November 28th, 2008

Penultimate Warrior

  • a little local DJ history (and a mix!) c/o the Soul Clap dudes & Eddie Neal :: pull quote — 'Back then [late 70s / early 80s] the Boston club scene was not as open as it is now. Club managers and owners were very closed minded regarding patronage. There was a lot of prejudgements made about people around race and ethnicity. To put it bluntly; most club managers and owners liked to control what jocks played to keep the dance floor as “undiverse” as possible. This served as a deterrent for minority patronage and allowed very few opportunities for jocks of color like myself. I taught myself how to become multi-dimensional when it came to rockin a dance floor. This meant I could be successful regardless of the format. I spun dance rock, progressive rock, top 40, disco, funk, hi-energy, reggae and merengue.'
  • more kuduro c/o soundgoods, including a link to 4 kuduro podcasts?! who said this music was flavor-of-last-month anyway?
  • very cool project documenting / visualizing local histories of graffiti, buffing, more graffiti — urban palimpsests, digitally archived :: (via culturge)
  • 'A recent study, however, suggests that despite this cornucopia, the boom in online research may actually have a "narrowing" effect on scholarship. James Evans, a sociologist at the University of Chicago, analyzed a database of 34 million articles in the sciences, social sciences, and humanities, and determined that as more journal issues came online, new papers referenced a relatively smaller pool of articles, which tended to be more recent, at the expense of older and more obscure work. Overall, Evans says, published research has expanded, due to a proliferation of journals, authors, and conferences. But the paper, which appeared in July in the journal Science, concludes that the Internet's influence is to tighten consensus, posing the risk that good ideas may be ignored and lost – the opposite of the Internet's promise.'
  • via SFJ, kper offers up a mix of that glitchy, wonky, bassy global goodness :: 'The mix showcases a lot of the guys I’m speaking about in the features I’m writing – starting with Jay Dee, who’s been an undeniable influence on a lot of these guys, and then moving on to the new generation of producers with L.A beat heads like Flying Lotus, Ras G, Samiyam and Take, the Lucky Me collective up in Scotland with Rustie, Hud Mo and Mike Slott, the always shifting Hyperdub label in London, 2tall also in London, Dabrye and Waajeed in Detroit, Megasoid and Ghislain Poirier in Montreal, edIT and the Glitch Mob in L.A, Mark Pritchard aka Harmonic 313 in Australia, Danny Breaks in the UK and more. The variety of the producers and their location is another important element in this whole new era of boom bap and wonk.'
  • SFJ on recent developments in beatsmithery, a la Flying Lotus and his instrumentalist ilk :: 'Ellison and his contemporaries have come up with a fusion of the extreme detail allowed by software programming (fractal spidering of sounds, a backdrop of crackles, and prickling, feverish rhythms no human hands could play) and the bedrock thump of hip-hop, the grounding beat that has bled into almost all pop music in the world. Ellison’s Flying Lotus releases this year—an album titled “Los Angeles” and a series of EPs—are a good index of how one branch of hip-hop is going to move into the next decade, detaching itself from traditional hip-hop rhyming and forming new splinter genres.'

videyoga ::


  • 1. Laurent  |  November 29th, 2008 at 3:46 am

    Thanks for the mention!

  • 2. wayneandwax  |  November 29th, 2008 at 9:54 am

    Thanks for the comment — and the mix & words.

    Did those features you mention ever come out? Are they online?

  • 3. Birdseed  |  November 30th, 2008 at 5:51 am

    What exactly makes the “detaching” of “splinters” in this guy Flying Lotus’s work any different from the previous detachments of, say, ambient breakbeats and triphop, which incidentally his material sounds a lot like? Is it ‘coz he’s black?

  • 4. wayneandwax  |  November 30th, 2008 at 3:36 pm

    Sometimes, BS, I think you may be more caught up on outmoded ideas about racial difference than even us Americans, and we’re real fucked up over here. What exactly makes you think that SFJ thinks such “detaching” is any different? Or leads you to suspect Sasha of some essentialist championing? I myself didn’t see that in the article.

    Sure, SFJ has been known to indulge in a little racial politickin from time to time, and he does refer to some of Warp’s 90s output as “esoteric electronic recordings,” but what is more important here — and indeed is a way of connecting SFJ’s impressionist prose (detaching splinters) to his overall aesthetic as voiced thru his music criticism (and blogging) — is the anchoring forces of hip-hop (“boom bap”) and jazz (“improvisatory, loose feel”). For all the ways that Autechre or Richard D James borrowed from hip-hop, there’s a programmedness in their music which seems pretty different than what SFJ is trying to describe here.

    Now, sure, we can go and let our imaginations run away with ways to essentialize the boom and the bap and the loose and the feel, but that would seem kinda kneejerk and simplistic to me. I mean, how much do you want a critic to say in a short piece? And, moreover, let’s not be too quick to whiten something like “trip-hop,” which had many integral black participants (many of whom, of course, resisted that marketing term).

    Different strokes, different splinters.

  • 5. Laurent  |  November 30th, 2008 at 5:10 pm

    I tried to post the links to the features before but think i got somehow denied by WP. Here they are again. The main feature is this
    and the interviews are here
    you might find them interesting.
    nice one


    PS: on an unrelated tip I just remembered you were responsible for one of my favourite Blogariddims podcasts, so a much delayed thanks for that!

  • 6. Birdseed  |  December 1st, 2008 at 5:59 am

    All I’m wondering is what makes this guy more part of hip-hop, according to SFJ, than Portishead or Bugz in the Attic. Sure, he doesn’t spell out precisely that broken beat (or whatever other analogous genre) isn’t part of hip-hop, but his insistence that this particular thing is part of hip-hop’s breaking up into multiple genres (as a new development) would suggest that he thinks of those genres as outside “real” hip-hop’s continuum.

    What could possibly be the reason that something is included or excluded from a genre? Since it’s obviously not musical differences there’s always the possibility that it’s about how the artist sees himself or how the outside world sees the artist. But even then I wouldn’t be so sure it’s not matter-of-factly racial – look at the term “rhythm & blues” and how it’s been consistently used for all sorts of black expression no matter how musically disparate. Far from being essentialist (since he’s labelling something that, by all standards, conforms to fairly post-punkish/supposedly white musical standards), I think that “hip-hop” is yet another label for “stuff put out by African Americans”, as applied by SFJ/the public/the artist himself.

    There’s a tendency to try to “blacken” all sorts of musical expressions that African Americans use. Detroit techno doesn’t have much direct influece from funk music, honestly, yet it’s almost a compulsive cliché to pull the damn “Kraftwerk and George Clinton stuck in an elevator” shtick. The idea that music by African Americans could possibly have mostly non-“black”* precedents and influences runs against the grain of the mythology and narrative.

    So rather than pick out the fact that this guy has chosen to follow British predecessors and publish himself with a British record company, SFJ feels the compulsive need to find influences from jazz and hip-hop. I think there’s a definite racist element in that, yes. Ultimately, it may be connected to essentialist motions as well, that “black music” is a certain way (rhythmic, impulsively expressive…) and not, say, cerebral – and when an African American musician decides to make cerebral listening music it must really be “black music” in disguise. (As if there was any other way to define “black music” than music actually made by and/or listened to by blacks…)

    * ie. African-American. Jamaicans or British blacks don’t count.

  • 7. carlos  |  December 1st, 2008 at 12:02 pm

    FL is related to the Coltranes
    “My greatest influences are my family, I’m lucky to have been around so many accomplished musicians.” source –
    Maybe that’s why he’s placed in the jazz continuum. And he may be placed in the hip-hop continuum because that’s what his music (and trip hop and ambient breaks and anything else that uses looped drums / samples near 90 bpm) sounds like. Because hip-hop made all of this stuff possible/palatable.

  • 8. wayneandwax  |  December 1st, 2008 at 12:21 pm

    Good points, Carlos.

    Here’s the thing, Birdseed, I don’t quite see where that bee in your bonnet is coming from. Who is excluding trip-hop or ambient breakbeats or, as Carlos puts it, “anything else that uses looped drums / samples” (I don’t think we even need the tempo limitation since something like jungle also clearly emerges from hip-hop’s aesthetic logic) from being a part of hip-hop’s big branchy tree? You yourself are distinguishing them from “hip-hop proper” with these subgenre names. I don’t see anything in the SFJ piece, or in his larger oeuvre as a critic, that’s drawing these lines as starkly as you contend.

    I’m also not sure that it’s necessarily safe to say that FL is best placed in a genealogy stemming from British electronica acts rather than, as more often cited in interviews, J Dilla and jazz.

    I agree that essentializing certain musical practices, gestures, aesthetics is a problem and can serve to perpetuate racial ideologies. But I also think that there are more subtle, nuanced ways to discuss such things — e.g., we might talk about “racial signatures” in music, hence recognizing the, for better or worse, ways that musicians themselves embrace notions of blackness or whiteness as produced in racist/racialist discourse. And I’m certainly on-board with deconstructing the dominant and problematic myths and narratives out there. I’m just not with you in seeing SFJ as a great culprit, at least not in this case.

  • 9. Birdseed  |  December 1st, 2008 at 5:53 pm

    Yes, I definitely buy your last point there. Flying Lotus as well as other musicians are certainly part of perpetuating their own racial mythology. It’s interesting to compare carlos’s (fair) point with the track list on this mixtape which serendipitously dropped today – It starts off Alice Coltrane before going all Burial, Rustie, Radiohead, Portishead and Björk. Interspersed with Madlib and Busta Rhymes, of course, which just goes to show that music genealogy is a very tricky thing.

  • 10. giessel  |  December 1st, 2008 at 7:46 pm

    I’d like to jump in here and say that I consider flylo a hiphop artist (albeit wonky and a bit out there (which i like)) not because he’s black, but because he previously put out (what i consider to be) a hiphop album and done remixes of hiphop mcs (lil wayne’s a milli being a stand out). i’d also like to say that hiphop artist and electronic artist aren’t mutually exclusive terms for me but i’m probably in the minority there.

    In the essential mix linked above pete tong has a quote something flylo being “california’s answer to aphex twin” Really?? They’re both on warp (but this is a really weak) but sonically? in my mind, RDJ comes out of UK rave and a need to freak gear hard and explore the limits of what it could do. His music opened up electronic music and in a way, ALLOWED someone like flylo to sonically play around, but on top of another framework, and remain arguably “mainstream”. as for what that framework is, i’d go with jazz/dilla like wayne suggested above, more directly dilla than jazz. but that’s just my ears.

    i can’t stop streaming this wayne remix oh damn oh damn,



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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