This review got me thinking.
Journalists don’t so much report on divisions and rivalries between different forms, genres and approaches to music as they create them. This is of no fault to the journalist, but rather lies in the impossibility of conveying the complexities of culture, of reality, in a sound bite. A distillation is necessary—Democrat vs Republican, business vs labor, rock vs disco, etc.—in order to arrive at an ending suitable enough to fit below the fold, into a 4 minute radio piece, or a blog article. The interpretation of where a division lies and the boundaries of a rivalry may begin with the writer and end with the editor where media is concerned, but in art boundaries aren’t as cleverly defined. In the same way an elementary school student may simultaneously have a crush on and punch the cute student across the aisle, music flirts with other music and weaves interchangeably, infinitely. Artists spend more time worrying about their art than whether the genre/form/school/variety, etc. in which they work is beating the other guys. In fact, most artists hate genres. There is no NFC Eastern Division in music, despite how many times you hear about the Grammy’s, the VMA’s, Youtube hits, Facebook likes, Twitter followers, etc. Journalists aren’t so much guilty of perpetuating this as they are doomed to repeat what has been given them by a many-decades approach that has little to do with reporting on art and a lot to do with repeating what is easier to hear and digest: this is in, that is out, this is better, that is worse, this is valuable, that worthless. Artists themselves don’t see the world this way. With rare exception, artists don’t single handedly represent entire genres, as a sitting President becomes de facto political party leader. Most simply don’t care whether their genre is on top, making inroads, or losing to rival genres or other artists. They make art. The next time you read about an artist making a jab at another artist, trace the arc and 9 times out of 10 I’d wager you find that media created and/or incentivized the situation with the carrot of publicity, like putting two mutually-destructive bacteria in a Petri dish and long-windedly documenting the results of the battle over the days and weeks it takes for one to vanquish the other. The vast majority of artists are not engaged in warfare for the supremacy of their genre, brutally fending off rivals and strategically plotting the advance of their agenda like a made-for-Netflix program. They make art and are engaged in making their art the best they can make it. They care about truth, beauty and culture. Music journalists will continue to say things like “ascending genre” and “the decades-long rivalry between rock and dance music” because they work in a style of media that largely encourages them to create such binaries because we as readers enjoy them. We enjoy them for the reason more people like movies with a happy ending, or at least a concrete and not open-ended ending. More people read these types of pieces, and that generates more advertising dollars. Next time you hear a reviewer say “hot new genre” or “a salvo toward her peers” in a review, question the writer’s perspective and endeavor to remember that art isn’t about binaries. Art is about art. The artists you love will appreciate it.
Dope live recording from young DC buck DJ Yorker. Give it a listen and keep an eye out:
Bliss is the among the very best things that has happened to me. I feel extremely fortunate to be able to play music for you at the party every month and it’s safe to say that if you weren’t there to support Bliss back in 2001, 2004, 2008, etc. a lot of things that I hold dear, not least a DJ and music production career and U Street Music Hall, would not exist. Thank you. I’m humbled and honored to have a party 11 years running at which I can play new, forward-thinking music and occasional left field classics and I’m forever grateful for your support.
This month, we’re going back to basics, just like September 2000 at the Metro Cafe. I’ll be on the decks all night playing mostly deep and cosmic house, with a fair bit of some of the best tracks from the past 11 years of Bliss in the mix. If you’re around, please stop by and say hello. It will be good to see you.
Thank you to Nick Nichols (RIP) of the Metro Cafe, who had the guts and optimism to book a party like Bliss when it had nothing going for it: a DJ who couldn’t yet DJ, a brand with no following–only a passionate beginning DJ who wanted to try hard, play music you couldn’t hear in a club anywhere else, and smile while doing it.
Thank you to Dante and the Black Cat for hosting Bliss for 8 strong years and for allowing me to stick to my guns, even when it would have been easier to make paper and play to twice as many people by going a route that I wouldn’t be proud of today.
Thank you to Lisa White and the staff of the exceptional 9:30 Club for giving us the opportunity since 2007 to team up with some of the artists we most respect and for being friends whose quality work has inspired us.
Thank you to my fellow owners, the staff and patrons of U Street Music Hall for making a dream come true. I love you all.
All the best,
Jubilee Mo is one of my favorite DC DJs. His sets and original productions are steady, deep and sexy. He’ll be at U Street Music Hall this Friday with Bruno Pronsanto and Blisspop’s own Lxsx Frxnk, who will be setting the mood with a frothy deep/minimal opening set, blindfolded, with hands tied behind her back, in a panther costume. Or so I’m told. I sat down with Jubilee to talk about where our dude is from and what makes him tick. He also put together a fantastic exclusive promo mix to give a taste of what to expect this Friday. See you there, in a panther costume!
Will: Tell me a little bit about where you’re from and how this has it helped shape your taste in music.
Jubilee: Born in Casa Blanca, Morocco. I grew up listening to my father play instruments such as TARBOUGA , AOUD , BANDIR. My upbringing has infused this “East meets West” feel to my music which gives it an identity for me today.
W: You have a steady hand behind the decks and vibes for miles. How would you describe your DJ style and what’s the biggest influence on the way you play?
J: Well, “VIBE” for me is everything. I just really get into my music and I think playing it with passion is the key. As far as style it’s just what sounds good to my ear, but I tend to go for more bouncy and more of a groovier house to techno music.
W: Your new material is dark and deep. I’ve been playing it in my sets a lot since you shared it with me. What’s your next release and when does it come out?
J: I have two releases coming out in the next few months. Check out this LINK
and the other on hidden records LES CLOCHARDS EP Vinyl/Digital.
W: Who would you most like to see come to DC and what’s your favorite recent set in town?
J: I would really like to see DIXON/JOHNNY D/LOSOUL. Best set for me this year was EWAN PEARSON @ U HALL & ONUR OZER @ TABAQ ROOFTOP
W: Tell our readers a little bit about your mix and some of the tracks you featured.
J: IN THIS MIX IS A TASTE OF WHAT I’VE BEEN PLAYING DURING THE SUMMER UP UNTIL NOW. SO TAKE IT EASY ON ME. I TRIED TO GIVE A WIDE TASTE OF WHAT I LIKE IN AN HOUR MIX ;) TRACKS FROM : Daniel Stefanik , Federico Molinari
Moodymann , Jubilee , youANDme.
Jubilee U Hall promo mix, 9.13.11
A re-imagining of some classic and newer jackin house and techno as deep and cosmic house in the disco bpm range. The idea came from an email exchange with LOUISAHHH!!!. The mix also includes a few favorites from this year as well as Hot, an unreleased track by Volta Bureau, my new group with Outputmessage and Micah Vellian, and two upcoming VB remixes for Pat Lok and Codebreaker. Recorded live after hours 8.24.11 at U Street Music Hall.
01 Loco Dice – How Do I Know (Edit)
02 Audion – Noiser (Mary Velo remix) (Edit)
03 UNKLE – Hold My Hand (Dubfire Remix) (Edit)
04 Diplo & Laidback Luke – Hey (Nadastrom’s Hot Latin Dub) (Edit)
05 Modeselektor – Black Block (Edit)
06 Robert Hood – Alpha (Edit)
07 Jatoma – Little Houseboat (Kenton Slash Demon Remix)
08 Paul Johnson – Feel My MF Bass (Edit)
09 Pat Lok – No Shame (Volta Bureau Extended Remix)
10 Mosca – Tilt Shift (Julio Bashmore Remix)
11 John Tejada – Sweat (On The Walls) (Edit)
12 Codebreaker – Desire (Volta Bureau Remix)
13 Modern Amusement – Cold As Ice (Louie Fresco Remix)
14 Maya Jane Coles – Senseless
15 Wolfgang Voigt – Kafkatrax 1.1 (Edit)
16 Motor City Drum Ensemble – Basement L.O.V.E.
17 Volta Bureau – Hot (unreleased)