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Woebot
10-08-2005, 01:11 PM
I think I must have waited 15 years for a piece like Wayne's (http://wayneandwax.blogspot.com/2005/08/we-use-so-many-snares.html). Ever since I heard about putative connections between the Clave beat and Steely and Cleevie's rhythms. Big up your hairy chest Wayne. When I at last made it to Kingston in 1991 and I picked up the seven inch of Dave Kelly's production for Buju Banton's "Batty Rider" in Halfway Tree (shameless boasting here) I had the feeling that the Jamaica I'd come looking for, at a time when I was obsessing over Coxsone had somehow disappeared over the horizon. Where did that freaky beat come from?

cf Spanish Reggae. The rogue seafaring father of an old girlfriend of mine told us he'd heard rapping years before it broke. He'd heard it in South America he said. I dunno if Roy knew about toasting in Jamaica, but obviously the meme was pan-caribbean.

Which makes one ponder, surely then Jamaica's music history could be subsumed in that of it's neighbours. Maybe Wayne's the one to write a proper delocalised version of that history. One which takes in Cuba, Colombia, Antigua and threads Reggae through Calypso and Mento. Sure Lloyd Barnes touches ever so lightly on this in "Bass Culture", but yunnuh, not really. There's talk of Kitchener and Sparrow inflecting Reggae isnt there.

But (sound of needle ripping across vinyl) HOLD ON FOLKS!!!! Isn't this starting to miss the whole point? Seeing it like this the "Shanty House" meme (or whatever the f*** you want to call it, frankly I couldn't give a shit) running virulently unchecked. And that point is that the Jamaican identity through those years of startling fecundity (at least musically) wasn't focussed on its local borders at all. It was an alien mindset, on the one hand intensely local, riding an eternal feedback loop and on the other, and surely this is the point, locked on to American R'n'B and Rock as though it's life depended on it. New Orleans and The South was the source. Listen to those early Upsetter instrumentals and it's strictly Booker T and The MGs and The Meters. And practically nothing else.

How many cover versions of Calypso and Mento can you name in Reggae? How many covers of Soul, Funk, Disco or even Rap tunes? Shedloads. Lots and lots innit. Lots and lots and lots. My favourite JA musical anecdote is Scratch saying that he got the idea for the Reggae Beat (and yes some people think Mento has something to do with it, but that doesnt really add up in the context), he got the feeling for the Reggae Beat from American Hard Rock. And that the heavy Dub took it's cues from things like Led Zeppellin and Black Sabbath.

OK sure this might be the case for today's dancehall. Dancehall really must be just another node on the glocal riddim network. But you know what, and this aint gonna make me lots of chums, that's exactly why Jamaican music is as boring and inconsequential as it's become. It's lost it's cosmic/stratospheric perspective and has sunk to the level of a dialect. Something like Grime (at least over the past 4 years, though it's future is currently in the balance with pabulum like "The Avenue", just heard this piece of crap, it's not on the Roll Deep LP is it, must have listened straight past if it it was) has been just that over-ambitious bursting-with-energy and ideas that Reggae was once, albeit on a much smaller scale.

Which brings me to my final thought, in this solid gold rant, if the future is Reggaeton, in the US and Jamaica (even!) what's that going to do but relegate the also fabulously fecund UK-JA axis to the dustbin of History? What room is there for English speakers in the underground ha ha ha? And I'm only being half-playful, KISS is on in the background at the office I'm working in and I've heard nearly 5 Spanish tracks today. Chortle, maybe we need a "Save the English tongue" mega-blog!

DigitalDjigit
10-08-2005, 01:24 PM
English has been dominant for far too long. I love turning on the latin station and feeling instantly transported to a foreign country.

A little tangential: isn't shanty house a bit redundant? Why not just "shanty"?

stelfox
10-08-2005, 01:42 PM
OK sure this might be the case for today's dancehall. Dancehall really must be just another node on the glocal riddim network. But you know what, and this aint gonna make me lots of chums, that's exactly why Jamaican music is as boring and inconsequential as it's become. It's lost it's cosmic/stratospheric perspective and has sunk to the level of a dialect.

this is so very, very wrong. overstating the case to the point of end-game hyperbole.


Something like Grime (at least over the past 4 years, though it's future is currently in the balance with pabulum like "The Avenue", just heard this piece of crap, it's not on the Roll Deep LP is it, must have listened straight past if it it was) has been just that over-ambitious bursting-with-energy and ideas that Reggae was once, albeit on a much smaller scale.


grime simply would not exist without JA and i don't mean just in the soundsystem roots of the 'nuum, modes of distribution, dubplate network etc, but in the language, the flows, everything that's said - this is true of literally EVERYONE, but for really explicit examples, look at riko, gift, jammer and then say that grime has more ideas than dancehall. their ideas ARE dancehall, pure and simple, meaning that it's hardly inconsequential, but the rhizome itself.


Which brings me to my final thought, in this solid gold rant, if the future is Reggaeton, in the US and Jamaica (even!) what's that going to do but relegate the also fabulously fecund UK-JA axis to the dustbin of History? What room is there for English speakers in the underground ha ha ha? And I'm only being half-playful, KISS is on in the background at the office I'm working in and I've heard nearly 5 Spanish tracks today.

reggaeton, as much as i like it is no competition for dancehall. if you're saying dancehall is boring, how can you possible believe that a reggae subgenre based on only one basic rhythm structure can be any more interesting? also the language barrier categorically prevents reggaeton gaining massive maistream acceptance in the uk.


Which brings me to my final thought, in this solid gold rant, if the future is Reggaeton, in the US and Jamaica (even!) what's that going to do but relegate the also fabulously fecund UK-JA axis to the dustbin of History? What room is there for English speakers in the underground ha ha ha? And I'm only being half-playful, KISS is on in the background at the office I'm working in and I've heard nearly 5 Spanish tracks today. Chortle, maybe we need a "Save the English tongue" mega-blog!


Chortle, maybe we need a "Save the English tongue" mega-blog!

this is the sort of thing the french would do and look at the sort of music they have to put up with...

Grievous Angel
10-08-2005, 02:23 PM
great rant, somewhat devalued by silly rubbishing of what is plainly the most fecund music in the world (much of which may be crap, but then much of any genre is crap).

But the basic thesis of reggae as part of south american music is worth pursuing. Interestingly when I was in Barbados they identified closely with south America, saw it as local, supported the football teams in international games etc. I guess jamaicans may see things similarly. 50's links from JA to rhumba, cuban jazz etc are well known but would be interesting if there's any cross over today... it's possible there is actually very little!

wayneandwax
10-08-2005, 10:40 PM
woebot, you've essentially sensed the background to my dissertation/book: i.e., understanding jamaican music in the context of the caribbean, the americas (north and south and central), and the wider world, and understanding the music of the americas and the wider world in the context of reggae's international influence. i'll be focusing mainly on the interplay between JA and the US, but i'll do my best to put this in the context of a longstanding tradition of incorporating foreign music into a locally-produced (and largely locally-directed) aesthetic.

along those lines, though, yes, we see dancehall's reflection of its engagement with hip-hop and R&B (and soon perhaps, if not already, even grime and reggaeton), but i'm not sure that makes contemporary dancehall any less rich than reggae has ever been. yeah, there's a lot of crap out there, but that's to be expected in a mass market industry unfortunately. we find the same thing everywhere, i'm afraid. still, i'd side with stelfox in with regard to the so-called fecundity of jamaican music today.

the established story of reggae--as symbolized by the bradley book you mention--does seem to downplay, almost dangerously, jamaica's sustained engagement with the outside. this distortion, which fits neatly alongside nationalist narratives, is one thing i hope to "correct" in my work. understanding the contours of jamaican musicians' use of materials "from farin" gives us a better sense of jamaica's social history and of the cultural politics that have evolved in step with new economic and political situations, as burdened by the legacies of colonialism, and under the effects of US neo-imperialist dominance.

and, yeah, i hope to demonstrate all of this by following rhythms and riffs around, so i'm glad that you and others dug the reggaeton piece. (i'd blush but for the hair.)

petergunn
11-08-2005, 04:47 AM
the thing about reggae is that ever since "my boy lollipop", it has gone in and out of US and UK perspectives... i.e every few years there's a song or an artist that puts reggae in the pop consciousness... last one to date was Sean Paul a few years back... (and Elephant Man on his tail...)... the bottom line is reggae exists, will always exist, and is a vital art form whether or not we in the west (north) pay it any attention... there is just too much creativity there to go to waste... that said, i think reggae is in the kinda lull right now it was in the mid to late 80's, i.e. post sleng teng, when digital music got a little too casio-ed out and dull... but, to say that jamaican music now has lost it's special localized world in favor of a global perspective is crazy. as previous posters mentioned, reggae has ALWAYS absorbed outside influences and ALWAYS made them their own. i would have faith in reggae and realize that now more than ever ("pon de rhythm", etc etc etc etc) they are definitely making a big mark on the rest of the world and it's only a matter of time before they come out with some next level shit...

Woebot
11-08-2005, 09:16 AM
woebot, you've essentially sensed the background to my dissertation/book: i.e., understanding jamaican music in the context of the caribbean, the americas (north and south and central), and the wider world, and understanding the music of the americas and the wider world in the context of reggae's international influence. i'll be focusing mainly on the interplay between JA and the US, but i'll do my best to put this in the context of a longstanding tradition of incorporating foreign music into a locally-produced (and largely locally-directed) aesthetic.

along those lines, though, yes, we see dancehall's reflection of its engagement with hip-hop and R&B (and soon perhaps, if not already, even grime and reggaeton), but i'm not sure that makes contemporary dancehall any less rich than reggae has ever been. yeah, there's a lot of crap out there, but that's to be expected in a mass market industry unfortunately. we find the same thing everywhere, i'm afraid. still, i'd side with stelfox in with regard to the so-called fecundity of jamaican music today.

the established story of reggae--as symbolized by the bradley book you mention--does seem to downplay, almost dangerously, jamaica's sustained engagement with the outside. this distortion, which fits neatly alongside nationalist narratives, is one thing i hope to "correct" in my work. understanding the contours of jamaican musicians' use of materials "from farin" gives us a better sense of jamaica's social history and of the cultural politics that have evolved in step with new economic and political situations, as burdened by the legacies of colonialism, and under the effects of US neo-imperialist dominance.

and, yeah, i hope to demonstrate all of this by following rhythms and riffs around, so i'm glad that you and others dug the reggaeton piece. (i'd blush but for the hair.)

well, i'm tantalised by the prospect of the book Wayne! i'd probably restate my convction that JA did for those years have an improbably scewered focus. for all the political alliance's with cuba, identification with angola, occasional influences from calypso it does seem that the US Mass media via New Orleans and Hollywood (Dirty Harry, Sergio Leone etc) is what really caught the Jamaica's imagination, and gives it this "dreaming island" quality.

and again congratulations on that piece. i don't have anything like the proper musicological knowledge to draw those fantastically elucidating beat charts.


(paraphrasing)fecundity/grime/influence

as for the impact of Jamaican toasting on Grime, well 'scuse me if this appears to be a bit of side-stepping (though Wayne himself makes the same kind of move in saying that the Reggaeton beat is influenced by an earlier phase of dancehall riddims) but ragga chatting was surely planted here a very long time ago. i wonder if Riko Dan doesnt owe more to Shabba than Elephant Man. and the Grime beat (with the exception of something like DJ Mondie's productions) owes little or nothing to Jamaica's current riddims....

also i'm glad people get stuff out of current dancehall, but in comparison to the sheer cornucopia of choons and breathless invention of the mid to late sixties and seventies, surely there's NO COMPARISON! even Grime, in its tiny capacity, has had bigger "Hits" than JA music! maybe this is my "western" perspective (obviously i'd try and palm it off as a universalist one!)

wayneandwax
11-08-2005, 01:42 PM
last time i checked jamaica was in "the west"--just for the record. these clash of civilization dichotomies are not often very helpful, especially when we're considering relationships and interpenetration. jamaica is easily as "western" as, say, miami or london.

as for grime's relation to contemporary dancehall, i think we'd be hard-pressed to dispute that. surely most grime vocalists and producers are well-attuned to the latest bashment hits (though i wouldn't dispute that shabba's shadow may loom larger than ele's). as for the connection between riddims, it's there too, so perhaps i need to make some more of those charts. soon come.

shudder
11-08-2005, 04:19 PM
(a little embarrased...)
reggae, reggae, reggae! what's a boy who only really has heard way too much bob marley and recent dancehall crossover hits, plus carribean-ish toronto hip hop to do? where to start??

DigitalDjigit
11-08-2005, 04:46 PM
abysynnians (sp?) - declaration of rights, satta amasagana
congos - heart of the congos (album)
junior murvin - police and thieves (album. this and the one above produced by lee perry)
a few of the many king tubby compilations (blood & fire catalogue is a good start. my faves are "freedom sounds in dub" which is pretty light on the dubbing and the one with glenn brown which is just insane)
some deejay comp on blood & fire ("if deejay was your trade" or something like that)
prince far-i - cry tuff dub encounters (any one of them)
scientist - "rids of the world of the curse of the evil mummies", or "wins the world cup" or "heavyweight dub" which features Barrington Levy (see "Under Mi Sensi" by him and "here i come")
the bullwackies compilation released from basic channel (http://basicchannel.com/item/WS-01).
"under me sleng teng" by wayne smith
tenor saw "ring the alarm"
anthony red rose - temper

this should get you through the mid-70's into the mid 80's. This stuff sounds very very little like reggaeton. So while I could see how they are sort of related, in practice they are two different beasts as far as I am concerned. I am with Woebot that reggae lost it somewhat.

shudder
11-08-2005, 06:08 PM
thanks!

Diggedy Derek
11-08-2005, 06:10 PM
Buy Heart Of The Congos, and if you don't love love love it, I will give you your money back.

petergunn
11-08-2005, 06:41 PM
I am with Woebot that reggae lost it somewhat.

people ALWAYS say that... i.e. every rude boy rocksteady fan thought when it slowed down and became reggae and had less energy, it "lost it"... alot of deep roots and dub fans thought the more slickly produced Channel One style has bad in comparision... and tons of people thought the "slang teng" digital era was junk when it came out and now all those songs are considered classics...

honestly, i think reggae is a bit of a lull now (it's most recent peak was probably two summers ago, when the "coolie dance" riddim and others were all over US Radio thanks to Pitbull, Lumidee, etc), but if jamaican music history has shown anything, it's that anytime they seem to get stagnent, they then move forward...

reggaeton is NOT reggae, anymore than baile funk IS miami bass (even less so...). you can hear the reggaeton beat in 70's reggae (listen carefully to the "dreadlocks dread" LP by Big Youth and there is a song with that distinctive skipping riddim...) and in some late 80's/early 90's dancehall. it's roots are in dancehall, but the two roads branched off to very seperate places a long time ago...

shudder
11-08-2005, 07:21 PM
Buy Heart Of The Congos, and if you don't love love love it, I will give you your money back.

is the offer only valid if I buy it from you?

believekevin
11-08-2005, 11:01 PM
I think that recent UKG/grime DJ'ing often sounds more like dancehall selecting than hiphop cutting or house mixing. I also think the cadence of the grime MCs has more of a dancehall DJ role than in other DJ/MC relationships.

We had a thread about this in the spring but I can't find it...

believekevin
11-08-2005, 11:03 PM
Also, adding relevance to another discussion, it seems that most reggaeton mix CDs are digitally mixed and live DJs (at least in the northeast US) are using CDs. Aside from Daddy Yankee, and the big crossovers, the only reggaeton vinyl I've come across are bootlegs like "Reggaeton Traxx."

gumdrops
11-08-2005, 11:06 PM
for people with a passing interest in dancehall (i.e. i dont listen to specialist shows of it, just buy occasional comps and know the big hits), what songs/artists should they check to see where it intertwines with grime? obviously i can hear the DJ influence in riko, gods gift, flowdan, etc, and in some of the flows and slang, and even some of the beats' rhythms (no matter how skewed) but what should i check specifically? any recomendations would be great.

gabriel
12-08-2005, 11:24 AM
(mad) cobra - at least his badman stuff from the past 3 years or so. riko is a BIG fan of cobra's.
ward 21 (durrty goodz basically stole the style of the deep voiced one out of ward 21 for his cut on the pum pum riddim)

check the grimey riddim - not as literally grimey as the name suggests but still a similar sound

bionic ras riddim. very garagey
the g string riddim from 2002 is also very grimey

gumdrops
12-08-2005, 11:50 AM
cheers. thats what i was looking for, basically influences/links where i can see what grime has 'borrowed' or 'internalised'/hybridised from dancehall. any other recomendations would be fantastic.

Diggedy Derek
12-08-2005, 11:53 AM
is the offer only valid if I buy it from you?


Ha, no. The offer is valid at every record store. The problem is finding me afterwards. Be sure to get the Blood And Fire reissue though, you need the remastered one for the full immersive psychedelic effect.

gabriel
13-08-2005, 12:50 PM
cheers. thats what i was looking for, basically influences/links where i can see what grime has 'borrowed' or 'internalised'/hybridised from dancehall. any other recomendations would be fantastic.

there was a thread on this board a month or two ago about grime slang with lots of stuff about the danchelal influence in grime...

mms
01-09-2005, 01:31 PM
thought i'd drop this on y'all about trinidad from todays indie
http://news.independent.co.uk/world/americas/article309432.ece

my own thoughts are that you can trace the juncture between west indies and south america way back to the maroons - and loosig the english language could be thought of as an act of solidarity as much as anything

Grievous Angel
01-09-2005, 01:59 PM
Ha, no. The offer is valid at every record store. The problem is finding me afterwards. Be sure to get the Blood And Fire reissue though, you need the remastered one for the full immersive psychedelic effect.
If you don't like Heart of the Congos, you need to check your pulse. Seriously.

matt b
02-09-2005, 10:04 AM
If you don't like Heart of the Congos, you need to check your pulse. Seriously.

yeah, but you don't rate yabby u, so your opinion doesn't count ;)

there are plenty of excellent reggae tunes about, just as there always have been- off the top of my head fantah mojah's 'hungry' plus other versions were sounding ace at carnival (rhythm's a studio one re-rub, though)

shudder
28-09-2005, 05:01 AM
Buy Heart Of The Congos, and if you don't love love love it, I will give you your money back.

by the way, I bought this, am listening to it now, and I love love love it indeed. it's sooo beautiful! the sound is just what I kinda always hoped to hear in reggae!