Archive for May, 2013

May 24th, 2013

Virtual Rites of Spring

Wow, this is quite an amazing piece of work. Stephen Malinowski collaborated with Jay Bacal to make an animated graphical score of Stravinsky’s controversial classic. I love tracking music this way, far more interesting than a static and graphically impoverished waveform. Now that’s what I call technomusicology!

Malinowski and Bacal have carefully pegged shapes and colors to elements of orchestration and pitch, which makes it even more edutaining! Very cool to see all those tone clusters in action. Pitches have been matched to a twelve color wheel, and each shape corresponds to a family of instruments–

ellipse: flutes (also cymbals and tam-tam)
octagon: single reed (clarinet, bass clarinet)
inverted ellipse/star: double reeds (oboe, English horn, bassoons)
rectangle: brass (also, with “aura,” timpani, guiro and bass drum)
rhombus: strings

See the YouTube instantiations for an FAQ and more info, but I’m embedding parts 1 & 2 here for your viewing pleasure —

2 comments

May 22nd, 2013

Panel People, Can Y’all Get Funky?

For anyone who missed our panel last week and would like to check out our conversation, I’m happy to report that it’s been archived here. But here’s an embed for your viewing ease —



Video streaming by Ustream

Thanks again to my eloquent interlocutors, all of whom had colorful stories & trenchant perspectives to share, and to the Together panel people — especially Sara Skolnik and Ethan Kiermaier — for making it happen. And thx to everyone who attended the panel, tuned in, and/or wish to help continue the convo.

1 comment

May 20th, 2013

Coca Cola Bokkle Cipher

Amazingly — given I didn’t know it has existed for a decade — my mellow Marvin Hall dropped a YouTube bomb last night in a comment on my recent re-post, “School Bell Nuh Ring“: he actually has video of the awesome impromptu dancehall freestyle session that the students from St. Andrew’s broke into on the day that we visited the school while a teacher’s strike loomed large. Check it out!

I just love this for so many reasons: they’re being clever, having fun, amusing themselves, teasing the teachers, riffing on a Shabba Ranks tune in fine DJ tradition, and using the simple but totally sufficient accompaniment of a soda bottle banging out that ol’ 3+3+2.

Here’s the Shabba track that inspired their cipher. Even though it was already over 10 years old, you can see why the tune — and the video — would still be so resonant for Jamaican school kids back in 2003:

<3 Jamaica <3 Marvin <3

May 15th, 2013

Grassroots Digital

The 2013 Together Fest is underway, and I’ll be playing my part on 2 occasions Thursday (tomorrow!).

First, on Thurs afternoon from 2-3:30pm at the Together Center in Central Square (328 Mass Ave), I’ll be moderating a panel called “Grassroots Digital” featuring three luminaries in the weird world of mediation between DIY/independent and industrial modes of production & circulation: Toy Selectah, Matt Shadetek, and Chris Kirkley. Here’s why I think their co-presence will make for quite a conversation.

Toy Selectah has been making waves for decades, and I could hardly think of a better figure to discuss the ways digital tech has enabled young, independent producers to get their work out there. First, as the DJ Muggs-inspired, sample-wielding producer behind Control Machete, later as the A&R for reggaeton’s massively popular Machete Music imprint, and most recently as the Mad Decent-approved 3ball MTY svengali, Toy has been a major mover and shaker behind the scenes, and in each of these moments he has witnessed the power of emergent technologies when wielded by young artists. Here’s a deep interview with him c/o RBMA in case you need to get up to speed:

Matt Shadetek has been producing street-level bangers for many years, from Berlin to Brooklyn. Especially enamored of the “preset” wielding in genres like grime and dancehall, he makes software sing on his own productions — independently distributed and licensed — and in his instructional work at Dubspot. For our purposes, I’d like to focus on the beyond-his-control but up-his-alley circulation of Craziest Riddim, aka the instrumental from “Brooklyn Anthem.” As Matt detailed in a post back in 2008, unbeknownst to him, his instrumental took on a life of its own, embraced by the “teen bashment” scene in Jamaican-Brooklyn (which, as I commented, is about as good a conferral of cool as it gets). He collected several examples in that post, and many more on the Dutty Artz YouTube channel, but here’s one for your viewing pleasure —

Last but not least, Chris Kirkley, who is presently in Mali, will be (fingers-crossed) reaching us via videolink to join our realtime discussion. You may know Chris from Music from Saharan Cellphones, which is pretty grassroots digital, but he’s also got a more recent project delving into visual culture that I’d like to discuss. According to a blurb from the Portland Museum of Modern Art, Azawad Libre! New Media and Imagined Geographies in the Sahel “examines a burgeoning area of folk art associated with computers and cell phones throughout the Sahel, and the political and personal undertones explored through this recently integrated form of expression.” Both via internet and on the ground in the Sahel, Kirkley has put together a collection comprising “personally crafted avatars, viral propaganda disseminated through cell phone videos, imagined geographies of non-existent states, and personal identities redefined through designers of the digital realm.” Here’s one such example —

In light of a burgeoning movement toward Africans remaking their image via self-representation, Kirkley’s efforts to celebrate and display these examples of personal net-art in US museums is an interesting move, and I hope we’ll be able to consider such complex remediation alongside the ways, say, Mad Decent represents 3ball or JA-BK teens repurpose Shadetek beats.

Once more, here’s the blurb —

From Mexico to Mali to Bed-Stuy, digital tools of production and publication are facilitating new interactions between grassroots culture and industrial capture, informal amateurism and art world remediation. Drawing on the expertise of several actors in this wide, weird world, our panel seeks to explore a few stories of spectacular circulation that shed light on new forms of media exchange and exploitation.

There’s an FB event page if you can (and care to) see that sort of thing (I can’t & don’t). And I’m happy to report that the panel will be streaming at the following link, so please tune in if this sort of thing is up your alley: http://www.ustream.tv/channel/together-2013-panels

///

Second — and this is a BIG second — later on Thursday night you can catch me playing an opening set for Toy Selectah’s Boston premiere at the Good Life for Picó Picante’s special Together edition! I’m beyond thrilled to be a part of this, and I’m definitely going to have a special set ready for the occasion. Don’t miss this one. It’s gonna be a floor burner–

I’ll be on from 11-12, and Toy will close out with an epic 2 hour set. Get there on the early side, because the line is always long (at least it will be warm!) and, hey, there’s a whole night of entertainment lined up! Lots of great local folk on the bill, including the Pajaritos, Ultratumba, Brizgnar, El Poser, and HEXbeam on the visuals. Can’t wait!!

PICÓ PICANTE - MAY 16

3 comments

May 10th, 2013

Love Limited

Remember when I asked — rhetorically and remixically — whether there were limits to your love for Soundcloud? Well, it took a little over two years, but the super smart sample-sniffers over at Audible Magic have apparently finally decided that one of the two mashups I made by way of commentary / limit-testing should be removed for possible copyright infringement. Here’s the notice I received today:

soundclowned-blakey-version1

When one clicks through to options, note that there is no recourse for anyone who does not own the copyright or have permission. In other words, there is NO FAIR USE in this world. Soundcloud does not want to be in the business of adjudicating the lines of transformative use; it wants to be in the business of datamining and other forms of monetizing all the activity on the part of users which makes the site what it is: yet another popular privately-owned public space.

I won’t go into all the lurid details yet again. I’ve said enough about Soundcloud’s practices & policies, as have others. But I promised “to keep you posted” on this little experiment, so I had to share this development here.

I can protest all I want. I can include lines like the following in my description: “I contend, especially for the purposes of critical commentary and educational applications, that this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of all materials.” But the bots won’t care, and I doubt the humans will either. Best I can do, if I really care about this audio residing on Soundcloud (which I don’t), is to upload again, perhaps with a little more sonic camouflage.

No need to bother with that. The limit has been reached. That said, I’ll be curious to see when/whether the “content protection system” (a rather Orwellian ring to it, no?) figures out that the removed mashup’s mirror-image twin, the “Feisty version” — the better/weirder, and the more popular of the two, as it happens — is still just sitting there, brazenly violating copyright–

Plus, I’m happy to note that the Blakey version is still available, with helpful visual tracking, c/o Vimeo:

Limits to Your Love (Blakey Version) from wayneandwax on Vimeo.

Finally, my commitment to never paying Soundcloud for their “service” remains strong as ever. We’ll see how long my account lasts over there. Considering that I neither hold the copyright nor have permission for ANY of my uploads (which I suspect is the case for the majority of users), despite all of them bearing rather audible marks of my creative labors, I wouldn’t be surprised to see them disappear one by one. Get em while they’re there, and when they’re not, come get them here.

May 3rd, 2013

Let’s Get CVLT, Let’s Get TGTHR

Got two great gigs in the next couple weeks that I want to make a little bit of a big deal about!

First up, next Monday (May 6) at Middlesex, I’m excited to take a turn as a guest at CVLT, Cambridge / Boston’s semimonthly source for “Electronic Death Music” (as they put it) —

CVLT - MAY 6

This is an exciting opportunity to delve into some harder, darker sounds I don’t often play out. You can count on some duppy-haunted dancehall, k-hole reggaeton, and unvarnished grime. And as you can see, I’ll not only be joined by CVLT’s residents but by the one and only Nick Dawg of Beantown Boogietown, Boston’s premiere bass(scene) boosting blog.

FYI, Nick just cooked up a mix full of tracks c/o this year’s Together acts (more about that in a moment)–

Plus+++ the night will begin with an 8pm screening of The Earth Rejects Him by local filmmaker Jared Skolnick. Here’s a blurb (and a teaser):

The Earth Rejects Him is a chilling short film written and directed by Jared Skolnick about a young boy who discovers a corpse while biking in the woods, “then faces unexpected and macabre consequences when he tries to bury it.” Influenced by the films of Werner Herzog, Terrence Malick, and Guillermo del Toro and the short stories of H.P. Lovecraft, Skolnick shows us the sinister side of a sunny day in a lush forest when a young boy takes a tumble off his bike over a small cliff and lands in a tangle of fallen leaves.

Sounds like the perfect beginning to a night of pleasurably dark vibes, no?

Just in case you’re still wondering what these all these adjectives might mean, CVLT resident El Poser recently posted a vernal mix that helps give a sense of the vibe (though I also saw him play an incredibly bounce-y set opening for Dubbel Dutch at SWERVE a couple weeks back, so you never know):

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On the other side of the vibes spectrum, I’m absolutely thrilled to be a part of this!!!!

PICÓ PICANTE - MAY 16

There’s a lot I could say about Picó Picante (my fave dance night in Boston) and Toy Selectah (one of my fave producer / DJ / A&Rs in the world), but for now allow me to crib from the infotaining blurb the Pajaritos put together —

// PICÓ PICANTE featuring Toy Selectah, May 16th at Good Life

On Thursday, May 16th, PICÓ PICANTE takes over both floors of Good Life for a special edition showcase for this year’s Together Festival. Monterrey-based producer Toy Selectah (Sones del Mexside, Mad Decent) headlines, known originally as the mix-master wizard for Mexico’s Hip Hop en Español pioneers Control Machete. Most recently, Toy’s productions gallop rural rhythms of Colombian-Mexican cumbias, reggae, and other urban styles to create his own trademark sound and collective called Sonidero Nacional. Toy’s responsible for developing the Mexican phenomenon 3BALLMTY, and has also worked with the likes of Calle 13, Don Omar, Manu Chao, Morrissey and many others. He now resides as Creative Director, A&R and CEO of his own production company and boutique label, Sones del Mexside.

Supporting downstairs at Good Life will be Wayne&Wax and Picó Picante’s resident Pajaritos, with live HEXbeam visual prophecies. Upstairs features Ultratumba of Picó and SWERVE residents Brizgnar and El Poser.

Thursday, May 16th | 9 PM – 2 AM | Good Life, 28 Kingston Street, Boston | 21+ | $5 | FACEBOOK

// Grassroots Digital, a panel-discussion organized by Wayne Marshall, May 16th at Together Center

We’re excited to share that Wayne Marshall (Wayne&Wax, Harvard University) has organized and will moderate a panel-discussion in conjunction with Together Festival daytime programming, with Picó guest Toy Selectah and more to be announced:

From Mexico to Mali to Bed-Stuy, digital tools of production and publication are facilitating new interactions between grassroots culture and industrial capture, informal amateurism and art world remediation. Drawing on the expertise of several actors in this wide, weird world, our panel seeks to explore a few stories of spectacular circulation that shed light on new forms of media exchange and exploitation.

Thursday, May 16th | 2 – 3:30 PM | Together Center, 328 Mass Ave, Cambridge | All Ages | Free

May 1st, 2013

YouTubes in Cross-Cultural Perspective

Today is the final meeting of my last class at Harvard this year — and possibly my final class as a college-level instructor, but we’ll save that discussion for another day. For now, I’ll leave you with a few playlists I created in order to have some examples a click on during class.

In short, this was the one class this year that I didn’t completely make up myself. Music 97c (“Music in Cross-Cultural Perspective”) is a long-running requirement for Music concentrators here. Essentially an introduction to ethnomusicology — theories, methods, and repertories — it departs from standard “World Music” courses by eschewing the survey/smorgasbord and instead focusing on just a few geographical areas in some depth. I designed my own syllabus from scratch, of course, and perhaps unsurprisingly the emphasis largely fell on the Caribbean, North America, and Afrodiasporic matters. We did, however, also include units on Turkish and Balinese/Indonesian music. You can see the whole syllabus here, if you like.

Or you can just edutain yourself by perusing these playlists–

Rumba to Timba:

Danza to Bomba:

Música Quisqeuya:

Ragtime to Swing:

Dangdut:

Wayne&Wax

I'm a techno-musicologist, internet annotator, imagined community organizer.

I left my <3 in the digital global, but I reside in Cambridge, MA, where I'm from.

I represent like that.

wayne at wayneandwax dot com

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