Belgassem Bou Genna is how the person who sent me this music spelled it, although Google suggests that Belgacem Bouguenna is the more popular transliteration in online circles. Yesterday Cex referred to this sort of thing as “unwitting faith in algorithms.” We’re in deep, aren’t we?
Actually, Cex wasn’t necessarily referring to that at all, I’m taking him out of 140-character context. He wrote: “Bieberstretches combine modern music consumer’s unwitting faith in algorithms with his need for arbitrary communal reference point.” For all I know, Cex could be talking about granular synthesis algorithms or search algorithms or both or maybe even neither. Point is, we do believe in – rely on – embrace – algorithmic faith. And that’s an interesting thing to think about.
When Googley machine-filtration shapes facts’ factuality, the retreat into tunnels and bunkers of web 3.0 may bring about a Renaissance of rumor. (Which never goes away but can flourish…). Web 2.0 is so sincere — I don’t trust it at all.
Speaking of Belgassem Bou Genna, my friend in Cairo says: “a friend of mine who met him once said he is the most chill person in the world.” I believe this to be true. His voice is beautiful. Like, Actually Filled With Beauty. He’s a kind of Tunisian Mohammed Rouicha. Belgassem, the most chill person in the world. Let’s go to Tunisia and learn more about this man and his awe-if-not-faith-inspiring music. You get the plane tickets, I’ll bring cranberry almond trail mix for the flight over.
Your favorite sweaty Slovenian writer (after Vladimir Bartol) writes: “We believe not less but much more than we imagine we believe. Benjamin was thus indeed prescient in his remark that ‘everything depends on how one believes in one’s belief.'” Indeed!
I first encountered Spoek as part of Sweat X, his duo project that I wrote about for Fader’s Africa issue [PDF] two years back. That piece involved a lively interview and allowed me to get the following sentence into print: “Spoek Mathambo is a slippery post-Apartheid glam-rap prince from Soweto who is descended from distant African royalty, or Jewish, or both.”
Since then Spoek has been making steady moves for world domination, rapping, singing, sending me emails about mythical dinosaurs that can stop the flow of a river (and concept band/videos based on same), generally manifesting polyglot amazingness in all sorts of places (Johannesburg, Stockholm, Mrs Internet, Paris, Twitter), and, finally, AMERIKKKA, the country with the best hamburgers & weapons. Although I do love the gun-fetish object on Mshini Wam’s cover:
So. We welcome him to our strange land with open arms. Fader is streaming his album for the rest of today, and we can watch these 2 videos to get some angles into Mr Mathambo’s complex musical visions… (HINT: the damaged Joy Division cover I’ve been playing out since Pitchfork festival last summer is 100% Spoek…. he’s lost control…)
Last I heard, the cost of living in Berlin was 1/4th that of New York City. Let’s think about that. You stop working in New York, buy a plane ticket, and can go there and stretch out your life for an entire season – spending roughly the equivalent of one NYC-month. True, the 1/4th thing was back when the euro was higher, but still…. Berlin exists as an alternate universe, where, despite the influx of cool tourists, the price of everything from coal-heated apartments to MDMA (so they tell me) remains very affordable. Plus it’s deliciously leafy and quiet and healthy, wide avenues and canals, if you want that. (Also: Turkish music! Let’s save that for another post.)
“Techno” famously rules within this alternate universe – one of my friends wakes up at 10am on Sundays to go dancing at one of those parties which hasn’t stopped since Friday night: she treats it as surreal morning exercise – so by playing crunked-up (non-techno) fantastic music and throwing a zuper party called Revolution no. 5 the Sick Girls are like rulers of an utopia moment within an alternate universe, which makes them superheros in our vaguely real world (and among its crowds of virtual doppelgängers). Which they are visiting tonight…
This is a roundabout way of saying: Jay-Oh, 1/2 of The Sick Girls, will be my special guest on today’s radio show. Berlin’s finest!
[Jay-Oh and someone’s sneaker]
Jay-Oh will do a live mix and talk about Berlin’s musical climate, the upcoming Sick Girls compilation album, testosterone’s impact on club microgenres, promoting events versus producing beats, and, if we’re nice, we’ll get to hear some unreleased tunes from them…
Note: the Sick Girl’s compilation will be released this fall on BBE Records, which is the same label putting out Fader coverboy Spoek Mathambo’s debut album. ‘Post-Apartheid post-hiphop posterboy’ Spoek will be my next WFMU guest, joining us live in-studio on September 13th.
So. Mark yr calendars, subscribe to the podcast (regular XML | iTunes), and tune in tonight, live 7-8pm, on WFMU 91.1FM. Nouveau Yorque, the city with the biggest rats.
You are stuck on a beautiful island off the coast of Gotenburg, Sweden. With two of your favorite pirates/tunnelers. The ferry is not hourly. The sun starts falling. A cold wind begins to blow. Time to talk about DJ Screw, cumbias rebajadas, and the coming slow internet… Time to slow down, mmkay?
[Geraldine and I, stuck on Knarrholmen, turning into alphabets]
As Magnus & Geraldine explain in the audio below: “In the future, the only good internet will be slow internet, because the fast internet will be all censored, Googleized [laughter] So your downloads will be slow again, its not this instant gratification.. so you start desiring things again..” Implications thereof. Sleep. Download parties. New desires. Cooking. Expectations. Attention surplus!
THUS, here’s a podcast, in which the above quote can be heard, in which I discuss slow music from Mexico and Texas & Kirsten Dunst getting thrown out the club.
In this Next level zefcast, Magnus and Geraldine have some fun with the chaospad and feature chats with members of the Wikicong and the Tikicong at the opening party of Den Hemliga Trädgården in Stockholm, plus a conversation in the west coast with Jace Clayton aka Dj Rupture about slow cumbia or cumbia rebajadas and screw rap, during an accidental 4 hour stay in Knarrholmen.
listen up, or — better still, take this music out of “the cloud” and support dissonant African music! Remember: MP3s are more real than money. You can cop CIAfrica at Amazon / Turntable Lab / Boomkat / eMusic etc.
Trash Menagerie sez: “CIAfrica are one of the few Hip-Hop projects to coalesce on the African continent that provide an evocative portrayal of political turmoil, cynicism, and outrage. Often filled with the chaos of compressed snares and drums, earth-shaking bass, and lyrical ferocity, CIAfrica is the raw underbelly of West African urbanity, where the marginalized musics of the colonized and the colonizer are channeled by political frustration and economic unrest.”
Pitchfork sez: “The turbulent minimalism of the music is indeed striking and a welcome alternative to most African music that comes stateside, which tends to be sunnier and breezier.”
James Franco was trying to get on the bill with a new indie garage cumbia electro project he’s working on, but the Whitney people had to tell him no. Which is just as good, because with Tanlines, myself, and you, together we are well-equipped to build a DANCE PARTY, possibly the Last Fun Party of the Summer, and let me repeat: it’s FREE. 6-9pm = pay-what-you-wish for museum admission. Grapes will not be served, despite internet rumors stating otherwise.
Baths – Maximalist = happy vocal samples (“it takes a lot of courage for you to go out there and radiate your essence”) woven into sublime glitches as my jeep gently beats, or What’s Love Telling Me To Do Right Now?
Obviously, this music is Californian, and California is another country, but <3 is the word of the day.
Which leads us to Nicki Minaj’s Your Love, chopped and screwed, from Straight to the Room #12.
On today’s radio show, I’ll be joined by special guest Matt Shadetek! The top-notch producer (& my partner in all tings Dutty) just released his debut solo album, Flowers, and he’ll be treating us to a live DJ set followed by talk about production, new bizness strategies for creative folk, family man music, and more.
Check us live: Monday Aug 16th from 7-8pm EST, 91.1fm WFMU, streaming on internet & iPhone. If asynchronous event participation is yr thing, delve into my show’s deep archives or catch the podcast a week later…
In the meantime, here’s ‘Nightshade’ – I first used this in last year’s mix album, Solar Life Raft, and it resurfaced on Flowers – Matt’s instrumental album built from fresh beat momentum and a playful post-grime melodic sensitivity.
Aaah, Rita Indiana. I feel weird explaining what’s up to people since the easiest thing would simply be to wait — soon enough she’ll be as well-known in the US as she is across the Dominican Republic. But here we go-
Rita’s a former model who first enjoyed fame as a writer. Her two novels, La Estrategia de Chochueca and Papi, enjoy cult status among fans of contemporary Caribbean lit. Her innovative writing straddled pop and street, leading to her current stint as screenwriter for Grammy-winning reggaeton group Calle 13’s upcoming movie. But she’s spent the last year taking over her hometown of Santo Domingo via a musical project, Rita Indiana y los Misterios. With effortless swagger, Rita has achieved the holy grail: cutting edge musical & lyrical innovations that draw on local roots and enjoy populist success (read: capacity crowds at 1000 person venues).
[Rita Indiana y (algunos de) Los Misterios]
Rita’s powerful sound – which includes choreographed stage dancers, daring outfits, and a 5-person band – creates a space where old school merengue fans, new-school mambo thugs, hiphop kids, rockers, and fashionistas can all party together. She’s performed live on Caribbean and Miami TV stations over a dozen times in as many months. Rita’s low, powerful voice captivates listeners on timbre & flow alone, and her incisive, sexy lyrics display some of the smartest songwriting around. Sounds like hyperbole but isn’t!!!!
She sings in slang-filled, proudly Dominican dialect, refering to herself as ‘la montra’ (the monster). Rita Indiana was nominated for a 2010 Cassandra Award (the DR’s Grammy equivalent) as ‘Best New Act’ and performed at the star-studded televised ceremony. (read: Omega!)
We’d been in touch since the days of her Miti Miti project, vibing on a shared love of contemporary sounds shot thru with roots and existing on a similar platform-agnostic multimedia storm tip. I have to say, it’s been an incredible process, from receiving practice-room demo recordings of her nascent project to watching Rita transform into a major cultural force.
And despite TV and youtube portraying Rita Indiana as recently coming out, she’s never been in the closet. As one blogger explains: “It really turns what has been the mantra in Latino music marketing totally upside down – with promoters, producers and managers telling gay performers to keep it on the down low – and it’s totally refreshing… people don’t really know what to make of Rita Indiana but they certainly love the music and, at least for now, she is being able to play her looks, her sexuality, her music and her openness to full advantage in a country not necessarily known for being that open.”
A few months ago Rita + I labbed up for an intense week in my Brooklyn studio, enlisting the help of producer Matt Shadetek and Domincan percussionist Ivory Nuñez, writing new material and producing multitrack recordings of Rita with her band.
First results are a 2-track single – her debut!! – out now on Dutty Artz. BUY IT AND SUPPORT US, PLZ! – iTunes US | Amazon | TTL | Boomkat |Juno |etc.
“No Ta Llevando El Diablo” has been a favorite on all her live shows, a tune so bold and out-of-this-world, that it really seems like a trip to hell. This is how we like our Rita Indiana, with those powerful upbeat songs that only she can do. The press release notes the song “clocks in at a breakneck 185 beats-per-minute.” Just like in “El Blu del Ping Pong”, Rita’s story-telling qualities are starting to be identifiable, complex songs in the rush of the moment, and you got to love her shameless pop culture shout outs, this time singing a bit of Yuri’s “El Apagon.”
Last but not least: A couple months ago Geko Jones texted me from Bogota, Colombia. He was at a club or bar and the DJ put on a Rita track, Jardinera. The crowd started singing along… they knew the words! The words are awesome. Like all her songs, once you hear it you listen again. And again. And soon enough, the words live in your head, too. Here’s some footage from a hometown performance of Jardinera (everybody’s singing along here, too):
[Richard A. Ingram, Consolamentum cover art, White Box 2010]
More late night music, from a fantastic debut album by Richard A. Ingram, Consolamentum. Don’t sleep! Guitar, mood, tape-pause edits, jagged warm panes of solitude disguised as darkness with enough space between them to allow for shafts of light. Plus some extra-textual pleasures: googling the track title or album name reveals a gnostic rabbithole. #Cathars
Also I feel like fans of “witch-house” or “drag” or “hushtunes” or “Salem’s expensive publicist, Biz 3” are just one or two clicks away from a vast world of mind-melting ambience/weirdness such as Consolamentum. But I checked – Hype Machine lists dozens of MP3 blog posts for oOoOO and 0 for Mr Ingram. Well now there’s one.
Ingram put together a podcast using actual vinyl discs for a pleasant-seeming Italian website that, uncharitably, forces you to jump through registration hoops and hand over your email address before you can download it. I jumped through their annoying hoops so you don’t have to.
Richard explains his selection: “It’s a rather sombre collection but does end on an upbeat note with a rather worn out copy of one the best songs ever written. (Well, it’s as upbeat as a song about doomed lovers on the moors can be anyway).” This podcast is strong (although I have to fast-fwd thru the Satie, how can anyone not have Gymnopodie burnout these days?) but his Consolamentum, has been a real standout for me this year. It makes for great, rewarding listening at a whole variety of volume levels.
1. Vangelis – Soil Festivities Movement 4
2. Sylvain Chauveau – Et Peu á Peu les flots Respiraient comme on Pleure
3. Satie (orch-Debussy) – Gymnopodie No.1
4. Tomita – Clare de Lune
5. Koen Holtkamp – Walker
6. Jacaszek – Zal
7. Helios – Shoulder to Hand
8. Vangelis – Memories of Green
9. Balmorhea – Night Squall/On The Weight of Night
10. Kate Bush – Wuthering Heights