[iDC] Remix Reader

conrad at buffalo.edu conrad at buffalo.edu
Sun Apr 16 22:13:47 EDT 2006

It's nice to read more detail on the Kingston scene than I've found
anywhere else, at least since Richard Henderson came back from there
describing the dub scene in the late 1970s!

But this hybridity has been happening longer, and on a more general (and
less local or artist/hero-centered) basis than any of these accounts yet
suggests. Longer: in western Europe the "French suite", a foundation for
 sonata and symphony, was a collection of folk-derived dances. Dance
manias of the baroque era included the sarabande, passacaglia, and
chaconne, all outrageously risque, and the canary; three of these came
from South America or Africa. More General: See John Storm Roberts'
important book Black Music of Two Worlds, on the ricochet of musical
influences back and forth across the Atlantic between the Caribbean and
West Africa.


Quoting "Paul D. Miller" <anansi1 at earthlink.net>:

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> Hey people - it's a pleasure to see some of the threads on the list.
> The main issue is:
> 1) You have to think about different kinds of
> literacy. I think Lev Manovich would be totally
> illiterate of youth culture's global fascination
> with hybridity and convergent media - I'm saying
> that as a friend. I did music for his "Soft
> Cinema" project, and we've had discussions about
> this. Alot of the digital theory scene simply
> cannot process divergent forms of sound art, and
> digital media. They can deal with Japan, China,
> and India, but Jamaica, Africa and, ahem,
> African-Americans, are a no-go zone for theories
> of digital media and sound art. I've never been
> quite sure why that is, but, yeah, it's there.
> The curators in the artworld have no idea about
> how to deal with this, and the digital media
> scene in terms of the real practice of
> multi-culturalism, needs some serious work as
> well.
> In Eduardo's piece, for example, starts with RZA,
> but doesn't engage the real practical
> relationships of the Caribbean (especially
> producers in Jamaica) whose practice of
> "versioning" directly anticipates hip-hop, or for
> that matter the idea of call and response blues
> from the turn of the last century. There are so
> many other places to start - Bollywood's ability
> to absorb the complex vocabulary of Hollywood
> film, Egyptian cinema, West African film makers
> like Sembene Ousmane... It's all about collage
> based composition. I'd say Brian Eno and David
> Byrne's "My Life in The Bush of ghosts" is
> probably alot more creative than alot of the
> hip-hop you hear today, and in fact, it's been
> sampled alot, but then again, so has Fela. RZA
> took that kind of hybridity, and made a brand out
> of it... But then again, so did King Tubby.
> Anyway:
> If you are open, there's plenty of interesting material out there.
> A very very very brief primer for those interested in "remix"
> culture:
> Valentine de St. Point "Manifesto of Lust" - 1915
> Luigi Russolo - The Art of Noise - 1915
> Theodore Adorno - The form of the Phonograph
> Norman Mailer's "The White Negro" - 1957
> Amiri Baraka - Blues People: Negro Music in White America, 1963
> Alfred Appel - Jazz Modernism  - 2003
> Eduoard Glissant - Poetics of Relation, 1997
> Jeff Chang's Can't Stop Won't Stop, 2005
> and of course, my book "Rhythm Science" that came=20
> out on MIT Press a little while ago.
> www.rhythmscience.com
> Stevem Shaviro has an excellent on-line teaching=20
> resource about sampling as well:
> http://www.dhalgren.com/Classes/Sound.html
> These are the liner notes to a Box Set CD I've done with Trojan
> Records.
> Trojan Records is a legendary record label
> started by Arthur "Duke" Reid in Kingston,
> Jamaica in the late 1960's. It's archive
> encompasses some of the most renowned Jamaican
> artists in history, and the box set I've compiled
> for Trojan Records is a slice of material from
> their catalog. It's a double CD with outtakes and
> extremely rare versions of Jamaican material from
> the last 40 years.
> Paul aka Dj Spooky
> Heel up, Wheel up, come back, rewind: Trojan Records
> by Paul D. Miller
> When Trojan Records asked me to do a "selections"
> from their archive, one of the first things that
> went through my mind was how do you mix music
> that changed the world? It's been about fifty
> years since Jamaica has become an independent
> country, and it seems like the music that comes
> from this tiny island in the Caribbean is having
> more of an impact than ever.
> Trojan Records' founder, Arthur "Duke" Reid, used
> to drive the Trojan brand of trucks around
> Kingston with huge speakers blasting his
> innovative collection of Jamaican music, leading
> to the urban legend of how the name of the
> soundsystem cum record label developed. "Duke"
> was a former policeman, and it comes as no
> surprise that the "ruff and rude" sounds of the
> Kingston underground were the staple of his sound.
> The metaphor of the Trojan truck, mapped onto the
> Greek legend of the Trojan house, is as fitting
> as any fiction. Trojan Ltd. was a car company
> that made sturdy trucks that were to become the
> staple of the colonial market export of cars. The
> people of Troy, a great city in ancient Greece,
> were a royal line founded by Zeus and Electra,
> and if the myths of the past are to be kept in
> mind when we think of Jamaica, you can see the
> update: Like the Trojan horse, these stealth
> units, soundsystems, were able to be in plain
> sight while changing the cultural operating
> system of the entire world. Soundsystems were
> portable discos, mobile platforms for different
> styles. They were the preferred method of
> spreading a style because they were nomadic in a
> way that the monumental clubs of the U.S. and
> U.K. couldn't dream of. From the vantage point of
> the 21st century, they can only be viewed as the
> predecessor of the iPod.
> Portability, quickness, stealth copies of hit
> songs, "versions"=8A All of this leads us to the
> idea of remix culture and "mash-ups" that are the
> digital world's inheritance from the analog media
> of the soundsystem. With the material that I
> selected for this compilation, I wanted to avoid
> the obvious songs of Jamaican history, and focus
> on the more esoteric materials that collectors
> and producers could relate to. For example, when
> the Prodigy sampled Max Romeo and The Upsetters'
> 1976 "I Chase The Devil (Lucifer)," I thought it
> would be a good start to think about how the same
> sample popped up on Kayne West's production of
> Jay Z's hit "Lucifer." I think you'll relate to
> the out-take version I included in the
> compilation of Lee "Scratch" Perry's version,
> "Disco Devil." Sounds like piracy? Well can you
> imagine the world without Bob Marley? He used to
> screen records as a clerk for the Coxsone
> soundsystem. He'd literally sift through the
> sounds of the current day to tell Coxsone which
> records to copy! This was invaluable for his
> development as a recording artist and performer.
> The "re-mix" was happening in Jamaica to keep the
> best songs fresh with the newest sounds for
> decades before the idea hit the U.S. With Perry
> and his staple of singers like Susan Cadogan (a
> former librarian!), you can hear the heat of a
> Kingston night in songs like her hit, "Fever,"
> and her 1974 smash single "Hurt So Good," a cover
> version of Millie Jackson's song by the same
> name. Since copyright law in Jamaica was never
> tight everything was a copy of something else.
> You can think of the whole culture as a shareware
> update, a software source for the rest of the
> world to upload. And if you stretch your ears,
> you can see the future of digital music in the
> drum machine riddim of "Sleng Teng" - a rhythm
> made at King Jammy's on a Casio MT-40 home
> keyboard.
> Jamaica created its own economy in sound with the
> relentless bass pressure of an island where
> music, and access to the right styles and sounds
> could make or break your career. The pressure to
> find the right rhythms created a hothouse of
> innovation. Just think: reggae is the expression
> of a nation under immense pressure - from IMF
> loans, from colonialism's aftereffects, the
> falling price of bauxite and its relationship to
> a Third World economy based solely on natural
> products like sugar cane and bananas.
> Before hip-hop was global, the Jamaican scene had
> somehow, on the down-low, followed the idea of
> diaspora. Today with artists like Matisyahu in
> Brooklyn doing Hasidic Jewish versions of reggae,
> to stuff like Japan's "Ranking Taxi" to the
> myriad sounds coming out of Brazil, India,
> Tunisia, Germany and France, the tradition of
> pastiche and bricolage continues. You get the
> idea. The logic of diaspora - of taking music
> from a region and spreading it across the world -
> is reggae's core essence, and when I put this mix
> together, I wanted to go from my downtown NYC to
> London and Kingston, to parts of the world I'd
> forgotten and the most distant places of my
> record collection.
> I used to go to Jamaica every summer when I was a
> kid, and some of my earliest memories - visiting
> relatives and friends, cousins and uncles and
> aunts - was of my mother and sister reminding me
> of the links between the island and America. My
> Mom used to even used to write for Jamaica's
> equivalent of the New York Times, Kingston's
> "Daily Gleaner!" I want you to feel history when
> you listen to this mix and think about how
> sampling, making new music from old, came from
> the idea of versioning. Think about the
> soundsystem battles of Duke Reid, Sir Coxsone and
> Prince Buster as a forerunner to MC and DJ
> battles in hip-hop. Tthink about Kool Herc's
> soundsystem as a stepping stone for "Planet
> Rock." Just think about how strange the world
> would be if we didn't have this music of the
> islands. It just makes you remember that this
> whole planet is just an island too.
> This mix is a combination of the old, the new,
> and the in between. That's kind of the point: DJ
> culture in the 21st century is as much about the
> soundsystem as the playlist. The iPod revolution
> has brought us back to the era of the "single" in
> the form of a downloadable media file. It's a
> return to the era when we were kids in the
> ancient late 1980's, when vinyl still ruled the
> dancehalls, and the soundsystems of NYC,
> Kingston, and London were all about underground
> flava. At a certain point in time, and at a
> certain place - a phrase: architecture is nothing
> but frozen music. What happens when we reverse
> engineer the process? Form becomes flux, solids
> melt into ideas, concepts, blueprints, codes and
> contexts. I wanted to make a mix that reflected
> that: old and new. If there's one thing that
> reggae has told us, it's all about that pressure
> drop!
> Enjoy!!!
> Paul D. Miller a.k.a. DJ Spooky that Subliminal Kid NYC 2006
> CD 1
> 1. Disco Devil by Lee "Scratch" Perry
> 2. Lama Lava by Augustus Pablo
> 3. 007 Shanty Town  by Desmond Dekker
> 4. Funky, Funky Reggae by Dave & Ansel Collins
> 5. Shades Of Hudson by Dennis Alcapone & Kieth Hudson
> 6. Come Together by The Israelites
> 7. Old Fashion Way by Ken Booth and Kieth Hudson
> 8. Rain by Bruce Ruffin
> 9. Your Ace From Outer Space by U-Roy
> 10. Sweet Like Candy by Winston Williams
> 11. The Rooster by Tommy McCook & His Band
> 12. The Trial Of Pama Dice by Lloyd/Dice/Mum
> 13. Fever	by Susan Cadogan
> 14. Skinhead Moonstomp by Symarip
> 15. Morning Sun by Al Barry & The Cimarons
> 16. Save Me by Bob Andy & Marcia Griffiths
> 17. Rudy A Message To You by Dandy Livingstone
> 18. James Bond by The Selecter
> 19. Rough Rider (Live) by The Special Beat
> 20. Ghost Town (Live) by The Specials
> 21. Mirror In The Bathroom (Live) by The Special Beat
> 22. The Russians Are Coming (Take Five) by Val Bennett
> CD 2:
> 1. Entertainer by Charlie Chaplin taken from Dancehall Explosion-20
> Killa D
> 2.The Great Musical Battle by Derrick Morgan
> 3. Reform Institute by Gregory Isaac's All Stars
> 4. Popcorn by The Upsetters
> 5. Brother Noah by The Shadows
> 6. King Tubby's Explosion Dub by King Tubby
> 7. Dynamic Fashion Way by U-Roy
> 8. A Yah We Deh by Barrington Levy
> 9. Peter Tosh "Here Comes the Judge" - taken from "Trojan Legend Box
> Set"
> 10. Dave Barker "Lock Jaw"
> 11. Dillinger - "Flat Foot Hustling" - taken from "Trojan Legend Box
> Set
> 12.  Lee "Scratch" Perry - the Upsetters - "Chapter 2: French
> Connection"
> 13. Hot Sauce (Aka The Agro Man Is Back) by Dave & Ansel Collins
> 14. A Version I can Feel With Love by Tommy McCook
> 15. Brain Mark by Jackie Mitoo
> 16. Pop A Version by Dennis Alcapone
> 17. Ethiopian Kingdom by Prince Rowland Downer and Count Ossie Band

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