Analysis: The Battlefield in Syria’s Southernmost City, Daraa

Analysis: The Battlefield in Syria’s Southernmost City, Daraa

In recent weeks Daraa has witnessed the most intense clashes and aerial bombardments it has seen for years. Despite the plan for “de-escalation zones,” civilians in the city are likely to be caught in the newest battlefield for foreign power proxies and the warring Syrian sides. More»

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»

White Jihad

White Jihad

Events in Britain are moving at a dizzying pace. It feels like every week there is a new outrage, a fresh atrocity and an even stranger twist in the body politic. In the space of a week we’ve had the horror of the Grenfell Tower fire and the Finsbury Park attack. More»

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Remixing Kenya

Remixing Kenya

When a German producer receives support from the Goethe Institute to collect field recordings in Africa and forcefully rework them into cutting-edge electronica, difficult questions are bound to come up. Are the musicians he documented being exploited, whether financially or culturally? More»

Taking Out the Trash

Taking Out the Trash

As I approached the door of our apartment building, I noticed an elderly, apron-clad woman was sorting through our garbage. “Ein Auslander!” (“A foreigner”) she derisively exclaimed as she examined the label of an empty bottle of tahina. “Ein Auslander,” the woman repeated to herself, nodding her head as she sniffed its freshly scrubbed interior. More»

Don't Call It Canadub

Don’t Call It Canadub

Some might call it ‘post-dubstep’. Others might call it ‘8-bit IDM’, ‘post-dub minimalism’ or some other invented subgenre of dub-inspired electronica. Whatever genre one dreams up, I’ve been making it since I first began playing music in the mid-1980s. 
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Touring the Punk Diaspora

Touring the Punk Diaspora

For an astonishing three decades, since he was only thirteen years old, Berkeley native Aaron Cometbus has been publishing the eponymous zine that, more than any other, testifies to the power of low-fi print. With personal touches like his distinctive block-capital hand lettering and bracingly honest assessment of his travels and travails, Cometbus remains a crucial bulwark in the battle against inauthentic living. Reading even a few pages is enough to put the feed-me-now mentality of our technologically oversaturated age in perspective.
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Peace Means Everybody

Peace Means Everybody

A diverse group of mostly Jewish peace activists descended on Washington from February 26-28 to attend the second national conference of J Street, America’s largest “pro-Israel, pro-peace” advocacy group. More»

Black Metal for Leftists

Black Metal for Leftists

For the left-wing black metal lover, no act causes greater discomfort than Burzum. The influence of Varg Vikernes’ one-man band is profound. Burzum’s 1990s albums, particularly 1994’s Filosofem, demonstrated just what was possible in the Norwegian black metal scene. More»

Moving Beyond the Middle East

Moving Beyond the Middle East

“Israel can suck my dick, Arab leaders can lick my balls,” bellowed the Palestinian MC, with a wild look in his eyes. For as partisan an event as this gig was, the statement had a delightfully alienated quality to it. He couldn’t identify with anyone; except, that is, his own people. His words hung heavily in the room, contrasting sharply with those of the British rapper who had introduced his act, someone who, less than an hour before, had urged the largely Palestinian audience to oppose the allied attack on Libya. More»

An Unfresh Start

An Unfresh Start

I never thought much about race. Early in life, I learned that it was an untrustworthy category. More»

Mixed Media

Mixed Media

Although it’s been subsumed in the news by the more explosive revolts in the region, Iran’s Green movement provided its own blueprint for how to take it to the man—or imam—a couple of years ago. Its currently nebulous and undulant nature may provide the model for how to make a movement last until victory. More»

Fukushima From China

Fukushima From China

We are sitting in front of a large flat-screen watching video footage of the Japanese earthquake disaster.  Jianhua is perched on the end of the bed, wearing the metallic fabric smock she wanted to protect her pregnant midriff.  She is worried about fetal effects of EM from televisions, laptop computers, and cell-phones. More»

This is Voltage Music

This is Voltage Music

The Voltage Music label was started in 2000. I approached my boss at the time, XLR8R Magazine publisher Andrew Smith, about collaborating on a label. He and I had been producing music together at the time as Live & Direkt. We released a track on a Ubiquity Records comp called No Categories Volume 1 and did a few remixes for other labels. Separately, I had started recording my own broken beat and dub tracks using a first generation black PowerBook G3.
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A State of Narcissism

A State of Narcissism

It was cold outside and pouring rain. The cafe was packed, upstairs and down. “It’s really a commune here, huh?” the woman next to me said as I sat down. I smiled, nodded, and asked if it would annoy her if I plugged my laptop in. The wire would run right behind her, grazing her back. “No problem,” she said. More»