The Wire

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In Writing

Christopher Kirkley's International MP3 Digging Portal

July 2012

Kirkley, author of The Wire 342 Global Ear article on the 'Balani Show' sound system street parties of Bamako (capital of Mali) presents a short run down on internet based ethnography, music collecting and micro genres.

"I've been listening to West African music for the past few years, but I'm into the home production happening all over the world right now. The hard part is finding out about it from a computer screen. Most of the world is not on the Internet yet. What you see on YouTube is just about 1% of the work being generated. But as more people are getting connected to the global network, there are new sites popping up and new opportunities for music collecting and internet based ethnography. Here are a few windows into different corners of the micro genres that I'm currently looking at:

AVSEQ01 search thread AVSEQ stands for Audio Visual Sequence. It's the default file name for files on a VCD, a format that most of the world uses for films, but also for music video clips. Throwing the tag into youtube gives this strange and random assortment of VCD clips across the board, but you can hit on some interesting things. It's a good starting point to fall down the rabbit hole.

Chutney/Soca A deep collection of Chutney-Soca music from Trindad and Suriname: high energy Indian-Island fusion at super insane bpms.

Cool Places Sound System Tony Lowe's insano-ethnographic-cyber-futuristic Tumblr. I don't mess with Tumblr much except for this one, and Tony maintains it with constant updates of collected media from Google image searches, Facebook profiles and YouTube videos. The lack of context is sublime. It's 1000 times more interesting and relevant than Paris's Quai Branly museum (of African, Asian, Oceanian and American cultures).

Rai 2 Luxe One of many Mediafire link hosting sites for ripped albums of Algerian rai. Totally bootleg and totally illegal. Though on a recent trip back to the USA I got a lengthy interrogation from the Arab-phobic Homeland Security for my possession of rai cassettes I bought in Marseille. So maybe downloading is better.

Blog Dos Bregueiros Years back, I used to go to Brazil frequently. I listened to technobrega (or "brega" as it's usually known) nonstop for months, especially on the long boat rides around the Amazon. It has a special place in my heart. It's super dirty, incredibly cheesy, and makes funk carioca seem pretty tame and normal by comparison. This is one of the many CD rip sites of brega, but seems to be frequently updated.

Skyrock (Logobi) The francophone MySpace/Soundcloud. The spot for lots of cool French home production, especially Logobi, one of my favorite slept-on genres: coupé decalé inspired electro ravey break music from France. Massacooramaan's Dave Quam put me onto it... there are loads of home videos on YouTube as well.


During my childhood. I listened tecnobrega for years.

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