Thursday, January 05, 2012

"It’s the first time I ever heard a programmed drum in Tuareg guitar music."

Not actually a post about VW SUVs.


Can't wait till the suits from Big Content hear about this:

Digital filesharing doesn’t need the internet. This is the case at least in Western Africa and other parts of the developing world, where computers aren’t yet consumer goods for most and, even if they were, web access isn’t exactly New York City. Lovers of music still get it done, however, sharing files between knockoff cell phones via bluetooth connections and accumulating song collections in memory cards and bitrates that would probably make most in our lossless world laugh. It’s created a music culture that’s uniquely underground, an awesome anything-goes world of No Limit-style rap marrying Megaman-synth workouts, strange new techno-folks, and various other things so far untaggable.

Portlander Christopher Kirkley put together a compilation of stuff collected from the cell phones of music listeners in Western Africa and released it a few years ago on cassette, called simply Music From Saharan Cell Phones Vol. 1, via his Sahel Sounds. Since then, he’s taken on the mammoth task of tracking down every artist on it, who will now get 60-percent of the profits from a rerelease of the compilation last month on vinyl. Over the holidays, I got the chance to ask Kirkley a few questions about cell phone sharing culture and the process of putting the comp together.

There's more, including download links for volumes one and two.

(h/t: NYT/Bits | pic. source: National Archives UK)

[Added] So far, it's quite a bit different from what I expected. (In a good way.)


Substance McGravitas said...

Thanks for this. Gonna fire it up at work.

Brendan Keefe said...

y/w. Let us know how you like it.

Substance McGravitas said...

I like it very much. The cheapness of the sound is a big attraction as a lot of that stuff gets watered down into smoothness for western ears.

Brendan Keefe said...

I haven't listened to all of it, but of the parts I have, I was actually surprised at how high the fidelity was. Maybe my expectations were lowered too much by the post. (Or maybe I have crummy gear. Or ears.)

Substance McGravitas said...

No, you're right, a lot of it's pretty good. But there are way more cheap manufactured beats as opposed to real ones; these are recordings on a shoe-string and you can hear bit-rate degradation in a lot of them. Punk rock!