A personal account of the importance of community in music.

com·mu·ni·ty — a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals.

Krondon and Shafiq Husayn aka White Boiz. Credit: Eric Coleman

While visiting Los Angeles in March this year, Eric Coleman (co-founder of Mochilla) played me demos of a new project between rapper Krondon and producer Shafiq Husayn. They called themselves White Boiz and the music sounded great. I spent the next six months awaiting for official news so I could share it with people.

The debut album by White Boiz, Neighborhood Wonderful, came out via Stones Throw in early October. Around that time I called the pair for a short profile in The FADER, part of a new bi-weekly column I write for the magazine. …

The RML Cine Chamber, Naut Humon’s current project

Timing is everything. Working on the oral history of illbient last year, I was struck by was how this particular musical and cultural movement had fallen through the cracks of modern history. Despite happening just as the internet (as we know it today) was revving up, it wasn’t extensively documented. There were few photos, and even less videos, and the music was often never re-released digitally. It died in the wake of 9/11 and Napster. It happened, and then it was gone.

Asphodel Records, a label founded in San Francisco in the early 1990s, was part of the illbient story…

What happens when corporations replace major labels as patrons of independent music?

As the recording industry and its flagship major labels wither on the vine, a new hand has come to tend to independent music scenes. From rock to hip-hop, corporations such as Red Bull, Hyundai and Converse are supporting independent, often niche, artists by providing them with recording studios, bookings and promotion. Often seen as a continuation of the centuries-old practice of patronage, the involvement of corporate brands in music continues to be tainted with negative connotations of selling out. And yet, what could be more natural than the replacement of one capital-driven enterprise with another in support of the arts?

“This town is coming like a ghost town”

Everywhere looks the same these days. The uniformity is depressing.

Walking around the Bywater neighbourhood in New Orleans my wife and I stumbled across a corner that held a yoga club on one side, a bizarre art gallery on the other (open by appointment or chance), and a trendy restaurant across from the gallery. It was mid afternoon, the sun pounding and the streets empty. “It’s like Brooklyn all over again,” she said. We came back the next evening and ate at the restaurant. The food was good. The crowd seemed largely…

George was right.

Much as it might annoy me, or any journalist, to admit it, he was right. It’s all just public relations, unless you’re publishing something that someone does not want printed. The idea that a journalist might be just another cog in the PR machine is anathema to them. And yet.

The world of music journalism is particularly relevant to that point. What is it to publish something someone does not want printed in the arts? A negative review? A singeing op-ed? Some might say yes, but I’m not so sure. Of course no artist wants a negative…

Following on from the history of the rewind, I wrote a similar piece for RBMA on the history of the Scorpio break. It was published last week as part of their Loop History series and while it’s a lot lighter than the rewind feature I wanted to do another liner notes for it as it’s a nice way to add some context to the research that went into it. And it’s also a good place for some of the content that didn’t make the cut for various reasons.

For the past couple of years I’ve been chewing over an idea…

Suite for Ma Dukes

Dilla Month and hip hop revisionism

This article was originally written in February 2013, and published by Playground Magazine. It has been edited and is republished here two years later as I feel its message is still relevant. It is not meant as an attack or dismissal of anyone working to keep the memory of James Yancey alive, simply as a way to think and discuss what the “movement” means as we approach the decade anniversary of his passing. Thank you Jay Dee.

George Orwell, writing in 1944, argued that “history is written by the winners,” and winners have a habit of twisting history about. …

Mala going for the pull at DMZ via https://www.flickr.com/photos/chikuma/

Medium’s Cuepoint magazine just published “Wheel It Up: History of the Rewind,” a feature I’ve been working on for a couple of months that involved a lot of research.

Considering the scope of the feature and some of the elements left untold, or just touched upon, here are some of my research notes to accompany it. Ideal for anyone who wants to know more or who, like me, enjoys nerding out on music history and the various filaments that connect people, places and music.

The idea for the story first germinated in my head after repeated listens to a DMZ…

When the DJ stops the music and spins the song back, energy shoots through the crowd and Jamaican sound echoes across genres

Jamaican sound is the heartbeat of modern music. Of the many practices to emerge from sound system culture and take hold across music genres, one remains most arousing and the most maligned: the rewind.

For the uninitiated, the rewind is the act of stopping a song—generally playing on a vinyl record or, in more recent years, on a CD—bringing it back to the start, and playing it again. In Jamaica, rewinds are normally performed by selectors in response to crowd demand. You may have heard a hip-hop or dance music DJ do the same thing.

Some rewinds are smooth, the…

Laurent Fintoni

Lost in identity. Mutate languages. Publish and be damned. www.laurentfintoni.com

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