Friday, May 01, 2009

Abstract Index Playlist - April 29/09

While this blog has focused almost exclusively on writeups of full length CDs, music distribution is more complicated these days (duh...). Even the way I format my playlist (song, artist, label) is becoming problematic, what with the decline of the "label" as a necessarily informative tag.

One recently launched blog that supplied two tracks for this show (Doc Shebeleza, Costuleta) is Generation Bass, which is the work of Vincent Koreman. It's a popular site, "generating" (pun intended) some 50,000 hits in 2 months since its launch.

GB specializes in "non Western (dance) music and influences thereof" - that's an interesting way to put it. I've grown increasingly dissatisfied with the term "Western" (though I use it sometimes) to describe North America & Europe. Given that the music hosted on the site blurs the line between Euro/North American and, say, African or South American producers, it's hard to make that kind of distinction anymore. I've often made the point before that "Western" countries aren't as Western as they used to be, thanks to immigration patterns and international travel and communications.

Case in point: Huelepega Sound System, who GB were gracious enough to post about a few days ago. I mean, who are we anyways? You've got a Jew, a Colombian/Ecuadorian dude who was born and raised in arid Mississauga, and a pair of brothers from El Salvador living in the 519/905 GTA hinterland. Of course, we're proudly Canadian but we remix and overdub stuff from South & Central America via Europe via the USA. In our case, I'd say we're more Western than non-Western, but it's pretty loose (just like our sound...). I imagine it doesn't get any easier to figure out with many of the artists repped by the site.

Moreover (to rehash some of my State Of The World article from a couple of months ago) "non-Western" artists represented on GB are likely using similar software and pursuing local and international audiences simultaneously via indie methods. And lets face it, the blessing and the curse of this kind of DIY global dance music is its sonic, if not rhythmic, similarity. On the one hand, it's relatively easy to mix this stuff together into a banging DJ set without resorting to wild EQ fluctuations and compensating for beats that might not sit where you'd like them to. On the other hand, that same sonic similarity (limited dynamic range in the music, poor MP3 compression, of-the-moment soft synth and drum sounds) is taxing on the ears after a while IMO.

But this is barely a criticism at all, I'm just stirring the pot a little bit. I love the enthusiasm of this site, they never lean on the hipness of the music too much; they are genuinely interested in finding out more about musical ideas from around the globe and sharing them. Even if they aren't stone cold experts on a given track/genre, they won't posture like they do - that's an honest way to go about it, and one I can relate to. But there's loads of knowledge to be gleaned from this site - posts and comments alike - for young and old disciples of the sensibility once known as world music. Only this time, thanks to the interactivity of the internet, more people get to enjoy and participate in this world of music.


angels and demons at play - respect sextet (avant)
banners on high - nomo (ubiquity)
la sidounak sayyada - omar souleyman (sublime frequencies)
take the bus - afrobutt (electric minds)
show you my love - goldie alexander (unidisc)
directions in rhythm - rise ashen (no label)
sun people - deadbeat (wagon repair)
akogo - mr. tunes (no label)
ufana ukheza - doc shebeleza (ccp)
den of drumz - kode9 vs badawi (roir)
one bible - asher senator (soul jazz)
wegue wegue - buraka som sistema (enchufada)
so ca to - costuleta (no label)
i don't know why - ziggi (vp)
iron curtain man - odel (ohm grown)
try hard - courtney stone (no label)
bad boy - 994 crew (out here)
black eye boy - renegade soundwave (mute)
message of hope - abassi all stars (universal egg)
bashment dub - mossman vs. mr. tsunami (dispensation)

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