linkthink re: hip-hop, reggae, the US, jamaica, and anything else wayne wants to wax on


vintage toneborscht

my post on mashpolitik ended up so long and involved that i decided not to post some representative mp3s lest they wind up buried in prose. but part of my excitement about the post flowed from my eagerness to share some sounds of the toneburst collective, whose eponymous compilation has graced my shelves and pleased my ears since 1997.

back then, as more of an occasional party-goer than a core participant, i first approached these sounds with a fair deal of wonder and curiosity. sounded like some stuff i'd heard before, but then again it didn't. i liked that it somehow represented boston (a town woefully marginal on the musical map), but i wasn't sure how exactly. somehow the music was both smart and gritty, though, which seemed right. the liner notes--a combination of lofty metaphor and frank "critical interventions"--have only made sense to me in hindsight, having gotten to know the personalities behind them years later. allow me to quote the first two blobs of text:

Why Jungle?

The jungle is alive. The jungle is a complex system. The density of life in the tropical rainforest combined with the speed of the ecological cycle allows for thick layers of fertile soil to become established in the brief time between rainfalls, even on the surface of upper tree branches. Life in the jungle is able to move quickly. Sedentary forms like plants and fungi have developed the ability to spread seed or spore in all directions at every opportunity. Molds, fungi, and bacteria thrive on the decay of plant and animal matter//

>I was speaking with Tony today and he was expressing
>his distaste for "Why Jungle?" I can't speak for him
>but it was something to the effect that: 1) If we are
>going to say anything at all we should just say it
>outright without all the metaphor and intellect. 2) He
>and other people on this CD are not representing jungle
> 3) It seems too serious and self-congratulatory.

looking back on it now, it's great to see the lack of a unified position on what this music meant to the various players involved. it's even better to see the willingness to expose these rifts and let them stand as dialogue, as offering various simultaneous perspectives. at once you get spookian-eshunian meta-theory and no-bullshit down-to-earthness. and i think you can hear that in the music with all its interventions and remixes, various voices variously combined, as well as its more straightforward, simple presentations of the underlying ideas and philosophies as encoded or expressed implicitly--thus speaking for itself, or through "carefully selected if not documented samples."

i learned later that a number of my favorite tracks on the comp were the short-but-sweet instrumental hip-hop romps produced by none other than tony, aka dj flack. the comp begins with one of flack's tracks, the seamy "last call canyon" with its in-your-face, laidback scratching and careening crowd-noise loop.

dj flack, "last call canyon"

flack just put out an EP, the first vinyl offering from the new beat research label. it's dope. so's flack's mashit record. and don't miss a good wasted afternoon: play some of flack's interactive flash jawns or watch some of his video-music! highly edutaining.

the other selection i would like to share is, due to length issues and buy-a-CD issues, a partial selection: parts 2, 3, 4 of the 5-part "percussive waves" by electro organic sound system (EOSS), aka dj c, as remixed by /rupture.

EOSS, "percussive waves" (/rupture's sand in the sampler mix), pts. 2-4

wicked jungle breaks, haunting half-time melodies, middle/near-eastern/norfafrican sounds, suggestive/pointed vocal samples, a pre-screwed slurring of "we are the world"--this is quintessential jake'n'jace. sorry to leave off the bookends of this multi-part mix, but if you want to hear the rest, you'll have to buy yourself a CD.

trust me, it's worth it--some vintage MA shit this:

tony flack writes: "Looking back I
am not as negative about all that "metaphor and
intellect" as I used to be and I have nothing but
respect for our man /Jace as a musician and a writer
(I am an enthusiastic reader of his blog). On the
other hand I certainly I don't mind representing the
no bull-sh*t camp. I still can't believe they decided
to put all that in the liner notes."


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