Wednesday, June 9 2021
Last week was good for Body Meπa. The fantastic people of Hausu Mountain issued our debut, The Work Is Slow, on CD, cassette, and digital download, while Joshua Minsoo Kim of Tone Glow wrote a great review of the album for Pitchfork. I wish I had some UNI tokens so I could pay The Dwayne Rock Johnson to say “I just needed to hop on and thank all of you guys for your support.” Listen to us on Spotify if you are not ready to give us your unemployment check.
The summer listening has made itself clear. Kamo Mphela’s “Nkulunkulu” is one of the bigger hits of 2021 in amapiano, a new(-ish) extrusion of house in South Africa. Mphela’s dancers and the wordless chorus will meet your needs. Is this song about the ancient creator God of Zulu? Possibly! I say follow that with DJ Uncle Al’s “Mix It Up,” a Miami bass song that came out in 1994. Unless I am missing something, there doesn’t seem to have been any mention of the fact that OutKast’s “Bombs Over Baghdad” is heavily influenced by this song. Miami bass God Dave Tompkins tells me Uncle Al did parties in Atlanta in the ‘90s, so it’s not a stretch to posit that Andre soaked this up and spit it back out. Just listen to the snare fills and background vocals.
Mach Hommy’s Pray For Haiti is a no skipper, a real scratchy hot dog water post-Earl psych pod, melted rap for watching your Con Ed bill spike. (Inspirational line: “This gon’ be the year I get my python trenchcoat.”) I am loving the Kohereeri mixes, which tend towards the glassy experimental side of freakiness. If you want something more grounded, Naomi Asa has been consistent with her NTS sets. Her April 18th show is like one very long spiritual jazz track dedicated to Jean Dubuffet played by R&B refugees and seasoned prophets on a lunch break. If you are not entertained, we have been blessed with a 6.5 hour set from Theo Parrish which is solid and unstoppably self-dissimilar.
My A#1 favorite DJ today is Wonja. Her SoundCloud page is a bottomless smoothie, but also completely variegated. I’d start with the recent guest mixes and the newer episodes of Do/While, her collaboration with Dan Letson. If you want to ramp it back up to DJ Uncle Al levels, this label Deep Jungle is reissuing classic ‘93/‘94 Amen/ragga stuff (think Dillinja), as well as people I’ve never heard of duplicating the original style in the right here right now. God bless them—the whole page is stunning.
Tuluum Shimmering is a one-man “transcendental drone” band, and the man in question is a Brit named Jake Wesbter. The discography is strong, and there are plenty of free tracks. Webster’s extended vamps on known songs are nearing actual transcendence. I love the covers of “Brown Rice” (an hour) and “Black Satin” (half and hour) but the new cover of “Marquee Moon” (35 minutes) is possibly the best thing he’s done. I’ve been closing the day with my Tuluum Shimmering playlist for a week or so.
My favorite new band is either Dry Cleaning or caroline, the quietest nine-piece outfit in the UK. caroline barely have an album’s worth of tracks out now, but all of it is worth finding. Their first song came out in march of 2020, just as the pandemic kicked in: “Dark blue,” one of the prettiest things anybody put out during Stage One. Their new song, “Skydiving onto the library roof,” continues in the same vein of casually holy and domestically tilted. These string players and stillness junkies don’t smooth anything out, and they fit easily into the anti-sheen bag of Mica Levi and Still House Plants. They are playing UK dates this summer, so if that is where you live, that is what you should do.
Talia Lavin does a great job of examining the distracting oddity of a proudly Zionist music journalist declaring herself the victim of a social media pogrom (tldr: she isn’t). Rachel Kushner’s recent n+1 piece on her time in Palestine five years ago will hopefully help make clear that anti-Semitism, as a response to any criticism of Israel, is nothing more than transparent misdirection. The alignments here are human long before they are political, unless you really think Palestinian children should be carrying a lawyer’s number in their pajamas.
You can also watch Rachel talk about Nanni Balestrini in a recent Zoom, along with Jasper Bernes, who recently collected some writings on communization in a piece called “The Test of Communism.” Highly recommended.
We were able to watch Palestinian filmmaker Elia Suleiman’s Chronicle of a Disappearance last week before his mini-festival ended. I wish I had told you earlier about this—my bad. His gentleness and firmness is visible in this France 24 interview from 2019, though it’s not a replacement for the work. For getting up to speed on the events in Sheikh Jarrah, there is this recent episode of The Dig with Noura Erakat and Tareq Baconi, and for larger Palestinian context, Fariha Róisín posted an excellent selection of links on her Substack.
Closing with the ice cube precision of a young John Fahey playing at Reed College in 1967.