vendredi, septembre 29, 2006

Wake Up!

CALL FOR PAPERS: Waking Up From History: Music, Time, and Place

The 2007 Pop Conference at
April 19-22, 2007
Seattle, Washington

Music happens, then it ripples. What is the relationship between the circumstances that produce music and our swirling notions of pop's past, future, and zeitgeist? How do the times affect the notes? What factors literally and figuratively change the beat of a city? Some decry postmodern "pastiche," while others defend pop concoctions as multiculturalism in action or intoxicating aesthetics. But what are the power relationships at work when music stops time and lets us dance in place?

For this year's Pop Conference, we invite presentations on music, time, and place. This might include:
*Reading time and place into musical innovation. The breakbeat as a refunking of sonic structure and origin myth; or the social history of changing time signatures.

* The racial, class, and gender components that constitute a pop place or time's "we"; the mutating New Orleans of the hip-hop, funk, R&B, and jazz eras, for example.

*Evolving notions of musical revivalism: retro culture, questions of periodization in music, and the validity of the concept of youth culture as a sign of the times.

*Geographies of sound, or how place is incorporated sonically. Lise Waxer called Cali, Colombia, an unlikely bastion of salsa revivalism, a "city of musical memory."

*The dematerialization of the album into the celestial jukebox and other new media. Does the Chicken Noodle Soup dance live on 119 and Lex or on Youtube?

*How dichotomies of nearness/experience and farness/history affect music fanship, music writing, and music making.

*The "place" of pop now, culturally, professionally, and certainly politically.
Proposals should be sent to Eric Weisbard at by December 15, 2006. For individual presentations, please keep proposals to roughly 250 words and attach a brief (75 word) bio. Full panel proposals and more unusual approaches are also welcome. For further guidance, contact the organizer or program committee members: Jalylah Burrell (New York Press), Jon Caramanica (Vibe), Daphne Carr (series editor, Da Capo Best Music Writing), Jeff Chang (author, Can't Stop Won't Stop), Michelle Habell-Pallán(University of Washington), Josh Kun (University of Southern California) Eric Lott (University of Virginia), Ann Powers (Los Angeles Times), Simon Reynolds (author, Rip it Up and Start Again), Bob Santelli (author, The Big Book of Blues), and Judy Tsou(University of Washington). We are excited to announce that presentations from this year's conference will be considered for a future issue of The Believer.

The Pop Conference connect academics, critics, musicians, and other writers passionate about talking music. Our second anthology, Listen Again: A Momentary History of Pop Music, will be published by Duke in 2007. The conference is sponsored by the Seattle Partnership for American Popular Music (Experience Music Project, the University of Washington School of Music, and radio station KEXP 90.7 FM), through a grant from the Allen Foundation for Music. For more information, see this website. and click on "Pop Conference."

jeudi, septembre 28, 2006


I would have used this pic but I needed at least one of the faces to be colored.

Since my cable is temporarily out (didn't have insurance so DirectTV is trying to charge me 100 dollars to come out and fix their half ass constantly malfunctioning shit and I'm not having it) and sis has been gracious enough to share her Netflix membership with me (luv ya much!) I've seen a lot of movies: Good Night, and Good Luck., Thelonious Monk: Straight No Chaser, Walk The Line and Favela Rising to name a few. None of the films dissapointed and I was particularly impressed with Walk The Line but I haven't been able to get Favela Rising out of my head and not on account of Anderson "Integrity" Sa's compelling story (he's an incredible human being) or the filmmakers decisions to donate all profits to AfroReggae (very commendable). I can't seem to figure out how in the 21st century you can make such a masculinist movie. I mean are there no young women involved in AfroReggae? Do no women live in these Favelas? Are they not involved in crime? Are they not affected by poverty? What has been their response to the lawlessness and corruption? I saw a few little girls practicing on their drum kits in the backround during some footage? What's their story? Were these questions asked and edited out? Were these areas explored? What the fuck? Book after movie after article from both well meaning progressives and conservatives disregard women's existence on the planet. I won't list them here (for the sake of self-preservation*) but even most progressive male critics and scholars I read should be ashamed of themselves. They all know how to play lip service--name checking Angela Davis or Asha Bandele--but still tell the same old stories never interrogating their privileged narrow interpretation of life and reifying it in to the annals of history.

*but some of us are not brave

jeudi, septembre 21, 2006

The Real World

And the grad students most likely to cheat are...
Thu Sep 21, 2006 8:08 AM ET

BOSTON (Reuters) - Graduate business students in the United States and Canada are more likely to cheat on their work than their counterparts in other academic fields, the author of a research paper said on Wednesday.

The study of 5,300 graduate students in the United States and Canada found that 56 percent of graduate business students admitted to cheating in the past year, with many saying they cheated because they believed it was an accepted practice in business.

Following business students, 54 percent of graduate engineering students admitted to cheating, as did 50 percent of physical science students, 49 percent of medical and health-care students, 45 percent of law students, 43 percent of liberal arts students and 39 percent of social science and humanities students.

"Students have reached the point where they're making their own rules," said lead author Donald McCabe, professor of management and global business at New Jersey's Rutgers University. "They'll challenge rules that professors have made, because they think they're stupid, basically, or inappropriate."

McCabe said it's likely that more students cheat than admit to it.

The study, published in the September issue of the Academy of Management Learning and Education, defined cheating as including copying the work of other students, plagiarizing and bringing prohibited notes into exams.

McCabe said that in their survey comments, business school students described cheating as a necessary measure and the sort of practice they'd likely need to succeed in the professional world.

"The typical comment is that what's important is getting the job done. How you get it done is less important," McCabe said. "You'll have business students saying all I'm doing is emulating the behavior I'll need when I get out in the real world."

© Reuters 2006.

jeudi, septembre 14, 2006


There is a sonic patch on Future Sex/LoveSounds--a funk riff so clean so precise and so utterly technologic as to contradict itself-- that reminds me of D’Angelo’s absence. 2:38 into the "Love Stoned/I Think She Knows" interlude Justin mumbles "Let me put my funk on the guitar one time," which introduces 8 well executed bars seriously wanting for nappy edges and messed up teeth. Strings and Timberlake’s oh so trusty White boy beatbox segue into the melancholy of my personal album fav. "I Think She Knows." That half of an interlude, très MJ, excites where the rest of the album, exhibiting a pattern that recalls Timbo’s* deceased Aaliyah in stoic Ginuwine guise, annoys. Future Sex/LoveSounds as reflexive wake of the early nineties sound that weaned my gummy eardrums.** A second line not ill-conceived nor poorly executed just dry-unless it’s my ear cavities-and drafty. D&B’ed high concept "Sexy Love,"*** I won’t attempt to explicate its derivative relationship to LoveSexy; that’s before my time. But this album, as contrasted to Timberlake’s very good debut, positions the MJ template as much more accessible (or so mammoth as to necessitate constant mimicry). I’m thinking Sa-Ra and J*Davey, here, who I like less than Timberlake****, which isn’t a dig. I fucks with Timberlake and have since “I Want U Back” looped on Zoog. It’s just so hard to follow in Prince’s heeled boots.

*He has got great self image. I don’t remember rolls of neck fat on Brosnan but admittedly I saw the film some time ago. And please someone silence him and guest rappers. I need no producer adlibs or guest raps on my R&B and or Pop. It grates and dates.

**Or it might just be that Tim’s mentor Devante Swing, architect of my adolescent s-track, has been on my mind.

***NeYo's just vulgar overeager MJ

****Although J*Davey songwriting is much more compelling.

lundi, septembre 11, 2006

Smile Like You Mean It

Dizzy Gillespie on 52nd St.
Jazz Underground presents Gretchen Parlato
W/ Mike Moreno-Guitar, Michael Olatuja-Bass, Obed Calvaire-Drums
@ The Neighborhood Community Church of Greenwich Village
269 Bleeker (between Cornelia & Jones)
52's Jazz Listening Group's* reconvenes this Friday, September 15th at this show. Jazz Underground is a free series of performances sponsored cooperatively by Messiah's Covenant Community Church in Brooklyn and the Neighborhood Church of Greenwich Village. Ms. Parlato is a rising young Jazz vocalist. I first learned of her when her interpretation of Wayne Shorter's "Footprints" was selected by NPR as a song of the day. She's got an incredible voice.

For a preview of her music check out Ms. Parlato's website or her MySpace page. To purchase her music go to CD Baby.

Please e-mail me if you are interested in joining us. We had a great time last month. As usual, we we will be decompressing at a local cafe/watering hole (TBD) afterwards.

*A new New York City Jazz listening group, 52 organizes outings to local Jazz performances that are followed by drinks and conversation. It aims to cultivate a friendly community of open-minded Jazz fans.

jeudi, septembre 07, 2006

Suffering Fools


There is a certain inalienable right-freedom from fools-that I have begun to question. This has required many a sit-in and will certainly demand a few meditative more but treating foolishness as personal trangression increasingly seems foolish (so too succumbing to the accompanying annoyance). Someone is either a damn fool or not. I can temper my response or explode. In my heart of parts, I know I shouldn't pick the shit up but it's tempting, I dare say addictive. That hypertensive rush of anger and self-righteousness makes a girl feel strangely good.

mardi, septembre 05, 2006

Write & Wrong

I have yet to hear this album which should preclude me from commenting on it's reviews but this one is very well written. I've just encountered Chinen's writing in the past few months and it's wonderful.


“Game Theory” (Def Jam)

Dystopia meets dyspepsia on “Game Theory,” the grim new release by the Roots, the Philadelphia hip-hop band. Its sound is ominous, its tone outraged. As for the subject matter, look no further than the lead single, “Don’t Feel Right,” in which Black Thought, the group’s lyricist and mouthpiece, offers a helpful digest of themes: “Sex, drugs, murder, politics and religion.”

Another rapper might welcome those five things like so many guests at a party. But Black Thought, a k a Tariq Trotter, suggests that they’re all desperate forms of currency, part of the hustle. Then he follows up with a warning: “Watch who you put all your trust in/Worldwide we coincide with who’s suffering.” (You may as well add foreign policy to that list of topics, along with urban blight, police corruption and government surveillance.)

The Roots have built a reputation for social critique over their decade-plus career, and their core audience will be prepared for such an onslaught. But “Game Theory,” the group’s first album on Def Jam Recordings, takes aim at a broader public. And it strives to evoke a specific set of hip-hop values: not the charismatic cool of Jay-Z, Def Jam’s president, but the incisive fury of Public Enemy, one of the label’s early successes.

That imperative suits Black Thought as barking suits a watchdog; he sounds more focused than he did on the Roots’ last album, “The Tipping Point,” and more engaged than on the one before it, “Phrenology.” But because he’s not the kind of rapper to modulate his emotional pitch, his intensity can level off into monotony.*

It’s generally a welcome intervention when someone — like the returning Roots alumnus Malik B., or the North Philly rapper Peedi Peedi — briefly takes the lead.

The person who really keeps things moving is ?uestlove, a k a Ahmir Thompson, who leads the Roots from behind his drums, and takes the lead in conceiving and producing their albums. Spurring on a group that pointedly includes a guitarist, Kirk Douglas (a k a Captain Kirk), ?uestlove infuses “Game Theory” with a hard sonic logic, so that the music often sounds as tough as the lyrics. (Here too Public Enemy is a useful reference; its anthem “Don’t Believe the Hype” even makes a stealth appearance, in sampled form.)

Where Black Thought hunkers down, ?uestlove stretches out, sometimes to the point of overreaching: on “Atonement” he misguidedly layers a vocal chorus by Jack Davey over a sample of Radiohead’s “You and Whose Army?” But his sequencing of the album is terse and occasionally gripping, as when “Don’t Feel Right” yields to the stark menace of “In the Music.” And he inserts a few gratifying allusions to earlier, breezier Roots grooves, with neo-soul vocals and splashes of Fender Rhodes piano.

Nostalgia takes a personal edge on the closer, “Can’t Stop This,” which was overseen by the producer J Dilla before his death early this year. Stuffed with posthumous testimonials, the track feels overlong. But somehow it’s only fitting that this album should end with a eulogy. NATE CHINEN

*Well said but he used to. Rewind to DYWM for evidence. Delivery wise, BT, may be suffering from a "professional tedium" to borrow from Ben Ratliff's review of Kenny Garrett's Beyond the Wall or "doing something very familiar almost too well."

vendredi, septembre 01, 2006


There is a space for everyone. I don't remember this as much as I should but I am reminded in unexpected places.

On my bed with John Szwed's biography of Miles Davis in hand I read that someone, Cannonball maybe, said that Miles was not a very good trumpeter but an excellent soloist. Ashley Kahn quotes this same dude, whose identity escapes me, in Kind of Blue: The Making of the Miles Davis Masterpiece. I don't really listen to Miles but his legend suggested to me that he was virtuosic. Not so, at least according to these books.

In my office, after checking this weekend's bleek weather forecast, I hummed a little Tony!Toni Toné! which inevitably led to "C U When U Get There." I bought the CD single back in '97 or so. The Bill & Humberto Mix is best. I used to play the hell out of it at LPC Common Room parties. The music wafted through the mini sound system out the balcony overlooking the Tolo Channel and our expat teen population swayed. Hard. There was probably some languid arm-waving too. After all, it is a really good song. But on the grand scale of cool, Coolio is strikingly deficient. I'm not even gonna discuss talent, of which I'm sure many think he had/has little, since it is so subjective as to be meaningless.

In my writing workshop I write, and share, but mostly listen. It could overwhelm but it doesn't. Because of Miles, I guess, or Coolio. Maybe Kelis and Beyoncé. New York Magazine has a nice little profile on Kelis. Jim Farber reviews the heavily promoted sophomore album of Beyoncé. Not a fan of either but I appreciate Beyonce' singing voice whereas I think Kelis sounds best purring or growling on hooks. We all know Bey don't do much for me but I'm not inclined to celebrate Farber's tempered negative review. He posits the album as an example of her trying on a new style; suggested by Jay or not, pleasing or not, it's a step in the direction of creative growth which, I think, is what we are all after. As for Kelis who's earnestness almost made up for her horrid live vocals at a recent 106&Park performance, I just like her style. Moreover I like the fact that she doesn't have a pleasing singing voice but is a relatively succesful recording artist.

I am reminded that good, better, best are not so much to be or transcended but discarded. There is only what resonates: what evokes response. I sit with that and keep it with me as I walk the length of my path.

*Anybody catch the awkward Bey and Jay not moment when she won her VMA last night? When her name was called she didn't immediately rise, but Jay did along with the rest of the crowd in ovation, when she rose she turn towards him expectantly then away when she realized he had no intention of turning towards her. Slim Thug enters the frame, congratulates her with a kiss on the cheek and daps up Jay catching Bey between them.