sweet as the scratch

playlists + writing:

African Electronic Funk, 70s-90s

This mix features tracks from African artists who were pioneers and innovators in relatively early electronic music. These songs are relatives of funk, disco and psychedelic rock, and precursors to some of the modern electronic music scenes across the world. Some tracks are a bit jazzier with congas and horns, while others use drum machines and freaky synths. Basslines abound and dancing is inevitable.

audio + tracklist

this is how my hood work

Connections abound in this mix that features classic funk, disco, soul and house mostly from Africa and the Midwest United States, with a couple tracks from Europe. We trace the roots and offshoots of those styles and more.

This one starts off with African electronic and house grooves new and old in the first three tracks, then moves into glitchy footwork from Chicago, Gary and Detroit. Those lead us into a thumping dancehall track, and a mess of current afrobeats and contemporary African pop and rap in French and English from big names like Davido and Maleek Berry as well as more obscure artists such as MDM Crew and the blandly-named Fred. A couple RnB tracks follow that, and we end with soul, funk and house, mostly from Africa, but with a couple tracks from Chicago's Larry Heard/Mr. Fingers mixed in.

This mix was made for radio play, so it is edited. No sinning here.

audio + tracklist

bag music

This is a playlist of recommendations from the comments section of a kollegekidd IG post: "Name a song that get you in your bag." 764 people and counting have replied to this post with the name of a track that really goes to work on their feelings. Being the sucker for tear-jerker music that I am, you know I had to spend some time on this thread.

First of all, let it be known that G Herbo's "Peace of Mind" was by far the #1 "in your bag" track, with 30+ people endorsing it. If you haven't heard this masterpiece, go listen now! Thank god this man G Herbo loves his grandmother so much or the world would never have been blessed by this beautiful song. I'm glad so many people agree...

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"badness a the only thing mi know give thanks fi music cause if a never music mi would a have nothing dem daily a use it": dancehall vybz

The history of Jamaican popular music has a source: dancehalls. Since the 1950s, because of limited access to personal audio equipment and listening devices in Jamaica, dancehalls—open-air dance parties—have served as the primary site of Jamaican popular music’s circulation. At dancehalls in Kingston, Trench Town and Rose Town, and, later, Brixton, Queens and Tokyo, local "sound systems"—music collectives comprised of MCs, deejays, audio engineers and massive sound-systems—blast Jamaican style music into the night, and people dance. Jamaican billboard charts nearly always reflect what is being played there.

But Jamaica is small, and Kingston is even smaller, so music quickly becomes a battle ground. Sound systems compete over money, over territory, over abstractions (sound, status, masculinity). The "sound clash"—like a freestyle rap battle, but between sound systems—is how these disputes are settled: whose crew is baddest? Whose music makes people dance? Whose sound is heard?..

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"fly pirates": why i steal music and DGAF

Growing up in a public school system with few technological resources and even less faculty and staff adept at teaching alongside technology, I was always blown away by the skills my peers would showcase when we huddled around PCs, never less than four to a monitor. We lived in the same city and had the same teachers, but whenever a computer was involved, my friends and classmates were there to school me on the latest web craze and rip the mouse out of my hand when their knowledge of software trumped mine.

My awe turned to confusion when TV, the internet, and Bush's "no child left behind" curriculum informed me that there was a great "digital divide" plaguing America, propagating the myth that minorities were less likely to climb the economic latter because of their technological illiteracy. Meanwhile, in after-school programs and the occasional "typing day" in Language Arts, my black classmates could be found embedding YouTube videos in power point presentations, showing everyone how to "proxy" into the school server so we could get on Myspace, and selling mix cds and flash drives of pirated music: one-for-$10, $15-for-two...

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fuck you

Rap music is inherently about power. Power comes with a voice and one great thing about rap is that it gives a voice to those in society who are usually without a voice when it comes to their representation in politics, their economic standing or general equality. Naturally, lots of rap that comes from those groups that are marginalized in society is either fun-- meant to celebrate the people who make it or distract from everyday concerns--or angry.

One of the first rap songs to discuss this anger is, "The Message," by Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, released in 1982. It highlighted shitty living conditions and unfair social policies that affected the performers. The song didn't outright say "fuck you," to the establishment that clearly didn't think twice about the welfare of folks like Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, but it pointed in that direction. While the song was important for rapping in general as it showcased the rappers and their words just as much as it did the DJing and production, it was also important in proving the power rappers had when they held a microphone...

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"i want to be a machine": 80s synth pop

In the UK in the 1980s, as synthesizers and DIY audio-equipment began to show up in droves in the average English home, an explosion of electronic dance music infected just about every strand of British popular music. Fueled by a drug and club culture where electronic beats were preferred to even the best four-piece rock band, "new wave" music and synth pop, birthed from the echoes of dub-reggae and punk, quickly became a dominating force in the international music industry, inspiring pop stars, club djs, and underground garage groups alike.

Though the music would eventually take on a ubiquitous sound-formula of synth loops and sappy vocals, its origins were in a queer and post-punk sensibility imagined by groups like Ultravox and Art of Noise, who injected a colorful landscape of synth and electronically produced instruments into traditional rock ballads. Like so much in the 80s, themes of love, technology, and alienation reigned supreme, and the sometimes overly expressive self-explorations of these artists were rich with emotion and vulnerability...

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low-key chicago

On the podcast this week, I made a weak attempt to describe a style of music that has become just as much a part of the city's sound as drill or bop in recent years. While drill is the take-no-prisoners, brash voice of the South Side and bop is the fun-loving kid brother on the West, this low-key, almost detached sound represents all sides of the city.

The music comes across as blasé in its demeanor, but the songs have a sense of yearning for affection as much as they want to sound distant...

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a scientist and some dub

The dub and reggae legend Scientist, nicknamed so as a teenager by King Tubby for his prodigy like skills with sound mixing and engineering, is an essential figure in the history of electronic music. Though too young to be grouped in with the pioneers of dub or electronic music in general, his mastery of the recording and sound processing techniques of 1970s and 80s music production were as forward-leaning as any of the earliest house and detroit techno artists and predate the explosion of electronic music in the UK by about 10 years.

But what sets Scientist apart from even his contemporaries is how well his music has aged. When I play Scientist for folks who haven't heard him before, their initial responses are usually some variation of "damn, this dude makes beats!" That is, his music works just as well today as it did back in the 80s for anyone looking to vibe out to some heavy electronic cuts. It is dub forsure, but it also competes with and stands its own against the electronic music of today's standards, somehow managing to emulate the rich sonic textures and precise composition possibilities of electronic music production software a digital age later...

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i-10 dope zone: katrina

Hurricane Katrina happened 10 years ago. A colossal disaster on so many levels, Katrina and its disturbing aftermath irreparably disfigured the Gulf Coast. Physically, the land was flooded and destroyed. It would never be the same. Socially, residents of the Gulf Coast were not only left behind, but actively neglected and left for dead. They would never be the same.

This Chicago Tribune story may give you an impression that Katrina was some sort of necessary evil to transform a city that was already on the path to destruction anyway. The music that came out of the Gulf Coast post-Katrina isn’t some fantastic byproduct of an awful event. It’s safe to say that the artists that wrote these songs would probably rather they never had any reason to write them. Neither this music nor this post celebrate Katrina for the art that followed it. What it does is chronicle the feelings of the people abandoned by nature, humanity and the government after Katrina...

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the b-side of the disco era

"Disco Demolition Night," the infamous promotional sporting event turned white riot held at White Sox stadium on July 12, 1979, is as momentous an event as any for understanding the rather abrupt end of disco as a dominant cultural trend in North America. On this evening, ninety-eight cents and disco vinyl were all the residents of Chicago's south side needed for admission to Comiskey Park, and 50,000 rock-enthusiasts showed up in droves to have their dollar-bin scores thrown into radio personality Steve Dahl's literal flaming pit of anti-disco malaise. Upon seeing the twenty thousand or so records ignited, Sox fans poured onto the field in celebration and triumph, throwing records in the air and waving anti-disco flags to the tune of Dahl's plodding and repeated roar of "disco sucks, disco sucks, disco sucks!"

More so than signaling the disintegration of disco music itself, this rather frightening affair reveals a set of social and cultural anxieties formed in the wake of disco's explosion as a musical form and site of American popular culture during the 1970s. These anxieties can be traced back to disco's unique beginnings, and are essential for understanding disco’s location within broader histories of popular music production/consumption...

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snappin' and rappin'

Nostalgia is a dangerous trap for anyone to fall into. It's so easy to glorify the past when you're bored by what's around you. But occasionally, that nostalgic impulse you have is justified. The things you liked back in the day really are as great as you thought they were. One of the styles of music I'm nostalgic about is the snap sound that came out of Atlanta in the mid-2000s, mostly because it's what I heard at every single high school dance. So when I heard some new music that instantly reminded me of that snap sound from 10 years ago, I had to re-listen to some of my favorite songs in that style. Luckily, they hold up.

Snap music isn't "coming back," but it would be a mistake to look at snap music as a short blip on the timeline of catchy rap dance music. While Gucci Mane has been probably the largest influencer of the brazen style adopted by many Atlanta rappers at the moment, the legacy of snap music and Soulja Boy's more melodic sound can't be ignored when listening to new music from Atlanta now...

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#freeguwop: hip hop and incarceration
in the digital age

Radric Davis aka Gucci Mane is currently serving 39 months in prison after pleading guilty to gun possession charges in late 2013. Gucci is of course not the first rapper to do time, but he has completely revolutionized what incarceration means in the hip hop imagination.

In the past, rappers like 2Pac, Mac Dre, Biggie, Snoop Dogg, etc. have used incarceration as a kind of retreat for developing musical skills and techniques as well as "street cred" and cult followings. Writing in solitude and allowing their previous life experiences to be shaped by their time behind bars, these artists helped create an image of the rapper as best represented through his or her relationships to crime, the streets, and these experiences of creative self-realization and redemption acutualized in prison...

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i:10 dope zone: houston

Drake, A$AP Rocky and Riff Raff represent Houston. This is the year 2015 and this is where we are with rap. While regional music can still thrive, the national consciousness mostly follows internet-driven, post-regional rap. So while Drake is really from Toronto, he can still host Houston Appreciation Weekend while ripping off actual Houston artists. While A$AP Rocky is from Harlem, his music has been praised for incorporating pieces of the Houston and Memphis rap he grew up on. They copy the shell of Houston music (mostly slowed-down beats and vocals) and tip-toe around offering any innovation or contributions to the "Houston sound." It's a shoddy homage. While Riff Raff is from Houston, he's mostly from a strange corner of the internet and whether he intends or not, his music comes off like much more of a parody of the Houston rap archetype than it does as actual Houston rap. He's at best a cheap imitator of Houston rap and at worst a character practically in blackface. Unfortunately, many people would rather listen to a clown with eccentric punchlines clamber through raps than listen to the great Houston music being made today.

Rather than actually putting on artists from the city they claim to love and respect, Drake and Rocky rep Houston because it's cool. It's what they're supposed to do. It's almost a joke--"Hey, remember when we all wore grills and big black tall tees back in 2005? Man, was that silly." Similar to how the word "trill" lost any and all relevance pretty much as soon as people who weren't rappers from the South started using it, claiming Houston without taking stake in the artists who actually represent it is lazy and does a disservice to a great thing...

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electric (west) africa

Across the major arts and media platforms that I use to track down electronic music from Africa, there is a growing skepticism towards, perhaps even a consensus that "world," "fusion," and "afrobeat" are dated terms for describing the complex array of musical forms coming from this region of the world. This is def a good thing in my eyes because it allows musicians to self-identify with certain styles and genres rather than have their sound filtered through the lexicon of an international music industry in which "world" becomes a problematic stand in for "folk," "indigenous/authentic," and "non-western."

But it is 2015. And despite the fact that you can now buy records on Bleep tagged "Shangaan electro," "Ethiopian tech-electronica," "Niger abstract/minimalism," "township tech," etc., "world" is often all we really have to track down the unbelievably expansive archive of African music releases from the late 60s through the mid 2000s...

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down south blues

I was listening to a Boosie song a few weeks ago when I decided that he was my favorite contemporary blues artist. I said it as a half-joke, referring to the pain notable in Boosie’s voice as he raps. But as I began to think about some of my favorite rappers from the South as well as my favorite blues artists, I realized the styles are intrinsically linked.

Like the blues, blues-influenced rap styles migrated north as black people migrated north, spurring great blues-rap across the Midwest, but today I'm going to stick to music from the South (maybe the Midwest blues-rap will be a post in the future)...

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generation glam pop

I label this mix of music glam pop because of its musical and creative affinity to the UK new wave movement of the 1970s and 80s. In the same way that British artists from this period aligned an eccentric image of flamboyant and androgynous media personas with a dark reinterpretation of popular music, the artists featured in this mix offer an alternative to commercialized hip hop and electronic dance music that weaves familiar sounds into experimental digital signal processing and recording techniques met with an attitude of youth and generationalism.

Interestingly, this new North American glam pop also relates to the British new wave in terms of overall sound. Located somewhere at the intersection of synth pop, experimental industrial music, r & b, and techno, these artists--mostly from Atlanta, Chicago, and New York--deploy a colorful fusion of electronic style production, acoustic instrumental loops, and industrial special effects reminicent of collectives like the Art of Noise, On-U Sound, and Kraftwerk. Their music is fun, warm, poppy, and accessible, but also dwells in synth, bass and low-end frequencies, and ominous electronic and mechanical tones in a way that makes you feel like you're a robot in some perennial underground factory where labor never stops...

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summer jams

You just know a summer jam when you hear one. When I think of summer jams, I think back to spring days in my high school’s parking lot. As my friends and I would roll out after school, if I got ahold of the aux cord, I was putting on Nappy Roots’ "Good Day." It featured a sing-a-long chorus and a playful piano melody. The song bordered on corny, but it was too damn catchy and fun not to bump. A summer jam doesn’t necessarily have a template, but it is always inviting...

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lisbon bass and principe discos aka post-kuduro

This mix selects tracks from an emergent style of electronic dance music formed over the past several years in the inner-city, suburbs, and slums of Lisbon, Portugal. Often referred to generically as Lisbon's "underground” bass music and ghetto tech, this elusive yet rapidly developing sound takes broken beats inspired by UK jungle, ghetto house, and grime and injects them with the powerful sound of Kuduro.

For those who don't know, Kuduro is a form of dance music that blew up in Angola during the mid-2000s. With super-charged beats and an eccentric cast of artists and vocalists, Kuduro quickly established itself as one of the most pervasive African electronic music styles of the 21st-century. Closer to house music than rap, but way more abrasive than the former, Kuduro has since commanded a significant influence on music globally. From South African house, to German techno, to UK trap, to international bass music in general, Kuduro "brings the noise" of open and filled out sounding precussion to electronic music composition. For a sample of its sound, just throw on any M.I.A track, the deep and pulsating drums and bass you hear are a direct product of Angolan electronic music...

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based influences

It’s been a difficult 2015 in Basedworld. Back in January, Lil B’s duplex suffered an electrical fire and B said he lost some costumes and music to the blaze. Then in May, Lil B said $10,000 dollars in cash was stolen from his hotel room. On top of all that, we’ve gone nearly half a year without any new music from Lil B, an abnormal break in output from the hyper-productive BasedGod. The only new material we’ve received from Lil B in 2015 has been a lecture at Carnegie Mellon (which I recommend watching).

With Lil B’s unfortunate start to 2015 in mind, I want to do the Based thing and think about the positive—that is, to celebrate Lil B and based music’s influence on today’s rap and rap culture...

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dub from the roots of space

In John Akomfrah and Edward George's experimental documentary, The Last Angel of History (1996), a chrononaut known as "Data-Thief" undertakes a transhistorical archeological dig that unearths a "meta-text" of black electronic music (i.e. funk, dub, avant-garde jazz, Detroit techno, Chicago house, drum & bass, and UK garage) that articulates themes of outer space, sci-fi, otherness, and disembodiment. Presenting this assemblage of materials via interviews with musicians and writers such as Samuel R. Delany, Octavia Butler, Lee "Scratch" Perry, and Derrick May, the film posits an aesthetic at work across the African diaspora produced by black interaction with sound and technology, an aesthetic called afrofuturism.

First defined by Mark Dery in 1993 as "African American voices with other stories to tell about culture, technology, and things to come," "afrofuturism" in recent years has become a kind of catch-all term for engaging various elements of black technoculture. Since its indoctrination, countless books, academic conferences, works of art, albums, museum exhibits, and websites have been inspired by the moniker, yet, other than a shared obsession with sci-fi themeatics (i.e. otherness, outer space, artificial intelligence), "afrofuturist texts" are often as estranged from one another as their apocalyptic, extraterrestial, and post-human narratives are from daily life...

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13 april 2015 post-punk, industrial,
synth pop, new wave

Another mix thrown our way by Kirin. This two hour dj mix selects post-punk, industrial, synth pop, and new wave tracks from the late 70s, 80s, and early 90s. I'm not familiar enough with this sound to give the playlist a proper summary, so I'll let the music speak for itself--expect it to do so in an abrasive yet disinterested way...

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chicago bop

The best word to describe bop is "infectious." When a bop song comes on, listeners' shoulders invariably bounce. Their knees loosen and begin to wobble. It's like a squirt of WD-40 just hit all your joints and gave them the gift of fluidity.

It's pure dance music, highlighted by catchy choruses and slurred, playful lyrics about partying, punctuated by jumpy, digital, cell phone-style melodies. The production and lyrics combine for a candy-coated sound...

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notes on music consumption in the digital age

What is the significance of the album in 2015? Is it still the driving force of the music industry?

These are questions I ask myself often while on the prowl for tunes new and old. Since I want my time on the web to yield a music library that is fun to listen to as well as comprehensive, deciding whether to search for individual tracks or download full-length releases is a tension always at the back of my mind. Based on my own experiences, the difference between these choises is that, while finding a few dope tracks everyday keeps your headphones on blast, listening to new albums consistently increases your understanding of music in terms of history, genre, and cultural production...

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earl sweatshirt's los angeles sound

Earl Sweatshirt’s second album, I Don’t Like Shit, I Don’t Go Outside, begins with an organ that sounds straight out of a commercial from the 1960s trying to convince listeners to move to a new subdivision in sunny Southern California even though the company running the subdivision is crooked and the neighborhood will be in poverty by the 80s. Earl’s music specializes in the decay of (sub)urban America. He knows the difference between real and fake and he’s happy to share his feelings on the subject.

If you asked anyone what Los Angeles rap in 2015 sounds like, they would probably mention Kendrick Lamar, Tyga or DJ Mustard. But Earl Sweatshirt exists outside of the simplistic "conscious vs. ratchet" binary and his new album is quintessential Los Angeles music. I Don’t Like Shit, I Don’t Go Outside represents the narcissism and stoner boredom of west-coast millennials. It’s music that could only be created by someone coming of age in Los Angeles at our present moment...

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michael veal's shattered songs

Given Jamaican music's popularized and often self-proclaimed association with a kind of "grass-roots" sensibility, it seems almost contradictory to consider reggae as electronic music. But this is exactly the tension that Michael Veal deploys to guide his study of Jamaican sound culture, Dub: Soundscapes and Shattered Songs in Jamaican Reggae (2007). Looking at reggae & dub's simultaneous uses of mechanically (re)produced sounds and Rastafari/"of the earth" influenced lyrics and instrumentation, Veal argues that this apparent contradiction is in fact representative of a broad pattern of Jamaican artists negotiating their relationships to the changes in technology, communication, and capital taking place in the 60s, 70s, and 80s.

This is carried out through an analysis of Jamaican culture and dub & reggae itself. On the one hand, Veal addresses the profound impact that Jamaica's highly competitive and money driven music industry, dancehall scene, and club culture had on Jamaican music. During dub & reggae's development, these institutions and spaces largely determined which artists and what music would be marketed locally and abroad. That being said, the majority of the book is dedicated to analyzing the sound of dub, and the influence a bunch of bros from the caribbean had and continue to have on electronic music production across the world. Mainly, Veal empahsizes the unique way dub repurposed machines for instrumentation. "At the controls" of the mixing and sound processing technologies of the recording studio, these artists and musicians introduced the world to a powerful landscape of improvisation, repitition, and fragmentation expressed at the level of technology. In doing so--by remixing reggae hits and injecting them with improvised special-effects, heavy bass-lines, and vocals shattered by atmospheric echoes--they created perhaps the most widely drawn upon music genre of the 20th-century...

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chicago: still drillin

Chicago’s street rap scene may have fallen off the national radar since its most recognizable figure, Chief Keef, all but disappeared from the mainstream rap consciousness.

But even as Chicago rap and Chicago drill music in particular hasn’t been getting much radio play, its sounds have formed the backbone for a number of national hits in the last year or so ("Coco" and "We Dem Boyz", to name just a couple)...

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12 gqom bhengz from durban

It's become clear to me of late that what I've been calling 'township tech' is less of a genre than a blanket term to describe the many strands of electronic music coming out of Joburg, Durban, Pretoria, Cape Town, and SA at large. These strands both update genres like kwaito, South African electronica, drum & bass, and house music, and splinter off into new and reworked sub/micro-genres such as deep house, blip blop, Shangaan electro, glitch hop, bacardi house, kwaito house, and, the focus of this post: gqom.

Gqom blew up in Durban in early 2014, shortly after Mokgethwa Mapaya founded KasiMP3, a web platform that allows musicians to release tracks for free while still earning commission for total downloads. Since the site's launch, over one hundred thousand new tracks have been uploaded, and Durban's electronic music scene has gone from relatively silent to one of the loudest in all of Mzansi...

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i-10 dope zone: south louisiana g-funk

This post is the first in what will be a series of posts about rap from the Deep South, mostly gathered from artists from along the section of the Interstate-10 corridor that runs from Houston to New Orleans. For this post, I decided to focus solely on music from South Louisiana, mainly from smaller cities. Later in the series, I will highlight Houston and other East Texas rap, as well as New Orleans and Baton Rouge rap.

Interstate-10 is notorious for drug trafficking from Texas to Florida. In the same way drugs move across the south influencing cities and towns along the way via the highway, so does music. Artists in South Louisiana often find a balance between Houston G-Funk, gangster and horrorcore rap, and sometimes incorporate pieces of New Orleans bounce music. Many songs share the southern specialty of extremely vulgar and vivid lyrics about sex and violence—often in the same song. There’s also a healthy dose of lamentations to blow a blunt to as you drive slow through the city...

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dj mix 3 march 2015:
dub, reggae, uk punk, post-punk

Big thanks to the homie Kirin for hooking us up with this look into dub's influences on punk and post-punk in the UK and US. Her mix traces the movement of dub sounds (i.e. echo, low end bass, etc.) across the Atlantic during the 60s, 70s, and 80s...

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welcome to new atlanta: digital beats,
ambient sounds, and ATLien futures

I'll tell anyone who'll listen that important shit is going down in the vast and unregulated world of Atlanta hip hop.

But first a little hedging...Across the world, wide-spread availability of production, recording, and video/audio-sharing technologies (i.e. virtual dj, audacity, youtube, soundcloud, etc.) is paving the way for rappers, djs, and hip hop heads to produce/consume more music than ever before. Even so, mass-media record companies and the international music industry at large are distancing themselves from rap music, deeming it unprofitable compared to 'EDM' and more popularized musical forms. Thus, at the same time that hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of hip hop artists are working and releasing music on a regular basis, opportunities for major recording deals are becoming increasingly rare...

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17 detroit techno tracks:
from cybotron to kyle hall

Since the 'second summer of love' in 1988--otherwise known as 'that moment when British club culture discovered e and acid'--electronic music has been largely associated with Europe, particularly the UK, France, and Germany. To be sure, house, techno, jungle, ragga, grime, garage, idm, etc. are majorly influenced by artists, clubs, and listeners from these countries, and would hardly have the global audience they do today without them. But it is also important to note that the origins of these musical forms are in the basements, bedrooms, and recording studios of working class black dudes from America and the Caribbean, as well as in Jamaican dancehall culture and New York and Chicago gay clubs like Paradise Garage, the Warehouse, the Loft, and the Powerplant.

In particular, during the early 1980s, Juan Atkins, Kevin Saunderson, and Derrick May introduced the world to the repetitive, industrial, and futuristic sound of techno. Groomed in Atkins' basement, and later distributed through public radio, the hit television show 'The New Dance,' and local Detroit clubs like The Music Institute and The Majestic, Detroit techno took shape as one of the first movements in American popular culture in which artists used machines to create music. Remixes, sampling, synths, bass, and dub are all present in Detroit techno, as is skill, innovation, and craft. Ultimately, without the experimental sounds of Atkins, Saunderson, and May--the Belleville Three as they are called today--the explosion of electronic music and dj culture abroad would not have been possible...

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20 township tech tracks from 2014

Has anyone been wondering whether or not Die Antwoord is still cool? Well, that may come down to taste, but South African music in general is definitely still producing some of the most innovative and multi-generic sounds in the world of analog and digital beatmaking. Coined township tech in 2011 by superstar DJ, Spoek Mathamba, the current body of electronic, hip hop, and house music coming from the very poor and very urban townships of post-Apartheid South Africa is truly shaking things up in the international music industry. For, despite its relatively small listenership outside of the country, electronic and house music in South Africa is being produced and consumed at a higher rate than anywhere else in the world; artists, dance clubs, and performers are hyper-producing music that only begin to cleanse the pallet of a fan base and culture hungry for new sounds and a progressive, national sonic identity. The result is a fusion of Cape Town/Johannesburg house, Kwaito, electronic music, grime, dub, dubstep, and UK garage with older and more traditional forms of South African music...

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top 10 hip hop albums / mixtapes of 2014

10. Young hot Ebony - Father

Since iLoveMakonnen's club anthem, "Tuesday," went viral early this summer, the indie hip hop collective, Awful Records, has become notorious for turning out some of Atlanta's most eccentric rap and electronic music. From Ethereal's lazy, psychedelic trap beats, to Makonnen's sing-song/jazzy rap bars, to Abra's lo-fi electronica, the artists on this label seem committed to forging an alternative sonic identity to go along with Atlanta's more mainstream hip hop production style. Father's Young hot Ebony demonstrates this through both its experimental and collaborative ambitions: it blends rap, psychedelic rock, punk, and trap into a relatively minimalist and down-tempo overall sound and features pretty much everyone in the Awful fam.

9. Yarz - Rich Kidz

Another couple of ATLiens here! Love the way this mixtape juxtaposes high level production with an unconventional approach to lyricism. Beats come from industry giants like London on da Track and Sonny Digital but are textured against RKaelub and Skateboard Skooly's singing, screaming, and rapping. Rich Kidz have another release out since that shows their increasing use of rap as a mode of delivery, but I prefer this tape for its playful mixture of genre and vocal sampling/recording...

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