Tuesday, September 25, 2007

In Me Ears 5: Serve Me That Bounce

Some of you might be familiar with the chief beat reasearcher Wayne and Wax at the Rididm Method, known for his widely used "A It Dat" (download) track on Mashit, what he's served up as the 11th contribution to the blogariddim series is a cracking listen too.

Following on from his last glance back at crunk, its another genealogy of the snap sound through as he puts "the common grooves and feedback loops between crunk and clave, reggaeton and ragtime, bhangra and bounce, to name a few."

If anyone is feeling a little auto-didactic and would like to pull back the curtain on the sociology behind these forms of music then he's more than capable of hooking you up with his Harvard class outlines. Many of his more focussed writings are well worth a read, as are his blog break downs of just where the evolutions and memes in this form of music lie.

If you are still looking for the same awesomeness you've come to expect from the most excellent DJ C via his bouncement mix, then get right clicking Blogariddim 19, courtesy of John Eden. Its a hurtling journey back to exclusives from 1998, all in a bouncey, bashment fast chatting whirl of party starters including a wonderful use of Enya 37 minutes in. Check this out for the method behind the madness of the Boston Bounce.

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Monday, September 24, 2007

A Street Car Called Slut

(Photo: taken from HeyRocker on Flickr)

A fine example of marketing types lashing a branding exercise together with the foresight of a particularly sheltered 7 year old comes from Seattle, where the people behind the South Lake Union Streetcar, a light rail system due to open in December with upwards of 50 million dollars poured into it have had their noses dusted by residents upset city developers spent little time on their concerns.

The locals have turned the SUAS acronym on its head, refusing to forget the project's earlier use of "trolley" instead of "street car" - leaving it with the acronym SLUT starring them back in the face, twisting like a knife in their eye. Now with popular posters and t-shirts selling like hot cakes, the slogan they are using to promote its usage"ride the slut," gives the project its own weighted humour for a Dublin audience.

I know that less than gracious Dublin insult "wagon" owes more of its origins to a disproportionately large female posterior, than suggestions that anyone might be riding her - but surely if there was even a half decent acronym that spelt out WAGON/SLUT for a Dublin project, something like the Luas say - it wouldn't get by the monkey crew management responsible for our own public transit?


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IBM Virtual Strike: Knowledge Workers Upping The Ante

For all those geeks out there who have Second Life accounts, here's your chance to picket IBM in the virtual world of Second Life. Since the Euro-Mayday Net Parade in 2005, where scattered workers unable to participate in the traditional parade could design avators with short biographies of themselves that were added to a huge animated march, these sort of online collective acts of mobilised petitioning have become much more common.

This is the first I've heard of one specific to one workplace. The action arises from negotiations over a new internal collective agreement at the works, after a majority of IBM employees asked for a small pay increased the company snapped back by canceling benefits related to productivity, meaning a loss of 1,000 Euros for individual workers.

(Photo: There's a load of this stuff out there using Lego to illustrate far from childhood fantasical spaceships and medieval scenes, there's even an animated Lego rave. This particular image comes from the savage Theory.org.uk website.)

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Bounce Back and Forth

Saw Yo! Majesty smash down it down in Toronto again tonight, as two of the notorious three and Taxlo Dj Chris O passed through for the first time since their NXNE show case. It seems the last time they came through one of them was refused border crossing due to "habitually driving without a license," well she was present and semi-nude on this occasion - the others absence went uncommented on.

The new material sounds as rough and in your face as their past out put. The gig bordered on a karaoke session in parts as they performed this rather riotous cover of Justice/Simian's "We Are Your Friends," some old soul number and countless bursts of cheese, including pushing the crowd along in joint sway to Daft Punk. Then there was a preachy moment where we were advised not to fall for the "deceptions of the devil," that left most of the crowd standing their wide eyed but dripped in sweat.

Overall left feeling that I'd rather have seen Chris O do what ever it is these Taxlo sorts get up to on one of their nights down in Maryland, all the right names seem to pass through their outings and the noises his drum machine/pad were setting off were well to my liking. If you like this sort of buzz then do check out Thunderheist.

Speaking of Simian, I was dragged along to see their new Mobile Disco last week too - their stage set up is pretty impressive, with so many wires and knobs being twiddled that its hard to figure out how much is for show, how much they are actually affecting the music and whats just performance for a generation that never really sees much hardware used to play dance music these days.

It got nice deep and bassy in parts, but really that was used to elicit cries of "what the fuck was that!" from the crowd of indie-dancers present. When it got heavy it got real heavy, unfortunately they never kept it throbbing enough to sway you, moving up the scale and back to distorted effects and squelches as fast as they could for some mass - but enthused - head nodding. I'd really gotten some kicks from the New Rave mix they put together for NME about a year and a half ago, to see them DJ would be far more interesting I think.

Elsewhere: In anticipation of the upcoming Nuit Blanche, the Toronto Star carried an interesting article that weaves its way through the meanings given to darkness and night time through history and by different societies.

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Sunday, September 23, 2007

New Stuff From Herv

Organised Ideas/Armed Ambitions have been doing the good stuff for what seems like a year now and with a new site up they bring the baying public a down loadable gift from Dublin's Herv via the Nordies in Acroplane.

Download the release from acroplane (320kb/s mp3s, 69.5MB)

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The Launch Of Spook Country By William Gibson

Given the depths to which sci-fi fans take their fandom I was quite surprised by the less than heaving turn out to the Toronto launch of William Gibson's new work Spook Country at the regular This Is Not a Reading Series! hosted by Eye Weekly, one of the free cultural weeklies you find scattered all over the subway. It's the sort of paper you pick up about five different copies of every edition, dumping them once done an article and fully confident one will be awaiting you at your cubicle once you hit work the next day.

Most of those present were in their thirties, bald heads and thick black rimmed glasses alongside the minor presence of Gothic sorts, really the only markers of what you may expect from a crowd attracted by Gibson. Gibson himself was older looking than I'd have imagined, coming out with that sort of hunched over walk that suggests both the onset of age and the perils of spending too much time slouched over a keyboard.

For an interview session aiming to get at the "how and why of the creative process" of writing a novel Mark Askwith couldn't have asked less probing questions. All the same Gibson let us in on his lack of secrets, staring at a computer and bidding his fingers to write with absolutely no idea of where his new novel would eventually take him before finally settling on "glimpses of lower Manhattan at night" that quickly needed populating with characters.

From the chapter he read Spook Country follows a theme similar to Pattern Recognition, its a post modernist detective thriller about a journalist on a quest to piece together the developing art of using GPS technology to create digital images mapped against geography. One such moment has an installation hooked into the Iraqi Body Count website that projects crosses representing deaths in Iraq over the American landscape. A former military technology, only relatively recently released to the public use, GPS certainly provides enough for a Gibson plot and a typically odd bent on technological history to wrap itself around.

More of the interview came to focus on his own use of technology, how he apparently writes with "Google on" - as if permanently mining it for data that he conducts into his work, like some computer age muse. He dismissed these visions with the anecdote of his friend Bruce Sterling who found it impossible to write unless he had an old TV switched to MTV resting on top of his computer monitor, a stereo tuned to talk radio and then a set of ear phones blaring music to him - distraction as concentration can take many forms. Analog, digital, same shit - Google however is something that may quickly become a "universal prosthetic memory."

Only rather late into the evening did the topic turn to the obvious, why in his recent works has he dropped the visionary aspect of his work to engage in his new style of "speculative presentism," something that brings the sci-fi lens to the everyday of modern society, looking at how our technology is affecting us now. According to Gibson this goes right down to the root of how he grew up understanding sci-fi: "as about the day it is written in. If you read sci-fi in the 1930's it is so clearly about the 1930's... I had this as a given when I started writing sci-fi."

A rather obvious answer alright, and he articulated it further by saying "the weirdness of the present is the thing sci-fi is most suited to explore." A lot of this recent change as well come down to Gibson calling himself on his own answers to interview questions, after attesting for so long that if he was writing about the present he would use the exact same style - he simply set about doing it.

Where most critics see Neuromancer as a bleak commentary on forces that were articulating themselves in Reagan's America, Gibson himself gave a surprisingly different reading of his classic fiction, seeing it as "committing an act of almost ludicrous optimism as most of the intelligent people I knew did not want to bet any money on any of us being here in 2007 because of the postures of the United States and the USSR."

He elaborated on how Neuromancer was really his view of the obvious, of how the insanity of the Cold War couldn't be allowed persist by capital, after a very brief and limited nuclear war in his dystopian vision corporations intervene to quieten the nation state, he extrapolates "to kill the middle class, fast forward a couple of years and the result is Mexico city, North America set in Mexico city." In his view Chiba city is a far more appealing place to live than contemporary Darfur, at least there you can entertain visions of becoming a cyberspace hacking cowboy.

He was pretty modest too, owing much of his recent technological accuracy to Boing co-editor Cory Doctorow, and moving onto advocating a blogging style he himself seems to use relentlessly with no comments and just links. Everything else is superfluous it seems. His approach to music was also touched on, the one thing that allows him to "round characters, even societies more convincingly if I can invent convincing musics that they are listening to...music gets to a character's interiority and exteriority equally."

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Chew on the Credit

Mute has been a journal I've being getting my jollies from since I came across it over two years ago. Always accessible, both meaning it always wings its way into my path and just weighty enough to remain readable - its become something of a critical ground for teasing out various themes around developments in capitalism, from multiculturalism, through precarious labour, web 2.0 production and environmental disaster. The new issue on the credit crunch is out now for reading online, though its nice to have it arrive in your letter box unexpected. Dubstep fans might also be interested in the fact that Kode9 occasionally writes for it.


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Saturday, September 22, 2007

Cousin Cole

It was his pretty decent Soulja Boy mix that drew my attention to him, Check him out over on Myspace and get all the goodies you need from dirty crunk vocals, to ravey stabs, hissing hi-hats and decent bass over on his download page..

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Tuesday, September 18, 2007

In Me Ears 4: Al Haca Blues

AL Haca touch base with all the right German crews, friends with Modeselektor and Apparat they deal in subdued digi-dub journeys that seduce your lower body to swing on the dance floor only the way creeping bass can.

Wavering between cavernous sub sonic wobbles, electronic meanderings and the tension of soulful voices over gritty beats Put this one on for making the dinner or for bullshit conversation subdued by the after party blues.

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Dancing in a Mine Field

Anyone who likes the Postal Service just may like Plushgun, its your usual indie rock whimper with a dash of electronic shuffle in the background. He emailed me out of the blue and asked me to share this track with the world. Not my cup of tea really - but you can make up your own mind.

Apparently he has been included in the "popular webTV series We Need Girlfriends", and according to himself he's creating a bit of a buzz around the net at the moment. Why I feel all grown up, sort of like Palmsoutsound or something.

Plushgun "Dancing in a Minefield" (Zshare)

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Monday, September 17, 2007

Maga Bo Interview: "Hip hop, Like Any Discipline, Can Be a Form of Therapy and Source of Positive Change.

(Photos courtesy of Maga Bo's Kolleidosonic)

Soon to tour North America and Canada, but sadly with no Toronto date - I hit Maga Bo up for an interview. Here are the results where he talks about life in the Favela, his work as a sound recordist, his travels and his work using music as a tool of participation for those excluded from a material society that whizzes by them without pause for even a whisper of concern.

Your recent mix CD was called Confusion of Tongues, is the name some sort of reference to the cacophony of different voices that haunt your mixes and releases?

It's a reference not only to that, but more specifically to the story of the collapse of the Tower of Babel, which was built with the intention to reach higher into the sky than god. As punishment for this blasphemy, god banished humans to the furthest corners of the earth in a confusion of tongues. It's a classic story which has been written about and has inspired many different pieces of artwork.

Here are two paintings which helped inspire the title Confusion of Tongues by Gustave Doré and, The Tower of Babel by Pieter Brueghel the Elder.

Whats your own background and what sort of music would you have played when you first started to get into DJ-ing? Its pretty hard to really isolate and put you into one box isn't it?

I've always been into a really diverse range of music and my DJ sets have reflected that since day one. I initially began to DJ as a way to show my production work in public and then it just grew from there. In the beginning, I found it really difficult to get gigs, especially when there was no real way of describing what I do without simply listing all of the different influences involved.

I also found it difficult in Rio, because the market is really oriented toward proven formulas which can guarantee a good draw for the promoters and club owners. It's much easier for them to make money by booking DJs that people know (local or international) that are going to play music that is accessible and familiar to most people. I got into music in the first place to express myself, but I always felt like that was difficult within the established boundaries of the local club scene, so I just persevered with what I believed in and continue to do so.

From what I've read you've traveled extensively; is this part of a methodology of searching out new interesting sounds? Can you tell me of some of the most exciting and surprising ways you've seen music used while traveling?

I've loved to travel and get to know new people and places as long as I can remember, so seeking out new sounds as part of my travels has been a very organic progression. Although I have done a fair amount of backpacking and hitch-hiking around the world as a tourist, my traveling has become much more of work oriented. I am also a sound recordist working primarily with documentary films and have been able to travel a lot as a result.

Most of the time, depending on the place, after wrapping a shoot, I spend time connecting with people and working on music on location. I'm now getting ready to spend the month of November in Ethiopia working on a film and producing music afterwards. So, I guess you could say that I take advantage of other people paying for my transportation as much as possible.

Outside of the restrictive boundaries of North America and Europe, where there is less police presence, fiscalization, and fewer resources to go around, noise compliance laws are not respected as much and as a result, it is much more common to see people using their own sound systems however they see fit. I love this!

I'm always fascinated by how people can manage to rig together a mobile sound system with a car battery, some trashed speakers, random wire and maybe a cart or a bicycle or even a backpack with a megaphone. The whole point of doing this is to express oneself - whether to yell at people and tell them to change their ways, blast their favorite music, broadcast the local winning lottery numbers, let people know that it's time to pray or to just try and attract customers.

One of the last times my friend Grey (Filastine) was here in Rio, he brought me an amp that I ordered on Ebay in the states, we borrowed some speakers, roped another friend with a car into driving us to Lapa and just set up our sound system on the street using pirated electricity from a manhole. We played several times on the street during carnival and never had the police come and tell us to stop. Nearly every time we did this in Seattle, we were chased off by the police. Even during the Art Walk Open house whatever you call it Tuesday night thing where culture is "important" and everything is free and open.

Where did the bug for travel come from and what made you settle in Rio De Janeiro above elsewhere?

In Seattle, I got involved with the local Brazilian community recording as well as playing percussion and became interested in Brazilian culture. At the same time, I'd been plotting an escape from the rain and dreary climate for a long time. Eventually, things came together financially and I was able to come to Rio to check it out. I found work doing English language recordings and made just enough to pay my rent. That was 8 years ago. I stay because I love the weather, the beach, Brazilian culture and music, the Portuguese language, my friends and community. I am at home here.

You are involved in researching ethno-music, do you think there are qualitatively different ways of enjoying music and giving meaning to it?

This is a really good question and, in all honesty, I'm not sure that I can answer this with conviction. First, I'd like to point out that ALL music is "ethno-music" - that goes for Britney Spears and Madonna all the way through to music played in a circumcision ceremony in the forest in Senegal. To be quantitative about it, the behavioral norms of people enjoying Jola circumcision songs or "Like a Virgin" in their "native" settings is very different.

I think the motivation of people seeking out music in different environments or cultural settings can be different as well, but I think the actual experience of "enjoying" the music is extremely similar or even the same. Music is a form of self-expression and communication. It is a language which can say many different things - from the extremely sacred to the extremely profane and everything in between. My faculty to experience, or enjoy, music is the same, regardless of whether it is gangsta rap or sufi music.

You've described living in Rio as a bit of a "mindfuck," where you can be chilling on a roof and five minutes away there's a war zone with people wielding machine guns in a neighborhood beside you. What sort of psychic landscape does this create for people living there and does it have much of an effect on your own music?

A lot of people are terrified by this reality, but everyone deals with it in their own way. Most people simply take it into account and act accordingly. Don't leave the house with anything that you would care to lose. Don't go to an unknown favela without having a local contact. Etc.

Rio, like anywhere in the world, is a place where people live and want to be in peace. People want to be happy and healthy, love their family, make a living. Living in a challenging situation where violence, crime and poverty are common, forces people to unite to some degree and communicate.

Everytime I go back to the states, I notice more and more how the culture of the individual is really strong there. If you have money and privilege, you don't need anyone. That's what fuck you money is. There is much less fuck you money in Brazil and much more human interaction. So, whether this has an effect on my music, I really don't know. It definitely affects my personal relations with people and probably also somehow seeps into my music as well.....

You worked on a stunning mix for World Up, can you tell me about the work the organisation does, the sort of projects its involved in and just how it is using hip hop as a tool of education and action?

Their main objective is to promote international hip hop culture by producing events and creating situations where people can connect, show their work, learn and grow. Hip hop, like any discipline, can be a form of therapy and source of positive change. Any discipline in which we are forced to confront ourselves and our own weaknesses in order to grow and learn can be a means through which we learn about ourselves, our relationship with those around us and the world at large.

In modern-day city life, many of the traditional disciplines (like farming, capoeira, circumcision ceremonies, sports or whatever) are no longer part of our lives. Many of these activities were ways in which we learned about ourselves, related with our families and communities and grew into healthy, adult human beings.

Hip hop is being used as a tool to fill some of these roles. It is a way that people can learn a skill which boosts their self-esteem, teaches them how to learn (and solve problems) on their own and how to express themselves in a healthy, positive way.

Baile funk has reached a pretty startling level of popularity in the west, Bonde do Role and MIA feature on magazine covers, and a lot of club sets seem to have their baile funk moment; I'm wondering has much of this success made its way back to the originating producers/scenes in your city?

Yes and no. There are now a few DJs and MCs that are traveling internationally and have benefited from this exposure. They, in turn, have been influenced by music that they heard outside of Brazil and this has slowly been entering into their music. Their audience, however, hasn't had the same experience and is a bit resistant to too much change all at once.

Some of this "post baile funk" as it's being called here, can be heard at parties which are not in favelas, but in clubs (which usually are prohibitively expensive for most people). At any given baile in a favela, you would be hard pressed to notice any great difference or change as a result of the hype surrounding baile funk outside of Brazil. Most people have never heard of Bonde do Rolê or MIA, for example.

In a similar vein there seems to be something in the air around favelas and ghetto music, kudoru springs to mind too; is there a reactionary aspect to this fascination among Western listeners? In one way it sets aside the harsh realities of favella life, seeking a glamor from poverty, with out much awareness of the context where the music is born - all for a voyeuristic exotic pleasure for the ear? I think Rupture has raised something along these lines in the past, what do you think?

There is a tendency to exoticize "the other" or people who are living in a reality that is vastly different and/or unknown. There is a long history of this - from the western world to the "third world" and all the way around again. It is an objectification of people and culture which is incredibly damaging and perpetuates racial, cultural, religious and sexual inequality. The term "world music" is an excellent example of this. From the beginning, it meant music which was not from the western world and went on to lump Tuvan throat singing in with Jamaican mento on the same shelf.

By making huge generalizations like this, the richness and complexity of culture and music is belittled and objectified in the name of consumer culture. Jace (DJ /Rupture) likes to point out that "global music" is Timbaland or Britney Spears and I couldn't agree with him more. On a more positive note, it is a sign that people are, in fact, opening up to things outside of their comfort zone and engaging at some level. This has the capacity to transform into a beneficial exchange for all involved, but mutual respect and awareness are crucial.

On the other hand, what are the most interesting ways you have seen western forms of music being subject to re-interpretation?

While there can be damaging effects as a result of poorly or even ignorantly informed cultural interaction, there are many, many wonderful things that have come out of creative cultural exchange. There is the salsa movement in Senegal, Cambodian country and western bands, highlife and juju bands using electric guitars in the 50's and 60's or Jamaicans playing R & B. One of my favorites was seeing the house band for a circus in Madurai, India playing surf music. Anything and everything is possible!

Some might what you focus on is a transnational bass music, or a ghetto to ghetto style; how do you explain what you do with music and what are the threads connecting such wild diversity?

Well, I play music from the ghetto, but also music not from the ghetto. There is no discrimination in my music! I just play what I like. This can vary wildly, but I do like to form a narrative and tell a kind of story with what I play. It's kind of a way of making connections between things that may seem different, but actually share many common characteristics, whether it is in the rhythm, the melody, harmony, timbre, lyrics or feel.

Most of us who think we have a pretty wide eye for music are strikingly limited compared to you, its the usual lexicon of next big thing, dubstep, minimal and baltimore etc etc ; but from your wider palette where do you see the most exciting and innovative forms of music coming from?

Hmmm, lots of places. I'm digging on cumbia, champeta and chutney, all of which are mashups of various different things. I think as the bongo flava industry in East Africa grows and gets more sophisticated, there will be some interesting stuff there. Especially, if taarab starts to be integrated into the mix. Both Senegal and South Africa have big hip hop scenes and there's some great stuff coming out lately. In Brazil, there are a lot of people combining Brazilian musics with different forms of electronic music.

With the release of Favela Rising, many people will now be aware of the work of the community group like AfroReggae, can you tell me how you ended up coming across them and eventually working with them to build a studio in Complexo do Alemão? How are they using music to challenge different forms of oppresion?

I knew about them through their international touring band, which I'd seen perform a few times. They have a very visible presence here in Rio. Later, I was introduced to their international relations person, who is a friend of a friend. We then started talking and brainstorming as to what we could do. I had been wanting to do some sort of community oriented work for some time. Unfortunately, the studio in Complexo do Alemão has been postponed partly as a result of lack of resources and partly as a result of heavy violence that has been going down there. So, instead I made proposal to teach workshops on beat-making in Reason at their digital radio studio (and computer center) in Parada de Lucas. Afroreggae is a big organization and things move very slowly, so we are still in the beginning stages of this.

Their objective is very similar to WorldUp! in that they are using music and culture to help young people (and especially people involved in trafficking) develop self esteem and learn skills which can be marketable (and get out of drug trafficking). So, it may be that one person gets involved because they want to play music and in the process of that, they end up realizing that they can identify and accomplish their dreams and goals. That may lead them to taking computer, dance or english classes, and from there, who knows?

On another level, they are using music to become "visible." This is directly related to the exoticization of "the other." While the world around them pays them (the poor and primarily black people in the favelas in Rio) no attention and essentially treats them as invisible (MV Bill has a lot to say about this in his work), they use music as a way of asserting themselves and participating in society at large. Afroreggae is a direct result of using resources at hand in a positive and creative way to change things.

You also work on the soundtracks for documentaries, what are some of the more interesting documentaries you have worked on?

One of the things I like best about working on documentaries is that I get out from in front of the computer and into the world where I meet extraordinary people that I would never meet in any other way. I've filmed rubber tappers in the Amazon, kite makers in Gujarat, female circumsizers in Senegal and cocoa farmers in Guyana. Part of the process of making a documentary is to forge personal relationships with the people that you are filming. This necessitates exchange, honesty and and openness and that is a powerful thing.

Your touring at the moment, playing quite a few different places too; what sort of reactions are you getting, what are people being responsive too and after the gigging is done whats next for your good self?

Actually, I just finished a 2 month tour in Europe and a 3 week production trip to Senegal where I was participating in an artist exchange, producing new tracks and filming 2 video clips for tracks on my upcoming album, "Archipelagos," to be released on Soot Records. Next up is a USA/Canada tour in October and then a documentary shoot in Ethiopia, followed by a short stint in South Africa to do some gigs, make some new tracks and shoot another video.

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Thursday, September 13, 2007

Soundtracksforthem Blog Mix Two

Soundtracksforthem Blog Mix 2
75mb / 40:57 sec (Download here at Zshare)

Just a heads up on Zshare, where once you could listen to a mix through on it they now jump to an ad screen after you stall on a page for a bit too long for a listen like. So you are probably best downloading the MP3 and listening off your hard drive.

1/ Starting Something - Unknown Reggeaton
2/ 10 - Mia
3/ Hot Like We - Cecile
4/ Beanie Man - Beanine Man (feat Dangel)
5/ El Tiburon - Baby Ranks (feat Looney Tunes)
6/ RDB feat. Elephant Man - Ishq naag reggeaton Remix
7/ Personal Jesus - Depche Mode (Boys Noize Rework)
8/ Sem Makas - Burka Som Sistema
9/ Doi Festival - Ghislain Poirer
10/ Party - Unknown Reggeaton
11/ We're Broklynites - Tittsworth
12/ Minute by Minute - Girl Talk
13/ Super Freaks on Film - Rick James Vs Duran Duran (Bass211.com)
14/ Should I Stay Or Should I Go - The Clash
16/ What I Like About Crunk Music - Lil Jon (Menegaux Mash)
17/ Oh Sheila - Ready for the World
18/ Oh Sheila - SneakMove (Quarterbar remix)
19/ Popuzuda Rock n' Roll - De Falla
20/ Go My Way - Lenny Kravitz
21/ North American Scum - LCD Sound System
22/ Bump - Spank Rock
23/ My Love - Justin Timberlake (Diplo Remix)
24/ Do I Look Like A Slut - Avenue D
25/ Yah - Buraka Som Sistema
26/ LDN - South Rakkas Crew (Crack Whore Riddim)
27/Crank Dat - Solja Boy (Rough)
28/ Ain't Nothin To Fuck With - Wu Tang Clan (Bird Peterson Remix)

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Wednesday, September 12, 2007

On The Dancefloor They Call It Murder

(Photo from Each Secure Note)

Girl Talk and Dan Deacon tonight, Girl Talk and Dan Deacon tonight, Girl Talk and Dan Deacon tonight. I don't think I've been this excited about a gig, oh since the last time I drank too much Buckfast before rushing down Thomas St to one. Rooting around for my tickets last night it dawned on me and herself that in one of those foul humored, strop around the gaff tidy ups I had managed to throw them in the recycling along with the wad of paper they were sitting in. Last minute panicked calls to the credit card ticket sales line and a rush to the home of the Toronto Blue Jay's baseball team to pick up re-issues and all was sorted. Ants in my fucking pants.

The second of the Soundtracksforthem Summer Mixes will be online tomorrow and possibly some ramblings post Girl Talk. There's a pretty in depth interview completed with Maga Bo that I'm holding off putting online in case I can get it published first, as well as one with an unembedded journalist in Iraq called Dahr Jamail. All will be revealed soon, same irregular time, same irregular bat url.

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Saturday, September 01, 2007

Scratching the Surface of San Telmo

Buenos Aires is a city where European cultural impulses throb with a South American heart beat. Each night I found myself basking in a pool of dusk in squares ruled by colonial elegance, sipping Quillmes beer, sucking on cigerettes and nattering over life's hum and haws in the night time company of young portenos (Buenos Aires locals).

The economic collapse and peso devaluation of 2001 has made Buenos Aires an increasingly popular destination for partying American students and it has even become a retail respite for bargain hunting backpackers. Foreign language capabilities and youthful exuberence take precedence in the resulting tourist industry, allowing high unemployment to be avoided.

Staying in the Hostel Inn on Humberto Primero, one of the party hostels brought on by this economic boom, meant that I was planted right in the heart of San Telmo.

The pressure cooker of a hostel nestles nicely beside the gorgeous Plaza Dorrego, surrounded by old time cafes with their omnipotent lomo completo (world famous Argentinian steak) and ice cream parlours exhibiting the best of Argentina's Italian heritage. The Plaza also plays host to antique fairs during the weekend and the daily handicraft sellers give a taste of the hippy sub culture that exists. Off the plaza there's an open indoor market, selling limited edition screen printed t-shirts and hip urban wear.

La Boca, the old dockers neighbourhood and centre of the Boca Juniors universe, is only about ten minutes walk from San Telmo. A tack filled, tourist warren called Caminito in this otherwise run down neighbourhood is the main attraction. It stands out like a sore thumb, a badly executed memory to the immigrant heritage of the city. The hastily constructed housing in the area led to the colourful mix-match housefronts and were all artificially restored in the fifities by the artist Quinquela Martin.

(Photo of a Tourist in La Boca)

This area is famed for flamboyant tango dancers busking on the sidewalks. Away from the maddening crowds, in a bar called La Tanguerra De Roberto near Plaza Almagro, tango is a whole different experience. It is less a regulated dance and more an outpouring of pent up blues. There's a harsh reality to life in contemporary Buenos Aires, so this "tango as blues" interpretation is understandable.

In the Zizek Club on Mercoles de Octubre, the urban consumer class dish out ten pesos to watch a DJ from the States dance P Diddy style, yelling 'I do it all hours like Austin Powers!'. Later, a band called Matimatike, sporting a sort of early millenium street wear with one tracksuit-bottom leg pulled up to avoid an imaginary bike chain, encourage the crowd as they spit fire over some simplistic beats.

Taking the Subte across the city from San Telmo to Palermo is a must. Scores of kids sell religious medallions and pour fast paced descriptions of the medallions’ inherant magic before gathering them up and hopping onto the next carriage. It becomes a lasting memory as you emerge from the underground into the globalised extravagance of Palermo.

There, the Recoleta cemetery graveyard, once the highest valued real estate in the city, is but a walk away. Decorative gothic angels and gargoyles haunt Evita's final resting place in this city, replete with miniture mansions as holding spots for the bones of the nation's elite.

Palermo also holds the MALBA (Museo De Arte Latin Americano de Buenos Aires), with its Costantini Collection collection documenting the whirlpool of artistic vanguardism Buenos Aires has always prided itself on. Ironically, the amazingly vibrant street art culture that is spreading like a virus through out the city today is being clamped down on by the government for the sake of tourism.

However it is stil possible to catch glimpses of multi-coloured visions of Hendrix, animated sprites, subverted street signs and thousands of stickered cartoons that sparkle like diamonds in the corner of your eye everywhere you walk.

Buenos Aires can be anything you want it to be; all surface and no feeling or a city where the best will only be found the more you scratch the facade.

This overly gushing travel piece was published in a recent edition of the Irish Backpacker Magazine, if I remmeber it right, its amazing how much they edited out. Something else from Buenos Aires will be popping up here soon too...

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Soundtracksforthem specialises in iconoclastic takes on culture, politics, and more shite from the underbelly of your keyboard. A still-born group blog with a recent surge of different contributers but mainly maintained by James R. Big up all the contributers and posse regardless of churn out rate: Kyle Browne, Reeuq, Cogsy, Chief, X-ie phader/Krossie, Howard Devoto, Dara, Ronan and Mark Furlong. Send your wishes and aspirations to antropheatgmail.com

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