Old and New Dreams, “Lonely Woman” (ECM, 1979).
R.I.P. Charlie Haden.
Protesting something in the 1980s. Broadway and 111th St.
In Search of Digital Love
A 63-minute aural exploration of Daft Punk’s 2001 masterpiece, “Digital Love.” What started out as a simple idea for a podcast with a few interviews and a few music clips evolved into a pseudo-documentary, before finally taking shape as a sort of critical mashup. Give it a listen (though be forewarned: some of the mp3-derived sound quality is negligible-bordering-on-terrible… some of the messiness is deliberate too, of course). (Available as an MP3.)
Big thanks to the following participants — these brave souls who followed my wacky (mostly indescribable, even to myself) hunch and made this entire operation feasible. (Not to mention a heck of a lot of fun to compile.)
I’m one of the interviewees, along with Nate Patrin and Brian MacDonald. From 2010.03.11.
by request, attempting to document The Hair before I let somebody at it with scissors tomorrow. This is so totally the most death metal picture of me ever taken I don’t even know, feel like I need to get busy with a BC Rich and a couple of stomp boxes right NOW
This is the correct approach.
Literally took a second to figure out that wasn’t actually Ned.
J.M. Schaeberle, Total Solar Eclipse, (1893)
But because world-beat is a specialty item that attracts enthusiasts rather than profiteers, the taste, philosophy, and vision of the entrepreneur who oversees the selection are usually what tells. Is he promoting music he has a piece of, or introducing the world to songs he loves no matter who owns them? How much talent does he have for consistency, pace, flow? Would he know a good beat if it bit him in the ass? And most important, does he believe in cultural purity, commercial crossover, or some smarter, more complex aesthetic? Overestimate people’s ability to transcend their musical assumptions and your records will bore everybody this side of a ethnomusicology convention. But underestimate your audience like the rest of the culture biz and your music will magically fuse the lamest of both worlds.
Planet Africa, from South African producer Hilton Rosenthal’s Rhythm Safari imprint, does just that. It leans heavily on laboriously Euro-friendly material from world-beat celebs like Salif Keita and Johnny Clegg, who whatever their individual gifts are too idiosyncratic to mesh much. And although the cover of Music for the World’s Africa on the Move boasts artists from Nigeria, Ghana, Zimbabwe, and Senegal, peruse label-owner Bob Haddad’s notes after you’ve paid for 45 minutes of strangely directionless music and learn that three of them now reside in the U.S., news that explains the album’s title, concept, and failure. Listen to the instrumental disc put together by world-clothing honcho Dan Storper, the man behind Rhino’s two Putamayo Presents The Best of World Music releases, and think evil thoughts about “tolerance” as theft: this is world music as flaccid new-age relaxathon, white folkies exploiting nonwhite instruments and techniques in the service of unthreateningly exotic aural wallpaper.