Tuesday 29 March 2005 at 4:49 pm
least a couple things have happened
around town with a hotspot of breakcore lads, each unstoppable:
Drop the Lime, Rotator, Sickboy, Yann Dub, and another guy whose name
i never did catch. Liver & wormwood slippers. The first 3 are on tour in Europe, blitzed aggro fun worth checking.
Stuck in Rehab with Pat O´Brien. Quintessential demerol
grinblog for a post-Office comedy mediascape. Having known people
who have gone thru it, who should go thru it, and who started to go thru it but disappeared
halfway never to be seen again, I
feel I can say from a non-arrogant/ironic position that this is
really funny. This post is my current fav. Very U.S. TV oriented, so I miss a lot of the celeb references, but it still works. Comedy can
go places other forms can´t. You can deliver all kinds of
explosives wrapped in a smile.
Also: this blog leans towards the blog-as-new-art end of the spectrum, a
development I find exciting. It´s not like this person is
posting their novel or photos or erotic stories or poems on a blog,
no, that´s just old-school content in a new-school container.
Rehab riffs on blogdom itself, making a new shape with the core
blogosphere materials of pop, first-person narration, instapunditry,
and what SFJ called 'fruit fly news cycles'. The only thing that
breaks it (besides the dark gleeful impossibility of it all) is the link
to an obvious comedy website, presumably so that the diligent can
backtrack their way to the author.
least a couple things will happen
throwdown in Osaka, Japan this Friday. Club Noon. Romz, kind fellows who released the Japanese version of my album (complete with extra
track & packaging i can´t read) are bringing me over & it
should be big. With the non-Ruins Tatsuya Yoshida (aka Joseph Nothing),
Com.a, Shiro, Akainu -- these guys require some explaining and
explaining requires visual aids so i´ll try next week. Next day Com.a & I play Hiroshima. Sunday brings
the mayhem back to Osaka, find us at DOxCORE bending records until
they shatter. No need for shamisen player, we´re sorted.
Saturday 26 March 2005 at 2:21 pm
this is how it starts. You pick something up, something you´ve
never done before, and start doing it. Maybe this is how it ends. The
birth of a cave-in.
Saturday 26 March 2005 at 2:19 pm
Thursday 24 March 2005 at 07:47 am
Stencil, Banksy´s generosity displayed at Brooklyn Museum of Art. One
drop of grease can rise to the surface, coat the whole pool.
also: any Osaka-based shamisen players, get in touch.
Monday 21 March 2005 at 10:26 am
bumping along in a moment of rambunctious maplessness. It's a given
that everybody's talking at once, but some people are listening too,
and some people have their ear to the ground-- bass travels.
Genres caliente like reggaeton and grime
keep puncturing fantastic holes in the underground / indie / pop / Atlantic
divide: London street anthem Forward airs on NYC corporate station Hot 97, Miami rapper
Pitbull boasts he's gonna release Forward stateside, Diplo produces
the amazing Kano joint “Reload It”. Hot shit rains down from all
directions. And it's all happening so fast that most critical
apparatus just spins in circles muttering about fertilizer brands.
get comfortable sudsing up in hermeneutic bubble-baths of
co-opter/local authentic/sham successful hybrid/lifeless derivative
debates is to miss the point. However clean it makes you feel. Those
arguments don't allow for complexity, polyvocality, the shared space for
harmony and dissonance in which a lot of the music I love
lives. Muddy waters.
same arguments that solidify the slash and separateness between those
terms fuel creepy racial & social separatism in other contexts.
Dreams of racial or aesthetic purity, stable origins, unmiscegenated legible lineages...
public performers especially are always under the microscope; and I'm
gonna admit it bugs me out when people swab samples from those artists
and stain them on the glass slide so they can believe they see &
understand what's happening there. The aloofness required is
extraordinary. That sharp dry authority flex, the urge to demarcate,
to enclose debate in an area less unruly than life, conflicted,
inescapably co-opted life. Very nonsexy. And yeah, it tends to be a guy
thing, with all the musk and preen and uneasiness towards
powerful women that that implies.
example, Simon Reynolds wrote (I'm just using him as an example b/c
the sheer amount of webtext he's typed on these topics; I don't wanna
bring arms house...): “Not that grimesters etc are barbarians,
but A/ those scenes are weirdly cocooned from a lot of mediatized
stuff, I'm always amazed at how insular they are on some levels,
material from "outside" filters in but in a weird haphazard
way. They might appropriate stuff but you couldn’t say the mindset
is “eclectic” or ”cosmopolitan”. B/ there is an urgency
and hunger to the music that comes from the fact that music is too
often their only escape route, whereas art students have a lot more
B is stunning. “Music is too often their only escape route.”?!
Is there anyone on this planet who still believes that it's more
likely for a black guy (poor or otherwise) to be a doctor or lawyer
than he is to make a living from music??
feel like I'm watching a Dave Chappelle satire played in
straightface: Escape from the Ghetto! Starring poor black
dudes as either basketballers or rappers! I mean, that's their only
escape route: natural entertainment talent! Leave the projects due to
the saving graces of leisure class buying power!
Entertain a predominantly white audience who'll judge (praise,
berate, fear, blog about) you on what they perceive as your stylized,
locally-resonant globally-hip negritude, downloaded & digitized. Sing nigger, sing... --I'm
exaggerating here to underscore how sound arguments can start off
praising and analyzing grime's intensity, then slip into some
strange generalizations which themselves aren't too many steps away
from dubious claims about race, class, mobility. I certainly don't
mean to smear anybody, I just chose a sample from Reynolds (arguably
one of grime's biggest stateside supporters) to illustrate a larger
problem of rhetoric and the terms of the debate. (I'm also exaggerating because I
bristle at the myth that big vocalists/performers in any scene are
making mad cash; Sister Nancy for example was asking me--off all
people!!--for legal advice about her endless bootlegs and samplings
and reissues--she doesn't see any money from the large amounts of revenue her megahit "Bam Bam" continues to generate).
Returning to the point--
I´m saying is that even in an argument as “scrupulously
balanced and fair” as Reynolds' (his words, not mine), you get spikes
like this one, the notion that grime´s thrilling “urgency
and hunger” comes from the "fact" that entertaining people is their only
escape. Unlike art students.
the above quote, Reynolds wrote: “many of the most exciting
musics of recent years have been totally bound up with a sense of
place-- dirty south rap, grime, dancehall, Miami bass, New Orlean
bounce, Baltimore breaks, reggaeton, etc. These are all local musics,
not impervious or impermeable to outside influences, but obsessively
referencing parochial details and surroundings. I would argue that
this very insularity is integral and intrinsic to their ability to
generate intensities.” Cool. I agree that local scenes
generate intensities, and one of the ways they do this is by creating
a safe-space where folks can wild out & push limits with the
support of a community that trusts them. (At some point i´d like to write about this in relation to my old Toneburst crew in
I disagree with his terms “insular” and “parochial”-- nine
times out of ten it is the predominantly white, predominantly
middle-class communities who maintain insulation from the grimey
masses, rather than vice versa. Silver
spoons are more parochial than food stamps. A century ago Harlem birthed an
artistic ´Renaissance´ because blacks couldn´t readily rent elsewhere in Manhattan. They weren´t insular--they were
ghettoized. Contained, pushed peripheral and then overcharged.
Literally bound to a place.
Once again, the logic
that upholds grime/ dancehall/ reggaeton´s intensity
(via-insularity) accomplishes this by positioning working class black
or latino communities as parochial & local, a rhetorical move
which implies white/middle-classness as normal, open, regular...
placeless... global... default. Everywhere and nowhere like Starbucks.
And while we're here, might as well buy some urgent, hungry, intense
local music to
spice things up so we can dance!
every time I travel I end up talking to an African or Arab
working in the service industry, and when they find out I'm from
America they start telling me how great a country it is, how much
they want to go there. “But if you go to America,” I tell them,
“in 15 years when you drink you'll be a tall, broad-shouldered man.
And of an extremely strange character: whatever lies near you you'll
be sure to steal. On other occasions when your character turns
extremely glum and when you got drunk he would hide in the weeds, and
it would cost the seminary enormous efforts to find you there.
rhetorician Tiberiy Gorobets did not yet have the right to grow a
mustache, drink vodka, and smoke a pipe. All he had was his topknot negro caboose.
And therefore his character was not much developed at that time; but
judging by the big bumps on the forehead with which he often came to
class, one could suppose he would make a fine warrior.
Saturday 19 March 2005 at 4:00 pm
peaceful anti-war march in Barcelona (and
some other active cities) today. A reassuring mix of young kids, old
people, families, squatters, political parties, folks who lead
comfortable enough lives not to still care about this stuff but do
I was the quietest protester. Mics in my ears recording
anti-authoritarian chants, improvised drumming, trebled blasts of
call-and-response megaphone spirit. Simply. This is our voice, now.
Coming around the corner. Maybe it cracks when we yell, maybe not. Continues.
Thursday 17 March 2005 at 08:15 am
4 A.M. London time this Saturday nite/Sunday morning, tune in to
Resonance FM to catch a new 110% aggro Rupture mix for another
edition of the redZEROradio festival.
I tried to stay within the
suggested parameters of: 'noise, stormcore, breakcore, terrorcore,
hardcore..'. For the first half hour I don't let the BPM drop below
190. This one's for the seven dudes out there who thought Minesweeper Suite's Borbetomagus / Scud / Rotator blend was too slow and linear. The
crossfader abuse ends with some grime, Mondie's massive crippled
Pull Up Dat and other screwfaced solar plexus hits. Sung Iggy:
out for another day / No fun by babe no fun / No fun my babe no fun
go out, maybe stay home, maybe call ma on the telephone.
mighty Peace Off cartel just sent me a wallop of headbanger music,
really good speedcore / breakcore / hardcore twelves & white
labels from Venetian Snares, Mr.Kill, Krumble, Doormouse, Sickboy,
and more. (my fav Doormouse release to date, actually, and Krumble
kills it on neo-hardstep-ragga tip, driving classic D&B breaks
strafed by razorcut fills)
these mofos will appear in the mix, along with a few exclusives, such
as the ridonkulous new Rotator remix of my 'Descarriada' track that
Broklyn will release on 12” along with a new tune by me and some
older tracks seeing vinyl for the first time. This comes out early
+ Look Lemon-Red for mpfree heat, notably Pitbull's Toma (oye loca, ven pa'ca!) and Wiley's Firefly. When I first heard Firefly I thought he was only
ripping himself off but the 2nd listen reminded me that Wiley remains a
mad genuis allowed to splice his shiny grimy DNA into anything he
wants. If each song is a lifetime, listen how gunshots marks eras in this one, burn lyrical.
+ A few weeks ago Sasha was
like "I'm gonna take a vacation from this blog thing." 63 hours later,
he's back blogging with the strength of ten (if you look at it long
enough, it'll start to make sense).
The obvious explanation-- he sold his soul to the devil-- doesn't stand
up, because he seems like a nice guy too. Plutonium espresso? Be sure
to check him explaining grime to Conde Nasti's readership.
Monday 14 March 2005 at 2:57 pm
neither the time nor clarity of mind (flu, sizzurp, watching the room
spin inside my brain) to write, I rip. And then return to shivering
aching and so on. These mud pies were baked from a cassette gift courtesy of Simon Platinum Plus. The
egalitarian grime connect. Each mp3 is 20-25 minutes & about 16MB.
Maximum & Karnage (Roll Deep) --
can anybody ID the
first track? full-on sample-based grime orientalism, i ain't mad at that.
Eskimo is in the key of B, by the way, with an eastward melodic lean. (The resonant
frequency of my studio is E, or the quarter tone between E & E
flat. You learn these things by trail and error, and when you hit it
the whole building hears.)
of london's deja vu 9-2-3 pirate style. we aint got no sponsors, we
aint got no money neither!!
Flex -- from a Deja Vu emission. Raw, raucous, climax-averse buildups,
smackdown jerk-bass beats. this was “brand new” as of last october 03.
Mid-90s a friend went to some big parties in Kingston and said that it
was mostly about motorcycles. I know nothing more, except what the
virus tells me.
this: the point of culture is never, ever 'getting to the point'. So
yes, this rip starts off with about 5 boring/exhilarating minutes of
jibber-jabber -- the equivalent of thousands of pounds of commercial
radio payola -- being spent on Westwood smackdowns and, well,
jibber-jabber. There's this idea of freedom as not a noun or a
concept, but a verb, something you do:
freedom as ongoing struggle, constant movement. etc. Freedom only
sounds boring to static listeners. You can't buy it, be it, or watch
it. Pirate style.
FYI techheads / variable bitrate (VBR) encoders: i did a VBR rip on one
of these and the time was 20:31. Constant bitrate rip of the same
file clocked in at 22:25. Full wav audio was 22:27. i.e. VBR algorhythms
trim trim tcheroo-ed out a full 2 minutes. This bears some sliver-y relation to Achilles and the Tortoise. Snip snip snip. Suppose
Homer wants to go to a rave. Before he can get there, he
must get halfway there. Before he can get halfway there, he must get
a quarter of the way there. Before traveling a fourth, he must travel
one-eighth; before an eighth, one-sixteenth; and so on... Will Homer ever get to party?
Sunday 13 March 2005 at 1:06 pm
nothing more real in this wirld than American power, but increasingly
that means the power of American illusionism. Sadly, Black people in
politics and entertainment are coming to appear just another figment
of the white man's imagination—dreamers within a dream.... If the creators of The Matrix
had read Ralph Ellison they wouldn't have romanticized Black people
as too worldly to fall for a virtual reality. Nobody's sense of
reality is more absurd. Because
at the heart of African American Being and Nothingness sits a paradox
of unbelonging and unbudging—the double consciouness of They Don't
Like Us Much Around These Parts and We Ain't Going Nowhere. The edge
in Black music has always come from mixing up alienation and
militancy. It's the sound of us marching where we know we're not
wanted and planting a flag. Some call it revolutionary, some call it
gangsta. Right now I'd call it about dead asleep." - Greg Tate, on 50 Cent.
Friday 11 March 2005 at 06:56 am
marks a year since the March 11th bombing at Madrid´s Atocha
train station. A NYTimes article, titled by a JRR Tolkien fan,
introduces some of the complex power gambits and fingerpointing in
public office. (use "toneburst" for username and password if needed)
socialist President of Cataluyna Pasqual Maragall said something to
the effect of: there´s no problem that can´t be solved
without a big tub of vaseline. The tone of Spanish political life
is rarely short of astonishing. He was talking about the one-two
punch of a Barcelona metro tunnel collapse in the Carmel neighborhood (pictured below) that left hundreds
homeless, and the emerging scandal about a long-running 3% government kickback “tax” on
all Catalunyan public works.
Wednesday 09 March 2005 at 12:59 pm
dunno. But sometimes you really do want to hear Lenky's
groundbreaking Diwali rhythm performed by stray Jamaican dogs. Right?
..or is it just me?
here ya go: Dog Gone Diwali. Structurally faithful, sonically
oddball, yet another mutation of Lenky's crazy strong Diwali DNA
strands. From Wayne & Wax's self-produced CD Boston Jerk. You may
have already run across Wayne Marshall (the white Cantabrigian, not the Kingston vocalist) because of that bonkers popular
electronic music course he's teaching over at Harvard Extension
school. If not, check the syllabus.
Lots of links to mp3s, interviews,
articles, and everybody and they momma is required listening. Grime,
reggaeton, M.I.A., and me jammed together on a Harvard courselist.
an academic who spits on his own beats. Stelfox is a journo who dives
into vinyl and needlestitches it together. Posting results on the internet in files so
big I can't download em all via my shaky pirate wireless connect.
(Cuts out before I get to Daddy Yankee's Gasolina, reggaeton
megahit from the genre's most kickass album last year, Barrio
Fino. Recommended for reggaeton
agnostics hoping to see some light, o los fans de reggaeton que se
durmieron en los laureles el año pasado.)
saying that roots & culture are bad at all, but neither are
rhizomes & grease. Which means: I'm the kind of
reggae fan who looks at Stelfox's FACT mix
and skips ahead 20 minutes
to enter during the Klymaxx. Macka Diamond rocks 2 versions of the
Klymaxx riddim, and Ward 21's version riffs on the unquotable: Don't Say
Nuthin by The Roots. (Best non-crunk chorus of 2004?) Pop continues eating
itself, lunch dinner and dessert.
I was also gonna link to a hot free
DJ Ayres dancehall mix but it seems to have vanished from The Rub's generous bootleg crate.
Says Stelfox: Given
reggae’s omnivorously post-modern compositional palette and its
frequent breaks into the global mainstream, it’s tough to find
anywhere on earth in which this music sounds entirely out of place.
(tech note: his awkward mp3-binhex.hgx files play fine in my pc Winamp
player, no unzipping/decompression needed)
Tuesday 08 March 2005 at 09:20 am
was right: Ove-naxx lay unconscious in the middle of London,
swimmingly drunk, his pockets filled with who-knows-what. Ove looked so competent and unreasonable with his wispy Japanese
beard and struggling mustache, barbell-piercing through his lip, eyes
closed, waist-length hair covered by a neon orange hat which sat on
his head the way clouds sit on a mountain.
Downstairs a girl was running through rote personal data until
we had enough of a match to warrant a conversation. In this case it
was geography: "get out!-- you're from Boston, I'm from Boston."
Turns out she wasn't really from Boston but Worchester. No escape:
that's where I lived when I was an young kid, too.
Kind Bjorn interrupted: "have you seen Ove-chan?".
The girl blinked. "Oh, you're looking for Ove-naxx? He's
upstairs sleeping on the sidewalk."
It might have been cool if we were in the suburbs, or Japan,
but we weren't. (She should have known this.) We were afterpartying
in a converted public bathroom one flight under the surface of
downtown London, the sprawling oil-on-water city, and our
bathroom-turned-bar seemed to have been converted recently because
under the stink of beer and cigarettes skulked a huge antiseptic
We ran outside to find Ove-naxx on his back,
sleeping peacefully next to a park with a real fox running through
it. Wake up wake up! Man, you can´t sleep here..
Latenite industry. A homeless guy materialized. He
wanted some tobacco in exchange for a bag with scissored power
cables and packets of bubble gum. Not a bad deal I suppose... We woke Ove up in time to see the fox slip away, as thin
and private as half-closed eyes. So strange to see you in the city.
(look left for Ove-related Japanese noise blast)
Monday 07 March 2005 at 09:49 am
from blue-collar to white-collar to to no-collar (ironic tee, trucker cap optional).
Imagine sending off your next album to a Musical Data Processing
Center in Calcutta or Mumbai, I hear they do some amazing work--
System of a Down has outsourced the production of their upcoming album to unionized
antisectarian workers along the heavily
bus line, and word on the street
is that 75% of Prefuse 73´s next one will be written by
Bangladeshi teenagers using open-source MPC emulation software.
(tranqui--¡es nada más que una broma, Scott!)
Monday 07 March 2005 at 06:15 am
man Soze has a brand
to kick off this week! Gonna be good. Is that
handkerchief soaked in paint thinner?
Thursday 03 March 2005 at 08:22 am
Draining down. Another item I´ve been trying to find the time
to write on is Bidoun--a lively new magazine dedicated to “arts and
culture from the Middle East.” Haven´t finished reading the
whole thing--it´s a hefty full-color journal with no ads which
means lots of words. Word.
me as really fresh--a piece on Iranian metal bands, photo spread from
the set of one of the many schmaltzy Ramadan-time TV soaps, blurb
about the new designer fragrance (Yeslam)
from Osama Bin Laden´s
half-brother. Ad copy: "Yeslam... to create an ambience of lingering
harmony and inner peace." Cool. I like lingering harmony, too.
closer you get to culture the more varied it becomes. The more voices
you start hearing in or out of your head. The more boulevards and
alleys you stumble. The less likely you gonna feel
comfortable making grand
sweeping statements for places you haven´t been to and gotten
lost in or fallen in or out of love with. Aside: college is 4 years
where you learn some stuff and get a degree, “licensed” is the
Spanish adjective for it--she´s “licensed” in this or that
subject, allowed to do it. Imagine if all U.S. policymakers had to
live in the country whose future they try to shape for four years
before they could legislate and intervene in its workings?
magazines like Bidoun (for the Middle East) or Transition (for
Africa), that treat non-western places with the critical gentleness
of familiarity, become the slim opposite of bombs dropped from drone
airships over territories timezones away from the governments who
sent them. You can´t trust readers who don´t bend their nose deep in the book. Writing reality with inkstained fingers.
favorite part might be the 'architectural readings' -- not enough
non-architecture mags write about urban space, props to Bidoun for
going there. Also--lots of arts coverage with lush
reproductions-- the current issue prints portraits from
Turkish artist Pinar Yolacan´s Perishable series: white British and American women
aged between 50 and 70 posing in dresses Yolacan designs from animal
flesh, sometime mixing fabrics
stomach lining with proper silk and lace. The web version offers a few
pieces online (not always the best, the net quality tax on free
stuff...), including a decent introduction to an artist I dig, Walid Raad. Whose car bomb obsession is, these days, an indefatigable theme.
article that hit home hardest was the Ramadan TV serials one by Yahia
Lababidi. “ 'There is no monasticism in Islam,' declared the
Prophet Mohamed. And yet, that is what Ramadan offers a taste of:
daytime renunciation and celibacy. Although ideally a time to
practice wakefulness, or awakening, people pass the month of fasting
sleeping, or sleepwalking through the day... The abstinence and
self-denial observed during the day are vengefully displaced by
overindulgence in the evening, with unequaled qualities of Oriental
sweets devoured during this month. Unsurprising then, in this
stupefied and passive condition, that the
other glut of the season should be television;
more than half of the serials produced by the state-owned Egyptian
Broadcasting Company debut during Ramadan. Factor in that most movie
theaters are closed for the month, and you have an idea as to why
escapist entertainment might be so desperately sought after.”
Britian with Nass El Ghiwane, we were in the throws of Ramadan
nocturnal timeshift. NeG brothers Hamid and
Rachid Batma, talented musicians, are also experts in locating
latenight shwarma stands. Afterwards, Hamid (NeG´s guimbri
player) sat glued to the TV, giggling quietly, transfixed by crap
offerings on British 2 a.m. telly, not a word of which he could
understand. Stay up til dawn, greasy halal lamb & orange juice out
of boxes, then hit the sack. U.K. Ramadan.
yeah--if the name sounds familiar it´s because Bidoun began as
a Dubai-based arts production crew who invited Mutamassik to DJ,
then branched and evolved, one strand bringing me to spin there last
year, and the other strand becoming this hip international journal.
Mutamassik & I did promo mix CDs for the events, which were
compiled together last year on the Violent Turd label. Yep.
Wednesday 02 March 2005 at 11:17 am
Heads been telling me to check “Wait” by the Ying Yang Twins for
a minute now, but for some reason I just
heard it. Man o man! Inverted maximalism fireworks just wait til ya see my--
check this. This is a pop song in America right now.”
is going crazy somewhere [deciphers lyrics] ... ¡Vaya sexista! And it´s probably really small."
Tuesday 01 March 2005 at 8:28 pm
travels London like a venereal disease. The Queen of the Galaxy
abandons the Force to try her hand at stripping. She´s good at
it. Easier to take her clothes off than squeeze into those elaborate
interstellar getups: most heads of state think this way, few indulge
the idea. Royalty across Europe shakes hands with royalty across
Europe. They share puppet power, share narrow gene pool, sharing the
slow. Cocaine helps George Bush lead the world in a strong way.
Jude Law, confused by Chris Rock´s jokey attacks, mistakes
Julia Roberts for a photographer, snagging his life on her equine
grin. Thinks he writes obits. They live in London but don´t
like grime. The human heart can be hard to fathom. The heart beats