(GIF via Art Becomes You)

Got some more Iswayski for ya! Today’s focus is Azonto beats.

The Ghana dance that’s been wildly popular for the past few years continues to result in a lot of good music. The beat that’s generally associated with it is a super dancey and effective pop formula blended with traditional Ga drumming. Who made the first beat is up for debate, but E.L‘s “U Go Kill Me” is what brought it to the masses.

I’m still surprised I don’t hear more of this in US club sets outside of African nights. It’s impossible not to move your body to, has high production standards, and a lot of the lyrics are even in English. Maybe it’s because so few Western artists are producing it? The UK has Fuse ODG bringing it to the Grime crowds and the whole Afrobeats thing is probably helping to spread it over there. But there’s not much of an American counterpart to any of that. Not that any of this matters as a symbol of the sound’s success, I just personally fuck with it and would like to hear more of it.

So let’s go over a few recent tracks that are doing pretty well that I like a lot:

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Some people are good enough that all they have to do is speak, or threaten speech to get me to show up. Other people I need to be assured will perform. But Kowdo Eshun is in the former category. His music writing is full of neologisms and the sort of insightful criticism as prose poetry that makes first time reading (especially as a liberal arts student) something like finding the solar anus in a econ textbook. Music writing is supposed to be about selling music- or something- but Eshun, whose out of print More Brilliant Then the Sun is indeed sublime, writes with phrases like “synthetic architecture of moving parts that turns itself slowly , throwing off rotary forces of bewilderment and solace…” and i guess maybe in the end I did buy.zip that Hype Williams EP- but somehow I would have been satisfied just to have read the review.

Location:

Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Auditorium, Sheila C. Johnson Design Center, 66 Fifth Avenue
6PM

http://www.newschool.edu/eventdetail.aspx?id=69952 Part of an ongoing afro-fucha series at the new school. H/t to boima

So far my 2011 has been a year of playing out in odd venues.  After a spate of guerrilla gigs in machine rooms and lab spaces around Boston, my first DJ appearance in London landed me at an anarchist party in the docklands.  Location: a disused boxing club across the street from the former hideout of the Situationist International.  Dress code: “Things that shouldn’t go together — and don’t,” exemplified by a prevalence of latex+tweed outfits and one flasher in a jilbaab. As though anarchists in the docklands weren’t contradiction enough.

The hosts of the party were – of course – the Space Hijackers, a squad of self-styled “anarchitects” who have spent the last twelve years executing increasingly in-your-face actions to reclaim London’s public space.  Most recently they made headlines from BoingBoing to the BBC World Service for launching a fake “life offsetting” company during the DSEi arms fair.  There’s a lot to say about the Hijackers, but rather than try to sum up their work in a few paragraphs, I’ll leave you with a clip of them driving their own tank toward some police officers.  OWS, take notes.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pc–CYpWDpQ[/youtube]

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LV & Joshua Idehen – “Melt”
from LV & Joshua Idehen‘s album Routes, an album which came out on Keysound Recordings a few months ago. I’ve listened to the album countless times, played some tracks on the radio, and at parties prior to the unrest in London. I highly recommend it. It’s an impressive, imaginative, muscular, and fun album.  On “Melt” Idehen, a Londoner of Nigerian heritage talks about growing up in London on top of a ridiculously good kwaito-informed funky jam provided by LV (very impressive vocal cut ‘n past & repeat action.) So much is said in such little time (youth, class, perseverance,…) & so much understood even when the words aren’t clear!

when does a battle mix become a ceasefire mix? avant-garde was originally a military term – the foremost guard in the army advancing into conflict. battle mix. myself and jon hanuman. the peace was brokered by the abstractor blog (based in Caracas/Barcelona/Elsewhere) and is therefore bilingüe.

it’s available with tracklist and even interview here.

here’s a couple of my selections in full. happy to spread the love/weaponry further. requests down below…

first, an old UK Garage cut from 99. future garage is a simultaneously occurring future which is also happening in the past…

m dubs feat lady saw – bump n grind (original mix feat secret agent)

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second: adesh samroo is from trinidad. he makes chutney soca (that’s soca made by trinidad and guyana’s large populations of south asian – imperial – extraction). This tune is from his ‘thanks to all’ album. It makes a good case as to why cat meat is better than dog meat.

adesh samaroo – D’ dog bone

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Hype Williams – The Throning

To cure post-holiday blues, smoke Christmas trees or listen to the new album from Hype Williams, Find Out What Happens When People Stop Being Polite, And Start Getting Reel on repeat – or just do both to further enhance that collapsing feeling as you watch people (including hard working class people) waste money and resources. Like a bouquet of xmas flowers on fire, the album is an absolute mess; a slow-burning, swirling, hallucinatory fantasy, a wicked affair involving Ms. Helen Folasade Adu.

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Becoming Real – Showdown In Chinatown feat. Trim from Spectre EP (Not Even, 2010)

Greetings from the darkside, Londoner Toby Ridler’s Becoming Real project recently unleashed a vicious EP entitled Spectre, outright insane beats with vocals from one vocals/raps from one of grime’s most amazing/underrated MCs Trim. There is also a wicked juke refix of the lead track by DJ Rashad.

Also, don’t sleep on his FACT mix.

“There are so many Africas, and so many arts of Africa. Picasso and Matisse thought they had hit on the essence of Africa during the first decade of the 20th century. The African masks and sculpture that influenced such works as Les Demoiselles D’Avignon (1909) seemed to be the very embodiment of a youngish Spaniard’s priapic idea of the primitive: wonderfully, savagely stylised; bursting with a toe-curlingly alien erotic charge. How patronising of Picasso to think that that’s what African art amounted to. Well, perhaps that’s a little unfair. The point was that Picasso, ever grasping, ever restless, was seeking out new ways of representing the female body.

Yes, anthropologists quickly began to prove that Picasso was either wrong or telling just one tiny part of an immensely complicated story. In 1910, the first major excavations took place at Ife, a site in what is now south-western Nigeria, not too far from Lagos. (The walled city-state of Ife, legendary homeland of the Yoruba, flourished for 300 years, from about 1100-1400 AD). Thirty years later, in 1940, another great cull of objects from the same site hit the headlines again: “Worthy to rank with finest works of Greece and Italy”, shrilled the Illustrated London News.

Many of the works that those anthropologists found are now on display in this major show of north-west African sculpture, and the works here lend credence to that headline writer’s claim. At the same historical moment that Andrea del Verrocchio was doing his wonderfully painstaking, high-Renaissance drawing of a female head which can be seen elsewhere in this building, anonymous artisans in Ife were working with brass, bronze – yes, these Africans knew all about bronze casting long before the Europeans arrived to show them how – copper and terracotta to produce a series of exquisite heads that are not only the equal of Donatello in technical brilliance, but also just as naturalistic in their refinement. So much for African primitivism.” – Michael Glover (The Independent) reviews Kingdom of Ife: Sculptures from West Africa, British Museum, London – read the full article here.