Everything You Wanted to Know About Despacito — and More!

“Despacito” has proven to be an amazing platform for Luis Fonsi, Daddy Yankee, Justin Bieber, reggaeton, and now … me. Since April, I’ve been contacted by people looking for an explanation of how this song has proven so spectacularly successful, and whether I wanted to or not, I found myself having to think about it […]

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Another Crunk Genealogy Turns 10

Hard to believe, but my ol’ mix, Another Crunk Genealogy, was published 10 years ago today. It’s been up all this time (along with the other 49) — and indeed, I welcome any newcomers to peruse the detailed notes and FruityLoops demos here — but I’ve just posted it to Soundcloud to let it circulate […]

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Still Bubbling After All These Years

I’m headed back to Amsterdam this week to attend the ADE where I’m excited to be a part of the screening of a new documentary on bubbling. Check out your boy the beatboxing talking head! the film will have English subtitles, and hopefully will be widely available before long I can’t say how humbled and […]

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Rap as Folk

I was delighted to get an email last week from a former student, Sophie Weiner, who was working on a piece for the Village Voice about the Brooklyn Folk Festival. She contacted me because she was seeking a quotation about why rap could be considered a form or modern folk music, and she thought, rightly, […]

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Technomusicology Spring16

Do you like sound? Do you like art? How about music and media, and their aesthetics and histories? Would you enjoy telling some stories about music and media through sound art? If you’re tired of dancing about architecture and ready to do some musicking about music — and you’ve got the time and means — […]

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Boston Is a Island, Seen?

s/o thephoenix (rip) for the img My recent post involving a Boston sound session focused on the use of the zunguzung meme, so I didn’t discuss some of the other interesting and awesome things about the recording — and how I found it. I’ve been turning my attention back to the story of reggae in […]

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Tales of the Tape(s)

Among other recent publications, I’m especially happy to share a paper I co-wrote last year with my ol’ friend and colleague, Pacey Foster. As some of you surely know, Pace has been working for several years to collect, curate, and explicate a very special cassette archive documenting the early Boston rap scene. (Check these articles […]

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Arcademish Ish

Last year I published a couple reviews that land somewhere between the realm of ethno/musicology and music criticism — a netherworld I obviously like to explore. One piece engages with the multimedia work of Arca; the other with a cheeky French rap video. One appeared in an academic journal devoted to Latin American art and […]

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Legions of Book

As published in issue 377 of The Wire (July 2015), here’s my joint review of two recent books about soundsystem/DJ culture, each of them impressive efforts of deep documentation and deliberate framing even as each takes a rather different approach to the project. Together, they further round out our understanding of the soundsystem as global […]

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Zunguzungunguzung-again

I recently added a few “new” instances of ye olde zunguzung meme to the list, each helping to tease at this knotty tapestry we’ve been weaving. First, thanks to the attentive ears of NYC-based Puerto Rican electronic act Balún, we discover that PR-based Nuyorican reggaeton pioneer Ivy Queen once wove a zunguzung allusion rather seamfully […]

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YouTubology, Spring 2015

As you may know, I think the mini-mega-montage is the method, and I’ve been asking students to make them for a few years. One of my biggest inspirations for assigning students to make YouTube-sourced montages is the fact that musical supercuts are already an ordinary practice, whether we’re talking about the best Nae Nae Vines […]

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Technomashicology Spring 2015

My students have been hard at work in this spring’s session of Technomusicology at the Harvard Extension School (which I’ve just realized marks 10 years since I first started teaching there!), and I’m eager to share some standout projects. We recently turned to the mashup as a media form to grapple with, thinking about the […]

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The Amplification of Souls (review)

Gilles Aubry’s The Amplification of Souls is a meticulously composed and conceived “audio-essay” (Aubry’s term) on Kinshasa’s charismatic churches and the broader soundscape they inhabit and inflect. I reviewed the CD, along with its 80 page booklet, in Issue 371 of The Wire (January 2015). As usual, I am posting the final draft I sent […]

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Technomusicology Spring 2015

           I’m offering another semester of technomusicology this spring via the Harvard Extension School (Harvard’s open-enrollment option), beginning January 29. The class meets Thursday evenings from 5:30-7:30pm, but the course will also be available online for anyone who cares to join us from a distance (including realtime participation in classes, if you can make it). […]

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The Freedom of Dutch Bubbling

I’ve got an article in The Wire‘s new issue devoted to “Freedom Principles” (December 2014). I was inspired by the call for submissions to thread the idea of freedom through the story of Dutch bubbling, which I think embodies it in a number of important ways. After having the privilege to visit with some of […]

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Tropicalia: Ou Panis Et Circencis (review)

I reviewed Tropicalia: Ou Panis Et Circencis, a re-issue of the classic salvo in Brazil’s tropicalia movement, for Issue 367 of The Wire (September 2014). Happily, this one’s also a nice chunky review; nice to get a little leeway on the wordcount for a verbose dude like yours truly. Here’s a director’s cut of sorts, […]

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Rolê – Novos Sons Do Brasil (review)

I reviewed Rolê – Novos Sons Do Brasil, a new compilation from Brazil’s Mais Um Discos, for Issue 365 of The Wire (July 2014). Given my prolix proclivities, I was glad to get a little longer leash (i.e., wordcount) for this one. Nice to be able to stretch out a bit — and dig in […]

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Salvadora Robot (review)

I reviewed Salvadora Robot, the latest album from Colombia’s Meridian Brothers, for Issue 364 of The Wire (June 2014). Meridian Brothers Salvadora Robot Soundway CD/DL/2xLP Cutting their own odd swath though a tangle of urban musicians now embracing their country’s regional, grassroots popular traditions, Meridian Brothers’ newest offering is a genre-hopping, funhouse reflection of the […]

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Beyond Addis (review)

This past year I began reviewing records regularly again, mostly for the wonderfully serious London-based publication, The Wire, which has been pushing lots of interesting releases across my desk. It’s been a great experience working with the editors over there and trying to bring my prolix, punny, occasionally-too-precious style in line with their more exacting […]

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Fresh Jamaican Catch-Up

What can I say? It’s been a chockfull summer. Mostly with farming and teaching, but also, I’m happy to note, with writing and talking about music as well. And while I’ve found the time to do some “dancing about architecture,” I’m afraid I’ve been a little slack when it comes to linking/re-posting it here. So […]

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