Blank Artists 6th Anniversary Party

02.11.11 | Permalink | Comment?

This should be pretty awesome. All great musicians and DJs. Look at that, live live live live. I think it will be live. Maybe bananas. I’m particularly excited about Green Meadows (Josh Dalberg) and Jared Wilson. Actually, I’m excited about all of it.

From the eloquent Blank Artists: “A new day, fresh faces expanding our ranks, and an endless flow of vision and possibility are among the gifts 2011 has given us thus far, and we’ve only just begun our next chapter. This year has spurred our desire to seek new perspectives and to set grander goals. We are striving for only the most fruitful of endeavors, defined by egalitarian means.”

“2011 ushers us into our sixth year, and aptly enough we’re kicking it off with our 6-year anniversary event. This year’s installation of our annual gala will illuminate six of BA’s freshest and familiar voices, running the gamut from seasoned players to new friends of the label. Embracing divergent musical taste, influence, and style, Blank Artists remains concertedly united to expand our creative boundaries further than ever before.”

“Providing additional aesthetics will be the talented, Michelle Tanguay of the Pop Up Detroit artist collective. Michelle’s installation will engage different manifestos surrounding the number six, which relate to tact, beauty, harmony and relationship building; an experience which provides such an imagination for the audience’s total immersion.”

“We are pleased and honored to have the opportunity to present flavors of what we believe to be Blank Artists’ most distinguished era yet; and a spectrum of electronic possibilities.”

“Blank Artists and Pabst Blue Ribbon are proud to announce their partnership in celebrating BA’s sixth anniversary with live performances by Codine, Jared Wilson, The Siege, About Flying, Madis One, and Green Meadows at the Park Bar downtown Detroit; Saturday February 19th at 10pm.  Smooth, bold, and refreshing are all adjectives that have been used to describe Blank Artists’ discography and ole man Pabst’s award winning beer.  And, on Saturday Feb 19th Park Bar will be the only establishment in the city courageous enough to offer both in large quantities at high volume.  A one-night homage to sophistication without elitists, and excellence without exception, comprised of you, us, and a paltry $5 cover.”

It’s going to be quite a night in Detroit. There is also a Planet E twentieth anniversary party happening that night. Urban Tribe is going to draw me there!

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Apparently it’s supposed to be educational

02.08.11 | Permalink | 3 Comments

And not often heard in Ypsilanti. Time to “get schooled” cause they’re coming “correct.” It will probably be “off the chain.” And especially “real right.” A bunch of gay and straight men holding hands circling that special water tower in song. Doesn’t that sound exciting?

“Disco hits Ypsilanti like an exploding phallic water tower.”

“Join legendary DJ’s/renowned electronic artists: Todd Osborn (Ghostly/Spectral) and Chuck Hampton (Gay Marvine – Secret Mixes Fixes) along with Macho City’s Mike Trombley for a night of debaucherous disco, jackin’ house and italo sleaze; underground sounds new and old, not often heard in Ypsilanti.”

All this fabulousness happening Friday, February 11th at

35 E Cross Street
Ypsilanti, MI
$5       21+

Diversity, Race

Detroit Descriptions

02.03.11 | Permalink | 1 Comment

I’m reading this right now. I picked it up in December at a used book store during a trip to Chicago. It’s excellent. I didn’t expect to be writing about it in any significant way, but I read a really interesting passage today that I thought was important. It’s a novel that takes place in Detroit about two immigrants from Greece who are siblings, marry, and have children, eventually leading to an intersex grandchild. First recognized as a girl, then taking on a male identity as an adult, the intersex narrator tells a rich, compelling story about his family history. I’m a little more than a third of the way through and am reading about the grandparent Greek immigrants and their early years in Detroit. Desdemona, the grandmother, after living in Detroit for ten years, gets a job cultivating silk worms to make silk fabric for a Muslim temple located in the Black Bottom on the near east side of 1930s Detroit. She gets the job because all the other applicants know nothing about silk, but she used to do the same thing in Smyrna before coming to the US. Also, encouraged by her employer to state that she is of “mixed” race (Turkish and Greek), her made up “mulatto” racial identity makes her acceptable to the African American Muslims at the temple. She enters in through the back door, does not speak unless spoken to, and is never allowed to hear the sermons of the prophet. Click on that prophet link there; Detroit has a fascinating history with the Nation of Islam. It was founded here.

Desdemona’s silk room is three stories above the temple where the prophet gives his daily sermons. She can hear his voice coming up through the heating ducts and begins to listen every afternoon. At first, his descriptions of white people as blue eyed devils and evil white murderers disturb and confuse her. She calls him a charlatan in her head. After listening for a few afternoons, she begins to really consider his words. Here’s the passage that I really like:

“What was happening to Desdemona? Was she, always so receptive to a deep priestly voice, coming under the influence of Fard’s disembodied one? Or was she just, after ten years in the city, finally becoming a Detroiter, meaning that she saw everything in terms of black and white?” (Eugenides 2002: 156)

This passage dropped into my chest in such a profound, heavy way. It totally describes Detroit to this day. Black and white. You mean there are other people? Other ethnic groups? No way.

There is a real intense level of diversity in Detroit that gets ignored in so many ways. Metro Detroit, and Dearborn in particular, holds the largest Arab American population in the country. There are large southern and eastern European, Latino, and East Asian populations in the area. There is a significant Black population. No other city’s population in the US has such a large percentage of people of color, and African Americans in particular. White people live in Detroit proper too. There’s so much more to say, just trust that I’ll be writing more about this in other ways. Feel free to comment if you have thoughts to contribute.


Weirdo Brazilian Music

02.02.11 | Permalink | Comment?

I have updated the links categories with a few more sites. Check them out. Here’s a blogging strategy note: I’ll be regularly changing that RBMA Radio page with different shows that I like. I’ll let you know when I change it. But check that out too. If you don’t already know, Red Bull Music Academy is a pretty significant institution for all kinds of music and learning and has been for quite a few years now. One of the first, and one of the most memorable, events that I went to in Detroit while doing my doctoral ethnographic research was an RBMA event at Submerge in April 2008. It was a few months after I moved to Michigan. The event was simultaneously an interview with Dennis Coffey, Motown Funk Brother, studio musician, and excellent guitarist; and an information session for musicians interested in applying for the academy.

I wrote about that event here: Now remember, this is way back when I was new. I’m still new, but not quite so new. The people who spoke during the info session were … oh look, here’s a flyer.

Pretty memorable.

Completely unrelated, but fun for me, I heard this song on WCBN today:

“Garoto Cibernético” by Paulo Vignolo. There’s no audio of this song online really, and I definitely don’t put up other people’s music. I like to let y’all handle your own shit. It’s a Brazilian song from a Som Livre compilation from 1984 called Plunct! Plact! Zuuum! Vol. 2. The vocals are pretty awesome and there’s definitely an 80s cheeze funk to it. The singer yells “Porque! Porque!” in a goofy staccato percussive way. I love it.

If you like to read Portuguese (Brazilian), then you can have some fun here:


Super fantastic children of gold.   !!!

And the song title, “Garoto Cibernético”? How many different ways can we stupidly translate this? Cyber boys. Computer boys. Cybernetic dudes. How many? I take liberties that you don’t even know. You gotta say that title with a serious frown on your face: garoto cibernetico. (That “T” in cibernetico is kind of like a “CH” sound if that helps your frown.)


Dissertation Update

01.30.11 | Permalink | Comment?

For new readers, I’m writing a dissertation on Detroit electronic music (techno, house, electro, ETC) in the department of folklore and ethnomusicology at Indiana University. I conducted fieldwork in Detroit from 2008-2010, although I’m still sneaking in a few interviews! I just completed chapter 3.

Here’s a segment from my introductory chapter:

“This study addresses Detroit’s expansive, complex, and diverse history with electronic music. Typically, Motown and techno are recognized as the only cultural legacies Detroit has to offer. However, a closer look at Detroit reveals much more than a simple, linear history. Detroit has a lengthy history with electronic music, primarily techno, house, and electro. Techno possesses a well established and relatively well documented, albeit linear and limited history in Detroit with significant links to African American culture. My research dramatically expands this history, recognizing and negotiating the existence of multiple histories and experiences beginning with Motown’s final year in Detroit and continuing to the present. I contribute a greater complexity to the scholarly treatment of electronic dance music with detailed exploration of other related styles of electronic music that are equally relevant and influential both in Detroit, and globally. The principle concepts that shape the foundation of my analysis are identity diversity and sonic eclecticism. Electronic music scenes in Detroit are surprisingly diverse in terms of ethnicity, race, gender, sexuality, class, and educational background. This diversity has had profound historic and contemporary impacts on electronic music produced in Detroit and performed in Detroit. Diversity can also be heard in Detroit’s electronic music history. I use the term sonic eclecticism to refer to audible diversity. These concepts of diversity and eclecticism converge in musical performance and production in Detroit; in my examination of this convergence, I engage elements of performance theory and communication analysis.”

I have done a few interviews since I last updated you with this post on my old blog:

Here’s who I’ve learned from over the past year:

Malik Alston

Juan Atkins

Michael Huckaby

Gehrik Mohr

Drew Pompa

Patrick Russell

Jared Wilson

And, momentarily, Aaron Cumins of Gary Springs Hunting Club and Aaron Siegel of Fit Sound.

I’ll keep you informed of stuff.

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