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lizb on 01/28/2010 at 09:00AM

Italian Motormouth, Zona MC

I must admit, for a brief moment, I considered populating my New Year's Eve party playlist with nothing but Italo Disco. With song titles like "Girl On Me," "Droid," "Spacer Woman," "Sex Tonight," and (my fave) "How Old Are You," plenty of fine examples from this genre surely started some parties back in the '70s and '80s.

In the years following Giorgio Moroder's reign, Italian electronic music has mainly evolved into house/club music or the occasional pop dance tune suited for Eurovision.

Naturally, I was excited to discover Italian rapper Zona MC on the FMA, whose style I can only hope is indicative of a new wave of Italo beats. Breakcore, slightly experimental-leaning hip-hop, with the fastest motormouth rapper that I've heard in a long time.

Take a listen to "Non puoi toccarti se sei omofobico" all the way through, and I think you'll be hard-pressed to come across a faster mouth.

Zona MC appears on the FMA courtesy of the Homezero label, featuring European copyleft artists.

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italy, beats, italo
jason on 01/27/2010 at 01:22PM

Celebrating Haitian Rara with Djarara, Alan Lomax, and the Other Side of the Water documentary film

Djarara, "the only sustained rara band in America", performs in summer 2008 (photo © Other Side of the Water [source])

Barbés is hosting a celebration of Haitian rara music this Thursday night. From the Barbés site:

Rara is festival music usually played by marching bands. The music is played on drums and homemade bamboo horns (sometimes replaced by PVC pipes) and is often associated with certain aspects of Vaudou rituals. it's also a purely celebratory music which can have political and protest overtones.

This event was inspired by the re-issuing of Alan Lomax in Haiti, a legendary set of recordings commisioned by the Library of Congress in 1936-1937. At 7pm, the event begins with a presentation of recordings from this 10-disc box set.

The event also features a performance by Djarara, New York City's premier Haitian rara group, who have been active for two decades. Djarara performed live from Barbés this past September, with their amazing array of PVC pipe horns, in an event that was broadcast on WFMU's Transpacific Sound Paradise. Two medleys from the performance can be heard below.

Djarara is "the only sustained rara band in America" according to the producers of The Other Side of The Water, a new documentary film that follows the group "through a hidden New York landscape of vodou temples, underground economies, violent politics, and ground-shaking music." The documentary is co-produced by Magi Damas and director Jeremy Robins, whose previously collaborated on the 2004 documentary "The Cause of Pierre Toussaint". The Other Side of the Water will screen at Thursday's event, and you can watch a preview after the jump >>

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jason on 01/27/2010 at 12:15AM

Chandeliers: Activity EP

The Chandeliers - Activity EP (Captcha Records fka HBSP-2X) Spring 2010 / split w. Lazer Crystal

Clearly the Chandeliers keep getting better with every release. Their new Activity EP (to be released in the future, on Captcha Records, fka HBSP-2X) will be issued as a split w/ fellow neon Shape Shoppe Chicago contemporaries Lazer Cystal.

This new stuff reminds me of futuristic beat deconstructers like Raleigh Moncrief, but more subversively funky. And in-league with fellow Chicago natives and collaborators like Icy Demons, Bronze, Michael Columbia, Lazer Crystal (who'll be on the other side of the Activity EP), and Mahjongg. More from the Chandeliers on their blog, tumblr, or after the jump

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herr_professor on 01/26/2010 at 02:59PM

2009 Blip Festival on your FMA PT. 2

Photo: M. Becker

The Blip Festival page is still adding tracks, this week we have tracks from Chromix, Silreq, Albino Ghost Monkey, and Bit Shifter.

Bit Shifter is probably the most well known of the lot, as one of the festivals organizers and as member of the 8bitpeoples he has played shows all over the world. The Blip set catches him at the height of his powers, with pulse channel singalongs, punk cover stage takeovers, you will find that Bit Shifter tends to own whatever stage he walks on.

TCTD is currently showcasing its best of 2009 nominees, in preparation for this weekend's awards gala in New York City. Join us here next week as we get back into it with some choice cuts from the chip music scene. See ya then!


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pushbinlou on 01/25/2010 at 10:20PM

Ears Wide Open: Pierlo

Image by Cobalt 123

First new find for me for 2010!  It was not too long into the New Year when I stumbled upon this great new album by Pierlo.  Except for the fact that he is from Rome there is not a whole lot of info on this rather mysterious character.  Nonetheless, "Saturday Night Sleeper" is a solid and very interesting release.  It is kind of hard to pin down what genre Pierlo is shooting for so I'll just say electronica and let you come to your own conclusions.

If this release peaks your interest you might want to head over and check out the Upitup label which is the super cool netlabel that put out this album from Pierlo as well as tracks and full length releases from a ton of other artists.  Take a listen to the cut "cliverpool" and enjoy!

Pierlo - "Cliverpool" (03:44)
Pierlo - "Cliverpool" (03:44)
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katya-oddio on 01/25/2010 at 06:16PM

Jazz from Buenos Aires

Gepel brings you original jazz from Buenos Aires, Argentina. The FMA now hosts Moducué, Gepel's album recorded, mixed and mastered in Casa Frida by Hernan Caratozzolo and Mariano Cuello.

From their official website:

Gepel is a trio founded in 2006. The music is characterized by its original way of playing different popular music languages from Latin America with the traditional jazz sound texture.

Regarding this release, Gepel writes:

Moducue is the first album from Gepel ('Moducue', meaning "Thanks" in Lucumí, a Yoruba dialect). All compositions performed in the album are original and each one of them is dedicated to a singular popular music language.

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jazz, argentina
andrewcsmith on 01/25/2010 at 05:46PM

Secrets from the Storm

Peg Simone

As a little preview of Peg Simone's upcoming release, "Secrets From The Storm," we've got a live recording from her previous performance at ISSUE. First of all, there's the haunting drone/narrative pieces "Boilermakers" and its sequel "O Holy Night." 

Simone also plays guitar in what might nearly be called ISSUE's unofficial house band (the favorite band of founder Suzanne Fiol), Jonathan Kane's February. So, as if these first two extended narratives were not enough, Kane joins her for the final track: their extended version of "When The Levee Breaks," (1927/Levee).

That same night, we had the strange sounds of Chicago-based sound artist J.R. Robinson--they sound a little bit like if you played a field recording of the jungle backward and added some guitar tracks. M.V. Carbon and Zach Layton finish out the mix, with lush pads that quickly turn angry.

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jason on 01/25/2010 at 01:23PM

30 Days

cover art to 30 Days set 2, by Melissa Federowicz

Vancouver-based Peppermill Records is not your typical record label. First off, they're a net-label...of course that's not such a rare thing these days, but they specialize in using the net as a means to create uniquely curated worldwide collaborative projects.

Peppermill's first release, the 30 Days project, brought thirty talented artists from all over the world together to create one song a day, starting back in December 2005. It was a "sort of chain-collaboration where one finished at midnight and passed it on to the next to continue the set", says the Peppermill website, which also acknowledges that this idea was adapted from the democratic, collectively-run Soulseek Records (yes, that Soulseek). Seems like a perfect starting point for a cc netlabel -- exemplary of the idea-sharing ethos that inspires the movement.

Peppermill's site offers links to some fascinating co-conspirators in the net-audio world. The wizard behind Peppermill, PK, recently tipped me off to the lalala4e label out of Mexico and holy smokes!

Peppermill Records itself has gone on to release 15 fantastic albums -- one of them extending the 30 Days idea into 52 Weeks, divided into four seasons. They've also ran into some interesting issues at the intersection of free music and fair use, which are really deserving of their own article (you can read about one of those projects here).

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katya-oddio on 01/24/2010 at 11:45AM

Surviving the Major Labels

Paul McCartney's review of the band after hearing this record and seeing them live

Steadman, formerly known as the Dharmas, is a melodic Brit-pop, alternative pop, rock outfit who can be compared to acts like Oasis, Garbage, Radiohead, and Suede.

The album REVIVE, now on the Free Music Archive, was originally released by Elektra, but rights were returned to the band. After big label hassles, the group was able to dissolve contracts and release their work independently on vocalist and songwriter Simon Steadman's label, Freeloader Recordings.

On hearing this album and catching Steadman live, Sir Paul McCartney raved about the band, writing the following:

The band STEADMAN have the SONGS, THE MUSICIANSHIP, THE ENERGY and the ENTHUSIASM to BLOW THE TOP OFF any CLUB of ARENA, and if given a listen, have that RARE quality --



P. McCartney

Enjoy the entire record REVIVE on the FMA.

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macedonia on 01/23/2010 at 12:18PM

Phantogram Live At KEXP

Phantogram, 2009. Photo taken by Doron Gild.

I've been absent from posting since my year-end mix, so this will mark my first for 2010.  And if there's any group that people should consider getting to know this year, I will suggest one name more than any other:  Phantogram.

Josh Carter and Sarah Barthel are a pair of upstate New York kids (Saratoga Springs, to be exact) who made good in 2009, releasing their debut album Eyelid Movies on BBE Music.  Equal parts shoegaze, electronic, hip-hop, rock, and pop, it was a bit of a departure for the label, but a risk that proved impossible to ignore.  It quickly became my favorite album of 2009 and judging from the customer reviews in iTunes and Amazon, they are amazing live.  In fact, people have said that Phantogram (as the opening act) was better than the band they actually paid to see.  TEN TIMES OUT OF TEN.  I fully agree with an iTunes customer suggesting that "this is what music will sound like in 2010."

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