Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Abstract Index Playlist - November 11/10

Tradi-Mods vs. Rockers reminds me of the two volume compilation Macro Dub Infection, compiled by Kevin "The Bug" Martin in the mid 90s. In fact it would've been perfect if Martin had been invited to take whack at some of Kinshasa's finest likembe grooves in his own style....

The basis for comparison is both compilations' viewpoints on music as process. The MDI comps may have been the first collection of a decade-old phenomenon which posited dub as a means of composition outside of reggae-based rhythms: take elements of a song, reconsider its structure, and make it more diffuse. Musical background didn't have to enter into the equation to produce convincing dub - as witnessed by artists on the comps as diverse as Mad Professor, Coil, Tortoise, New Kingdom, and Rhys Chatham.

Similarly, Tradi Mods Vs. Rockers taps a wide range of contributors to reconfigure the Congotronics series. If this had happened a decade ago, you could've counted on a brace of thumping dance mixes (like Crammed's Electric Gypsyland Vol 1 and 2, which nevertheless still sound good to these ears) or tepid A-faux-beat, but this project is an excellent example of cross-cultural communication circa 2010.

Even artists in demand for remix work turn in some remarkably different work. Shackleton's mix features a cavernous beat during its consistently entertaining ten minutes, but is one of many meditations on how awesomely cool metallophones can sound sped up, slowed down, stretched out and generally fucked with. This is the inspiration common to all: take the elliptical, distorted and percussive rhythms of the Congotronicians and filter them through your own place in the musical universe.

Where dub started out as the inverse of a song, this project is the inverse of Kinshasan street music culture. Artists explode possibilities within the source material and their own imaginations. Implicit comparisons are made to the repetitive aspects of each artist's music and how the Congotronics sounds appeal to their method.

This isn't a likembe taffy-pull throughout. As with dub since the late 70s, random and unabashedly foreign influences have been successfully stirred into the pot, and that recipe works well here. No matter the cultural background of the contributing artist, each one is committed to finding a synthesis of their talents and the source material. Juana Molina adds her own words, Megafaun essays some Banjotronic styles, Andrew Bird maps out the rhythms with pizzicato violins, and Oneida just giv'er with their guitars roughly sketching likembe patterns.
Distorted textures are this project's sonic constant where digital delay landscapes were the unifying factor for MDI.

Tradi-Mods vs. Rockers might have been the most entertaining musical assignment ever for many of these artists. I'd reckon most of them were honored just to be asked.


hymn for louis moholo - dennis gonzalez band of sorcerers (konnex)
kuletronics - burnt friedman vs. konono no. 1 (crammed)
rrrr - peverelist (punch drunk)
part time - ango rmx by selva (no label)
sunset b35 - dj/rupture & matt shadetek (dutty artz)
careful mind - danuel tate (wagon repair)
zharp - lv (hyperdub)
flores de fuego - rita indiana (premium latin music)
sibou odia - orchestra baobab (sterns)
money's too tight to mention - the valentine brothers (bbe)
lero lero - luisa maita rmx by dj tudo (cumbancha)
crumb dub - early worm (no label)
babylon you wrong - cornell campbell & u roy (zion high)
give it up - horace andy (minor 7 flat 5)
conference table - kush i (glover)
warrior no tarry you - junior delgado (sound boy)
dub music give i strength - jah billah ft iyano iyanti (no label)
dem can't stop we talk about dub - dubblestandart feat anthony b (visions from the roof)
awake - janaka selekta rmx by sunskript (no label)
progreso - lido pimienta (helmet room)
goes to hollywood - paul white (no label)
la cygne - say my name (no label)
i don't want to work - kabanjak (esl)

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