World Music

This is the time of the year to finally read long articles on the Internet! I’ve got two interesting ones today.

Immigration Caseworker AA0089 Has Some Thoughts About What Is Art

First, a really alarming piece from the Wall Street Journal a couple of weeks ago about the U.S. visa program for touring foreign musicians. It boils down to government bureaucrats determining which artists are “culturally unique” enough to be allowed to play for us.

Nu World, Brave

Over at ethnomusicologist Wayne Marshal’s blog, there’s an interesting discussion going on about “nu world” music. He frames it as the combination of different types of music – electronic, cumbia, reggae, techno, hip hop, dubstep – from all over the world. All of these genres have been able to combine and mutate through the Internet, online mixtapes, and MP3 blogs. There are some interesting questions about authenticity and mediation that arise, which I think are important to think about.

I also feel like this idea can be applied to the new interest in (and breed of) psychedelic music. Today, we post just as easily about African highlife, The Zombies, New Age, Krautrocktropicália, and chopped and screwed music. And from that mixing pot we get White Rainbow, Pocahaunted, Toro y Moi, El Guincho, Sun Araw, and Ducktails. It’s a beautiful thing!

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