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jason on 07/02/2010 at 12:15PM

Variations on Cumbia feat. El Remolon, El Hijo de la Cumbia, and Very Be Careful

Cumbia became popular in Colombia in the 50s, and its mix of indigenous and African rhythms quickly spread to the rest of the world. In the 70s, Peruvians introduced psychedelic electric guitar and renamed the music Chicha, while Mexican musicians added rock drums and synth to create Sonidero, and Argentineans introduced the Keytar to create Cumbia Villera. In the past 5 years, a worldwide cumbia resurgence has infiltrated rock, hip-hop and electronic music. From Monterey's rebajada to Buenos Aires digital cumbia, young musicians are recycling their grandparents' music and launching a global musical rebellion.

El Remolón -- the musical alias of Andrés Schteingart (aka Drole) -- specializes in a minimalist techno variation of the reinterpreted sounds of cumbia, mixing in the mroe contemporary sounds of IDM, reggaeton and dub. In 2006, Santiago Chile's Pueblo Nuevo netlabel released his Cumbia Bichera EP, along with remixes by four of the label's other talented artists, including founders Djef and Mika Martini. A couple tracks from the EP below, check the full thing here.

El Remolón is a key player in Buenos Aires' world-renowned ZZK collective. Founded in 2006 as the Zizek Urban Beats Club -- a monthly party at the Voodoo Motel -- Zizek is now its own venue, host to genre-clashing global dance bills orchestrated by El Remolón along with founder El G, the MC/DJ duo Fauna, and the tropical dancehall DJ Douster.

ZZK Records launched in 2008 with the release of ZZK Sound Vol. 1: Cumbia Digital, a compilation featuring digital cumbia music from all over the world, including fellow Argentinian El Hijo De La Cumbia (pictured left / mp3 below from the Soot Records release Freestyle de Ritmos). The compilation, along with a host of free mixtapes, helped ZZK reach a worldwide audience and international collaborators including Diplo and DJ/Rupture, and Vol 2 was picked up for wider distribution by Nacional Records. The sound continues to spread through a summer tour, which included a stop at Coachella, and an online video project, ZZK TV, which you can help make possible through Kickstarter

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lavenders on 07/02/2010 at 02:00AM

Toro y Moi - live on dublab (03.11.10)


Toro y Moi has the feeling of your favorite sweater tossed on as you rush excited from your home into a crisp winter adventure. The warmth of the cloth and million tiny sparks hug and dazzle you with electric comfort.

Scratch that…Toro y Moi is the sound of a choir of angels singing forms of cottony clouds into a sky scattered with floating bongo drums and brilliant dreams. You and those angels are all riding skateboards to a potluck hosted by a being of pure light down the block. While everyone else is outside getting drunk on the sky porch that being will show you an obscure film that will change your creative life forever.

Scratch that…Toro y Moi is the moment you realize that sitting outside the club listening to a Smiths tape in your car is one million times more joyful than being inside with the all the sweat and posturing. The two however need each other because this realization was only made possible by the boom of the bass through the brick wall. Its vibration spinning the wheels of your mind into motion and your body into bliss.

Final scratch…Toro y Moi is Chaz Bundick who is making warm and beautiful music in many forms and blessed dublab with this live set sure to fill your ears with happiness and be permanently filed onto the “classics” shelf of your heart.

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toro y moi
lizb on 07/01/2010 at 09:00AM

Weird Forest Records on the FMA

Over here on the East side, we just made it through quite a heat-wave: 90+ degree days, humidity through the roof, brownout rumors in Brooklyn, sweltering nights rendered sleepable only through the magical powers of A/C...

In this sort of heat-funk, I desire nothing but languid, pretty music that hangs in the air and feeds my inertia. Luckily, I discovered the Weird Forest Records Sampler One here on the FMA in time to complement this heat-stroke. The compilation is blanketed with a beautiful haze, spare songs with a few noisy bits here and there. Check out a few of my faves below.

Not only has the Weird Forest label put out great records by the likes of Emeralds, Ganglians, Starving Weirdos, and Dead Western, but they are now adding tunes to the FMA! And if you didn't already catch some hints from their artist lineup, Weird Forest hails from Sacramento. Can't wait for more!

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henryhynes on 07/01/2010 at 08:59AM

Kenneth Higney's Attic Demonstrations: The Realest NJ Outsider

Kenneth Higney's Attic Demonstrations is a record you might find wedged between a worn copy of Skip Spence's Oar and Born In the U.S.A. That is if both of those are commonly placed in the $100+ rack of your local record store. He comes off a lot like Spence or Dave Cloud, but while Spence was doing hard drugs in NYC and Cloud was getting restraining orders from young women in Nashville, Higney was drivin' trucks through rural America, spreading goods throughout the land.

Higney, a New Jersey native, took a break from his job as a truck driver and recorded his Demonstrations in several single takes in 1976. His idea was to find like-minded musicians to play the tracks with him or re-record the demonstration songs. Though he may have failed at this task, he did succeed in making a fairly sought after record among serious collectors.

Attic Demonstrations, while being very scattered, is a wildly imaginative and emotional record complete with acoustic ballads, fuzzed-beyond-all-return soloing, and old-timey vocals from the man Higney himself. Drawing from 60's folk-rock and pretty much all things 70's (even a five minute forray into disco with 'Funky Kinky'), Higney manages to pump out a fair share of wild tunes (some recorded with more rhythmic consistency than others). Standouts include 'Can't Love That Woman', 'Look At The River', 'Children of Sound', and the opener 'Night Rider'. Look out for the songwriting on 'Can't Love That Woman' and check out the entire 11 song album here. Thanks to Swan Fungus for the tip on this album!

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kenneth higney, outsider
lavenders on 06/30/2010 at 05:00PM

Sun Araw - Live on DUBLAB 02.02.10


L.A. based Cameron Stallones nee Sun Araw has been popping up all over dublab these days, so naturally the man eventually wound up in our studio for a far-out “sprout session.” This cool cat delivered on everything that the tuned-in and keen kids have come to expect from him: a sweltering riverboat cruise into waters of warmer dimensions. Not content to rest on his laurels even after ripping through arrays of mind-expanding explorations, this vigilant visionary blasted off in his futuristic cruiser to complete his next opus, the awesomely ambitious x2 LP “On Patrol,” available now on Not Not Fun.

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sun araw
jason on 06/30/2010 at 09:00AM

Creative Commons workout mix

"Bhangra Workout with Ravi" via Gurumustuk Singh on flickr // licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike (and most of the tracks on this mix are licensed similarly, but please click the "i" for the full license)

This Creative Commons NonCommercial workout mix is inspired by a little piece of current events:

Last month, Australia's Copyright Tribunal increased music licensing fees for fitness classes by 1500% per class. Now, Australia's gyms are faced with the question of whether to pass this new cost -- averaging over $20,000/year -- on to their customers, or to search for alternative solutions.

One solution is to play recordings that are not covered by the agreement to begin with. The blanket license for recordings (but not compositions) is overseen by the Phonographic Performance Company of Australia (PPCA). Their catalog includes the discographies of hundreds of Australian labels & artists who've opted to join the collecting society, but its primary licensors are the four multinational major labels.

In other words, "Real Music". Or at least that's the language the PPCA uses in its press release. This doesn't mean to say that PPCA members are any more "real" than independent artists (though it may seem implied). Rather, it's referring to the hundreds of fitness centers across Australia who are phasing out original music in favor of cheap cover recordings that aren't subject to PPCA control. The trend was recently spotlighted in this Wall Street Journal article, and these Britney Spears knockoffs are apparently big business for anybody who really wants to make money through music.

For those who want something a little real-er than mock pop tunes the next time they're at the gym, I made this mix of Creative Commons-licensed workout-ready tunes. All of these tracks (except the liberally-licensed Juanitos) are licensed under NonCommercial terms (click the "i" for the complete terms). So other than the Juanitos, these tracks wouldn't fly in a for-profit gym, but they could be used in school gyms and non-profit YMCA types of fitness centers. As long as the song isn't being used to enhance somebody's business, these artists would bee happy to see you getting in shape to their music. So feel free to download and bring this with you on your next trip to the gym. And if you find yourself having to use this to block out another knockoff "Oops I Did It Again" again, now you'll know why.

More about each artist after the jump or by clicking the "i" button next to their track. As always if you like what you hear, you can tip the artist by hitting the $ symbol on their artist page.

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lavenders on 06/29/2010 at 06:30PM


Asura is an ambassador from the universe of beautiful fuzz and melody. He has brought greetings from this land in the form of brilliant soundwaves. These messages paint a picture of a world that shines with delicate rays and bold love. Asura’s elegant transmissions are warm and familiar like the sky above your home but filled with forms that keep ears electrified with exploratory urges.

Asura was joined on this voyage by the voice of sound navigator Ana Caravelle. She floats in to gracefully guide us to new, glowing angles. Soak in these sights and bask in the bright light. After you’re entranced by this initial contact you can continue your discovery of Asura’s world by visiting the welcome center at

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doncbruital on 06/29/2010 at 01:00PM

Pulse Emitter ist Kosmisch

While the reader is, of course, already well aware of the undeniably extraterrestrial qualities of the modular synthesizer, c'mon, let me go on about it a little anyways. To be honest, I sort of can't help but get really stoked just thinking of the way in which the instrument allows Sound, that most elusive creature, to be created from scratch and manipulated at the purest, most basic of levels, getting tweaked and shaped, proceeding constant through time on a slow evolutionary scale, yeah, a cosmic scale even, waveforms like planets, their orbits being drawn by an unseen hand at the module controls. I can't underline this quality enough: folks, if you ever really need reminding of the interstellar nature of things (like, if start taking the seasons for granted, or otherwise forget how cool the sun and moon are), just turn on a synth jam, let it draw you into its orbit, surrender to its gravity--and you'll be right as rain.

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pulse emitter, portland
herr_professor on 06/29/2010 at 09:04AM

The World Cup of Chip - Japan

Live at Blip Festival '08

Ok, so this whole WORLD CUP OF CHIP thing has been fun, but it has also been the kiss of death for the featured country, with both France and Italy going down to tragic elimination. A number of my other world cup choices have also been elminated before we could write about them, so it remains to see what we have in store for our last week, but we must soldier on as today's country, Japan prepares for its knock out round match. And representing Japan is Fuckoka's own, USK.

USK is perhaps the perfect chip music/lo-bit/rave performer, with high energy pounding beats and blips to shake chipmusic fanatics and interested outsiders alike. He is also a frequent collaborator and remixer, as well as amazing live performer who has played the Blip Festival and opened for diverse acts like Deerhoof, and in a bonjovian display of hubric hyper-prowess, rocked them all.

Here's hoping the energy from his 8bitpeoples release PICOPICODISCO is enough to propel his country into the next round. Pump the music so loud they can hear it over the vuvuzelas halfway across the world and see you guys right here in seven days for the final round of the World Cup of Chip.

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usk, deerhoof, 8bitpeoples
andrewcsmith on 06/28/2010 at 12:00PM

Preparing the Past

Video still by Christy Edwards

"I often have the experience of missing the present time as it is happening," Aaron Siegel says. Siegel and Mantra Percussion were last heard on the FMA in January with "Science is Only A Sometimes Friend," but collaborated again at the beginning of this month for "Preparing the Past," with video (above) by Christy Edwards. The piece, with two vibraphones, two glockenspiels, and piano four-hands, is less a continuous thread of events than a series of stases—like sonic tableaux—that build on one another and exist simultaneously. In these three movements, the first two of which were premiered last year at Roulette, Siegel examines stages of memory and fixing of moments: recording, scrutinizing, and re-imagining.

At the core of this is the desire to look at the same event from multiple angles—that is, in fixing the event, to move through the event and re-create it as your own. But rather than attempting to move toward the truth of a memory, all of these repetitions just make the event more enigmatic. In a certain way, the repeating glockenspiel figures are evocative of writing; the second movement, Scrutiny, repeats a rising, classically unresolved chord in many different forms that all seem to be basic variations on the same event. There is no harmonic or melodic motion, and the repeated action borders on the neurotic; the scrutinized becomes inscrutable.

This is where the final movement, Re-imagining comes in. In this, the pieces break apart—each member of the ensemble has a similar but staggered line—and float separately. When they overlap it's mostly on accident, and each voice moves on its own through a series of chords. This re-synthesis is more of a enzymatic denaturing, as each individual part is left as a shred of an original thought. Listen below to the entire performance, featuring Mantra Percussion on glockenspiels and vibraphones, and Emily Manzo and Anna Dagmar on piano.

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aaron siegel, percussion
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