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- Rio Player
I’m back in NY now, feeling cold and understimulated after a week swirling around in the joy-misery-apathy-hedonism smoothie of Rio de Janeiro. I brought a lot of music back with me, and it’ll take a while to sort through it all. But just to put an end point on it I want to post some songs from the trip. I’ll start with the one I heard most of all…
MC Pojeta – MSN
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MAN this riddim. I can’t even count the number of times I heard this shit. The thing I like about it is the fact that it combines a weird Bobby McFarenesque organic rhythm with sounds from our futuristic age of instant messaging and robot pets. Rio’s a place of harsh contrasts, so I guess that makes sense. Plus I’m into all the pornographic yelling – but that’s a given. There are so many versions on this track, this MC Pojeta one is as good as any.
Here’s a slightly different version over the same beat. Baile is notoriously sexual music, but if you don’t speak Portugese it’s hard to know just how horny/amused/offended/confused you should be. This song is good because it removes words for the most part and relies instead on the universal language of female orgasm. This is one of my favorites, and there is a very high probability that this joint will open my next mixtape.
Montgem – Aquecimento do tesao
But actually as baile funk goes, I’m more into the earlier electro-inspired version. So I also bought a bunch of old school compilations with names like ‘Funk Memories’ and ‘Clássicos de Montagens’. A lot of it is bailefied versions of US freestyle and bass music. Here’s a couple favorites from those…
Shy D – I’ve gotta be tough (baile rmx)
Lisa Lisa & Cult Jam – Can you feel the beat (baile rmx)
Which reminds me, one of the pleasant surprises of the trip was my re-discovery of old freestyle songs from my youth. This Stevie B song is STILL getting regular play in Rio. Anyone who grew up in my hometown in 80s with even the vaguest interest in dancing and/or rollerskating knows and loves this joint.
Stevie B – Spring love
On the subject of classics, here is a funky masterpiece by the late Tim Maia, an artist who I’m just beginning to check out. He covered a lot of genres in his four decades as a musician, and this is from his soul period. This is a where-have-you-been-all-my-life type record for me.
Tim Maia – Ela Partiu
We also heard some really good samba one night at a huge dancehall outside of which you could buy coke & weed from friendly, very heavily armed teenagers under a little tent. Here’s one of the big samba songs right now…
Exaltasamba – Eu chorei
While I’m at it, it might be nice to put up some other non-Brazilian songs that I was exposed to during the trip. My friends and I had a couple very potent music exchanges down there, so in that spirit I’d like to, as Barry O would say, ‘spread the wealth’.
Wu-Tang Clan – Life changes
This song is dedicated to the late Ol Dirty Bastard. I’ve always thought about Wu-Tang as something more than just a musical group. They share so much in common that sometimes listening to a posse cut by Wu-Tang feels like hearing the ravings a single schizophrenic person. I feel that especially on this song where everyone is talking about the same subject and after a while it starts to sound like a catalog of grief.
Jaheim – Like a DJ
AAAAND on a totally different tip, here’s a smoothed-out club ballad by Jaheim. I’m a fan of Jaheim and in this case I give him special props for coming up with an original metaphor to describe the much discussed subject of love loss. I’m not sure why this song never hit.
And on the subject of love, I want to send out special birthday vibrations to my man Barend, who is currently the most loved up person I know. In celebration, here’s ‘Love is all around’ by King Tubby, a genius over whose music Barend and I bonded a decade ago and who is still ruling.
King Tubby – Love is all around dub
From Barend’s lady love Aura, I got this jam (and others)…
Bonobo – Nightlite
And to finally wrap it up, here’s one of the sweetest songs I’ve heard in a long while. It comes from Angola and is a good example of the Kizomba sound coming from there. Love to my man Jeru for this and so many of the amazing songs I got hipped to in Rio…
Kizomba – Cre Voltar
Light your lighter…
- Haas & Hahn in the house
UPDATE: I wrote a short piece on the project for Art Review. Check it here.
I’m still in Rio and it is pretty damn mind-blowing. I plan to write something about this trip, but I’m not sure when. I estimate I’ll need approximately 3 weeks inside a sensory deprivation tank to recollect myself, and I’ll hopefully get to work after that. For now I want show some images from the thing that brought me here – Rio Cruzeiro, an amazing painting that my friends Jeroen & Dre (aka Haas & Hahn) just completed in Vila Cruzeiro, a favela in Rio. I’ve written about their project a few times, so for some background check these posts: 1 2 Or better yet check their site Favela Painting.
Here’s a tour of the painting I made on my first day here. The weather wasn’t good that day, so hopefully I’ll take some more before I leave…
There’s some really nice photos from the painting’s ‘grand opening’ last weekend. They were taken by Douglas Engle. Check em here.
- Pic of the day
Vila Cruzeiro, Rio de Janeiro. Many more to come…
- Round III Round Up
UPDATE: The third debate is over and while it did cover some new territory (Supreme Court, etc.) I think most of the people who’ve watched all three continue to be frustrated at the redundancy of both candidates. George W Bush, in a rare moment of eloquence, once said (and I quote) “See, in my line of work you got to keep repeating things over and over and over again for the truth to sink in, to kind of catapult the propaganda.” This strategy worked for W and now we’re seeing if from everyone else. Luckily there are some wily editors out there who are hard at work exposing it. The Daily Show was at the forefront, but they’ve been joined by many others. With debate 3 in the tank, here’s a masterpiece of newsplice from a satire site called 23/6. Funny and scary.
Well, the last debate is going to start in a few minutes and tomorrow I’m leaving America and this exhausting election for a while. It’s been kind of a mix bag of emotions (inspiring, horrifying, drunkenly disorienting) to be back in the States for the past few weeks, but one of my favorite things about the fatherland is that it manages to be so many violently contradictory things simultaneously, so I guess I’m upbeat overall.
The Daily Show has been consistently great during the past few weeks, so as tribute and for “my friends” (©John McCain) abroad who may not be familiar, here’s their coverage of the debates til now…
Obama vs McCain I:
Elderly Jews watch Obama vs McCain I:
Biden vs Palin:
Joe Six Packs & Hockey Moms in Wasilla watch Biden vs Palin:
VP Debate’s Greatest Gaffes:
Obama vs. McCain II:
Laugh to keep from crying in 08
- SFW XXX LOL
I’ve had this clip on ice ever since my friend Jeremy sent it to me a couple weeks ago. I wasn’t really sure if I should put it up, what with the thousands of hits this site receives from community centers, childrens’ hospitals, and nunneries around the world. But the atmosphere is getting so dark around here that I think a bit of levity will do some good. So check this shit out…
- DJ Spinna Appreciation
Last night I had the unhappy experience of seeing the great DJ Spinna play to a crowd of about 12 people at an overpriced bar in the Meatpacking District.
I understand that these are uncertain times – we are living in a ‘world on edge’ (according to the Economist), the stock market is ‘cratering’ (according to the New York Times), and even crazy ass Jim Cramer is pleading for fiscal conservatism. But there is something fundamentally wrong with a society in which an artist of DJ Spinna’s quality can’t get more than a handful of people to pay to see him. As the kids say, SMH.
So I think it’s high time for an appreciation post. I don’t have the time to go into a full breakdown of Spinna’s long career, but there’s a pretty good bio on his site www.djspinna.com.
I personally became aware of him while I was living in NY in the late ’90s. That was the golden age of independent hip hop here, and Spinna was probably the scene’s most influential producer, and I saw him play many, many times back then. It’s sort of sad to think about how little ultimately came of that movement, but it felt good at the time, launched a few careers (Mos Def, Kweli, even Eminem in a way), and produced some excellent, timeless (in my opinion) music.
So here’s one of my DJ Spinna jams from back then. The vocal featured Kweli & Apani B, but somehow I think the instrumental captures the vibe of that time better…
DJ Spinna – Timezone (instrumental)
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It’s taken from Spinna’s 1999 album Heavy Beats Vol. 1 and since the label it was released on folded, I’m pretty sure it’s out of print. So feel free to download the whole thing here… If I’m wrong about the out of print thing, let me know and I’ll take it down…
But Spinna never stuck to strictly underground hip hop. His beats were sourced from lots of places and over the year’s he’s produced a lot of great remixes for old soul, jazz, and R&B. I think there’s perhaps no better example than his epic remix of J5′s ‘We’re almost there’. A summertime cookout staple to this very day.
Jackson 5 – “We’re almost there” (DJ Spinna Remix)
And last but definitely not least, here’s a live set from a couple of summers ago. This probably gives a better view to Spinna’s landscape than anything else. There’s a couple of janky moments at the beginning where the audio cuts out, but after that it’s good.
DJ Spinna – Live at Plan B July 2006
Why do you think the parties are so highly regarded?
Bobbito: We’ve had people faint in the crowd. We’ve had people have orgasms in the crowd.
I’m dead ass. I’m not even joking. Spinna and I have cried in the deejay booth. It’s a very deep and emotional party.
Spinna: It may not be the man himself but you’ll capture the same type of emotions as you would at his show.
Support great music.