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words by jace. some mp3s & annoted photos from time to time.

vinyl rescue service

secret sharer

Every week or so there will be new MP3s here for download, transferred only from analog sources: vinyl & cassette.

for starters, here is a mix I did for Resonance FM. Post-election special. weird breakcore, noise, grime/crunk blends, and, as always, more. Shitmat´s set from the same radio festival is a digitally-mixed affair, but it´s really good, a storming well-plotted narrative then the polka hits...  on-point jungle -breakcore- trampled pop charred bassbin goofiness that´s much more interesting that his conservative by-the-rules ragga bootleg stuff on Planet-Mu.
Individual tunes will be up soon.


Right now, at this very moment, just as the famous soccer team Real Madrid was about to finish a match in their Madrid home stadium, they had to run out. All 80,000 fans exited in chaos. A bomb threat. This happened live on national television. Now TV cams pan the field: empty except for pigs and police dogs.

            Last week ETA set off no fewer than a dozen bombs in Spain, most of them syncronized across several cities. If the Basque country had oil instead of sheep then Haliburton´s Department of Defense and Homeland Insecurity would be underpaying their illegal Guatemalan nannies extra to take care of the kids while they embark on expense-account trips to assess the profitability of anti-terrorism efforts in Spain. The last time the Madrid´s Bernabéu stadium was bombed (a car bomb) I lived up the street & heard it. You don´t just hear bombs exploding, you feel them too. Part of it is the way low-frequency bass soundwaves travel, and part of it is the way violence births violence, hate amplifies itself.


Pirates don´t want to hurt artists. Apparently this kid´s teacher failed him. New consumer consciousness vs the establishment.



Nettle & NeG backstage, Belfast


There are a lot of things about this picture. We're backstage in Belfast, North Ireland, only a few minutes away from neighborhoods where you find streets like "RPG Row" and enormous wall murals of paramilitary men with big guns. We: the 2 guys on the left, Abdel Hak & Grey Filastine in my band Nettle; the 2 guys on the right, Hamid Batma and Allal Yalla in the group Nass El Ghiwane.

            The first thing you see is Abdel playing Allala's banjo--so far as I'm concerned, you haven't heard a banjo til you've heard Allal play it. He's taken away the frets so that he can play quartertones. (In Turkey some devoted accordionists actually dismantle their accordion & whittle away the sounding reeds to achieve quartertones—the notes in between the notes on Western pianos). The banjo is notoriously difficult to tune even when fretted… Allal plays it loud, different every night, with no effects or reverb whatsoever. What he's expressing with the banjo bears such importance that he never lessen its impact with any sweetening effect like reverb or echo, although it is standard practice.

            Listening to him play the banjo, thrash it about and make it leap into life under his fingers, without any acoustic softening of reverb, you realize that he's as punk as Iggy. Usually when people talk about "punk" or "heavy" or "hardcore" sound quality, they are talking about the use of distortion. Distortion (along with velocity) is one of the old obvious signifiers of punk-ness or aggression in music. Heavy metal, hiphop, drum&bass: listen at the "noisier" or "heavier" end of all these genres and lots more you'll find liberal amounts of distortion. Kids all over the world are still sampling fast breakbeats, throwing them into distortion plug-in software, and calling the results hardcore, this-core, thatcore. A thousand basement Nirvanas hit the distortion fx pedal to give their guitars teeth. Allal opens the other door.    

            His steel-string tones cut, his voice pierces, it cuts through and you have to listen. So, listening to Allal play night after night on tour together, it made me start to think that distortion is a lazy way to heaviness or hardcore . This is why crunk (US southern hiphop, lots of synths, gangsta posturing, syrupy bass, fantastic sung choruses, etc etc)  &, in the UK, grime, is so nice: think about Lil Jon's clean synth lines, squeaky clean, narcotically clean, as clean as synthetic drugs in a plastic pill case--crunk is HEAVY, but without distortion.  Crunk production leans, at least in small part, on the realization that one of the noisiest soundwaves is the sine wave---compared to a pure amplified sine tone, power electronics distortion musicians like Merzbow are downright pleasant to listen to.  Put another way, once you start listening to distortion *not* as this is the result of a reference signal being dragged behind the digital dumpster and roughened up and just listen to it as is, well, distortion is kinda soft nine times out of ten. Which is where Allal's banjo comes in, where Lil Jon's production values come in, where the grimiest of the grime tracks come in--primarily with weird little synth doodles, playstation music: the new hardcore embraces cleanliness like never before. Obviously, multiple notions of heaviness are the best, and so hardcore producers across genres often get really really boring because most of the producers are zoning in on a pin-hole notion of heaviness, of aggression, and how to attain, contain, and release it.  Back to the photo.   
    Abdel looks serious as he works his way through Allal's instrument. He looks serious holding any instrument. Some people make music and some people are musicians. Abdel is a musician. Cut him he bleeds gorgeous sound. Music is serious, to him, and to perform it with all the passion and control that he does, you end up with a serious look on your face. That's just how it is.  
    M.I.A., a British-Sri Lankan girl slash tiger whose music I like most of the time, rocks the stage with not only prearranged dance moves but also a backup singer/dancer to emphasize them, in step. They're synchronized. They've practiced these moves, it's obvious, they want to look good on stage, you've paid for your ticket, maybe you got in on the list, and you want to look at someone who looks good onstage too. What is more reassuring than a politically-tinged performer, dipping into rehearsed dance moves? The revolution won't be televised, it will be play-acted: you'll follow your script and I'll follow mine. I think about the cage holding the panther at the end of Kafka's short story "The Hunger Artist" (I only have him en Español, sorry):  "Era todo un descanso, hasta para los sentidos más embotados, ver cómo ese animal salvaje se revolvía en esa jaula tan triste. No le faltaba de nada. El alimento, que le gustaba, se lo traían los vigilantes sin pensar mucho; ni siquiera parecía echar de menos la libertad; ese cuerpo noble, dotado de todo lo necesario para desgarrar, parecía portar la libertad en su interior, parecía ocultarse en algún lugar de dentadura; y la alegriá de vivir salía de su garganta con tal ardor que los visitantes apenas podían soportarlo. Pero lo superaban, rodeaban la jaula, y no querían moverse de allí."

            I've yet to see Abdel, one of the most generous musicians I've had the pleasure to meet, share a smile on stage. Allal too disregards the cage, plays as if what he's playing can leave it and just keep on going.  Way back in 1972 Nass El Ghiwane's music had grown so influential and widespread in the Arab world that young teen who would later be (international rai superstar Cheb) Khaled was frontman for a group specializing in Nass El Ghiwane cover songs, learning Allal's banjo notes by heart.

            There's an enormous story behind Grey Filastine's suit. Short version: Nettle tour wardrobe was provided in part by YoMango. What exactly does it mean to go into a commercial chain store, stuff some pieces of clothing from a multinational corporation into your bag, and walk out, bypassing the cash register? Morally speaking, is that worse than the multinational drastically underpaying the people who actually manufacture and sell those clothes, and giving absolutely none of the profit to the communities where their product was made or sold? Widespread institutionalized theft underscored by localized ideological theft. YoMango is a proud sponsor of Mr. Filastine's wardrobe, and they not only think about these questions but they *do* these questions--nothing so cozy & protected and smug as "critique", YoMango risk arrest  and/or deportation and in a sense they are these questions and the need to ask them, they are a beginning to it.


Hello & welcome! this space will hopefully have new words daily, plus mp3s for download every week. writing on a variety of topics including but not limited to: music, literature, continental drift, anarchy, and you.