Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Required Reading...

Hi again- so I'm back in Allston/Brighton/Brookline/Cambridge, and for good this time.

Since I haven't had much time to read- outside of the research I've been doing for various papers and articles- I don't have much to talk about, but I wanted to use this time to expand on my blogroll and give some big UPS to various internet publications and things that I find will make you a better person in general.

In no particular order:

Musik Line... which I was linked from Negrophonic, is a "...journal / blog dedicated to sound system culture and to African, Caribbean and other music." From the bit I've read, it seems very historically-oriented, in that it has dug up and embellished social histories from relatively obscure subcultural movements, from "the Italian cult of the tarantula" to the contemporary Hip Hop scene in Nouakchott, Mauritania. It doesn't seem anthropological in the problematic sense, in that many of the pieces are straightforward with regards to the author's privileged, outsider perspective.

Beantown Boogiedown...
...a Boston-centric electronic music blog from local DJ (an incredibly versatile DJ, I might add) Nickdawg, who posts event listings, MP-frees, fucking sick mixes- his most recent one being a masterful blend of Baltimore Club, UK Funky, 2-Step, and a little bit of Dubstep- and updates about various software & hardware goodies. I've been digging it.

WNYC - Langston Hughes: Ask Your Mama...

...the WNYC blog's project, a call for audiences to help in the unpacking of Langston Hugh's epic twelve-part poem, "Ask Your Mama: 12 Moods for Jazz," using any media necessary.

Not only have they provided the entire text of this work and allowed space for reactions, commentary, and analysis (the collective power of the hive-mind at work), but they have commissioned "...New York artists of differing musical backgrounds to interpret sections of 'Ask Your Mama' in their own way. Hip-hop star Beans of the indelible Anti-Pop Consortium recorded 'Horn of Plenty'; guitarist Brandon Ross interpreted 'Jazztet Muted' for banjo and soprano guitar; mash-up extraordinaire DJ /rupture reconceived 'Is It True?'; and saxophonist Matana Roberts contributed a beautiful version of 'Blues in Stereo.'"

These multi-media, interdisciplinary approaches to analysis have shed a whole new light on the literature by using music and pastiche to express dimensions of the piece that were formerly inaudible amidst the din created by the "complex array of musical, cultural and historical references" embedded in his poetry. I'm excited about this project, and I hope it is fruitful in trying to distill meaning out of this daunting piece of work, and in trying to update the emotional and political themes contained within it to a contemporary context.

Please enjoy. Now that the summer has set in, you can expect more from Pop. Influence in terms of cool links, more required reading, free downloads, mixes, musician profiles, and event listings, etc. Now get reading!

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