[DJ Javier Estrada, courtesy Reuben Torres]

An essay I wrote on “The Aztec imagery and digital soundworld of Mexican producer Javier Estrada” is available in the current issue of Frieze. In it I explore resonances between global genres in the internet age, Atomik Aztex (the novel), Oscar Zeta Acosta, Aztec-inspired notions of cyclical time and our favorite hummingbird god, plus a pragmatic approach to the issue of “aliens” coupled with advice on how to exit the category of speed. Javier’s work is generous, complicated, and inspires these sort of linkages.

You can find the article wherever fine magazines are sold and read it online right here.

Below, two songs that I discuss in the piece. Listen to the voice of Huitzilopochtli…

Los Cadetes de Linares – No Hay Novedad (DJ Javier Estrada remix)

[audio: Javier Estrada – No Hay Novedad – Cadetes de linares (Javier Estrada Remix) .mp3]

DJ Javier Estrada – Pre-Hispanic Moombahton Gods
[audio: Javier Estrada – Pre Hispanic Moombahton Gods .mp3]



My article on Richard Skelton – a musician whose work I’ve returned to perhaps more than any other in the past year – has been published in the current issue of Frieze magazine. At newstands now (or soon), and available online. Excerpt:

“His music proceeds as if by geological processes: time feels stretched out, layers accumulate and interlock into complexity, and it’s underpinned by a gravity and drift whose appeal is at once emotional – Skelton’s biography looms large – and elemental, as if these sounds have always hung shimmering in the spaces between air and land.”


The Berbers, cracked audio plug-in software, Donna Haraway circa 1991, Jody Rosen contemplating drained negro emotionalism, a high-end recording engineer, Tallahassee Pain, a Muslim producer named Wary: AUTO-TUNE UNITES US ALL.

ATEvo Graphic full

This is another way of saying: check out my essay on Auto-Tune for the current issue of Frieze Magazine.

Auto-Tune is something I’ve been thinking about – and chasing after – for awhile now. It was a great pleasure to be able to condense my thoughts on it, which began a half-dozen years or more, picking up auto-tuned Berber music in Barcelona & Madrid.

Vocal purists hate Auto-Tune. They hear in its robotic modulations some combination of sugar-rush novelty, bulldozed nuance, jejune synthetics, loss of ‘soul’, disdain for innate vocal talent, teen-optimized histrionics, emotional anemia, and/or widespread musical decline. It’s ugly.



two pieces of mine are currently in print:

“Laulu Laakason Kukista”, a consideration of Paavoharju’s 2008 album, can be found in the current issue of Frieze. (not online)

“Mould has conquered the cave studio”, reports Lauri Ainala.


+ + +

and Past Masters, a piece about the Master Musicians of Ja.. Jou…. Zahjhouka, in The National.


[Brigitte Engl / Redferns]

It’s a hippie’s dream: a brotherhood of musicians live together, exempt from work. They hang out all day, drinking tea, smoking weed, jamming.