Wednesday, December 21, 2005

after long silence

Not so much to add.. checking in, mostly.

Three different kinds of work come to a head at the end of the semester, so it's been a bit quiet.

Looking forward to a multitude of gigs - Chapel Hill, NC on Friday the 23rd (at FUSE) and a radio show on xmas, and beat research special tuesday edition in the new year.. Looking forward to dropping all my favorite new tunes (and some classics as well that we can never get enough of).

All the madness with SONY (about which there will be a final article in Sonic Heart soonish) has been eclipsed with the truly, literally impeachable madness in the Oval office. May mad king george implode.. but not too soon..

A lot of good mixes floating around these days, I'll post a list of them soon I think.

And a conference in Murfreesboro, TN in February. Any TN people who want to give me and possible a couple of others a gig right after valentine's day, give a shout!

paper grading winding down, paper writing winding up, more music words soon come. You can always check the regulars for more texty licks.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

imagine the music that will come from THESE (updated)!

These nice people at the University of Salford Acoustics and Audio Visual Group, (isn't Salford where Morrissey is from?), also in some way connected with the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester are making a survey, and hopefully will provide a databas of the most unpleasant sounds in the world.

take the survey, listen to the unpleasant sounds, and
add to musical knowledge!

AND - the Cylinder Preservation Project of the University of Santa Barbara has recently posted online an archive of an early format of recorded music - the wax cylinder.

"the UCSB Libraries have created a digital collection of over 5,000 cylinder recordings held by the Department of Special Collections. In an effort to bring these recordings to a wider audience, they can be freely downloaded or streamed online."

go here for the chance to hear and use sounds from the 1890s-19teens! opera, band music, popular songs, hawaiian music, ragtime, George Johnson, the first african-american recording artist, the "I'm sorry I ain't got it, you could have it if I had it blues".. and OH MY GOD a RECORDING OF LIEUTENANT E.H. SHACKLETON describing his SOUTH POLAR EXPEDITION! (this must be the one before the most famous expedition during world war I)

the archive isn't so well set up, in that you need to come up with some keywords to search with. Folks please post in the comments any good words (or results) you find.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

roots used for evil!

new post on Sony's rootkit invasion of music-lovers' computers at riddim method.

All y'all should read it, especially if you buy new CDs possibly released by Sony. Or if you care about your rights, especially in relation to privacy, security or how you enjoy your music.

The one like the Joe Hall just informed me that the mandatory download also installs hidden software on Macs as well as PCs! the horror. no seriously it is horrible.

Monday, October 31, 2005



the new style of subwoofer. amazing. Gizmodo sez:

"Normal subwoofers pulsate a concave paper cone while also compressing air inside of a box and pushing it out through a small opening. The metal fans create an enormous cone of air essentially turning your room into the subwoofer box. This is capable of getting frequencies down to the 1Hz range, this is the same range you may associate with jet engines and nuclear explosions."

man, the Valve system was already making people vomit. This shit could melt you?

in a related note, the Meat Beat Manifesto / Havocsound/5lowershop/SPAZ party on saturday night was great, but I confess the earplugs a friend handed me (the way in bygone days smaller things might be palmed) were well appreciated.

Other bullet points from the weekend:
  • how happy am I that Havocsound are in the Bay Area? I have been missing promoters/music people/sound systems who are in themselves a pleasure to work with. Not about the money, but really good solid reliable people, down for all kinds of outsider noise, and sweet as pie to boot. Might start getting involved in throwing events again with these kitties around.
  • At the big ol' warehouse costume party, I was a pirate. I'm pretty proud of my costume, and of the fact that I handed out CDs of d*wnl*aded music. heh. mashups and remixes mostly.
  • we had pie. from the best bakery in Oakland (for treats anyway): bake sale betty
  • And on Friday, hit up Grime City for the one like the Joe Nice. He played an absolutely devastating set - all aspects of the dubstep sound, from wobbly bounce, to ominous clangs and swoops, to minimal squeaks and thuds. But the high point was definitely the shackleton remix of "Limb by Limb." OH NO! you wouldn't think I could stand to hear another version of that choon but damn it was heavy. Big up Ripple (the cat people always confuse me with when they see me on the flyer) from subscience for providing extra bass (nobody's got the $29,000 to drop on the little beastie up top for the basslines yet).

Monday, October 17, 2005

Ripley + DJ C in NY 10/21

New Yorkers represent!
I'm playing at Bunker with DJ C - it's gonna be ridiculous! I got all kinds of crazy records, gonnna throw down beats from 95-220 bpm and it's going to be all about the DANCING.

I've been building up a selection of baltimore club music/breaks, some other booty bidness, mixing it with sounds from near and far. Also going to be bringing the breakcore with some unexpected mixins. and of course the raggae will be represented as well.

So come out on Friday--- 107 Norfolk, subTonic to catch me and DJ C (debuting the Boston Bounce sound).

Friday, October 14, 2005


You should know, East Bay-ers, that the Bay Bridge will be closed from 1am-6am eastbound both friday and saturday night. However, the BART will be running 24 hours to make up for it (hooray for subway parties! full info here

So don't forget, Friday night is Al Haca sound system, also Dhamaal crew, yours truly the one like the ripley and also Kid Kameleon and many more
at the DNA Lounge in SOMA.

and Saturday night is deepest darkest mayhem with Vex'd (I am SO psyched) and Plasticman (the London one).. courtesy of Subscience crew, also lots of breakcore and dark breaks and ragga junglists banging around. Come in superhero or supervillain costume and stay till the bridge opens!
This one's at 1598 Custer a cool warehouse space

(go down to my 9/20 entry for the full lineup, flyers etc on these)

Monday, October 03, 2005

party went well

the EFF part was good fun. Not dancey, but people seemed to appreciate the music.

Good things:
1. Met some really nice people who are fighting the good fight (go tor!)
2. Some of those people are friends of people I knew in Boston 15 years ago when I worked at Cafe Liberty and Pearl Art.
3. free food, free cake, free EFF merch.
4. sold 3 CDs, got some tips
5. my pirate dj shirt, with a print of crossed bones, headphones and gold cassette tapes, was a hit

Annoying things
1. still haven't really gotten the hang of the cd mixer/player we have borrowed
2. had more than one person assume I was helping my boyfriend the dj set up. News for those who haven't had to think about this (i.e. many males in the music scene) - this is still extremely common for female djs, for me it happens at least once anywhere I am not more well known than my partner.

Friday, September 30, 2005

Sonic heart online +another copyleftist gig

My first column for Sonic Heart is online now. They are starting to selectively republish back issues..

it might look familiar to those who have been reading my blog for a while. A lot of these columns started out as online musings. But I do tighten up, research a bit more, and focus my arguments that appear here in looser form. Print media is so much more serious, after all. heh.

unless you're Wayne, and capable of writing reams of brilliant, well researched, lively, well organized text (with illustrations) for online consumption two or three times a week. seriously. go read the guy.

and come out Sunday, or later in October -- another gig for this month just popped up last night!

A new gig, as well - October 10th (I think) with Kid Kameleon at 111 Minna in SF, following a talk by Larry Lessig. Djs to the copyleftists, that's us.

Monday, September 26, 2005

A good idea

The panel talk went well.. more on that later. But I've just come across a really nice sounding thing folk can be a part of.

Kimya Dawson of The Moldy Peaches is organizing people to send music to young people who have been evacuated due to the Hurricane(s). I remember being a teenager, and music was so important to me, when I felt low I listened to certain albums until the tapes broke.

I am hoping it's still happening - especially since Rita has come and gone through some of those areas.. You might want to doublecheck with her before sending things in the mail. But they're looking for CD players and walk- uh, -people, (in this post-ipod era, I bet many people have those lying around).. as well as cassettes and CDs for the youth. I think this is a sweet idea.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

even more gigs!

a new addition to this blog is a little link top left to my myspace page which will always have my gig schedule and infos on it, so you don't need to search the archives. Eventually I'll need to update this template to provide that information, but I haven't the time these days.

So I'm also playing this Saturday night at Kingman's Lucky Lounge on Grand st in Oakland. A very chill event, come and keep me company, especially if Kid K can't make it.. he's got other things on his plate this weekend, which means I'll be holding down 4 hours of sound.. email me or write the comments if you want to know WHICH 4 hours (I have to clear that up with Ras Gilbert, the other dj for the night).

AND, in exciting news, on Sunday afternoon I'm speaking on the "Copy Fight" panel at the SF RESFEST with Jason Schultz (of the EFF), filmmaker Bryan Boyce ("America's Biggest Dick"), Jonathan Marlow of GreenCine, and other cool cats, including possibly the ill-ustrious Kid Kameleon. I plan to big up the Bootie peeps, and generally encourage bottom-up copyright mayhem. Sunday the 25th of September, 4:15 pm in the Lounge at the Palace of Fine Arts 3301 Lyon Street at Bay Street (near the onramp to the Golden Gate Bridge) San Francisco. I think it's 15bucks to attend, check the resfest website for details

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

THREE October gigs (updated)!

One smaller and geekier, one larger and raveyer.. both awesome!
1. EFF 15th Anniversary Party!
As in
We will be playing our various bits and pieces of genre-blending style towards the later end of the (relatively early) party, so from 8-10ish. Let me point out the salient points of the announcement below.
1. Us
2. The EFF!!!
3. Free Drinks
4.Free food (from Pancho Villa!)
5. 3D CAKE!!!!! And in the city and early on a Sunday evening. I mean, c'mon, what else are you doing?

When: Sunday, October 2nd, 2005 at 5 p.m.
Where: EFF Headquarters in San Francisco, 454 Shotwell Street
    official invite
Mark your calendars! EFF is 15 years old this year, and we are going to celebrate! We're having an anniversary bash at our San Francisco headquarters on Shotwell Street on Sunday, October 2nd, 2005. The party starts at 5 p.m.

Join us for delicious Mexican food and drinks from Pancho Villa, hear a special address from our founders, John Perry Barlow and John Gilmore, taste our special 3D cake, and enjoy both the grooves of Gypsy Jazz from the Zegnotronic Rocket Society and the hypnotic beats of DJ Ripley and Kid Kameleon.

Our celebration is free of charge and open to anyone, so bring your friends and family. We look forward to celebrating with you!

Please let us know you're coming so we don't run out of food and libations! Send an email to

EFF's office is located at 454 Shotwell Street and is BART accessible. Take BART to 16th and Mission, walk to 19th Street and take a left, and take another left on Shotwell Street, three blocks down. We are located between 18th and 19th on Shotwell.

2. AL HACA Sound System, Dhamaal and more at Breakdown, October 14th @ DNA Lounge, 275 11st, San Francisco

I am just thrilled that these guys are finally coming to the US! I met the MC for this crew in a train station in Berlin 3 years ago, and afterwards ended up playing at the same event as them at 3 different parties in three different cities/locations (including the MS stubnitz off the coast of Sczceszin, Poland, a weird bar in the Universal music building in Berlin, and at a festival in a former military airport in Eastern Germany).. I figured it was fate. Plus the music is totally fucking lovely. The Al Haca vd. Stereotyp albums are staples in my collection, with choons at every speed. This night is going to be lovely, big up to the Dhamaal peeps for holding it down!

3. VEX'D and PLASTICMAN and the rest of us, October 15th, Custer and Rankin Sts.

The last truely great large scale party I went to in this country was a year and a half ago, and Plasticman played at it. It was faith-affirming. See the flyer and dust off the dirty cargo pants for true warehouse, party-like-its-'96 style fun. For $8 dollars if you come in costume!

Make no mistake, it's especially for the late-night crew. ripley goes on around 3:30


Subscience presents:

An Evening of Extreme Electronics
Saturday October 15th
1598 Custer (@ Rankin - San Francisco
9 PM - 6 AM / All Ages Event

Time to get Grimey ! The cutting edge sound of the UK Grime and Dubstep scene invades S.F.
This is a costume party....Come dressed as your sexiest best ...$10 cover / $8 in costume
Hot Tub & Champaign Bar Opens @ 4 AM (Hosted by J-Rea)


Main Room:

PLASTICMAN (Terrorhythm, Rephlex, Rinse FM - UK)
VEX'D (Planet Mu - UK)

RIPPLE (Subscience)
SUBTEK (B.I.G. Crew, Dubliminal)
THE ONE (B.I.G. Crew)
MAEBYN LA FEY (Subscience)
HYPNOTECH (Addictech Records)
AARON JAE (Evil Breaks)
RAYDEUS (Bassworship/Pronoia)



Second room:

THE HITMEN (Subscience)
KID KAMELEON (Shockout, Mashit)

KODA & AARSON (Urban Drums)
LEXXUS (Turntablaze FM)
RIPLEY (Death$ucker, Havocsound)
LUD DUB (Cosmic Vibe Soundsystem/ Pulse Radio)
MISHA (Subscience)


more info:

Thursday, September 08, 2005

there's a reason i wear his words.

O for a voice like thunder and a tongue
To drown the throat of war!—When the senses
Are shaken, and the soul is driven to madness,
Who can stand? When the souls of the oppressed
Fight in the troubled air that rages, who can stand?...
When Sin claps his broad wings over the battle,
And sails rejoicing in the flood of Death;
When souls are torn to everlasting fire,
And fiends of hell rejoice upon the slain,
O who can stand? O who hath caused this?
O who can answer at the throne of God?
The Kings and Nobles of the Land have done it!
Hear it not, Heaven, thy Ministers have done it!
--William Blake

So. this is the kickoff of my entry into a group blog The Riddim Method. I am honored to be among such talents there. Go now, for a slew of amazing sights and sounds, new ideas, familiar things re-mixed, and my first entry, in which I link this 18th century poem with the K-otix remix of Kanye's "Gold Diggers" inspired by Kanye's recent words on NBC. Link to the tune there, as well.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

music versus guns

the promoters of the Utah rave that was violently broken up (now I hear tazers weren't used, but stun guns were present, and possibly used) have set up an official website, with more videos, including videos from teh helicopter, and interviews with the security team, as well as roughly compiling the statements of events given so far is the site you should go to . It's a nice domain name.


okay, something slightly more cheerful in the news.

AAAHHNOLD booed to his face by Rolling Stones Fans, and publicly mocked by Mick Jagger at the concert in Boston.

From CalNurses via the RockRapconfidential listserv

There was "No Sympathy" for Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger" Sunday night as he sought to turn a Rolling Stones concert in Boston into a fundraiser only to be picketed by registered nurses from California, Illinois and Massachusetts outside the stadium and loudly booed by thousands of rock fans when introduced inside.

Inside sitting nearly alone in his private box, Schwarzenegger must have been looking for Wild Horses to drag him away. Hundreds of fans held up the CNA signs. When Stones lead singer Mick Jagger welcomed the governor, he was lustily booed, and even Jagger mocked Schwarzenegger noting "As a matter of fact, he was seen out in front of Fenway Park tonight raising funds by scalping tickets and tee-shirts."

yer going down, you corrupt sexist asshole!

Monday, August 22, 2005

brutality in the US (+new links!)

No time for a serious update, I'm afraid. But I can't let this pass without more publicity.

A completely legal rave in Utah was brutally broken up by, apparently the Utah National Guard, in full camo gear (with guns and, from what I've seen, chemical weapons on them), in helicopters, using teargas, tasering, beatings and attack dogs. Tasers, already kind of a questionably "safe" crowd control weapon, used on people who might be on drugs that affect heart rate? Oh that's murderous. And attack dogs? possibly the lowest thing ever, to manipulate animals so that they attack people, and always, ALWAYS a sign that they consider the crowds less than human themselves. this is disgusting.

It's in the same pattern as the Czechtek event (see below). Actually, this one was even more legitimate by legal standards (if not as venerable a tradition). What is going on?

So far there are only a few images online - some photos and a video
and here is a list where people are posting accounts of their experiences.


big up Canton for making a webpage about it here
hopefully updates can continue there as well

Thursday, August 11, 2005

print words

There's a new music mag around, with a lot of good peeps involved. New England centered, as far as creation goes, but scope is worldwide, musically. And they were kind enough to invite me to write a semi-regular column, which is working out to every other month this summer, but maybe I'll be more on the ball come fall (when my workload goes down a bit).

I've got one in the July issue, and hopefully one in the September issue. You'll recognize the themes from this blog, if you've been reading here.. but I do try to add somenew analysis, tighten up the writing and do some research as well.

the magazine is called SONIC HEART and you can order it or check out selections here

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Report from CZ

There's a lot more video and photo footage, as well as reports, at this site:

including this testimony which may have the story of the guy who was killed by being hit by a car, that has been variously reported as a "normal car accident" or other stuff.

Below is a report from my friend Aleche Trash, who throws amazing free breakcore parties in Praha and elsewhere, and is a really brilliant guy. He's pretty close with the whole Czechtek scene, and his words confirms what I thought might be a bit of rumor-mongering on indymedia (I love indymedia but it can be a rumor mill). It does seem to have been pretty awfully brutal.

Later, I'll post some really interesting political analysis he wrote to me. Seems like the aftermath of this could be make it an interesting time in Czech politics...

"A lot of friends of mine and people around were really fucking badly injured by police. i don t want to make it bigger that it is but that s simple true. that was a massacre, a war game. during the nite police they were catching people in the wood, they beat them with batons there and some of them they put in the police cars and beat them inside much more harder. many many of them. and you know what.. no matter woman or man. they beat everybody.. no mercy. and for what?
for a party which was on legal place. for example.. the cops also stolen bottles of hard alcohol from the sound system bars and as my friend heard and saw the leader of the police action there said "take some stuff and be hard". after he said "good job, boys"..

"the problem that lot of stuff will be unwritten and unspoken, there several personal stories, really rude and cruel like putting the gas bombs in the cars while people were inside after the cops broke the windows..

"now seems a bit of political gamming here because right wing opposition criticize the assault as well as the president and ex-president Vaclav Havel. but the question is what will happen and how the assault will be when opposition ODS will be rule the country now. so to believe the opositional politicians and they words which play our notes is an reactionary act.

"the assault was long time planned with minister of security and our prime minister Paroubek. so this assault has a political motiviation, it s not just about to stop "illegal" party which was in fact legal (what the owner of the area confirmed again!).

"today also showed up (in massmedia) that the police of CR systematically lied about everything from the begining. important point. also what is important is that all protests against brutal police assault until this moment were without any violent act from the public and demonstrators.

"media are mostly on our side and in fact there are really some votes, also many of them coming from the public that the assault was incorrect and as the president said it is a sign that something really bad is going here.

"these accidents made lot of people realised that we living in a police state.

"After IMF/WB protest what was an international protest the CzechTek 2005 was the biggest riot from 1989. and seems interesting to see how much it can possibly follow the protests before 1989.

"yesterday [last week, I think] after the demonstration there were several "illegal" parties in the streets. the first one in front of ministry of security, than it continued behind the ministry and later on there was a quite big free party near the stadion on Strahov..

by A-Trash/PRG"

Friday, August 05, 2005



that is awful. what a vicious and cruel thing to do. another scene from Czechtek.
the text and a few more photos here

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Massive police violence at Czechtek

(I edited out some more musings on the larger significance of traveller/squatter culture and its relatively minimal presence in the US, mostly through American dominance of ideological/cultural weapons and promises, though with some important exceptions for focused brutality. )

The more I saw of the police actions in Czech republic this past weekend, the less able I am to distance myself with critiques about the significance of freetekno culture etc etc (or the significance of this relatively minor event to the massive and ongoing brutality the US is perpetuating worldwide.) Maybe later I can break down more of that. But I'm too angry now.

These musings aside, I still feel these (freetekno or even better music) kinds of release are really important to people. For whatever reason (that many many musers have and will address). The early few videos are kind of amazing. These pasty white kids in their multi-black clothing, reddening not under the sun but from the grey clouds from cops.

The fact is, over 5000 people jumped ahead of, broke through or snuck through police blockades, many walked, left mostly junky but often precious and shared cars by the side of the road to dance before the speaker towers, behind police lines and under the helicopters. Something about this culture is incredibly important to people.. that in itself is kind of fascinating.

and perhaps with Czech republic's joining of the EU, that culture has to be repressed still more. For some reason (not even believably given), the police decided to shut down the event. -- welcome to the land of property -ueber-alles! Although it looks like this time they were even legally allowed to be on the land (i.e. they had rented it)!

So what exactly is being policed here? they only law they cite is (apparently inapplicable) property law.

Anyway shouts and love to all the lovely czech folk who have come out and shown love, and who keep doing good stuff - I've had the good luck to be well treated by Wakata, bassbeast, dread beat, the lab respekt Aleche Trash/panicsauce, the people of Milada... hope everyone got through ok.. remember bitter greens (like dandelion) help detox all that outta your system, that and whole dark grains, lots of water (even that fizzy stuff y'all drink out there).

I also want to note that the music (the soundsystem nearby) changes to jungle precisely as the first pops of teargas canisters being shot towards the crowd goes off. I heard those pops in my headphones and immediately started to shake - I'm shaking now- partly from memories of Miami in 2004 at the FTAA protests, and partly because the previous video showed a mother and baby smiling up at the videographer, and teargas is particularly not-good for infant lungs and eyes, as I'm sure you can imagine. The more I think about this, the more furious I get. So much so that I will probably rewrite this essay again later (not to erase this original, but to repost it).. But it's breaking news now, and I encourage you all to follow how it goes...

As the first gas (that most-favorite Gift from police to crowds) starts to reach the people, the dancers twist down a bit and put their faces in their hands, the soundsystem drops out, the video shifts, and then the bass and skitter of dubsounds filter through for a moment.

It seems too pornographic to continue with pinpointing the violence, and the soundtrack... Suffice to say, folks are unarmed and in tshirts and tank tops in a summer festival, and there seem to be hundreds if not thousands of armored and armed cops, a tank(apparently not used), flashes of light and sound that I'd definitely call concussion grenades, gas, staggering and a bit of swinging, water cannons (definitely used), and the music, nearly interminably continuing (but not quite, in the end). It's a strange scene.

Police violence at Czechtek festival
videos available in 12 quicktime segments, or via torrents
and mirrors listed here:

(from czech indymedia, further stories available (in english as well) from slovenia)(i think))
"The first soundsystems and visitors gathered, on legally rented land, near the city of Milec, on Friday Morning (29th July). From the early hours the police blocked the exits from the highway, D5, causing an 8 km long traffic jam. Eyewitnesses reported police trying to stop people leaving the highway based on their looks. Around 150 people sat on the road requesting to continue on their way to Milec. After 6 hours, following an ultimatum, at 13:00 the police used water-cannons and heavy force to clear the blocked highway. Abandoned cars were towed away. The police continued to block exits to the highway, as well as several routes around Milec."

"Official statements from the police said that the legal contract between the owner of the land on which Czechtek 2005 was to take place were invalid. The Czech Minister for Justice, Frantisek Bublan, a member of the social-democratic CSSD, also stated that the contract was invalid and claimed that the owner of the land had revoked it. Later on Friday the contract got to the media, as well as several inteviews with the legal owner of the land. These confimed his support of the event and the validity of the contract. Following his statement, Senator Jaromír Štětina and the Czech Green Party requested that Minister Buban stops the raid against citizens of Czech republic who have not commited any crime by gathering on legaly rented land. Nevertheless, the police continued to block the area without reason.

During the night several thousand visitors managed to pass the police lines, leaving cars behind on the road. The police received reinforcements from Pilsen, brought in vans and buses. By Saturday morning, the party had 5000 visitors and around 300 cars that had managed to make it. Music started to play from the soundsystems.
A spokesperson from the Czech police claimed that the visitors had damaged neighboring land whend trying to pass their blockade. The landowners filled a legal complaint against the organisers of Czechtek 2005. Citizens of �jezd pod P�imdou, a small town near the event signed a petition and handed it to the Police Commander requesting that the participants be allowed to continue on their way. The streets of the city were filled with cars and people who failed to go through the police street cordons.

Police redirected cars coming from the German border in Rozvadov to other border crossings. According to their statistics 105 out of 249 foreigners were turned back at the border on the basis of "coloured old cars, haircuts and tattoos".* The D5 Highway was closed on both sides between 128 and 135km."

*Ah, the old fiction of passports and visas crumbles still further. Some people always knew - or were rather taught from small- that hair and skin was enough..
no need to mystify with DNA, that to-do about genetic tracking is a new fear mostly for people whose bodies had until recently sent the right message to the borderguards. Not that these expansions of the state into that hidden genetic territory shouldn't be feared, but let's not discount the existing power of simple eyes (and dicks) who monitor us already, and how that's already shaped these borders new-like-EU and older, too.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

hoot honk grrrr

seen at rupture's place (resonant with seismic base, tectonic shrieks, and sussurus).

A Directory of Animal Sounds on the Web

that's going in the links on the left, downlowish, the list of sound archives and the like.

make some noise!!

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

yes, posting because it agrees with me

I assume at some point I'll have to do a search for any data that contradicts this, and then get into the methodologies and suchlike.

But for now, since not many people have actually investigated this issue, and instead people tend to make sweeping statements based on moral judgements of the people involved, I'll just point out that the moral judgments of people who file-share as altruistic or at least valuing music highly (rather than as freeloading bastards) seem to be more justified.

The Leading Question, a music industry research group, conducted a survey of 600 music fans who also own computers and mobile phones. the results?

"those who regularly download or share unlicensed music also spend an average of £5.52 a month on legal downloads through sites such as Apple's iTunes Music Store or Napster. Those who were not illegally filesharing spent just £1.27 a month on digital tracks.

""The 2005 Speakerbox research shows that music fans who break piracy laws are highly valuable customers," said Paul Brindley, director of The Leading Question.""

The Guardian article quotes BPI (like the British RIAA) director saying
""It's encouraging that many illegal file sharers are starting to use legal services. But our concern is that file sharers' expenditure on music overall is down, a fact borne out by study after study," said Mr Phillips. "While a third of illegal file sharers may buy more music, around two-thirds buy less, and that two-thirds tends to include people who were the heaviest buyers. That's why we need to continue our carrot and stick approach to the problem of illegal filesharing.""

This is plainly bull. I haven't seen any studies that compare the same people, pre-filesharing and post, to show that how people's buying habits have changed. It would be a pretty stupid study to undertake, considering that paid-for music downloading is much newer than free music downloading. --i.e. the study would be tracking the growing availability of paid downloading, not the growing propensity of people to do it.

Phillips is trying to shift the interpretation of these results - he wants them to mean that the same people who paid for fewer tunes, are paying for more now. But that's not what the study addresses - the study addresses the question of what KIND of person fileshares. Why is this important? Well, from a strictly capitalist perspective, one might want to know how people behave, so that you can market products to them, and design delivery mechanisms that appeal to them.

Rather than do that, the content cartels are attempting to define free music downloaders as de facto bad, for moral reasons. They are attempting to change behavior and preferences. This seems like kind of a losing battle, or at least an expensive one. Even though there seems to be a tidy profit in threatening weak-positioned file sharers with lawsuits in exchange for settlements...*

which brings me to some non-capitalist points -->(which have become The Blog Entry That Ate Everything, including My Dinner And I'm Hungry, So Will Continue It Later)<--

*At some point I want an expose on this - is this what content industries are now? companies that make money by suing people over the use of already created content? From what I hear, this is true in patents even more - companies patent everything possible, and have lawyers who just troll around looking for people to sue. Or individuals patent everything defensively for the same reason - then you don't even have to make market or sell it, you can just wait for someone else to use the same idea and sue them. seems like the opposite of "promoting the progress of science and the useful arts."

Friday, July 22, 2005


I was tagged by Wayne a while back. I never do memes. But this one is music-related, and hey, at least Wayne wants to know..

total volume of music files on my computer:

10.81 GB in my itunes. Honestly, I haven't been listening to much of it these days. It's true. however if I had an mp3 player, I would totally set it on random and start soaking in all of it, and weeding out a lot, probably. Soon come.

last CD I bought was: ummmmm. I haven't bought a CD in a long time. I really can't remember. I usually trade, get sent them, download or listen to vinyl. The CDs I listen to are the most are mix CDs from friends.

song playing right now: embarassingly, In The Pub. Before that, it was "When the world was our friend" by Gold Chains and Sue Cie.

five songs I listen to a lot these days:
I was poking around with versions of Wozzeck for a while, and Dimmu Borgir, and Astor Piazzolla.. but not all of them listened to a lot, I guess. Combined with latest excursions into commercial radio (partly courtesy of joe's recommendations) the list looks like this:

1. Astor Piazolla "Cafe 1930"
2. Krumble "Gazoline Serious Blast"
3. Trina feat. Li'l Wayne "Don't Trip"
4. Phillis Dillon "Perfidia"
5. The Ying Yang Twins "The whisper song" - various more and less censored versions.

Piazolla is who I've been listening to most often of the digitally stored music I have access to. That and CDs in the car - David Last, mixes from Aaron Spectre, Dj C, Kid Kameleon, Subtek, ERS1 (wheel up!), Gutterbreaks, and lots of other clever beasties..

What next? a ripley ramble

As Billmon has a handy summary of all the rights our government has apparently permanently signed away, I'll leave just a few questions for New Yorkers:
1) will you submit to random bag searches, and
2) how exactly is that going to stop someone who wants to get on the subway when there are multiple entrances to multiple stations mere blocks apart from each other, and
3) - bonus!- are you REALLY prepared, now, every time you pack a bag to go out, to think about what a cop will think about everything you put in it?

and I'll jump straight to the fact that The ROLLING STONES apparently have a song critical of the Bush regime on their latest album. It's called "Neo-con" This is fine. great, actually. look how mainstream criticism is becoming - maybe that will one day translate into political awareness or even action on the part of more mainstream music fans (what if Wal-Mart refuses to sell it?)
However, I would like to point out that the description of the song includes this point:
"he lyrics don't flatter in any way National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice."

I'm quite happy to talk about Condoleezza's lying, power-mongering, fascist, blood-soaked, race-baiting ass till the cows come home. But somehow, that the critique from the Stones is apparently notable for treatment of a woman and a woman of color, is, erm, unsurprising I guess. I guess I should wait for the lyrics to come out, huh? Maybe I'm projecting too much..

When trying to find the actual lyrics I keep coming across people saying "(those awful) feminists have a problem with Stones lyrics." Uh, yeah, people who get irritated by objectification of women might be irritated by Stones lyrics. Somehow, the Stones manage to survive, and people who hear feminists talk manage to either totally ignore them, or maybe think for a minute about language, lyrics and their uses. (although I like the essay linked, I have to say there is also not enough talk about the feeling I sometimes get when a whole roomful of men (or mostly men) chant sexist lyrics happily. Whatever the critique and the complexity of my personal, individual relationship to sexist lyrics (and as someone who has put Mystikal's self-admitted raping self on more than one mix CD).. I can't deny the unpleasant and threatening effect of the roomful-of-chanting-men. I ask all y'all to think about it - it's an important thing to think about, anyway, when you are not in the minority in whatever way.. what would it feel like, really, if I was in the minority? If I was the only one in the room?

On that note - on the subject of context - there was a recent shooting in my town. Apparently, a group of young women hanging out on the sidewalk were "disrespected" by a group of young men, who used "foul language." When one women took issue with that, an argument ensued. **(edited because I have read contradictory stories about the conclusion of this event, but the point can be made with general facts..)**

So when people have a discussion about verbal harassment, about men commenting publicly on women (or to them) - let's think about the risks women run when their acts are misconstrued. The threat of rape or sexual violence is in the air, in our society. It happens too often (and not just from strangers, of course). But anyone who's been raped and made it public (or even sometimes just told a few people), or been part of a rape case, or seen public discussion of a rape case, knows that women's behaviour (and clothing) is part of the discussion about how much they actually "invited" what happened to them.

I always think of this when people complain about "political correctness." If you have less power in a particular environment, if you are the one facing greater risks, you have ALWAYS had to think about how your language can be misconstrued. Most people who are complaining about it just reveal to me that they have been pretty sheltered before, if they never thought about it. More generally, the point about all this back-and-forth about whether "man-bashing" is as bad as "woman-bashing" (as well as any other "this-bashing" and "that-bashing") is that the context of power and threat is different for each side.

To go back to music - I'm minded now of being in Sizzla's home neighborhood with Irie-la a few years ago. An amazing experience, at an outdoor block party where the man himself, along with Military Man, Anthony B and a host of other amazingly talented performers were getting up on the decks. And hearing the way the MCs got the crowds going: "t'row your hand in the air if you nah f*ck batty!" "t'row your hand in the air if you nah suck p*ssy!"
Well, not having a problem with either of those things, I felt a little weird.. and also cultureshocked, like, really? 600 people out here, and none of them suck p*ssy? at all? But when it got to ""t'row your hand in the air if you BURN battyman!" it shifted again.

Before that there had been shouts (it was bobo dread territory on the weekend of Easter, mark you): "Burn jesus!" and "Burn the pope" - Both being self-intentionally symbolic entitues, as well as the first being long-gone, the second being far away, and also well able to protect himself.

Basically I felt divided right down the middle. the music was so powerful - viscerally and achingly spiritually moving.. and yet as a queerminded person I felt quite unhappy and unsafe. Now the scene is not transparent, and it's possible there were crews of queer Jamaicans at the party, not sweating it, like some folk get down to dancehall in NY clubs I've been in. And it's damn sure that there were individual queer Jamaicans (whether they knew it or not) at the event, since, isn't it something like 10% of all people fall on the entirely homo side of that spectrum, Jamaica like everywhere else..

But the context was pretty different from the queer/friendly dancehall nights - as it would be in some OTHER NY clubs I've been in. the feeling, generally, was awful. Overall, it was one of the more intense experience, to be intensely pleased and joyful and simultaneous intensely threatened and put off by an outpouring of hatred and threat of violence. And there is no shortage of violence towards queer folk in JA (or most other places).

kay, I'm not sure where this is going now. But it's how some of things on my mind these days flow together.

(I'm not unaware that race complicates the context of this - as a white women at these events, or critiquing homophobic and sexist lyrics.. and for sure, in talking about wider issues, nothing trumps anything else as the "real problem" or "real oppression." But let's not bullshit around about the actual, physical threats folks face, and our roles in condoning or questioning or trying to change them).

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Bostonians taking it up a notch

I've already linked to the Library of Vinyl Experience (down left on this page - among the links to several archives of downloadable sounds), and here there are showing up as an engine of goodness for music. If you're in Boston, you should definitely check this out:

(the press release)
Sat, July 30 from 4-8 PM in Union Sq., Somerville, MA. Free and open to the public!

The Library of Vinyl Experience (LOVE) and the Somerville Arts Council are throwing a HIP HOP HISTORY JAM outdoor in the middle of Union square! This community hip-hop event will revolve around a series of thematic DJ sets re-presenting 6 eras of hip hop history in classic Beat Research style (e.g., mixed and mashed with a side of edutainment).

Some of Boston's best DJs/Mixologists will be taking the lead on each set:

Wayne&Wax - Jamaican Roots
DJ Yamin (Beats not Bombs) - Funk & Soul
DJ Def Rock (of Monstamind/Megabug fame!) - Birth of Hip Hop
DJ Drama (Elemental Compounds) - Old/Middleschool
DJ Flack (Mashit/Beat Research) - Golden Age
DJ C (Mashit/Beat Research) -Back to the Future

If that was not enough, LYRICAL and BRICK CASEY are hosting this event which will feature the ever amazing LOSST UNNOWN!

CRITICAL BREAKDOWN and the MASSIVE RECORDS family will be there too!!

Really, you want to come to this one (but if you miss it, try to get to the other crazy events below!). In the meantime these links ought to get you in the mood!

Monday, July 18, 2005

the fundamental tug

well I pulled the phrase above from Kid K's most recent post, which describes his thoughts on what mashing is.. which came from the post I was originally going to big up, from Wayne, a magisterial spread of insight with a lot of tugging-at-the-fundamental-assumptions going on, much in the way that many people's fundaments are tugged by both their mixing styles into mashing up the dancefloor.

ok it's a self-referential tangle, but sometimes words lean that way.

I have nothing deep to add at the moment, suffice to say : I'm glad these brains are out there percolatin'

things brewing here as well. soon come.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

watch the technique

ha ha hee hee

I'l post a report from the gig (thanks all you lovely peeps who came out early! if it goes regular we can do it again and I'll get to play later.)

but this is just a really really funny thing. Really funny commentary on a hitherto-understudied grime+rap performance technique. also dry british wit at its finest (Kid K assures me all this language is from the noble sport of cricket)

Thursday, July 14, 2005

hyperlinking illegal in AU?

ZDNet Australia says that a Judge just ruled that websites that post links to other websites that host infringing material are breaking the law.

while the mind boggles at the idea that Australian content-owners will start suing those outside Australia, it puts Australian music bloggers, music fans and suchlike in a pretty bad position. And does it mean that Sony's Australian office could sue someone who runs a website somewhere else, from Australia? The question of jurisdiction onthe internet is pretty unsettled in the US, internationally it seems even weirder.

looks unpleasant.. and also completely fucking ridiculous.

the property analogy is once again failing. If I tell you where to buy grey market goods, where a free box is, or where you can buy stolen goods, I am not breaking the law. Somehow the copyright cartel has gotten so many of those involved in the law (and those whose lives are supposedly dedicating to interpreting it) so twisted up over property rights that it's acceptable to punish people for simply pointing people towards a place where something that COULD be illegal (regardless of the silliness of the law) could be done? In defense of property, all else falls by the wayside?

maybe what Proudhon means was not "Property is theft (of the object in question from the common good)" but rather "Property is the state's theft of the rights and obligations we have in respect to each other as humans living on this earth" ?

so much of this is about communication, as much as it is about ownership. That's why the legal arguments keep reaching towards the First Amendment, in the US, because in a real way, all of this restricts our ability to speak freely. As many now remind us, speaking (in) code, may be illegal - where's my DECSS T-shirt?

But that argument, about the communication function of property, has not been so succesful in the higher courts at least. And in the public? I get the feeling that a lot of people know we are losing something as all of these judgments and laws chip away at our rights and our impulses to create, share, and take. but folks don't know how to put it into words.. This is frustrating.

Meanwhile, there's so much easy, and seemingly intuitive language to assert our most despotic "rights" over property. I was thinking about this the other day. The visceral feeling so many have about ownership, about what is rightfully theirs. And how easy it is to trade on that. But it's such a poorexplanation for why the state gets involved in regulating how people interact over objects and ideas. Or rather, people turn to the most basic and unrealistic economic or psychological assertions (usually unsupported by anything more than "human nature") to back up their "right."

It still seems like property rights get much more of a pass as an absolute moral right, one you can assume will be mostly supported by the powers that be, and by other people. While things like good taste, obscenity, blasphemy, insult, and harassment can be debated forever.

this also seems particularly American to me, the supremacy of the "THAT'S MINE" assertion.. although that's mostly just idle speculatin'

**edited to add this coincidental bit of news. On the subject of criminalizing communication in assertion of property-owners' apparently limitless right to profit.. Apparently the British Columbia Supreme Court has ruled that people who in good faith bought copies of the Harry Potter book that a bookseller sold earlier than the official release date are ENJOINED from talking about the book. Yes, they could be sued by the publishers if they talk about a book they read.

When did copyright owners (or content creators) get the right to control every single possible act relating to a work, and the also when did they get the right to make money off any conceivable aspect of using a work?

this is insanity.

send Moog a message

Bob Moog is seriously ill. He has an inoperable brain tumor for which the prognosis is usually bad. I'm certainly glad he's been in the world and he's made quite a contribution to it. I have read thta he and his family are happy to get good wishes and kind words in what must be a pretty sad and painful time..

if you want to send him your good wishes, you can, by clicking

Monday, July 11, 2005

SF gig, Saturday 16 July @ Elbo Room

Echo Sessions: Dancehall, Dub, Roots, Bhangra, Breakbeat & D'n'B riddims Inna Live, Dubwise Fashion featuring: Bruce Lee Hi-Fi Soundsystem (Dub Vendor & Special Agent K -Live Dubwise Set). Kush Arora featuring N4SA on the mic & A Hegg on bass (Live Dub Bhangra Set) Plus Resident DJ Selectors: Maneesh the Twister (Dhamaal), Ross Hogg aka Duppy Ranks (ital Selection Hi-fi), Kid Kameleon (Shockout), Ripley (Death$ucker), & fflood (Transdub Massiv)

Hopefully it will be a monthly, but as usual that depends on the crowd, which means you, Bay Area massive! truly a great lineup.. this time fflood, Kid K, Maneesh AND myself will be taking the early part of the night, sharing the decks until 11:30 or so. Kush Aurora is a really interesting live act not to be missed, as is Bruce Lee Hi-fi.. so come early and stay late!

echo sessions July 16 2005

hope to see y'all there

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Thank you LA, Suburban Theory, Darkmatter, 5lowershop

LA was a blast. Stayed in downtown in a big ol' house with a crew of great peeps (walked in on an absolutely stellar pot-luck), chilled with relatives in Santa Monica, escaped to Venice.. and played a really fun show with a lot of good folk.

AUDIO CRASH: there were so many San Franciscans/Oaklanders that we felt quite at home.. big up 5lowershop and assorted/affiliated humantypes. At least 20 of them came down in the veggie bus. Filthmilk represent! and the 5lowershop distro set up tempting vinyl treats (like all the Sonic Belligeranza records except the one I played later with FFF's tango-breakcore madness).

Not huge attendance, but everyone seemed quite smiley. I took the opportunity to throw down one of my harder and wackier sets - most of it at 100(200)-105 bpm. Plenty of The Bug, Rotator, Krumble, DJ C/Wayneandwax (big up the A It Dat remix!).. as well as some newer Mashit ragga from new head Murderbot (some nice jumpup and classic ragga references) and more ragga courtesy of 45 Thieves.. I've been playing the A-side for a while, but the B-side is much weirder and mixes nicely with Fabolous.

so yeah started with Aphasic and Moabit/Seeed, headed through ragga, into breakcore and ragga and laced it all through with a west coast G-funk kind of thing. I realized I nearly played 4 different songs with Nate Dogg in'em although I switched to instrumentals of a few. Near the end was one of the J*Star mashups - "This is how we do it" over Madness' version of Swan Lake. Surprisingly good, actually, though half those records fall more on the gimmick side. I'm also feeling the version of "Tequila" that I have on a Death$ucker white label, and the Rotator remix of Dj/Rupture.

Kid K was, for once, harder and maybe a touch less accessible than I was! It was a great set though - some awesome Hellfish & Producer, lots of mp3 exclusives..

the rest of the night was pretty good - Megabitch threw down some Death Chant tracks, and lots of other good stuff. Bass Binnie Laden hit up some killer hard sounds, Baseck got up for a minute after Kid K and scratched and cutup like the fiend he is and transformed into Sonic Deathrabbit and pulled out some more stops..

Also an interesting early set from Violent Fingers - from San Diego, live violin and midi-controller-glove thingy.. kinda dark and dreamy I especially liked it when she got dubbier-glitchier as opposed to gothick (though that's just me)..

And right before my set was a fun due called Lowtech - although they sported pretty up-to-date laptops, I guess the keyboard was kinda old. Still no sticks and stones music here - it was punky-poppy-breakcorey fun. Seemed like with some more gigs under their belt they'd be a jolly live act.

There was more, especially from the 5lowershop crew but I forget - I think some pure noise got played by someone called Semtex? a nice range of stuff to round out the evening. Big up the one like the Rtype, although I think we had to split before he was through..

Overall a great time, and eager to come back to LA.

Monday, June 27, 2005

looking on the brighter side

Skimming the decision, which I will go into more closely once I have more time, I think I agree with EFF's Fred Von Lohmann that it could have been worse.

The unanimity of the justices was acheived, I think, partly through softening the opinion - it focuses mostly on the idea of 'inducement' i.e. if you induce people to break teh law, you will be found liable.

the copyfighters have the summation up with some interetsing commentary

b ut it looks like the legal battles will not be over...

Supreme Ct: techies should read minds, be social engineers

MGM v. Grokster decided. unanimous. Against Grokster.

looks bad - if developers and inventors have to judge the possible later uses of their inventions before they are released.. reading minds? trying to predict how people will use it?

given the cool-ass history of artists (especially poor ones) re-purposing technology for their own creative aims .. plus the general history of most people doing that when it becomes easy for them to do so.. how could we really hold an inventor liable for what people do with their invention down the road?

I really want to get my hands on those mp3 mixers - would they have been invented if this decision had gone down a year ago? Would mp3 players? Would MP3 technology have been invented at all, in the unrestricted form we still (kind of) have it in?

check EFF for analysis soon.

shouldn't be suprised I guess..

My main frustration is that this decision transforms a possibly revolutionary (or at least balance-of-power-shifting) development into a tool only for subculture of elites and undergrounders.

I have no doubt that underground peeps will continue to develop and use new and interesting p2p technology, but the effect on the industry and on society of having it widely and cheaply (cheap also in terms of knowing how to find it and use it) available, available to fans, to your average person, will likely be muted. this means people's ability to usemusic can once again be dictated and defined by the owners of the industry.. unless it's too widespread to shift now (let's hope)!


Thursday, June 23, 2005

projects in the works

Just a quick one.. although a longer post is brewing..

I've got a few fun gigs coming up.
July 1 in Los Angeles, hopefully.. news is changing every week but SoCal people take note..
July 16th at the Elbo Room, in San Francisco

possibly another one in July at our local Kingman's Lucky Lounge - hear Ripley play a rocksteady, dub and glitch-hop/dancehall set!

and the other project will come out of the following thoughts.

My pal and colleague Wayne caught some ignorant flak recently for posting against homophobia, and also in support of Stacyanne Chin, poet, Jamaican, lesbian (other descriptigves abound), and on like issues... So much flak, and directed hostility, and violent terms... that it motivated several of us to move a bit faster on our similar thoughts.

In case there is doubt.. Ripley = not down with homophobia, gaybashing, in the reality or the lyrical content. Stupidness. And as a moment's thought should tell you - when violence against the targeted people is still so terribly common (and by no means am I only talking about Jamaica), then hostility and violent talk take on more power, and silence legitimates it.

Your ability to trust that silence about homophobia (or whichever hatred and threat of violence) means you'll be safe depends more on the privileges you have access to, like your distance from the target identity.

With respect to djing: if you like, you can go over the metaphor/literal issue, and the crosscultural questions only so many times before the "what atmosphere do I want to create, and for whom?" issue, and the "what do I personally not want to support?" issue comes up. I know I'm not the controller of events I play or of people's actions, but I am communicating an idea of the event and vibe I want to happen in the space. Anyone who knows ripley sounds knows I don't shy away from harsh or aggressive sounds, and I'm not one for dictating to people, especially about musical experience. But I'll speak against any attempt to align ripley sounds with this bullshit.

I've thought about it a lot in my choice of records, since I play a lotta dancehall and tunes that sample it. I try not to play songs that are exclusively "kill batty bwoy" songs, but it's hard to edit out the few lines or verses or exclamations in every song, so sometimes I don't (I know they go by too fast for most non-patois-speakers), or I try to cut away at crucial moments. But it's still an uneasy truce sometimes.

Atmospheres and environments can be hostile to people (obviously). Sometimes they may seem neutral, but that might just mean unrevealed - as many can tell you, just because you haven't heard someone make an ignorant, hostile or threatening statement doesn't mean they someone won't in the next moment. Silence doesn't communicate safety or support. This means folks who feel threatened may stay away, feel unsafe or that folks who are actively hostile feel they can behave as they like. None of this is a scene I want to support.

So I hope people continue to speak up. Don't support this gay-bashing, queer-fearing fuckery! there's real enemies out there, enemies with power, to work against.

Wayne and my and Kid K and many others' conversations on this overlapped with Dj C and in discussing a project Wayne and I are working on, DJ C motivated to set this up for y'all who want to buy it.. which fucking rules and is a nice counterpoint to the general chest-thumping atmosphere of shouty jungle.

Thursday, June 16, 2005


Word from NY a few peeps who should know is that all charges were dropped in re: the Kim's raid.

Now the word is that the cops were after those who MANUFACTURE the mixtapes, who, I guess, are considered the real criminals. Or something.

Glad that folks aren't hurt or held, but still left wondering. As many folks are pointing out, mixtapes are indisputably usefulto music, and there's some discussion of the ways even the big label side of the industry makes use of them (leaking singles, even asking for better 'placement' of artists on the mixes, probably commissioning mixes to generate street cred), alongside many good points about their significance as low-risk alternate distribution, as sources of street credibility, as journalism/commentary on music in nonverbal forms, etc etc..

So going after manufacturers is still stupid. Still targeting mixtapes as if they harm anything except possibly people who want top-down control of all music and its presentation.. still a spit in the eye and a hammer to the hand of folks who make music alive.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

more on "artist rights" please

A nice and loaded phrase is raised in the comments. thanks for jumping in, and hello everybody.

"Artist's rights" - this is not a simple thing to understand.

To start with, most of the time, or much of the time, the artist is not the rights holder (see the Scientist lawsuit discussion below and elsewhere).

So violating copyright does not automatically mean artists rights are violated. Given how skewed-and-chopped most major label contracts are these days, I could suggest that copyright itself is a violation of artists rights - look at the effects of copyright for most artists in major label deals --since they are in no position to stick up for themselves in relation to their labels and get bullied or flim-flammed into terrible contracts where copyright law limits their ability to create and share, or even to use their own name.

So who are the artists, and what are the rights? Again, see the Scientist debate - is the dj who makes a mix an artist? Is the sound engineer or producer an artist? is the lyricist an artist? The performers? the authors of melodies? As I've said before, the definition of artist, and the ownership of rights in the legal sense, are the products of negotiation, and depend a lot on the kind of power you can bring to your side in negotiation.

And on the subject of rights.. this came up in a discussion elsewhere. A common statement by people (often those who have some experience with law or lawyers and how mind-bogglingly confusing and anti-intuuitive it is) is that they don't want to say much because they are not clear about the legal issues involved. In terms of giving legal advice in a practical quandary, this is spot on.

However, right now, that is not enough, not at all. The laws are changing, technology is changing, society has (as it always does) the potential to change and be changed... And so more generally it's dangerous to look to law to tell you what your rights are. (If you are in a particular legal dispute, yes indeed you need to know what the law says it gives you, but often even that is far from what you'll get, and in terms of broader debates, it's a recipe for handing over society to the ones doing best out of it now, which is generally not artists, to say the least). So. Law has a poor track record on defining and defending the rights of the less powerful - those rights have to be fought for in the law and maybe, eventually written into it.

It's important now for people to think seriously and playfully about what our rights are as creators, fans, listeners, members of ethnic, cultural and social groups, and as humans... the more so in this case because the law is not clear in itself. Any copyright lawyer will tell you that. It's all grey areas and arguments you can make depending on the judge, and the political climate, and the specifics. We need to be thinking bigger than this, especially if there are territories to be defended (or perhaps hidden) from law's slice-and-dice gaze.

So I'm for looking at who is involved, and thinking about who 'deserves' to get paid and for what, and thinking about how to make the law recognize or at least permit that in some way... a good first step would be expanding and clarifying the vocabulary around creativity, ownership, rights, blahblah.

Some specific points, though. First, the raid was over mixtapes, not DVDs.

I haven't said much about Kim's as a business, because that's not the point. The point is the law, or the pointlessness of the law. Or rather, the manipulation of the law and its ill-suitedness to dealing with culture.

And on the subject of mixtapes, I don't know about "cashing in," as was said about Kim's in the comments. As a business, they're going to be cashing in, that's what businesses do. But regardless of Kim's' motives, the presence of a trade in mixtapes provides a service to lots of artists and scenes. (and the motives of the people who stock them, buy them, and promote them, some of whom probably do work at Kim's are probably less capitalist, as many are incredibly creative and use their position to support all kinds of underground music making).

Anyway, it does helps djs and MCs when a place decides to sell mixtapes. Again, the MTV article has some good points (it hurts to say it) about mixtapes and hiphop. Again, I refer you to 50 Cent, love him or hate him or whatever else, but he's frickin huge and story is mixtapes helped put him there.. even the industry as it stands now benefits from the energy and experimentation possible in mixtapes. And I'm still not clear who or what they hurt.

All I can get from Buckles is "artist rights."

Friday, June 10, 2005

write the Times a letter re: the raid at Kim's

My fuller comments below.

I'd love to see some rabble rousing, public protest, and creative organized action about the way the RIAA seems to be able to raise more money and state support than any community action group, all to support their faltering market position and twisted concept of the role of the law in limiting people's musical engagement..

we need to start redefining the terms, the territory, and the relationships.

but to begin with, as Downhillbattle point out, a letter to the editor of the NY Times on the fact that the bust was over mixtapes, which are in fact the lifeblood/linchpin of hiphop, would be a good start. (if you don't want to sign up for membership, check for passwords at

RIAA vs. Kim's NYC - breaking news

According to word on the street, undercover cops bought a mixtape at Kim's Video (NYC, St. Mark's place) and then came back and raided the place. Rumors of arresting all on duty at the time.. managers included... I-Sound, should we be worried? - the NYTimes says yes. Apparently he was one of the ones taken away in cuffs. damn. Can the EFF get up in his defense? And anyway, wouldn't the employer be vicariiously liable for actions of employees? As far as I know that fits the definition of vicarious liability.. seems a bit harsh that the underlings (or even managers) should spend the night in jail (is that true?) if the store doesn't stop it and it makes the store money.. it's unofficial or official policy. Or is it supposed to be like those punk-ass pharmacists? Is the RIAA trying to instill a crisis of fear of conscience in record store employees (lotsa luck on that one): "no no, my conscience won't allow me to sell you that mixtape, even though it's on offer here in the store and you want to buy it."

MTV confirms

NY Times, later on the draw than MTV, points out that the police siezed: "nine computer towers, a CD burner, a laptop computer, 471 compact disks and 53 videos."

whose laptop was that, I wonder? and nine computer towers? that's a lot of information. What happens to the other, non-"piracy" related information on there? Is it still private or can they rummage through it all? Of course they can, and they will if they want to, but I wonder if after the fact legal action would have anything to say on that?

MTV quotes Brad Buckles, a man with a name like the protagonist of a TV show about a lovable dog, also "executive vice president of anti-piracy" for the RIAA :"The New York City Police Department's steadfast commitment to the fight against piracy has stamped out yet another significant illegal operation,"

Kim's may be significant in getting these mixtapes to a white population, which may in fact be significant in terms of marketing hiphop for big bucks, but I do doubt that this is really so significant or a center of the "urban" (as the article calls it) music industry.

Buckles continues "With actions such as these, New York City law enforcement continues to send a strong message to music pirates that this behavior simply will not be tolerated. Retailers who are making money on the backs of musicians and record companies by selling pirated CDs should know that this is absolutely no way to conduct a business."

What I want to know is, why doesn't lightning strike these people? This is why I can't watch the news, or our government officials talking. I'm a literal sort, when I'm not a literary sort or occasionally a symbolic sort, but either way I heat up when logic and consistency are spit on, even if it's no surprise.

A representative of the RIAA and the major labels saying that "making money on the backs of musicians" is no way to run a business."?

A capitalist saying making money on the backs of other people is no way to run a business? isn't that, actually, how you run a business, at the industry level?

Add to that, the tapes include 50 Cent tunes, a good example of an artist whom many credit with rising to popularity/notoreity through mixtapes, which, if places like Kim's didn't sell them, would not have propelled him to fame (assuming he wasn't just groomed by a crew of handlers, or at least not only groomed by a crew of handlers).

MTV makes a hint at honesty by linking to an article at the end, saying: "For a full-length feature on the role of mixtapes in the music industry, check out "Mixtapes: The Other Music Industry." Which is clearly the least you can say, that it is another industry, or another level of the existing industry. certainly more honest than whatever it is the RIAA is saying this week. Actually, the whole article is about the importance of mixtapes to finding new talent, to marketing, to "street cred," to whatever else you can think of. No mention in the article on these recent events that Kim's provides an important service to artists in getting that sound out.
I can't really speak for the hiphop, but Kim's is still crucial to supporting so many underground sounds, they provide an incredible (if surly) service to so many musicians who can't get heard or get their sound out elsewhere. I know so many artists who have walked in with their own records and sold a few to Kim's managers who have turned round and made'em available to wondering searchers.. that place gets karma points forever, and Buckles has the nerve to get all righteous about this shit? When will we all be able to collectively tell the RIAA to fuck right off and let us get along with living music?

the image of a crew of cops storming that dilapidated bunker and arresting its sullen genies...

man, in this day and age, threats of bio-warfare, terrorism from white supremacists and anti-abortionists from here as well as whoever else from abroad, and whatever the heck else NY has to worry about besides the impending petroleum shortage and falling into the rising oceans or drowning under a tide of garbage... anyway glad to see the police force is paid to carry out such key work that makes quality of life better for .. for who exactly?

Should I just be glad they're not killing unarmed black men, deporting arab folk, or busting up and abusing protestors?

no, no that's not enough. The backlash needs to start now. Artists, music lovers, this shit is got to stop.

Thursday, June 02, 2005


Well the first two shows were pretty damn great. WAF salon felt like family - people I knew kept turning up. I started out warming up, just listening to my new dancehalll - then I looked up and there was an actual audience, so I think, oh, yeah; I better like DO something.

There are these tunes I`m really feeling right now, on is at about 125 bpm; one is at about 190 and one is at 100.. this is forcing me to contstruct my sets a bit different, to have a good flow and still fit in the sounds I want to fit in. It`s mostly quite a fun challenge..

There is a funny story in London of my quest to get new records. I think I told it twice in Berlin, but it already came back to me from a person I didn`t know; and then a funny post on a german weblog.. also a nice comment from the same person?

Thanks peeps for all your good words, it does mean a lot to me even if I don`t always know how to respond right away.

i feel like what I am trying to do is coming across more clearly these days, or more poetic and articulate people are commenting on it.

And Belgium.. Brussells.. wooooah... yes, about a hundred people still dancing at 2 on a wednesday; hell, around 50 still going at 5 when I tried to leave. The gig was part of a real art show, with some performances I`ll describe later.. I`m posting in the flat I came back to to pack up and turn around and go straight to the airport. I didn`t want to do this twice.. but later I`ll tell the silly story of how it happened.

Big up Droon and Sickboy and Mike Floyd (Transdub Massive) and Fotons and FoaM and Peace Off peeps and everyone else who rocked out! (I`ll make all that linked later)

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Ripley in Berlin, Monday - WAF salon

Last minute, was invited by Chris society suckerz to play at the WAF salon (Rigaer str 77) on Monday. woohoo!

With Duranduranduran, End, and many other good people including a genius japanes guy off peace off whose name I keep forgetting + special secret guest djs.

come out!

Friday, May 20, 2005

more on ownership

This is interesting.. I've written a bit before (in my academic life as well) about the way the whole concept of dubmusic and the engineer as creator (and the mixing board as a creative tool) confounds concepts of ownership. When people buy a Scientist album, or a Lee "Scratch" Perry album, it's because of his role as producer, no? dub artists are engineers, wizards of the mixing board (are there any female dub producers?)

so in that way why isn't the engineer like an author? what is the engineer entitled to? Notice that Greensleeves don't say why they are entitled to own the copyrights, they simply mock the idea that an engineer could be the owner. NObody's talking about the musicians who played the instruments, or the authors of the tunes.. where are they? why aren't any of them the owner?

This silence also implies that there is something more natural about a record label being the copyright owner --more natural than the engineer being the owner.

But of course there's nothing natural about it at all - it's all negotiation, and despite what many economists like to assume, such negotiation, such bargaining, is never free.

From the Gleaner
"Hopeton Browne, known in the business as the 'Scientist', lost his bid after an approximate two-year fight in U.S. courts. Browne had challenged Greensleeves for the recording and composition copyrights of five tracks which he worked on for the video game, 'Grand Theft Auto 3.'

"A release from Greensleeves stated that the tracks come from the album Scientist Rids The World of the Evil Curse of the Vampires, which was released in 1981, and which is now available as part of the Greensleeves Reggae Classics series.

"The tracks were produced by the renowned Henry 'Junjo' Laws, and had been reportedly licensed by him to Greensleeves. All five tracks, Dance Of The Vampires, The Mummy's Shroud, The Corpse Rises, Your Teeth In My Neck, and Plague Of Zombies, were mixed at King Tubby's Studios back then.

"Both Lawes and King Tubby are deceased, so that meant that Browne's claims could not be validated.

"According to Greensleeves Records, the court found that Browne was not the owner of either the recording or composition copyrights. Greensleeves' Managing Director, Chris Sedgwick, claimed that the company went to trial because Browne's claims were unreasonable.

"Basically, Scientist was claiming to own copyrights in songs and recordings as a result of being the mixing engineer. Although we always felt these claims were ridiculous, we had to defend ourselves all the way to trial and are delighted to have got the right result," he said in a release."

and ps. stupid new york courts - why are they never on the sensible side of these copyright claims?

Friday, May 13, 2005

for the pro-p2p producers

For all y'all that are more interested in getting your music spread as far as possible
(or your dj mixes, or your pictures, videos, whatever).. 53x11 have made a sticker you can put on your work (on the cd case or whatnot) to counteract the Federal Anti-Priacy sticker..


At the site, there are nnumerous version, black and white and color, in various resolutions, so you can print out your own.

the concept of fair use is being defined out of the p2p discussion, yet again. Remember all files on p2p networks aren't copyrighted, and all uses of copyrighted work without being paid are not illegal - people were always allowed to use it for educational purposes, for example. But if the law makes all p2p de facto illegal, or builds technical controls in to the files or the software, who will make sure those exceptions remain?

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

ripley in Europe

So, along with school madness (100 pages due in 4 days! plus a statistics exam! blechhh!)

there's been a little tour brewing. I'm still looking for gigs in Berlin, so feel free to get in touch - djripley at gmail is the contact address or leave me a comment here.

The schedule so far:

Arrive in Berlin May 28th in the morning, no gigs yet in Berlin (hook me up!)
Leaving Berlin May 31.

Brussels - June 1 at FOtones:
Beursschouwburg, rue Ortsstraat 20-28 - 1000 Brussels - Belgium
22:00, Free entrance.
Xingu Hill: literary sound performance (CAN/B - Ant-Zen, Hymen, Mirex,
Nova Zembla)
Urawa: cinematographic frequency extremes (B - Foton, Falling Elevators,
Nova Zembla)
The Joint between Ultraphonist: psychedelic subbass obsession (B - Vacuum,
Imminent: power electronics pioneer (B - Ant-Zen, Hymen)
Foton Wreckords Crew - Lowdjo / Vanno / Antz: scapes, breaks & core a gogo
(B - Foton)
DJ Ripley: female junglecore tactics (USA - Death$ucker Records)
[ƒoam]: transient realities in visual atmospheres and soft architecture
... stumbling upon a tangle of knots in a hyperdimensional tornado - (B,
AUS, HR, LT, etc+ - )

Halle - June 3 at the Electric-Renaissance Festival
Am Markt, Halle
ripley plays with
-ButterknifeKrüsh / USA/KOR - "Ottone Re di Germania"
- Funkstörung / D
- VJ-Herr Vogel /

Leipzig - June 4
At Keller Antik, With Society Suckers (Lux Nigra Mental Ind. Karl-Marx-Stadt), and VJ MFO. 2nd floor with reggae & dub by Royal Records Sound.
See the online flyer at:

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

another slightly revised cross-post

this was in a response to a post on my p2p/policy class about business models and the consumers relationship to products , can you call that "ownership?" Underlying my response is a basic discomfort - but more of a doubt- that "consuming" really describes what happens when people acquire music (whether they pay or not). What function does paying for it serve - do people's feelings about music change when they pay or not? Whoah a whole nother train of thought there..

Anyway, granting that you could maybe use the word "consumer" (I favor "fan," more because fans and fandom are totally ignored in discussions of incentive and contribution, but really there needs to be a better term).. ANYWAY, granting "consumer" (and "he"), the cat i'm responding to says that "Ownership has never been a part of a consumer’s relationship with the content he buys." This doesn't go far enough. The meaning of the word Ownership changes in various contexts, and can't be assumed.

“Ownership” is a confusing term - it seems to describe a relationship between you and an object, but it really is describing a relationship between you and other people - but it doesn’t reveal much about what is involved in that relationship. I want to know about the right to exclude, the right to include, the right to destroy, the right to manipulate, the right to copy, the right to distribute...

On the subject of artists, I seriously doubt most arguments about artists’ economic incentives for creating. When p2p and other art-sharing systems come up, someone always speaks up for how no matter what an artist wanted that was non-economic, they didn't make art as an altruistic gift to the world. Some do this. But there are more choices between charging by the piece for art (and breaking it into pieces to charge by) and pure altruism. there's fame, which can be converted into more than money, there's power, and reinforcing identity ("our music" "voices not heard enough"), and all kinds of other goals and motivations.

“Ownership” inadequately describes artists’ relationship to music, to the music they write, and the music they engage with. Some of what “ownership” means is that sense of identity, of connection.

And even more with consumers - here a sense of ownership could be partly about the relationship between the artist, other artists perceived as related, and other people who like that artists. ("our people" "*genre* fans")

I worry about the shorthand of economic incentive as used in copyright discussions -economic incentive as the mechanism by which copyright rewards creators, and the mechanism by which people value things (i.e. free automatically more desirable than pay). This masks the way that information and information-sharing is constitutive of many things, of identity, of culture(s), of democracy, of political plurality, of knowledge…

Ownership, for artists, is discussed in copyright terms as creating a situation where artists profit from their work. But the moral arguments behind it tend to shade into moral rights of authors to control how their work is framed (which our law basically doesn’t recognize) --artists see someone making use of their work and profiting by it which seems unfair or inauthentic-- and then usually follows a kind of statement that “people have a right to make a living.”

So, ownership is seen as the way for artists to make a living. But I think this is a false link. I agree that everyone wants to not be broke - everyone wants to have some level of material comfort. But I don’t see that as automatically tied to the incentive for music making. That’s just survival in general.

Folk may really mean that people have a right to a decent quality of life, but it’s not necessarily helpful to assume the best way to get to a quality of life. Maybe there’s a better way to get there than a metering system that parcels out money based on atomized bits of information.

for example, if we had a more generous welfare/dole system and free health care and education, would artists be so concerned about making money off of copyright? Especially the artists that gets everyone’s moral dander up - the small, struggling, independent artists? I don’t think the answer is clear. People make arguments about incentives to create art, but I don’t think being starving or living hand-to-mouth is that good for creativity.

For many other informational ‘goods’ there are network effects that are not captured by the concept of “ownership” - like the scientific article or software interface that is more useful the more people have it.

I’m not necessarily advocating a socialist system or welfare state.. I’m trying to emphasize that the current “business models” and to a great extent our copyright system itself assumes things about people’s engagement with information that may not be accurate.

There may be other ways to ensure people make a living (if that’s what we’re concerned about) than by atomizing information and charging per piece. And if we are concerned about all the non-economic, social values of easy transmission and transformation of information, there may be other ways to capture more of them as well.

Monday, May 02, 2005

survey time

not for me.. these cats are interested in the concept of people buying "shares" in a band.. so bands can raise money for recording.

Sounds intriguing, especially if they get a free digital copy (unrestricted rights to mash up as well, natch), in return. Of course, I'd be more likely to invest in a label than an individual artist, since for electronic music it's the labels that are the lifeblood (unlike live music where they are the parasites).

Anyway, in the interests of social science, and new business models, and general more-knowledge-creation - take the survey, help'em out!

I'm a african, and I know what's happenin

The mighty Junichi of poplicks reports:
"I love Ludacris, but I'm a bit embarrassed over the fact that he is the first American rapper to shoot a video in Africa for his new song -- wait for it -- Pimping All Over The World. I understand 'pimping' has multiple meanings, but to my ears, it sounds like Ludacris -- whose latest album is The Red Light District -- is promoting the enslavement of women for men's sexual pleasure to a continent that the US already shackled a few centuries ago. Ludacris says, "I wanted the video to be a true African experience." Indeed."

I have not much to add.

Except that the newspaper today reported on teh rise of popularity of Grills among Grills. I mean Girls. Teen girls in the East Bay. I'm not exactly shocked - even I was speculatively eyeing DropTheLime's tasteful and understated bling when last I saw him. But the line that caught me in the article was about a girl preparing to go prom, with a hand-embroidered dress, a grill, and a Pimp Cup. Oh, I'm so glad the girls can get our own Pimp Cups. It's like equality at last.

Friday, April 29, 2005

Let them sing it for you!

I guess it's a few years old, but hey, new to me. I missed in 2003 when it made the rounds on boingboing and whatnot. Anyway it's still fun. backstory: Apparently it was created by a sound artist named Erik Bünger for the Swedish National Radio.

it's got a limited vocabulary (no "weasel" for example)

but the Let Them Sing It For You project lets you type in your own words, and then searches a database of words sampled from popular songs of each word, and then sings it back to you. If it doesn't know the word, it asks you to provide a sample.

best of all, it's got a function where you can email your new song to someone!


( Probably if it was done in the US someone would have sued him. In NY at least. sigh..)

Monday, April 25, 2005

Some history of ASCAP and why Law&Econ won't help us with IP policy

(Hee. I lied about not posting much.. but actually I wrote this for the class blog, but I think it's worth posting here too) (and Law&Econ might help us, I suppose, but it's for heaven's sake in NO WAY sufficient analysis. not if it's done like this..)

Although I found Robert Merges' piece (Compulsory Licensing vs. The Three "Golden Oldies" : Property Rights, Contracts, and Markets) generally quite problematic, I'll stick to one example.

In the section titled "How Markets Solve the Licensing Dilemma Through Voluntary Associations," Merges tells of the rise of ASCAP, a collective rights organization that spontaneously arose during the 1920s, and points to this as an example of the market producing structures that enable proper market function (which is also somewhat elided with social desirability).

ASCAP from 1912 to the 1940s, despite a non-discrimination clause, excluded Black, 'hillbilly' and Mexican/Latino performers. In terms of the styles of music that became widely popular, this has the effect of making a free gift to whiter and wealthier musicians and composers across America, of the culture and what some would call "intellectual property" of their browner and poorer neighbors. It wasn't until around 1941 that BMI (founded only a year before) challenged ASCAP by signing and attempting to get "race music" and other under-represented genres on the airwaves. Up until that time, however there was an incredible pool of 'free music' upon which folks who were members could draw and then sell for their own benefit. (And a whole category of producers who were apparently producing without incentive.) The rise of white swing artists and their records is a good example of the former situation.

(From Rock 'n Roll: The Beginnings, by Donald J. Mabry)
"ASCAP controlled the bulk of American popular music between its founding in 1912/14 and the 1940s. ASCAP decided who could belong to the organization. Each music publisher had one vote for each $500 in royalties earned by the publisher in the preceding year. By 1958, three music publishing companies controlled 51% of the publisher's vote. Writers got one vote for each $20 in royalties earned in the preceding year; in 1958, less than 5% of the writers controlled 51% of the writers' vote."

So apart from representing one section of the population at the expense of others, and in fact enabling the transfer of property (assuming that's how you see music) of one group to another at no cost to the recipient, ASCAP itself was also incredibly skewed towards already-powerful players and at the mercy of existing members' prejudices. On two levels, this seems to me a poor "solution" to licensing problems.

1) assuming we did only care about market efficiency, ASCAP seems a poor example, based on its exclusion of a substantial number of producers and the enabling of other producers to profit off that exclusion.

2) assuming we might care about what kind of a society we live in, whether it is fair, racist or whatever, ASCAP functioned (among other things) to possibly reward copying of works of non-included members, to prevent non-included members from being reqarded, and as a mechanism that maintained white supremacy.

Merges mentioning of ASCAP is a splendid example of looking at how institutions function in their historical context, rather than in the context of an abstract economic model. I commend anyone who wants to look at how institutions (like CROs) have actually functioned, by seeking examples from history. However, without serious engagement with the historical contexts, the examples are merely anecdotes, with no factual or historical power, and using them actually does harm to our understanding of our history, as well as to our understanding of the problem at hand.

Beyond this issue, we can learn a lot from the example of ASCAP about questions we might want to ask ourselves when crafting possible solutions to the licensing dilemma. Some questions that this example raised for me:
1) Who produces IP?
2) Who profits the most from IP-making? What opportunities are there for others to profit? Who controls how others can profit?
3) What pre-existing bodies of work are available that are unprotected by IP law, and who has the ability to profit from them?
4) What is compensation based on now, under the current copyright regime?
5) Should our legal system ensure that those who are the primary beneficiaries now remain the primary beneficiaries? What other issues might our legal system be concerned with?

*For a few of the works that deal with the issues of ASCAP and race, or IP and race you can start with:
Arnold Shaw, Honkers and Shouters: the Golden Years of Rythm and Blues.
Jeffrey Melnick, A Right to Sing the Blues: African-Americans, Jews, and American Popular Song
K.J. Greene, Stealing the Blues: the Fleecing of Black Artists - Does Intellectual Property Appropriation Figure in the Debate over African American Reparations?