Two other entities in the (other)worldly spirit I was speakin of — and I mean that in a good way — would seem to merit some shine on em, ‘specially since one’s got a new mix up & out ::

London’s Heatwave crew bring the picante to the blogaparty, lacing together Spanish rap y reggae from across the Americas (and across the pond) &jumping off with an Ini Kamoze dubplate en español (!)

Heatwave, “La Ola de Calor”

It might be worth noting, amidst all this talk of translation (metaphorical and literal), that a great many Spanish reggae songs are quite literally traducciones.

(& Did u know that the Heatwave dudes’ last Blogariddims mix, “An England Story,” is due to be released on CD via SoulJazz?! [that means DL it while you can, sleepers.] && further, that they’ve released a 2CD reggaeton comp in the UK)

The other entity in question is word the cat. With posts all over the map, the cat has been doing some fine work in calling attention to local and global currents and intersections. In “local” matters, for instance, take his recent mammoth textsplurt (a major blog genre for us here at w&w) on UK hip-hop, wherein, it should be noted, JA and the US vie with cockney accents over how one hears home&away, self&uvver.

Chris the cat is responsible for calling my attention (in a comment here) to Uyghur pop, one of the more delightful discoveries I’ve had in recent months on the ‘osphere. Listening to those synthesized, autotuned, near-east/far-east beats and vox (and seeing them on video), I have to admit that my very imagination of “China” changed almost immediately, accommodating itself to less of a Beijing hegemony and instead to an image that included quirky Islamic pop booming in “autonomous” Western provinces. Music is rather powerful in that way — as representation — which is one reason among many to approach our own cultural translations with some serious sensitivity (unless we’re out to thumb our noses at someone or other, a reasonable tactic at times, no doubt).

When I learned, upon further clicking, that the music was to be (re)released by none other than Sublime Frequencies, I was not terribly surprised (though the amount of info around the sounds already promised more than the label’s typical flippancy, I’m not sure whether “purer, more carefully curated form” would simply mean removing some of the sonic&textual context).

Which brings me to another point that’s been rattling around in my head: it’s not that I don’t want labels like Sublime Frequencies to do what they do. On the contrary, I really enjoy a great many of SF’s releases. Part of my pleasure no doubt stems from the way they extend/challenge my familiarity with various places and their soundscapes: years of studying hardly anything but gamelan w/r/t Indonesia serves as fine prep for the dial-flipping pop-detritus on Radio Java. (Of course, other listeners without such background are simply wished to the library. As if.)

My problem then, in some sense, has less to do with the existence and practices of said labels (and other middlemen) and more to do with the fact that they remain clustered in the US and Europe, and hence the perspectives they share tend to skew toward the same ol, same ol. In a perfect world, a world without glaring inequalities of access to the tools of production, distribution, representation, etc., every corner could offer up its own idea of the sublime frequencies of every other corner. Perspectives could meet and diverge, centers could be decentered, things could fall apart and come together in unimagined ways.

How I would love to hear a Javanese take (or three, or four, or more) on, say, the Seattle soundscape.