Thursday, March 30, 2006

This is a musical connection!

A few posts ago I wondered "what's it gonna take to bring indie rock and global sounds closer together?" Go find out tomorrow night at the Glissandro 70 release. I haven't heard the record yet, but it's billed as guitar loops meet West African polyrhythms channelled thru Arthur Russell. Considering one of the guys involved, Craig Dunsmuir, is an Toronto indie scene stalwart, and the other is my buddy Sandro Perri who comes by his Afrobrazilidelic polyrhythms honestly, I've got high hopes. To me, it's always seemed inevitable for anyone who does repetition-based music to want to expand their vocabulary by checking out other repetition-based music from around the world. Club music has been far more accepting of this in the last 10 years than rock has, but the re-release of My Life In The Bush of Ghosts harkens back to a time when it was more fashionable to mix global influences with rock rhythms. Back then, when describing groups like Savage Republic, the Contortions, Pigbag or even early Sonic Youth it used to be called it "exotic", "tribal" or "multi culti" - terms which have been almost entirely discredited now. Scenesters continue to revive music from that era, but distance themselves from its perceived cultural appropriations, and subsequent forms music which incorporates influences that aren't from around the way. Sandro, in the article in Eye Magazine, notes that "Craig's never been to Africa...(but) Craig's really good at distilling particular influences and making them his own" . And that's what you've gotta do to get out of that self-defeating "Fear Of (other) Music" (not the record store, we've all seen that clip...).

My point of view continues to be that when you're living in Toronto, you have the means to experience top quality African musicians, events and music should you choose to investigate even a little. You may never experience the context in which African pop originated, but you live in the context in which much of it is presently produced, and may subsequently travel back to Africa to become influential (the late great Tarig Abubukar is one Torontonian example). You may not get a doctorate-level education this way, but you can certainly certainly pick up on the right signifiers, and pay cover at your favourite venue instead of being accused of "appropriation".

But I digress - I can't wait to see what promises to be the only live performance of this dynamic duo tomorrow at the Tranzac. It takes a lot of people to fill up that back room, so don't sleep.


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