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



  • becca's and charlie's class has begun. par for the course, she and the other instructors will be keeping a blog as they go, attempting to document the successes and missteps and nitty-grit and whatnot of offering harvard's first course open to the public. the first and second lecture videos are already up, as is becca's first post, or two or three.

    [i do disclaim!: in that first post-class post, bec calls me her "husband" (which is true, but weird for me to see all anonymous in the third person like that) and she quotes "sexy jesus"; also, for the record, i was never forced to answer the riddle of the three hats, which is good b/c i'm not very good at riddles.]

  • prof twist had his students do the chicken-noodle-soup dance last week, which prompted me to ask whether they'd be doing the wu tang next. which prompted joe to hope for a nationwide city-by-city competition for most distinctive dance-and-song phenom. (which would be awesome.) which prompted me to recommend he read /jace's post on reggaeton from dec 04 in which seƱor ruptcha wishes "lean back" wouldn'ta been the kind of dance craze to preclude other dances crazes. (which, happens to be maybe the best and most poetic take on reggaeton i've seen to date.)

    [also, i like how joe uses utilizes the word "utilizations" after "pedagogical" in the title to underscore the silliness of "pedagogical" -- which, i have to admit, is a better word than "teachagogical" and a better word than "utilizations."]

  • the dancecult list brought to my attention (and now i to yours) a couple academish academisch articles on EDM, if you're into that sort of thing:

    1) an ambitious undertaking to reconceptualize rhythm, which features a few too many mixed metaphors and theory "pre-sets" for my taste


    2) an article by luis (inparis!), which seeks to reclaim the pleasures of repetition -- tout court !! -- from all the utterly unfunky music theorists out there. (not that i don't know plenty of some perfectly funky music theorists.)

    [and i mean perfectly. (jk! feelin cheeky today. lology.)]

  • but the best thing i've read in the last few days is kofi agawu's new piece in the current JAMS: "structural analysis or cultural analysis: competing perspectives on the 'standard pattern' of west african rhythm." any of y'all who've done any west african percussion playing will know the pattern he's talking about: that ol' 12/8 bell pattern which, as has been said, holds everything together. well, as usual (but it's still dazzling every time), agawu does an excellent job discussing the extant discourse and showing why he has some good ideas about the subject. identifying each mode's strengths and weaknesses, he proposes an approach that dispenses with neither "structural nor cultural points of view" but instead brings them to bear on each other, all in the name of "developing" -- as a research community, he means -- "a cross-cultural analysis of african rhythm" (6-7). i won't give the rest away because it's a pleasure to read and i couldn't possibly edify like agawu.

    of course, this being JAMS, the footnotes are where a lot of the heavy lifting happens. allow me to reproduce for you but one which will give a sense of agawu's tone and procedure here:

    [the piece is good enough -- and writing about it inferior enough, that it's making me want to start pdf blogging. i mean, we got enough mp3 bloggaz around here already. in the name of open courses, anyone up for reading along this semester?]


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