An Interview with Ghislain Poirier

My latest mini-documentary…….with Ghislain Poirier.  The initial interveiw was made at his friend’s amazing rooftop apartment in DUMBO, Brooklyn and then we headed over to the Sub Swara party at Love in the city.  New York City, in case you weren’t sure….There’s also some footage from the Club Transmediale festival in Berlin, as well as some excerpts from his music video clips.

I’ve been a big fan of Ghis’ full, round and sturdy minimal beats for a long time.  He’s curious and open to new sounds.  He does tropical tracks.  In Montreal.  He’s a really sweet, friendly and open guy, which, I think, is a big reason why he’s made all of these great tracks and collaborations.  He makes the effort to get out and connect with folks from all over the place.  It shows in the music.

In the process of editing, I started gathering all of his laughs and putting them at the end of the sequence, not really knowing what I’d do with them.  ghislain breakcore laugh track?  Sorry, they didn’t make it into the final cut, but just so you know, there were a LOT of them!

With this series of mini-docs, I want to demystify the music production process a bit and bring out the humanity of it.  After all, music is a manifestation of history.  of choices and relationships.  This is common to any art, discipline, individual, group or society.  Through communication, real and imaginary differences and similarities become clearer.  Separatist ghetto exoticism cannot exist in this space.  Tamu juntos e misturados.

You can check the rest of the mini-docs (DJ/rupture, Daniel Haaksman, MC Gringo, Diplo, Eritbu Agegnehu Askenaw, Xuman and Keyti, Fletcher) here on Vimeo (better quality) and here on Youtube.

Rebel Voices by Oriana Eliçabe

Just in the inbox – a slide show by my friend Oriana Eliçabe.  It is a document of her travels in various South American countries photographing people working with hip hop as means of promoting social justice.  These are not the famous few that make it to WOMAD, these are the people in the trenches, on the street without whom hip hop would just be a meaningless catch phrase or marketing scheme.  Far from being staged photos, these are observations of everyday life.  I found this hugely inspiring.  Check out the full release and her website and watch the slide show below (some great music in here too).

Ladeira dos Tabajaras Rocinha Se Fudeu 2009

I’ve been holed up at home working in the studio with my head between 2 speakers and in front of the computer monitor.  Sometimes, I can only take so much and I have to get out.  I went up to the baile at Cantagalo at about 2:30am last friday night, as I often do.  Piranhão was manning the 1s and 2s…er, well, the MP3s on his laptop.  The rapaziada was in FULL effect, going around the quadra with one hand on the person in front and their AK or glock or whatever in the other hand.  Nothing terribly unusual about this, although, this doesn’t usually happen INSIDE the quadra with SO MANY manos in the bondinho…..At one point, the music was cut and the MC asked for a minute of silence to remember those that were at Tabajaras that are no longer with us (see below).

This also is not very unusual, but that night, it was PACKED.  The contrast of being between 2 opposing walls of speakers cranking out funk to the point that it made your clothes visibly vibrate to the same room full of completely silent people was tremendous.  NO ONE spoke.  Nobody moved.  Weight being shifted from one foot to the other, a sniffle, a far away motorcycle and a rooster crowing down the street were the only sounds.  Silence when you are alone and/or in a distant natural place are one thing, but a very large space filled with unspeaking, unmoving people is impressive.

About 2 weeks ago, there was an invasion of Ladeira dos Tabajaras by traficantes from Rocinha.  After a big shoot out with police and local traficantes, part of the crew from Rocinha escaped into the forest nearby where they spent days before trying to escape last week.  In the reports that I found, it’s a bit unclear, but the police then invaded Ladeira dos Tabajaras the following week (last week) where they killed at least 4 suspected traficantes (supposedly from Tabajaras – the guys from Rocinha were supposedly arrested april 1 while trying to escape).

This track talks about the invasion – Ladeira dos Tabajaras Rocinha Se Fudeu (Rocinha fucked themselves).  From ProibidãoRJ

Here is a a video of part of the shoot out from march 23 in Copacabana.

and another video talking about the invasion of the guys from Rocinha and where they tried to escape to.  This gives a little better better idea of how a war like this can happen in the middle of a very densely populated city.

It continues to blow my mind that this sort of things happens ALL THE TIME here.  This is NOT an isolated incident!  Does this only come to the attention of the media and mainstream society when there is a shoot out on their block?

But, anyway, everything is just fine now…….Rambo has arrived!  And, if that’s not enough, we can sick the Terminator on their ass.

A few blocks down the street (in the other direction)……….Sylvester Stallone just arrived in Rio.  He is here to do a film about mercenaries.  Seriously.