The Wire

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Awesome Tapes From Africa Portal

May 2012

Follow the choice links of Brian Shimkovitz, the man behind the Awesome Tapes From Africa blog and label, and author of the Collateral Damage article in The Wire 340.

Somali Music There are an unbelievable number of websites that stream Somali music, this is just one of them that I have been enjoying. It's completely overwhelming and fun: from Minneapolis to Stockholm, expatriate Somalis are able to hear their hometown sounds with ease on sites like this. The rest of us can try and keep up.

Mon Rak Pleng Thai I used to live in Bangkok and I really fell in love with Thai music from the 50s, 60s, and 70s. This blog does what Awesome Tapes From Africa does, only with Thai cassettes. Are you into old school Thai crooner music (aka luk krung)? Awesome vintage luk thung (roughly, Thai pop-country music from the Northeast)? This is your jam.

KenTanzaVinyl I like discographies. A discography of Kenyan and Tanzania vinyl 45s is something I can get into, and so I've spent many hours enjoying this site for its archive of labels (the label art is fantastic) and bands and excellent links section. This is like a Discogs (with helpful footnotes) for East African music nerds.

YouTube search: Hausa film and TV music I have been obsessed with the music of Hausa film and TV programs for several years now. Often over-the-top autotuned vocals and relentless electronic beats. Vision of grandeur and intrigue that help color Northern Nigeria's prolific entertainment industry. There are some parallels to Bollywood, which is also super popular in this region.

The Museum of Online Museums The repository of collections on the internet can be difficult to keep organized. The Museum of Online Museums keep this stuff organized, everything from vintage cereal box designs to a website showcasing the diversity of hand-made prison shivs. Whenever I need some inspiration this site is my window into brilliant and esoteric ephemera.

Cosmicmantova This astounding archive of cosmic disco DJ sets from the late 70s and early 80s could you busy for a while. Anyone who loves cosmic disco needs to go here and die happy. The most epic and thorough way to explore the sounds that made Daniele Baldelli and co. so exciting and visionary, from obscure soul slams to Afro-inspired synthed-out dreams.

"Bidoun Presents" on UbuWeb UbuWeb is legendary and indispensable but the Bidoun Magazine-curated section blows my mind constantly. I love watching the old short films from Iran they have posted here. In particular Kamran Shirdel's "Tehran Is the Capital of Iran," a spare and stunning documentary, and the beautiful animation works of Ali Akbar Sadeghi never cease to amaze.


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