Rhythm 'n' Roots

Musical Explorations.

Illuminate, the Argentine hip-hop group, have turned their talents to promoting and showcasing DJs spinning something original. Every Thursday in May they are putting on a night of music and images with a uniting theme: Grassroots (pretty good for this blog then?)

Going back to the roots of many now mutated styles, they wil be showcasing:

07/May - Hip-Hop: LA TEJA PRIDE - DJ ROB
21/May - Funk: AFROMAMA CREW - DJ CASABLANCA (100% Vin)
28/May - Dancehall:: DJ NELSON - DJ SANTI PALAZZO

What's more, they will be performing live at each show (under a different guise!) have a human beat-box on call and VJ Pablo DSG doing the images.

@ MAKENA CANTINA CLUB (Fitz Roy 1519 - Palermo) 22hs, 10pesos entrance. Get on the list here: raizdepasto@gmail.com

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B.A.=post rock. (0)

00:06 by , under , ,

As I sat in front of the Obelisco this afternoon waiting for a friend it struck me that post-rock is as good a soundtrack to this manic city as any. I don't know if anyone has seen the film Baraka? (We watch it every week in my Geographia Generál class.) Well, it has really epic soundtrack and I recall shots of ant like people crossing huge roads (Tokyo, New York) B.A. today was just like the film: huge swathes of ants criss-crossing the suitably epic Avenida 9 de Julio. I sat and watched accompanied by my first BA Post-Rock discovery, Go Neko!
(Mamushka Dogs are on that shit - download Go Neko! heeere!!)


Undoubteldly influenced by the likes of Mogwai, GYBE etc (aren't they all?) I have to say it aint too bad! Looking forward to catching them live if possible, Post-Rock, if its good, is always more impressive live. This brings me to another little chip which weighs heavily on BsAs's shoulder. Since the Cromagnon fire some five years ago, in which 194 people died, the city's live music/part/club night scene has been incredibly stiffled. The sheer costs and red-tape associated with organising an event puts off your average indie-kid or your underground rave organiser. Paying the police, security and endless regulations. (I am not saying that these are not in place for a reason; safety matters, but could a reasonable agreement not be reached?)

A friend was telling me that around 2004 many bands just gave up and an upcoming scene was killed off in a matter of weeks. There was insufficient support from the government and the costs of putting on shows quickly made it impossible for independent promoters to get a foothold without considerable backing.

These conditions are smothering what could and SHOULD be a flourishing scene. Man, this city has 12million people! The diversity must be incredible. It should be a hot-spot of culture, experimentation and freedom. Granted it is a hugely cultural city (theatre, cinema, festivals, events) but I am yet to witness something really fresh and underground (maybe it is just a case of knowing where and when?) It is time for things to change. There are people who want it and who see what is happening in cities like New York or London. Granted this is Latin America and it is not, economically, on the same scale, but BA has potential, so much potential!

*Stands down off soapbox*

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Techno-Babble (0)

18:44 by , under , ,

Music blogs are great, lots of free music but what has got to me over the years is not being able to listen to music. The fact that I am a little ignorant of the ways of HTML and such mysteries has left me searching for an easier option. After a bit of a dig I found Dewplayer and Tilidom which allow you to upload tunes and put them into a streaming application. Means people can listen to the tunes! Woo. On that celebratory note here's one I made earlier, a sort of rhythmic work out:

El Buho - Polynesia


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Una noche vaga (0)

17:45 by , under , , ,

Yesterday I made the lengthy trip out of the Buenos Aires limits to Ituzaingó (great name - after the Battle of Ituzaingó) for the Inversa night. The linepup included Negro Moreno, Onda Vaga, El Remolón, Leonchalon and DJ Raffa.

Negro Moreno spun mainly cumbia bootlegs mixing it all up, lot of US hi-hop (Wu-Tang, O.D.B. etc...) I guess he was warming the crowd up.

I think a lot of people came to see Onda Vaga, a band on the up, and a lot of people were a little disappointed. They were plagued by technical issues (lack of monitors, instruments unamplified etc) and their sound never managed to fill the vast space of the venue. Despite this, they looked and acted the part. Five bearded chaps sharing vocals and instruments at every opportunity. A sea of harmonies and brass (amplified acoustica?) which could be categorized, appropriatley, as vagabond music. Will be good to see them again in a better venue (KONEX on Wednesday perhaps?)

Onda Vaga - Me Pega Fuerte:

After the Vaga Onda of Onda Vaga, another sluggish artist took to the stage, El Remolón (translating as the lazy one...) and blew me away.

He played a live set on his mac using a midi keyboard, microphone and percussion. A set of pure fire skewed kumbia. Randomly singing Manu Chao, sampling Madonna, improvising on his little keyboard and a nada k ver Calle 13 remix. This guy is pushing it forward and I can't wait to get hold of the B-sides from his smashin' Pibe Cosmo album. Listen to some previews here:

Matias Aguayo - Minimal (El Remolón Remix)

El Remolón - Veridis Quo (Daft Punk reprise) vs De La Soul

Animal Collective - My Girls (El Remolón Cumbia Mix)

Alcides - Violeta (El Remolón Remix)

Leonchalon closed the night, a local reggae band, and they were...an above average local reggae band. The crowd got deep into. I left at 5:35am on a bewilderingly busy Sunday morning train back to Bs As just in bed just in time for sunrise.

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Mouse in the house. 1

00:02 by , under , ,

I am stumped by this guy. I just don't get it but he is entertaining. The man is one of the following: a) some kind of underground, electronica artist exploring and experimenting with new directions. b) a flogger (still not sure what this flogger thing is all about...) taking himself way too seriously or c) a joke. Decide for yourself.
Wikipedia comes to the rescue!

"La versión actual de este artículo o sección parece estar escrita a modo de publicidad."

Or not...I think that roughly translates as: he wrote his own wikipedia entry. So the artist known as Mäuss has 1 official website, 2 fotologs, a wikipedia entry and 6 myspaces! Man alive! The most prolific underground artist in Argentina?

He is the DJ. (Are these what you call floggers?)

El Beso

Finally I leave with a quote, a gem of 8-bit cumbia and Charlie Parker meets a drum machine:

Está inmerso en otro proyecto de experimentación con la música tropical, la electrónica y el minimal, bajo un proyecto de teknotrónika, al que denominó como Mäuss Y la sonora 8 bits. (Like Skwee meets cumbia on a mobile phone.) Integra paralelamente un trío de electronic jazz junto al flautista & saxofonista Martín Barcos y el bajista Santiago Olivera (dos de los músicos de jazz más talentosos de la Mesopotamia), con quienes hace versiones de Charlie Parker.

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Seems everybody who is anybody in the US was at Coachella this weekend. Bastards. Another dizzy line-up which I think is just plain indulgent. Like easter. Interestingly however, there was quite the "latin" contingent reppin' (well...Mexico and Argentina...):

El Gran Silencio (Mexican-Ska-Rap?!)
Molotov (Mexican Rock leeegeeends)
Bajofondo (Exportable electro-tango)
Zizek ( The real, the symbolic or the imaginary?)
Calexico (Tex-Mex-Met-Text)
Mexican Institute of Sound (Mex-Mex-Mezcla)

Slavoj didn't make it to Coachella, Zizek did.

Also some other worldy sounds and rhythms such as Kuduro Kings, Buraka Som Sistema who Diplo seems to think are fairly mad and fairly decent (see his blog for some cochella crowd action)

In other news, the seemingly pleasant D/J Rupture goes shopping for cumbia (this man gets EVERYWHERE!) Also check the nod to blogs and being into the latest "thing" + Cumbia! Caught red handed. Time to look for the next fashionably, underground yet exportable world music and blog about it before anyone else! (Apologies for the cynicism...I do truly dig innovation)

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On a lighter note...the french madman/genius (you decide) Remi Gaillard has done it again. The man who brought Mario Kart to the streets and dressed up as a big Kangaroo has released a new video:

Check out his other vid-e-oh-s here (or DailyMotion I guess...):
N'Importe Qui

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Another little recomendation from Bs As: Miss Bolivia! An MC thorwing shapes n words to some dancehall, hop-hip tropical, IDM argentine beats. Funk-key. You can download her EP/demo Vibracion legally from the wonderfully comprehensive archive.org

Catch her out live over the next month (the 29th of May is with aforementioned Kumbia Queers!):

25 Apr 2009 22:00
Casa Brandon Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires (Ciudad Autónoma de)
8 May 2009 23:00
FM ROCK AND POP - LA DE DIOS Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires (Ciudad Autónoma de)
9 May 2009 23:00
LO DE GARONE Vicente Lopez, Buenos Aires (provincia)
29 May 2009 20:00
C.C.San Martín - Ciclo NUEVO Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires (Ciudad Autónoma de)

In other news, Net-Lab is based in Brighton, I am not sure exactly what it is or how I found it but it looks great, here is the spiel:

  • Encourages legal free distribution and redistribution of music, via a Creative Commons license
  • Supports growth of small, independent artists Worldwide, particularly those creating leftfield electronica
  • Strengthens personal development and exploration of sound, particularly into the avant garde
  • Presents up-to-date information and reviews on live events and new releases from the worlds of Electronica, Indie, Rock, Dubstep, Electro, UK Grime and more
I am IN. Check out the releases for good shit, even an EP from BA's own dubstep man Daleduro. Also little chunks of info kind of blogish. Right on.

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I have for a while been searching for a really good BA website that has all the shit that goes on in this monstrous city. The best, up to now was WhatsUpBuenosAires run by Mr ZZK Grant Dull n Co. However, Proyecto Under seems to have it's finger on some kind of pulse. I am a little pissed off I only discovered it now, though not sure how long it has been going.

Not only covers BA but also Córdoba, La Plata n Santa Fé. Also has reviews, classifieds, news, playlists, viedo, agenda, all sorts of loveliness. A bit rough round certain edges but I like.

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LGBTCumbia (0)

17:36 by , under ,

I may be late on this bandwagon but I just got my hands on some stuff by a group called Kumbia Queers, six chicas (5 Argentinas and 1 Mexicana.) They are all former punks turned Cumbieras (formerly called She Devils). In an interview they said "It is more punk to play cumbia than to play punk." Fair enough.

The album Kumbia Nena is daft, camp and a lot of fun. It is a collection of covers (Madonna, The Cure, Black Sabbath, Nancy Sinatra) and original tracks. My favourites so far are their great cover of the Ramones Sheena Is a Punk Rocker (La China es Cumbianchera) and Kumbia Zzzzombie. They have already shared stages with cumbia legends Pibes Chorros and Damas Gratis and it makes a nice change from the usual machismo/sexism awash in villera!

Download: La China es Cumbianchera

Check out their myspace for stufz.

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Well, it is easter, I have no classes and no money to get out of the city so I have dedicated my time to mixing music I like together. It has a cumbia hip-hop feel to it with a few surprises.

Download here:

Rhythm 'n' Roots Volume I

Or here:

Rhythm 'n' Roots Volume I

TTC – Trop Frais
El Remolon – Bolivia
Conjunto Tipico Vallenato – Cumbia Cienaguera
Los Tigres del Norte – El Otro Mexico
King Coya – Cumbiatron
Zonora Point – Huachita (Douster Remix)
Roots Manuva – Toothbrush
The Very Best (Esau Mwamwaya and Radioclit) - Hide and Seek
Syem – Song of Sky
Easy – Horisont
Spartan Lover – Polka Grease
Los Locos del Ritmo – Borrachito
Fauna – Los Piratas del Zanjon
Pibes Chorros – Andrea
Oro 11 – Brooklyn Cumbia
La Integración - La Casa de Fernando
Santogold – Shove It (Toy Selectah Cumbia Rmx)
Black Twang - Red Letter
The Peronists – Travestis Tarot Supercone

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Champeta (0)

14:45 by , under , ,

Another offshoot from the Afrio-Hispanic musical tree, Champeta, hailing from Northern Colombia (Cartagena,) was harshly criticised by the Colombian govt but it was/is a genre of expression from the poor underclasses (Champeta is the name of the machete used by the workers in the fields and they are nicknamed Champetúos)

It's African roots are clear: the guitar arrangements and rhythms but the lyrics are in Spanish. It's summery and bouncy which is just what you need when you are in Buenos Aires preparing for Autumn. If that doesn't sell it surely this stylish chap will:

Article here

Tracks (this website has more to dl free):

Biofa - Ya Tengo Quien Me Quiera

Edijey ft Michael - Conectate

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Vector Love (0)

21:46 by , under , ,

This is some next level stuff! Courtesy of Wooster Collective blog, the work of Matt W. Moore.

This one is called Sacred Vector Funk, now there is a spacey song title!

Check out his website; tis full of treasures like these. I am a particular fan of these little wonders: Impressed.

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Mamushka Dogs (0)

16:33 by , under , ,

Having said BA was surprisngly short of independent labels I today discovered a really excellent label who seem to want to change all that. Mamushka Dogs (great name) is a label run by Luciano Banchero and Leandro Pereiro which offers new fresh independent music from alternative Argentine groups and producers. The best thing is that they are offering all of their catalogue for free download! I guess it is an attempt to get people listening and to help bands get their music out there.

Get on it! A couple of my reccomendations: The Peronists and Go Neko! but plenty of fresh varied stuff on there and freeee!

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The fact I am posting this probably means I have too much time on my hands and am spending too much of that time staring at my laptop. The inspiration for this post is the twenty or so firefox tabs of blogs, myspaces, downloads, mixes and pure gold I have found on a recent trawl through the google ocean! After having lived in BA for five months and travelled a little in Latin America, (Ecuador, Peru, Chile, Bolivia..) I have become submerged in cumbia (more like it drowned in it; ch-ch-ch, ch-ch-ch!) Latin America's unifying soundtrack, a rhythm which came from Africa, travelled to Colombia and now floats in streets from Lima to Mexico City.

What has stoked my interest is the particular evolution of the sound in Buenos Aires. Before 2000 Argentine Cumbia was associated with a placid Romantic style. However, after 2001's economic crisis, a sub-genre appeared under the umbrella of Cumbia Villera (cumbia from the villas; the poorest areas of the city). Though criticised by many as a style which glorified drugs, violence and crime and held in contempt by the upper classes, it was a social phenomenon which grew directly out of the crisis, felt hardest by the poorest. The music is an expression of life in BA's slums much as Baile Funk was in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro.

Damas Gratis, pioneers of Villera sound.

Eight years on a new wave of artists influenced by Cumbia Villera and brought together by ZZK Records are experimenting with the sound and pushing it in a thousand directions: think cumbia remixes of Animal Collective, Clipse, minimal cumbia or even cumbia vs Peruvian Huayno! They are taking the rhythms of the street and making them global, bassy and funky. They also have awesome flyer designs:

Courtesy of the world-wide-web and the ease of travelling, mutant cumbia is escaping the continent and taking the underground, dance hungry world by storm. Helped by artists with world-wide appeal and "nuff-respect", (super-star-ghetto-bass crew: Diplo, D/J Rupture, Uproot Andy, Radioclit etc) the tracks are reaching ears in New York, Montreal, Norway and even London. ZZK are currently touring the US for the second time and set to play at this summers Coachella.

What you have to remember and what Grant Dull, the co-founder of ZZK explained is that independent record labels and distribution is near non-existent in Latin America, when compared to a city such as London or NY, for it's size BA is surprisingly musically homogeneous. Therefore the growth of the scene has been dependent on the Internet, networking, blogging, myspace, mashups and mixtapes. Luckily for them and us, the net-underground has latched onto it. I am latching on to them and adding my line to the web.

Here's how you get into it:

@ ZZK Records download their free mixtapes, scour the site for free MP3s, mashups etc, find something you like: buy it!

@ There is a world of music blogs which keep their fingers on the global pulse and have MP3s, mixes etc:

Diplo's Mad Decent

DJ Rupture's Mudd Up!

Matt Shadarteks Dutty Artz

XLR8R Magazine


La Family Dub



Look out for some updates, posts and new music on this blog! A mix is in the mix after the recent mix I did mixing up deepstep and techno (Download here!)

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