– is that Norte Sonoro emerges in 2011… In 2012 the idea moved, under the same premises, to the city of Tijuana with the particularity of a border town such as this and making sure the artists not only explored the city through its music, but also contextualizing it with its traditional food and corners, and of course by its divisions and contrasts. DJ Rupture selected Cardopusher (Venezuela/Spain), Poirier (Canada), Psilosamples (Brazil), Sun Araw (USA) and Venus X (USA) to participate in this project. And we also had Los Macuanos (Mexico) to choose the local corrido sierreño, cantos indígenas, banda sinaloense and movimiento alterado sounds, interpreted by Grupo Estrella Brillante, Fuerza Nueva and Banda Agua Caliente.

RUPTURE & YTO BARRADA @ THE WALKER ART CENTER

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In conjunction with the exhibition An Album: Cinematheque Tangier, join artist/filmmaker Yto Barrada and special guest DJ Rupture, referred to as “a thoughtful pipeline for music from countless distant and obscure outposts” (New York Times), for an evening filled with the music and movies of North Africa. Cash bar.
Free. November 21, 2013. 6 – 9 pm. Walker Art Center, Burnet Gallery

YES MINNEAPOLIS! I’LL BE SPINNING LOTS OF EXTRA NICE MUSIC FROM NORTH AFRICA & IT’S FREE & YTO’S AWESOME SO SEE YOU THERE YES.

THIS VIDEO DOCUMENTS A CONCERT I STAGED IN THE TANGIER MEDINA, RIGHT OUTSIDE YTO’S CINEMATHEQUE. MZIEN! IFULKI! <3 MAROC.

MUDD UP BOOK CLUBB: Iris Murdoch, Paco Ignacio Taibo II, Subcomandante Marcos

under-the-net

Dear Winternet, I have been remiss in letting you know what we’ve been up to at the Mudd Up Book Clubb. Back in June, we read Iris Murdoch‘s first novel, Under The Net (1954). I stumbled across this at the impossible bookshop, and picked it up on the strength of its first page (“I find it hard to explain to people about Finn. He isn’t exactly my servant. He seems often more like my manager. Sometimes I support him, and sometimes he supports me; it depends. It’s somehow clear that we aren’t equals”). Continue reading

EINE KLEINE NACHTMUSIK: Ramadan edition

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Jerusalem In My Heart – 3andalib Al-Furat
From the album Mo7it Al-Mo7it.

Literally, 3andalib Al-Furat means Nightingale of the Euphrates… spoiler alert — birdsong makes a lovely appearance here. Nighttime mood.

Welcome to Eine Kliene Nachtmusik: Ramadan edition.

PS1 future talk & New Inquiry summer fete

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On Thursday June 27th, I’ll be speaking at MoMA PS1, “on inexpensive time-travel devices and how the future might not exist.” With nice musical & visual examples. The event happens at 4pm and will be streaming from the clouds. For a warmup, check out my recent Frieze essay on Aztec-inspired ideas of cyclical time in new Mexican music.

Prior to that, at 2pm, I’m leading an open discussion about Ted Chiang’s wonderful short story, “The Story of Your Life,” accompanied by Triple Canopy editor Dan Visel.

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On Saturday June 29th, I’m DJing New Inquiry’s summer benefit! This will be my last NYC dj gig for a season or two, and I’m glad to spend it supporting Rachel & her band of braniacs. The event is sold out, although there’s a wait list for the more generous ticket range. Your money pays their writers. ‘Nuff said.

PERFORMA: LOUDSPEAKER – MAY 17

Auto-Tune Matriarch Cher, age 13
[Auto-Tune matriarch Cher, age 13]

On Friday May 17th, I will be speaking at Performa’s LOUDSPEAKER: A Symposium on the Voice. I will discuss Auto-Tune — check my 2009 Frieze essay — as well as Gbadu and the Moirai Index, my upcoming performance for four vocalists and the stock market. LOUDSPEAKER is free with email reservation.

They say:

An Experimental Event on the voice in contemporary performance featuring artists and musicians Joan La Barbara, Jace Clayton, Florian Hecker, and Alex Waterman.

Friday, May 17, 2013
4:00 – 6:30 pm

The Cooper Union
Frederick P. Rose Auditorium
41 Cooper Square
New York City

Free admission with reservation, rsvp@performa-arts.org

more info

MUDD UP BOOK CLUBB: The Loser by Thomas Bernhard & “The Loser” by Gay Talese

Last Mudd Up Book Clubb, the Naked Singularity meetup, was a great one, as Sergio De La Pava and his wife made a gracious appearance. Sergio was a passionate, funny, and generous guest, sharing insights which made our experience of his excellent novel even better. There was discussion of moral concern, conservatism of the publishing industry, drunk Russians wrestling bears and the plight of the farmers, what trials really read like and lots more, including Lee Ann’s homemade cardamom & pistachio bread. Delicious.

And now, as Endless Winter reluctantly starts to consider Spring — and now that I’ve got my personal piano month out of the way– we turn to our favorite hilarity-inducing Austrian misanthrope, rhythm master, one-paragraph-book-writer par excellence and italicist of exquisite conviction: Thomas Bernhard!
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shirtless Thomas Bernhard, our favorite Austrian misantrope hilarity man

On Sunday June 2, we’re meeting in Manhattan to discuss a splendid pair of losers — Thomas Bernhard’s 1983 novel The Loser, about Glenn Gould and two failed virtuoso pianists, and Gay Talese’s 1964 Esquire essay “The Loser”, about boxer Floyd Patterson. Talese published 37 articles on Patterson — THIRTY SEVEN! — which makes him arguably as obsessive as Bernhard’s unnamed narrator.

This inspired pairing comes courtesy of clubber Brad. The Talese is collected in his Silent Season of a Hero (along with 7 other Floyd Patterson pieces). If you’d like to join the Mudd Up Book Clubb, you can sign-up – please read the fine print there, especially since we’re near/beyond capacity, OK? OK.

& remember: be the Steinway, not the person playing the Steinway

Thomas Bernhard - The Loser "be the Steinway"

& here’s the Mudd Up Book Clubb reading list in reverse chronological order:

Sergio De La Pava, A Naked Singularity

Shelley Jackson, “A Report on Certain Curious Objects, Believed to Be Words in an Unknown Language of the Dead”

Rita Indiana Hernandez, Papi

G. Willow Wilson, Alif, The Unseen

Michal Ajvaz, The Other City

Carmen Laforet, Nada

Patrik Ouředník, Europeana

Nalo Hopkinson, Midnight Robber

Michael Taussig, My Cocaine Museum

Tatyana Tolystaya, The Slynx

Augusto Moterroso, Mister Taylor

Vladimir Sorokin, Ice Trilogy

Lauren Beukes, Zoo City

Samuel R. Delany, Times Square Red, Times Square Blue

Juan Goytisolo, Exiled from Everywhere

Cesar Aira, How I Became a Nun

Maureen F. McHugh, Nekropolis

MUDD UP BOOK CLUBB: DE LA PAVA’S ‘A NAKED SINGULARITY’

It’s true: the Mudd Up Book Clubb lives increasingly offline, but these posts form a useful public record, tracks in the mud, if you will – so here we go:

Sergio De La Pava - A Naked Singularity

This Sunday, April 28th, we’re meeting to discuss Sergio De La Pava’s wonderful, humane, laugh-out-loud funny, 689 page novel involving a public defender in New York City: A Naked Singularity (2008 ex libris, 2012 U Chicago Press). The opening chapter is a thing of wonder – try it and you’ll be hooked.

Book clubber Dan put me on to this; I recommend his thoughtful review from back when it was self-published. Dan writes:

“while the book is long, it’s never imposing. . . This is a book deeply concerned with the preterite: those who don’t have the resources to get themselves represented by others. It’s refreshing to find a recent New York novel that doesn’t bother to mention Williamsburg or Park Slope; the Upper East Side or Upper West Side might be mentioned in passing, but the Village, the East Village, Chelsea, the Lower East Side, the neighborhoods of New York that are seen in movies and literary fiction are absent from this book. There’s plenty left over; but we don’t usually read this. And this also stands out in that it’s a novel of work: Casi is a public defender, and spends most of his time at his job. The job isn’t lionized here: the protagonist is actively trying to be a good man, but he is decidedly not a hero by virtue of his work alone: the other occupants of his office are noticeably flawed, as he is. . .I’m also struck by how the book, comical as it often is, never has recourse to anything resembling magical realism.”

Also, boxing.

Sergio De La Pava

Sergio De La Pava

So! A Naked Singularity. Sunday. Book Clubb. Next up: sweet dumpling Thomas Bernhard. Stay muddy.

Here’s the Mudd Up Book Clubb reading list (you join by recommending a book, although we are somewhat full…) in reverse chronological order:

Rita Indiana Hernandez, Papi

Shelley Jackson, “A Report on Certain Curious Objects, Believed to Be Words in an Unknown Language of the Dead”

G. Willow Wilson, Alif, The Unseen

Michal Ajvaz, The Other City

Carmen Laforet, Nada

Patrik Ouředník, Europeana

Nalo Hopkinson, Midnight Robber

Michael Taussig, My Cocaine Museum

Tatyana Tolystaya, The Slynx

Augusto Moterroso, Mister Taylor

Vladimir Sorokin, Ice Trilogy

Lauren Beukes, Zoo City

Samuel R. Delany, Times Square Red, Times Square Blue

Juan Goytisolo, Exiled from Everywhere

Cesar Aira, How I Became a Nun

Maureen F. McHugh, Nekropolis