frac·tal // noun, Mathematics, Physics // a geometrical or physical structure having an irregular or fragmented shape at all scales of measurement between a greatest and smallest scale… [^]
This came up at the most recent Mudd Up! Book Club, which led me to looking up this, which led me to the video below. Don’t like the way dude says “singing and dancing” near the end, and a couple other small things (and the way he looks at me) but otherwise fux wit it.
Tomorrow I’m off to Beirut for the Share Conference, “a weekend-long public, free and non-commercial hybrid event blending an Internet culture and technology related daytime conference with dynamic cutting-edge music festival by night.” I’ll be doing double duty: a daytime artist talk on Sunday October 7th, and a conference-closing DJ set that night. First time in Lebanon, looking fwd!
From there I head to Istanbul for the opening of the Istanbul Design Biennial, where we’re taking over a room to install Sufi Plug Ins & John Francis Peters’ Morocco photographs. Beyond Digital by the Bosphorus! Last time I was in Turkey was a dozen years ago, touring with Wax Poetic & Norah Jones before she was (the) Norah Jones. Everyone says the city has changed more than any other in this time, turned ‘hip’, skyrocketed.
Yesterday NPR’s flagship news program, All Things Considered, aired a piece on my Sufi Plug Insproject! One minute it’s drivel from Mitt Romney’s camp, the next my crew is talking about weird synthesizers and love song maqams.
People keep asking me if I plan to sell SPIs. The answer is no. They’re free, always will be, and we’re gonna build more – VST versions are the next priority. In order to make the Sufi Plug Ins exactly as they needed to be, the whole thing was self-funded (I can always eat less) & the entire team – Bill & I here in New York, Rosten in LA, and Maggie & Juan in Madrid – volunteered their formidable skills.
Cairo, Egypt. A few yards down from this graffiti lies the city’s best English language bookstore, and a few yards beyond that, the former British army barracks turned into traffic circle elevated into iconic revolutionary space. Tahrir means Liberation.
With Egyptian presidential elections getting very close, now’s a good time to listen to Cairo, its sounds & music, its clamor and dignity.
Last Wednesday’s radio show with Arabic translator Humphrey Davies, recorded on location in Egypt, is now streaming, and it’s fantastic:
In it he discusses the sounds of Cairo from car-horn honking Morse code obscenities to the changing ways of voicing the divine; nostalgia for the 1940s and brand new sha3by lyrics; Nancy Arjam’s class-bending single and Oum Koulsoum’s ongoing appeal. We also touch upon the world of Egyptian publishing and get insight about Davies work as a translator (I just finished his translation of Alaa Al Aswany’s The Yacoubian Building, and it is excellent. Highly recommended.) including a preview into the amazing 19th ct Lebanese book he’s working on right now (which includes lists of “well known locations in hell” and “17 types of medieval glue”).
Special guest next week: Monterrey Mexico’s DJ Javier Estrada! Info soon.
We are living in a material world. Here are two fruits of Beyond Digital, a gorgeous CD and a cassette, available for purchase here.
The debut CD of Imanaren is a lovely thing. We re-released this digitally on Dutty Artz, but here, exclusive and for the first time, is a very limited edition of the original physical CD, produced in Morocco by Hassan Wargui. (These CDs don’t play well with all drives, so purchase comes with a download link to the Dutty Artz digital version; you can burn up a lossless CD if yours doesn’t play well.)
For an introduction to Imanaren, read (the amazing) Nina Power’s review in The Wire or check out this video — a brief interview with Wargui followed by the album’s first track.
I’ve also got a few copies of the Palm Wine – Dreamachine / Beyond Digital mix cassette. This is great project initiated by artist Simone Bertuzzi. One side features his field recordings from northern Morocco including excerpts from the Master Musicians of Joujouka Festival. (For in-depth observations on the Jajouka/Joujouka phenomenon, try my essay for The National, “Past Masters.”) The tape’s flip side contains a b2b selection Maga Bo & I assembled while traveling on trains across Morocco. Our contribution is unmixed (it’s like an old school cassette you may have made for friends way back when…). Simone has a detailed writeup about the entire project here. My side starts off with the magical Luzmilla Carpio, and this is a 2-minute excerpt from Side A, Simone’s Dreamachine field recordings: Palm Wine “Dreamachine mix” [2 min. excerpt] by Palm Wine
Please note: if you’d live outside of the U.S. and would like to order the Palm Wine cassette, please do it directly from the Palm Wine blog. This order form allows for U.S. purchases of the Imanaren + Palm Wine, and rest-of-world purchases of the Imanaren.
Make sure you use the dropdown form to select which item(s) you want and whether your location is US or rest-of-world. Shukran.
An album release party and free night of celebration in the heart of the heart of the country!
Click on the huge GIF to see the huge GIF in all its huge GIFNESS.
djs mothershiester and bent invite you to:
The 2nd Happy Hour installment of Africa is Not a Country features a special performance by Nettle. Led by DJ /rupture, this inter-continental project blends electronic beats, North African folksongs and percussion with avant garde noise. We’ll be celebrating the release of group’s new record — El Resplandor: The Shining in Dubai / iTunes / Amazon / Boomkat. “For this album, Nettle imagined a remake of Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining set in a luxury hotel in Dubai, U.A.E. El Resplandor: The Shining In Dubai is their soundtrack for that nonexistent film.”
Live DJ sets by bent and mothershiester through the night will feature Rock, Ska, and Punk anthems from Mozambique, South Africa, Kenya, and Nigeria. Jazz arrangements from Madagascar and Ghana. Soukous jams and Chaabi gems. Plus a glut of “pirated” Kenyan Pop mp3s that dj bent found while idly cruising the information superhighway.
Friday, December 2
1817 Columbia Rd. NW
7 to 11 pm
Nettle plays at 9pm!
enjoy drink specials of $3 beers, $5 wine and rail drinks, and delicious $5 appetizers at this brand new north african spot – Marrakech Lounge.
plus hooka/sheesha for enjoyment on the veranda
Africa is Not a Country is an anti-colonial musical journey, using the dancefloor/barstool to deconstruct the idea of “African music” as we rock out from Jo-burg to Cairo, from Dakar to Nairobi, with a quick lap around the islands.
Imanaren is beautiful mystical music from the south of Morocco. Jace found them during our Beyond Digital residency project last summer in Casablanca- and after becoming close friends with the band leader Hassan, we decided to re-release their self titled, DIY full length. We traveled to Hassan’s hometown of Issafen via a grueling 12 hour drive into a sublime desert of martian rock formations and dusty oases. Nearly half way through our stay, Hassan’s father finally asked us why exactly we had come. Hassan isn’t allowed to play music in the house, so we recorded with his local friends and fellow musicians in a natural amphitheater carved out by a waterfall in a dry gorge. We will be selling an extremely limited number of the original Moroccan CD pressings that Hassan had distributed on a small scale through Morocco- other then that, stream it all on Hassan’s youtube channel – or cop it amazon, boomkat, or any other fine digital shop. Watch the video we shot in Issafen for “Flowering Of The Wise” and Hassan’s first collabo with Nettle below.
Mzien! Next Monday November 7th, live radio & a great, rarely-screened film at a special location in South Williamsburg.
Join me at Brooklyn’s Spectacle Theater for a live broadcast of my WFMU radio show, “Mudd Up!” from 8-9pm, built around a YouTube selection, followed by a screening of the fantastic musical comedy, 100% Arabica. Set in the rough suburbs of Paris, this 1997 film by Algerian director Mahmoud Zemmouri stars raï kings Khaled and Cheb Mami. 100% Arabica uses satire and incredible live music scenes to tell the tale of an up-and-coming raï band that must deal with shady cops, cassette bootlegging kids, a conservative imam, and more.
Released just 2 years after Mathieu Kassovitz’s stark social drama Le Haine (Hate), 100% Arabica joyously offers alternatives to a narrow sociological exploration of urban tension by using the same location and same broad themes to celebrate Arab and African immigrant culture in Paris.
Homemade mint tea and dates will be served ’cause we’re nice like that.
As Pitchfork announced on Friday – We’ll be releasing the new Nettle album on October 25, on avant-garde/experimental powerhouse label Sub Rosa! (Sub Rosa has been publishing quality weird for over 20 years, from archival material by James Joyce and Marcel Duchamp to albums by Pauline Oliveros, Luc Ferrari, and Tod Dockstader).
For this album, we imagined a remake of Stephen King/Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining set in a luxury hotel in Dubai, U.A.E. El Resplandor: The Shining In Dubai is our soundtrack for that nonexistent film.
I produced and arranged El Resplandor, working with musicians Abdelhak Rahal, Jennifer Jones, Khalid Bennaji, Andy Moor, Brent Arnold, and Lindsay Cuff. Artwork is by Emirati photographer Lamya Gargash, taken from her incredible Presence series documenting “unwanted houses and structures in the United Arab Emirates that have been abandoned or left for demolition.” Architecture writer and Studio X co-director Geoff ‘BLDGBLOG’ Manaugh gave us some mindbending liner notes.
What else can I say? I put a lot of time into making this album & I hope you enjoy it. October 25 is the U.S. date; it should reach shops in Europe about 2 weeks before that.
This Wednesday I’ll be at the Decibel Festival in Seattle, giving a free, all-ages presentation of my setup for concerts with Nettle (laptop/gear/instrument- and vocal-processing): real talk about strategies to make live electronic music more dynamic and flexible.
El Resplandor tracklist:
01 El Resplandor
02 Radio Flower
03 There Is a Hole in the Middle of the World Filled With Languages That Don’t Have Names
05 Empty Quarters
07 Simoom (Wasp Wind)
08 Red Masque Ticker
09 El Resplandor: In the Marsh
10 Shining One
11 Khalid’s Song
I’m very excited to present this video. It’s a short Behind The Scenes look at our Beyond Digital: Morocco art project. You can also check out my series of Fader posts, and the BD website itself, but this video is by far the best summary and explanation of what we were up to in June, and in so doing it provides glimpses of what’s to come: an incredible photo series by John Francis Peters; poignant video essays by Maggie Schmitt and Juan Alcon Duran; my free Max4Live audio tools suite, Sufi Plug-Ins; Maghrebi percussion sample pack & music by Maga Bo; and more… We’ll also be doing an event in Tangier on September 9th, more info next week.
Auto-tune lovers take note: the video previews a snippet from the best auto-tune interview ever, when we spoke with Moroccan pop star Adil El Miloudi in his home.
Adil El Miloudi: “Autotune gives you a ‘me’ that is better.”
Forget Bogart. Casablanca is an utterly modern city, North Africa’s largest, with traffic-choked roadways and upscale neighborhoods and swaths of shantytowns whose residents have satellite dishes but no running water. While most tourists skip Casa to spend their dirhams in more scenic towns, the gritty magnet metropolis pulls in folks from all over the country looking for work, and powers Morocco’s music and art scenes. I’m here for a month with FADER photo editor John Francis Peters and an international crew of six others. Music brought us. . .
This next tune is a song halfway between traditional Berber songs from rural Morocco—popularized in the 1970s by Le Comptoir’s main artist, Mohammed Rouicha—and our Auto-Tuned, pixelated tomorrow. It’s by Adil El Miloudi. Adil performs across Europe and tells me that this summer he’ll be making appearances in to Florida and Boston, for the first time. His breakthrough song, “Nothing Nothing”, has well over a million YouTube views. Adil lives in Kenitra and performs regularly at a Tangier nightclub called the Morocco Palace (free entrance but they gouge you on shisha and drink prices).
The Palace has a light-up disco dance floor and really good subwoofers. Everything else is covered in intricate Islamic pattern woodcarvings, except the enormous flatscreen TV right above the stage, which is set to a music video channel and is never, ever turned off, even when live bands are performing underneath it. Adil rolls around town with a phalanx of young guys whose primary duty seems to be handing him various cellphones at the appropriate moment. I know this because, after calling several of those phones, I found myself, along with Maga Bo, at Adil’s house at four in the morning a month ago. “This is Tom,” he said, pointing at his manager. “And this is Jerry,” he said, pointing at his cat.