Next Archive Previous Archive

06 Dec - 12 Dec 2004
13 Dec - 19 Dec 2004
20 Dec - 26 Dec 2004
27 Dec - 02 Jan 2004
03 Jan - 09 Jan 2005
10 Jan - 16 Jan 2005
17 Jan - 23 Jan 2005
24 Jan - 30 Jan 2005
31 Jan - 06 Feb 2005
07 Feb - 13 Feb 2005
14 Feb - 20 Feb 2005
27 Dec - 02 Jan 2004

latest comments

Chris (FIRE FIRE HYDRANT…): Wiley = angry grandpa. Brings it tho. Love this…
Dub1 (UNLIDDED EAR): JAce,years ago I lived in an urban castle on the co…
Jesse (UNLIDDED EAR): It's certainly crazy how quickly and deeply you bec…
ragudave (FIRE FI DE STRAIG…): A mate of mine has something like 15 cover versions…
jace (FIRE FI DE STRAIG…): jimmy-- a jah division mp3 is up here: www.christop…
jimmy the flid (FIRE FI DE STRAIG…): dubbed out joy division covers, now that i have to …
jess (UNLIDDED EAR): when i moved back to "the country" in 2001 (i.e. de…
ragudave (COLLECTED NONFICT…): Jace et al, Give Scriptgenerator by Philippe Vas…
Alex (african mp3s up): Are these Gros Beat CDs purchaseable online somewhe…
satyricon (african mp3s up): Grammy winner last night... Best Contemporary Worl…


Powered byPivot - 1.20 RC (more patches): 'Arcee' 
XML Feed (RSS 1.0) 


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

vinyl rescue service


Wiley & Riko gargle doubletime hatorade over Fire Hydrant's glacial hipwind shoulderbob grind. Swish, gargle, spit gems, sip broken teeth. Teeth grow back when you break em off right. Wiley's singleminded manic authority: the simple fact I don't care anymore. Bashment harmelodics out Riko's voicebox--explains why Lady Sov had him payphone-in jailhouse verse.

Vegetarianism is for social change movements. Relentless beef pushes beats to fight, fitful sublime.
 At the end Low Deep's Str8t Flush creeps in, seemingly themed & optimized for yayo reverie.


Sasha, ice-cream man extraordinaire (always got the scoop), is the first person to point me towards the Forward riddim video! Clean version, but decent quality!
  Catch Lethal B & Co. in a cast-off set from that Cube movie as they spit over a now-legendary tune that, when i first got it on white label many months ago, i labelled "southern gangsta bounce" to distinguish it from all the other nameless grime in my crate. who knew? POW!
    Look left for Wiley & Riko in full-on angular Lethal B dis war poetry mode.


  I´ve made unlikely friends on Rue Doudeauville in Paris by admitting, in a Senegalese cassette shop, that I didn´t really like Youssou N´Dour. Amazing voice, but I never really felt the music. (Brothers in the shop took pity on my ignorance, a bull-in-a-china-shop speaking his mind no less.) But with 2004's Egypt album, N'Dour explored a completely new route--swapping his mbalax afro-pop backing band for classical players from Cairo's Fathy Salama Orchestra and trad West African instruments like the mighty kora. Pretty, poppy Egyptian classical music intertwined with musical & lyrical homages to Senegalese Islamic brotherhoods. Smooth & deep.
  Plus, it's dope to hear high profile intra-African fusion projects. None of that East-meets-West monkeydancing. N'Dour's project means you get Senegalese balafon - Egyptian ney duets and nothing remotely like Bill Laswell smearing on reggae bass or adding quantized dancebeats, or Peter Gabriel shoplifting. "There is nothing more interesting than forging new styles,” says Fathy Salama, “and nothing more exciting.” That said, this Afro-Arab collabo remains in the category of coffeeshop world music-- markedly inoffensive, actively pleasant, maybe your parents dig it too. Here's a track from the album: Youssou N'Dour - Baay Niassee. Minor glitches may have crept into the mp3.

What the kids in Senegal (and West Africa in general) are bumping is, of course, HIPHOP. In 2001 my man Ghislain Poirier spent several months in West Africa fairly immersed in the rap scene. Which is thriving. Big names in Senegalese hiphop sell around 20,000 to 50,000 cassettes nationwide.

I wonder if that takes into consideration lateral bootlegging: bootleggers bootlegging the bootlegs? That is definitely the case with Arabic music--umpteenth generation rai tapes and Oum Koulsoum cassettes, the xerox hustle economy in full effect. It's probably a translation bonus, but when Salama said “nothing more interesting than forging new styles” maybe he meant forging as in counterfeiting, copying, making newness appear to come from someone or somewhere else...

    As it's always been, truth seeds rumor and travelers spread sound.

While he was in Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso), Abidjan (Ivory Coast), and Dakar (Senegal), Ghislain assembled two outstanding DIY comps of West African rap. Gros Beat vol. I & II. The tunes comprise a mixture of cassette & CD releases, and the material is nonstop hot. I was happily surprised at how up-to-date the production was. Spanish hiphop production, by comparison, bogs down at least 10 years in the past, with graceless monosyllabic endrhyme over utterly played, kick-snare-sample backbeats. But the African stuff Ghislain compiled could hold its own on American charts, production-wise, with some heavy doubletime moments and occasional nostalgia-free incorporation of traditional structures that really push it over the edge into greatness. The polyglot rhyming I can't say too much about, English verses are infrequent and er, lackluster.
    Here are two tunes from Gros Beat vol I.  Smockey - Blues d'Afrique.  This song from Burkina Faso uses overtly 'african' samples. A gentle feel about the production combined with the chants make it my personal fav.  Positive Black Soul are one of Senegal's more well-known rap groups, although Ghislain's selection: Xoyma (Wolof version) displays then on an (uncharacteristically) headstrong tip. The word "hip" derived from the Wolof term hepi or hipi: to see, to open one's eyes.


Having forged an unlikely friendship with a cowboy, Dustin Hoffman lies dead with his head propped against a glass we can't, technically, see. His parter looks off into the distance with a screwed-up face like he's feeling pain, then a look like he's trying to squint the future and you can't tell if his new clothes reflect a new mind or simply the cheapest available option.

    But that's not all of it. There's an image reflected in the glass: Miami! Palm trees breeze past bungalow rows.


I tried to figure out my take on the Iraqi elections as I browsed subzero Cambridge on a last-minute English-language media binge. Murky, out-of-focus thoughts. Democratic apparatus, good. Great. Haywire civil chaos new world oilism, bad. Both the Boston Globe and the New York Times said Iraqis “flock” to the polls as their main headline. Flock. My paranoid newsprint readings versus White House press machinery versus the smudged second-generation fax called reality. Sent to the wrong recipient.

Arriving in Spain everything stood in place: the sun, the anarchy, the complacency towards danger. I taxied by a cyclist sitting with his face smashed in. Helmet on, everybody stared, hoping for the best but there was so much blood, and it was way too red, livid red. The driver of the car who had hit him looked frozen in time--not exactly frozen, just slowed down, stuck in DJ Screw time. He might have just ruined someone else's life and his own too. Fifty meters ahead the biker's companions pedaled on. Lycra optimism. Health kicks. When would they realize somebody ran their friend over?

In Madrid everyone drinks Mahou beer; in Barcelona, Estrella Damm. Next to the Damm refinery a half-constructed building had partially collapsed, already. A lot of places here are too old or too new.

Ancient, time-resistant, ornate, junkies outperformed by their pet dogs in the shadow of a 13th century castle. Dry-wall, budget mortar, i-beam rectilinear, the stuff impatient money builds.