just landed, off to a (fundraising) Marathon edition of the radio show.
for today only, WFMU’s blog hosts an mp3 from my Dj Premium, which is a potent batch of single-minded cumbia digging, cumbia in travels, listen.
so I was talking with Sonido Martines the other day, and he was upset that a M.I.A. remix he did that gets played alot at Zizek ended up on Diplo’s blog without any mention of Sonido. Here’s a version with metadata intact.
It’s hard to know when the data gets corrupted. You can even think about remix culture as an ongoing exploration of the pleasures of rough data, scrambled bits, a thing’s integrity compromised by dirty outside info (or the impossibility of a thing’s integrity made apparent, take your pick).
But i mostly think of remixes as a series of decisions (even moreso than original music). Taken or not taken. The song already exists, what will you do to change it, and how much change do you need to enact before you can call it yours?
What makes the Sonido Martines remix so radical, in my opinion, is the flagrant simplicity of it: he added a short guacharaca loop to the original… and nothing else. One decision was made. One. The 1-bar loop doesnt even change or drop out, its just there. For the entire song. And, deservedly, he puts his name on it!
It helps, obviously, that Sonido’s decision involves a guacharaca* loop and (critically) not a baltimore-break loop or a disco-electro loop or rap vocal or any of the overrused initial decisions that kids turn to when doing a remix. The cultural context for his remix is foregrounded (loud in the mix, constant, repetitive, inescapable, and, before too long, invisible, inaudible). This is remix as placement, building context – even if you can’t pronounce guacharaca and don’t know what the loping scraping rhythm does in its other manifestations…
Screwed music & cumbias rebajadas (get Sonidos’ screwed cumbia mix for my radio show, thnx 2 WTC) also have that singular decision — slow it down. And honestly, given the wealth of possibilities offered by digital audio software, making a remix that involves only one decision is often a surprisingly lucid declaration of intent / intensity / focus. In this sense DJ Screw and Sonido Martines are philosophical remixers/producers: thinking seriously about one thing, thinking that one thing’s implications through, fully.
*speaking of guacharacas, Jerónimo directed me to this vallenato youtubery featuring incredible guacharaca and accordeon solos.
Poet Caroline Bergvall stops by the radio show today! (my first guest without a MySpace page?!) In addition to reading some of her works and presenting some sounds, we’ll chat about plurilinguality. About face. About figs. About pets.
tune-in or catch her live (different words, same time) at MoMA’s Hell.
Diplo blogs cumbia over at MadDecent. (yes, Zizek is named after Zizek.)
here’s some Tejano screw from a flanger-heavy Sabor Kolombia mixtape de hace unos años:
este cumbia rebajada es la pura verdad
this slowed-up cumbia is the straight truth
&, more disturbingly, DeD:
Dick El Demasiado – Cada Curva Tiene Sus Derechos from Al Perdido Ganado
Sonido Martines tipped me off to Los Mirlos, kings of the tropical Peruvian cumbia guitar bands of the 70s, recently compiled on The Roots of Chicha CD. We talked about this music on my radio show in greater depth than flaky French hotel wi-fi allows. (Indeed, Sonido played a few of the tracks that would later appear on this compilation, months later.)
Suffice to say that the imaginary geography of this music is as cool (or cooler?) than the music itself: jungle hicks relocating to oil boom Peruvian cities, getting hyped on imported sounds from Anglophone psychedelic & surf rock bands, who inspired them to buy guitar flanger pedals and compose new party music in pentatonic scales, powerful music whose spiritual home was located in the (now mythic) Amazon, shot through with wisps of eco-branded indigenous cultural power and ayahuasca vision fields.
They remain popular, and their website is outrageous and awesome in unintentional ways. This comp CD however, is marketed straight at the US/UK consumer (full title- The Roots of Chicha: Psychedelic Cumbias from Peru). So, while you’ll get the alluringly press-optimized (and only slightly ‘psychedelic’) backstory, you’ll miss out on longwinded gems from the Mirlos’ own mouths, such as this introductory sentence from their history:
“Nací en la hermosa tierra de Moyobamba (Dpto. de San Martín) siendo el tercero de cinco hermanos, en un hogar acogedor y lleno de amor con la bendición de Dios que me brindo la felicidad de tener a mis Padres: Néstor Gustavo Rodríguez Sandoval, sastre, músico, inseparable de su acordeón a quién nunca podré olvidar pues fue quien me inculco el amor por la música y el cultivo de los valores morales para ser un hombre de bien y Mónica Grández Oblitas, empleada Estatal en Correos, madre amorosa y sacrificada quien me dio la vida y la alegría de vivir.”
my quick translation for the gringos:
“I was born in the beautiful lands of Moyobamba (of the San Martin region), the third of five brothers, in a charming home full of love and the blessings of God which provided me the happiness of having my Parents, Néstor Gustavo Rodríguez Sandoval, tailor, musician, thoroughly inseparable from his accordion, whom I shall never be able to forget as it was he who inculcated in me a love of music and the cultivation of the moral values requisite for proper manhood, and Mónica Grández Oblitas, employee of the national postal service, loving and self-sacrificing mother who gave me both life and joy in living.”
that’s one sentence!
its amazing how the story unfolds if you just listen.
The reason our borders are so policed is because they don’t exist at all.
thank you, Austin!! big shout to Turntable Records, where I picked up some fine sounds. Clearly one of the great American music stores. On the counter they have Screwed & Chopped DVDs, Mariachi flicks, and Harmony Korine’s Gummo for sale.
the first of these 3 songs is a classic from Colombia. The second two are AV8-style cumbia-booty mixes emerging out of the Dallas/Ft. Worth area of Texamexico.
Funk E (aka El Buki) – Tussle (from Super Cumbia Bros. vol. 1)
today from 3-6pm (EST) I’ll be hosting Maria’s show on WFMU. The three-hour slot will give me the chance to stretch out & air some sweet long-playing records. including gorgeous vintage Salif Keita material.
bonus: today I’ll be ‘accuplaylisting‘ which means that if you listen via WFMU’s internet streams, you’ll be able to get realtime track + artist info. Tally may even pick up the phone if you call!
Then at the regular hour, I’ll have Sonido Martines in to the studio for a bilingual interview follow-up to his Las Rebajadas Van a Brooklin mix, which aired a few weeks ago on the show.
Today “DJ Rupture welcomes Argentinian producer/DJ Sonido Martines, who will discuss las cumbias rebajadas and other unexpected mutations of cumbia in South America, as well as the contemporary electronic scene in Buenos Aires.” More info on that.
below, relevant youtubery courtesy of Sonido. “te mando una de Andres Landero, uno de los mas grandes artistas de la cumbia de y el vallenato colombianos , y en mi opinion uno de los mas originales, tenia algo muy especial, mucha locura. puedes verlo aqui tambien, es la misma cancion, interpretada ya viejito pero super salvaje”
(lots more on vallenato colombiano in the weeks to come)
+ + +
The question isn’t: am I or aren’t I a cop?
The question is: what kind of cop am I?
+ + +
Skepta sample source (a Nigerian / African / diaspora mega-hit)
i confess a weakness for accordions.
if you’re rushed for time listen to the second one first.
Excerpt 2 contains Piña’s song from the film Babel, a track that would be brilliant if Manu Chao hadnt used a similar formula to sell millions of records, imbedded in a movie about a complex and interconnected world where personal struggles are shot through by larger machinations of power and bursts of dangerous unpredictability, a multi-tiered society where the powerless connect with the privileged in increasingly violent encounters, realism, and the characters in this land with the most emotional depth are North American movie stars with perfect teeth like everybody who has ever had braces, only brighter.
Babel is about Brad Pitt trying to date Cate Blanchett on the secret while his girlfriend buys babies in Africa and a Japanese girl keeps pulling up her skirt. It’s hard to keep a secret if you are famous. The movie-version Moroccan kids with the gun didn’t have a real gun, they were Pakistani kids with a plastic replica in the sun-baked Spanish landscape where drought has forced entire provinces to abandon farming and work offering ‘Moroccan/American Southwest’ film location services at sub-Saharan wage scales, on the low-end of which stand these kids’ “parents”, the adults who control the child actors, the ones who get paid for the kids’ work.
Things were better before Andalusian tourism collapsed, taking the hospitality sector with it. Elsewhere, a Mexican woman loses children that aren’t hers. The Japanese girl stands naked because she has thrown her clothes off the roof.
The Pakistani child actors who dont get anything aren’t on the wage scale. Division by zero f*cks arithmetic. And in the real-life version that the movie is based on, these kids had a digital camera they were trying to “shoot” runaway lovers Pitt and Blanchett with, to get photographs to sell to the highest paying gossip magazine. The fees can be astronomical. Apparently they just upload them via Blackberry once the money arrives in their online offshore bank account. It’s considered ‘paper-free business’ and the carbon rebates for companies and incorporated individuals are rumored to be indulgent.