Saturday, February 27, 2010

VERBORRAGIA by DJ Juan Data (FREE MIX)

 
Back in 2001 I recorded by very first published hip-hop mix, it was called "Viajes & Chicas" and we played it at my rap music radio show, back in Buenos Aires (I don't have a copy of it but somebody recorded it from the radio and put it somewhere online a couple of years ago). That was also my last hip-hop mix. 
After I moved to the US I got instantly disenchanted by the local bastardized and über-commercial version of hip-hop and I started experimenting with other music genres. 
Still, I consider hip-hop my four previous megamixes even though I mostly played cumbia breaks. Because in my perception real hip-hop DJing is not about mixing rap songs but about using other styles of music in a cut-and-paste way, emphasizing the break-beats. That's what the real, original hip-hop DJ's used to do (think Afrika Bambaataa) back in the day, they didn't play no rap records, because rap records didn't exist. So according to this definition, hip-hop is not so much a music genre, but a way of understanding and playing music from diverse music genres.
So anyway, all my previous mixes were hip-hop in that sense, but not rap music. Because for a while I've been staying at a prudent distance from rap music. But recently that changed with the news of Anita Tijoux coming to visit the US for the first time presenting her new amazing album 1977 (out on Nacional Records next April), I got so excited that I started listening to rap (and Spanish rap in particular) all over again and soon I fell back in love with it. And since I'm gonna be DJ'ing at Anita's show in Berkeley, CA, I decided to start practicing mixing rap again, something I haven't done for a long long time. From those practice sessions, came the idea of recording a mixtape with some of my favorite rap-en-español songs and that's how Verborragia happened. It's a 45 minute long set with rap songs from Spain, Chile, Argentina, Cuba and Mexico, some underground some mainstream, some classics, some brand new, but all of them good rap songs (0% reggaetón). Of course I was totally biased by my personal taste on my selection so don't be taking this as a faithful catalog of Hispanic rappers and don't start arguing about who I included and who I left out and why I didn't represent this or that country or crew. Everybody knows I love DJ Raff, and Griffi and Anita Tijoux and SFDK and Koxmoz, so of course I played more of those than other I like less. But maybe just because they happened to match the flow of the mix and others didn't.
Once again, this is not a cut-and-paste megamix, there are no flashy DJ effects here, no juxtaposition of multiple layers, no clever mixing of funny bits... none of the stuff you got used to expect from my previous four mixes published here. This is just rap songs, one after the next, simple as that, mostly mixed in real time with just a couple of minor pre-edits (to make some songs shorter). Maybe that's why this is my first unmasked album cover! Enjoy...

(For the detailed playlist you can always check my Play.FM channel)

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

DJ ORION - Carajo Colombia! (Raw Word Records, '10)

The Texas cumbia scene keeps surprising me, not only with amazing bands like Grupo Fantasma and Charanga Cakewalk, but also with very talented DJ's like Panik, Dus and Orion. Texas neo-cumbia DJ's seem to have in common one thing, and this is one thing that I like, they share some evident hip-hop roots, and being trained as hip-hop DJ's not only can they scratch they also have a better understanding of break beats.
Why did this happen and why did it happened in Texas, of all places, is still a mystery to me. You see, I'm very Californian that way, I've never been to Texas because in my imagination it's a scary place full of republican assholes and women with too much make-up. But when it comes to cumbia renaissance Texas is, apparently, the place to be. Maybe more so than San Francisco and New York, who get all the hipster hype.
This Texan DJ/producer is not an exception to the rule, but because of his particular background and his upbringing he has a different approach to Cumbia music than the rest. With Colombian and Puerto Rican parents and having grown up in Germany, DJ Orion brings a fresh perspective to the game that sets him apart from the Mexican/Chicano dominant scene. This shows in his remixes where he digs deep into old-school Colombian cumbia as well as some 70's Boriquan funk and blends it with hip-hop break beats. He even pays homage to hip-hop's old school bringing back some classic b-boy breaks by the Incredible Bongo Band and that was more than enough to gain my heart.
I also heard that he is an MC and has a side rapping project but he wisely managed to keep this away from his cumbia remixes, so all you rap haters can still dig this. The best thing about this collection of remixes? You can set the price for download. And after hearing it a few times and knowing that I'm gonna be blasting at least nine of the eleven tracks on my DJ set, let me tell you, it's worth more than a couple of bucks.


DOWNLOAD IT HERE

Thursday, February 18, 2010

CHOC QUIB TOWN-Oro (Nacional Records, '10)

We all are quite familiar with Colombia's north coast thanks to the recent explosion of cumbia music worldwide, but honestly I know very little about the Pacific coast, besides Choc Quib Town.
I first heard about this group when interviewing Sidestepper's Richard Blair. I asked him who was that super hot rapping girl they had added to the group and he told me she was also from a new group called Choc Quib Town (sometimes spelled as one word, some times abbreviated as CQT). I thought, poor guys with a name like that, they're not gonna get too far. I was right about the awkwardness of their name, four years later I still had to check out the spelling on the CD cover before writing the title of this review. But was was wrong about how far they could get...
In the last couple of years these guys got really big in Colombia. They've recently been awarded with a Grammy and thus came their US debut through our friends at Nacional Records. Oro is actually a compilation of their selected work with a total of 16 tracks, only nine of them belonging to the actual Oro album released in Colombia in 2009, the other seven songs are from previous releases. I already had the Colombian version of Oro and a couple of their older tracks, so I was still able to find new gems here.
Choc Quib Town mixes positive afrocentric rap with a mestizo approach to local Colombian rhythms (but sorry, no cumbia here). The productions are slick and the raps are correct. They have great voices, specially Goyo, the girl, who can also sing very well, and they can keep their flow. But the lyrics structure and rhymes are pretty basic, something that seems to be the rule in mestizo rap (think Orishas, Ojos de Brujo, etc) and that will alienate the more orthodox b-boys (and I totally understand why because I used to be one of them and I would've probably dissed this record if it was introduced to me back then). Still they can rhyme better than 90% of the average reggaetoneros and the content of their songs is a lot more interesting (although sometimes they feel like a touristic brochure about the sociological, historical and geographical qualities of their zone).
I liked "El Bombo," "Prietos," "De Donde Vengo Yo," "Pescao Envenenao" and "Move." Right now they're touring the US so if they hit your town make sure to check them out.


Wednesday, February 17, 2010

A TRIBUTE TO LOS FABULOSOS CADILLACS-Vos Sabes Cómo Te Esperaba (Nacional Records, '10)

LOL, remember when in my previous post I asked Nacional Records for a Cadillacs' remixes album? Well, instead they sent me a tribute comp, close enough, but not quite...
Tribute albums are usually absolutely pointless, just a marketing scheme to either profit of the recent death of a pop-star or to try resurrect somebody's career after a long hiatus. In this case it's the second option.
You see, Los Fabulosos Cadillacs were huge back in the late eighties, during those days the second wave of ska and reggae imported from Great Britain (thanks to Madness and The Specials) was hitting hard in Buenos Aires and soon enough we had our own local clones. LFC started as a stereotype ska band with a handful of memorable party anthems that made them a staple of all school dance parties and quinceañeras, plus they had many of their hits covered by soccer hooligans, which is like a one-way ticket to pop immortality in Argentina. Later in the early nineties they lost popular acceptance after a couple of really bad moves (like playing a cover of "Sopa de Caracol") but they gained it back in '94 with the release of their most successful album, Vasos Vacíos, a compilation of greatest hits which included the ubiquitous hit "Matador." Suddenly they were famous all over Latin America and even in the United States, where they became synonym with rock-en-español or as they call it now, Latin Alternative. By the end of the decade they decided it was time to show some signs of maturity and shed off the party anthems in favor of more pretentious Latin jazz and fusion, pleasing the critics more than the fans.
During the first decade of the current century they pretty much vanished from the radar without ever officially calling the quits and a couple of their members focused on solo careers. The big comeback was in '08 with La Luz Del Ritmo, a half self-tribute album, half collection of covers and new songs (their single was a great new-cumbia called "Padre Nuestro" with cumbia villera's pioneer Pablo Lescano as a guest with his keytard). So all of a sudden, after an almost-decade long hiatus they reappeared in the scene and recorded yet another sort of self-tribute album in '09: El Arte De La Elegancia de LFC.
So the question is, we get all the comeback momentum and all that, but was there a real need for a tribute album of a band so prone to self-tributes and greatest-hits comps? How long more can we keep on regurgitating the same old songs from the 80's and 90's in slightly different formats? Well, guessing by the artwork of this compilation, there's still more to come; a big number one on the cover's bottom right suggests there might be a second volume to this...
Anyway, what can be said about this set of covers? Of course we wouldn't expect them to be better than the originals, they almost never are, definitely not in this case. In general, I noticed a trend to make more intimate versions (Andrés Calamaro in  "Vasos Vacíos," No Te Va A  Gustar in "Basta De Llamarme Así," Cultura Profética in "Silencio Hospital") of songs that in many cases were very up-beat dance-floor fillers in their original form. There's a lot of reggae (some of the prettiest versions were done by Los Cafres and Bolivia's Matamba) and virtually no ska, which I find odd considering they started as a ska band.
From a DJ point of view, I really doubt that I'd play any of these songs in my sets, much less replace the originals with them; maybe with only one exception: "Padre Nuestro" by Aterciopelados.  That one was really good. Los Auténticos Decadentes cover was ok, but being the party-band they are, they should've gone for a song like "Gitana" and it could've been an instant addition to my peak-of-the-night set. Los Amigos Invisibles version of "Mal Bicho" is not bad either but it's just too similar to the original so I don't see the point in playing it in my set, they only changed the "sos" for "eres" in the chorus (which I personally find annoying) and that's it.
As usual in all these compilations there are a couple of oddballs but the one that stands out the most is the horrible version of "Matador" done by Mexican rappers Cartel De Santa. That was just a plain insult to the original. They just sampled and looped a couple of percussion breaks from the song with no extra production (something a twelve years old kid can do with a laptop and shareware) and karaoke/rapped on top and it's ewwww all the way from the first verse to the end (if you make it, I had to stop it before). That dude can't rap shit and his boring-ass monotone voice clashes with the up-beat batucada in the background ruining forever the dance potential of an otherwise irresistible party anthem. I guess "Matador" is the only song they know by Cadillacs and that's why they chose it, but being rappers, they could've done a more decent job covering one of the early LFC's raps from the times when they had Luciano Jr. as an MC and they were trying to look like the Beastie Boys.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

DISSECTING CHORISAPIENS

Spoiler Alert! Do not attempt to read this post if you haven't listened to the Chorisapiens megamix yet. The mix is packed with funny bits, unexpected twists and turns and obscure samples, many of these need to be explained to be fully appreciated by the average listener due to the language or cultural barriers. But I'm a firm believer that knowing the play-list in advance will ruin your mixtape listening experience. So if you haven't done so, go ahead and download it, listen to it and then you're allowed to come back and read this post.


DATA MC - Intro: Remember when I reviewed Bang Data's debut EP and I listed a whole bunch of artists who use the word Data in their names? I once was doing some research on-line and I found out there were many more than I expected. Data MC is one of them, I know nothing about this rapper except for the assumption that he must be from around here because ha has Zion I and my friend Deuce Eclipse (of Bang Data!) as guests in his 2007 album Data Invasion. I didn't listen to the album, I just downloaded the intro and after a couple of minor twitches it became my intro.

KOXMOZ - Pura Coincidencia: I am fortunate enough to have many rappers dropping my name on their tracks. Sometimes it's insulting me, like in Grammy-winners Sindicato Argentino del Hip Hop's "Piénsalo" (which I used in all my previous mixes), some other times is giving me props, like in this track by my homies Koxmoz. In between the repetition of my name you can also hear a voice saying "quién és?" That's from Koxmoz's MC Apolo Novax in a track he recorded with myself back when I used to rap, called "Lección #1".

CLEMENTE - Concurso de Hinchadas Internacionales: This is an Argentine comedy record of 1982. Clemente was a TV puppet show that had its peak of popularity during the Soccer World Cup and it made fun of each countries' fans based on very politically incorrect xenophobic stereotypes... by today PC standards. But back them we were all kids and we didn't care if they depicted Africans as having a bone in their hair. It was hilarious even for those who, like myself, never gave a rat's ass about soccer.    

DR. TANGALANGA - Albañil Felipe: I love the Beastie Boys. Back in the mid-nineties they released a compilation of old stuff aptly named Some Old Bullshit that blew my mind. It included a track called "Cooky Puss" that was one of their first attempts at hip-hop, it was just a looped track with these guys prank-calling people on the phone, something we used to do a lot back then. So as a tribute to that early Beasties track I wanted to mix some prank-dialing and I found this old tape by Argentina's prank-master comedian Tangalanga.

BLACK MANDINGO - Cumbia del Heavybass: Originally I wanted to do a neo-cumbia-free mix, mixing exclusively old-school breaks of traditional cumbia and Latin funk, but then I found this track and it fitted so well that it almost changed completely the direction of the mix. I mashed it up with M.I.A. and I was scared this might be too much of a cliche by now... for about a month I sat on it, trying to decide if I should keep it or go back and start it all over again, but I ended up keeping it and I think it worked out pretty well. (Download it free here!).

LA MALA RODRIGUEZ - Tambalea: La Mala became kind of like a common place in Spanish rap. She's the one rapper that every sucker who doesn't listen to rap knows about. Same thing happened to Orishas. They are that type of crossover-friendly-Mestizo-fusion-rappers that the Latin-Alt listeners can have on their IPods without the fear of being "ghetto." Anyhow, she was hella dope back in the 90's when those suckers didn't know about her. This is one of the first cuts of her debut album, when she was still getting props from the hip-hop underground. I wonder if there's one female rapper I haven't had a crush on at one point in my life...


ORQUESTA RIVERSIDE - En Casa Del Trompo No Bailes: A great funky break from this 70's Cuban band found on the Revolucion! compilation. Lately I've been listening to a lot more funk and old school and I wanted to include a lot more of this in Chorisapiens. I don't know shit about this band but the break was pretty fun to play with. One day I'll do a mix that's just funky breaks... Full album review here.



PUBLIC ENEMY - Black Steel In The Hour Of Chaos: Public Enemy's best album is also one of the top-10 most influential hip-hop records of all time and I used to listen to it a lot, and I mean a LOT. That style of sample-based production with infinite layers of crap on top of each other, that made the Bomb Squad legendary, became the dominant style of the golden era of sampled music (1988-1992, before they started cracking down on copy-right infringement) and you can obviously tell that's a huge influence in my megamixes that sometimes seem stuck in 1989... and that's the point. In this case I used a live intro of a PE concert over a cheesy cumbia remix of some wanker called Miguel Angel along with a sample from Wu-Tang's GZA.

ANA TIJOUX - La Nueva Condena: Talk about having a crush on a female rapper... Anita has been part of all my megamixes so far, and she remains as one of the only constants. As you must know by now, her second solo album, 1977, will be released soon by Nacional Records and she's coming in March to tour the US for the first time (I can't wait!). Maybe that's why I was so excited that I included her twice in this mix, once with this, her own song, and later with her collaboration on another Nacional Records' artist, Latin Bitman
 

LOS MIRLOS - La Danza De Los Mirlos: This was my first knowledge of Peruvian cumbia, but I actually didn't know they were Peruvian until a lot later. They were always very popular in Buenos Aires outskirts so I assumed they were local. I used the bass line from "Cumbia de los Pajaritos" which is a cover of this same song by Grupo Fantasma, but I left the birds from Los Mirlos on top. That part it's a big ol' mess with five tracks playing at once, but that's what happens when I have a lot of free time in my hands, I start working on the same 20 seconds adding more layer of crap until I have to stop myself.


EL REMOLON - Bolivia: I abused so much the Zizek releases in my previous mixes, that I made a point of not playing any here but I ended up using a track by one of my favorite producers, El Remolón, mashed-up with the chorus of "Drop It Low Girl" by Ester Dean and Chris Brown. In the end, I also used a track from the always amazing Frikstailers but not one released by Zizek.   




SONIDO LA CHANGA - Cumbia Loca: I'm friend with this Mexican dude who claims to be the godson of Sonido La Changa, one of the maximum pioneers of Mexican cumbia sonidera. I don't know if it's true or he just smokes too much pot, but the thing is, he passed me some Changa tracks including this one that blended perfectly with El Remolón and it was easy to mash up with some Eric Sermon's acapellas. 
 


LOS FABULOSOS CADILLACS - Matador: I've been trying to use this break for a long long time and I was finally able to blend it in here... and nobody noticed it. Los Fabulosos Cadillacs is a ska/latin rock/party band from Argentina that's very well known all over the continent, in part thanks to this 1994 humongous hit. It's a great song with amazing Brazilian batucada percussion (some say stolen from Olodum) but unfortunately, in the US it became one of the biggest cliches of Latin music! It's sort of like the flagship of the whole rock-en-Español movement from the late nineties to these days and it's the song you can drop at any dull moment of any Latin party and it will bring the crowd back up in an instant. It's beyond my comprehension why there are not ten million remixes of this song all over the internet! Maybe because the original is so good that nobody dares touching it? Hey, Nacional Records, how about a Cadillac's remixes album?


GARDEL & VICTOR - Mi Buenos Aires Querido: OK, brace yourselves for the first unexpected twist of Chorisapiens. Everybody knows Carlos Gardel, right? The biggest figure in tango's history. Well, how about a duet with Victor Díaz? This guy sells flowers on the street in downtown Buenos Aires, along with his own bootlegged CD's of himself singing with world famous stars like Michael Jackson, The Beatles and yes Gardel... over cumbia and reggaetón beats! Yikes! Yup, it's fucking insane. This dude took the whole mash-up idea to a new level, mixing it with karaoke. I only used the intro of his reggaetón cover/mash-up of Gardel because the rest is hilarious but it's absolute garbage. I was about to use his version of "Thriller" too (titled "Triller") where The King of Pop is forced to share the microphone with a kid who I can only assume is Victor's son... but maybe that would've been too much. Next time you're doing whip-its and drinking cough syrup with your junkie friends, remember to drop this one and it will amuse them for sure.

DJ RAFF - Latino & Proud: I talk way too much about two Chilean artists on this blog, one is, of course, Anita Tijoux, the other one is DJ Raff. He appears three times in Chorisapien, this one being the most obvious one. This is a track from his amazing Raffolution CD blended with Professor Angel Dust's "Horny Mambo" in the beginning and with Mexican Dubwiser's remix of Grupo Mojado's "Tonta" in the end. And on top of that you have me scratching the acapella of Beastie Boys' classic "Paul Revere".

SABO - Otra Noche: A great DJ/Producer from New York City that I have discovered thanks to the Bersa Discos Tormenta Tropical parties where he was guest DJ more than once. He has also done some cumbia tracks for Bersa recently, but I used two of his older remixes on this set. This one where he samples Don Omar, and another when where he samples Pitbull, two artist that by themselves I hate but I don't mind listening to them in these mixes.


RA - Tente (El Matador Rockers): Ra is a new rapper from the Matador Rockers crew in, Barcelona, Spain, and they are part of the Del Palo family, under the guidance of my very favorite hip-hop producer Griffi. Ra's rap is nothing out of the average but the electro-new-school beats are insane. Here I blended it up with Latin Bitman and LeFreak Selector from the Cucumelo remix comp. The best thing about it, Ra's debut album, Freedom is free. Download it here.


TROUBLE FUNK - Pump Me Up: In Mersaholic I used Sugarhill Gang's "Apache" and I loved the results so for this one I decided to use another classic old-school joint with killer percussion and the legendary "Pump pum pum pump me up!" I mashed it up with a Fort Knox Five (my favorite contemporary funk artists) remix of a Brazilian song, "Salvador Diaspora." I do have the vinyl for the Fort Knox Five track, but I really wish I had the actual vinyl for the Trouble Funk one with that amazing cover, I'd put it on a frame.

LOS DESTELLOS - Noche De Garúa: I used this exact same sample as an intro in my remix of El Himno Del Cucumelo and I liked it so much I hd to use it again. I found it on one of my favorite blogs, Super Sonido! A classic Peruvian cumbia from the 60's with an announcer saying "And now my friends... something groovy for you!" Thanks to Sonido Franko of Super Sonido for introducing me to so much old (new for me) music on a regular basis.


LOU PEREZ - Aflo Hustle: I don't know if it should actually be Afro and it's a typo of emusic.com, where I downloaded this comp. This was another unexpected change in the mix. So far all my megamixes were done in a constant BPM, increasing gradually, with no big jumps at all, here I had that intro of "El Guapo" by Los Diablos Rojos that was taking me back to the 105 BPM I was coming from, but by mistake I dropped this one that was 125 BPM and it  worked out  pretty well so I decided to keep it and make the abrupt jump to hiperspace.

SUMO - Los Viejos Vinagre: This short little bit of a funk/rock breakdown will be only appreciated by the Argentine listeners because unlike most other Argentine rock bands from the 80's, Sumo didn't have any significant success abroad (maybe just in Chile and Uruguay). Sumo was arguably the most influential rock band of its generation, they started as a South American copy of Joy Division and The Clash and then branched out into a lot other music genres before their leader, an enigmatic Italian immigrant who sung in English passed away. This was one of their more poppy hits, I definitely prefer their reggae and punk songs, there's a remix of it too, but's pretty wack, mainly because they didn't use that powerful breakdown.

PALENKE SOULTRIBE - No Voy A Morir: I mentioned these guys many times in this blog, they are my Colombian buddies from LA mixing cumbia and vallenato with techno and house.  Good stuff, you totally gotta check 'em out. I'm excited because they're coming to San Francisco for the first time soon and I'll finally be able to see them live, I hear they have a pretty impressive show. Anyway, I basically fucked up their track a lot before mixing it. I mashed up some cumbia villera hype vocals first and then this horrendous acapella by Pitbull. I was actually looking for another acapella but I found this one almost by accident and it fitted perfectly the structure of the beat and then I was all like, shall I leave it? I mean, I fucking hate this douchebag and all he represents and people are gonna think that I totally sold out by playing such a commercial summer-hit that's gonna automatically date my mix but what the hell, it sounds good together with Palenke so I decided to keep it. 


YOLANDA BE COOL - Afro Nuts  (Douster Remix): Here's another appearance by a Zizek star. This song came out at the end of last year and I actually played for the first time in public at a New Years Eve party, right after the midnight countdown. It's a great party song in its original form and in all it's various remixes and I love them all. I think it's the first candidate for the best of 2010 top-11. Oh, and I mashed it up with another M.I.A. vocal track. 


ELECTROTRIBAL - Electro Cumbia: It's a lot more house than electro cumbia, but hey, they probably named it after the band. I talked about these Venezuelan guys before on this blog and we even gave away some tracks I think. Here I used a remix done by Erisch Ensastigue, whoever that is... which I chose because it has that long-ass breakdown that leads into a Mexican sonidero style of the same song, "La Cumbia Cienaguera." I also added some rap and cumbia villera vocals on top at the end and that announcer...

SABOR SONIDERO - Luz De Mar:  Now this is the real gem and my favorite moment of the whole megamix, hidden right before the end. I had the track with that long breakdown I was talking about before and I was like, wow, it would be ideal if I had some sonidero MC talking shit. I went online looking for live sonidero recordings and this was the first one I found and the first track I hear has this dude... it was irresistible! It made me laugh my ass off, I played it like twenty times back to back in disbelief, did I really hear him saying that?! It's so over the top ridiculous! Oh my god, I have to use it! He's actually saying "hey everybody, say hi to the TV cameras that are there in the back, wave your hands! Please somebody point out where there is someone with faggot face so he can be filmed by the video camera (...) here's one that looks like a total queer with his long curly hair..." Oh yeah baby! I've been told that the cumbia sonidera scene in Puebla, Mexico is surprisingly gay friendly and I've seen some videos of gay guys dancing cumbias together at those parties, so I don't really know if the announcer is being ironic (I'd hope!) or he's just totally oblivious about his homophobic remarks (I'd guess...). Anyway, I actually laugh so hard that it made me cry.

NOTE: Keep in mind this is only a partial track list, focused on the highlights. If you want the complete list you gotta check my play.fm channel.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

CHORISAPIENS By DJ Juan Data (FREE MIX)


So this will be my first megamix of 2010. It was planned to be the fourth of 2009, I actually started it in November but had some technical difficulties and I had to leave it on hold for a while until I could recently pick up back up and finish it. 
Once again, the concept and format are pretty much the same of my previous mixes, meaning it's about 30 minutes of breaks and bits from over 50 different songs crammed up together in intricate ways. Cumbia is still there, linking the mix together, but there's far less cumbia than in Mersaholic, and a lot more old school Latin funk. Hip-hop is always present, but this time maybe in more evident ways, with the mashing-up of many rap acapellas over the sampled beats. There is also some Brazilian funk, some classic Colombian cumbia and even some house, and of course plenty of funny surprises for the attentive listeners.
Maybe the biggest difference between this one and my previous megamixes is that I did a lot more fast straight-up cuts and sudden changes, while before I always tried to blend it all together and keep it flowing. So be ready for the unexpected...
Another great difference is that in this mix, for the first time, I didn't use any Toy Selectah, Bomba Estereo or M.I.S. tracks and went instead for some more obscure selections. There are some constants. of course, like El Remolón and Anita Tijoux, who always seem to find a way to make it into my messy mixes.

The title, Chorisapiens, is another made-up word, continuing with the tradition of Linyerismo and Mersaholic, and as you may already infer from the art, it has to do with chorizos. Chorizos (as well as salami and all sorts of sausages) are a big part of my daily diet, that's where I get my protein from. I remember as a kid being at my grandfather's farm, looking at this farmers making chorizos with the rests of the pork meat and skin, after the hams and all the other usable parts were taken. Pretty gross, yeah... but yummy! In a way my mixes are sort of like chorizos then, because they are made of little bits and pieces of discarded music, some good old songs, but also, a lot of otherwise unlistenable trash.
That could be a good reason to name the mix Chorisapiens, but in reality, the story is quite different. You see, when I started getting involved in the Buenos Aires hip-hop scene back in the mid-nineties there was this guy called DJ Hollywood. Nope, not the old-school New York DJing pioneer. This was an old b-boy from my neighborhood, Caballito, who used to teach the newcomers in the arts of hip-hop. Whenever a new wanna-be b-boy or MC (as myself) would approach him, he would take him under his wing, and pass him his knowledge. 
DJ Hollywood had a set of Technics turntables and a pile of old-school records, in his one-room apartment he shared with his mom and dog. I had never seen a DJ with a home set-up like that before. He wasn't much of a skillful DJ, to tell the truth, but he used to make this mixtapes for his student b-boys so they had some music to practice with at home. Those legendary cassette tapes were packed with classic electro and early 80's rap and at the end he would come up dropping knowledge and giving advice to the break-dancers, "don't use drugs!"
Later in 2000, things were hard for Holly (as we called him) and he had to sell his equipment and most of his records. On a stolen supermarket shopping cart he built a "choripán" cart and went out to sell at the park were b-boys used to practice, two blocks from my house (the park that's reproduced on the mix cover). Choripán, is basically just a chorizo sandwich, and it's the street food of choice in Argentina, pretty much like the Mexican tacos. They're usually cheap, greasy, and bad for your body, but delicious.
So this is just me being nostalgic about the old times break-dancing at the park, learning new moves from Holly and eating his choripanes. I'll never forget about the time I told Holly that I had been to New York and seen KRS-One live at a block party and he almost started crying. Even though I assume he wouldn't approve of me spinning cumbia, this is my sort of humble tribute to my master.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Introducing DJ KOX TORTUGA

If you've been reading me for a while, you definitely heard of DJ Kox Tortuga since I mention him many times in this blog but I've never properly introduced him to you. Let me start by saying that he's an old friend of mine, long time partner in crime and one of my main influences as a DJ.
Many years before starting DJing, Tortuga (turtle in Spanish) was the MC of Los Adolfos, the first rap group in Argentina. That was around 1992 when hip-hop wasn't even an underground scene in my hometown. Then in the mid nineties he formed another band, SK84Life, uniting his passion for music and skateboarding, and with them he released an album in 1996. A year later he founded Tumbas, one of the main groups in the then-emerging hip-hop scene, the most progressive and experimental. That's when I met him and soon he started collaborating as a guest graphic designer in my hip-hop magazine.
Even though Tumbas soon became Zeta Bosio's protégés they never released a full album, just some loose tracks in compilations and underground tapes. Around 1998 Tumbas broke up and Tortuga started his solo career as a DJ/producer, leaving the constrains of hip-hop to dwell into the sounds of jungle, dub, electronica and beyond. In 2001 he released an avant-guard instrumental album under the moniker of Deep Taboo and that same year he became the on-stage DJ for underground rap group sensation La Organización, a group for whom I used to produce beats.
The following year La Organización mutated into Koxmoz and Tortuga became their main DJ and producer and added the Kox prefix to his name. After five years of hard work, Koxmoz released their first album, Tarde O Temprano, in 2006, and if you still don't have it you can buy it here. But they crossed over to the international crowd with their featured appearance on Gotan Project's second single for their second album: "Mi Confesión".
Following the unexpected immense success of that song, Tortuga (along with Trini7Dub, another Koxmoz producer) started a new side project exploring electronic tango under the name Kompadritoz and they released a handful of songs in some European compilations that focused on that sound (thanks to Generation Bass's DJ UMB!).
In the last couple of years, DJ Kox Tortuga, now the host at Dubtronik Internet Radio, also started exploring cumbia and blending it into his trademark cosmic-dub sound (some of his unreleased cumbia remixes can be heard in my megamixes). Recently he was featured in the Agrupación Mamanis remix-tribute album with a remix of the Cucumelo song.
Here's a long DJ set of his where he mixes cumbia and dub, it's over an hour long and it's called Sonido En Motado.

Download Here

Monday, February 1, 2010

BANDA DE TURISTAS-Magical Radiophonic Heart (Nacional Records, 2010)

I remember there was a time when I pretended to like indie rock, just to fit in. You know, you read all these influential music journalist in big-name magazines saying this or that band is totally genius and you go, "oh well, they must be really good then" and you sort of force yourself to like certain overrated artists and go ahead and repeat their opinions perpetuating that idiotic cycle, which in reality is no more than just a circle of fucking snobs masturbating together looking at themselves. Fuck that!
Every time I see a new band of indie wimps come out and be unanimously praised by all the music critics I feel that's exactly what's going on. And I sometimes still feel that rare need to fit in with the other music "experts" and follow their opinion and join the wankers club; but then I remind myself that I never really liked indie rock, especially not if it's retro, and I don't have to pretend I like it just to feel more respected as a music reviewer. Once again, fuck that!
So Nacional Records, the best record label in the US, recently released a CD by this indie band from Argentina and I pretty much love most of Nacional Records catalog, so I assume we have very compatible music taste and any time they release something it must be good, otherwise they wouldn't release it, right? So I'm like, OK, I know I don't really like indie rock and these sensitive-boy type dudes with hippie haircuts annoy the hell out of me, but I gotta give this a chance because 1) all the journalists are praising this band as the best new thing in Argentine rock (which is pretty much the same as saying "in Latin American rock") and 2) it has the Nacional Records seal of approval.
OK, so this is pretty much how it went down: I push play and listen to the first 30 seconds of the first song. I can't take it no longer. I skip to the second one and I find myself lowering the volume because I'm scared my roommate is gonna think that I suddenly became a gay hipster or something for listening to such wimpy melodies. Ten seconds later I have to eject the CD. I know that's not doing your job properly if you're a professional music writer, but you know what? Nobody is paying me for this so I don't have to force myself to sit through it. I fucking hate this. It sounds like music from 40 years ago! What the fuck?!
Nevertheless, I still think Banda De Turistas must be good if you are into that style of music, but then, what the fuck are you doing reading my blog? You should better be reading Club Fonograma, where I assure you they will love this shit and give it a great review.
Note aside, I still have plenty of love for Nacional Records because they announced for April the release of Ana Tijoux's 1977 and I was the one who openly begged them to publish that amazing album in the US before any other journalist or blogger even talked about it. I'm not saying that they pay THAT much attention to my blog and they actually follow my advice but hey, I'm gonna go ahead and take at least some credit for it. After all, I was the one who told Universal Records back in '01 that they should release La Mala Rodríguez in the US (true story!) and they should still be thanking me for it. In conclusion, if there's an influential journalist whose opinion I should follow, that should be myself.