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


reggae-riddims done?

i was alarmed to find this morning--while hoping to do a routine search for a song title--that reggae-riddims.com, long the most comprehensive (& free, online, & searchable) database for reggae recordings and their various metadata, is no longer there. the domain name is expired, "pending renewal or deletion."

i (used to?) use the site frequently for tracking down original versions, covers and re-licks, odd connections of all kinds, and--best of all--long, lovely lists of songs that employ the same well-worn riddims. moreover, alongside my more qualitative methods, folks like pace have crunched the data to explore various avenues of quantitative analysis. no, reggae-riddims wasn't perfect. it had its (implicit) biases and lacunae, and it had seemingly been working with a static data set for a long time. but it was still the best thing out there: no libraries are collecting this information, and few folks are making it publicly accessible or so searchable. (of course, for a small price...)

sure, there's always jamrid, which has the benefit of offering audio samples (but far less info), and one can make a query on various message boards 'round the net, but no other site--far as i know--provides as much sheer information as reggae-riddims.

i guess i'm still waiting for the great big audiowiki in the sky, when we can all upload audio, text, metadata, etc., and even annotate the sound itself. i can imagine quite a collective document shaping up, making connections and opening up into countless narratives about music and society and culture. until then, we're stuck with privately maintained archives which run the risk of going under or are sometimes saddled by a paucity of data or perspective.

yes, sites like the-breaks.com--for all their ethical ambiguity (e.g., is this helping or hurting samplers' cause?)--remain valuable resources. but wouldn't it be better if they could be at least semi-publicly maintained, edited, and expanded?

who maintains reggae-riddims.com? what can be done to bring it back? would the previous keepers of the data mind if others put it back up, and allowed others to contribute to it? there is much to be learned here, and much to be lost.

[update: bass.de points us to a reincarnation of reggae-riddims, bigger and more up-to-the-time, too: riddimbase. gotta love those germaicans.]


Anonymous Anonymous said...

You might try our riddimbase at dancehallmusic.de, which builds on the reggae-riddims.com-data and by now hosts actually more songs (26.000+something) with riddim info than rr did (for roughly 50% of the riddims audiosamples are provided). It's not a perfect match with rr though, rr contained information especially about some (not too many) of the more obscure riddims from the seventies and about album appearences of songs, that we don't feature (yet, we're working on it ;). As for the status of rr, all I know is that the owner didn't have the time over the last years to update it regularly, but i can't help with information on the current status.
Keep up the good writing!
P.S.: German site, but the database is in english, and free of course. ;)

4:55 AM  
Blogger wayne&wax said...

hey bass,

thanks for the info. now that you mention it, i ran across the dancehall.de database just last week when i was looking into "dem bow"/"poco man." great to see that someone else has taken up this important project.

looks like you've got lots of interesting info over there. ich habe meine deutsch verbessern!

8:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

While the domain has expired, the site is still up.

10:59 PM  
Blogger wayne&wax said...

thanks for pointing that out, erik. i was initially wondering whether the site might still be there, but i couldn't remember - and didn't bother to search for - the original IP address.

good to know it's still there, though it seems like riddimbase is perhaps a better source at this point.

5:57 AM  
Blogger Pace said...

Thanks for reconnecting us all to this/these great resources! My heart sank when I got the word and I am glad the data lives on!

1:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There's also the WayBackMachine over at archive.org where you can get versions of the site going back to '99, if there's any interest: http://web.archive.org/web/*/http://www.reggae-riddims.com


12:41 PM  

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