matoub lounes4

“We had to give up Berber and reject French. I said no! I played hooky in all my Arabic classes. Every class that I missed was an act of resistance, a slice of liberty conquered. My rejection was voluntary and purposeful.” – Matoub Lounès


Matoub Lounes – Attan Ne Mmi

Oud, percussion, lyrics in a language holding fire underneath its tongue. His life work, soaked in lethal politics. We can start the journey by saying: auto-tune-free Berber freedom music.

the metadata for this album ZIP includes a Matoub Lounes facebook page.


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Elsewhere, Mike Davis reminds us that the swine flu issue is not a problem based in Mexico City, but one flowing from places like Tar Heel, N.C. or Milford, Utah – agribiz USA corporate farms and their foreign outposts. “Capitalism and the Flu“.

Although the Mexicans were the first to make songs about it.


four blogs to keep you busy:

Musik Line

When Crofton told me about his new online ‘journal’ I thought — just say it, say ‘blog’! Yet it turns out he’s won the right to call it journal: long, bibliographically-enhanced pieces on stuff like tarantism, gnawa & black diaspora, and creaky Moroccan folk music! “dedicated to sound system culture and to African, Caribbean and other music.”

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Ongaku Club

A person in Brooklyn talks to a person in Japan, music blog as close conversation. I’m pleased to note that CUMBIA is their biggest tag.

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S Dot X

Spoek Mathambo is my favorite African rapper/cryptozoologist. This is his ALL CAPS BLOG. You’ll find mixes (like the excellent new installment of H.I.V.I.P. series, Devil House Mafia 2), pictures, and youtubery.


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Gravity’s Ra1nbow (en español)

out of Mexico City, mp3s accompanied by thematically related prose poems and photos. I like the impulse to not explain or describe the music in any direct sense (the music is already there, ‘right click to download’). I don’t download the mp3s, or I do but I forget to listen to them, but I like this blog nevertheless.


Quickie translation of the post w/ Deerhunter’s “Nothing Ever Happened”

Tomorrow we’ll leave the city on a highway that nobody knows, that’s empty because nobody knows it, and because it’s empty we can go as fast as we want — we always can, but whatever. 150 MPH in a twisted car. Doesn’t matter: there was never anything here. We’ll go from one extreme to another; before and after there’s a place full of stuff where nobody fits. But what do I know. Only speed and the night and the dead world know anything, they’ll tell us that until we stick our heads out into the deafening wind.

Here’s a nice visual essay he put together around an MP3 I unleashed by La Vagancia.




The train ride out to Bard College is lovely – green things everywhere! water! So the conference happening there this weekend may be worth your while (perhaps especially if you have a car…)

Confronting the ‘Race Doesn’t Matter!’ Moment: Rethinking Race after Obama.

I’ll be participating, alongside folks like Binyvanga ‘How To Write About Africa‘ Wainaina, and the Increasingly Famous Kalup Linzy. The event is only on facebook right now, so here’s the info:

Keynote Speaker: Kendall Thomas, Director of the Columbia University Center for Law and Culture


RECEPTION with complimentary lunch for conference attendees (Salvadorean, Indian, Jamaican)

KEYNOTE SPEECH and Q&A with Kendall Thomas

PANEL: Pop Culture, Politics, and the Personal: Confronting the “Race Doesn’t Matter!” Moment

(Kalup Linzy, DJ Rupture, Otis Gaddis Kendall Thomas, Baratunde Thurston, Lara Stapleton, Greta Edwards, Carmen Oquendo-Villar )

DINNER (requires complimentary conference ticket)

PANEL: Race After the “Post-Racial”: De Facto vs. De Jure in Public Space (Law, History, Architecture)

(Jesse Shipley, Tabetha Ewing, Ashwini Sukthankar, Michael Tan, Binyavanga Wainaina , Mitch McEwen)


with Kalup Linzy, DJ Rupture, Sienna Horton, and others



Arabasque flamenco-mambo from the Dominican Republic based on a Eurovision-winning kids’ song from Spain. (Hearing a grown woman sing it removes the pedophilic overtones of the original… I’d rather be dead than plain)


Juliana O’Neal – Antes Muerta Que Sencilla

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The latest episode of XLR8R TV follows me as I dig for cumbia in San Francisco’s Mission. Video starts with a horrible ad, but the rest is fun:


Last’s night radio show went well, click here to stream via WFMU’s great flash player, other listening options here.

& look for the Wire’s current issue –


it contains an essay on Lima, Peru — Polvos Azules bootleg mall and the cumbia scene — jointly written by Sonido Martines and myself.

Why American Noir Is So Fantastic


Gregory Whitehead

The fact is, in order to build our perpetually shining City On A Hill, we have created one bewildering blood bath after another, with the killing invariably executed in the name of God, for we are nothing if not righteous. That is our psychic core. What sort of radio casts forth from such a dark idealism? And what sort of radio casts forth when events force us, without warning, to face our bewilderment?

Consider the case of world famous hedge fund manager Sir Harry Hammersmith. In the summer of 2007, he announces a legacy gift of one billion dollars to his Alma Mater, an elite private college south of Boston called Plymouth Mather. He plans to deliver the fabulous gift in person, arriving by parachute to land at the dead center of the college quad.

Local dignitaries and the global media gather at the appointed hour. Harry does indeed fall from the sky, but there are a few little glitches: he has no parachute; he is stark naked; and he has no head. Within minutes of his body striking the turf, global markets crash, and the world plummets into the Greatest Depression.

– from Let Us Lay on Splendid Nights


On Tuesday May 12, Barcelona’s heavyweight SONAR electronic music festival arrives for a FREE one-off night here in New York City — first of its kind! Performers include myself, Prefuse 73, Beans and a bunch of friends from Barcelona… gratis but you need to sign-up.

SONAR NYC is part of the monthlong Catalan Days festival, which kicks off today.


& I’ve got a Brooklyn gig before that as well – Friday May 1st, I’ll DJ an Agriculture edition of the long-running Bunker party. It goes down in Brooklyn’s Public Assembly. Quite looking forward to see Raz ‘Badawi’ Mesinai live, haven’t caught a set of his in awhile.



Nicolas Bourriaud’s Post Production book (the follow-up to Relational Aesthetics), is online as PDF. Excerpt from intro:

These artists who insert their own work into that of others contribute to the eradication of the traditional distinction between production and consumption, creation and copy, readymade and original work. The material they manipulate is no longer primary. It is no longer a matter of elaborating a form on the basis of a raw material but working with objects that are already in circulation on the cultural market, which is to say, objects already informed by other objects. Notions of originality (being at the origin of) and even of creation (making something from nothing) are slowly blurred in this new cultural landscape marked by the twin figures of the DJ and the programmer, both of whom have the task of selecting cultural objects and inserting them into new contexts.

It’s fascinating to hear an art guy thinking through DJ culture, although, like so many of these texts, Duchamp presides over it all as if the blurry emergent (post-postmodern?) cultural mush of recent years needs a stately father figure. It doesn’t. We don’t.

Elsewhere, Claire Bishop offers a rich critique of Bourriaud: Antagonism and Relational Aesthetics (PDF). On a basic level, her PDF is better because it contains pictures. And a nuanced support of Mexico-based Spanish artist Santiago Sierra, whose works make me think:

sierra img lg7

[Santiago Sierra – Line Tattooed on Six Paid People]

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in NYC post-Postopolis news:

Geoff Manaugh of BLDGBLOG is speaking this evening at the School of Visual Arts in Manhattan, 6pm, free. Which dovetails nicely with the opening reception of a new exhibit at Storefront for Art & Architecture @ 7:30pm.

Geoff talks fast – noticeably faster than most West Coasters – because he’s got volumes of impressive information and speculation to convey. He says:

The title of the lecture is a bit heavy-handed, but it’s called “Designing the Post-Terrestrial.” Expect everything from Native American mound builders to applied geosynthetics to the architecture of Vicente Guallart, by way of weather control during the Beijing Olympics, muon detectors in the rain forest, and Viking archaeology.