I haven’t played in NYC for awhile, so there are many things to be expressed. On the dancefloor. With Mykki Blanco (who’s in that rich moment where various magazines can’t decide which gendered pronoun to use), Prince Rama, & more. Coolest of all– it’s an 18+ show!



^CARLOS V + OSCAR_1992 + STRYKER^ Present:
DIM 5.0: Fri., May 4. 285 Kent Ave. 10pm. $10.00. Ages 18+



[Georgia Sea Island Singers]

I’ve been remiss in posting up my radio shows, but to get back on track — last night’s show – Throw Me Anywhere, Lord -, started with the powerful acapella spirituals of the Georgia Sea Island singers spread from there. (Anyboy read the new Alan Lomax biography? He recorded the Sea Island singers back in the day).

Now streaming:

And if you are going to Coachella this weekend, friends and I will be DJing an Ace Hotel takeover tomorrow, Friday night. Details.


[kids and graffiti on Mhmd Mahmoud off of Tahrir Sq.]

I just returned from a week in Cairo, Egypt. I only had one meal in a sit-down restaurant, a testament to my busyness and the plentiful (and late night) Cairo street food spots. For the record, Cairo is the only city I’ve ever seen with a 24-hour X-ray clinic — crowded at 2AM.

The closest I came to the pyramids was with Ahmed by this busted-up speaker stack — ‘Pyra Mids’! — out in a hastily constructed post-quake informal town called “City of Peace.”

Needless to say, there’s *a lot* going on in Egypt right now, whether you follow mainstream news or civic media visionaries Mosireen or have your ear to fresh developments in music or are interested in adapting 3-D printers and open source tech to African ends, like the good geeks of Cairo’s Hackerspace (their tongue-in-cheek motto: “Hack Like an Egyptian”).

For those looking from afar, I highly recommend a spirited, sharply observed book on contemporary Cairo. Maria Golia’s City of Sand. It’s exquisitely written, loving but unsentimental, trenchant as a result of intimacy, delivered from an expat who has lived in the city longer than most of the local musicians I met there have been alive.


Three excerpts:

Life at closer quarters in a traditional society means that family, extended family, as well as friends, colleagues, neighbors, building guardians (bawwabin) and local tradesmen become observers, and consequently arbiters, of each other’s lives. Depending on their motivation, interactions are clothed in degrees of intimacy, from the subtle to the intrusive. The Cairene talent for combing both approaches in a single phrase or gesture is inimitable; the contradiction resolves itself in the understanding that subtlety and intrusiveness are the qualities of the voyeur. Excluded by a paternalistic government from the duties and rights associated with civil society, denied a public life by martial law, the average Cairene enjoys the same freedoms and expectations as a juvenile delinquent in reform school. Looking at life from the outside in, peering through the chinks in the walls of autocracy, class distinction, poverty and illiteracy, the only participatory power that remains is interaction, even if it means just to watch.

+ + +

Cairenes, it must be said, are not fussy about appearances. Cars are unabashedly scraped, clothing is casual and just about everything is a magnet for the city’s dust, which is sticky and vaguely narcotic. As part of its unceasing efforts to spruce things up, the Cairo Sanitation and Beautification Authority dutifully sends forth a listless army of green-clad men. They push plastic wheelbarrows and homemade witches’ brooms fashioned from crooked sticks and the twigs of a species of palm. Trees, alas, are scarce, in many quarters. In some upscale parts of town, smaller-than-life plastic palms have been installed in patches of garden. At night, they oscillate hypnotically in red, yellow, orange neon. After 5,000 years of watering trees, it must be fun to just plug one in. Some might even call that progress.

+ + +

It is in places like Cairo that one may learn the most about what can go wrong, but also about what can stay right and the knowledge that may be acquired when people live peaceably in one place for a very long time. There are treasures to be culled from the enterprise of cities, some less apparent than others…

Cairo, City of Sand, Maria Golia (2004)

[Protestors pulling down stone barricade in front of Ministry of the Interior]


Back in November the buena gente of Nrmal invited several international producers to Monterrey, Mexico, to collaborate with living legend old-school musicians from the area. Over the course of an intense, well-fed week, we worked out of jefe Toy Selectah’s studio. Norte Sonoro culminated in a free outdoor festival. There’s so much incredible music coming out of Mexico right now — Monterrey, Tijuana, DF, y más — it was an honor to participate in a project like this.

Who was involved? Along with Toy and the Nrmal crew, there was Algodón Egipcio (Venezuela), Chancha Vía Circuito (Argentina), myself, DJ Rupture (US), Helado Negro (Ecuador/US), Mumdance (UK)and White Rainbow (US). The Mexican artists were Javier Villarreal (Bronco guitarist!, they just played in NYC), Los Cardencheros de Sapioriz, Grupo Esencias and Osvaldo Lizcano con Enlace Vallenato. Today Nrmal released the free EP featuring tracks by all us internationals in conjunction with the various local groups.

Go get it!

We had an all around amazing time there — muy buena onda especially considering that most of the folks involved were meeting each other for the first time. My favorite track from the EP is from Caracas’ soundboy Algodón Egipcio (“Egyptian Cotton”!), who applies his sweet & experimental indie aesthetic to the time-damaged roots vocals of Los Cantantes Cardenches, a trio of septuagenarian cowboys who sing hypnotically heavy acapella songs about stuff like hangovers and dying out in the desert.

There’s more information (in Spanish) on Nrmal’s blog, and here’s an earlier post with behind-the-scenes photos. Below you’ll find a snapshot of Enlace Vallenato and I rehearsing, and a bilingual text I wrote about my participation:

For the Norte Sonoro project, I was invited to Monterrey for a week, to work with several regional musicians, leading up to a free public concert. I paired up with Enlace Vallenato – we decided that for the concert, they would play a short set, then I’d join them for three songs, adding beats, sound FX and scratches, and doing a little live dubbing on the lead accordion. It was a slow crossfade between their bouncy cumbia jams to my solo DJ set.

We rehearsed in Toy Selectah’s studio. Labbing up with Enlace Vallenato, was great – the ‘blind date’ awkwardness quickly melted away and we set about listening, learning how to twist our various musical idioms into something strong. Eduardo Galeano calls music “a language where all languages meet,” and he’s right.

Towards the end of the rehearsal, Enlace Vallenato hit on a low-slung groove that really worked. We’d already figured out the shape of the concert, and Toy was like: “let’s record this! Right now.” So we did. It was amazing to see Toy in action. First off, his studio is magnificent. People talk a lot about how with a cracked copy of FruityLoops you can make incredible music (and it’s true), but seeing Toy at work, recording and directing Enlace Vallenato floored me, reminding me of how important real-world brick & mortar spaces of shared creation are. Toy’s a consummate producer– coaching the musicians, adjusting the recording setup for maximum quality, all the while keeping the vibes right.

Later that night he & I returned to do some editing on the session files, and I took those back with me to Brooklyn for the remix.

The main collaboration between Enlace Vallenato and I happened en vivo at the Norte Sonoro party, so I felt that this remix should flip things and offer a serious departure from their original. I asked Ben Lee aka Baby Copperhead, to add live banjo. I sped things up, brought in several synths playing new melodies developed with Ben. I left in some of the original accordion, and build a new synthed up soundworld around their rock-solid percussion.

“Para el proyecto de Norte Sonoro, me invitaron a Monterrey varios días a trabajar con músicos regionales y a dar un concierto público gratuito. Me emparejé con Enlace Vallenato –decidimos que para el concierto tocarían un set breve, y luego yo me les uniría en el escenario para añadir beats, efectos y escracheos a su set, y también hacer algo de dubbing en vivo sobre el acordeón principal. Fue un buen crossfade entre su fiesta cumbianchera y mi set de DJ.

Ensayamos en el estudio de Toy Selectah. Trabajar con Enlace Vallenato fue fantástico –la dificultad de la “primera cita” se desvaneció rápidamente y nos dedicamos a escuchar y a decidir como íbamos a enredar nuestros idiomas musicales para crear algo sólido. Eduardo Galeano dice que la música es ‘un idioma en donde todos los lenguajes se reúnen’ y tiene toda la razón.

Hacia el fin del ensayo, Enlace Vallenato encontró un ritmo lento que funcionó perfectamente. Ya habíamos determinado la forma del concierto, y Toy dijo: ‘Vamos a grabar esto! Ahora mismo!.’ Y eso hicimos. Es sorprendente ver a Toy en acción. Primero que nada, su estudio es magnífico. La gente habla mucho de cómo con una copia pirata de FruityLoops puedes hacer música increíble (y tienen razón), pero ver a Toy trabajar, grabando y dirigiendo a Enlace Vallenato, me voló la cabeza, y me recordó lo importante que son los espacios creativos físicos hechos de ladrillo y mortero. Toy es un productor consumado- coachea a los músicos, ajusta su equipo para obtener la máxima calidad posible, y siempre tiene buena vibra. Más tarde esa noche él y yo regresamos a editar los archivos de la sesión, y me los llevé a Brooklyn para hacer mi remix.

La colaboración principal entre Enlace Vallenato y yo sucedió en vivo en la fiesta de Norte Sonoro, así que sentí que este remix debería de darle un giro de 180 grados y alejarse de la original. Le pedí a Ben Lee, también conocido como Baby Copperhead, que le agregara algo de banjo en vivo. Aceleré todo y metí varios sintetizadores con melodías que desarrollé con Ben. Dejé algo del acordeón original, y construí un mundo de sonido sintetizado alrededor de sus percusiones impecables.” ―DJ Rupture