It was a great full weekend of Dutty Artz performances and events. We started out partying hard at Glasslands for Matt Shadetek’s album release party, and ended up Sunday night all winding down over cheap drinks and stretching out our musical legs at Bushwick’s Bossa Nova Civic Club.
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.
[DJ Javier Estrada, courtesy Reuben Torres]
An essay I wrote on “The Aztec imagery and digital soundworld of Mexican producer Javier Estrada” is available in the current issue of Frieze. In it I explore resonances between global genres in the internet age, Atomik Aztex (the novel), Oscar Zeta Acosta, Aztec-inspired notions of cyclical time and our favorite hummingbird god, plus a pragmatic approach to the issue of “aliens” coupled with advice on how to exit the category of speed. Javier’s work is generous, complicated, and inspires these sort of linkages.
You can find the article wherever fine magazines are sold and read it online right here.
Below, two songs that I discuss in the piece. Listen to the voice of Huitzilopochtli…
[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:
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!
This week, the 2012 EMP Pop Conference hits New York City. They write:
“What do you get when roughly 300 academics, journalists, and musicians gather to talk about music and the urban jungle?… The participants will explore sounds of the city–the reverberations of people gathered en masse. . .Presenters will pay particular attention to what urban environments have meant for race, gender, and sexuality”
The talks are free and open to the public, but advanced registration is strongly encouraged, and today is your last day to do that… Many, many fascinating talks are scheduled.
I present at 4pm on Friday, in conversation with the brilliant Jayna Brown. I’ll unveil my Sufi Plug Ins project — free music / software / tools based on nonwestern & poetic notions of sound in interaction with alternative interfaces. It’s easiest if you come see them in action. But then there is Julius Eastman! And Berber Auto-Tune! And a brand-new video to debut! And how it all relates to the roundtable’s stated topic of “The Time and Space of Alternative Sonic Blackness,” with professors Daphne Brooks, Tavia Nyong’o, Brown, and more.
[Sufi Plug Ins: Bayati Maqam synth GUI as artist print]
The week/end will conclude with a quick & dirty Mudd Up Book Clubb meeting on Sunday. Short story edition, details soon.
Originally posted at Mudd Up!
[photo by Alex Walsh for The Fader]
If I start writing (again) about my time in Jamaica it could take up the better part of this morning. So let’s keep it simple: in late December I journeyed to Jamaica to report on the collaboration between iconic roots reggae group The Congos, and L.A.experimentalists Sun Araw and M Geddes Gengras for The Fader. It was an intense time down there in the lion’s den, adjusting my internal clock from NYC-breathless to Rasta time-management systems, entirely immersed in perhaps the strongest musical culture I’ve ever experienced, plus Ashanti Roy’s crazed grandchildren as sunrise alarm clocks, fish tea, George Michael with lasers, a minor yet disturbing horse-trampling, lots of Symbolic Murals, the melodious span and flexibility of patois, and so much more.
[photo by Alex Walsh for The Fader]
The article is now online, accompanied by several photos from Alex Walsh. Writing for The Fader spoils you — it makes me want to travel everywhere with top-notch photographers ready to dig deep and go after the spirit of the thing.
[photo by Alex Walsh for The Fader]
In the studio with NETTLE. This is what it’s like. A snapshot of the magic. Jorge Dubya’s aloft to Lindsay on violin. Rare Behind The Scenes footage of KREATIVITI IN ACTION.
Death/Traitors is the work of Alex Heir and it is fucking sick. I went to his spot on Delphi last week to get inside the mind of the genius behind my favorite New York brand.
T: You grew up in Jersey going to Punk shows and talk about how you see band shirts as this kind of holy grail of authenticity for design- how did band shirts inform your work with D T.
A: My initial interest in wanting to learn screen print and make shirts was born from my love of record and t-shirt art, and I think my idea of what makes a good shirt design is still largely based off that. A good band shirt is not just a random t-shirt with an image on it, it shows your musical taste and interest in a larger subculture, almost like wearing gang colors.
T: Whether it’s Japanese/Kanji characters that say Fuck Pigs, or your iconic Endless War Posters- you seem to hit an angle that’s 50/50 gothic vibes and anti-authoritarian anarchy. Is there any particular message that defines the brand?
A: I guess, as you said, “anti-authoritarian” sums it up pretty well. I’m not trying to spread a political message or anything, but I feel pretty angry about the state of the country and the world right now, and that works it’s way into my designs. I use the Anarchy symbol in the same way I use 666, I’m not a card carrying Anarchist or Satanist, but their symbols are a way to show what I am not.
T: While the 80 dollar t-shirt kids are gonna be happy to cop your gear at Mishka- you don’t go to trade shows or play the street-wear game- who’s your ideal audience for this stuff?
A: An army of leather clad rockers wandering the wasteland in search of food and water.
T: Do you have any fashion inspiration in terms of brands? What music or other design is most inspiring?
A: Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm McLaren had a store in London in the 70s called a variety of things..Let It Rock/Sex/Seditionaries. They designed a lot of the clothes the first wave UK punks wore and it was the biggest influence to me when I first thought about designing clothing. Alexander McQueen, who’s work I also really admire, definitely took a lot from them.
Nowadays I get a lot of inspiration from old occult and religious art, Japanese woodcuts, horror movies posters. I saw a show of old CRASS zines and flyers from their personal collection a few months ago…that was really inspiring and contributed a lot to the way the most recent designs have looked.
T: Can you talk about your process a little bit- your screen are everywhere around the house and most of your gear is there well- can you talk about hand printing all of your own work.
A: Once I finish a design and am ready to release it, I will shoot the screen and print a few samples to shoot on a model for the website. I keep a stock of screens of all my current available designs, and for the most part custom print every order as I get it.
T: Since images can move so easily between mediums- from stickers, to shirts, to bags, to textiles to whatever- how do you think about not overwhelming your customers.
A: I design the graphics specifically for each piece…An image might look great on a shirt, but not necessarily work as a patch or sticker. I re use a lot of the same imagery…skulls, kanji, swords, etc…but will do a different composition depending on what I’m going to print on. Less is more very often…I prefer to only release a handful of shirts and a few other items every season The artwork is very personal to me, so I would rather have a smaller amount of consistent, quality work then a ton of mediocre items.
T: you started doing these amazing varsity jackets- can you talk about your more indepth approach on that process.
A: I was lucky enough to link up with a tailor here in NYC that helping me through the process of of getting these jackets made. I initially was getting them from China, but once I stumbled upon this opportunity to have the jackets made here I leaped on it. I get to choose all the materials myself, from the wool and sleeve fabric to the lining and snaps, and the overall quality is much higher. Of course the costs to produce the jackets is much more than if I had them made in China, but I think people will appreciate the quality and the fact that they are made in the USA.
T: Beyond the clothing line, can you talk about the label a little bit and your other screen printing work and how you manage the balance.
A: Besides Death/Traitors, I do commercial screen printing for other people under the name Funbot Press. The nice thing about working for yourself is you get to set your own hours and make your own schedule, but it also means you never really stop working. Unless I’m at a show or hanging out with friends outside my apartment, I’m always working on SOME thing, be it printing, designing for D/T, or making other artwork or music. Every day is different, but it usually is a combination of everything. I love what I do, at least most aspects of it, and I enjoy being constantly busy.
T: Anything else you want to include?
A: I will be showing some new pieces in a group art show entitled Input/Output opening Sat, Jan. 28 at Booklyn, 37 Greenpoint Avenue 4th Floor. booklyn.org And I will be showing more work at the Mishka Store, 350 Broadway, BK, on Friday, April 6.
From No York!
Low Income Tomorrowland, a project studio run by artist & musician Jace Clayton (DJ /rupture) seeks a bright and resourceful studio assistant to work closely with Clayton on a number of installation, performance, and software-based art projects for 2012.
For more info, check out the New York Foundation for the Arts listing.
In our world, “art project” is a code name for “crazy shit.” 2012 gonna be fun.
This Thursday at Manhattan’s Housing Works Bookstore Cafe, you can check Jessica Hopper on M.I.A., Jace /Rupture on DJ Screw and slowness, and more. Their work was selected by the New Yorker‘s Alex Ross for inclusion in the yearly De Capo ‘Best Music Writing’ anthology, out now. Event is FREE.
The second evening of the week for Best Music Writing 2011 features guest editor Alex Ross, series editor Daphne Carr, and 2011 contributors:
Housing Works Bookstore Cafe
126 Crosby St, New York, NY 10012
Housing Works Café is a non-profit bookstore supporting New Yorkers living with HIV/AIDS. Please bring used or new books to donate to their shop.
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.