Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Bob's beats 2

This is a continuation of yesterday's music post.

First, there's more mp3s by Why? (aka Jonathan "Yoni" Wolf) at Pop Tarts Suck Toasted, This Recording, and Stop Okay Go. It's hip hop, but in a very leftfield, un-ghetto way: it will appeal to people that like Beck more than people who life Kanye West. I particularly like "By Torpoedo Or Crohn's" (listen at Winter Academy), with a gentle sound and smart lyrics. But I like it least when it strays furthest from hip hop into droney emocore territory, as with "Close to Me".

Continuing with Jewish hip hop, from Why? to Y-Love (aka Yitz Jordan), as recommended by Matt. I've been meaning to check him out since I read a really engaging profile in the JC (which I can't find on-line). He's a black, American, Orthodox Jewish rapper. I like his music: intelligent, multi-lingual (English, Hebrew and Aramaic, as far as I can tell) rapping about all sorts of topics. Metal Jew has posted on him, and he blogs. Here's a good post on Arab attitudes to Hamas, and a fascinating post about the spread to Brooklyn of the bizarre haredi feminist fashion for the burqa, whose Israeli manifestation has been reported in the JC. Read more about him at Zeek and NYC24 (former including free download).

Yesterday, we had some very un-klezmer music with Yiddish or Yiddishy titles. Here's another: Meshuggah. According to It's a Trap, they have "the market cornered for hyper-syncopated metal".

It's a Trap also posts some Scandinavian jazz, with this preamble:
I had been a fan of [John Zorn's] work with Naked City among other projects, but it's his roots-based work with Masada that I consider to be his best. Did you realize that there are many similar tonal qualities in Middle Eastern, Eastern European and Scandinavian folk? It's true. The styles blend together far more easily than you might expect. That's why me, as some Jewish kid getting into Masada, can also similarly appreciate a "polska" piece from Jonas Knutsson. Now, I'm not actually posting a polka today, but you get the idea, right?
On to politics. Jewish/Buddish rappers the Beastie Boys and Bjork are among those attacking the Chinese government over Tibet, the latter being banned by the Chinese regime as a result. According to Wikipedia,
In Tokyo, Björk dedicated her set-closing song "Declare Independence" to independent Kosovo, which did unilaterally declare independence from Serbia a few days earlier on 17 February 2008. According to her management, she was subsequently and consequently dropped from July's Exit Festival, which is held in Serbia, in the city of Novi Sad in the northern province of Vojvodina, a major event that each year draws over 150,000 people, half of them from abroad.[17] The festival organizers denied that they have ever dropped any artist for political self-expression, and contend that doing so is against their principles.[18]. However, Björk's representatives revealed an e-mail from the chief organizer, warning the singer not to dedicate the song to Kosovo during upcoming concerts in Europe or "relate to Kosovo" in interviews [17].

On March 2nd, 2008, she dedicated the same song to Tibet at the end of her performance in Shanghai, China [19] causing local upset [20][21]. Some of her Chinese fans, who waited 12 years for her second visit since 1996 in Beijing, announced that they are no longer fans [22][23]. On the other hand, there are Chinese fans who did not care, saying "She is not Bjork if she did not get on your nerves"[24]. Most of the audience probably did not even understand "Tibet", according to many Chinese bloggers and online forums[citation needed]. Björk explained her dedications in a 4 March 2008 statement on her web page [25].

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