October 9th, 2006

Home Again

Feels good to be “back” “home.”

As some of you may know, I’ve been here @ wayneandwax.com for a long time, longer than the blog(s), and it’s served me well as a place to share my music and research with the world. But not as well as the blog. Indeed, the blog has long been my primary page and presence on the web, and so for a while now I’ve wanted to “migrate” back over here, where I could feel centered in my various goings-on.

I’d like to take this occasion of return and renewal to reflect on the various strands now intertwining here. But first, a little theme music:

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(That^^ player thing there, btw, is one audible and visible advantage of moving to WordPress.)

Those lovely vibes I hope you’re hearing — after the snaps’n’crackles — are being played (or at least were paid for) by the Beach Boys, but they’re being looped by me, with a boom-bap drumtrack just for good measure. It’s one of the first beats I ever made, way back in ’99 after a student of mine — a highschool student, mind you — told me about FruityLoops and gave me a few pointers. It’s still pretty amazing to me how the world of music, and digital music specifically, has changed since then.

Later that year I got my first CD burner, allowing me to print my own CD-Rs of beats’n’things for friends, and a year after that or so Napster was blowing up, opening up new peer2peer worlds of musical access, distribution, and circulation. This was just at the beginning of my graduate studies in ethnomusicology at Madison, and as FL kept getting better with subsequent versions (partly by moving away from the technophile design which has had no small impact on reggaeton, grime, hip-hop, and, um, techno), I kept getting better at hearing how tracks were put together, partly because I was intensely studying musical structure — from gamelan to mbira to mozart — at the same time I was intensely making beats (and listening toward a master’s thesis on sample-based production).

I began to visualize rhythmic relationships as I heard them in the air, automatically inserting accents into that Fruity grid —

Fruity grid

And when I finished my coursework and developed a research project based in Jamaica, it was the praxis of producing music (and offering lessons to students and prisoners), as much as knowing how to frame questions about it’s social and cultural significance, that opened up the best ethnographic avenues and high theories to me. (By the way, the track embedded in that post linked to “students” back there is refreshingly refreshing three years later. What with all the hyphy and laffytaffy and lunytuny and other fruityloopy sounds out there, Catherine’s track sounds downright prescient. And, from the link to “prisoners,” Garfield’s dubpoem recorded live over a beat of his own making — cooked up during our first session — is ready for the road far as I’m concerned.)

Catherine, “Techno Mix”

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Garfield, “Family Man”

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As those wayneandwax.org posts attest, the time I spent in Jamaica was also the time I began blogging, having caught wind of the phenomenon through someone at the Berkman Center no doubt. And so my online identity was fractured even back then. Not that multiplying oneself in a copy-ous environment is a bad thing necessarily, but eventually I yearned for wholeness. Ok — that’s going a bit far. Suffice it to say, though, that I increasingly found my blogging, my research, my teaching, and my productions and performances not simply intertwined but informing each other in wonderful and productive ways. So it only made sense, once I had the technology and the chutzpah (and, of course, the worldclass hacking powers, sharp design sense, and boundless generosity of my dear Rebecca, who has been responsible for each and every w&w.com update), to bring it all back home.

Allow me to add that it was a delightful and somehow appropriate irony that I would end up teaching the same student who introduced me to FruityLoops back at CRLS (my alma mater, I’ll have you know) several years later at Brown (where I was rejected as an aspiring highschooler, I’ll have you know — too trad at the time, I think). The kicker was that I used FL frequently in the Brown class to demonstrate musical relationships in hip-hop, reggae, and other styles, allowing us to analyze musical structure in a way that, say, staff notation could not (at least not for these students and not for these musics). Yep, what goes around, comes around.

So here we are. Home. And prolly permanently. (Unless Wax and I get a divorce or something.) And b/c I’ve seen blogging as increasingly central to my writing and thinking and musicking about music, not to mention that this is the most frequently updated part of the site, the blog will serve as the home page here, with the other pages as potentially useful or interesting repositories of projects and performances new and old. So from now on just dial wayneandwax.com for the blog, dear readers. It’s that simple.

I’ve also decided, as some might have noticed, to begin capitalizing the occasional letter at the beginning of sentences and at the start of proper nouns and such. That’s a pretty major departure for me, as I’ve always drawn a line between my bloggy and non-bloggy discourse with this simple symbolic gesture, resisting the appearance of authority even when I was exercising it all along. I don’t want this to seem like some gesture toward “professionalization,” an idea which is anathema to me at least insofar as it might dictate my blog discourse — and don’t worry, I’ll keep asking things like how to say omg! in Spanish — but rather as another experimental shift, if you will, in my public voice (or one of ’em), and maybe not even that palpable a one. Nor do I want to let go of the expressivity of intertube style, so superbly embodied by that ol’ inherently informal lackadaisical lowercase. And I certainly don’t want to imply a greater gravity here than I’ve ever implied at other blogspots (i.e., not a little, not a lot).

But because I sense (and hope and push for) something of a seachange in public conversations and engagements around music, and because the tools are here to help, I simply want to put a new foot forward. In some new galoshes. For as Max Romeo might say, “It sipple out deh.”

Or, to put it another way, I just wanna remix some ol’ vibes for ya:

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And for either of those things, one may as well start at home.

Thanks for visiting. Come back soon, y’ear?

21 Comments

  • 1. jace  |  October 10th, 2006 at 1:17 am

    first!

    (i’m in boston and you’re not — whats up with that? ‘wicked’ bad scheduling.

    /r

  • 2. Mistaker  |  October 10th, 2006 at 3:17 am

    Site looks great Wayne
    Good work as allways
    I have a much needed redesign going up today or tomorrow.
    Looks like everyone is battening down the blogs for a long cold content-strapped winter.

    -m

  • 3. LMGM  |  October 10th, 2006 at 5:57 pm

    All the tracks on this post are great, but I’m really digging the last track on the post. Tasty!
    Welcome home!

  • 4. wayneandwax  |  October 11th, 2006 at 5:55 am

    fourth!

    thanks for that jace. always wanted to be one of those bloggers. well, not really, but i appreciate the joke.

    and thank YOU for the good words, too, mike mistaker. lookin’ forward to your own makeover.

    finally, glad you dig the sounds, luis. if it’s not obvious that last one that you liked so much actually is a remix of the beach boys’ vibes piece at the top, if bit-crunched and glitchily reggaefied.

  • 5. Anon  |  October 16th, 2006 at 10:33 pm

    It sipple out deh, fe sure.. But not for you, sir? Excuse me if this is an impertinent question but as an ethnomusicologist who does a lot of international travel, what pays your presumably substantial bills – flying BostonNY-CambridgeMA-Jam, living expenses, web expenses, computers, music gear, etc.?? Not implying anything bad – I just find it amazing that’s all. How do you do it? You must be rolling in it!

  • 6. wayneandwax  |  October 16th, 2006 at 10:53 pm

    Heh. “Rolling in it.” Not quite. Indeed, quite the opposite, as I currently find myself not fully employed and with a fair amount of education-related debt. Let’s not confuse and conflate things: I haven’t been on an international flight in a couple years now, and though some of those trips to Jamaica were generously supported by institutional grants (from UW-Madison and Harvard’s Berkman Center), I pay for most of my travel, my living expenses, and my musical-technical gear out-of-pocket from the little money I earn as a lowly visiting instructor at various institutions that have been so kind as to see some promise in what I do.

    I’d like to hope, though, that I’m on the cusp of landing a more stable position teaching and researching somewhere and that all of my investments of the last several years (as you so suggestively detail) will finally “pay off” at least in so far as I can begin paying off my debts. I am not complaining, though; I understand that I am very lucky to be able to do what I love and “make a living” from it. I suppose one way I alleviate my conscience when it comes to studying music in more “sipple” circumstances than my own is that I am motivated — as I hope is suggested by my work in schools and prisons — by a desire to effect social change and economic justice, and to illuminate the structures of imperialism and racism and capitalism that work to affirm the sipple-but-stable status quo.

  • 7. Anon  |  October 16th, 2006 at 11:57 pm

    That’s very cool indeed. I’d be happy just to emigrate to Jamaica and stay. That’s my 5-year plan in fact. I can think of easier ways to make a living than music tho’. I think music takes incredible resourcefulness to turn into a living no matter where you are. You make it look easy bro! All the best,

  • 8. Jorge Vieira  |  October 19th, 2006 at 12:11 pm

    Keep on the good work! :]

  • 9. tom  |  October 28th, 2006 at 3:29 pm

    keep doing what you’re doing…good listening and reading – apprecited

    I’m waiting for the next post, man.

  • 10. Luke  |  October 31st, 2006 at 12:03 am

    I was drawn to the Caribbean Students Association booth during the activities fair here at Stanford last month, for some unknown reason. As you know, I have no island roots, but I couldn’t help but feel like the Jamaican flag was calling to me. Long story short, I show up to the CSA’s welcome banquet next to a brother named Marvin, a visiting fellow working on a social venture project he wants to bring to Kingston. ‘Kingston?’ I say. He tells me about the project, something about robots and kids and social entrepreneurship. ‘Sounds a lot like this guy I know from Harvard. He taught roots music, dancehall, and dub to kids in Kingston schools and…” “Wayne Marshall?” he says. ‘You know Wayne Marshall?’ I say loudly. The whole room hears me and responds “Everybody know Wayne Marshall!”

    Small world. One love.

    -Luke

  • 11. Darian  |  November 1st, 2006 at 11:19 pm

    Yo Wayne, get that email about the paper I’d like to write for class? Wait a minute, this is not the forum to discuss business. This is a forum to discuss pleasure. So let’s boogie… on the South Side.

    – Darian

  • 12. wayneandwax  |  November 1st, 2006 at 11:53 pm

    That’s too funny, Luke. Of course, everyone but Marvin was talking about the other Wayne Marshall, but I never get enough of that coincidence. (Plus, I think I’m still ahead in the Great Google Race, if now trailing that organist bloke.)

    And, Darian, although class business of a certain sort is probably best saved for another forum, this here is a forum which, I hope, mixes business with pleasure almost as a rule (though I have a hard time applying the b-word to anything I do; let’s call it work, or rigor, or something like that). I’ll be emailin’ ya back re: the paper proposal — but in brief: looks good, do both.

    =)

  • 13. Pete Murdertone  |  November 9th, 2006 at 4:42 pm

    yo wayne, Ive moved to London
    hit me on my yahoo address
    maybe theres some things I can chase up for ya?
    cheers
    Pete

  • 14. KaosThierry  |  April 2nd, 2008 at 11:28 am

    or, as Max Romeo might say, gonna put on an iron shirt and chase the devil out of earth, eh?That’s the plan for me anyway.I am currently planning to embark upon a course of study, route as yet wholly decided in order to implement a music leadership workshop themed by Respect. One of the key pieces of music I plan to use is Daddy Freddy’s Simon Harris remixed version of Respect overlaid with some of my lyrics. (Permissions pending). Need to brush up on my dig-skills and stuff though! Then I had a whimsical idea that I should just emigrate to Jamaica, and immerse myself in dub and that’s how I found this. I can dream can’t I? Nuff respek, wicked choons!

  • 15. Perception2020 - Very Bes&hellip  |  July 30th, 2008 at 1:53 pm

    […] like Wayne & Wax, DJ Ripley, or Tomas Palermo (especially his azz) would be able to point these instances out […]

  • 16. kaosthierry  |  November 22nd, 2008 at 6:40 pm

    hey Wayne, I know how you love dub, so just passing tru to show some love and say hey, check out da http://www.myspace.com/kaosthierry. Just to tickle ya tastebuds, there’s some Jah warrior trax on there taken from dub from the heart pt II overlaid with my first princess of honorary jamaican grimeyness style lyrix, namely dub inna ghetto and wickedman dub.Pass by and show some love, maybe even if you get the time let me know what you think. I am thinking about taking the riddim method resurrection movement forward. Bless da Marshall-Manuel riddim method 4iva and iva 1Jahlove

  • 17. plio  |  January 23rd, 2009 at 5:42 am

    Amazing, impressive, beautiful. This blog never ceases to amaze.

    One thing- I understood that 3-3-2 rythmn is called the ‘tresillo’ in cuban music, and is thought of as a unit in its own right, rather than as simply ‘half a clave’. Maybe this mix is more about the influence tresillo than clave?

  • 18. wayneandwax  |  January 24th, 2009 at 10:19 am

    Thanks, Plio (though I don’t understand why you left your comment here instead of here).

    You’re right that that tresillo is the more common rhythmic unit running through this mix, though I don’t think that Cuba can take as much credit for the “influence of the tresillo” as for something a little more specific, like clave (which, still, people will argue about). That 3-3-2 figure is just too widespread to have a single source — it’s a fundamental rhythmic relationship.

    I do think, though, that it’s not incorrect to say that clave contains a tresillo figure (but I wouldn’t call it “half a clave”).

  • 19. Listen Without Prejudice.&hellip  |  April 2nd, 2009 at 7:39 am

    […] they don’t exactly promote the open-minded critical thinking that has the potential to keep bridging the narrowing gap between popular and academic music […]

  • 20. Martin  |  June 7th, 2009 at 7:39 am

    Hi Wayne, newly discovered your blog and love it! I read the jail piece with interest; unfortunately the link to Orlando’s second riddim is broken.

  • 21. wayneandwax.com » W&hellip  |  September 13th, 2010 at 7:37 pm

    […] of noticing, this marks the 700th post since I moved this blog to my own server, way back in October 2006 — almost exactly 4 years ago, and well before […]

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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