Monday, November 08, 2010

Abstract Index Playlist - November 4/10

I don't know how to love you, Rita Indiana.

This is my second blog post about this incredible talent in the past year. Her album "El Juidero" dropped last month with pretty much no notice. Though she maintains a healthy presence in New York, all the tastemakers were blindsided by the sudden appearance of a brilliant, genre-melting album. Considering all I do all day is comb the internet for music news (yes, I'm available for parties) the notion that someone with any kind of profile would release an album with no advance promo is simply unheard of.

Now that it's out there, you'll want to read Club Fonograma's excellent blog post which sings the praises of this album in depth. It's got 160 BPM dance workouts heavily garnished with metalloid guitars. It's got rambling dub workouts for days. It's got those sour, one-finger synth lines. It's got a neo no-wave posture that drives the hipsters wild. But I don't pretend to be able to fully appreciate her. I don't speak Spanish, and with this artist, that's a real liability. This music is far more than "A Bailar, A Gozar".

I can't enlighten you about the specific political issues she gets into this album. Heck I couldn't even do that if she were singing in English (which she apparently can quite well, judging from abut 5% of the album). Even if I could speak Spanish, there's a great deal of slang at play and a heaping dose of Dominican reality & personal backstory in the works. Lyrics are crucial to this album, and in failing to understanding them even after Google Translate, I'm missing a significant part of the art.

Admittedly, this is a problem in writing about non-English and French music. So often I'll hear music whose words I can't understand, and I'm in a position of critical authority in writing about it. Often there's a press release or liner notes to give some context, but that can only be partially helpful at best and totally misleading at worst.

But, hey, I've never staked my reputation on my analysis of English lyrics either. My brain condemns me to seize on the music rather than the lyrics of a song, though I totally respect my music critic peers for which the opposite is true. Nor do I think that being an outsider to her music is categorically a bad thing. This was a strong theme in Yo Soy Cumbia which aired a couple of weeks ago. Uproot Andy observed "I come to almost all music styles living in an immigrant city for more or less my whole life, the different music that I’ve been exposed to, have always been brought to me from different places. I think, more and more, that is a natural situation for a lot of people, I mean, whether we grow up rooted in some musical tradition or not, we’re all much more exposed to music of different parts of the world now. So I think that it’s only natural that we like those things, and take those influences when we make music and as listeners, you know, listen to those things".

From my standpoint Rita's music is trading in a number of elements that I, and most urban dancefloor guerillas throughout the world are familiar with. That's where my appreciation starts. In her case, I just stand back and marvel at how she's brought severely danceable elements together with such substantial lyrics. That's an explosive combination.

I'm really hoping to interview her. No doubt a short, staticky conversation won't be a wide open window to her soul. However she's someone whom I would love to hear explain where she's coming from in her own words; the words I can't get to in her music. Do I understand exactly what she's all about? No. Can I write about her music intelligently? Let's hope so.


o aetnos - alaniaris (trio)
traducteur de tradition - glenn kotche vs. konono no. 1 (crammed)
impulse - gaslamp killer & daedalus rmx by teebs (brainfeeder)
dance music - r.d. burman (nascente)
build to last - dubblestandart (visions from the roof)
dear heartbeat - darkstar (hyperdub)
pasame a buca - rita indiana y los misterios (premium latin music)
chacarerada del engano - semillo vs. elpidio herrera vs. tremor (zzk)
regresara a cali - greenwood rhythm section (names you can trust)
cinnamon sugar - danuel tate (wagon repair)
riddim box - nb funky (soul jazz)
ruby (live at berghain) - mount kimbie (hotflush)
khalija pt 1 - khalija (force intel)
pressure in the air - dark bird (under see)
the tribe of triclops - lori freedman (ambiances magnetiques)
bicycle - tania gill (barnyard)
brother b - arthur jones (byg)
leaves and smoke - opsvik & jennings (rune framofon)
el farrah - aisha kandisha's jarring effects (barbarity)
eki attar - huun huur tu (world village)
massani cisse - quartete sextette (syllart)
ena eye a mane me - african brothers dance band (afribos)
tirogo - tirogo (qdk)
pichito - frente cumberio (names you can trust)

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