Matt Shadetek The Empire Never Ended Album Cover
Dutty Artz is immensely proud to announce the new album from Matt Shadetek The Empire Never Ended, his second solo effort.  The album will be out March 26th 2013 via Dutty Artz.  The record is a mix of instrumental and vocal tracks which fuse Shadetek’s love for new sounds with the street knock of Rap and R&B.  Guesting on the record are Riff Raff, Troy Ave, Chan Dizzy, Aku Orraca Teteh and Jahdan Blakkamoore.  “After I moved back to NYC after living in Berlin I wanted to make something more local” Shadetek says “I grew up on rap music but there was a moment where things just got really boring and my interest went elsewhere. Lately things are getting interesting again.”  You can listen to Madness from The Empire Never Ended over at Pitchfork.

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[originally posted at Mudd Up!]

This weekend we gave away physical copies of my latest mix CD. Today I’m offering it online. The mix is directly inspired by transnational Mexican sonidero culture, and uses its format to air the voices and stories of a group of dedicated rent strikers out here in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. Here’s a download of the mix and the story of how it came to be–

This past Saturday, friends & I threw a community-minded block party at Rainbow Park in the Sunset Park neighborhood of Brooklyn. The basic idea was to air live music that reflects the population here (Latino, Chinese, Arab…), to bring folks together into a space with great sound as community groups offer info and services.

It takes much painstaking organization, discussion, and collaboration to create an open-ended space, any inclusive moment wide with margins of possibility. I think we managed to do it. Hundreds showed up, listened, participated.

[BTB – kids at Nuria Montiel’s print vinyl station, photo by Sound Liberation Front]

Planning for ‘Beyond The Block’ began in late spring and continued — with weekly meetings! — until this Saturday. Our we grew over time, expanding to include people from Beyond Digital, Dutty Artz, The Arab American Association of New York, CAAAV, La Unión, La Casita Comunal de Sunset Park, Sound Liberation Front, and various local artists and community members. Manhattan electronic music school Dubspot donated a grip of top-quality gear. On the day of the event, dozens of volunteers came to help everything flow.

[Undocumented youth activists. Ty Ushka’s instagram.]

We made posters for Beyond The Block in four languages: Spanish, Mandarin, English, Arabic. Musicians/DJs held extended conversations with community organizers working towards social justice. Various worlds shrank. We focused on local, person-to-person outreach — that’s why you didn’t see mention of this event on any blogs for example. Our digital hype/ “social networking” skills were put towards helping our partner organizations located in Sunset Park and Bay Ridge activate & amplify the word through their networks.

[Beyond The Block flyers by Talacha]

If the dominant mode of musical experience in 2012 is a web-sped diet of consume and move on, then Beyond The Block is interested in learning about the slow social manifestations of all this music that moves us, and asking how our excitement over these sounds can contribute, in a direct way, to the communities where its heartbeat comes from. And besides, I’ve lived in Sunset Park ever since I moved back to the US in 2006.

As we wrote in the mission statement:

Can a hype block party double as an opportunity to spread information about stop & frisk, immigrant rights, police surveillance, and housing? We say yes. As the championing of diversity, a global outlook, and a celebration of the local become increasingly common in today’s dance music scenes, we see an ideal opportunity to use the energy & open-ended vibe of a great party to connect musical ideas to their real-world analogs — to create a space where we can talk about – and dance to – an incredible musical selection while sharing useful information for our communities that are impacted by issues pertaining to undocumented workers’ rights, transnational identity, health care, police violence, housing and more.

How did it go? Fine late summer sun shone on nonstop music performances across a variety of styles and languages — including teen rappers from around the block, Omnia Hegazy’s English-Arabic guitar songs, Los Skarroneros’ Marxist ska-punk, Uproot Andy DJing, and a perfectly-pitched closing ceremony by Cetiliztli Nauhcampa Quetzalcoatl in Ixachitlan. (This last group had me wishing that DJ Javier Estrada was there, indigenous time rise up).

[photo by Neha Gautam]

In addition to the music were things like: a handball court transformed into a realtime street art gallery, Nuria Montiel’s incredible pushcart art station that let kids transform vinyl records in printing devices, a dozen or so community groups sharing info, $1 spicy grilled octopus from the Chinese food cart…

As fellow organizer Larisa Mann/DJ Ripley wrote, “the face-painting and mural-painting folks were total troopers mobbed by excited kids all day, the community organizations & folks at the tables were full of useful information and good humor and the basketball and handball NEVER STOPPED.” When Ashland Total Freedom came walking up I had to pinch myself. As it turned out, everything really did happen. We’re working on a website but until then you’ll have to peer into the soul-sucking abyss of the Zuckerborg to see it.

[painting produced on the day, Ty Ushka’s instagram]

The point is not to brag about this event. The point is to remind ourselves: this is possible. A few dedicated individuals can leverage a lot. Music can start & sustain conversations. You can throw a block party like this wherever you live, too. Getting the permits and such wasn’t that hard (despite NYC’s somnambulant bureaucracy); sharing the workload made everything easier; post-meeting tacos & micheladas formed their own satisfying world.

But about this new mixtape…

As the planning went on, I started thinking about ways to extend the outburst of energy that comes – then goes! – with putting on a party. Something that could spread slowly, perhaps in online worlds, after we tended to the here-and-now on one exquisite September day.

[Beyond The Block flyers by Talacha]

In helping to make this block party happen, I ended up working closely with people involved in the rent strike on 46th St. The mixtape idea clicked into place all at once: I would select made-in-the-USA cumbia instrumentals, and have those sounds serve as a backing track to the rent strikers explaining, in their own words, what is happening, why they are struggling. Most of the three rent striking buildings’ residents are Latino immigrants, many from Mexico. I mentioned my idea at a meeting — people were into it. Pues… ¡Vámonos!

[photos taken by rent strikers]

Noelle Theard introduced me to some of the principal rent strikers, then she and Dennis Flores, who had already been working closely with the strikers, conducted incredible interviews. As the Spanish-speakers among us will hear, one of the other great things about these interviews is how very different each person’s perspective on the rent strike is. It ranges from deeply personal accounts — say, of dirty water dripping on Eulogia’s stovetop — to broad political analysis examining the banks’ roles, to philosophical reflections on rights and dignity and how a just struggle can empower. If you don’t understand the Spanish then hopefully the deep cumbias will communicate.

The ‘Sunset Park Rent Strike Speakout Mix’ was directly inspired by Mexican sonideros. Sonideros (DJs/sound-people) talk on the mic and select tunes, narrating the party and activating the music, cracking jokes, taking requests to dedicate shoutouts to (often-distant) friends, family, lovers. They literally speak community into existence. Dozens of sonidero parties rock NYC each month, from private weddings to all-nighters in inconspicuous venues under the BQE. (Here’s an introductory article on cumbia sonidera in the New York Times from 2003, and an excellent Spanish language e-book published by friends over at El Proyecto Sonidero.)

Another nice thing about the voices gathered here is how they reflect the high level of women involved in the struggle for housing justice in Sunset Park. (With notable exceptions like DF’s Lupita de la Cigarita, sonidero culture skews heavily towards men on the mic).

But I’ve said enough. Here you go:

DOWNLOAD : Sunset Park Rent Strike Speakout Mix [25 minutes, 61MB] (mixed by DJ Rupture, produced by Noelle Theard & Dennis Flores)

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.

[Anthology of Booty]

It takes a few committed individuals to change how an entire city feels. I’ve perhaps never experienced this more than in Washington D.C. — forget all the suits selling off the American dream, my experience of D.C. is shaped by hanging out with inspiring community-conscious visionary musicians like the ladies of Anthology of Booty and the guys from Fugazi.

And tonight, DJs Bent, Mothersheister, and Natty Boom from Anthology of Booty are teaming up with iBomba’s Beto & Ushka to bring their AoB vibes to a free Brooklyn party at Bembe. details (FB invite), and peep the flyer and interview w/ AoB’s DJ Bent excerpted below:

What’s an Anthology of Booty party like?
A real mix of crowds sharing space in a party atmosphere. It’s a safe space — people will get wild, people will have fun, but violence or harassment will not be tolerated.

Given your anti-sexual harassment stance, why play raunchy songs?

The power of playing stuff like Juvenile’s “Back That Azz Up” and people hardcore booty dancing, grinding, going crazy — how does that coexist in a space where you’re talking about not having harassment or this vibe that it’s a meat market? That’s the space we try to create: a place where people can go wild without someone else taking it [as an invitation to harass].

So, when A.O.B. spins misogynistic jams, it’s a political statement?
All parties are political, whether it’s a fundraiser for Occupy Wall Street or whether it’s Backdoor.

From Wayne’s great writeup:

Allow me to remind that next WEDNESDAY, July 25, Beat Research will play host, in the Good Life’s booming basement, to a full-blown reunion of Boston’s legendary Toneburst Collective. Bubbling up from Boston’s underground during the late 1990s, Toneburst was a loose-knit crew of DJs, electronic musicians, and video and installation artists, who together produced approximately 20 large-scale multimedia events in offbeat locations around New England and New York. More carnival than rave or concert, the crew’s productions mixed experimental beats, video, and performance art in unorthodox spaces. Beyond throwing great parties, Toneburst provided a platform for such influential acts as Kid 606, We™, Keith Fullerton Whitman (aka Hrvatski), and DJ /Rupture (a founding member)

keep reading

TONEBURST REUNION
@ BEAT RESEARCH
THE GOODLIFE BAR
28 KINGSTON ST
BOSTON, MA
9pm-1am
FREE
!!!!!

[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!


photograph by John Carluccio

I was quiet for most of 2011 when it comes to releasing original music. To be honest, I was a bit hard on myself. I’m finally getting out of that muck, and feeling ready now. I’m planning to put out several releases this year, on Dutty Artz as well as branching out to other labels.

Please find details for my first release of 2012 below. Titled Dubious Prey, it comes out on limited vinyl January 30th, then a digital release with additional remixes shortly follows. London label Sticks N Stones is releasing it… SNS a small new label owned and operated by my friend Aramac, and distributed by ST Holdings. Artwork, tracklisting, YouTube and SoundCloud previews – all below.

artist: Lamin Fofana
title: Dubious Prey
label: Sticks N Stones Recordings (Distributed by S.T. Holdings, UK)
date: 30th January for vinyl / 27th February for digital

Vinyl
A – Brokedown City
A2 – Dubious Prey
B – Brokedown City (Aramac Remix)

Lamin Fofana ‘Dubious Prey’ EP 12″ Vinyl Preview – Out  January 30 by Sticks “N” Stones

Digital
1. Dubious Prey
2. Brokedown City
3. Brokedown City (Aramac Remix)
4. Brokedown City (Svpreme Fiend Mix)
5. Brokedown City (Mayster & Contakt Rebuild)
6. Brokedown City (La Ola Criminal Remix)

Yesterday, XLR8R premiered the first cut from Dubious Prey, “Brokedown City”

NYC-via-Sierra Leone DJ/producer and Dutty Artz affiliate Lamin Fofana is set to release a new EP, Dubious Prey, the follow-up to his 2010 debut EP, What Elijah Said. The new EP features two originals, including this one, “Brokedown City,” a dark but still active piece of techno with a steady four-on-the-floor. The song’s notably tropical percussion is buffeted by potent synth lines, which bleed in and out of the song, and a barely audible vocal sample that occasionally slips into the mix…

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Head over there for the DOWNLOAD.

[youtube width=”525″ height=”355″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DwoAJIGoTgI[/youtube]

 

7PM TONIGHT! I’m starting a new radio hour on WFMU 91.1 FM in New York and 90.1 in the Hudson Valley! As Jace mentioned on Monday, I have a slot on WFMU’s Winter 2012 schedule. My show is right before Jace/Rupture’s Mudd Up which means you’ll have 2 HOURS OF DUTTY, & etc!

WFMU is a wonderful institution. The longest running freeform, independent community radio station in the United States! I’m excited and very much looking forward to doing this once a week this winter! We’ll staying true to WFMU’s commitment to unstructured-format broadcasting, and we’re going everywhere all the time. Listen in.

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We’ll do our best to give you good apocalypse in 2012. Our ice cream comes in 5 flavors: regular black, mudd, noir noir, soft bop, and dust bowl.

 

drake smoking in front of planes, looking sad


 Marvin’s Room (Shlohmo’s thru tha floor remix) – Drake by shlohmoA question I hear frequently asked about Toronto based Hiphop/RnB rapper/singer/child actor Drake in the press is why his new music is so depressing sounding and what does he have to be unhappy about? He’s young, rich and famous! He’s got a seemingly endless supply of adoring fans, pretty women, drugs, alcohol, money and a venue for his artistic expression to talk about his feelings. Hot97 is his psychotherapy couch.

When he sings:
‘Cups of the XO
Bitches in my old phone
I should call one and go home
I’ve been in this club too long
The woman that I would try
Is happy with a good guy

But I’ve been drinking so much
That I’ma call her anyway and say
“F-ck that nigga that you love so bad
I know you still think about the times we had”
I say “f-ck that nigga that you think you found
And since you picked up I know he’s not around”

(Are you drunk right now?)

I’m just sayin’, you could do better
Tell me have you heard that lately?
I’m just sayin’ you could do better
And I’ll start hatin’, only if you make me’

Drake strikes me as being honest here. Even though he has all of the above material and ego-enhancing things that many of us want, he is still not happy.  When artists are honest and speak about what’s really happening with them instead of repeating tropes that seem like the ‘industry standard’ (I’m balling! I’m awesome! I’m getting money!) it adds a richness of meaning, the texture of personal reality.  The current vogue for sipping XO (aka sizzurp, purple drank, or cough syrup made with promethazine and codeine) popularized by many rap/rnb artists including recently Drake and The Weeknd seems to support this pretty well. Codeine is an opiate, the same active ingredient found in heroin. It’s a central nervous system depressant that makes you sleepy and dulls pain when used when you’re sick. If consumed when you’re healthy it pushes pleasure buttons in your brain and feels great.   Taking codeine also kills you.  If you slow your central nervous system down enough you’ll just stop breathing. RIP DJ Screw and Pimp C. My question is: how much must you be suffering to make this glamourous lifestyle choice? Scientific research has pointed to links between the way we experience physical and psychic pain, like the pain of depression, including the fact that depression sufferers seem to have more acute physical pain.  As far as I can tell people who are happy and fulfilled don’t need to constantly take large amounts of central nervous system depressants like codeine and alcohol.

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¿What? – DJ Rupture, Mumdance, Chancha Via Circuito and more are meeting up in Monterrey, Mexico to work with living legend old-school musicians from around Monterrey, and it’s all being curated by el jefe Toy Selectah and Nrmal?!

The project is called Norte Sonoro y esta bien chido.

“Norte Sonoro is a festival and a musical residency. Via musical experimentation, this project seeks to establish a dialog between norteño sounds and international artists. Using the sounds of north Mexico as materia prima, 6 invited artists will create new works that bring together these norteño elements with their own styles, and it’ll all be made available for free. . . To top things off, all the artists will join forces for a free live show in Monterrey, sharing the stage with local musicians and DJs” (local like the chicos of 3ball MTY? Let’s hope so.)

Norte Sonoro is doing a Fondeadora to help make it happen and spread the word (Fondeadora is like Kickstarter for Mexico. Note that prices are in pesos, not dollars. They’re offering some great rewards). Here’s the Spanish-language video:

FONDEADORA – NORTE SONORO.

Norte Sonoro es un festival y un programa de residencias musicales.

A través de la experimentación musical, este proyecto busca establecer un diálogo entre sonidos norteños y artistas internacionales. Utilizando los sonidos del norte como materia prima, seis artistas invitados realizarán piezas musicales completamente nuevas que fusionan estos elementos con sus propios estilos, y que se distribuirán de manera gratuita en esta página.

Los artistas invitados viajarán a la ciudad de Monterrey en noviembre para realizar una mini-residencia de una semana. Estas residencias culminarán con una fiesta en la que se presentará el resultado de su trabajo.

I get a lot of emails – “what does the Dutty Artz headquarters look like?” “What type of furniture and seating arrangement do y’all use?” “Are the walls plaster, wood paneling, some sort of tiling, or Italian wallpaper?” “It is true that your in-house legal counsel is an 83-year old Moroccan man, suspicious and animated, who owns no cellphone?”

Needless to say I don’t have time to respond to these emails, but my friend Simone just faxed me this JPG of a photograph which may help answer some of your questions. As always, we here at Dutty Artz Limited Liability Corporation (Dutty Artz L.L.C., est. 2007/8) thank you for your patronage.

PW Morocco 05

In celebration of that and the amazing couple weeks that I’ve just had playing Central Park Summer Stage with Dutty Artz sistren Rita Indiana and Colombia’s Choquibtown, Lincoln Center’s Midsummer Night’s Swing with Lisandro Mesa and Que Bajo?! with Bogota’s El Freaky Crew I’m feeling like sharing is caring.

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Las Cuatro Palomas Remix by Geko Jones & DJ Reaganomics

 

NPR premiered this track a few days ago but here it is for download to the world. Built with my long time homie DJ Reaganomics this is a summer banger you can finish out the year with. I should note that I have been looking for a track ID on the vocalist so anyone that can give me a hard confirmation on any of the leads I have its appreciated.

 

NYLON mag premieres Turn It Up (So We Can Turn It Out), a tune from Kalup Linzy feat. James Franco’s Turn It Up EP, available on Dutty Artz as of today! The song was produced by DJ Rupture (mixed while in Casablanca) & Brent Arnold on cello and guitar. It’s a family ting.

The EP has three original songs plus a fantastic remix by Cardopusher, available in both vocal and instrumental versions. To get it Turn It Up (digitals now, special small-run vinyl pressing soon), you can head to iTunes, Amazon, Boomkat, and your usual online haunts.

james-franco-turn-it-up