Field Recordings
Field Recording Politics

Field Recording Politics

As we move further away from the 1960s, the idea that music has a role to play in radical politics becomes increasingly irrelevant. Long gone are the days when people believed that rock music, or hip-hop, had any effect on the powers that be. More»

Somebody do Something

Somebody do Something

The refugees are right. Europe is a place to escape to. Never mind the populists and the neo-Nazis. They’re nothing compared to getting shelled every day by artillery, or losing your home to Russian missiles. No matter how hard the journey is, nothing could be worse than remaining in Syria, and Iraq. The Middle East is death. More»

Stealth Fighter Blues

Stealth Fighter Blues

11.8 billion Euros is a lot of money these days. Especially in a country like Italy, which is s struggling with the second worst economic crisis in the Eurozone. After Greece, that is. The estimated cost of 90 US-made F-35 stealth fighters, it’s still a lot less than what the Italian government had initially pledged to spend on the project: 16 billion, on 131 aircraft. More»

Migrants With Drums

Migrants With Drums

The sound of hand drums echoed in the distance. For a second, I thought I was in Berkeley. A daily feature of my graduate school years, I can’t remember a seminar I sat in where I could not hear a jam session in progress.  Located somewhere in Sproul Plaza, drum circles would normally get going in the mid-afternoon, rising in volume – and membership – by the early evening. More»

Karl Marx Ambient

Karl Marx Ambient

It’s a European Austin. A frequent proclamation, found in numerous pieces of promotional literature and newspaper articles touting the reunified German capital’s virtues – sometimes as a musical mecca, other times as a technology hub – the comparison is an annoying one. Not because there aren’t parallel arts and technology communities in the city. Rather, because it’s inaccurate. More»

Listening to the Left

Listening to the Left

He had a Palestinian flag on his cap. Staring up at the boy, chanting “Allahu Akbar,” at neo-Nazis marching on the local mosque, my gut told me where he was from. I imagined the teen and his friends standing on top of a street divider, taunting Israeli soldiers in Nablus, not skinheads in Neukolln. Yet here they were, face to face with fascists, eager to send them back home. More»

Ramadan Party Breakdown

Ramadan Party Breakdown

Usually, the music is Turkish. Arabesque, as it is called, featuring Middle Eastern- sounding instrumental motifs, but still,  Turkish. Blasting out of cars idling at the stoplight on Karl-Marx-Straße, I often find myself trying to make out the details of the songs. “Was that an Om Khaltoum sample, or an actual orchestra?” I never get it right. More»

It's All About Locale

It’s All About Locale

You didn’t want to listen to it. That is, the song you hear repeatedly in your head, untethered from your iPod, and your CD collection. Overheard in an elevator, or while shopping, such sounds have a colonizing effect. We hear it during our most private moments. We think about it when we try to script our own musical sensibilities. Everything about our sonic imaginary is defined in relation to it. More»

Hungry in Turin

Hungry in Turin

The Apple Store had finally opened. Located in a nineteenth century building on Via Roma, across from H&M and Bennetton, the American chain had set up shop in appropriately branded surroundings. Seeing that the store was packed with Sunday shoppers sporting bags emblazoned with the logos of its neighboring retailers, I decided I’d take a rain cheque. The frenzy was overwhelming. More»

Produce in Berlin

Produce in Berlin

Germany’s capital is not synonymous with fresh produce. If Berlin has any edible signifiers, it’s prepared foods, like doner kebab, and currywurst.  Try and link the city to fruit and vegetables, and residents will shake their heads and mutter something about Spain or Italy. Or, in the case of street markets in less fortunate neighborhoods, China. More»

Horns for Berlusconi

Horns for Berlusconi

Silvio Berlusconi isn’t known to be a Black Sabbath fan. A recording artist in his own right, the musical preferences of the Milanese media magnate lean more towards cruise ship favorites like “What’s New Pussycat?” than they do “Iron Man.” Not that it’s unreasonable to conjecture. Particularly following Il Cavaliere’s infamous flashing of the corna (horns) behind the head of Spain’s foreign minister, during a 2002 photo op. More»

All You Need is Italy

All You Need is Italy

No band is as familiar as The Beatles. Wherever you go, their ‘brand’ is recognizable, and universally loved. Whatever musical subculture you identify with, it’s difficult to develop an active dislike for them, the way, for example, the Sex Pistols stigmatized Pink Floyd, or The Clash, Led Zeppelin. In spite of its limitations, The Beatles’ catalogue seems to have a little bit in common with everything. More»