Connecting the dots between ancient rhythmic roots and the music we hear every weekend in clubs, Mutant’s aim is to examine the various sonic mutations and the evolutions of sounds from all around the world.
On July 4th at Urban Spree, DJ Zhao and his fellow worldwide riddim explorers DJ Ripley (Dutty Arts / NYC), Rafael Aragon (Latino Resiste/Paris) and Futurismo (Futurisms / Jerusalem) will attempt to bridge cultural gaps and get everyone sweating to varieties of global sounds, altered bass and poly-rhythmic beats, ranging from Tribal Guarachero to Techno, Juke to Kuduro, whilst not forgetting healthy doses of Dancehall and Jungle.
Although it is hard to sonically represent all the artists involved in the night, the following mixes should give you a rough idea of what to expect.
Prior to the musical festivities, conversations will be held by DJ Ripley on the subject of From Jamaica to the world! Musical identity in a globally networked context and by DJ Zhao on Afro rhythmic mutation and the evolution of contemporary dance and pop music. We hooked up with party-organizer and all-round global music purveyor Zhao to talk about the intent of the night and the effects of globalization on underground strains of world music.
So Mutant number 1! The line-up and the conversations sounds very interesting, can you tell us a bit more about the panel you will be leading?
It will be loosely about musical and cultural mutations in both this contemporary and historical waves of globalization since the colonial period. We’ll be looking at some issues, frictions, and dynamics resulting from these turbulent processes and how specifically they have shaped what comes out of our speakers and headphones here and now.
Dj Ripley’s dissertation topic was Decolonizing copyright law: learning from the Jamaican street dance, and she has given talks on a variety of subjects including cultural appropriation and power; so she will have some interesting things to inspire and challenge us. I will talk a bit about the mutation of African rhythm in the Americas, and how deep roots on the African continent very much informs music today — but not only in an abstract sense, also about specific beat patterns found in House, Techno, Hiphop, Juke, etc… and how they relate to their roots on the African continent.
Do you feel that the exposure of native styles of music to a wider audience will ultimately be detrimental to the original scene and sound?
That certainly can sometimes be an unfortunate side-effect, for example, what happened from South London to Skrillex. hahaha… But it isn’t the wide exposure itself which diluted the dubstep sound, but various factors such as US corporate music marketing and particular sensibilities of American fraternities raised on pop and hard rock… We must remember that the nature of all creativity is cross pollination, and that is the way things evolve. After all, Dubstep came from the legacy of Caribbean immigrants living in the UK. Big musical and creative revolutions happen from such hybridization: the biggest event in music history of arguably the past 5,000 years came from the clash of African rhythm and melody with European harmony: Jazz.
Over the past 2 years I think we can say that Juke/Footwork has been one of the most important additions to and is still very much one of the driving forces of the bass music scene, redynamising the whole 160/170bpm range and possibly even regenerating the interest of people for the Ghetto-House sounds. What do you think is the next style of music which will have a wide influence on the global dance music scene?
It will be a Dixieland and Electro-Boogaloo fusion which takes some cues from Hyphy. Just Kidding. It is nearly impossible to predict which particular combinations of dance-music cultures will rise and shake up the current dance music scene because there are so many other socio-political factors involved. There is a wealth of musical ideas laying dormant in many many regions of the world that could, if given the exposure, potentially inspire a new generation of producers and create a massive scene and movement. But it depends on the exposure, and that depends on money and channels of information flow. For instance, Haitian music is incredibly rich in every way, and those MUTATED West African rhythms could, if given the chance, cause a revolution in the clubs today. But even though a local Haitian Deep House scene is rising, it will not be given major exposure anytime soon, and global audiences might not be ready for the sound. Juke and Footwork is still very reminiscent of sounds people in the “west” are familiar with: Soul, Hiphop, etc. Revolutionary musical ideas alone is not enough, those ideas need traction in the sensibilities of populations, which is shaped by what they have, and their parents have, been exposed to.
But what ever it is, it will be a further re-turn of the repressed African and other ancient rhythm sensibilities, of which Juke/Footwork is a part.
You as a DJ play what I think is probably one of the most varied sound palette in Berlin, what should we expect from your set on the night?
I may change my mind 5 minutes before the set, but i think it will be a heavily percussive set of 130-140 bpm material which will include loads of Djembes and Congas, Post Dubstep, Juke-House, Ghetto-House, Kuduro, Jersey inspired stuff, etc.
And for the readers who aren’t used to these kind of global sounds could you pick out 3 bangers that would make any type of party go wild?
Haha not sure about “ANY” type of party, as i doubt a Happy Hardcore or Schlager crowd will feel these but…
Local Suicide has 2 pairs of tickets to give out for the night, to win drop us a comment under the post. Talks and panels will be held from 9pm and music will kick-in at midnight. For more information on the night head over to the event page.