After Junior Rodigan’s stunningly sweet set last week, I suspect a slightly more angular, abstract approach to diasporic funk will seem just about right. Hear, for instance, Beam Up’s live set of classic reggae riddims, built from scratch, recorded at the Fusion Festival in Germany last year —
Wearing his Sonical hat, Delay is currently in NYC exhibiting at White Box. For a taste of that, check this —
Another ongoing project, MIDI East, involves some 9000 MIDI files from the Balkans / Turkey, which he’s also making available for others to play around with. Here’s a glimpse of how he’s worked em up:
Come on out if spacey, dubwise Tuesday vibes seem like the proper meds. #noxanax
ps — Adding to the sensory madness, we’ll have twinstars doing live visuals throughout the night!
It’s finally time, Boston Mass(ive): tonight, Tuesday April 17, we’ve got the city’s undisputed #1 reggae selector, the mighty Junior Rodigan, in the house at Beat Research!
We’ve been wanting to have Junior over for a long time now, and though we’d welcome any set from him, we’ve taken the special occasion to ask him to go beyond what he typically gets to do — a lot of his gigs around town and spots on the radio are necessarily up-to-the-time affairs, though Junior is always careful to slip some history in. Of course, digging deep isn’t necessarily so easy for someone who, I’m told, now keeps 90% of his tens of thousands of records in storage. Based on what’s accessible, Junior’s decided to put together a classic set, dedicated to the foundational productions of Studio One and Treasure Isle. In other words, this deeply knowledgeable reggae selector will offer a guided tour through some of the biggest tunes and riddims cooked up in the late 60s / early 70s down in Kingston-town. Should sound absolutely sublime through the big subs and speakers downstairs at the the Good Life.
If you don’t know, Junior has a pretty interesting story. He takes his stage name, of course, from “Father” Rodigan, aka Sir David “RamJam” Rodigan, England’s irrepressible reggae ambassador for decades now. (This remains my favorite clip of the man in action.) Born in Iran, Junior first came under David’s tutelage as a young man growing up in London, where he would religiously tune into the elder Rodigan’s highly educational reggae radio shows. Moving to Boston in the early 80s, Junior was impressed to find a fledgling reggae scene and quickly became ensconced in things, from Dorchester to Cambridge, working as a party DJ, a promoter, a record label and record store operator, and in many many other supporting — and leading — acts. Impressively, he just hosted a 25th anniversary bash this past weekend.
Tribute to his namesake aside, Junior long ago established his own name here in Boston and more widely in the northeast as a stalwart for repping reggae here in the USA. Just watch him at work in the video below with some serious dancehall DJs & singers (“Star time, me say!”) during his drive-time show on Big City 101.3, the biggest Caribbean radio station here in town. Note how he presides over the action, not afraid to shout requests — “One more ting!” he shouts at 2min in, “(W)hol’ on now!” — and take part in the fun. The niceness of the session is a true testament to Junior’s vibes —
But Junior’s standing on the scene here well predates the rise of Big City. As featured here a couple weeks ago, you might have caught this clip of him rocking with the Almighty RSO back in 1991, adding some ruff ragga filigree to their sound at a moment when flip-tongue Jamaican rap signified the hardest of the hardcore. And Junior made a number of other recordings as a vocalist at a time when such skills could really command an audience. I wish that he could play us an entire set from these semi-obscure but treasured times, but that may have to wait for an official excavation. In the meantime, we can appreciate some great moments from a fine moment in time–
This one betrays a touch more of a UK accent than he has these days (his inimitable English-Jamaican-Bostonian brogue remains one of my favorite things on the airwaves):
And here he is playing lovers-rock deejay over a smoove take on a Johnny Gil jam from Errol Strength:
Another big chune yah —
And this may be his best known of all, another BIG lovers-rock jam; indeed, this one was such a hit that it merited inclusion on Strictly The Best Vol. 8! — a rare distinction for Jamaican artists, never mind Iranian-born, English-raised, Boston-transplants like Junior:
Here’s hoping we can give Junior the eager Beat Research reception he deserves. Hope to see you tonight. A some real nice vibrations to be shared, truss…
I’ll be talking twice in the next two days about a thing I’ve been calling technomusicology.
If in a previous moment bi-musicality represented cutting edge musicological literacy, today’s tech-suffused world would seem to call for the development of something akin to technomusicology — which might also include a sort of technomusicality.
Aside from bringing into conversation work that focuses on the entanglements of music and technology, a crucial dimension of technomusicology — at least as I’m proposing — should also entail exploring new modes of tech-assisted research and publication (and obviously I’m thinking in terms of digital and networked tech at this point).
Indeed, I’m currently developing a course called “Technomusicology” for the fall. Beginning by reading across the growing lit that attends to music in the age of its technological reproducibility (Lysloff & Gay, Meintjes, Katz, Suisman, Sterne, et al.), in the second half of the course we will appraise and attempt a variety of new forms and practices — mashups and remixes, DJ-style mixes and audio & video collages, multimedia storytelling, archival representation — as potential openings for new directions in music scholarship, with a final project that engages some new form and aims for publication in range of new venues for such work. More about that in a few!
Anyway, if you want to hear more — literally! — and you’re in New England, you’ll have two chances in the next couple of days, beginning this afternoon! (Pardon the late notice. It’s been a busy month.) Here’s the deets:
My talk today is entitled “Technomusicology” and I’ll be discussing the practice as both musicological and creative endeavor, demonstrating and explicating a number of projects in this vein. Thanks much to Matan Rubinstein for the invitation.
Here I’m giving a brief presentation as part of a roundtable discussion called “Ethno Tech Talk” alongside the venerable David Locke and Eric Galm. I like that the title evokes the somewhat horrid 90s phenom “ethnotechno,” but I believe we’ll mainly be talking about pedagogical strategies — the subtitle is “A Conversation about Applied Technology within Ethnomusicology” — and I don’t think anyone is going to mention Enigma or Deep Forest (though now I’m tempted to).
This is my new favorite thing in the world, and somehow it makes it make more sense that Luanda is the most expensive city on the planet. Sure is rich anyway (here’s a little background, fyi) —
/big tip of the proverbial hat to Farrah Jarral, whose awesome voice I first encountered on Keysound’s classic 00s London mosaic, Margins Music, which I still owe a massive big-up/break-down of a post…
It begins with a six minute opening from me, then I introduce my esteemed co-panelists — Boima, Poirier, Ripley, Max, and Jesse — and we finally REALLY get into the convo about 10 minutes in. From there it’s a solid 50 minutes of discussion (but not a minute more! #realtalk), followed by another 15 of tantalizing open-mic action (just joking; stop watching at that point; really).
These are some of my favorite voices in wot-ever-we-wanna-call this thing (though the labeling, as we discuss, remains inextricable and carries consequences), so they may be of interest to you too —
Do note that we’ve added another DJ/producer to the line up: Blk.Adonis has been our guest at Beat Research before, but given that he’s a great admirer of Rashad and has been working to work juke & footwurk jams into his sets at Nu-Life and TRADE, it seemed like a fine bit of synergy to grow the bill a little more, even if it means less time for all of us (save Rashad, of course).
There’s a ton of great stuff happening this week in and around Boston, and I’ll direct you to a fine roundup put together by the Cluster Mag, our partner on Wednesday’s event. For my part, I’m going to have a hard time escaping the gravity of the Good Life, which is hosting dubstep trailblazer Mala on Friday and providing quite the “tropical” platform for Pico Picante — and many special guests — on Thursday night.
Speaking of the Pajaritos, they’re also responsible for organizing a panel discussion that I’ll be moderating on Friday. The panel brings together the stellar guests they’re bringing to town for Thursday, all of whom, as it happens, are utterly eloquent when it comes to the thorny problems and great possibilities of global / tropical / ghetto bass —
Discussing the panel last week with Ernesto Morales and Ricardo Delima, I told them that I was tempted to take their framing questions and add “besides Diplo” to them, as an attempt to get past the way that these panels tend to devolve into the same ol’ “What Should Diplo Do?” (WSDD) conversation — or as one attempt to sum up our similar panel at EMP put it, “whether we, as people who are interested in the history and origins of music, are okay with Diplo.”
Whether or not we’re ok with Diplo — whatever good that does “us” — there’s a great deal more to discuss about the phenomenon of what I’ve occasionally dubbed nu whirled music & global ghettotech than one guy’s outsize success. But then again, profiles like this one or recurring stories/critiques like this, conspire to create, as Ricardo tweeted, “diplo panic de hoy” (Diplo panic of the day). So I’m sure there will be no getting away from, as I like to think of him, the dinosaur in the room.
That said, I will do my job as moderator to steer us into perhaps less frequently chartered waters, and the panel’s focus on events really helps with this task. For one, it compels us to consider the local dynamics — as opposed to such abstractions as the global and appropriation and such — of putting on events that attempt to address a particular audience through the music & discourse of “tropical bass.” Here we get closer to what I’ve examined in the past as a form of neighborhood, and I could hardly think of better people to discuss such questions than Boima (w/r/t the Bay Area and New York), Poirier (re: Montreal), Ripley (Kingston, London, NYC), and Max and Jesse, both of whom are involved in longstanding musical-curatorial projects here in Boston and elsewhere.
I guess what I’m saying is, this should be worth tuning into (live stream!), especially if you spend a few of the next several nights enjoying some good ol’ bodily/social experience of these sounds and the scenes they call into being.