Category Archives: Genres

Zizek Summer Tour: Digital-Cumbia Decends on North America

MP3 Download:
Villa Diamante; Chancha Via Circuitovs Lil Mama ->

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Zizek Summer Tour Gif Animation

A few months ago I wandered over to Sonotheque to check out Zizek’s first-ever Chicago performance. The rag-tag crew of Argentina-based sonic alchemists threw down beats the likes of which that sound-system had never before been asked to reproduce. The swaggering shuffle of Zizek go accoustic at Sonothequeelectronic cumbia with huge bass forced all of the few people in the place to sway and eventually dance their faces off. By the end of the show, members of the crew had formed an impromptu acoustic cumbia jam with traditional drums, percussion, melodica, and vocals. It was a crying shame that there weren’t more people in the house to experience and partake in one of the best dance parties of the year.

All hope is not lost. Zizek returns to North Amercia this week on a 16 stop summer tour, including another Sonotheque party, and you’re You strongly advised to catch them.

Villa Diamante will be on the tour. Give a listen to this mix he did for the XLR8R Podcast:

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Tracklist and download ->

In their own words:

Zizek is dedicated to the creation of endless tropical nights of dancing utilizing the emerging sounds of Cumbia, Hip Hop, Dancehall, Reggaetón, Bastard Pop, Mashups and more. The goal however is to give these styles, ideas and rhythms an Argentine touch, with the aim of putting Buenos Aires on the map of the global music scene.

The star of Zizek has been Cumbia, a Latin American sound born from the fusion of old and new worlds in Colombia. Zizek is adapting cumbia’s distinctive rhythm to make it relevant to a new generation of Latin Americans and it´s artists have created a few genres of their own, like cumbia beat, cumbiastep, and cumbia hop. Zizek’s producers are bringing out contrasting takes on a genre that already has a massive following and it is exploding faster than it ever would have up until now.

Following up their much hyped SXSW appearance, the revolving Zizek crew will be in the USA, Canada and Mexico again this July for a coast to coast summer blowout tour. DJ Villa Diamante and Bersa Discos Oro11 together with ZZK Records newest artists Fauna and Chancha Vía Circuíto will be bringing the new sound of Argentina to North America this time around.

The tour will feature DJ Sets and Performances by:

Villa Diamante
B.A.’s “it DJ” and Zizek Resident, specializes in mashing up Argentine & Latin American flavor with Northern Hemisphere Hip Hop, Grime, Electro, & Pop.

Fauna
Fauna’s “Tropitronica” sound blends Latin elements with electronic beats and the duo includes live hip-hop/ragga vocals to round out their upbeat, sonically innovative productions.

Chancha Vía Circuíto
Chancha is one of the hottest names in the new cumbia scene. His productions have caught the eye of international beat hunters and his tracks have been featured heavily on mixtapes by Diplo, Maga Bo and more.

Oro11
Co -owner of S.F.’s Bersa Discos, Oro11 lived in Buenos Aires for 3 years where he developed a taste for intensifying and modernizing cumbia villera through harder dancehall and Baltimore club beats.

Tour Dates:

  • 07.10.08 (LAMC) @ SOBs – New York City, New York w/ Toy Selectah
  • 07.11.08 @ Club Lambi – Montreal, Canada
  • 07.12.08 (Ritmo y Color Festival) @ Brigantine Room – Toronto, Ontario
  • 07.14.08 @ TBA
  • 07.15.08 @ TBA – Detroit, Michigan
  • 07.16.08 @ Sonotheque – Chicago, IL
  • 07.17.08 @ TBA – Cleveland, Ohio
  • 07.18.08 @ TBA
  • 07.19.08 @ SOBs – New York City, New York
  • 07.22.08 @ Nectar – Seattle, Washington
  • 07.23.08 @ Berbati’s Pan – Portland, Oregon
  • 07.24.08 @ Mezzanine -San Francisco, CA w/ Bersa Discos & Drop the Lime
  • 07.25.08 @ TBA – Los Angeles, CA
  • 07.26.08 @ Getty Museum – Los Angeles, California
  • 07.31.08 @ Pasaguero – Mexico City, Mexico w/ Las Kumbia Queers
  • 08.02.08 @ Syntheticrocks – Mexico City, Mexico

Free Club Mashup: Big Whoop!

You’re probably thinking “Great, another free club mashup. Big whoop!” But you ain’t heard Big Whoop! yet. Give this a listen:

Big Whoop! (DJ C, Ripley, Kid Kameleon, & Tones); Ooh Wadda Doo Dadda (Big Whoop Mix ft. Timbaland, Magoo. & Sebast) ->

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Ooh Wadda Screen Capture

While I was out in the Bay Area last week Ripley mentioned that if she were a producer she’d make a club version of Timbaland and Magoo’s Indian Flute with an accentuation on the “ooh wadda do dadda” part. One night while she, Kid Kameleon, and I were all chillin’ over at Tones‘ place she brought it up again and I was like “lets do this!” There was born the Big Whoop! collective. Everyone gave input on the track while I edited the pieces together in Ableton Live.

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Lazer-Bass

Megasoid; Tank Thong Remix Tape

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Lazer BassI was reading the New Yorker this week and came across an article by Sasha Frere-Jones in which he coined the term “lazer bass” to describe the music of Montreal-based party crew Megasoid. Ghislain Poirier used to call the genre “big asshole bass” or “big ass bass.” accurate descriptions but less likely to fly as an official term than lazer-bass.

Update
2 more contenders for the title: “raggaclash” and “wonky.” See the comments on this post for more ->

Turns out Sasha’s been writing about lazer-bass on the New Yorker blog too, and that piece is more in-depth; he also mentions LA’s Glitchmob and a crew from Scotland who I hadn’t heard of called LuckyMe.

He says lazer-bass is “a loose affiliation of musicians in California, Montreal, and Glasgow.” That seems true, but I would argue that the affiliation goes far beyond the 3 locals mentioned.

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Stepping-Steppers-Step

StepperThis post is inspired by a step-steeped day I had recently. While I was getting ready to head out for a night of dubSTEP with Caspa at Bass Goes Boom I was listening to the radio and learned that there’s a dance style called Chicago STEPping.

From Wikipedia:

Chicago stepping is a name given to a dance that has evolved over the years from various other dances. Originally created in Chicago’s predominately African American neighborhoods, the dance has morphed from its beginnings with the Jitterbug in the 30s and 40s, to the Offtime in the 50s, to the Walk and the Chicago Bop in the 60s and 70s.

This revelation came on top of the fact that there’s a style of reggae called STEPpers which has been around at least since the ’70s.

From Wikipedia:

In Steppers, the bass drum plays four solid beats to the bar, giving the beat an insistent drive. An example is “Exodus” by Bob Marley and the Wailers. Another common name for the Steppers beat is the “four on the floor”.

As far as I know there are no ties between Chicago stepping and steppers reggae, except that disco had a large influence on both.

Steppers reggae, especially ’80/’90s U.K. steppers dub by artists like Iration Steppers, the Deciples, Alpha & Omega, etc., has a much closer connection to dubstep. This track by Alpha & Omega has a classic steppers sound:

MP3 Download:

Alpha & Omega; Bug Up Dub

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Iration Steppers Live Video:

When I played at the Glade Festival in England last summer I noticed some of the sound-systems mixing up dubstep and more traditional steppers reggae. In fact, this mix by Skream from September, ’06 is a good example:

MP3 DJ Mix Download:

Skream on Rinse FM September 27, 2006

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One of the aspects of dubstep that holds my attention is that there are so many influences at work on the various tentacles of the genre. Sometimes you can hear the strong U.K.-garage influence, other times drum-n-bass, and quite often reggae, dub, soca, dancehall, and steppers.

Lets Talk About Pop, Baby

You’re about to be guided though a strand in the time-line of pop music that I’ve been pondering lately. Lets begin here:

Robin S.; Show Me Love

This was a #5 hit, and a #1 dance hit in the U.S. in 1993. Is it just me, or is she a little flat on some of those notes? That’s a whole other topic. The point here is that there was another top 10 hit in the U.S. 4 years later, also called Show Me Love and also by someone called Robyn (different spelling but…). This one was #7 on the U.S. charts in 1997:

Robyn; Show Me Love

Can anyone fill me in on how this happened? Did the Swedish pop singer Robyn know that the Queens, NY-based house diva of virtually the same name had a hit by the exact same name only 4 years earlier?

Moving on: According to an article in Wired magazine comparing Robyn and Britney:

Imagine, if you will, a parallel universe where a pretty blonde pop star can actually carry a tune, writes her own songs, and frets over artistic integrity. In this universe, when her record company demands more hits, she tells them to shove it and starts her own label. There’s no making out with Madonna, no messy divorce, no custody battle, no 5150. Instead there’s bankable talent and a credible, long-arc career. In other words, it’s the anti-Britney Spears. Meet Robyn, the 28-year-old Swedish singer whose latest U.S. release drops in April. In the mid-’90s, both were courted by the same big label to be molded into the Next Big Thing: Robyn said no. Britney said yes. It was the first choice of many… that would lead one to hipster stardom and the other to madness.

Fast forward to 2007:

Robyn; Konichiwa Bitches

Hmm! Notice in the beginning when she’s trying to tell the monkey what beat he should play, she goes “uh uh … ih … uh uh … ih”? Kinda reminds me of this one from ’03:

M.I.A.; Galang

That’s really just a reggaeton riddim innit? Perhaps the one Robyn was beatboxing in her video is more of a classic dancehall beat but Konichiwa Bitches reminds me of M.I.A.’s work in general.

The Galang video in turn reminds me of another classic (#3 on the U.S. charts in 1988):

Neneh Cherry; Buffalo Stance

Since M.I.A. hit the scene it seems to me that more than a few “blond pop stars” have become rappers:

Gwen Stefani; Hollaback Girl

And:

Fergie; London Bridge

And yup, even Britney herself is a rapper now. What’s more interesting about the tune in the video below though, is the “wub” bassline so popular in underground genres such as dubstep these days:

Britney Spears; Freakshow

Yeah, I would say that track is pretty hot. Not sayin’ Britney’s hot, just the track. It’s produced by Bloodshy & Avant who also produced Britney’s bollywood-inspired hit single, Toxic a few years ago:

Britney Spears: Toxic

I can’t end this piece without mentioning that the Queen of Pop herself, Madonna, has now entered the fold. She’s not exactly rapping but the producer of this track, Timbaland kind of is:

Madonna; 4 Minutes

Both the track and the video kind of blow (what is this, a move soundtrack or something?!). I realize it’s excruciating to watch, but the best part’s actually at the very end when Timbaland’s beats get stripped down to their classic rawness (Oh Timba, what happened! heyy!)

Lets end this on a positive note, going back to the old-school, or at least the golden-age, before M.I.A., before Robin S., even before Neneh Cherry, to a time when rappers rarely had blond hair unless it was bleached — 1986:

Salt-N-Peppa; Push It

This Week in Grindin’: Dizzee Rascal, Bun B, and IL plate #115 0430

First up, for all who haven’t seen this: Google Maps Drug Deal! Right here in beautiful Chicago, Illinois. There’s a license plate number and everything. Here’s a screen shot, for when Google eventually gets this removed.

There are all sorts of webbernets nerds buzzing about this pic and how it relates to our PRIVACY and PERSONAL FREEDOM and OMGZ GOOGLE IS TAKING OVER OUR LIVES and BIG BROTHER and all that, but really I think all that can be avoided by operating on a simple principle that has served me well throughout the years: “don’t sell drugs in the street when a car covered in cameras rolls by”.

In related news, Dizzee Rascal has a new video, with Bun B from UGK. It’s called “Where Da G’s”, and it’s filmed in Houston, and it’s all about what an accomplished crack dealer Dizzee Rascal & Bun B are, and how you (and all those other “fake” rappers) claim to be accomplished crack dealers when you really aren’t. It’s full of shots of a specifically American vision of ghetto life: windowless bungalows with spacious, grassless lawns; giant American hoopties; craps games; etc. Take a look:

I find this pretty revolting for a few reasons:

1) Could Dizzee possibly be trying any harder to blow up in America? This really looks painfully forced..it reminds me of when The Prodigy came out with Firestarter.

2) Maybe this makes me a bigot (or maybe I’m just rooting for the home team), but I just absolutely refuse to believe that any Englishman is as hard as your worst (or even average) American thug. I’m not saying that the British are weaklings or anything, and I certainly don’t think American gangsters are the toughest on earth, but the very fact that Dizzee talks about KNIFING somebody in his track is telling–KNIFING somebody? really? Stabbing is a crime for hoboes, prison inmates, and Europeans–here in the western hemisphere we SHOOT people, thank you kindly.

3) COKE RAPS ARE SO PLAYED OUT. Can we pleeeease PLEEEEEEEEASE move on to an era where hip hop is either a) dead or b) interesting again or at the very least c) not ethically reprehensible? Don’t get me wrong, I have always been one of those bleeding heart free speech ultra-liberals who thinks crack should be legal and people should be able to say just about anything in any format they want (including on radio, FCC guys) and I’ve always laughed at the crusty right-wing culture terrorists who think that rap and video games are the downfall of society, but at a certain point I have to admit that songs like this fall into the same category as torture in films and television–certainly these artforms are reflections of endemic problems with our society, but at the same time they are helping to glorify and lionize a lot of harmful, dangerous, and unethical behaviors, and I can’t help but believe that an absence of such treatments of this subject matter in hip hop would be a positive thing.

Ok, enough of me and my soapbox.

RIP Tim Haslett

Back in the mid ’90s I used to go to parties where the Beyond the QE2 crew would be throwing down, and they’d always play an inspiring mix of IDM, techno, jungle, R.I.P.house, rave, etc, in addition to a new sound out of Baltimore that they called Baltimore breaks.

I loved this Baltimore sound and couldn’t understand why it was impossible to find the records they were playing. As it turned out Tim Haslett was getting them directly from the sources in Baltimore and the QE2 crew were buying them all out before they even hit the shelves at Boston Beat. None the less, those shelves were stocked with the freshest electronic-dance-music in the land, as were the shelves at Biscuithead, Other Music and whichever other shops Tim worked at. That Baltimore sound is of course what went on to become known as B-more club which only finally blew up over the past few years. Tim knew it was good then and I thank him for bringing the sound to Boston.

I used to go to Other Music when Tim was a buyer there and he always loved chatting about music. He’d tell me which his favorite recent Breakcore releases were, and then go on about productions by the Neptunes, practically in the same sentence. His knowledge was so deep. I hadn’t seen him in quite a while but was very saddened to hear that he passed away last week. I’ll always remember him as a music luminary with an ear to the deep underground and a knack for shining light on sounds that were otherwise difficult to uncover. This one’s for you, Tim.

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DJ C; Baltimore mix download and tracklist ->

There will be an open tribute to Tim at Beat Research, Monday ->

More online tributes:

From DJ Teep of the QE2 crew on Moodmat ->

From David Day on the Weekly Dig blog ->

Update

Concise list of tributes and information on the WZBC blog ->

Speaking of Cumbia

The sounds of Central/South American cumbia have become a bit of an interweb phenom over the past year. Zizek Tour 2008This is no doubt due in large part to the extensive coverage on /rupture’s Mud Up blog. There’s now a steady stream of underground, electronic-dance-music influenced (less folk/traditional instrumentation) cumbia tracks bubbling up, and the Buenos Aires, Argentina-based crew Zizek Urban Beats Club is now in the states on tour to promote their particular brand of the sound.

As it says on their flyers:

Argentina’s leading producers of digital cumbia, glitch folk, electro reggaeton, mashups and more.

These guys seem like good-eggs and what’s more, my friend DJ Refusenik who moved to Buenos Aires from Boston last year will be on tour Zizek at Sonothequewith the Club. They’re performing in Austin at SXSW tonight at the Iheartcomix vs. Mad Decent party featuring folks like Diplo, Simian Mobile Disco, Switch, Santogold, Amanda Blank, Flosstradamus, Blaqstar, Tommy Sunshine, Drop the Lime, Rye Rye, Har Mar Superstar, Roxy Cottontail, Nick Catchdubs, Klever, Scottie B, Fluokids, Dave Nada, Bird Peterson, and the list goes on and on. It actually sounds a little ridiculous.

Unfortunately I won’t be making it down to TX for that crazyness, though I’m psyched to be heading up for a gig in Mulwaukee tonight — Sublow Bounce ->. The other good news is that the Zizek Club will be here in Chicago next Friday at Sonotheque, and I’m really looking forward to seeing what kind of heat they bring. Here are a couple of tracks by artists on the tour.

MP3 Downloads

Frikstailers; Foonkie Boogie

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Axel K Soundsystem; Cumbieton Rutero

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Happy 15th Birthday, Jungle

Jungle PartyI was just checkin’ out this site called Golden Era Jungle and realized that this year marks the 15th birthday of Jungle. There are a whole bunch of 1993 mixes by DJs like Krome & Time, Remarc, and the one below by Dr. S Gachet.

In Gashet’s 1993 mix you can still hear a lot of early hardcore rave music influence but much of the jungle sound is already there. I’ve also linked to a 1995 mix by Gachet. That was my favorite year for jungle. A mere 2 years after its inception it had developed into a mature and utterly slammin’ sound that I’m still in love with.

Dr. S Gachet @ Edge #3 Side A – 1993

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Tracklist & Download @ Golden Era Jungle ->

2 years later:

Dr. S Gachet @ Jungle Mania – 1995

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Tracklist & Download
@ Golden Era Jungle ->