NYC Radio airwave sweep, Sunday Sept. 14th.
here’s the first selection. Think about this recording in situ: three days after the September 11th commemorations (most visibly, the twin spotlights in the sky marking the World Trade Center’s absence with their enormous shafts of white-blue light, often framed with Olafur Eliasson’s waterfalls in sight – waterfalls which, lovely though they may be, intimate some large dysfunction: impossible waters, the urban landscape disobeying natural law, and then you see that the stated purpose is that of aiding gentrification and tourism, another kind of ending) on an ominously hot and humid mid-September eve, with the commentor talking nonstop about the end of the world, asking you to contemplate it, call us and tell us what you’d do if the world ended tomorrow.
Then he plays a chilling autotune minor-key violence anthem from the hornets’ nest that is Kingston Jamaica, in a post-hurricane Carribbean (there are also commercials asking for aid to Haiti). This Mavado-inspired tune cuts immediately to a Wal-Mart advertisement (“save money, live better: it’s Wal-Mart!”). One type of destruction sells itself attached to another. Adjacency is aid, which is another way of saying that on corporate NYC radio, Wal-Mart ads and Mavado darkness come to us wrapped in the same blanket. The space that is radio here = the system where these things intertwine. So I think to myself: this is what – and how – capitalism sounds like. This music is, to me, incredible; Mavado has hit a nerve, and he and his followers keeping hitting it… And when a station like Hot 97 asks you to call in, they want listener feedback, they want marketing demographic information, that are externalizing the city’s nervous system as they simultaneously hotwire it with the bizarre combination of advertisements (for: usurious ‘debt relief’, the military, used-car pickup, concerts, etc) alongside the latest entertainment offerings from record labels who can afford payola in today’s hemorrhaging (music) economy, palming it on us as populist, which it is, but skewed more towards top-down than ground-up.
After Wal-Mart comes Yankee B’s amazing live performance of Christian dancehall with a strong anti-materialist stance, rhetorically executed so it sounds just like the badman chat it condemns. I’m tempted to get (more) Jamesonian but let’s put that elegant thinker and awkward writer on pause and listen to the radio, which I recorded with my cheap Chinese mp3 (and Ogg, FLAC, etc) player:[audio:nyc_radio_2008-08-16_20h48m40.mp3]
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this next section is notable for 2 reasons: the first piece, about teenage mothers, is the quietest I’ve ever heard Hot 97 – a whole five minutes with just women speaking, without any background music!(in a weird way we may have Palin to thank) Then, its Di Genius, Mavado (singing “we shall overcome”) & others over new Stephen MacGregor.[audio:nyc_radio_2008-08-16.mp3]