Saturday, April 30, 2005
The Ever Evolving EMP 2005 Wrap-Ups

59. April 14-20. Kimberly Chun, "Sonic Reducer: Brain Fu", San Francisco Bay Guardian".
" ... this cerebral demolition derby for academics, music critics, artists, et al."

60. April 23. Laina Dawes, "Back From Seattle and my EMP Paper". A woman true to her word, Laina posts her presentation paper on her blog along with some impressions she carried away from the conference.

(The remaining 58 links to more thoughts about this year's EMP are lumped together a bit down the page right here, at April 27, so if you want to see those, do the scroll.)

Friday, April 29, 2005
Reason magazine on Frank Zappa reasons Zappa's a bit like Melville and lauds his significance -- despite a mess of contradictions and conflictions, he survived the flux to become a Rock n Roll Entrepreneur.
Thursday, April 28, 2005
Best interchange between disgruntled reader and offending press I've read all morning takes place in a letter to the editor exchange:

"I suppose that for many pop-culture consumers -- and even for some music journalists -- music is just the noise in the background that happens when you go out to drink. For most real musicians and music lovers, however, music is as close as we're going to get to the divine in this life. In other words, music is serious magic and it deserves serious discussion, not the adolescent complaints and editorial falderal that usually occupy this space."
'There is a class, for example, that culminates in writing a music review for the radio. "When they do that, they are actually composing essays, writing a thesis, devising a structure, and paying attention to all these things, like coherency, detail, and evidence. They're doing all that work, but they're writing about rock, and they get to be on KFOG, and how cool is that?" '

Projects for a New American Literacy, SF Bay Guardian.
Heedful Hip Hop
Attacks on rap now come from within.

By Martha Bayles

Read this!

(via Arts Journal Daily)
Book Alert

Curwen Best
Culture@The Cutting Edge
Tracking Caribbean Music

(Described as a "multi-track" reading of popular culture that "that continually brings us right to the leading edge of Caribbean popular music."
Wednesday, April 27, 2005
Virtual Conferencing Reports Filed Online

EMP Pop Music Conference 2005

The 2005 Experience Music Project
Pop Music Conference
Seattle, WA
April 14 - 17, 2005

Music as Masquerade:
Poseurs, Playas, and Beyond

A. The Upcoming Conference. In the press, Matos interviews Christgau who says "I think it's the best thing that's ever happened to serious consideration of pop music, not just in this country but, as far as I know, in the world. I mean."

B. Reactions in the world of online journals in real-time as the conference springs into life.

1. April 13. tinyluckygenius aka the Unicorn's tear: MY ORVILLE REDENBACHER COSTUME WILL NOT BE COMPLETE!

2. April 14. Afrofuturist on Experiencing Seattle

3. April 14. Zoilus: Carl Wilson on Music: Pop Goes the Zoilus

4. April 15. Cat in a Raincoat on Discussions of Lil John, George Walker, and the Popularity of the Inauthentic

5. April 15. K5M Urbanhonking represented at pop conference

6. April 16. she real cool on Make Room for the B-Boy!

7. April 16. Yei Wei Blog aka Wild Taste (Jason Gross): EMP Blues

(Maybe more coming soon)

[Update 4/17/05, 2:49 pm]
8. March 1. The music issue, "Blanket at the Beach". Daphne Carr provides a link to her extract and requests any info about Central European Dance history be sent her way.

9. March 21. Quantum Noise ("Cabals, Cults, and Secret Societies: Underground Noise and the Hermetic Tradition"). Justin T. Farrar announces that he's invited to attend EMP and provides his extract online.

10. April 14. Pinocchio Theory, "Pop Music". Steven Shaviro (Prof of English at Wayne State) publicly regrets he couldn't attend this year's conference, but he didn't miss a year's gathering until now and thought they were great. Then casually segues into a remarkable monolog on "pop music".

[Update 4/18/05 8:58 am]

11. April 18. Poplicks, Oliver Wang on "EMP Wrap-Up". Oliver spent a week in Seattle. "For me, what I've gotten out of the conference, especially this year, is just a renewed vigor for ideas. That may sound odd, but when you make your living from intellectual work, ideas are your lifeblood...so when you hit spots where you feel uninspired and cynical, you're basically choking off your own career. EMP reinvigorates my passion for thinking and writing about music in all its myriad complexity and beauty."

12. April 18. Broken Language, "BTW, It's Sycophancy." Jon sums up his fourth year in attendance at EMP Pop Music Conference and lays out a dazzling array of links to sites maintained by other attendees.

[Update 4/18/05, 11:29 am]

13. April 16. Zoilus, "Pop ConFab: Day Two". What Carl Wilson calls "quick notes". The lunchtime discussion on music blogging deemed unrecappable, and the question "who reads blogs?" remained unanswered.

14. April 18. Zoilus, "Zoso, What's It To Ya?". A teaser, with Erik Davis' "Black Mass" presentation on Jimmy Page recapped. Zoilus promises to post a real wrap-up later in the day.

[Update 4/18/05 11:49 am]

15. April 18. tinyluckygenius aka the Unicorn's Tear, "SPYING TWILIGHT HIGHLIGHTS AND OF DISQUIETING GLIMPSES OF DOWNTOWN" or EMP is out for summer. Ned Sublette's 'presentation on New Orleans parade culture and jazz funerals and hip hop and the sex slave trade and growing up in a racist, small town in pre-civil rights Louisiana' receives a high 'hubba hubba score'. And Elijah Wald's ability to connect the dots in tejano music and sew up a cowboy shirt met with due astonishment. More than that on EMP from the tinyluckygenius, though.

16. April 17. lacunae, Douglas Wolk's digital simulacrum on "the EMP and the Ukraine King". Wolk met up with fellow 33 1/3 authors Franklin Bruno, Daphne Brooks, Erik Davis, Andrew Hultkrans, J. Niimi and Michaelangelo Matos at the conference. His paper was on early coca cola ads with pop stars recording original songs. I'm betting he also wants to teach the world to sing.

[update 4/18/05, 2:56 pm]

17. April 10. Raised by Bees, "My Paper". Only some of the agonies of writing a paper for EMP.

18. April 13. Raised by Bees, "Wish Me Luck". Writer goes missing; last seen boarding a flight for Seattle.

[update 4/18/05, 4:03 pm]

19. April 18. Waiting for Bubba, "Ya down wit' EMP? Yeah y'all know me... ". Kandia Crazy Horse posts her first on the EMP, sends us a purty postcard or two, and promises more. "...Yet the fact that some folks out there in the aether are thinking seriously about music and arriving at brilliant bits of insight is heartening at a time when this land seems at its most anti-intellectual (jes' axe my twin sister teaching art history at USC) and in thrall to the morass of low culture."

20. April 15/16. Jennifer C. Lena, "What's the rumpus?" "for a conference filled with people whose quotidian existance is suffused with synchophantry and/or a secret conviction that the world is crazy while they are sane, there is remarkably little unfair, back-bitey talk."

21. April 18. Michaelangelo Matos, "All Roads Lead to 'Apache'". Matos hands over the paper he presented on some of the strange socio-politcal convolutions of a twangy instrumental number. And he promises more notes on EMP to follow, maybe later this week.

[update 4/19/05, 6:00 am]

22. April 14. Bjorn Turoque will Rock You!. Bjorn will be lecturing about Air Guitar.

[update 4/19/05, 8:27 am]

23. April 15. "UCLA affiliates to present at pop music conference", Daily Bruin."At least five of the presenters are affiliated with UCLA: philosophy graduate student Franklin Bruno and musicology graduate student Caroline O'Meara, School of Public Health staff member and alumnus Max Hechter, musicology doctoral student Jacqueline Warwick and musicology chair and professor, Robert Fink." " 'The academics bring a certain level of detail and care, and sometimes rock critics are more interested in ideas about the big picture and what's happening right now,'" said Bruno.

24. April 14. Scott Prinzing, "Growling Old Men ...", The Billings Outpost. "The conference received a record number of proposals this year, so as a first-time submitter from Montana, my paper, 'Out of the Heavy Metal Closet,' didn’t make the cut, but I was invited to moderate one of the panels."

25. April. Richard Hugo House Writers-In-Residence Events. Writer-in-Residence Anna Maria Hong on the Po Lovers Panel at EMP, poets discussing why rock stars really want to be poets. Audiovisual aid (a cartoon slide rule) scripted by Hong and drawn by Mark Campos.

[update 4/19/05, 12:45 pm]

26. April 19. DJ El Toro, "I won't lie to you". Wryly mentions the nice British presenters and power-point presentations before veering into where his notion of what constitutes soul music came from.

27. April 17. Joel on Unscene, "Music Makes the (Middle Class White) People Come Together". Brian Goedde, Jessica Hopper, and Lavinia Greenlaw score high marks for their presentations.

28. April 19. Daphe, the music issue, "EMP Short Attention Span Theater". Daphne lists an impressive array of speakers, topics, and shares memorable moments. Swears to provide links later in the day.

29. April 18. Kandia continues her "EMP Round-up" while Waiting for Bubba. "Tuesday...and it's already too late to do justice to the highs of this year's EMP conference." Then proceeds to do just that, with tons of links attention-grabbing graphix.

[update 4/19/05, 4:55 pm]

30. April 18. Franklin Bruno, konvolut m the power to deduce/this guitar and its use. Franklin Bruno on the ups and downs of the EMP conference.

31. April 19. pf, Running the Voodoo Down, "I'm Back!". "... sitting quietly and absorbing the wisdom of other hacks (and some academics)".

32. April 19. Douglas Wolk, lacunae digital simulacrum, "empirical f.f.r.r.""Rockism" rolled and tumbled.

[update 4/19/05, 10:55 pm]

33. April 19. Zoilus, "That Was Pop". Carl Wilson rekindled, "there's really nothing like this conference, and I hope that should the EMP's fortunes falter (which does seem a possibility) the pop-hop-soul-a-roll-ademia writing massive will find a way to carry this event forward, no matta. It was energizing, inspiring, enlarging." Answered the question "who reads blogs?" (I meant, Wilson recommended Franklin Bruno's blog, but nonetheless two posts unrelated to this year's event removed from the shelf of the short attention span li-berry located here. Thanks, Carl!)

34. April 19. afm = afrofuturist's freshtastic monoblog, "Back From Seattle". Some highlights in the form of blind items.

[update 4/20/05 10:30 am]

35. April 19. Kandia Crazy-Horse, "Josh Kun for Prez-O-Dent", Waiting for Bubba. Still thinking about the conference, and provides "links to two papers I very much enjoyed, as Blogged elsewhere better than I could do justice to." Ends with a plea for a job, almost anywhere, but somewhere, soon.

[update 4/20/05, 2:01 pm]

36. April 20. Zoilus, "Last EMP-anada". Carl Wilson swears to stop going on and on about the conference. Provides link to photos (below).

37. April 19. dokuchan, "EMPopCon report: saturday". Photos and commentary just doesn't say it.

[update 4/20/05, 4:44 pm]

38. April 19. soul-sides, "All Roads Lead to 'Apache'". No near end to the fun anywhere in sight. Oliver Wang MP-3 enhances Michaelangelo Matos presentation paper.

39. April 20. jsmooth, hiphopmusic.com, "EMP Pop Conference". "So the feast of ideas that EMP laid out was hella inspiring, sparked a hunger to get out there into that world and bring home new colors for the palette." Reports on the self-limiting strictures inherent in blogs from the music-blog forum.

[update 4/21/05, 1:19 pm]

40. April 20. Sasha Frere-Jones, "Grey Grass". "EMP? Only a few things to say, but I'll start with the free stuff ... ". Mea culpa.

41. April 21. Laina Dawes promises to post her "academic" (i.e., no profanity) presentation on her site soon. "What Are YOU Doing Here? The Trials and Tribulations of a Black Female Metalhead" (from "How to Rock like a Black Feminist Critic" panel).

42. April 20. Phil Freeman, Running the Voodoo Down, "What I Said". The text of his presentation, "It's Not Just a T-Shirt". What Metal t-shirts really mean to metal heads.

43. April 21. Josh, North, "Music As Masquerade". A few pix and quick run-down of "Cool Icons" and "Music Blogs" panels.

44. April 21. Scott Prinzing, Billings Outpost, "Writing from Seattle". Outlines his first EMP-experience.

[update 4/21/05, 4:14 pm]

45. April 21. Robert Christgau, Village Voice, "Rock & Roll and Show Me the Money." The Dean heads back and lays it on the line for his readers. "So let's just say I'm representing."

46. April 21. Prof. Drew LeDrew, chemistry class, "Make the Music Go Pap". "There's not a conference in the world that I'd attend willingly, and reading a variety of unmediated responses, reactions, and recollections to this one, via blogdom, is far and away the best way to go for the socially phobic."

[update 4/24/05, 8:50 am]

47. April 23. Zoilus. Carl Wilson, "Famous and Dandy Like Amos & Andy". Ideas brought up at EMP fall on fertile ground.

48. April 24. Evelyn McDonnell, Miami Herald, "Behind the music: It's more than fun, sex, noise". "At the fourth-annual Pop Conference in Seattle, music scholars went way beyond rock-crit jargon to find meaning."

49. April 14 to ???. The always active and ever expanding I Love Music discussion group threads on the 2005 conference.

Pop Conference 2005 EMP, Seattle, April 14th to April 17th.. (feat. Tom Ewing)

Afterthoughts of the EMP Pop Conference 2005, Go!

How To Rock Like A Black Feminist Critic

[Update 4/25/2005 6:17 PM]

50. April 23. Zoilus, Carl Wilson, Benny XVI and the Jets.

51. April 21-24. Alexandra revisits the EMP and shares her recollections.

April 21. Seattle, part the first

April 23. Seattle, part the second

April 24. Seattle: Saturday, April 16.

[Update 4/27/2005 7:00 AM]

52. April 26. Amy Phillips, More in the Monitor, "Pop Conference 2005 / Experience Music Project, Seattle, WA / April 14-17, 2005". Recognizing her recent life has been consumed by the conference and its aftermath, Amy begins with a warning: "ATTENTION PEOPLE WHO ARE NOT ROCK CRITICS, ROCK CRITIC FANBOYS/GIRLS, POP MUSIC SCHOLARS OR MY FRIENDS: Move along, nothing to see here. Go play outside. I hear sunlight is good for you."

[update 4/29/05 9:57 am]

53. April 29. Tom Ewing, NYLPM, "EMP FALLOUT #1: More tubas Akwid - 'No Hay Manera'".

54. April 29. Tom Ewing, NYLPM, "EMP FALLOUT #2: I Can't Believe It's Not The Rolling Stones
The Rolling Stones - 'Wake Up In The Morning (Rice Krispies)'"

55. April 29. Sasha Frere-Jones, SJF, "In Blog Years, This Post Is Four Months Old." "Everyone in America should have heard and seen Ned Sublette's paper at EMP. I mean heard, and I mean seen. You need to hear him sing "Congoooo....congo nation."

[update 4/29/05 6:37 pm]

56. April 29. Matt Ashare, Portland Phoenix, "The real thing? From blackface to the Bad Seeds."
"But thanks to two of EMP’s curators, Ann Powers (who collaborated with Tori Amos on the book Piece by Piece) and her husband, Eric Weisbard, the building has become home to perhaps the only annual music conference of note not hosted by a college or university."

57. April 19. J. Niimi, Cryptic Semaphore, "Ringway to Seatrac." "Had a blast this weekend at Rockcritpalooza ... " Lots of photos.

58. April 20. Jay Farrar, Quantum Noise, EMP Pop Conference 2005".

59. April 14-20. Kimberly Chun, "Sonic Reducer: Brain Fu", San Francisco Bay Guardian".
" ... this cerebral demolition derby for academics, music critics, artists, et al."

60. April 23. Laina Dawes, "Back From Seattle and my EMP Paper". A woman true to her word, Laina posts her presentation paper on her blog along with some impressions she carried away from the conference.

61. May 4-10. Douglas Wolk, "Thinking About Rockism", Seattle Weekly. One of the topics that's lingered from the EMP conference for him.

62. June. J. Niimi, "Love and Theft Revisited: EMP 2005", Perfect Sound Forever (June, 2005 issue). "The fiery discussion, like the conference in general, didn't come close to solving any problems once and for all, but it was a true rock moment – disorienting, pulse-raising, scary – where questions fraught with gravity displaced the comfort of pat answers. Like a great pop tune (or a Buddy Holocaust song), its aftereffects still tug at me."

63. June. Carl Wilson, "WHO WAS THAT MASKED SINGER-SONGWRITER? BANDONYMS, THE AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL FALLACY AND THE MASCULINE ABJECT IN THE LO-FI FIN DE SIECLE ", Experience Music Project. Elsewhere in the quick shifting cyberworld, the paper Zoilus presented at the conference is at last available for a complete and total read at the EMP site (in downloadable PDF).

Monday, April 25, 2005
Finally, an urgent plea appeared, so please respond and post haste if you can offer anything. That way we can likely post a numbered item on the EMP conference a bit later on, see?


We are trying to find decent photos from the EMP conference - Eric W. suggested I try here as a clearing house to different links to articles, only...I'm a little confused where to start. Can anybody help? We're talking about decent photos of people on panels, etc. (I do believe).

Please contact or write asap:
312 828 0350 x436


Liz Tamny of the Chicago Reader
Elizabeth Tamny | 04.25.05 - 4:47 pm | #

Hot doggie! The new issue of Chapter & Verse is up and I've only scanned down the table of contents. But there's a feature on Frank Zappa and another one looking at Don Vliet. Plus one by Roberto Avant-Meir that begs attention straight away, "Las Ondas de José Agustín: Remembering La Onda through the literature of José Agustín and La Onda roquera (rock’n’roll in México) Part 1."


(ok, I peeked).
Sunday, April 24, 2005
Book Review:
Rock Snob's Dictionary
Rock n Role Play
EMP curator teams up with Tori Amos for revealing book about sultry singer

EMP Conference organizer Ann Powers on the current NY Times best seller list.

(Countless reviews of the book since February. Today's favorite has one of those mandatory disclaimers which just begs a reference to Tori's greatest hits collection. A writer should be able to do something with that.)
Saturday, April 23, 2005
Saturday Afternoon Reading Room Is Really In All Seriousness Open

"I entered the book business through the portal of underground rock music."

(An argument for writers taking charge.)
Meanwhile, across the pond "Wizards of Moz: Academia does the Smiths"

"On one of the more recent rainy days in Manchester, a mixture of academics and civilians congregated in the atrium of a white-walled building at the Metropolitan University. From a distance this could have been a crowd at any academic conference, but a telling clue came from the state of the men's hair. Amongst the styles were a suspicious number of quiffs in various states of elevation. (A quick definition: a quiff is "a man's prominent forelock, worn elevated." Quaff means drinking; quiff means hair like Elvis.)

"These quiffs were meant to look like Morrissey, the lead singer of one of the most beloved bands of the 1980s, the Smiths. Some of the greying quiffs in the crowd looked ready to collapse, and were only standing thanks to a few stubborn upright hairs. The younger quiffs were sturdy. It was a hopeful sign. The hairstyle — like the Smiths' music itself -- had been passed with care from one generation to the next."
Thursday, April 21, 2005
Judging from search engine results, this year's EMP Pop Music Conference is winding down. It seems the confetti has been swept from the floor, and all that's left to do is gather the glasses off the table and pour the remaining contents into the large pitcher.

We now must resume our usual transmission about music journalism as it is today both here and abroad as drawn from the usual selection of features.

1. A Gigwise interview with Andrew Collins (formerly of NME, Q) who is on vol. 3 of his memoirs.

2. Dissecting Dylan takes a look at Like a Rolling Stone by Greil Marcus. (I didn't know Greil dedicated this book to the radio ... )

3. Johnson Writing His Way to Success mentions his recent book, "Baseball and the Music of Charles Ives: A Proving Ground," which focuses on the impact the sport had on the life and work of composer Charles Ives.

4. Elsewhere in the world, "even those departments of news organizations not normally considered political, but rather cultural, such as art or music criticism, have undergone the same political vetting process. In that process, those journalists who had thought to shield themselves by choosing non-political arenas have found themselves also replaced by the new guard washed in by the wave of revolutionary ectasy last autumn." (Serbian Journalism after Communism & Milosevic)
Wednesday, April 20, 2005
Devin King finds out from a musician what makes a good music review.

'There's a seedy side to this music-writing business (and I'm not talking about my guest vocals on the new Fischerspooner album -- or the champagne room that led up to them). I'm talking about reading what other writers have said about the artists you've been assigned. I have to come clean: We fragile, objective reviewers are constantly digging through press materials, blogs and message boards, wrapping ourselves in recycled information as it reassuringly whispers, "Here's something pertinent about their history as a band, here are their various influences, here's an outlandish metaphor that you should try really hard to forget, lest you accidentally use it." Well, maybe it doesn't happen quite like that. After all, most of the time, music writers are so caught up in their own personal histories and ideas that it's hard to consciously rip something off. At bottom they're just giving opinions -- and those are easy to come up with.'
Book Review

Knockin' On Mine

The Minor Fall Major Lift checks out Colin Maloy's Let It Be (from the 33-1/3 book series) and continues straight on into writing about some other things, and so gains a checkmark for a day's work done in his rock-crit card.

Monday, April 18, 2005
More than a bit behind on my reading just coming up with this Pitchfork feature on musicians who blog.

My Favorite Band Writes Better Than Your Favorite Band

"Which is to say that fan, artist and critic blur even further into one. Whether they're making music, spinning music, or writing about, you get the same thing: A bunch of people with their own aesthetics and their own idiosyncrasies, offering the same style in different forms."

(This article ocasionally veers towards a critique, though civil in tone, especially when compared to No Rock and Roll Fun's relentless (and funny) obsessive savagery of Fred Durst.)

Book Alert

Coming soon to a bookstore near you, "The Rock Snob's Dictionary".

'Perhaps your music-obsessed friends constantly use the word "seminal" in reference to bands you've never heard of. Or maybe you are music-obsessed, and your friends' eyes glaze over every time you start in on the under-appreciated genius of Jobriath or the trenchant imagery of Hipgnosis. ...

'Either way, "The Rock Snob's Dictionary" (Broadway Books) is here to help. Once a short feature in Vanity Fair's annual music issue, authors David Kamp and Steven Daly have expanded the idea into a funny and useful book.

'Useful because rock snobs and poor, undereducated music neophytes now have a way to communicate with minimal eye-rolling and disbelieving tongue clicks.'
Why Write About Music: Music Journalist Mission Statement
(or, the news we need to know)

Without a doubt, the most fascinating contemplation on writing about music comes today from Botswana:

Arts/Culture Review
Washing Hands Off Guilt

Talking Musica

4/18/2005 2:15:07 PM (GMT +2)

How many artists of any significance do you know who climbed to the top by copying other peoples’ works? How many people do you know who rose to stardom without ever having composed a song? Show me one artist worth mentioning who rose to fame without ever having recorded a song.

I know none. On the contrary, I have found that it is in fact the making of one’s own music that brings popularity and recognition among peers in the artists’ community.

It would not be stretching things too far to assert that in fact invention and originality is the very reason for taking up the arts or any kind of creative work.

Mimicry and copying is just the opposite of what is required when one takes on music or art as a “career” or “occupation”. In fact people take up music as a hobby precisely because they hunger for some form of creative expression.

I say these things because my association with the music group Impromptu troubles me. This is how the story goes. I came back from the United States where my father had been working for the government 35 years ago.

I was utterly dismayed at the practice of the time when some of the most talented Batswana musicians were wholly and totally absorbed in copying and imitating European and American rock groups.

First of all, this was completely alien to my ideological disposition, which was very concerned with the liberation of black men from the racism that I witnessed in Mafikeng and New York. I could not see how liberation of the black person could happen by copying the music and culture of the very people from whom the Africans wanted liberation.

Secondly, I found that when the artists tried to copy the Europeans, they sounded most unnatural. Their diction was faulty. The rhythmn that ran through my veins from my dancing to Mahlathini and the Dark City Sisters in my formative years as a young black boy growing up in Mafikeng, Moeng and Serowe was completely absent.

I could not understand what these people were trying to do or achieve by trying to escape from their surroundings and pretend to be in a place where they had never been. Uhu, a ba a tsenwa he?

Thirdly, I had enough stuff between my ears to tell that if they thought this was the way to make a name or some money, they were barking up the very wrong tree. You just tell me: how do you gain recognition for yourself by pretending throughout your life to be that other person?

Surely all that you achieve is to enhance the stature of the other person in everybody else’s eyes. That is the exact opposite of what you set out to do in the first place! Is it not?

So, these were three good reasons why I denied myself participation in the music of the time. The Southern African Students Movement, Jeff Baqwa and I organised the homecoming of Letta Mbulu, Caiphus Semenya, Dudu Phukwana, Cecil Barnard (now known as Professor Hotep) and Jonas Gwangwa.

Gwangwa promised to return permanently to Botswana and mooted interest in forming a band. Before he came, I collaborated with Lefifi Tladi, Oupa Rantobeng Mokou, Bonjo Keipidile and Thabiso Leshoai in the poetry and music group which went by the name Dashiki. That group welcomed Gwangwa and was eventually transformed into Shakawe.

I was wholesomely engaged by Gwangwa’s spiritual and artistic commitment to the indigenous music of “the South”. He did not teach me to play the piano. He taught me how to make music. He also taught me that music – not just playing music – was a way of life.

This music spoke about love, freedom, liberation, the Morula tree, the Kgalagadi desert, Kippie Moeketsi, Ratsie Setlhako and everything that I felt in my eyes, ears, skin, nose and tongue. The music sounded like Setswana, Zulu, Xhosa, Sesarwa, Sepedi and everything else that is a part of me. All I needed to do was to commit myself totally to learning how to express that musically.

Now I can almost call myself a musician. And that is why I shall write newspaper articles about the music and art, and eventually, I will write a proper book about the music and the musicians I experienced through playing.

Gwangwa left. Bonjo, Lefifi and I went our different ways. The only way I could play music was by practicing journalism, which I did with a passion that equalled my obsession with African music of Botswana.

I wrote the first investigative story by a private newspaper into administrative and other forms of corruption at the Botswana Housing Corporation in 1985. Six board members resigned and the General Manager, a certain Mr Richardson escaped to England claiming sickness.

I wrote the first and longest surviving column called Tantjie and started to believe that I could risk some claim to calling myself a journalist.

That is why I cannot understand how six adults who claim to be musicians can sit at Buyani Bar and play something that they call music for six years and fail to produce an original song, let alone a record.

I simply cannot understand. And every time I try to understand I die a little. So perhaps, I should make my own record. I do have the music in my heart and in every face that I see every day when I rise to face Botswana and the world.

© Mmegi

Sunday, April 17, 2005
Virtual Conferencing Reports Filed Online

The Feminism and Hip-Hop Conference (Chicago, April 7-9)

1. The upcoming conference as reported in the press.

2. Reactions post-conference. In the newspaper world, Davey D says this is the best he's ever attended. He promises issues raised at the conference will be discussed on radio, and archived for online listening.

Insightful conference looks at role of women in hip-hop

Davey D

This past week, some 2,000 people descended upon the University of
Chicago for the landmark conference Feminism and Hip Hop.

Topics included power and gender dynamics in the music industry; the
images of women in hip-hop; the roles men play, or could be playing,
in combating misogyny; hip-hop in academia and politics; and the role
of media. The minimum number of people attending the panel
discussions numbered in the hundreds.

Of all the music conferences I have attended over the past 20 years,
Feminism and Hip Hop easily ranks as one of the best. This wasn't
about bashing men, having long-winded gripe sessions or using the
stage to plug new books or albums, which has been the downfall of too
many conferences.

For many of those attending, it was about keen insights into the
issues addressed as well as possible solutions. One got the sense
that change in the industry is on the horizon because of the
seriousness with which issues were discussed and the networking that
went on. This was one of the first conferences I've seen where
academia and grass-roots activists came together.

Many participants acknowledged that the next crucial step will be to
build alliances with women in the industry who, time and time again,
have spoken out about the insidious practices behind the scenes.
There seems to be a new determination and commitment to put an end to
some of the nonsense the industry insists on feeding us.

The discussions were not only insightful and inspiring but also
refreshingly and brutally frank.

Much of what was discussed at the conference will be revisited over
the next couple of weeks, starting Monday, on KPFA-FM's (94.1) "Hard
Knock Radio Show," starting at 4 p.m. weekdays. The shows and panel
discussions will be archived both on www.kpfa.org and on


3. In the world of live journals, the journalist known as MJ gives her impressions of the FHHC at How'd We Get From the Pyramids to the Projects:

By Popular Demand, the FHHC Pt. 1 (Initial Report)

Feminism in Hip Hop Conference Part Deux

I'd Pay My Taxes But What Would I Be Buying? (includes a list of links to more online coverage on FHHC)

Saturday, April 16, 2005
I've just spent a fascinating hunk of time:

Reading about an unfamiliar genre

"Riddims by the Reggaetón" by Raquel Cepeda

complete with listening aids ("Riddims on Demand")

All thanks to stumbling across an enthusiastic post by Suman at Steady Blogging, who himself by chance connected with the music.
Well, at least blogging academics will share their writing with the world at large.

For example, Wayne Marshall will provide a review or two for any who care to read, such as this, his deep reflections on a book by Louise Meintjes, Sound of Africa!: Making Music Zulu in a South African Studio.
Village Voice was smart to pick up Geeta Dayal's "PhDotcom", (on blogging academia, which you should read in full here):

'For some in the academy, blogging offers an escape valve, a forum for free expression that's not bound to the constraints of their fields. "Academic work on music is so bloodless most of the time," says Jon Dale, who is finishing his Ph.D. dissertation on post-punk at the University of Adelaide in Australia and blogs at Worlds of Possibility). "There's a writing style common to so much academia, especially musicology and cultural studies, that saps music of all its life force." British cultural theorist Mark Fisher, author of the renegade cultural studies blog K-Punk, says, "The way I understood theory—primarily through popular culture—is generally detested in universities. Most dealings with the academy have been literally clinically depressing." For him, K-Punk "seemed like the space—the only space—in which to maintain a kind of discourse that had started in the music press and the art schools, but which had all but died out, with appalling cultural and political consequences."

Many academics are quick to establish a separation between their university work—which, after all, is what pays the bills—and their presence online. Wayne Marshall (wayneandwax.com), a lecturer at Brown, says that he blogs only in lowercase letters to drive home the distinction that his blog is separate from his academic work in ethnomusicology. ...

Josh Kortbein, a philosophy Ph.D. candidate at the University of Minnesota, started his blog) Internet light-years ago—in 1999. To paraphrase Brian Eno on the Velvet Underground, not everyone read Josh's blog, but everyone who did started one. "I write my blog because I wish that things were different, and I'm thinking about how to make them that way." '

(via Joshblog)

(p.s. writer Geeta Dayal is known to post her thoughts on own blog, the original soundtrack)
As if writer's block weren't enough, here's a post about the hazards of freelancing that you don't often get to read:

"On a decidedly greyer note, my profile of the founder of Montreal's reggae fest has stalled (the story is too small for the American and international music press, the Canadian music press is virtually non-existent, likewise for the strictly reggae music press)."

(via Giornalista)
Saturday Morning Reading Room is Open

In a fit of enviable creative energy, Justin Toland has begun posting "Be Here Now: Pop Music and The Heritage Industry'", his 20,000 word master thesis conceived and created in a different day.



Title Page and Contents

Chapter Two
Artefacts, artifice and authenticity: Tribute performers and pop memorabilia

(Keep an eye peeled on his project)
Thursday, April 14, 2005
April is not only National Poetry Month, but occasionally Nostalgia Time

Out of the blue, Maud Newton says "I miss the Bill Buford days." "His profile of Lucinda Williams, published in 2000 and subtitled 'a singer's love affair with loss,' may be the best piece of music journalism I've ever read.")

Across the great waters, today Germaine Greer remembers Frank Zappa, and comes closer to understanding "his big-note theory and his maximal aesthetic. In Frank's world, every sound had a value, and every action was part of the universal diapason, a colossal vibration that made energy rather than reflecting it. I'm grown up enough now to get it, but the bulk of Frank's music is still unheard and likely to remain unhearable."
I was expecting a real dearth of interesting music writing what with everybody who is anybody in music journalism sequestered together at the EMP Pop Music Studies Conference at Bohemian Grove, I mean Seattle.

But Dale Keiger saves the day by sharing his ongoing reflections on a classic writing done by Gay Talese, called "Frank Sinatra Has a Cold." Prof Keiger included a link on his mainpage at the bottom of the original post, which allows the more desperate or determined to download a complete copy of the Talese work to savor.

Thanks, mon!
Tuesday, April 12, 2005
Inevitable, really, all things considered. "Babeness" finds its way into being a major component of classical and world music criticism.

"Hi there,

Here is a Dutch journalist writing about babeness in the classical music for the Dutch magazine Vrij Nederland. Babeness is not a brand new phenomenon, but still interesting enough and fairly new for the Netherlands. Questions are: is it possible for a female musician to be succesful - and ugly? And: is being classified as a babe an advantage or a disadvantage?

On your site Sequenza, it struck me what was written about Wu Man: "In addition to being a rightous goodlooking babe, Wu Man is probably the best pipa player alive".

(The journalist got a response, though, didn't he? Read more here, only if you want to.)
Monday, April 11, 2005
Definitely the Day's Best Reflection on Jazz Criticism springs from the feverish pen at Ye Wei Blog on Gary Giddins:

'He went on to lament the problems that he sees in music criticism now. One problem he notes is that critics themselves are weak on the history of criticism -- Samuel Taylor Coleridge (Biographia Literaria), Dwight McDonald (Against the American Grain), Martin Williams (The Jazz Tradition) to name a few. This is important as he notes a quote from Albert Murray: a writer's ambition is reflected in what they read. That alone should give some people pause.

'Giddins went on to say: "Music criticism is a writer's art, a form of literature... Your primary obligation should be to your readers, so you should be entertaining and enlightening as possible." But beyond these lofty things, he admitted, "even before I'm a writer, I'm a fan," which is good to know because enthusiasm does go a long way in this trade.

'In terms of writing style, he explained "having an opinion is hard work," which may not seem like much at first but if you consider it to mean a real, defendable opinion, then you realize that it's not an easy task. As far as criticism being a 'dialog between writers and readers,' you can take that not just to mean the endless cycle of commentary that you can now find on the Net (i.e. blogs) but also the way that good critical writing can inspire the same in others.'

(Make the jump to the rest right here ... )
Yes, I'm behind in my reading, even the good news (which is probably old news to everyone else by now):

David Byrne: Best Scribe

David Byrne accepts the Esky: "I'm thrilled and flattered that someone is reading and even enjoying and appreciating my web journal. In a conversation with a friend, she mentioned an acquaintance who, when she asked what he'd been doing lately, replied peevishly, 'Haven't you been reading my blog?' If I ever say that, you can take the award back."

Esquire Magazine 4.05

(Congratulations are in order, David!)
Tune in to a state of flux on Cambodian Radio

"Radio Phnom Penh is a dizzying aural travelogue, an hour-plus extravaganza of Cambodian colour that will spin you off the couch and into the back seat of a rattletrap taxi going far too fast in the 100° heat of a Southeast Asian summer. It is also an appropriate homage to what Bishop contends, in his thought-provoking liner notes, is an early example of remix culture. Cambodian society has been made and remade so often by colonialism, war, immigration, terror, economic collapse, and the ensuing boom times that it is now a "somewhat peaceful" patchwork of ethnicities and values. This, naturally, is reflected in the music, which is further complicated by Cambodian producers' love of taking classic tracks from the pre–Khmer Rouge era and overdubbing them with 21st-century sound effects. The basic idea isn't as odd as it might seem. Given our own culture’s increasingly frenetic cannibalization of its own ideas —- in boardrooms and suburban garages alike, the '90s revival is already being planned -— it might just be the way commercial music is being manufactured all over the globe."
Funniest post I read today comes from

Jeffrey at Geekable:

I had a bad meme

For a look at the sorry state of music journalism, do a Google search for "decemberists palanquin" and observe how many articles include the observation "The Decemberists use big words!"

The most recent example comes to us via largehearted boy.
"Monday, Monday ... "

Two spins after looking at the current state of criticism.

After reading thru a NY Times article, the first ponders the Fashion of Criticism and delivers the quote of the day:

"A good drama critic is one who perceives what is happening in the theatre of his time. A great drama critic also perceives what is not happening."
—Kenneth Tynan

The second looks at some current music criticism, and expresses anger and surging disappointment after reading the new issue of Downbeat.
Rare Jazz Find Alert

The rare recordings of jazz ambassadors have been found! Library of Congress Finds Jazz Treasure in VOA Tapes!

"The U.S. Library of Congress says it has uncovered long-forgotten recordings by some of the superstars of American jazz -- Thelonious Monk, John Coltrane, Ray Charles and the Dizzy Gillespie Orchestra.

Recorded in 1957, the tapes have never before been heard in the United States."
Saturday, April 09, 2005
Saturday Night's Alright for ...

Reading another Top-10 Movies About Music List (one of those lists that always make you want to see the movies again)

and Saturday Night's Alright for ...

Racing thru a book review on the blisshog's latest offering. That's right, the internet's own Simon Reynolds looks at the glory years of post-punk and decides to Rip It Up And Start Again (Faber & Faber, £12.99). John McTernan immersed himself in Simon's comprehensive survey, and has pulled himself back together sufficiently to write:

"A FAMOUS Chinese proverb tells us, 'Sit by the river long enough, and your enemies will float by.' In our more peaceful times, it still holds true, but the enemies floating by are yesterday’s fashions.

"For anyone who grew up in the 1970s, seeing flared trousers return was a startling event. But the shocking sense of feeling out of step is as naught compared to the realisation that one's youth is turning into history."
Saturday Night's All Right Et Cetera Dept.

Tonight's the last night of the Hip-Hop summit in Chicago. And I'm remiss in not mentioning this before. But that doesn't mean I'm not looking forward to reportage and response and some juicy damage assessment after the fact.

From MsMusings, "Hip-Hop Hits Nerve"

The Feminism and Hip-Hop conference sponsored by the Center for the Study of Race, Politics and Culture at University of Chicago kicks off tonight. I hope to cover at least a few of the sessions tomorrow and/or Saturday.

Both the Chicago Sun-Times and the Chicago Tribune ran lengthy stories this week about the conference and the issues that will be discussed. The Sun-Times today has another story about organizers' efforts to incorporate positive aspects of hip-hop.

"Ordinarily, conferences don't excite me too much," writes Tribune columnist Dawn Turner Trice. "But this one and others that have been popping up on campuses around the country warm my heart. That's because the only way to rise up against the segment of hip-hop that glorifies thuggery and materialism and demeans women -- the segment that also happens to be the most dominant and lucrative -- is to make some noise."

It seems a lot of people are ready to do just that, as registration filled up several weeks ago. Aside from the Nelly concert Friday night -- Nelly being the artist Spelman College students protested for his degrading lyrics about women -- this could be the hottest ticket in town.
The Metaphysics of "Taxman"

There is a sinister counting, low, guttural, unfeeling, disinterested. It sounds like the devil, maybe. Or perhaps its your mono-toned company president testing a microphone's volume before launching into a bored account of his fortunes, none of which you’ll see, of course. One two three four one two -

A cough, a clearing of the throat. Accidental, perhaps, but no matter what its source it does the job: your attention has been gotten.

Then the baseline, thundering, forceful, driven by immediate unstoppable force, momentum. Though powerful, it is distant, somehow hateful.

But most of all that guitar -- piercing, short notes. Like a machete racing from a spinning disc through a wire right into your ear, stopping just short of drawing blood and slinking around the rhythm sections' steady pulse, through the snare drum and the insistent cow-bell, like a great anaconda coiling itself from the bottom of a flagpole to the very top, far into the atmosphere.

"Let me tell you how it will be!" George, as greed personified, vomits onto the record. There must be a moment in the listeners' life where he would protest. This sound is too sinister. The words are too finite.

(read more of Matt Broad's exegesis here. With belated thanks to Bob Sarle, who sent this on last January!)
Hip-Hop Book Alert

Brit novelist has the rap on hip-hop:
American export shapes culture around the world

Where You're At

Notes From the Frontline of a Hip-Hop Planet

By Patrick Neate

Riverhead, 274 pages, $14
UpComing Hip-Hop Summit

Four prominent pop culture authorities will discuss the politics of hip-hop in a roundtable discussion at 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 12, in the Second Floor Ballroom of the Iowa Memorial Union at the University of Iowa.

Participating in the discussion will be Mark Anthony Neal, Raquel Cepeda, Richard Turner and Kembrew McLeod. Neal is a professor in the African-American Studies program at Duke University. He is also the author of "What the Music Said: Black Popular Music and Black Public Culture," "Soul Babies: Black Popular Culture and the Post-Soul Aesthetic," "Songs in the Key of Black Life: A Rhythm and Blues Nation" and "New Black Man: Rethinking Black Masculinity."

Cepeda is the editor of "And It Don't Stop: The Best American Hip-Hop Journalism of the Last 25 Years." An award-winning journalist, she has contributed to MTV News, The Village Voice, Source, Vibe, Essence, Jalouse and many other publications. She lives in New York City.

Richard Turner is associate professor of African-American World Studies and Religious Studies at the University of Iowa. He is the author of "Slam" in the African-American Experience.

McLeod, who will also moderate the roundtable, is professor of communication studies at the University of Iowa and an expert on pop culture and pop music. He produced a one-hour documentary about the music industry entitled "Money For Nothing: Behind the Business of Pop Music," and his pop music criticism has appeared in The Village Voice, Rolling Stone and SPIN, as well as SonicNet, VH1.com and MTV.com.

The lecture is sponsored by the University of Iowa Lecture Committee. Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all University of Iowa-sponsored events. If you are a person with a disability who requires an accommodation in order to participate in this program, please contact the committee at 319-335-3255.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Service, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

MEDIA CONTACT: Tom Snee, 319-384-0010, tom-snee@uiowa.edu.
Saturday Morning Help Wanted Section

Saturday, April 09, 2005
Jobs - Part-time Music News Writers

The Rock Radio is seeking to employ part-time Music News Writers to work from home.
Each successful applicant will be responsible for submitting a minimum of 3 news stories of 80-100 words each to the News Editor every day.

This is an excellent opportunity for those who want an extra income and wish to work from home. Prospective journalists can gain valuable work experience plus references.

- Excellent written command of the English language
- Good general understanding of rock music
- Internet connection

- $1,000-$4,000 per year (paid weekly) depending on quality and quantity of the submitted work.

Full description upon application at jobs@therockradio.com. Please include a brief Curriculum Vitae (Resume) to include your age, nationality, and current place of residence.

The Rock Radio online
Saturday Reading Room

Orb interviews Gerd Leonhard and Dave Kusek, authors of "The Future of Music"
"The record industry as we know it is dying, but the music industry is exploding" write authors Gerd Leonhard and Dave Kusek in their new book, "The Future of Music."
Thursday, April 07, 2005
The ongoing saga of the Lion Sleeps Tonight

Mark Gorney today writes:

"Caught (most of) the premiere of 'A Lion’s Trail,' a great PBS/Independent Lens documentary about Mbube/Awimoweh/The Lion Sleeps Tonight. About time the tragic plight of Solomon Linda and his family was properly documented for a wider audience. Cast of characters includes Joe Mogotsi of the Manhattan Brothers, Joseph Shabalala of Ladysmith and Pete Seeger. George David Weiss, who wrote ten words for the song and got millions (including royalties from the Lion King musical on Broadway), did not participate in the making of the film.

"There are a few bright spots in this sad story: Gallo are now paying all publishing royalties to Linda’s family, and lawyers for the estate are going after Disney’s trademarks in South Africa. Getting Disney in the US is another matter, but this film can’t hurt in that regard. Recommended viewing.

"There was also an article about this in Songlines."

Wednesday, April 06, 2005
When musicians write about music dept.

Thrill as Sonic Youth's Thurston Moore gets Wired on "The Power of the Mixed Tape"

(via chemistryclass)
Monday, April 04, 2005
for music journos looking for a job alert

The Courier, an award-winning daily newspaper covering Montgomery County, Texas, is seeking a contributing writer to write entertainment features and/or music reviews for The Courier's weekly entertainment magazine The Ticket.

(more here)
Taming the Tiger Dept.

Trying to Harness Rock Against Revolution

"Vladimir Putin has launched a discreet campaign to woo some of Russia's top rock stars to stop them supporting protest movements of the kind that have recently toppled other governments in former Soviet republics."
Saturday, April 02, 2005
The best CD review I've read so far today comes from the Free New Mexican, telling stories about beatnik friends, oral histories they're called, reminiscences of times gone by, and real gone cats and chicks:

"Tom Russell’s new CD, Hotwalker, subtitled Charles Bukowski & a Ballad for Gone America, is a sad celebration of a lost time, a bittersweet, nostalgic work about the literary, musical, and cultural milieu of Russell’s formative years in Los Angeles, a righteous invocation of 'the old America when music still resonated through nightclubs, people gambled and drank and screwed and smoked. People went down to the border and sipped highballs and cocktails and went to the bullfights. The old America where the big guilt and political correctness and the chain stores hadn’t sunk in so deep.' "

(more from Terrel's Tune-Up here)

(and the best book review of the day, Useful Noise aka Keith Harris concerns himself with Kembrew MacLeod's Freedom of Expression which you can read in the Village Voice)
Compiling the best online articles about music so there will be more of both in the future. In periods of drought, the reader will be innundated by my own blogs on the matters.

07/01/2002 - 08/01/2002 / 08/01/2002 - 09/01/2002 / 09/01/2002 - 10/01/2002 / 10/01/2002 - 11/01/2002 / 11/01/2002 - 12/01/2002 / 12/01/2002 - 01/01/2003 / 01/01/2003 - 02/01/2003 / 02/01/2003 - 03/01/2003 / 03/01/2003 - 04/01/2003 / 04/01/2003 - 05/01/2003 / 05/01/2003 - 06/01/2003 / 06/01/2003 - 07/01/2003 / 07/01/2003 - 08/01/2003 / 08/01/2003 - 09/01/2003 / 09/01/2003 - 10/01/2003 / 10/01/2003 - 11/01/2003 / 11/01/2003 - 12/01/2003 / 12/01/2003 - 01/01/2004 / 01/01/2004 - 02/01/2004 / 02/01/2004 - 03/01/2004 / 03/01/2004 - 04/01/2004 / 04/01/2004 - 05/01/2004 / 05/01/2004 - 06/01/2004 / 06/01/2004 - 07/01/2004 / 07/01/2004 - 08/01/2004 / 08/01/2004 - 09/01/2004 / 09/01/2004 - 10/01/2004 / 10/01/2004 - 11/01/2004 / 11/01/2004 - 12/01/2004 / 12/01/2004 - 01/01/2005 / 01/01/2005 - 02/01/2005 / 02/01/2005 - 03/01/2005 / 03/01/2005 - 04/01/2005 / 04/01/2005 - 05/01/2005 / 05/01/2005 - 06/01/2005 / 06/01/2005 - 07/01/2005 / 07/01/2005 - 08/01/2005 / 08/01/2005 - 09/01/2005 / 09/01/2005 - 10/01/2005 / 10/01/2005 - 11/01/2005 / 11/01/2005 - 12/01/2005 / 12/01/2005 - 01/01/2006 / 01/01/2006 - 02/01/2006 / 02/01/2006 - 03/01/2006 / 03/01/2006 - 04/01/2006 / 04/01/2006 - 05/01/2006 / 05/01/2006 - 06/01/2006 / 06/01/2006 - 07/01/2006 / 07/01/2006 - 08/01/2006 / 08/01/2006 - 09/01/2006 / 09/01/2006 - 10/01/2006 / 11/01/2006 - 12/01/2006 / 12/01/2006 - 01/01/2007 / 01/01/2007 - 02/01/2007 / 02/01/2007 - 03/01/2007 / 03/01/2007 - 04/01/2007 / 04/01/2007 - 05/01/2007 / 05/01/2007 - 06/01/2007 / 06/01/2007 - 07/01/2007 / 08/01/2007 - 09/01/2007 / 01/01/2008 - 02/01/2008 / 03/01/2008 - 04/01/2008 / 04/01/2008 - 05/01/2008 / 05/01/2008 - 06/01/2008 / 07/01/2008 - 08/01/2008 / 08/01/2008 - 09/01/2008 / 11/01/2008 - 12/01/2008 / 12/01/2008 - 01/01/2009 / 02/01/2009 - 03/01/2009 / 04/01/2009 - 05/01/2009 / 09/01/2009 - 10/01/2009 / 01/01/2010 - 02/01/2010 / 04/01/2010 - 05/01/2010 / 11/01/2010 - 12/01/2010 / 12/01/2010 - 01/01/2011 / 01/01/2011 - 02/01/2011 / 07/01/2011 - 08/01/2011 / 10/01/2011 - 11/01/2011 / 01/01/2012 - 02/01/2012 / 08/01/2013 - 09/01/2013 / 09/01/2013 - 10/01/2013 / 10/01/2013 - 11/01/2013 / 11/01/2013 - 12/01/2013 / 12/01/2013 - 01/01/2014 /

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