The Merkolator

Screen Shot 2014-11-03 at 19.59.51

Jack is building a new council estate House in East London.

01 Kowton – Stasis
02 Boddika & Joy Orbison – Tricky’s Team
03 Daphni & Owen Pallett – Julia
04 Fish – Merk U
05 Joonipah – Gut Feeling
06 Boddika – Soul What (Rmx)
07 Artifact – Exist
08 X5 Dubz – Shapes
09 Boodika & Joy Orbison – Swims
10 Indigo – Aradia
11 Nativ – Breathe
12 Wen – Swingin’ (LDN mix)
13 Detboi – Focus
14 Charlux – Unmarked Patrol
15 Volac – My Crew
16 Volac – Hips Don’t Lie (Sammy W & Alex E Rmx)
17 Emeskay – Searchin (Zoltan Kontes Rmx)
18 2ndcity – I’ll Tell You
19 Ko Kane – Rockin’ With The Best
20 Ill Phil & Lorenzo – Jump Around
21 Ill Phil & Lorenzo feat. MC Sim – It’s Getting Hectic
22 Majestic – Lets Go Back (Cause N Affect Mix)
23 Lockhart – Get Down (Busta)
24 Flava D – In The Dance
25 Formula – Hoods & Bass
26 Jook 10 – Strike
27 Icicle – Final Master
28 Dj Deeon – Titties And Ass
29 Sky Cell – Foam Feathers

MUTANT 3

mutant3

From Luanda to New Jersey, from Johannesburg to London, from Kingston to Berlin: indigenous drums and high tech sound fuse in the club. Ancestral beats and diasporic voices thrive on inner city streets. Meta-rhythms and mega-bass erasing borders, connecting dots, and making your booty work overtime.
_____________________________________________________________________________

NGOMA SOUND SYSTEM (Ngoma Sound // Berlin)

cosmic06

A hybrid musical entity made of dj and live instrumentation consisting of 2, 3, 4, or 5 members, fusing ancestral rhythms, acoustic textures, and urban bass pressure. Drawing from both the wealth of African sonic traditions as well as up-to-the-minute street sounds worldwide, NGOMA Soundsystem exists in the tension between electronic composition and live improvisation.
_____________________________________________________________________________

To warm up the night, we have a very special light/dance/music live performance by a very cool artist, starting at 10pm sharp: SILVER

Silver-05 © Victor Roy

INFINITE LIVEZ (Ninja Tune / Exotic Pylon // London / Berlin)

Is a former FKO Raw freestyle battle champ. Released his first album (Bushmeat) in 2004 on Big Dada records, second album in 2007 as a collaborative project with the Swiss electro jazz outfit Stade (Art Brut Fe De Yoot). Has worked with producers such as Blufoot, M3 and Part 2. Puts out his own improvised noise CDs. Has reoccurring dreams of the end of the world.
_____________________________________________________________________________

MARCEL (TropicFusion // Berlin)

Diligently studying the art of percussion in many African and Afro-diasporic traditions such as Brazillian, Latin, and Middle Eastern since an early age, Germany born Marcel has over the years combined various bodies of knowledge into a dexterous and multi-faceted live drumming style rich with invention and nuance. Guided by a passion for and knowledge of both Afro-Caribbean and Electronic music history, Marcel is the resident percussionist of NGOMA Soundsystem.

_____________________________________________________________________________

DJ ZHAO (Ngoma // Beijing / Los Angeles)

An amateur musicologist and professional booty shaker, Dj Zhao brings a poly-cultural understanding of rhythm to his deeply percussive sets. Wildly disparate timess, place, and styles are often connected by an artful sense of composition and mixing technique. Revealing the ancient rhythm roots of the latest and sickest electronic and bass sounds, as well as showcasing the sweetest and heaviest dance music from all over the globe, Dj Zhao creates unique and exhilarating dance floor experiences at once mind expanding and dance-floor exploding.
_____________________________________________________________________________

FUTURISMO (Futurisms / Cheap Acid // Berlin)

A dimension-hopping traveler, circumventing cosmic turbunlances, collecting audio frequencies and rhythms funky on an intergalactic scale. Futurismo is a DJ, in every sense of the word, bringing things along the mutant techno, juke-jungle, UK Bass and acid lines, scornfully jumping across genre borders.

Guardian on UK Funky

The Guardian fails to pin-point the unique significance of Funky: it was the very first time that explicitly African rhythm patterns had been prominently used in, and defined, an entire style of “Western” dance music.  This failure is part of a larger pattern.   In the following sentence, the journalist clearly denigrates African-ness as the least significant aspect of Funky, in typically Euro-centric fashion: “…’a make-do sound’, patched together by and for an uneasy alliance of shiny-shoes “real house music”-lovers, grime kids craving something less macho, hipsters looking for a new buzz after dubstep, and those raised on the riotous party sounds of dancehall, soca and west African music.” ——— the influence of African music is a less important factor than “real house”, than grime, than hipsters (!); and also less important than Dancehall and Soca. And in this sentence, African-ness is completely omitted: “All were united by a pumping house undercurrent, clattering grime and dancehall rhythms, and car-window-rattling bass” ——– Since Funky started to get coverage, journalists have referred to the style as mostly or entirely Caribbean derived — But if you know music, you know the beats in UK-Funky is much, MUCH more derived from African music than from Dancehall or Soca.

MUTANT5 Club Deconstruction

Dj Zhao - MUTANT5 - Club Deconstruction

(Jersey, London, Luanda)

“Transcendent beauty is possible during both the renaissance and golden-age of a culture, as it is during the decline of empire.” — Anonymous

The music here strongly emphasize abrupt cuts, stop-and-switch dynamics, which to me seems to reflect social fragmentation in urban life, and the often talked about compartmentalization of our experience of it into work/leisure/rest boxes. The music here is often tense, in my mind undoubtedly related to the pervasive class antagonism on the streets of NYC or London, and economic disparity which implements segregation. Violence is a constant theme: All of these new-ish music styles embody Gangsta Rap as much as Ghetto Tech, Booty Bass: pure sublimated aggression and commodified anger. The music here makes intensive use of manic repetition, often in a more radically rigid way than in traditional House or Techno, mirroring the reality of large sections of the underclasses, in whose culture this music is rooted, being locked into monotonous schedules of menial labor. So it is no surprise that *work* becomes a metaphor for the dance in Afro-American music, in a culture deeply shaped by both the historical legacy (No Drums Allowed) and present day reality of (wage) slavery.

Club Deconstruction represents fresh musical ideas in the “first world”, the former colonial centers, informed by recent internet enabled exposure to far away cultures (surely the only good effect of globalization). Track 5 – *Facta – Tungsten*, for instance, takes unmistakable rhythmic cues from Afro-House. While the periphery has always had access to Western culture (an effect of N. American cultural hegemony) – Kuduro from the Angolan ghettos has always assimilated the aesthetics of Techno and HipHop. Simultaneously, much of this music also draw on diasporic rhythm traditions in US and UK: Afro-Latin percussion on Track 03 – *Teeth – Black Thigh Shakes* is a good example.

Well that’s me breaking down this Mutant Club mix: 21st Century expressions of ancient rhythm heritage, shaped by colonial history, mirroring everyday realities of life, in the context of global capitalism.

_________________________________________________________________
01 Deft – Thought You’d Fancy It (Fybe One Remix)
02 Millie & Andrea – GIF RIFF
03 Teeth – Black Thigh Shakes
04 Wiz Khalifa – Work (Myth Syzer Remix)
05 Facta feat. Hodge – Tungsten
06 Alex Coulton – Bounce
07 Alex Coulton – Tension
08 Bleszt – Rock Yo Body 2k14 (Uniqu3 feat. Mike Grip Remix)
09 Matrixxman – Procedure
10 Rushmore – Low Slung
11 Batu – Stairwells
12 NKC – Untitled
13 PE – On Top
14 Tessela – Let Up
15 NguzuNguzu – Break In
16 Distal – Green Lantern (Mike Q Remix)
17 SX – Woooo (Instrumental)
18 Mela Dee – CTRL X Goldfinch – Funky Steppa (Trusta Remix)
19 xxx¢ – Wooder X Wiley – Wot Do U Call It
20 Wiley – Donuts (Diamond Bass Remix)
21 Akkord – Typeface
22 Addison Groove – Keyhole
23 Mumdance feat. Novelist – Take Time
24 Detboi – Focus
25 Dark Sky – Confunktion
26 Low Steppa – Trackin
27 Flava D – New Era
28 BlackButter – What You Need
29 Brenmar feat. Uniique – Hey Ladies (Get Up)
30 Marfox – Lucky Punch
31 Limas do Swagg – Do Cotuvelo
32 Chicago Skyway – Air (95 Version)
33 Bráulio ZP – Xtraga
34 Dj Nedwyt-Fox – Inicio dos 100% Agressivos
35 Dar0 – Bora VIP X Pearson Sound – Deep Inside
36 SPMC – Declassified X Blue Daisy X Unknown Shapes
37 Gerkle – Lothario Steeze X Noms & Strooly – Richie Rich
38 Jordan Rakei – Add the Bassline (Evil Needle Remix)

September / October 2014

30/AUG Urban Spree, Berlin
03/SEP Tausend, Berlin
04/SEP Tausend, Berlin
12/SEP Heimathafen, Neukölln
19/SEP Panke, Berlin
27/SEP Schleuse 5, DE
___________________________________________
UK
02/OCT Bar Eleven, Nottingham
04/OCT Africa Centre, Glasgow
07/OCT Rich Mix, London
10/OCT Take Five, Bristol
11/OCT Magic Gardens, London
STILL OPEN: Glasgow: Sun 05 / London: Wed 08, Thu 09
___________________________________________
Kenya
18/OCT Sondeka, Nairobi
19/OCT Sondeka, Nairobi
___________________________________________
25/OCT Urban Spree, Berlin
31/OCT Panke, Berlin
01/NOV Pankgraefin, Berlin
___________________________________________
and this photo…  just because :)

MUTANT2 – 30 August

Screen Shot 2014-08-25 at 21.29.59

Industrial nightmares and Shamanic visions collide in the club. Ancestral voices bleed through grids of the city. Diasporic sounds and mutant rhythms transformed by migrant movement, shaped by history. Fragmented Psychotropic Bass pulsating through the deepest valleys and highest crests of your mind, in the kaleidoscopic center of the omni-verse.  RSVP on fb

22 – 00: MUTANT CONFERENCE
______________________________________________________________________
Like the panel last time with Dj Ripley and dj zhao, this time we are excited to bring you Stef Meaow, an anthropologist who has done extensive field work in Angola and Portugal, on the music we love to death called Kuduro. Also, Roi Rocky the Tropikal Camel will be addresing many strands of middle eastern music and culture and their socio-political meaning, from Israel to Palestine to Turkey to Kurdistan to Morrocco. Dj Zhao will be moderating and give some additional fun facts about the central cultural heritage of our species, rhythm, and how they can make the world a better place.

00 – END: MUSIC
______________________________________________________________________
INTI CHE LIVE (Konn Recordings / Buenos Aires)

Intiche is well known by his Electro-Nativo music style, a fusion of electronic sounds: Tribal, Trance, Electro, Nu-Cumbia, Dub, and Native, taking you into the jungles, mountains and seas of sounds from south, central and north america.

TROPIKAL KAMEL LIVE (Future Roots / Jeruselem)

Middle Eastern and North African roots fused with 21st century Basstronics, creating a mixture between hypnotic rhythms, Arabic samples, and deep tribal atmosphere.

NGOMA SOUND ft. PHAROAH CHROMIUM LIVE
(Grautag Records / Ngoma / Palestine / Berlin

Mutoid mysticism, psychedelic ambiant, and anxious landscapes. Heat wave, half coma, intensity, and distant roots. Dusty landscape on the Terminal beach, shadows of dancers on the wall, snake charming computers, the Fata morgana become oil wells on fire.

DJ ZHAO (Ngoma / Beijing)

Born in Beijing and based in Berlin with a background in Sound Art and Avant Techno, Dj Zhao is an amateur musicologist and professional booty shaker, bringing the best contemporary and classic dance music together from wildly different times and places, focusing on Africa.

 

M-str. Demonstration

mohrenSaturday afternoon i will give a small talk and play a set around 18h at this protest festival to change the racist name of this street.

some girl met tonight was rolling her eyes and was like “it’s just a name ffs” and i had to dish out the “WE don’t get to decide what is hurtful, the victims of oppression do” line of reasoning… not sure if it got through at all…

Mutant Sol

mutantsol

Warming up for MUTANT 2, Ngoma Soundsystem featuring Pharoah Chromium will take you on an intimate mystical journey through the kaleidoscopic valleys and crests of your mind in the center of the omni-verse, joined by special guest musicians later in the evening.  Expect psychotropic flavors and ancestral-futurist rhythms from every corner of the earth.

21h
Kiki Sol — Lindower Straße 12, Wedding, Berlin

No Drums Allowed: Afro Rhythm Mutations in N. America (re/x/post)

(this article originally appeared on This Is Africa, republishing here since it is not on their new site)

Street bands playing Rock’n’Roll in Berlin, Marvin Gaye in a local bar in Thailand, Nas blaring on the streets of Johannesburg, House Music in the mega-clubs of Shang Hai – where ever one goes in the world today, no effort is needed to find African American music and its derivatives.

The embellishment of African derived rhythm/melody with European harmonics gave birth to Jazz, arguably the worlds most significant musical explosion of the millennium.  In the 100 years since, African American music, which became largely synonymous with American music, has been exerting a tremendous amount of global influence.  The spread of this influence accelerated even more after WW2, as the US became a global economic and military super power, aggressively pursuing a program of cultural imperialism, which increasingly saturated the world with its ideas, stories, images, and sounds.

But there is one peculiar thing which nearly all American music has in common – and the more one considers it, the more peculiar it becomes – an extensive emphasis on a unique rhythm, a rhythm very different from that which is found almost anywhere else in the world.  It goes like this: Boom – Bap – Boom – Bap, with a kick drum on the 1 and 3 or all 4, a snare drum precisely on the 2 and 4, with nearly nothing in between except maybe a high hat, and no major hits ever landing off the grid.  This rhythm is called the “Duple” in music theory, and you can find variations of it driving all modern popular American music styles: Blues, Motown, Soul, Funk, Rock, Disco, Hiphop, House, Pop, and beyond.

Duple Rhythm (beginning of video):

Classic Blues:

Motown/Disco/Pop:

The pervasive dominance of this simplified, rigid, and mechanical mono-rhythm, minimizing poly-rhythmic elements in the music to the role of embellishment, sometimes to the point of non-existence, is very different from the focus on complex polyrhythms in various forms of modern South American and Caribbean music. Cuban Son and Rumba, Brazillian Bossa Nova, Haitian Gwo Ka and Compas, Trinidadian Calypso; none of them rely so extensively on the Duple (besides sub-genres which were directly influenced by US exports, such as Ska Reggae, which heavily borrows from the Rhythm’n’Blues of the 50s).

Cuban Son:

Haitian Compas:

And if we zoom out to look at great traditions of music of the world: Asia, Middle East, and of course, Africa, with zero exceptions, the Duple beat is never a central element, and hardly even exist at all in the major bodies of music produced by these ancient cultures. All of them are based on intricately interlocking polyrhythms arranged in hypnotic, complex mathematical patterns. (the much younger European classical tradition, which developed as entertainment for royalty and the rich, has always regarded rhythm as an element of the under classes and “primitives”, and has “long discarded African music as an oddity of the animal kingdom” – Piero Scaruffi. With very few exceptions, these attitudes and a refusal to accept African music and its offspring continued all the way through the 20th century until today, which explains the increasing gap between it and the rest of the world.) (01)

Indonesian Gamelan:

Indian Classical:

Persian Classical:

Siamou Music in Burkina Faso:

So how did North American modern music become so different?  Why did the evolution of American rhythm take this unique path?  The answer is surely very complex, including many elements such as Native American tribal influence and the folk music of the European colonists, most of which used relatively simple rhythms.  But there is another, perhaps even more important factor which might explain this phenomenon, a single historical process which began in the early days of America.  Historians and scholars have written much about it, but the story remains relatively untold in the public sphere.  The following is a condensed, brief, and generalized version.
When first brought to North America during the 1600s and 1700s, slaves from the West coast of Africa used drums to communicate with each other in much the same way as they did at home, sending coded rhythmic messages over long distances, which the Europeans could not understand.  In this way slaves held in different encampments could stay in contact, and rebellion could be planned.  But after some time the masters realized that the drums could talk:
“…it is absolutely necessary to the safety of this Province, that all due care be taken to restrain Negroes from using or keeping of drums, which may call together or give sign or notice to one another of their wicked designs and purposes.”  – Slave Code of South Carolina, Article 36 (1740)
Starting on the plantations of the Carolinas and Georgia, this ban soon spread nearly everywhere.  Without drums, slaves used whatever was around to make beats: spoons, washboards, furniture, and their own bodies with hand-clapping, drumming on various surfaces of the body (Patting Juba), and foot-stomping and shuffling (Ring Shout).  “It always rouses my imagination,” wrote Lydia Parrish of the Georgia Sea Islands in 1942, “to see the way in which the McIntosh County ‘shouters’ tap their heels on the resonant floor to imitate the beat of the drum their forebears were not allowed to have.”(02) These earlier practices are also the origin of modern forms such as Tap Dancing.

Slapping Juba (the teacher in this video actually recounts a version of the actual incident which result in the first banning of the drums: the murder of a slaver by a slave named Juba, his execution, the subsequent large scale revolt organized with talking drums, and its brutal suppression. From that point on, any slave caught with a drum would have his hands cut off, or hung):

Ring Shout:

The most widely used substitute for drums, partly because of its ready availability, was the human voice. Field Hollers, Call and ResponseWork Songs, Prison Songs, and all kinds of Vocality were developed, with the voice often replicating drum patterns and to create counterpoints, using standard singing, chanting, as well as extended techniques such as guttural effects, interpolated vocality, falsetto, melisma, etc.  Sounds of the work itself such as chopping wood or marching, as well as foot stomping or hand clapping during off hours, provided a basic, skeletal time signature, over which the polyrhythmic vocal sounds could improvise (the roots of Scat Singing).  Sometimes imitating the beats of many drums in one line, these vocal elements filled the incremental temporal spaces between each clap of the hand or fall of the hammer, and played an important role in the preservation of African rhythmic heritage.

Slave Song:

Work Song:

Thus Afro rhythm traditions survived through mutation and adaptation, and formed the drum-less foundation of American music.  The descendants of these earlier styles later became wildly popular beginning in the 19th Century: Ragtime, Minstrelsy, Spirituals, Salon Music, Jubilee, Blues, and Gospel (which has been called “percussion music without drums” by historians).  The appropriation of Black slave music by White mainstream society started at this time, with the phenomenon of Blackface Minstrelsy.  One of the first and most enduring artist/thieves was Stephen Foster, who took African derived rhythms played on the African derived instrument the Banjo, and incorporated them into songs such as “Oh Susana” (which became one of the most popular American songs ever).  This, and the mixing of African slave traditions with European folk music were the origins of Country Music: “One of the reasons country music was created by African Americans, as well as European Americans, is because blacks and whites in rural communities in the south often worked and played together” – DeFord Bailey (03)

And because the drums were taken away, the forms of West African music which either were purely vocal or featured the voice prominently, traditionally played without drums, using simple instruments, such as many kinds of narrative song cycles in the Griot traditions of Mali and Senegal, took root in a big way and gained wide popularity in the deep South.  No specific African musical form can be identified as the single direct ancestor of the blues, but many elements of the Blues, such as the call-and-response format and the use of blue notes, can be traced back to the music of Africa. (04)

Historians have also speculated that the Spanish slavers, who first set up colonies in the Americas in South America, at that time had not long expelled the North African Moors after 800 years of Islamic rule back home, preferred not to import Afro-Muslims.  Thus a higher concentration of people from the Sahel/Mali/Senegal regions, many of whom were Muslim, ended up in North America, bringing with them their more vocal and string based traditions.  While more people from the Congo/Ghana/Nigeria regions arrived in South America and the Caribbean, with their more extensive drumming traditions.

A classic sound collage (Alan Lomax) comparing traditional vocal music from Africa and vocal music from the Delta, alternating, line by line, between American and Senegalese singing:

the direct ancestor of the banjo was the Malian/Senegalese instrument Xalam or Ngoni, widely used by Griots:

There was one exception to this drum-lessness: due to the Catholic laws in Luisiana being different from the protestant ones in Georgia and the Carolinas, drums were not banned in New Orleans, the center of the American slave trade, until much later, the second half of the 19th Century. This and other crucial social conditions were the ingredients of a series of cultural/musical explosions that would change the course of the entire world.

Prior to new waves of repression that would come, this port city directly connected to Cuba and the Caribbean, run by the French and Spanish, included a substantial Creole of colour land-owning middle class, so that “black” was not automatically equated with slavery – an anomaly in the South at the time, to say the least. Before the 1890s when this mixed race group suddenly lost their privilege and equality, they participated in every level of society including politics, making a huge difference in terms of racial tolerance, inclusiveness, cultural exchange with Cuba, and the development of both local music as well as music in Cuba.

An economy based on trade meant less regimented attitudes and more respect for difference: “Untouched by the industrial revolution and less socially stressed than other plantation-oriented economies, New Orleans was able to retain the traditions of the various ethnic groups while they were rapidly being annihilated in the rest of the USA.” – Piero Scaruffi (01) Also, Southern Europeans had somewhat different ideas from the Northern Europeans in their treatment of slaves, due to their countries of origin being closer to Africa, and already heavily influenced by African culture. New Orleans brothels allowed sex across the colour line (not just unheard of but completely INSANE in the 1800s) all the way until 1918, when the US government forced the mayor of New Orleans to segregate.

In this atmosphere of relative tolerance and less repressive laws, for much of the 19th century this opulent melting pot city was host to a vibrant nightlife, exotic rituals, tribal dances, pagan festivals, funeral marches and all kinds of parties which never seemed to stop. Further, there was one place, indeed the only place on the entire continent, the “Congo Square”, in the Tremé neighborhood, where slaves had for a long time been allowed to make music: “In Louisiana during the 18th century, slaves were commonly allowed Sundays off from their work. They were allowed to gather in the “Place de Negres”, informally “Place Congo”, where the slaves would set up a market, sing, dance, and play music.” – Peter Kolchin (05)

nola congo square sign

The dominant rhythmic figure popular in New Orleans and performed on Congo Square during this time, with origins in the many different slave musics of the Caribbean, is the three-stroke pattern known in Cuban music as tresillo (06).  Louis Armstrong must have heard it plenty as a boy, growing up mere blocks from Congo Square.  “Tresillo is the most basic and by far, the most prevalent duple-pulse rhythmic cell in sub-Saharan African music traditions, and the music of the African Diaspora.” – David Peñalosa (07)  In the post-Civil War period, African Americans in New Orleans were able to obtain surplus military bass drums, snare drums, fifes, trumpets and saxophones.  As a result, an original African American drum and fife music arose, featuring tresillo and related syncopated rhythmic figures.
And so it was in the brothels and bars of the red-light district of New Orleans where a potent combination of Blues, Ragtime, Quadrilles, Salon Music, Afro-Latin music, Native American music, European folk music and Marching Bands, played by multi-racial musicians who shared a passion for syncopation and improvisation, with discarded military brass and reed instruments, first came together to form what we know as Jazz.   

“It is probably safe to say that by and large the simpler African rhythmic patterns survived in jazz … because they could be adapted more readily to European rhythmic conceptions. Some survived, others were discarded as the Europeanization progressed. It may also account for the fact that patterns such as [tresillo have] … remained one of the most useful and common syncopated patterns in jazz.” – Gunther Schuller (08)

A few decades later a new hybrid style with even more reduced, simplistic, and obvious drum beats was born in the same city, in fact the exact same neighborhood: the first Rock ‘n’ Roll records were made in the Tremé district.  “Without New Orlean’s rich musical contribution there would have been no Elvis Presley or Beatles. Because both acts were heavily influenced by the songs recorded by Fats Domino and Little Richards at Cosimo Matassa’s Studios (close to Congo Square).” – Fabian Jolivet.

So there you have it: Jazz and Rock’n’Roll, probably the 2 most significant American cultural exports ever, both born in the only place in America where for a few decades slaves were allowed to play drums and dance. 

Though New Orleans Jazz did sometimes use rhythm patterns more subtle and complex than the Duple (but still much less intricate and nuanced than its influences: Afro-Latin and African music), the much wider and older history of drum-lessness had a deeply profound effect on American music in general, and the Duple fundamentally shaped all popular music to come in the 20th Century.  

There were of course other sources and reasons, both historical and modern: Native American music and Irish, Italian, German folk music such as the Oompah or Polka all used simple mono-rhythms; as well as modern environmental factors such as the rigid and repetitive sound of machines, factories, automobiles and trains in the industrialized landscape.

Native American Ritual Music:

Irish Folk Music:

German Volkstümliche Musik:

All of these cultures contributed to the complex hybrid which is American music, but from where i’m standing, as a person from East Asia, an outsider to American music, to European music, and to African music alike, the origins of Jazz, Rock, Hiphop, etc. are clearly located much more in the blues and slave music from both at home and Latin America than traditions represented by the above 3 videos. If one accepts the seminal, foundational influence exerted by transplanted African culture, this legacy of drum-less evolution might just be the most important piece of the puzzle, the main answer to the question of how the Duple came to dominate American modern music.

But unlike African Americans who RE-invented their African musical heritage through memory and forgetfulness in a completely new context, Africans in Latin America and the Caribbean large preserved homeland drumming traditions, which survive nearly intact until today. (09)

Trinidadian Steel Drums:

Drums were also banned in the Caribbean, in places like Trinidad, but much later in the 19th Century.  So the slaves had a stronger connection to African rhythm culture, which was apparent when they started using frying pans, dustbin lids and oil drums after the ban (as oil was an important national product), forming the Trinidadian tradition of Steel Pan and Steel Drum music (10).  Similarly, drums were taken away from slaves in Cuba at a later time, and the roots of Rumba lies in Afro-Cubans playing African music with “household items: the side of a cabinet functioned in the role of the present-day tumba or salidor (the primary supportive drum), while an overturned drawer served as the quinto (the lead drum) and a pair of spoons played the cáscara part on whatever was available.” – David Peñalosa (11)  The handmade percussion instrument Claves, which came from hitting wooden pegs together in shipyards to accompany slave work songs, is now a ubiquitous in all Cuban music and its derivatives from Son to Mambo to Salsa to Timba, playing the Clavérhythm pattern of African origin.

Afro-Brazilian Percussion:

Other reasons for the stronger ties with African culture in the Caribbean and South America include the much greater number of slaves (North America: 0.5 million, Caribbean: 5 million, South America: 5 million); as well as slavery lasting much longer:  Brazil until the 1880s, and Cuba until the 1890s.  Also important were certain practices in slavery: in places like Cuba, unlike in North America, slaves were literally worked to death to increase the profit of the sugar trade.  Since they were not bred to be sold (like in North America), fresh supplies had to be imported directly from Africa, a practice that continued in Havana until 1873. Thus Africans continued to arrive in South America constantly and much more frequently during the later period of the slave trade, maintaining their folkloric traditions through secret societies (particularly Yoruba and Kikongo) (12), producing amazing cultural hybrids such as Capoeira and music like in the videos above. 

As we have seen, rhythm in America took on a very much unique and drastically different character, as result of a particular historical process, a specific evolutionary path.  This can be acutely felt today: consider Hip Hop: the simple, skeletal “BOOM – BAP” beat is the modern version of foot-stomping and hand-clapping, performing the same function of time-keeping, and just as 500 years ago, complex vocal delivery (rap) fills in all the fractions of time between, imitating and substituting for drum patterns – a mutated continuation of African musical heritage.

Usually the first reaction from Americans when this story is told is defensiveness.  But while it is indisputable that American rhythm is in general relatively more simplified and rigid compared to most of the rest of the world, it’s not necessarily a bad thing.  The raw physical force of simplicity, that kick-you-in-the-gut-and-make-you-see-stars brute power of American modern music can not be denied.  Due to its development through the legacy of oppression and misery, American music is without a doubt the best for expression of intense class and racial tension in a modern world filled with injustice.  As we have seen, the rhythm is literally born of the actual sounds of slavery, thus no wonder the best expression of the joys and sorrows of life as slaves (are we not all slaves of global capitalism?)
On another level, perhaps rigid, mechanical rhythms just suits our rigid and mechanical urban lifestyles better than organic polyrhythms; and the information saturated and sound polluted environments in which we live might explain the modern taste for stripped down and minimalistic beats.  Besides, the understatement of subtle, implicit, or suggested polyrhythms in a lot of African American music gives it unique formal qualities and new possibilities not found in African music.  (with that said i personally prefer Fela Kuti to James Brown :P)
But in many ways strong and explicit African polyrhythms is returning to African American music, from the self-conscious attempts to reconnect with Motherland culture made by musicians in the 1960s and 70s to the Chicago Juke/Footwork of today.  It seems unlikely that only 1 type of rhythm can sustain all these different kinds of music for long, and i think we are currently in the process of a global polyrhythmic revival.

Juke/Footwork:

Chicago Street Percussion:

Now we come to the grand finale, rainbow-in-the-sky, lighters-in-the-air, closing message of this long and dense story which spans half a millennium: African rhythm heritage not only survives, but THRIVES, in any hostile environment, despite every hardship, against every repressive measure, in defiance of all forces that tries to destroy it.

Thanks to Keith Jones, Wayne Marshall, and Darius James.

(01) Scaruffi, Piero. A History of Popular Music before Rock Music.
(02) Palmer, Robert. Deep Blues. 
(03) Kingsbury Paul. The encyclopedia of country music: the ultimate guide to the music.
(04) Barbara Vierwo. Andy Trudeau. The Curious Listener’s Guide to the Blues.
(05) Kolchin, Peter. American Slavery,
(06) Sublette, Ned. The World that made New Orleans: from Spanish silver to Congo Square.
(07) Peñalosa, David. The Clave Matrix; Afro-Cuban Rhythm: Its Principles and African Origins.
(08) Schuller, Gunther. Early Jazz; Its Roots and Musical Development.

(09) Palmer, Robert. Deep Blues.
(10) Saldenha, Robert. Another Look At The History Of The Steel Band
(11) Peñalosa, David. Rumba Quinto.
(12) Sublette, Ned. A History of Cuba and its Music.

____________________________________________________

ADDENDUM:
Over the years i’ve heard people say things like “at least slavery gave us good music”, or “without slavery music would be boring”.
To this i respond:
1. Cultures mix via trade and other means all the time, such as the cultures all along the “Silk Road” trade routes: for example Turkish ideas inspired Chinese music and vice versa, without war or violence, and the resulting Uyghur music is anything but boring.  Similarly, Africa could have met Europe in a number of different ways, without subjugation or slavery.
2. Given that much of American music was born in the only place where slaves were allowed to make music, what kinds of creativity would have blossomed from the meeting of African and European musical ideas, if the slaves were allowed to make music all over America?  What If there was no slavery at all and musicians could collaborate and inspire each other on equal footing??  And what if Europeans were never blinded by ignorance and racism, and had combined their developed harmony with sophisticated African rhythm starting from a much earlier time???
3.  Slavery created the need to express anger, sadness and resentment through music, and we have come to prize and “enjoy” these qualities in music.  But we should not get confused and believe these qualities to be inherently, naturally good.  Because without that legacy of abuse we would not enjoy angry and sad music at all, and would have come to appreciate other qualities instead.
4. Yes something good can come out of any catastrophic and violent injustice; but this is because of the strength of people and endurance of culture, not because of the injustice.
5. Any argument that any part of slavery, how ever small, was good in any way, is an attempt to justify racist violence.

MUTANT 4 – Meta House

METAHOUSE

Evil twin of the last MUTANT mix of brightly hued, sun-kissed club music for endless summer nights, Meta House is heavy, narcotic. Including lots of deep techy tracks, some jacking, bassline, healthy dose of ghetto, a touch of shuffling, and material which may be in the category of “House Not House” — but as abstract or bassy as any part of it may be, i made sure that all selections are primarily, unmistakably House – all steady kicks and offbeat hi-hats.

01 Kowton – EFX01 X R.I.P AJ
02 Altered Natives – Die 4 U
03 Boddika – Steam
04 Rommek – Puffin Original
05 Thomas Meinecke & Move D – Work Me (That’s Fierce)
06 Altered Natives – Shake That feat. E.S.P.
07 Gage – Burnin
08 Boddika & Joy Orbison – Tricky’s Team
09 Rushmore – Jumpshot
10 Matrixxman – Stop It (Original Mix)
11 Randee Jean – You Got It (Dexter & Awanto 3 Mix 2)
12 Altered Natives – Friends & Lovers
13 Tom Flynn – Mr. Hedgehog
14 Kill Frenzy – Booty Clap
15 Joy Orbison, Boddika & Pearson Sound – Nil (Reece)
16 Kris Wadsworth – Mainline
17 PulseCode – Get Large
18 INdigo – Aradia
19 Dark Sky – Ruk
20 Effy – The Look
21 Boddika – Warehouse
22 Braiden – The Alps
23 Omar S – Kosmos 1402 X Nina Kraviz – I’m Gonna Get You
24 Omar S – Income Tax Refund Dance

MUTANT 04.July @Urban Spree

Screen Shot 2014-06-12 at 07.21.45

MUTANT RHYTHMS, ALTERED BASS

From 4 corners of the world come 4 mutants that have evolved in different ways but on the same path of poly-rhythmic bass, meeting on this night in Berlin to examine various MUTANT sonics, and create oceans deep, tornados strong vibes without borders that will rearrange the DNA of human kind for ever.

Why do various modern beats sound the way they do? How are they still unmistakably connected to ancient rhythmic roots? How did we get from slave songs to “untz untz” club music? In what ways have identities and cultures been forever changed with various waves of globalization? These are a few of the many questions surrounding MUTANT musical culture the first part of the evening will address.

From Tribal Guarachero to Techno, from Juke/Footwork to Kuduro, from Dancehall to Jungle — during the second part of the night 4 MUTANT Djs will sonically demonstrate deep genetic axis of rhythm which connects various bodies of music, while rocking the dance floor with some of the most advanced and innovative dance music in 2014.

•••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

21h – 00h talks by Dj Ripley and Dj Zhao

Dj Ripley – “From Jamaica to di World! Musical Identity in a Globally Networked Context” 

Dj Zhao – “Rhythmic Mutation and the Evolution of Contemporary Dance and Pop Music”

Panel Discussion / conversations.

00h – MUSIC

•••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

Dj Ripley (Dutty Arts / NYC)

mixes music to highlight difference rather than seamlessness. Pulling out familiar songs and sounds from people’s childhood or community, layering them with foreign, distant sounds to make the familiar strange and the strange familiar. Music exists because it crosses borders, literally and figuratively. Physical borders: eardrums, walls, and legal borders: nations, zones. Her main goal is challenge the assumption that difference breeds division and distrust – instead, difference, rupture, foreign-ness is a site of conscious, open-eyed and physical pleasure.

http://soundcloud.com/ripley
http://djripley.blogspot.com/

•••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

Rafael Aragon (Latino Resiste/Paris)

Rafael Aragón is a latin/arabic rooted musician / dj / composer / producer making mainly club oriented, heavy bass music, yet delicate, maximalist and highly psychedelic. Sweaty dancefloor killers and soulful, enlightened anthems to cheer up and enjoy the beauty of life. With a very special, magic touch inspired by the ancient traditions of shamanism from all around the world. Mystic chimes, ritual drums and witchcraft incantations meet club kicks, filthy basslines and electronic batucada to provide a rich, dancy and psychedelic music for hips and ears!

!! NEW ALBUM dropping on Latino Resiste on july 2nd!! feat. Zee Reach, Ckrono & Slesh, El Malito, Kosta Kostov & many more…

https://soundcloud.com/rafiralfiro
https://www.facebook.com/rafael.aragon.paris

•••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

dj zhao (Ngoma Sound / Beijing / Berlin)

brings the best contemporary and classic dance music together from wildly different times and places. Informed of up-to-the-minute global styles from Angolan House to Chicago Juke, and with a deep sense of musical history, Dj Zhao infuses his sets with a deep sense of polyrhythms, whether playing techno at Berghain or Afro-Bass at a tropical event. Fusing ancestral rhythms and urban electronics, Dj Zhao is a poly-cultural ambassador of boom connecting “East” and “West”, acoustic and electronic, traditional and modern.

http://soundcloud.com/djzhao
http://ngomasound.wordpress.com/

•••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

Futurismo (Futurisms / Jerusalem / Berlin)

is a dreamer. Born and raised in the city of god (Jerusalem) he moved to the city of godlessness (Berlin) while floating on weird sound frequencies. He fuses together electronic sounds – Acid / Bass / Techno / DnB / UK Garage being just a few of the genres he drops into meshes of rhythms and basslines. He’s been running the Futurisms and Cheap Acid nights in the heart of Berlin’s Neukölln district. Futurismo has no soul, but he can dance. Ask him nicely and he will show you how.

http://www.mixcloud.com/hamster/
https://soundcloud.com/hamster

 

JUJUJUKE 3 + Traslacion

Screen Shot 2014-06-11 at 18.02.56

From Chicago to Berlin, from Luanda to London, JUJUJUKE 3 brings you up to the minute meta rhythms and mega bass.

____________________________________________________________________

NANGDO (Weboogie/Tomcrew)

DJ and producer Nangdo is channeling the soul of South Side Chicago and making some of the most true-school juke and footwork in Berlin. A true music addict: he has been dj’ing and collecting hundreds and hundreds of records for over ten years now. Also, he created tons of beats in the past eight years. For Nangdo, his productions are all about chopping up sounds of seventies soul, break beats, hip hop ‘or whatever stuff.’

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Nangdo

____________________________________________________________________
Luc Masera (Antibling/Kick Snare)

With versatile sets Luc has played in nearly every Club of Berlin. His first London Trip inspired him so much, that he changed from Minimal-Techno to all kinds of UK Bass. In 2011 he and four other guys from Berlin Massive started the monthly Antibling : Promassive Party which is today Berlins Filthiest Dubstep Party. Antibling brought Luc Masera to Paris, Switzerland, Bombay, Sao Paulo and to a lot of German Citys and everwhere he plays, he is looking for new inspirations for his DJ Sets.

http://kicksnarebooking.eu/cs_album/luc-masera/

____________________________________________________________________

This time, for the first hour of the night, from 12 – 1am, there will be a very special program of improvised and live sound and video art collaboration between artists in Buenos Aires and Berlin. Dj Zhao will be in a duo with Hidhawk, weaving a strange and transporting tapestry of tape loops, voices from the ether, and ghosts in machines, in real time:

https://www.facebook.com/events/268174550035842/

traslacion

CZ and NL

CZ2014

this coming weekend the lovely hills of the White Carpathians will get a heavy dose of psychedelic NGOMA rhythm and bass!

10351746_601531706611865_2479893259356511208_n 10383490_601531049945264_4667290137909504739_n10458356_601531133278589_1824491575968976038_n10410982_601531843278518_4998844469999269048_n

______________________________________________________________________

Last weekend in Amsterdam and Utrecht was wicked. Great vibes at the Underground warehouse party i played right after the NL football win, er, i mean SLAUGHTER, agains Spain (sweet revenge for these drunk Dutch people), and lecture and set at Festival Debestuiving.

P1020869
P1020887
Utrecht_lecture

MUTANT 3 – In the House

Endless Summer

MUTANT 3 is about euphoric and summery, purely pleasurable, feel good electronic music from North America and Europe.

Encompassing classic Chicago, Deep, Acid and Tribal House as well as new-school French and UK styles, going beyond House into Bass and Garage territory with even a touch of pop. Alternately euphoric, somber, psychedelic, whimsical and sexy, This mix is the soundtrack for summer in the city.

Ngoma massive world wide need not worry, there are plenty of drums in these “Western” grooves, and plenty of Africa in the machine. To be honest it was difficult keeping all the ghetto, bassline, even more percussion driven, and crazy ill tribal jacking shit out of this — coming up next.

01 Omar S – j-a-i-p-u-r / Tony Allen – Ole (Moritz Von Oswald Remix)
02 The Zohar – Dog Day
03 Dj Qu – Party People Clap (Dj Jus Ed Remix)
04 Omar S – Here’s Your Trance Now Dance (Shadow Ray Remix)
05 Jus Ed – Down & Dirty
06 Spoonz – High In Chicago
07 Robert Hood – Motor City
08 Tin Man – S_MPL HOUSE
09 The Early Sound Collective – MS3
10 Medicis & Vanshift – Minneapolis
11 Generation Next – Full of Life
12 Simple & Thigpen – Licking
13 Percussions – KHLHI
14 Mia Dora – Jezebel
15 Dense & Pika – Crispy Duck
16 Mosca – Bax
17 Tom Zanetti – Darlin X Flight Facilities (ft. Giselle Rosselli) – Crave You (WtchDctr Remix)
18 Ossie – Tarantula
19 Octo Octa – Through The Haze
20 Ryan Wells – Dimes
21 Myrryrs – Blood of a Slave (CEDAA Remix)
22 Wiley – Skanking (The 2-Bears Remix)
23 Simon Off – Want U
24 Yosa – Desmond
25 New Devices – Everything Good (Juan Kidd and Corey Remix)
26 Martyn – Newspeak
27 Bombe – Eclipse
28 Braille – Rise
29 Walton – Every Night
30 Spoonz – 97

JUJUJUKE 2

jujujuke2

This how we voodoo, this how we juju:
From Chicago to East London, from Jersey to Berlin, Juju-Juke brings true school rhythm and bass.

Joining us for the first time: Cool Hand Luke straight from Brooklyn will bring true underground club sounds from New Jersey, in addition to the Chicago Tek Life vibes; Congolese/French MC Carmel Zoum will deliver fiery verses on the mic; and Berlin’s own NGHT DRPS wil drp crucial new school bass and footwork.

░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░
NGOMA Sound feat. MC Carmel Zoum
░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░
NGHT DRPS (Through My Speakers – Berlin)
░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░
Cool Hand Luke (Hot Crew 57 – NYC/Chicago)
░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░
Dj Zhao (Ngoma Sound – Beijing/Berlin)
░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░

at the quality Panke club: http://www.pankeculture.com/