Given the gradual tendency of this journal towards almost solely focusing on architecture and urbanism – albeit in the broadest sense – I decided not to do an update on the previous year’s listening (for previous: see 2006, 2004, 2003, 2002). My Last FM profile shows what I’m listening to in startlingly forensic detail, either way – and currently mainly podcasts.
(Just briefly, ignoring Last FM’s statistical ‘truth’ – which might reflect listening habits but not feelings – the highlights from last year would be The Necks, Victrola Favorites, Oren Ambarchi, Mark Templeton, Saddleback, the Four Tet and Cristian Vogel remixes of Thom Yorke, OOIOO, Grinderman, Helios, The Whitest Boy Alive, Klimek, Stars of the Lid, and live, the Bang on a Can 24-hour marathon at the World Trade Center site, NYC, particularly their shimmering rendition of Music for Airports (listen here). Best online retail goes to Boomkat (umpteenth time) and best physical retail to the TITLE store in Sydney.)
But the most enjoyable, rewarding musical discovery and listening experience of this year and last year has been DJ Rupture’s show Mudd Up on the WFMU community radio station out of New York City. Rupture – aka Jace Clayton – spoke at Postopolis! and I’ve looked out for his work ever since. (He also blogs here.) And now his show is available via podcast I’ve been listening avidly.
While I have doubts about New York continuing into the 21st century as a genuine creative force, it’s a credit to the city that Rupture bases himself there. However, his work is more informed by time spent travelling through several so-called liminal zones – the immigrant-rich spaces of Barcelona and Brussels amongst others – where local culture is a complex hybridised cocido. Ingredients in such a stew might emerge from the music scenes of Osaka, Morocco or Mexico. Just listening to this show tells you as much about global urban centres, and their culture, as ploughing through hundreds of academic texts purporting to be about the same thing.
Flamenco hits thai hits grime hits hip-hop hits cumbia hits dubstep hits pop music from all over the Global South. Occasional guests might play tapes from Ghana or Hackney or both, or get interviewed about the state of the underground scene in Brooklyn or somesuch. Clayton doesn’t get in the way of the music at all, instead taking time to give full information on artists, tracks and labels. The overall effect is, as he puts it, “a shantytown unfolds in radiophonic space”. It’s bloody good.
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