I have recently returned from a trip around Europe, where I played a few gigs, and attended Womex and the Impakt! Festival. Check out my tour mix, and an interview and mix I did for Africanhiphop.com’s radio show in Amsterdam’s Red Light District.

This week I’m back in New York, and I’m not the only one returning. New York is in for a big week showcasing some of Africa’s most internationally popular genres. Read on for a little round up of fun upcoming shows.

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[youtube width=”525″ height=”360″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ESj164wKc6I[/youtube]

Super excited about this new event, BomBeat, that I am launching with my crew Cumba Mela, and Nickodemus from Turntables on the Hudson.  Its all going down this Saturday, November 24th at Le Poisson Rouge, in Manhattan. Expect to hear a wide range of global bass music: cumbia, dancehall, kuduro, house, moombahton, reggaeton….

We have Jeremy Sole coming from LA, repping KCRW, TheLift, and Afro Funke.

We are going to try our best to get a free EP for ever event. Be sure to check out the first one bellow!

BomBeat EP1 November 24, 2012 @ LPR NYC by BomBeat

Flyer from the first Backdoor, August 2009

Way back in the summer of 2009, a bunch of us in DC wanted to try an experiment — take the energy of the house parties we were throwing and DJing and try to transfer it onto the dancefloor at a club. We formed a new entity — the Anthology of Booty — with a preliminary mission:

committed to resisting negative forces such as racism, misogyny, and homophobia in social spaces like dances, clubs, and bars. We create spaces for dancing, enjoyment, relaxation, and art with an emphasis on inclusion and respect. As DJs, we play all kinds of music reflecting our different communities and passions.

You know, basically stuff that is discussed here all the time. Our vehicle to achieve this lofty goal of consensual fanny-bumping was the party Backdoor — paying homage to and carrying the tradition of so many communities forced to use the backdoor, sidedoor, separate entrance, and to the clandestine places where they/we partied anyway. It was also a play on the venue where we threw Backdoor — the basement of the 9:30 Club, called Backbar. We kept it on the downlow, advertised by word of mouth, and soon had ourselves a sweaty, sultry underground party.

It didn’t take long to outgrow the space, unfortunately, and so we set off in search of another venue for Backdoor, which proved to be challenging. Backdoor became nomadic, and even went on hiatus at times as we returned to our roots with some warehouse/studio events. Yet we still yearned for the days of a regular, monthly space where our blend of global booty beats and dancefloor politics could be counted on amidst all the other nightlife options. So its quite exciting to be having the first Backdoor party in quite some time, with the hopes that it will be the first of many. What’s more, it’s back in a basement!

I Want to Believe in Backdoor

If you’re in DC, stop through. If not, let’s see how we can get you here for the next one. Believe — we can throw banging parties and think about things at the same time…

[youtube width=”525″ height=”355″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UHyE7CZ6Yl8[/youtube]
A/V mash-up featuring music by Lamin Fofana with art dance and video production by Cybrarian Tufani. https://www.facebook.com/laminfofana – Captured Live on Ustream at http://www.ustream.tv/channel/ambientempowerments

Lamin Fofana‘s Africans Are Real is in shops on Tuesday, October 2nd! LISTEN TO A RECENT LIVE MIX FROM FOFANA ON RED BULL MUSIC ACADEMY RADIO: Lamin Fofana – Live At ICA

 

I wish Lamin had his own country, because he would make a great dictator. – Jace /rupture

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Artist: Lamin Fofana
Title: Africans Are Real
Label: Dutty Artz
Release: October 2nd, 2012
Artork: Photo of Oroma Elewa by Mike Brown | Layout by Talacha

Dutty Artz is proud to announce Africans Are Real the latest release from Lamin Fofana. It features remixes from SUB POP recording artist Spoek Mathambo, WIRE Magazine coverboy DJ /rupture, Afro-dashing Chief Boima, and a collaboration with King of Brooklyn Matt Shadetek.

Tracklisting:
1. UR
2. Africans Are Real (featuring Matt Shadetek)
3. Africans Are Real (DJ /rupture Enamel Remix)
4. Africans Are Real (Spoek Mathambo Par Express Remix)
5. Africans Are Real (Chief Boima Africans Are Myths Remix)

Stream “Africans Are Real”:
Africans Are Real (feat. Matt Shadetek) by lamin fofana

Stream/Download: Pleasure Mix
Pleasure Mix by lamin fofana

The impact which created the Caloris Basin was so powerful that its effects are seen on a global scale. It caused lava eruptions and left a concentric ring over 2 km tall surrounding the impact crater. At the antipode of the Caloris Basin lies a large region of unusual, hilly and furrowed terrain, sometimes called “Weird Terrain”.

Catch Señor Fofana live this Saturday at WEIRD TERRAIN alongside Teengirl Fantasy, Blondes, Huerco S., and Slava! (fbook)

I’m fairly sure by now some of you have heard of the mystical magical fun I have everytime I go down to Colombia and a lot of that has to do with our friends El Freaky in Bogota.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ktEPuU4ch-g[/youtube]

Considered by Uproot Andy as myself as an integral part of the network of tropical parties worldwide like Peligrosa, Muevete, Tormenta Tropical etc, these dudes throw down in a really fun 2DJ/1VJ format incorporating animations from the bizarre but genius mind of Fat Suggar Daddy. I’ve partied really hard longside these guys and I’m really happy to announce the premier of the remix to their single La Pongo. Kuduro collabo from none other than Dany F and Bleepolar, who’s recent remix for Subatomic Sound System featuring Jahdan and Anthony B, I’m really happy to add a lil español to the kuduro crate.

HBM-001: St. Google Prayer Candles (available exclusively at Change the Mood, Aug 17th @ Glasslands NYC)


HBM-002: Dubious Prey Tanks (available now at the DA webshop)

Hello Bad Mind is a new object oriented project studio I opened to bring physical manifestations of my work into the world.

I’m sick of the screen. We all are. Bruce Sterling’s latest forecast imagines 2031 when, “No one can afford to track the ageing data, archive it or save it. There is little desire to try. New schemes have disrupted the Internet; they are vaster, faster, friendlier, more interesting.” The attention economy simply doesn’t give a fuck about your content. On to the next one is the rallying cry of a consumptive vortex.

Your movie, your music, your collection of hentai kitten videos. It’s all the same, and soon to be outdated and inaccessible thanks to changing protocols, proprietary systems and creeping forced incompatibility. I like the intimacy of digital space, but my experience with physical phenomenon and organic decay holds faster in my mind. Hello Bad Mind is my next step towards creating the economies I want to support and engaging new networks of production and distribution.

For more info on both… (more…)

[co-written with DJ Ripley]

It should be no surprise to anyone reading this blog that for those like the two of us (Ripley & bent) the “personal is political” mantra saturates our lives on and off the dancefloor. We are constantly thinking, talking, grinding, mixing and dubbing our way through the politics of music and dance in the 21st century. From the infamous “boobahton” Facebook debate of 2010 to exciting workshops we did at the Allied Media Conference this year, we question our own approaches and those of others to beats and booty-bouncing. It’s not about tearing anyone down or harshing a mellow, but quite simply about having the best parties and music culture possible.

We stand firmly in the camp of those who can both think critically and throw slamming dance parties at the same time (to quote Ripley). Or, in other words, we are those seeking, building, imagining “a utopia where everyone in the world considers the politics of their booty shaking” as Emynd so succinctly put it in this recent twitter mishmash convo. Consider it a snippet from a continuous discussion played out backward and forward through time online, in person, on the dancefloor and via mixtapes — one which defies easy conclusions. [i couldn’t get the whole thing to embed, so click the link!]

 

[View the story “Politics of booty shaking #1” on Storify]

Ripley ended the story with Emynd’s response because it summed up one of the motivating factors behind our and many folks’ involvement in music, but that’s only one way the conversation could have gone. Some of the points raised early on by Uncle Jesse connect to later arguments in the thread — he talks about “us” and “them” in the music, and suggest there are specific concerns about representation and race that matter, even painfully, to him as well as others. Jubilee is suspicious of the whole process of publicly engaging with these tricky questions in a medium like Twitter. This should remind us that many times these conversations may happen face to face — just because we don’t see them in the media doesn’t mean folks aren’t talking.

But we think there are good reasons to speak up as well and continue the discussion. On Twitter or other public (or privately-owned but sorta-public-acting) sites like Facebook, there are a lot more readers than there are speakers. And for a lot of people learning about scenes, or choosing where to get involved, the kinds of conversations that are visible are what shape who chooses to get involved. So alongside the possibility of sharing with the people in the debate or discussion, there is everything you communicate to the lurkers, to the readers, to the new faces, or those who have been silent up until now.

Since bent and Ripley, like so many others are “committed to resisting negative forces such as racism, misogyny, and homophobia in social spaces like dances, clubs, and bars” one way of doing that is to enter into the public debate and try to change its terms, to carve out a space for clearer language about what we’re really interested in — so many people get hung up on fake conflicts like thinking vs. dancing, or smart vs. fun/raw/sexy. But the existence of so many slamming parties and djs and producers and rappers who do it ALL (props to iBomba, Azucar, Maracuyeah!, Anthology of Booty, Cupcake Collective, Hey Queen, Precolumbian, Rizzla, D’hana, Le1f, Venus X, Chief Boima, and other Dutty Artz folks to name just a few) proves them wrong.

And another side effect of speaking out is that then people who are onto the same stuff can see you — for every grumpy naysayer in public on Twitter or YouTube comments there are ten emails, txts, DMs, or even just silent nods plus a bit more inspiration to carry on in the beautiful struggle!

Everybody likes Italian dates, right? Well I got some:

adv-arti8

First: on Wednesday May 16, I’m giving an artist talk in conversation with Simone Bertuzzi at the Triennale Museum in Milan. Right after that, Soundways Records boss Miles Cleret will spin some records, and I’ll close the night with a DJ set. This event is free, and the DJing portion of the evening takes place in the design museum’s backyard garden. It’s nice.

And on Thursday May 17, I’m heading to Venice, where I’ll be performing at the Teatro Fondamente Nuevo. Details. This will be my first time in Venezia, so come say hello!

Now this –

Image

I just returned from Macao here in Milan — it’s a 32-story skyscraper which was squatted 10 days ago by a crew intending to transform the building (which had been shuttered for 15 years) into a ground-up contemporary art & culture center. This morning they got evicted by local police, which simply meant that everyone left the building but the crowd outside the Macao kept on growing… Fascinating moments over here. This Vogue Italia blog post provides background coverage and photos.

originally posted at Mudd Up!

F79 NewMusic featured

[Philip Glass photo by Gabriele Stabile for The Fader]

I interviewed Philip Glass for the current issue of Fader magazine. You can read it here. We talked at length about the importance of artistic & economic independence, ideas on digital language underpinning his work, driving a cab to cover health care for his collaborators, and how many hours of sitting-at-the-piano composing constitute a good day for him. What can I say? The man is an inspiration.

Philip is the coverboy for this, the Icon issue, so Glass fans will find a lot more in the magazine — but even if you’re not familiar with his music, the interview shares some powerful insights about autonomy & integrity, especially in wake of May Day #OWS.

excerpts:

Dressed in a long sleeve black T-shirt and blue jeans, Philip Glass eases onto a couch in a corner room of his spacious Dunvagen studio. A few blocks away are the SoHo buildings where, nearly 50 years ago, Glass staged concerts in derelict lofts to air his maddeningly beautiful ideas about sound and rhythm. His venues have grown but still there’s a feisty independence and curiosity about him.

Running a hand through his trademark rebellious curls, Glass says, “We’re stealing this office for the afternoon. But it’s okay. I pay the rent.” The joke rings true: Glass is the boss around here, he just doesn’t act like one. The soft-spoken composer often slips from “I” to “we” while talking, the habit of a lifelong team player. Listening to him feels like hearing a cabbie hold court—naturally social, disarmingly unpretentious, happy to share observations on a pathway that is more important than the destination.

F79 COVER 620x413 Double white

How many hours a day do you work on music?

Well, it depends. A good day for me is eight to ten hours. An excellent day for me is 11 hours. A bad day is three hours. My bad days are most people’s good days. I go much further than them. Like, I was up this morning early, I took my kids to school, I spent two hours working, I’m talking to you, I’m going to go home, I have another meeting, then I’m going to work probably three to six, then I’ll be up to five hours, and then it’s six o’clock, then after dinner I’ll work another two or three hours. So this will be a seven or eight hour day.

As things become more financially difficult for someone of your stature, how applicable is your pathway for a younger generation?

In terms of the physical ways of working, there are a lot of new things that have happened in my lifetime. I’m talking about the digital technology that is available. I’m still writing with pencil and paper, let’s put it that way. A lot of composers are now working directly with computers. There’s a big change, both in music and in other areas too: in photography, projection, performance. We’re living in a digital world. However there are many things I do which are applicable. For one thing, develop an independence of work. I’m not connected to institutions, I’m connected to live performance and to working collectively. This is very much a part of my generation. We were not what you call “the establishment.” This independence made it possible for me ?to do things that were unusual, that people hadn’t done before. The idealism that was part of the way I worked—working really and truly for the development of a new language of performance, of music, without regards to a successful career or a commercial career of any kind—you can still do that!

I had wonderful parents. My mother was a school-teacher and my father had a small music shop—he didn’t make any money. So I didn’t have a family fortune behind me. I had my energy, and I had other people. When young people today ask, “How do we get started?” I say, Look around and find people your own age. Work with your own generation. Make alliances among artists of your own time and these will be the people that you’ll work with. Don’t expect help from the older ones, they’re not interested.

[youtube width=”640″ height=”360″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eclyw_D154I[/youtube]

On a recent Brooklyn bound A-train ride, Geko and I were feverishly brainstorming places to host a New York performance for Titica, once we found out she wouldn’t be able to stay in town for Que Bajo next Thursday. Feeling like now is a crucial time for LGBTQ issues in Africa, we didn’t want to miss the opportunity for Titica to gain some visibility outside of her home context, and help open up the dialogue in regards to what is permissible in the realm of “African values.” While that will perhaps be a longer fight, the “Space” problem was quickly resolved when our traveling companion Thanu Yakupitiyage offered her iBomba party at Bembe on Monday night. Thanu’s work and focus made for quite the serendipitous pairing, perfect to host Titica in NY, thus initiating a kind of an informal inaugural collaboration between Thanu and Dutty Artz, the collective of cultural agitators with its spiritual heart in the county of Kings, New York.

On the eve of that event, it is my pleasure to introduce Thanu as the collective’s newest official member (something we’ve been planning before that fateful train ride)! While we’ve been bringing you blog posts, music, parties and merchandise of various sorts for a few years now, Dutty Artz has been steadily heading in a direction in which we’re trying to find ways to expand beyond music and the limitations of the Internet. It has always been our desire to facilitate ways to nurture a creative community across social and cultural borders. Adding Thanu to the lineup is a key part of us manifesting that intention in the real world!

Thanu traverses the lines between immigrant rights activist, media  producer, researcher, and political/cultural organizer. Reppin’ Sri Lanka via Thailand and Massachusetts she’s now based in Brooklyn, and has been in New York since 2007 where she has worked for organizations highlighting youth media, racial justice, and immigrant rights. When Occupy Wall Street kicked into gear in the Fall of 2011, Thanu was part of a crew of organizers of color who started the People of Color Caucus in order to highlight and organize around issues faced by communities of color that were being ignored by the larger OWS movement. She also helped lead the Immigrant Worker Justice working group in the Fall, and put together the December 18th International Migrants’ Day march. She is on the editorial team and blogs for, In Front and Center: Critical Voices in the 99%, and is one of the new culture editors for Organizing Upgrade, which is re-launching this month.

While those experiences will definitely add a new dimension to the aims of Dutty Artz, it is her interests and passions in the role of global music and dance in the creation of transformative political and cultural spaces that dovetail nicely with the work we’ve already been doing. For her, politics, music, and dance are intricately linked. She is an aspiring DJ and late last year, joined forces with DJs Beto and Mios Dio to organize and bring new acts and guest DJs to iBomba. We think that Thanu is a perfect fit and welcome addition to the family.

Check out a sample of her bad gyal writing on politics and pop culture here:

M.I.A and the Real Bad Girls, Hyphen Magazine

Dispatches from Indigenous Peoples Day, In Front and Center

OWS and Immigration, In Front and Center

Drop the I-Word feature: “I am home both here and there”, Colorlines

A Conscious Travel Guide to Sri Lanka, Global Post

And check her out this Monday as she hosts iBomba alongside DJ Beto and Mios Dio, with guests DJ Ripley and Angolan Kuduro star Titica! Look out for more from Thanu soon!


 Drexciya x Aminata Diabate x Lamin Fofana – Unknown Journey II by lamin fofana | cover by talacha

I made this edit while working on this mix.

The main track is an original tune by Drexciya and it’s titled “Unknown Journey I”. I’m not doing very much to it.  It was recently released on the compilation album Journey of the Deep Sea Dweller I which is out now on Clone. The voice is Malian singer Aminata Diabate. She is singing a classic West African Mandinka song “Autorail”. The voice is very beautiful. I apply some effects – a lot of delay and reverb – and I felt guilty so I let it play, nearly completely w/out any fx, for about a minute at the end. It’s from a Sublime Frequencies release titled Bush Taxi Mali: Field Recordings From Mali. Our friends at Weird Magic and Okayafrica have it up on their sites too.
#

It’s been over a year since Jeremy Harding called the one they call Di Genius to set up an interview for me. Stephen McGregor is, of course, the son of famed artiste Freddy McGregor, but he built his own lane producing some of the most innovative dancehall of this millennium, taking over his fathers Big Ship studio and turning it into a hit factory. His style melded perfectly with upandcomer Mavado – whose “Weh Dem A Do“- made me start checking compulsively for Stephen’s productions around 05/06. I have great video of him and his crew going off to unreleased Shadetek riddims and talking about why he keeps an open bible on his mixing desk- but until I get around to editing that shit- enjoy the interview tracked out by question below and stay locked for interviews with Ward21, Natalie Storm + more.

When your working on new projects – do you distinguish between what will be big in the Jamaican market vs the foreign market?

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Wa Dem A Do- which is the first riddim you built that I heard in NY- has this crazy cinematic density- but since then it seems like you have been hitting on all bases- why move away from the sound you built?

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Who are contemporary producers that you look up to? I hear neptunes and early timbaland, but who else are you checking for?

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Are there young producers or other producers that you work with, or is it just vocalists that you keep in your camp?

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Whats the deal with the Island Pop sound that is dominating the radio right now in JA?

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What do you think about the fact that anyone with a computer can download a cracked copy of Fruity Loops and start building riddims ?

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How much do you think radio payolla affects what tunes get big or make it onto rotation?

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You’ve pretty consistently had your riddims on the charts for the last couple years- how many riddims are you building a week, and how many of those ever get voiced?

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Can you describe the process from building a riddim to finishing a riddim pack goes?

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Is there anything outside of hip-hop and dancehall that you check for? Are you listening to trance and house directly or just hearing their influence through rap?

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Do you think your work ethic seperates you from other producers, or young musicians?

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Some artists claim not to listen to the radio or other media- but you say you like to keep up with whatevers new?

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What’s your process when you start to build a new riddim?

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Besides Jeremy (who manages Stephen)- whose the team at bigship and Di Genuis recordings?

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Given your success as a producer- why push to voice more of your own riddims?

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