Friday, February 27, 2009

Abstract Index Playlist - February 25/09

It doesn't get much more world music than this. If I'd copped this disc a few weeks ago I might have written about it in my research feature.

The fine folks at Lyon's Jarring Effects label kindly sent me the new album by Barceloan beatsmith Filastine. They are one of the two labels (the other being DJ/Rupture's Soot) involved with the globalization of this fine work of digital microsurgery.

This is the kind of music that really excites me these days - a personal approach to electronics and inventive uses of global inputs. "Singularities", which graced the dub set this week, has a whirlwind of ingredients. Dramatic string loops a la Wu Tang give way to a bogle-type beat. Then the shredding starts with 32nd note polyrhythms creating huge flurries of sound. The never-fail descending string motif gives momentum to the sound even as the combinations of splattered beats always threaten the linearity of the song.

I always have great appreciation for someone who establishes their own sense of syncopation in digital programming. Filastine's certainly got that. Even with Arabic, Spanish, and English vocals and EuroAfroMaghrebCarib rhythm information, he understands where he's going in each song. His flourishes are consistently behind the beat, and often consist of percussion other than kicks and snares. These two stylistic touches give a great deal of character to this disc, elevating it above soulless clatter that so often comes with overeager computer musicians.


two wings - elder utah smith (case quarter)
gimakiny akia - extra golden (thrill jockey)
rose odhiola - shirati jazz (world circuit)
sanankono moriba - super rail band de bamako (indigo)
it's a vanity - gabo brown & orchestre poly rhytmo (analog africa)
superstar - society of seven (bbe)
elephants - bell orchestre (arts and crafts)
contrareity - carsick (drip audio)
flower power - professor psygrooves (jarring effects)
turning - stone house (riti)
njuke no go die - on ka'a davis (livewired)
soul vibration - new black nation (attic)
saphir - nick ayoub (do right)
l'anchoiade - volfoniq, disrupt & bo marley (no label)
cyan - billy rockwell (balanced)
safe in the dub - vibronics (scoop)
singularities - filastine (jarring effects)
rumpus - version xcursion & masia one (vx)
straight to i roy's big mouth - king tubby and the aggrovators (pressure sounds)
my jamaican weed - andru branch and halfway tree (no label)

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Thursday, February 26, 2009

NuFunk Events In Early March

NuWorld:Earthbeat: that's what we're, er, promising.

But seriously, it's a heavy duty triple bill with us Huelepegistas trading dub shots with Guelph's finest global dub explorers Eccodek, and "global sound sculptor" Adham Shaikh.

Supporting DJs are the always on point Medicineman and Zumba Blue Eyes of Sumkidz.

If you're in Toronto, and you like bass, this is the place to be on March 6.


But there's an appetizer for your nufunkin' pleasure too.

I'm pleased to be DJing the second annual tribute to Jackie Mittoo on Thursday March 6, also at Revival. Mittoo needs no introduction to even casual reggae fans, but his life in Toronto remains underdocumented.

That's why it's so great that event is happening. You're sure to run in to close associates of the man, as well as many more souls who were inspired by Mittoo's esteemed place in Toronto reggae history as a community leader and mentor. Jason Wilson loves to talk about Mittoo, who was his inspiration to get involved in his own unique reggae style, and there is no one more fitting to provide the music. As for my own DJing contributions, I'm gonna tighten up on that organ and use "WWJD?" as my guide (substituting Jackie for Jesus of course).

Jason, and with luck, Carol Brown (Mittoo's widow), will be stopping by the Abstract Index next Wednesday for a chat at 7PM.

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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

World Is Not Enough

My biggest project of the last couple of months has just been published. It's called State Of The World, and it examines what the term 'world music' and means in 2009. In short: world music not a meaningless term, it still represents a coherent way of classifying music, and the world music network of venues and people plays a significant role in articulating cultural issues within music.

I interviewed ethnomusicologist Wayne Marshall ,
Harbourfront booker Alok Sharma, Rolf Klausener of the Acorn, Alan Bishop of Sublime Frequencies, and Tinariwen's manager Andy Morgan.

As with pretty much all my writing in Exclaim, I'm writing for a Canadian audience, and wanted to focus this unwieldy topic to the readership at hand.

This article brings together a lot of ideas I've had about global sounds in the last few years. It's no rehash, but it certainly expands on some ideas from last summer's "Toronto Soul: One City Under A Groove".

One more thing - I forgot to post about my profile of pianist Marilyn Lerner in Eye Weekly last week.

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Thursday, February 12, 2009

Abstract Index Playlist - February 11/09

A profound tip of the hat to the almighty Boomkat for this week's blog post. For the first time ever, I'm blogging about an MP3 bundle.

Regular listeners to the show know my fondness for all things Wackies. The little studio in the Bronx that could remains underexplored at a time when the reissuing of seventies style dub from Jamaica appears to be winding down. Wackies deserves greater awareness for its Perry-esque atmosphere that dominated these mixes well into the digital era, and all the cultural and technological influences that NYC brought to bear on the music.

I've got about a dozen plus Lloyd "Bullwackie" Barnes and associates reissues through Basic Channel's reissue program, but that didn't prepare me for the insightful and idiosyncratic MP3 bundle called "Bubble Up", compiled for Boomkat's 14 tracks site which offers up a 14 song variation on a theme each week.

The selections here sample from 12" singles and full albums, and run the gamut from skanking club vibes ("Gimme Back", heard this week) to syndrum kissed, country n' eastern grooves ("Take Time", also this week!). This collection brings out something kinky in each selection, which is not the feeling one usually gets with the original albums. Not that the albums are lacking in any way; just that this 63 minute collection highlights the sheer range of what was going on in that studio in a way that a single artist album can't do.

Boomkat sells high quality DRM free 320 kps files, so this collection is a must for anyone with a passing interest in the Wackies oeuvre.


boghassa - grupo bombino (sublime frequencies)
soseme makonde - makonde (emi)
ain't nobody teaches nobody nothing - on ka'a davis (livewired)
van gundy's retreat - tim berne science friction (thirsty ear)
the sinking ship - filastine (jarring effects)
broken democracy - leaf system feat. malual luat rmx by rise ashen (balanced)
give me back part 2 - wackies rhythm force (wackies)
new wave hookers - pink noise (inyrdisk)
engagement 2 - joelle leandre/quentin sirjacq (ambianaces magnetiques)
midnight party - tipsy (ipecac)
for my mans - madlib (stones throw)
esp - richard popcorn wylie (dusty groove)
let our love grow higher - eula cooper (numero)
tuane - hammer (wea)
sonido amazonico - chicha libre (barbes)
twilight - intrusion (echospace)
pocket (rebajada) - john oswald (plunderphonics)
cumbia del monte (rebajada) - los flamers (unknown)
return of the emperor - moving in the right direction feat eddie russ (soul jazz)
y mas gan - abyssinians (heartbeat)
enter the kingdom of zion - anthony b & horace andy (vp)
african for unity - version xcursion feat treson (vx)
take time - wackies allstars (wackies)
black man's strain - abyssinians (heartbeat)
satta massagana - abyssinians (heartbeat)
i and i - abyssinians (heartbeat)
african race - abyssinians (heartbeat)
version (straight to i roys' head) - king tubby & the aggrovators (pressure sounds)

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Friday, February 06, 2009

Abstract Index Playlist - February 4/09

It's only February and already I'm contemplating a couple of discs as potential year end top 10s. (You think you hate making lists, only to find it's impossible to turn off the nerd switch in your head...)

One disc I'm going to be writing about in due time, but the capper of set number one tonight was Novalima's superfunky "Kumana". Admittedly it was a bit of a leap from Norway to Peru in a single bound, but I do enjoy Novalima next to glitchier beats. Its Afro-Peruvian grooves matched well with the splattered polyrhtyhms of Svalastog.

Coba Coba is the name of their new album, and it's inspired from start to finish. Novalima manage to balance dense and tricky rhythms with warmer sounds. There's a pleasing smoothness to it, which may turn some people off, but if you can't past that and lock into these arrangements you're made of stone. It's a broken beat masterpiece - I would hope that anyone who appreciates succinct drum programming checks this out.

Here's and interview/review I did with Novalima for February's Exclaim.


i ain't scared - on ka'a davis (livewired)
track 3, shade grown - ghostlight (inyrdisk)
enero 18 - huelepega sound system (no label)
trafelato - ennio morricone (ipecac)
frantic behavior - wicked witch (em)
tenor on the call - tommy mccook and the discosonics (soul jazz)
totina - dream algebra (no label)
timberwork - svalastog (rune gramofon)
kumana - nova lima (cumbancha)
chakavak - chakavak ensemble (global heritage)
badawileaf - marina rosenfeld vs. badawi (ROIR)
decocton - arthur bull/daniel heikkalo (ambiances magnetiques)
field - nemeth (thrill jockey)
tchamanche - rokia traore (nonesuch)
jenn ee rocka - version xcursion/treson rmx. by nate wize (vx)
jamming - black roots players (wackies)
cassandra - dennis brown (observer)
straight to the heathen head - i roy (blood and fire)

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