Archive for January, 2007

January 30th, 2007

Copy, Right?

The following is a note I sent to the SEM list in response to a thread that started with this seemingly simple query (if not so easily answered). I felt the need to add my two cents after reading this post. I’ve added a couple more links, including one to a pdf version of the paper I gave at SEM in Hawaii, so anyone who wants to know why I think ethnomusicologists might take some lessons from sample-based hip-hop producers, mashup makers, and mp3 bloggaz might want to check that out. As subsequent responses suggest (but not all), it may be a while before we become as bold as I think we should.


Victor, et al.,

These are vexing questions indeed, and even more so given that there really aren’t clear guidelines about what constitutes “fair use” — only various (and sometimes contradictory) precedents established and revised in something of a willy-nilly manner based on who gets sued, how they mount their defense, and whether they’re judged to be right.

I discussed some of the issues we face as ethnomusicologists working in the present legal climate in my paper at SEM in Hawaii. My focus there, however, was less on the letter of the law and more on the effects on our practice as scholars considering that “fair use” is a defense rather than a “right.” In particular, because our work tends to be mediated/vetted by the general counsels of universities and presses — a risk-averse bunch by definition — we’re frequently not even given the choice of exercising “fair use” in our publications. This produces what some call the “chilling effects” of current copyright law.

It seems to me that as an “independent scholar” — though correct me if I’m wrong in calling you that (and note that I use that term not in a pejorative sense) — you are actually better positioned than those of us at certain institutions to exercise “fair use,” though it does mean that you may get sued. It’s not necessarily true that the offended parties will issue you a cease and desist notice before instigating a suit, and it’s possible that they might send a c&d directly to your server/ISP asking them to take down the infringing materials (as has happened to various mp3 bloggers). Even so, I think it is important for scholars and artists to challenge the prevailing climate in our practices. Show and prove, etc.

As for the issues of “tribal”/”ethnic” rights over recordings, there is a fairly substantial literature on the subject at this point. Steve Feld’s “Sweet Lullaby” piece and Tim Taylor’s “A Riddle Wrapped Inside a Mystery,” for instance, both illustrate the complexities and potential problems around such (contested/exploited) definitions of ownership.

I’m not a lawyer and so can’t give you legal advice. But in general, I think we should be as bold about our use of audio, video, transcriptions and the like as we are vigilant about the power/privilege relationships involved in such use. I wouldn’t wish a lawsuit on anyone, but the truth is that we may need to take more risks — and make eloquent arguments — in order to push the law/discourse toward a state that better suits our practices as writers, teachers, artists, etc.



January 28th, 2007

What’s Real eHood?

Hot off a week of steady jukeboxin, I got to see/hear/feel DJ Nehpets — Chicago radio’s juke ambassador — alongside localtronix partyrockers Flosstradamus Friday night at Sonotheque. It was a treat to hear those bassy beats through something other than my laptop, and I love that juke — at least as represented by Nehpets — can range from the kind of minimal, synthetic bangers that would swerve the Berlin massive to straight-up Miami-style handclappin partychants. Thanks to Catchdubs for the timely tip, and props for (putting me on to &) putting together this fine piece on the new juke generation, published last summer. (Dude’s got his ears open, nd.)


Following on last Sunday’s thoughts on musico-social networks, local production, and DIYDJ culture, I’ve been wondering whether such vibrant, media-rich, share-centric spheres as imeem might provide not only a great way to finally freethedjs but for producers and musicians of all stripes to walk it out.

Right now, tho, it doesn’t seem as if imeem is prepared to tap into this activity and, say, allow someone like DJ Clent to make a little change each time his track is added to someone’s playlist (or, perhaps, purchased by an Abletonero, a Seratonero, etc.).

As something of a sidenote, I came across another interesting, rather active socialnet last week, elhood, which seems to fall somewhere in between imeem and myspace. The site is appealing in its Spanish-language (or bilingual) orientation, and clearly has a good number of dedicated users (attested to by the number of bigname acts — from calle 13 to pitbull — courting their favor), but it also fosters something of a weird (and for me, specious / pernicious) separation between “gente” and “artists,” “fans” and “friends.” One of the things I find so appealing about the OurSpaces of the world is their leveling potential, their one-degree of separation (or at least the appearance, or possibility, of it — I realize the cult of celebrity reproduces itself quite well there, too; & I wouldn’t want to preclude the possibility of maintaining multiple selves or avatars just to get rid of agents and proxies).

Which makes me wonder: are there similar but better sites out there that I just haven’t found yet? Is MiGente really hopping, or has it just become Friendster en Español? Is there something in the works — maybe even open source — which will put all of these spaces out of biz? Or are we all resigned to do our thing at MySpace, as well as at more specialized spots, given the incredible critical mass that has gathered there?

Apparently (and perhaps promisingly — but I’m skeptical), MurdochSpace announced a licensing scheme for its millions of music-makers last fall, though I haven’t seen anything recent about it. (has this happened yet?) If the cut turns out to be around 60% after all, that’s (ironically) better than a lot of the other (digital) distro deals out there, making it fairly appealing (&easy). And surely YouTube, etc., could follow suit (or are already planning to). But how about giving artists 100% (or much closer)? The tech is there at this point, if not so well packaged, to cut out the middlemen entirely — p2p culture n ting (filters welcome).

So, what’s the ideal tech fix then?

This would seem a simple yet crucial question to answer, or attempt answering. But it raises others, e.g.,

Is it a fix for us all?
In all our different if OverlappingSpaces?
Is full digital “crossover” and p2p culture possible?
Is it preferable?

(for the record, i think so)

1 comment

January 25th, 2007

Linkthink #4083: AfroCaribEdition

  • Solo Plena: a frequently updated Panamanian “plena” blog (that means reggae there, y’know), showing that Panama’s reggae scene, as reinvigorated and reshaped as it may have been by the reggaeton explosion, continues apace.

    &nuff Pma plena pon YouTube too, classic a nuevo

    here’s El General doing his best Don Dada

    and Aldo Ranks puttin it down undergrown style —

  • !Mas Reggaeton! — Raquel esta blogeando una tormenta recientemente. She’s still cross-posting @ reggaetonica.blogspot, but it seems to me that all the action is over on herspace. (Teaser: I make an appearance in the most recent post, but do check her repost of Bernardo Brigante’s email polemic.)
  • Representar: Humboldt Park’s own Oneeleven, aka the PolacoBombero, aka Anton Kociolek — a deeply knowledgable locolocal who blew my mind last night on some historico-musico-socio-cultural storytelling / ‘pod wheeling / table tapping — also has a blog at thatspace, which he has so far devoted to two extensive pieces on bomba.
  • Back to Jamaica: Delighted to discover this past week “linguist with wanderlust” Ria Bacon’s astute, reflective, and beautiful Jamaica blog (which makes me wish i&i had wordpress way back when) ..
  • Pete Murder Tone with a nice piece on “the other riddim twins

    (published, you’ll note, in Jahtari Magazine, which — now a regular and tasty blog — adds a nice dimension to what was already a nice lil netlabel, consistently offering up crnchy computachip dubs as well as a series of well-researched but not over-rehearsed mixtapes [fi stream mostly] — check Murder Tone’s steppers genealogy, “Warrior’s Dance”)

  • & speaking of others, or even other others, or even…
    You know my name is Wayne Marshall, not to be confused with the other Wayne Marshall, or the other other Wayne Marshall — both of whom, incidentally, have over the years passed and fallen behind and passed me again in the Great Google Race. But you probably don’t know the other other other Wayne Marshall, who is the first other Wayne Marshall I ever encountered — save for my father, of course, also named Wayne Marshall. Which is no little thing; indeed, I was the little thing, referred to fairly frequently growing up as “Little Wayne” (tho never “Lil Wayne,” for the record — even so, he’s still a biter, and a shill for the status quo, so there). Hence, I’ve always sorta been the other Wayne Marshall.

    At any rate, when I first searched my name on the Internet, back in early college (as an assignment, mind you; in CS-50, mind you, which I took as an elective — with Brian “I wrote the book on c” Kernighan, no less), the first return I found was this Luther-Campbell-cum-R.Kelly (f’real, check the track titles) hairychested newjackjiggy pr0nopop soulsinger from the UK. Now that was a trip.

    The other day I (re)found his picture on Google Images (where I’m getting killed, btw, duh) —

    Perhaps the bigger trip, though, is that “may be for sale” (not that i want it).

    Perhaps the biggest trip, though, is that I have an English name — or even a “Jamaican name,” as an elderly woman in Kingston once told me — despite that I’m directly named after a guy of Sicilian and Portuguese parentage. (I explained the Machado–>Marshall change last month, you’ll recall.) The funny thing about the first name is that it’s supposedly derived from, you guessed it, John Wayne. (How’s that for post-war 2nd-gen kitsch/assimilation inspiration, pardner?) So I end up with this odd super-Anglo-Am name, though I could have just as easily been Manuel Machado. Sometimes I wonder how that simple change might have changed my life.

    But back to my pr0npop namesake, I’m curious: do any of you UK music folk out there happen remember this chap? (He would seem difficult to forget. I think he even charted.) Does anyone have any of these tracks? Gotta be a bargain bin item at this point, no? Think I can do better than a tenpound pricetag?


January 23rd, 2007

U Go Chop My Dollar?

Nice try, Mr.CHRISTIAN OSITA ASAPUO, but you nah go chop my dollar with that ol’ 419 spamscam.

Still, I admire your persistence and politeness.

Mr.NKEM OSUOFIA OWOH, on the other hand, well, he’s just plain in-your-face about it.

I admire that, too —

Background here. [thx, tones!]


January 21st, 2007

imeem, i’m sayin

Talk about too much music. Was readying a post on all the pods I cast (or subscribe to, that is), but then I get pointed to a Soca 2k7 playlist on some mysite called imeem —

The soca 2k7 are verrrrrry r and b. I thought it would be
interesting for your work. The soca sound is now soooo
mellowed out. I’m really surprised. Every song on this list
departs from the traditional soca 1000mph beat. [thx, lis!]

— and before I knew it I’d spent a couple hours listening to lovingly compiled playlists of reggae, reggaeton (incl a whole playlist devoted to up-and-veniendo reggaetonero Arcangel), bachata, and various forms of local/regional/DIY hip-hop (like, whoa), incl Chicago’s own lo-fi, fruityloopy, ghettotechy song’n’dance — juke.

Considering the genre’s relative low-pro — esp in comparison to similar scenes/sounds (e.g., Bmore clubb, D-troit g-tech, Yay Area hyphy, ATL crunk) — I was struck by the number of juke playlists I found while browsing imeem. It seems that one of imeem’s more interesting, distinguishing features is that a significant (majority?) segment of the community sharing and commenting on various content there seems largely to be, to put it frankly and slightly awkly, black and brown and, in the words of the policy wonks, underprivileged — people more typically relegated (in the imagination and reality) to the other side of the digital divide. (For overlapping and contrasting perspectives, see, e.g., reports from the Nat’l Poverty Center, the NYT, the Nat’l Telecom&Info Admin as well as, why not, pomo sociology.)

But, getting back to juke, I’m sayin: who can resist the joie de bump of them uptempo bpms, poppin’/distortid bass kicks, dirty dance mantras, (Down)South/side accents, and bloop-bleep synths’n’samples — to wit bit, check BabyGurl’s playlist devoted to the productions of DJ Clent, which she glosses as “chi-town juke music for dem goonz that footwurk and juke.” I recommend esp tracks #1, 2, 11, 12, — which demonstrate some serious creativity, stylistic mastery and experimentation, and flair — and without a doubt #5-7 (for some rilly nice nostalgic bangers, riffing on vintage video games and ice-cream-truck music). I also recommend headphones; cpu-speakers will not do justice to the bass (nor does the mp3pression, but what are ya gonna do) —

And if you like Clent’s stuff, u’ll prolly dig other juke tracks too. Check, for example (below), how “tha” Pope’s “Work Dat” (#8) radically recontextualizes yet again Solomon Linda’s 1939 zulu bomber, or how Dj apollo gets DUM on some Sanford and Son (#17) — never mind the mindnumbed allure of (feminism forgive me) “Kswiss Juke” (#10), long as you listen like it’s on some ol’ Steve Reich loopsurdity // ? —

— or the audible connections to classic traxxic house and maybe stepping too (“Chicago Juke Slide,” #14 below, #2 above), not to mention Miami-Detroit bass-tech party chants ad infinitum (#16 below) —

imeem, i’m sayin: who needs the RIAA to help such artists make a living by doing what they do? (No one better tell Lil Weezy, tho, that he’s got mad songs up over there.) F’real: Tell me where I can hear/cop this stuff around town, and I’ll gladly support the efforts. Zen-carts, right? (&plz[helpme]tell the urban-bass-dance spinnsters how they might purchase a track or two for Serato and such, and I’m betting — or hoping/suggesting — that they’ll be happy to slide some change that-a-way.) Chicago’s enduring segregation patterns and drastic contrasts in stds-of-living don’t necessarily make it as easy for juke artists to reach a broader (richer) audience and thus keep “eatin” as well as they say they are (I believe ya) —

— but the opportunities are there (esp as digitally mediated), and increasingly, and — if we work to make it happen — conditions can continue to change in the right direction, to enable activity and advancement not against the odds (hate the game) but against the strictures and structures of institutionalized racism. These meem (as well as other __spaces) seem to point in that direction as much as they already bear witness to a vibrant, creative, interactive, self-directed cultural movement with a momentum all its own. knameem? knomesprayin?

photo by swanksalot

cross posted to the riddimmethod


January 21st, 2007

D-Day or We-Day?

cross posted to

Accding to this MTV spot, Lil Wayne, among others, appears totally unwilling to challenge the RIAA’s position on mixtapes (despite them playing an essential role in launching or revitalizing many a rapper’s career).

Pull quote via the Diplomats’ DukeDaGod:

If they had a mixtapes seminar, that would be hot. Have the RIAA come in and say what you can and what you can’t do.

No, Duke, that would not be hot. That would be LAME.

Now, I know hip-hop’s been ambivalent about its complicity with the record industry for a long time. Dovetailed hustles and whatnot. And certain millionaires out there aren’t really interested in rocking the Titanic. But here’s the thing: the boat is sinking. Too many middlemen on the take, too much ballast. And hip-hop can float on its own. Time to abandon ship, y’all.

January 19th, 2007

Taking the Boat to the Bank

Got a brief review of Pitbull’s El Mariel in this week’s Phoenix. As it happens, I also have a quotation in another, longer review by Jose Davila for the Miami New Times, also published this week.

In short, I like the album, esp any tracks propelled by Mr.Collipark’s ATLien Afro-Cubist crunkstep, and i admire Pitbull’s skills and fluency. But I also find myself — as a listener, critic, and mixmaker — tripping over various misguided attempts at blatant crossover, run-of-the-mill misogyny, and quasi-political appropriations of powerful symbols of immigrant, Cuban, and “minority” rights. But you should read it for yourself (and/or go cop the album, DJs especially — some real bangers on there). I’m especially proud to have gotten this sentence in print:

And though some listeners might be put off by Pitbull’s various macho exhortations — i.e., “Move Bend over, girl, show me what you workin’ with” — those looking for a little more balance in their booty music will be pleased to know that going down on El Mariel about as often as shoot-outs and coke deals is Pitbull himself, who repeats on several occasions his desire to please orally the objects of his gaze.

Here are a few scraps that didn’t make it into the 600-sump’m word review:

  • Occasionally mistaken for a reggaetonero, Pitbull may nod to various Latin predecessors, wear the Cuban flag on his back, and throw off a guest verse for Don Omar or Daddy Yankee from time to time, but he also presents himself, simply and fairly, as a rapper “who also happens to be Latin” (at last year’s Latin Alternative Music Conference — a description widely touted in promotional materials) and his music remains firmly anchored in the bass and crunk music that has been rattling cars and clubs in the South (and recently more widely) for decades. Though he doesn’t associate himself explicitly with the sound/movement, I love that elsewhere in Miami some of Pit’s peers — Spanglish rappin’ over crunk’n’latin beats — call what they do crunkiao, which is something like a double past participle (if we already hear crunk from crank — as in “speakers on crunk” — as well as -iao/-eao as slrrd Spanish -ado). Indeed, there is something doubly cranked about a lot of Pitbull’s music. (FYI/disclosure: Jose Davila, who wrote the piece I linked to above, is contributing an article on crunkiao — and the Miami “hurban” scene more generally — for Reading Reggaeton.)
  • re: sonic afrocubanfuturism (via imaginary but resonant signifiers) — if we hear Cuba’s rumba rhythms in jazz’s “Latin Tinge” and rock’s “Bo Diddley” beat, why not hear crunk’s 3:2 kick-snare patterns as rap’s own version of the clave (see’n’hear, e.g.), not so much the son montuno in this case as the son montana, combining the Miami gothic of Scorcese w/ the fluorescence of Crockett and Tubbs (but what, no Jan Hammer samples?)

  • … Lil Jon’s e-rush synths (“Voodoo”) are bombastic, cinematic — par for the course for crunk & (strip)club music, nodding at rave and film and nu-pr0n/YouPr0n all at once; “Miami shit” = slow crunk grind, distorted guitar power chords over 808 drum rolls, with 4/4 clubby breaks and ascendant horns; “Que Tu Sabes D’eso” = a wicked Spanglish cover of TI’s “What You Know” w/ Fat Joe; “Bojangles” = another straight-up banger (w/ a beat that knocks like a door, a backboard, a bedboard !?); nuff duds, tho: some of the slower crunk romps drag, despite the double time teases and screwed aesthetic, and some of the sincere songs are painfully so — no reason sincerity need = ghetto hallmark platitudes, Pitbull’s plenty sincere in his guise as a freak-a-leek cunning linguist; plenty of gems, too …
  • The stylistic diversity on El Mariel is not always a strength, and sometimes the album stumbles in its attempts, esp the anthem-by-the-numbers “Latin pop” stab ft. (who else?) Wyclef Jean. Elsewhere dancehall producer Donovan Bennett tries his hand at Scott Storchian orientalist bombast, w/ Vybz Kartel on the track to boot (who drops some nice lines) but it’s not a memorable turn, a standout track, despite no little promise in the collaboration (why is it that we don’t hear more fruitful collaborations between dancehall and hip-hop and/or reggaeton?). Other experiments, however, such as the oddball sampling of the B-52’s “Rock Lobster” to support some 2 Live Crew frat-chant allusions, succeed spectacularly.
  • Sure, Pit’s cynical/critical of US foreign policy, but he’s clearly not about to give up the good life; this one big commercial for the good life (but that’s just our self-consciously capitalist context speaking itself, innit): “I don’t own jewelry, motherfucker I own property,” he bragraps. Indeed, sometimes it seems that for Pitbull the greatest injustice dealt to Cubans in Cuba would seem to be their inability to engage in the great American hustle. At least, I get the impression that that’s what he means when he calls Cuba “la opresión más grande del mundo.”

January 17th, 2007

Free the Mixtape Makers

You prolly heard already, but I gotta add my voice to the chorus

The RIAA CIAA (!) continues desperately chasing its own tail — and seriously disrupting people’s lives in the process. This time they’re not suing grandmas or grandkids, they’re arresting mixtape DJs — people who crucially promote their product — and seizing all of their property (including dudes’ cars). For those who know how hip-hop’s multileveled business plan works, and has long worked — never mind its very aesthetics — it’s clear that this is a downright offensive, ignorant, and worrisome move.

What I don’t get is why the rapperz and beatmakers for whom the RIAA (and Atlanta po-po) are apparently acting don’t assert their rights/preferences more (and more publicly, and more privately — i.e., in their contracts). This is bad for business and bad for culture — to put it bluntly. Hip-hop producers and labelheads know this. Why, then, do they remain silently complicit with such bs? (Or did they just sign terrible deals that leave them no room and no voice?) We need a better model, and we need more vocal opposition to the present legal regime — from producers as well as “consumers” (who increasingly cut’n’splice just like Drama and Cannon).

Mixtapes aren’t going anywhere, and the RIAA is gnashing its way to an ugly demise. It’s too bad, meantime, that people like Drama and Cannon have to suffer through a painful, but inexorable, transition.

More backstory here. News story — typical in its willingness to tow the “party” line — here:


January 15th, 2007

LatinAmerican YouTubosphere on Lock

Sin duda, William Hung ain’t got nothin’ on Ecuador’s latest YouTuboSensación — Delfin Quishpe.

I learned of Delfin via an Ecuadorian blogger named Jaime, who after seeing my own post (or two) on the subject, pointed me to a piece he had himself written recently about the ol’ Perreo Chacalonero. Here’s how Jaime put me on to Delfin:

Now, I’m not sure about “most watched” (except maybe in Ecuador) but the version of the video to which Jamie pointed me had indeed been viewed SEVERAL HUNDRED THOUSAND times, and it was but one of many, many copies floating around (and generating mucho discusión).

Here’s the original video which caused quite a stir. Seeming at once exploitative and naive — perhaps not unlike our own prez’s response — it mashes up 9/11 images of the Twin Towers (“Torres Gemelas”) as well as news footage of related events as it superimposes Delfin — along with contact information for bookings, naturalmente — singing a “tecnofolklore” tribute to the day that cannot be forgotten®. Among other details, you might note — as Jaime pointed out to me — that Delfin seems to go to clutch his head toward the beginning of the video, only to smooth back his hair in an apparently characteristically-local gesture of vanity. (Warning: although disturbing in any number of ways, one of the video’s most insidious qualities is that the song actually will get stuck in one’s head. I’m humming it right now, and there’s no making it go away.)

More interesting than the song/video itself, “Torres Gemelas” has inspired a rash of tributes, most of which have been reposted — that’s right — directly on Delfin’s blog. (Smart dude.) To wit:

Moreover, some talented mashup video artists have clearly taken Delfin’s aesthetic and run with it, hilariously —

Here’s one of Delfin in concert:

And another, wherein Delfin duets with MC Hammer:

I’m still working to make sense of all of this, to the extent that there is sense to make. (And indeed, working on an article on the LatinAmerican YouTubosphere more generally. See also. And.) But, in short, it seems to me that el phenomeno Delfin offers but a glimpse of la punta del iceberg for DIY media in an increasingly wired world. Really, who needs American Idols when you got the global YouTubosphere to watch and remix?

Delfin hasta el fin !!


January 13th, 2007

Linkthink #4082: Music Things


January 10th, 2007

Imagination has beenlost

Likewhat Jose Dali said about my fairy tale character Crab-Mac-Claw orAlice Garibaldi’s view of my computer drafts of sculptures in Rome. They copy someone else’s style. Frederic the Frog is main character in "Frederic the Frog and Elias the Elephant".
Order Asbjorn Lonvig art posters with printed passepartoutonline at ArtWanted. It’s about my decision to make new standards and challenge art traditions by making my drafts on a computer and exhibit the drafts. legit mail becomes bulk, while spam mail get thru. byAsbjorn LonvigYou are an artist. com ArtWanted er et .
And also they often look into niches that I would never look into.
Michael Jason,Manhattan Arts International: "Congratulations on your beautiful work.
You can buy coffee, candy and much more.
There is a counter in one window. Contact the artists directly. You have been accepted".
Imagination has beenlost.
In Funen the fairy tale writer HansChristian Andersen was born in Odense City.
The reader of the ad has to feel that he has the option to look at theinternet.
Accordingto the chairman of the board, Neil Kzokoss, Chicago Athenaeum, Museumof Architecture and Design, who visited me once, my house is located"in the middle of nowhere".
AsbjornLonvig: Ihave made an RSS to all main pages on my web site and an RSS to everyonline gallery.
update: after getting the quote, ThePlanet admins told meChanging the Exim version makes it even more likely that problems will occur. A floor that is elevated from the ground. Short, but informative. cemper’s bookmarks on del.
Seekout honest web companies to exchange a moderate amount of links with.
Jeg har testet ArtWanted. Tworelatives are mourning.
RSS is a way for you to publish your data to an XML filehosted on your site.
So it is naturalfor your web site rankings to benefit through backlinks from thosearticles.
Probably the best colorful simplicity artist in the world. I too had seen an interview with a curator from Arosin TV, she was fascinated by the technical aspectsof Bill’s exhibition: Huge screens, high stereo sounds etc. If I pass the review tomorrow I’ll open an exhibition in Rome, Italy,too.
Furniture are being removed from the hose.
Sono nell’ospedale di Phuket.
Sad DaysFairyTale CharactersCircus AustraliaAsiaNorthAmerica
By the creation and publication of quality content, you give thesearch engines more reason to return.


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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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