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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]



In this young new global underground dance whatever scene we’re in I think that we really need to make sure that if we’re gonna engage in a style that we’re doing it on all levels, not just formal (wow this beat pattern is great, I’m gonna put my euro synth bass on it and call it ‘global-fusion’) but on the levels of slang, culture, meaning, people, relationships, beef and history. And some may say: “But it’s too much work to learn all these languages, and I’m on the other side of the world and blee blah bleh” well then I’d say either make some friends who can teach you or maybe you should focus in on something that you can understand and try to develop some depth in it. Basically, not being a tourist is hard work but I think, worth it.Matt Shadetek


There’s a heavy backend to this post – the role of reggae & reggae signifiers in South America, breakcore guys bringing their swagger and bruised complexity to dubstep production, the new clutch of ‘breakstep’ musicians in Barcelona, crunk synths as the new Amen break, my softcore style, etc etc – but it’s late.

I discovered this Cardopusher album (“Unity Means Power”) when the Japanese label, Murder Channel, wrote me asking for a blurb. Half of it is standard breakcore but when Señor Pusher bends the formula wow happens, such as this jam, crunked out breakstep so good that I don’t mind that it’s soaked in token Jamaican ragga vocal samples. They don’t bother me at all which is strange since my tolerance for that sort of bumbaclott thing, these days, is low. Scud’s “Total Destruction” was released a decade ago, after all.

Last time I was in Bcn with Cauto & co., Cardopusher had recently moved there (from Caracas, Venezuela) but it was late then too, so we didn’t meet up.


Cardopusher – Gaan A Bed



The real story, which we have grown unaccustomed to, is chemically free of explanation. . . . The story is always about something unexplainable. The art of narration declines as explanations are added. -Aira


[César Aira]

back in Yanquistan! MuddUp now resumes its irregular service

big thanks for MuddUp reader Thraiped, who commented “I’m sort of obsessed with César Aira, Argentinian, ridiculously prolific… Most of his stuff is short – I recommend Como me Hice Monja (translated as How I Became a Nun) as a place to start.”

Thraiped’s obsession is now my own, Aira is amazing… and painfully undertranslated. Since this recommendation i’ve worked my way through El Pequeno Monje Buddhista, Las Noches de Flores, and Como Me Hice Monja. All great, surprising, and a fair amount unlike each other.

here’s a bit from this interview, in hasty muddy translation: “The meaning of the word ‘novel’ has expanded so much that it’s ideal in terms of freedom. It doesn’t occur to me to write anything else. I don’t like short story (as a form) because it depends too much on quality; if it’s not good, it doesn’t work. On the other hand, in the novel you can appreciate other things beside the author’s virtuosity, it’s a more relaxed form, let allows for changes of idea, regrets, asymmetries, sinous paths that I think adapt themselves better to my imagination.”

& an excerpt from a nice essay: “El vanguardista crea un procedimiento propio, un canon propio, un modo individual de recomenzar desde cero el trabajo del arte. Lo hace porque en su época, que es la nuestra, los procedimientos tradicionales se presentaron concluidos, ya hechos, y el trabajo del artista se desplazó de la creación de arte a la producción de obras, perdiendo algo que era esencial. Y esto no es ninguna novedad. San Agustín dijo que sólo Dios conoce el mundo, porque él lo hizo. Nosotros no, porque no lo hicimos. El arte entonces sería el intento de llegar al conocimiento a través de la construcción del objeto a conocer; ese objeto no es otro que el mundo. El mundo entendido como un lenguaje. No se trata entonces de conocer sino de actuar. Y creo que lo más sano de las vanguardias, de las que Cage es epítome, es devolver al primer plano la acción, no importa si parece frenética, lúdica, sin dirección, desinteresada de los resultados. Tiene que desinteresarse de los resultados, para seguir siendo acción. “

One has to be disinterested in the results to maintain the action.

Action! fire, gaitas, cumbia, interrupted silence:


Los Gaiteros de San Jacinto – Fuego de Cumbia

Los Gaiteros, folk but fierce, will play in Queens on August 2nd. $20/25 plus you have to go out to Queens (not easy from Brooklyn w/ no car)…


I miss NYC’s tropical months – Britain is cold and grey. Today (Friday) JD & I will be warming tings up in Belfast while bredren Maga Bo rocks New York City’s legendary @ Turntables on the Hudson, accompanied by special guest Blanquito Man pon di mic. Blanquito Man featured in Celso Pina’s cumbia-dub-crossover MEGAHIT ‘Sobre el Rio’, which appeared not only in the ‘Americans, don’t leave home!’ movie Babel, but also on every subsequent cumbia mixtape of Mexican extraction. Just the other day I was listening to one and thinking to myself, wow this is so great, they havent used ‘Sobre el Rio’, then 3 minutes later it came in… at least it gets the chopped & screwed rebajada-ed treament:

[audio:Choppaholix – Choppacumbia – Track17.mp3]

Celso Pina – Sobre El Rio (Choppaholix edit)

Maga Bo is about to release an album on Soot called Archipelagoes and its a whopper. He also bunkered up with us to produce and record several tunes on Jah Dan’s forthcoming album.

here’s the 2nd video from Archipelagoes. this tune stars all-female Dakar crew A.L.I.F. He explained the lyrics to me, i think they’re talking about how awesome they are.



Nuevo artista – ill joyous accordeon 04

i dont know, afro-colombian, this is my metadata, anything else ask Sonido Inca.

i purchased two 12″ records in London – neither with any artwork, just a cheap one-color center label in a white paper sleeve – and it cost me USD $33.

I also met with one music lawyer, whose wide-set eyes are blue and turn hypnotic when I say “this is complicated” and she says, “no, it isn’t.”

Elsewhere, Lamin “adds zest and balance“, not to mention context, to my Balla post.

Simon Sellars at Ballardian offers a great response to me asking Kode9 about J.G. Ballard on my recent radio show.

plus, moroccan/algerian fans, don’t miss last week’s show with MS Pilot’s regasba mix!

mudd up!


busy days, these…

rupture front

[DJ Rupture summer 08 mix cd cover]

I’ll be playing several UK dates starting tomorrow, accompanied by vocalist Jahdan Blakkamoore. JD’s got his debut EP out on Dutty Artz, I made a special full-length mix CD for the occasion, and all parties promise to be fun fun fun.

plus: People actually care about music in Britian, it’s crazy. I think it’s partly John Peel’s fault.

so come give a shout, tell a friend, shake it up, buy our merchandise, etc:

Wed 9th July Swansea Monkey Club

Thu 10th July London Corsica Studios

Fri 11th July Birmingham Supersonic Festival

Sat 12th July Bristol Ruffnek Diskotek @ The Croft

Wed 16th July Brighton Freebutt

Fri 18th July Belfast Diston @ The Black Box

Sat 19th July Sheffield C90 @ The Shakespeare Sun

20th July Berkshire Glade Festival

Above you see the cover of my summer mix CD (“Porque Soy Sonidero Y Voy A Muchos Lugares”) available only at live shows!! Shout to Sonido Martines & Vampiros for the cover artwork. I did this mix on Saturday, brought it to my Chinese Harlem bootleggers on Sunday, and got em back less than 24 hours later. gotta love NYC efficiency! heaps of exclusives on there too..

and here’s a picture of Jahdan wearing sunglasses and a tshirt with a picture of a man wearing sunglasses and a tshirt.

Representations of representations of representations are the new representations of representations, nah’mean?

Jahdan EP info



Kakande – Dununya (from Dununya)

nowadays, cello to balafon, Brooklyn.

and then, guitar as balafon, 1970s Guinea.

[audio:13_Balla et ses Balladins_Sakhodougou.mp3]

Balla et ses Balladins – Sakhodougou (from The Syliphone Years, buyable here or here)


You can think about a song – a good song – as a miraculous moment when all the dissonances that frame a person’s life drop out of sight long enough to see how it looks without them. So when a band you like hits that groove, sometimes all you can do is listen, because that moment will be leaving.