[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yv0yeJWiSTQ[/youtube]

Storm  Saulter is one of Jamaica’s most prominent young film-makers . With the panoptic gaze of interchangeable dancehall djs staring down from Digicell and Lime Tv advertisements, the hype cycle of radio and the frantic rotation of fashion and dance moves you couldn’t  be blamed for not realizing that Kingston has a thriving if limited independent arts scene. The best and brightest all seem linked to  Edna Manley – but Storm actually finished up film school in the states. After seeing his latest video for Tarrus Riley, and sitting in on a press screening of his full length Better Mus Come I sent over some questions about Jamaican politics, the challenges of independent film making and what drove Storm to leave behind the opportunity and infrastructure of Los Angeles.

T: You were born in Jamaica, but went to film school and worked in Los Angeles, given how limited the Jamaican film industry is, why return to the island to work?

S: It seems better to start a movement and build it from the beginning than to be just another person trying to make a statement in the same space as thousands of others trying to do the same thing.  We are defining new Caribbean cinema with the work we are doing now. Lots of young people (and a few older ones) in Jamaica and the region are seeing filmmaking as a real and exciting possibility for them right now. Better Mus’ Come is the beginning of a real movement.

T: The space you work in is shared by a bunch of other young filmmakers- can you tell me a bit about the space,  who is there and how you all came to work together. What is the ethos and purpose of New Caribbean?

S: I share an office with my brother Nile Saulter, Joel Burke, and Michelle Serieux. We are all filmmakers and we collaborate on all our projects together in different capacities. Directing, Producing, Cinematography, Editing, Writing. Our office is at 10a West Kings House Road, Perry Henzell’s home and production office during the creation of “The Harder They Come”. We share the property with a number of Directors and Producers. Ras Kassa, Ras Tingle, Jay Will. It is unquestionably the home of Jamaican filmmaking.
For more on New Caribbean Cinema go to www.newcaribbeancinema.com

T: Both the Tarrus video and Better Mus Come seem to deal with a similar type of historical amnesia- the way that systems of power attempt to limit certain types of information and stories in order to be able to continue propegating themselves. How do you see your work in creating new historical narratives or re-examining power?

S: Better Mus Come has had such an explosive impact in Jamaica because it is telling a story that we all know of, but we never knew the details. We would hear our parents speak of the 1970’s, The Cold War era, when Kissinger came to Jamaica and threatened Michael Manley and Jamaica with annihilation if we didn’t step away from Cuba. The beginning of this gang war tradition. There is a reason we were not taught this in school, so that events like the Tivoli massacre would seem like a new development that needed to be solved using brutal force by the Police and Military. But this is not new, it has only evolved from the same source. I guarantee you that many more of these ‘hidden’ stories will be told by this generation of filmmakers. And to be able to do so is empowering to the artists and the people.
READ THE REST OF THE INTERVIEW AFTER THE JUMP
(more…)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rhDthllmro8[/youtube]
I think I lost my flipcam last week- or it got stolen. It doesn’t really matter since I cant edit the HD footage on my Acer + it just eats up memory with videos I can barely replay. My homie Justin has a nice camera though- and last week we did a test run for a hopefully vaguely ongoing, but maybe never again, video series looking at studios and producers in Kingston. Supposed to reach to Bigship next week, but time is sticky in Jamaica. Enjoy.

Dre is one of Sharon’s (endless) nieces and nephews calling “Auntie Sharoooon” through the Solid office. He also runs Shockwave Inernational. They just dropped breaking point Vol. 3. I was driving with Timberlee to the re-opening of Kartel’s nightclub The Building last night and she kept pulling up on Mavado’s “Stullesha” which I hadn’t heard before and serves as a follow-up of sorts to long distance anthem “Stulla” – it’s on Stephen’s “Winnings Riddim” which is just perfect. I was trying to remember the name of the tune this morning when Dre linked me on FB to the DL of Breaking Point- BOOM. Not everything’s perfect though and I’m guessing most people will get annoyed at the break in mix that comes about two thirds through the mix. In my imaginary Jamaica, sessions never went off to Rhihanna or Nelly. But thats the real world music- so if you can bare through another teach me how to Dougie lesson- grab the untracked version. If you want to do some selective editing grab the tracked version.

Flexxx- “Stepping Razor”

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Mavado – “Stullesha”

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

grab the whole riddim pack c/o DZ HERE.  Below are a few photos from a Baby Cham, Bounty Killer, Tanto Blacks show in Portmore last Friday.

family watching Bounty in Portmore

I flew from Rio to Kingston on Friday. Round four. Buenos Aires, Rio, São Paulo, now Kingston. A year of bass music, soundsystems, studios, ’nuff sessions and building the DA family. I’m researching what techniques enable artists, managers, promoters, pirates, and labels to eat off music – usually with dramatically less resources/infrastructure than there is in NYC. Mostly I’ve been bouncing around cities and their public transport systems to one-off meetings and parties. I’m trying something different in Jamaica and settling in to start work with Sharon Burke and her empire, Solid Agency. If you’ve done dance hall business, you know Sharon. But if you’re just a fan you might never of heard of the hardest working woman in Jamaica. She gets to the office first, spends all day working a grip of Black Berrys, leaves last, and even on the way home last night with her feet up, she was sealing deals for big shows while Ice, one of her drivers, swerved through Kingston traffic. Leftside’s impersonation is spot on. [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ThDFToJc8Hk[/youtube]

Solid handles artist management and booking, as well as being involved in events and just about every other facet of the industry. Kevin ‘Payday’ Green’s Alliance aligned studio is in the back- and even though it’s a humble affair, it’s nothing for Bounty Killer, Elephant Man, or Mavado to roll through in a day, along with ’nuff artists waiting their chance to run up the ranks. When no one’s voicing, the studio door opens and the near-fields get turned up to 11, pumping the latest tunes and unreleased riddims into the yard.

Early at the Payday Yard

I’m hoping my updates can be more regular now that I’m down here. First order of business is to start making some radio rips. You know when you’re driving through BK, or picking up Boston’s Hot 97 and you don’t want to finish you trip for fear of losing the pirate signal? It’s like that all the time, every day down here. Except you never drop the signal – of course Daggering and Gun Man lyrics are all officially banned- you have to get to a session for that- but it’s still fresh to death.

And don’t sleep on Natalie Storm’s new mix. She said she made it after a rough break up and a period of abstinence and it’s dripping with sex. Between her calculated dive into house, electro and dancehall, and Dylan Powe’s burner Wiley voiced Showa Eski Riddim. Good things soon come for Prodigal and Federation.

If you have people down here, or spots you love, and want to get in touch. I’m always down to build. TallyBower AT GGGGmmmmmAALLLE. Already looking forward to Dre Skull, DJ Ripley,  The Mad Decent Boyz, Toddla T and a few others being around. I’ll be here until March. Respect to Erin Hansen and Erin MacLeod for getting me sorted so far.

Belem Botanica. (St. Google prayer candles coming soon.)

I’m in Belem. One of the last outposts of high-rise condos before Amazonia’s dirt roads, lush vegetation, secret knowledge, cattle ranches and soya farms define the landscape. The river itself is a ruddy, raw-umber brown. I came here for Tecno Brega. The electronic side of Brega, a sprawling genre designation that seems to include everything from melodic love songs to 85 BPM electro bangers. On the phone with DA’s general counsel Pierce last week I said it was music that not even Diplo could sell to midwestern teens- but now that I’ve started to hear a bit more, I’m not so sure. Some of it sits surprisingly well with global bass aesthetics- but the rest is Susan Sontag approved schlock. A popular production technique is to extract the main melody of a major global pop hit, & re-program it with 80’s synth presets and record with Portuguese lyrics heavy on Corazon-thematics. It sounds like shit – except when it’s amazing. Case in point below- this animated gif version is nice too. (Apparently this track is “knock off” Tecno Brega from Bahia.)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J8ehyDnHcVE[/youtube]

My host here is Patricktor4, a dj who reps the Amazonian sound with his Baile Tropical parties all over Brasil. Yesterday morning we went down to the amazing Belem river-front market- think Folton Fish Market meets your favorite Botanica cooked in the Amazon. I ate river oysters, (“THAT IS VERY VERY DANGEROUS BECAUSE IT IS LIVING,” said Patrick, but yo I LOVE OYSTERS) that a mobile vendor was carrying around in a metal tin with no ice- just salt and lime in the 98 F heat. 60 cents! After a well deserved siesta we ate dinner at the mall and bounced to Club Africa! to see the Vetron aparelhagem.

magic supplies section of the market

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ei209xb83QY&feature=player_embedded[/youtube]

The aparelhagem stacks had custom air-brushed Vetron speaker grills showing you how to Faixo the V (think Rasta/ROCKAFELLA compass/ruler/diamond).  The club decor was huge “African” sculptures and fake thatch roofs and trees- essentially an oversized/huge set of grass huts. You bought tickets through a one brick gap in a grey wall. Oh, did I mention the DJ booths were stylized neon and LED laden space crafts of unknown provenance. The DJ’s wore 80’s aerobics outfits and freestyled and did call and response constantly over tracks.  Women and men alike were rocking bedazzled jeans and tops. Vetron used to just make popular mp3 mix/folder cds- but started to throw parties a couple of years ago as well. Some of the other big sounds are Super Pop, Ruby Boy and Negro Princesa. Grab some pirated copies of pirate copies of Brega cds  HERE. GOOD COPY BAD COPY DOC segment on BREGA HERE

(Sadly I only took video on the flipcam- which I can’t edit, or even really playback on my little acer netbook- but hopefully can final cut somewhere when I arrive in Kingston next thursday- JA people/homies get at me!)

Vetron SpaceShip booth

We were there for about two hours- the party hadn’t really started to jump-off and was about half empty when we left. The DJ had already played a popular brega remix of “We No Speak Americano” three times- at just about the same rate as we were finishing our ice buckets of beer. We bounced to a live Brega show in a huge warehouse space with at least tw0 hundred motorcycles outside and 5k people inside. The stage acts were boring but tucked under one of the second levels of the building was a heavy vibes, S&M leather-walled dance cave playing even worse techno but with the most outrageous fog/lazer scenario I have ever seen in such a small space. It was the opposite of a chill out room.  I lasted just long enough to shoot some video. Finally I fell asleep next to a set of new Honda motorcycles adorned with smiling, white, fake blond Brazilians.

Vetron mix cds at the market

But we still had to make it to the periphery for a private party Patrick was playing at one of those weird house/complexs that people rent for parties. Blearily I watched a Doors/Johny cash cover band while a bunch of rockers in gothy Halloween costumes danced and stood around a giant set of aquariums. I though about going for a swim, but the pool wasn’t quite warm enough. I fell asleep again,  to Kool Keith outlining his policy on bitch contact and pitch altering. Someone drove us home.

Meanwhile the police are doing some serious urban re-structuring in Rio, sending the Navy, Army and Police into a few Favelas with tanks to root out drug dealers. Watching the T.V. coverage (where they keep comparing the action to Troop De Elite) it’s not hard to understand why the Brazilian elite lives behind huge fucking walls and endless security cameras networked with endemic class/racism. Now they are parading some supposed dealers they caught around by the neck while giving an interview. I feel bad for these low level hustlers dying and defending an empire that doesn’t even make them rich. The show, Fantastico, keeps cutting to the same footage of a favela flat screen tv and hot tub as if to prove “THEY MADE ALL THIS MONEY SELLING DRUGS.” It’s complicated, and I’m no expert on the favelas that a third of Rio’s residents call home- but even with my limited language skills it is easy to tell how fucked up the reporting is in this country. Apparently when google maps came out it provided Rio police with superior aerial imagery of the favelas then what they previously had access to. They started printing out pages from google and using them to coordinate attacks. I guess that is neither here nor there- but seriously WTF. Now I’m watching huge projected google maps on the wall at police H.Q. as they discuss tactics with neon-blue bullet proof vest wearing reporters.

Hopefully at some point I’ll write up my recording sessions with Maga Bo in Salvador and my anti-fascist/historical memory libidinal economy  wheatpasting projects in Sao Paulo…. but until then Dutty Love from Brazil.

Defunct Virgin MegaStore photo credit: Rich Zerbo h/t:  Dave “Write my Eulogy” Qualm Calm Quam

We all know the “indsutry” has collapsed. Not that most interesting music was ever fucking with the major label models anyway- but everyone ate their share of the largess of the recording industry. Now everything is in disarray. We are sorting through the pieces. We want to be fulfilled human beings making a living. Like some sadistic Rube Goldberg device we are fitting together a bunch of ill fitting widgets and hoping that in the end cash will trickle down. We are not a trust fund project or anyone’s hobby. We eat off what you give us.

The big agreement initially was this- recorded audio sales are down – now CA$H will come from touring revenue, merchandise, and licensing. But what if your Shadetek and have a family to take care of and can’t be gone every other week to Europe. Or what if you dont have the capital to invest in a big merch inventory (DA branded prayer candles coming as soon as I get back from Africa on my moms). Or what if your not in with the advertising/film/video game world and havnt had the 1 in a million opportunity to be featured on a itunes spot. It’s dope to have 4k facebook friends and twitter followers- but monetizing hype and goodwill  is hard, especially for electronic musicians that don’t fit the standard indy band management model. We are hustlers though. We are never gonna stop.

But I want to make sure our extended family understands what moves we are making, and why. This isnt abo’ut selling more albums then mad decent, or having hyper raves parties then trouble and bass.  We are creating a sustainable business model that allows for our work to reach the world AND provide us with the resources to continue pushing beyond ourselves. Major changes are in order- and I dont want any of you- our extended DA family – to be left behind. One of the most important tenants we follow is transparency. WE ARNT TRYING TO HIDE BEHIND BIZ3RRE MARKETING AND EXPENSIVE GRAPHIC DESIGN. WE JUST DO THIS FOR OUR PEOPLE SO YOU KNOW Y’ALL CAN HAVE IT.

With that in mind we are starting a new interview series “#realtalk” – where we explore some of the dark arts and reality underpinnings of music/art worlds. Shadetek is going in on his solo blog– but expect to see the most relevant content cross posted. We are gonna pull back the curtain a bit more, but do not be scared. We want everyone to be rich.  First up we are gonna explore the shady as fuck  (/powerful) world of PR in the digital era (primer here). But from the perspective of one of the good guys- Leeor Brown, 1st employee of Terrorbird and founder of  Friends of Friends.

We are also bringing on to the team some new voices holding things down on tips as diverse as Up 2 the times UK bashment to QR code generation and all sorts of shit we have no idea about but wish we did. So hold tight. We in this together.

(PS basically wrote this whole post to have a reason to post that image)

I’m in a S. American time warp. Everything in Rio happens slow, filtered through the humidity. No one is in a rush. Everyone wears sandals. Last night I finally made it to a baile funk. I showed up around 3 to Favela do Vidigal- in the South Zone of the city, with my friend Gabi who is researching technology + production and distribution in the Funk scene.

I felt the bass when we got out of our cab- but we still needed a five minute moto taxi up the hill, past anti-police roadblocks, to the party.  The soundsystem stretched across the entirety of a T intersection- blacklights hung everywhere and the subs were mounted at head level- ensuring that chest-rattling bass could be felt even in the way back of the crowd. The blacklights accentuated the whites and neon yellows of the futbol apparel that men were rocking. Even with the hazy compressed sodium street lights- everything was glowing- it felt like a cavernous club interior. Armed men walked casually through the crowd, navigating crews of dancers bouncing to the floor and back to commands that translate to “drop it on my dick and fuck.”

What startled me most  wasn’t seeing all of the tropes of baile sensationalism before me- ASS, GUNS, BASS!- but how much it reminded me of my favorite parties anywhere. Dancers who loved dancing, cute gay boys twerking it like pros, poppers battling near the speakers, footwerkers taking off their sandals and braving the cobblestone to go double time on already frenetic beats, and music that was ethereal and present, infused with all the sweet/sweat synthsations of my favorite RnB coupled with a low end urgency that has kept with funk since the latin freestyle and miami bass days. The DJ was a middle aged man in a dark grey tee and a brown zip up hoodie, he didnt sing or dance along, just looked out on the crowd with a knowing look of stoic contentment, this is his work, and he is absolutely killing it- at one point, from behind the platform that hes standing on alone about 30 yards back from the system-  i glanced up at t his acer netbook and only saw Winamp running. There are no monitors, no headphones. I was already too drunk to need anything from the bars that served endless variations on fresh squeezed juices, liquor and redbull. I danced until it started to pour, the dj put a backpack on top of his laptop, a weathered tarp covered the speakers, the music kept going, but we decided to walk down the hill. Half way down the power cut out, everything went dark.

I’m still trying to get my head around the music- because it sounded different then most of the funk I had heard before. Vaguely: more European club music then 2-Live -Crew. It reminded me of NguzuNguzu- whose production I adore primarily because I have absolutely know idea what to do with it. It’s almost always too Ravey for me to want to play it out- but at the same time there is  something seditious and dark beneath all the glistening synths-  and that darkness and space is what keeps drawing me back. I honestly think they could of wrecked this party last night. The first track of theirs I  heard was Kingdom’s remix of Hate 2 Wait- which to this day is one of my favorites to drop when its time for a radical new direction in my sets. Dutty Artz extended family Khalif Mihaji Leif just killed a voicing of the original instrumental that wraps up to perfection with some Linzy-esque crooning. When homeboy graduates from college I give it two years tops until he’s a household name for 20 somethings worldwide.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

NguzuNguzu  have a new E.P. dropping on Silverback records early October – they did up a promo mix for it- that you can grab over at Scattermusic– (i would  re-up it for u- but my internet run real slow down here)

If you already know (you know) Mariana “Meteoro” Camberos art, it’s likely through her work for ZZK. She  is one of the artist’s responsible for codyfing the visual vocabulary of Zizek/ZZK branding; which is how I first became familiar with her. But that’s just one mirror-facet of her diverse output, or as she put’s it, “someone once said my work was very Zizek…. but I said, Im not zizek… zizek is all the artists.”

Meteoro Painting

Her neuva-tropical psychedelic day-glo works and styling jobs are right on the palm frond edge of the tropical communities (does that exist… maybe it does.)  collective unconscious. Seriously fresh-2-death designs evoking modern day icons like Carrie Mundane, early MIA styling,  NYstreet  style Keith Harring/ Basquit iconography pushing up against sacred ayuwasca geometries and jungle fractals. Her custom hand painted tees, hoodies, and zapatos are being rocked by some of the dopest kids outs (check the aviary shirt she did for Uproot Andy next time you see him), and her styling and 2-d work is equally stunning. Over a couple days of endless tea, empanadas, and tasty chino delight- we discussed inane visa regulations, liminal space,  our shared love of cumbia sung by little girls and a party called drum&boxx that put young contenders (rocking her custom fur-lined robes) boxing on the floor in a ring made of jungle-stepping ravers. (The interview that followz is the first of a series I’ll be upping and posting, along with photos, flipcam and musings- while I travel as a Watson fellow… it took  me a while to finish this post- im now in Rio)

Fresh Shipment of Meteoro's shoes ready to go to Paris

T: Your palette is focusing alot on day-glo/neon vibes- ur using all of these crazy brazillian fabric paints…. but day-glo has been moving onto clothes since the 1930’s– so what exactly is there left to say using this palette?

M: PUES ES FLUORECENTE Y FLUORESCENTE SIGNIFICA ILUMINADO POR DENTRO ESTO YA ME LLAMA MUCHO LA ATENCION
LA COSA DE BRILLAR CON LUZ NEGRA Y EN MEXICO SE DICEN QUE SON COLORES QUE CHINGAN  (JODEN) LA PUPILA Y AMO ESO

T: you push a psychadelic vibe- but from a distinctly latin american approach…. im seeing these sorts of fractal designs all over your apartment- but with none of the new agey shit that kills alot of western hippy psychadelic stuff- where do you see the convergence of european /american and latin approaches to these forms.

M: MMM ES INTUITIVO Y NO ES ALGO QUE VEA SALE SIMPLEMENTE SON LAS COSAS QUE ME LLAMAN LA ATENCION Y ADENTRO HAGO UNA SINTESIS, SON COSAS EN LAS QUE CREO Y OTRAS QUE ME VIENEN SOLAS COMO MUSAS.

T: youve been in Argentina for 5 years- what has it done for your work- why here- what wasnt working for you in mexicO- or why did you have to come here.

M:DESDE SIEMPRE QUISE ESTUDIARR FUERA DE MI PAIS PARA TENER OTRA PERSPECTIVA Y COMO PRETEXTO DE VIAJE, Y ARGENTINA POR QUE ALGUIEN ME CONVENCIO QUE ERA UNA BUENA OPCION Y MUY AJUSTABLE A MI PRESUPUESTO
Y ASI LO HICE.. ME DEJE LLEVAR .. AL PRINCIPIO SEGUIA SIN ENTENDER POR QUE ACA PERO LAS COSAS Y LA GENTE QUE HE CONOCIDO ME CONFIRMAN QUE ASI DEBIA SER.

T: what does tropical mean to you?

M:TOPICAL SIGNIFICA BUENA VIDA YO VIVI EN UN LUGAR TROPICAL Y ERA PURA ABUNDANCIA SOL FRUTAS MUSICA MAR ESO ES LO QUE LLEVO DENTRO Y LO QUE ME MUEVET

T:where do you see the visual intersecting with music? whats to be gained by understanding this relationship

M: POR QUE LA MUSICA NO SOLO ES UN DJ ES SU IMAGEN, LOS VISUALES EL STAGE Y LA ESCENA EN GRAL. ASI QUE UN  BUEN VESTUARIO ES INDISPENSABLE PARA TERMINAR DE CONCRETAR LA IDEA  DE LO QUE SE ESTA MOSTRANDO LO QUE SE QUIERE DECIR Y EXPRESAR. ES LLEVAR ESE RITMO A TODOS LOS NIVELES ESTETICOS Y ESCENICOS

Fresh Tour Shirt(s) for Cumbia Duo Frikstailers

T: your selling these dope handpainted shoes- but i know you really want a whole fashion and arts line/house….is there a master plan at all?

M: YEAH DO ALOT OF METEORO LUCHY CHARMS STUF LIKE OBJECTS TOYS CLOTHES,.. MORE KIND OF SHOES.. UN MURAL QUIZAS  Y COSAS PARA GENTE QUE LO NECESITA

T: ok- top literature influences, top musical influences, top artist influences, top designer influences…

M: KANDINSKY, CHARLES BUKOWSKI, JODOROVSKY, cLOUDDEAD, M.I.A, BRAZILIAN GIRLS, ALL CUMBIA, YMA SUMAC, matt w moore, AJ Fosik, HIHO AOSHIMA, YOSHITOMO NARA, MOTOMICHI, walter van beirendonck, TSUMORI CHISATO, Vivienne Westwood.

T: i know you love chocolate, can you recomend any of your favorite chocolates?

M:CARDUBY DE YOGURTH, Y UNOS COLOMBIANOS QUE TIENEN TUCANES EN EL EMPAQUE, Y.. UNOS ALEMANES QUE TIENEN MEZCLA DE FRUTAS TROPICLAES CON PICANTE ESOS SON INCREIBLES!

T: anyything else u want a bunch of  blog readers to know about?

M: SERIA QUE HAY QUE PONER MAS ATENCION A LA FUSION ENTRE MUSICOS Y DESE;ADORES POR JUNTOS PODEMOS DAR UN GRAN MESAJE
NO SUBESTIMAR LO QUE LLEVAS PUESTO YA QUE POR MAS SIMPLE QUE SEA ESTA DICIENDO ALGO Y QUIERES QUE DIGA LO QUE SEA  O PONERLE TU TU PROPIO MENSAJE DE BUENA ONDA