Tuesday, September 21, 2010

DISSECTING BARBARIE


You all ask for the detailed play-list, but you know what? I used like 70 different songs or more for this mix. In many cases I only used a couple of seconds. I do not know the exact complete order and sometimes it gets too confusing because there are four or more layers playing at once. You can always check out my Play.FM channel for an approximate (as in not completely accurate) play-list. Here's a selection of some highlights. 
 
GRUPO PARAISO, "Rey de la cumbia": For me at least, finding the perfect intro for the mix is the most important part and until I don't have one I can't really get started. So, part of the reason it took me so long to come out with Barbarie was that I couldn't find an appropriate introductory track. Then I found this hilarious Mexican cumbia with the guy saying "I'm a DJ of the good ones, I'm the king of cumbia" and I thought, ok, that represents me, I guess. I stole the street noises from an album intro by La Chilinga and I played this on a loop as if it was coming out from the window of one of those cars, or even better, a bus, and I mashed it up with a cumbia break by Los Hermanos Tuirán and voilá, I had an intro!

SACASSAIA, "El Culebrón": Brazilian music is mandatory in all my sets. I think that's one of the key elements that sets me apart from a lot of these Latin music DJ's who I usually get to share nights with at the clubs, because, they usually have a Mexican/Central American approach to Latin Music. As a genera rule mainstream Mexicans have no clue about Brazilian music, while Argentinians, we grow up bombarded by it every summer. I was raised in a house where my parents almost didn't listen to music at all, they only owned two cassettes that we had to listen to in every road trip for years, both of them where Brazilian music tapes (one of them was Gal Costa, I can't remember the other one). So way before cumbia, my first contact at Afro-Latin music was through Brazilian samba and batucada. Of course with an Afro-Latin theme in Barbarie I was forced to pay many visits to my lovely northern neighbors and it all starts with this amazing cumbia by Sacassaia, which I already reviewed on this blog.

Sonidos en vivo - Various artists (?): I downloaded a bunch of "albums" like this one, and sampled the vocal impromptu interruptions of the wannabe MCs, to mix within my collage, as I've done previously on Chorisapiens and Linyerismo Vol II, adding to the illusion of a live recording. These motherfuckers have absolutely no respect for they music they're playing, they talk all over all the tracks with no sense of timing at all and people down in Mexico love it. Somehow they are regarded as the kings of cumbia, but they can't beat-match two tracks even if their life depended on it. "It's a different culture, you don't understand it," you'll tell me. Well yeah, there might be a Bizarro parallel universe, where this can sound OK to the ears of the cumbia dancers and believe me, I have nightmares of falling though one of those multidimensional portals and be sucked by the scary sonidero world.

DE LA GUARDA, "Marea": Many of you might be already be familiar with Gaby Kerpel, the real name behind Zizek's artist King Coya. He is the one, unlike all the rest, who had world wide recognition way before the idea of Zizek was even conceived. Back in the late 90's he composed the amazing music for the alternative theatre troupe De La Guarda. It's not cumbia, it's not murga either, but it has a lot of Afro tribal percussion and it's totally trippy. I used this one track and then another one right before the end of the mix, both from the play Periodo Villa Villa. Makes me regret not having ever seen them live.

FRIKSTAILERS,  "Cumbianchamuyo": Dude, I'm so hyped up that I'm gonna be opening for these guys next week! I love them and I've been using their music in all my megamixes since Linyerismo. I love how their tracks are so easy to handle and mash with almost anything, they always leave a lot of room for playing around and I appreciate that. I remember  when I started mixing Barbarie I made a whole point of not using any Zizek music (because I abused them too much in the past) and instead go more to the sources and sample from old school cumbia and shit, but then this one came out and that song exactly matched the tempo and mood of what I was mixing at the moment so I couldn't resist it.

GREENWOOD RHYTHM COALITION, "Tabaco y Ron": This is my cousin's favorite cumbia. She's been singing it since we were in our early teens and every time I mention the word "cumbia" to her, she starts singing this, and it makes me happy. There are probably hundreds of "Tabaco y Ron" versions, it could be listed as one of the biggest cumbia standards, like "La Pollera Colorá," "La Banda Está Borracha" or "La Danza de los Mirlos." Songs that go beyond any specific nationality or time period, they're immortal and unite the whole global cumbia nation under their irresistible rhythm. I decided to pay homage to it by mixing together three different versions of the song, something I've never done in my previous megamixes, one by Rodolfo Y Su Típica, one by Guillermo Lasso and the main one by the house band of my new favorite record label: Names You Can Trust.

JUAN CARLOS CACERES, "Miremos Al Mañana": This was the song that started it all. It was when I listened to Cáceres impeccable album Murga Argentina that I had the seed of the idea to do a murga mixtape that over a year later germinated into Barbarie. Cáceres is one of the Argentine artists I respect the most for his incredible work of musical archeology tracking down the African roots of our vernacular sounds. Since his early Afro-Latin experiments with Malón back in the '60s and '70s to his current Tango negro phase, he has been releasing lots of amazing music, still, nobody knows him and it's a shame. I used many murga breaks from him all over Barbarie, but this one is my favorite.

JAZZY MEL, "Afro Latino": Back when I was 13 years old this guy was my idol. This Uruguayan-born rapper was the first of the kind in Argentina and it's nowadays regarded as the scene's maximum pioneer. But if you listen to his early shit now, it's hella cheesy, of course. "Afro Latino" was always my favorite song on that album and it matched perfectly with the Afro-Latin theme of the mix. In all my previous music collages, from Linyerismo to Chorisapiens, I always included some music done by Illya Kuryaki & The Valderramas, contemporaries to Jazzy Mel who somehow managed to survive the era and achieve more credibility. This time instead I gave much deserved props to one of my mentors.

AFRICAN BUSINESS, "In Zaire": Back to 1989 and the heights of the hip-house era. This one was a major one hit-wonder back then but I couldn't find anything about the artist anywhere online, so I don't know where they're from or whatever happened to them. I only remember watching their video and dancing in front of the TV set. In many of my mixes I include some sort of quote that takes me back to that particular era (Linyerismo Episode II had "We're gonna catch you" by Bizz Nizz, Mersaholic had Black Machine's "How Gee") because that's my foundation as a music fan and a DJ. I know most of my American listeners won't get it because, outside from a few exceptions, the whole hip-house thing was a European phenomenon, so they probably have no idea about these references and do not feel any kind of nostalgia for the era as I do. Anyway, this and a tiny sound bite by J Dilla, are the only non-Latin tracks I used in the mix.

WILLY CROOK, "Big Voodoo Mamma": This guy was  playing funk in Argentina during the 90's, before the funk revival made the genre hip again. I never played any attention to him back then, but I recently downloaded all his discography and there are some pretty cool jams there. I mashed up the breakdown from this song with the intro of Chico Mann's "Sound is everything" and I wasn't planning on using it for Barbarie because it didn't quite fit with the cumbia-meets-murga theme, but it worked out great to calm the waters for a while before going back to the drumming madness.

ARIEL PRAT, "La Murga Camina": Only one other Argentine artist that I know has been following the steps of Juan Carlos Cáceres in connecting tango with murga and candombe in search of the lost roots of Afro-Argentine music; Ariel Prat. It's not a coincidence that both these artists are Argentines living abroad (Spain and France). I guess it makes sense, somehow, you need to see things from an outsider's perspective to understand them sometimes. At least that's how it worked out for me. Anyway, I used two breaks from Prat's album Negro y Murguero in Barbarie, and I'll probably keep sampling him a lot more in the future.

MEXICANS WITH GUNS, "Dame Lo": Going into dubstep was never in the flight plans. It was a totally unexpected change of direction and it happened because of this guy. I was doing some research on artists and DJ's who hide their faces behind Mexican wrestling fans (like myself) for a Remezcla.com piece and I found this Texan dude who does this amazing Latin dubstep shit and I was like, I gotta put that on my mix right now! So even though the BPM's didn't really match, I felt compelled to drop it in and I think the results were pretty cool. I had my many doubts at first, but when I realized it was actually much easier than expected to go back from dubstep to murga, I decided to keep it.

LOS FABULOSOS CADILLACS, "Gitana": There was no other moment in this megamix that I enjoyed more than when I realized I was able to fit this Cadillac's break. I have used their biggest hit, "Matador" in Chorisapiens but that's a total cliché. "Gitana" has always been my favorite Cadillac's song to mix at the parties, right when there's only one hour left before the end and you wanna pump them up once more and make them go crazy. The long instrumental intro of that song and the breakdown have so many sampleable percussion breaks that I could go nuts chopping and mixing that, but instead I decided to keep it minimal and not so obvious and use only too loops from the intro and I juxtaposed them with a Novalima Afro-Peruvian break.

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