Ice Trilogy – Vladimir Sorokin (Mudd Up Book Clubb January 2012 pick!) – aaaahhhh! I wrote: “It’s ambitious, totally nuts, capable of generating new emotions, perhaps the first “21st Ct” novel I’ve read.”



Embassytown – China Miéville. Language, addiction, bio-urbanism. Embassytown is especially wow in light of the rest of Miéville’ ouevre.

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My Common Heart – Anne Boyer. My one complaint: (not tryna be greedy but) IT’S TOO SHORT!

“At night I dream of a poetry for the crowd. I imagine the bodies pressed against each other until there is not one set of feet left on the ground.”


:in the category of city slickers:

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[Photo: Tyrone Brown-Osborne]

Harlem Is Nowhere – Sharifa Rhodes-Pitts. You heard our mix for this, right?

Down & Delirious in Mexico City – Daniel Hernandez. You heard the radio show we did, right?


plus an important Mexico addenda:

El Narco – Ioan Grillo. Lucid overview of “Mexico’s criminal insurgency,” putting the complex mayhem into historical perspective while avoiding the sensationalistic.

“If the East India Company was the first drug cartel, then the Royal Navy was the first band of violent cartel enforcers. After the two Opium Wars, the company won the right to traffic in 1860. The Chinese kept smoking and took the poppy with them in their diaspora round the planet.”


“I ask Mathilde [a poppy farmer in the Sinaloan mountains] to describe the effect of these flowers. What is the magic property they have? What is it that makes them so valuable? She looks at me blankly for a moment, then answers in a slow, thoughtful tone.

‘It is a medicine. And it cures pain. All pain. It cures the pain you have in your body and the pain in your heart. You feel like your body is mud. All mud. You feel like you could melt away and disappear. And it doesn’t matter. Nothing matters. You are happy. But you are not laughing. This is a medicine, you understand?’


I’m burnt out on the NYC 70s & 80s glorification/nostalgia/histories, a genre that seems to metastasize each year, but Will Hermes’ Love Goes To Buildings On Fire is exemplary for its wide-eyed span: a five-year history of musical innovation in New York City that takes on rock guitars, salsa, rap, jazz, minimalism. Rare that these contiguous/adjacent scenes get examined together. There’s a paragraph in here about how session musicians formed a kind of connective tissue across scenes & studios — so many ways to think about how music circulates and histories congeal. Here’s to more thought-provoking anticoagulants in 2012.



For the January edition of Mudd Up Book Clubb, we will be reading an epic and incandescent piece of contemporary Russian fiction: Vladimir Sorokin’s Ice Trilogy. It’s ambitious, totally nuts, capable of generating new emotions, perhaps the first “21st Ct” novel I’ve read.

Ice Trilogy is like a joke without the relief of a punchline. I regret recommending it to friends because suddenly I need to explain what it’s about, and end up sounding crazy… The book opens as a 19th century Russian novel. Then comes a trip to Siberia and an encounter with the Ice. It’s best if you read it. Let’s just say that the traditional arc of 20th century history is left intact but superimposed with a much more urgent momentum: the Brothers and Sisters of Light’s search for blond, blue-eyed people to smash in the chest with an Ice hammer, in hopes that the heart inside will awaken, and speak the language of the heart.

Pulpy, “literary”, and unrepentantly other, Ice Trilogy is a book you read with and against, a work that lingers.


The NYRB translation collects Sorokin’s three books — Bro, Ice, and 23,000 — into a single volume. 700 pages long, and entrancing.

The Mudd Up Book Clubb will meet at 5pm on Sunday January 22nd (TBC) in Manhattan for lively discussion followed by popsicles.


Past Book Clubb selections:

December 2011 NYC: Lauren Beukes – Zoo City

November 2011 NYC: Samuel R. Delany – Times Square Red, Times Square Blue

September 2011 Tangiers: Juan Goytisolo – Exiled from Everywhere

August 2011: Madrid: Cesar Aira – How I Became a Nun

June 2011: Casablanca: Maureen F. McHugh – Nekropolis


The first show in Mudd Up Radio’s new Wednesday night time slot is now streaming! SOAP BLEACH SOFTENERS. Gentle beginnings. New music from Cauto, Vladislav Delay, Ghanain gospel, Erothug, and, yes, Lana del Rey:

WFMU’s Winter 2012 schedule shuffle means that, starting this week, Lamin Fofana will host a show right before me on Wednesdays! We’ll do our best to give you good apocalypse in 2012. Our ice cream comes in 5 flavors: regular black, mudd, noir noir, soft bop, and dust bowl.

December 7, 2011, Mudd Up! w/ DJ Rupture on WFMU – tracklist:



It’s like this: tonight, Thursday, I will read at the Best Music Writing 2011 event @ Housingworks in Manhattan. Free. Hosted by the New Yorker’s Alex Ross and Daphne Carr, who included my Frieze essay on slowness in music for the book’s 2011 edition. Flyer below.

On Friday and Saturday I’ll be shaking things up at a party I’m incredibly excited about: Tormenta Tropical’s 4 year anniversary! Going down in LA and San Francisco. Bersa Discos hosts Oro 11 and Shawn Reynaldo and I will be playing in both cities, along with Maluca. The LA edition brings in Total Freedom and Mas Exitos. Crazy, right?!

Tormenta Tropical is one of those fantastic parties where you, as a DJ, need to step up your game and play extra well. I’ll be digging deep, smuggling in secret weapons & surprises (& cumbia), so see you on the dancefloor.

Then I redeye home in time for Sunday’s Mudd Up Book Clubb: Zoo City edition back in Manhattan. I need to spend serious time in LA but never manage to be there for more than 15 hours at a stretch.



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WFMU’s Winter 2012 schedule kicks into effect this week, so tune in tonight to catch my WFMU radio show, Mudd Up!, in its new Wednesday night timeslot. Same hour: 8pm.

The audio from Monday’s live broadcast @ Spectacle Theater was lost to a database glitch, so that show will live on in our hearts and minds — but not as digitized stream of endlessly repeatable sound.

And because the belly of the web is always hungry, here’s a 7-minute excerpt from my 2007 mix, Secret Google Cheat Codes (available on split CD with Filastine, “Shotgun Wedding Volume Six”). Drawing that line from Neko Case to Sister Nancy to Caroline Bergvall to Carolee Schneemann to a little bit of Kat from The Ex singing in Hungarian. Also Yung Joc.


DJ /rupture – Secret Google Cheat Codes (tracks 10-12)


A reminder: you are invited to Spectacle Theater tonight, Monday December 5th, for an evening of live radio and a screening of Nass El Ghiwane film TRANSES, one of the best musical documentaries ever… and I’m not just saying that because I’ve been obsessed with Moroccan music since forever and did some touring with Nass El Ghiwane back in the day.

TRANSES is a great, poetic introduction to the deliriously deep world of Maghrebi sound — and the social shifts it both anticipates and provokes.

All the best documentaries document – give us a glimpse through a weltanschauung window – rather than explain (there are no voice-overs here, for example), and excellent translations mean that we get to experience the band’s lyrical power as well. So c’mon down! We’ll talk, listen, watch.