M.A. Thesis

July 26, 2010

Finally made my master’s thesis, “‘Straight Up Detroit Shit’: Genre, Authenticity, and Appropriation in Detroit Ghettotech” available on the blog. It’s been floating around the internet for a while, but might as well make this one-stop shopping for all your things me.

M.A. Thesis

Merengue de Calle in Hipster Crosshairs

December 11, 2009

Maluca – El Tigeraso.

Tasteful cod-mambo produced by Diplo (or is that “with production by Diplo”? hmmm….) with equally tasteful video. Ahem. Most telling part: 2:00 in, a band of “ethnic” chicas (maybe actually Dominican?) acting the face for the white producer. I am not opposed to musicians from the core experimenting with musics from the periphery out of hand, but this isn’t really pushing things forward. Swap the typical merengue bass for a slightly acidic synth. Of course, the audience for this is likely one that doesn’t know or care much about the source material, which is often far more wildly experimental.

Christmas is coming, anyone feel like buying me a gift?

Can We Talk About the Reggaeton Crash?

June 16, 2009

2005 seems so far away….

So I know it seems “trend-ish” to talk about musical cultures like they’re commodities, as if a genre with a geography and a history were equivalent to a fashion accessory (“kuduro is this year’s keffiyeh!”). But of course they are fashion accessories as well, right? Perhaps not to the well-meaning bloggeratti, who are exploring means of ethical consumption and creative interaction between the artists of the global south and enthusiasts of the imperial core. But in the brief period of time that we’ve seen international booty bass styles burst through our high-speed internet connections, a clear life-cycle has emerged that mirrors the economic structure that has laid the foundation for these styles and their consumption: boom and bust. In this post, I’d like to sketch this progression and interrogate the relationship of nu-whirled DJ-bloggers (of which I am a part) to it. And to provide myself a convenient escape hatch, I’ll classify this as an “intervention” to excuse any empirical oversights. I’d like this to provoke a conversation that has been largely ignored and tip-toed around by the most intelligent commentators of this branch of music, and will accept criticism and debate with an open mind.

The dominant narrative is well established: in the midst of urban poverty afflicting a community of color/nonWestern nationality, young people appropriate the techniques of hip hop/reggae/techno and make their own version of these established genres in their vernacular. A flurry of creativity creates an entire musical culture full of rapid stylistic changes and hybridity; meanwhile, the older generation and middle classes disdain the music as oversexual and immoral. Then the music hits the shores of the West, through immigrant diasporas, study-abroad programs, and canny journos looking for the next big thing. Gushing articles are written, cosmopolitan centers host parties centered around the sound, and the most recognizable sonic elements of these genres (dem bow, tamborazo) show up in remixes and DJ sets. A few artists are cherrypicked as leading the crop. A compilation album firms up the brand identity (what are genres but brands?). Tours and careers are launched. And then the genre fails to keep up with the rapid cultural turnover endemic to digital capitalism and interest fades. Luckily new genres from new locales spring up to fill the void.

Reggaeton in some ways was one of the first post-WWW examples of these genre cycles, and in many ways the most spectacular, but the model predates it (I would argue that Detroit ghettotech follows a similar trajectory but worked mostly through “old media” infrastructure). It is also unique in many ways (of course each genre has its own unique history) in that reggaeton became associated with the rising Hispanic population of the United States unlike the minimal mainstream penetration of funk carioca or grime, which had little in the way of newly acknowledged immigrant diasporas to piggyback upon. 

The tale is familiar: an explosion of interest from international media conglomerates, who flooded their distribution channels with the new style. Major labels signed the biggest artists like Daddy Yankee and Tego Calderon. The Source and Bad Boy Records launched Latino brands, rock stations changed to all-reggaeton formats overnight. Movie deals, NPR documentaries, club nights, and popular literature all followed. This had parallel support from writers and academics, who hailed the emergence as an opportunity for Latinos in the U.S. to forge identities, just as marketers saw it as an opportunity to sell these identities to a newly important demographic. Reggaeton encountered resistance from the older generation, but also notably from hip hop fans, Latino and otherwise, who (unjustly or not) pointed out the repetitive nature of the beats and the lack of lyrical sophistication from MCs.

And then the crash. By 2006, all-reggaeton formats were diversifying by including bachata, salsa, and other types of Spanish pop into their mix. Calle 13’s (promoted by academics as the “conscious” alternative to the machismo of most reggaetoneros) biggest hit, “El Nadie Como Tu” isn’t reggaeton at all. In 2009, La Kalle was dropped from the Chicago market altogether; in its place was “Recuerdos,” an oldies format. The Source magazine declared bankruptcy and Source Latino has evaporated. While I could hear the occasional Dem Bow blasting from car stereos in my neighborhood during the summer of 2007, I have yet to hear it at all this year. Even established reggaeton artists have dropped under the radar. Most recently (the spark for this post) I bought  a bootleg mix CD at a block party entitled “REGGAETON DEL 2009.” As new reggaeton had disappeared from my radar as it had largely disappeared from most of the blogs and magazines I turn to for such information, I wanted to see what was going on in the genre today. Fewer than half the tracks were reggaeton at all; instead were bachatas, some mambo tracks, pop-R&B from Don Omar and Ivy Queen, and, yes, a few songs with some of that ol’ Dem Bow, alongside newer trends like Autotune. Even reggaeton CDs lacked reggaeton. 

So what happened? Obviously in the case of reggaeton, media conglomerates overexpanded, creating a bubble of interest. Just as speculation on real estate caused an artificial inflation of prices and a subsequent crash, so too went reggaeton. Similar bubbles affected other emergent genres of the same time: funk carioca (branded as baile funk) no longer appears in DJ sets or on the albums of fashionably globo-chic artists like Diplo and MIA; grime’s biggest artist Dizzee Rascal is leaving the sound behind to focus on mainstream pop. These genres are by no means dead — they still retain cachet in their places of origins, and maintain devotees in the places of export. I still enjoy all of them. But it seems plainly obvious that interest has moved elsewhere, and equally obvious that the same thing will happen again to Baltimore club, juke, kuduro, cumbia, bassline, kwaito, and whatever else comes along.

So why the silence from the perceptive writers of global ghettotech? There are precious few articles such as “The Demise of Hyphy” that describe the rise and fall of a music genre and how it came to pass. I have some theories on contributing factors. First of all, it’s a lot more fun (and easier) to jump on the bandwagon early and promote a new exciting musical genre than sift through the detritus of an older one. I should know — I’ve been that bandwagon jumper, and those articles were easier and more fun to write than this one. If you’re of progressive leanings, it’s distasteful to dismiss another culture, especially if you’ve tied it to identity politics — slam reggaeton and you risk slamming the people who still like it, those people who you were standing up for a couple years back. Finally there’s a self-interested motivation: if you are an early-adopter booster, you jeopardize your credibility as a tastemaker by calling attention to your own critical oversights and boosterism. But if we are going to be responsible commentators on global ghettotech, I think we have to shine a light on our own contexts (and not in the navel-gazing PoMo way) — how this stuff works in the cosmopolitan West, when it doesn’t work, and how interest (and profits) are generated and lost. Gregzinho’s post on Cabide DJ’s lackluster U.S. tour is getting there, but it still seemed like he was pulling punches; to bring a DJ unknown in the States several years after interest in funk peaked was going to be a tough sell. I went to the Zizek Tour when they stopped in Chicago, and even when they were plugged on all the appropriate sites, the venue was more than half empty. More recently I saw an interesting spectacle: ghetto house pioneer DJ Slugo opening for Egyptrixx, who makes a kind of international bass fusion music heavily in debt to juke. At a nearly empty club (on a Saturday night no less), the new (white middle-class) kid on the block, headlines, while the artist who helped shape the sound gets second billing (the first DJ, who played your standard global ghettotech genre-hop, left immediately after his set finished). Slugo had the biggest crowd response of the night; most people left when the headliner started up. When I left I wanted to throw in the towel for nu-whirled music, at least as it appears in indie clubs.

I don’t want to harp on the failure of music I enjoy, but I do want to understand what is going on. Bad venues? Bad promoters? Audiences committed to only the latest trendy beats? It’s obvious that a certain segment of educated middle class young urbanites have a symbiotic relationship with genres that have a very different resonance in their native contexts, but ironically  I don’t see much analysis on it from the writers and DJs on their own context (again, SELF INCLUDED! SELF INCLUDED!). Like whiteness in general it’s become an invisible presence in these genres. Whether this relationship is mutualistic (both sides benefit), commensal (one side benefits, the other is unharmed), or parasitic (one side benefits at the expense of the other side) requires a lot more analysis, particularly of the economics that can get uncomfortable especially if you make income from this relationship. Focusing only on identity or semiotics, I feel, will not adequately address this. Without a political economy of global ghettotech we won’t understand the nature of this relationship, we won’t be able to make sure that interest in the privileged portions of the globe helps those places that make the music we love, and we won’t be able to make sure that these genres can be sustained. Wayne’s proposal looks promising, and I hope to see others follow the lead. As for myself, I feel only tangentially related to this stuff sometimes (I have but a likkle blog and no gigs, still haven’t learned how to laptop DJ), but I’ll be starting a PhD soon and looking for a diss topic… plus I love to throw darts…

Musical Tourism in Armenia; or, Second World Ghettotech + Armenian Bangers Mix

July 27, 2008

So, as alluded to earlier, I travelled to Armenia (AKA Hayastan), a place simultaneously marked by an ancient, uninterrupted history as well as by its relatively recent past as a Soviet socialist republic. Armenia’s current status is a small, landlocked, ethnically homogenous nation-state of around 3 million.  There’s a large diaspora of around five million Armenians throughout the world, people who fled either the Turks, the Soviets, or the current poverty rampant in the country.  This scattered nation is held together by a shared alphabet and language, religion (the Armenian Orthodox church), and foods (pomegranates and apricots are national symbols). And, of course, genocide recognition. Although I read stories that lauded Turkey’s Eurocup achievements as sticking it to White Christian Europe, it shouldn’t be forgotten that for many, Turkey was the imperial aggressor. I caught the Germany-Turkey match at a bar in Yerevan; when the Turkish team sang their national anthem, the bartender immediately muted the TV to raucous applause. Nevertheless, Armenia’s president sees soccer as a means to bridge borders. Music too provides a common bond for Armenians, but to me Armenian pop music belies its external influences more than a coherent internal character.

The Soviet Union looms as the largest influence when one wanders the centrally planned streets of Yerevan: lots of concrete, large garish buildings that are at once imposing and cheap, and a personal sense of style devoted to major European luxury brands and excessive ornamentation — were I of less proletarian sympathies, I might call it nouveau riche. Armenia, like most of the Soviet world, never had the tension between elites, bourgeoisie, and workers to create tricky strata of “taste” and “sophistication” in fashion: quite simply, more means more. If you can add screen printing, ruffles, rhinestones, or bows to a dress, you do it and charge that much more for it. And like Russia today, Armenia has its own class of oligarchs in charge of the nation’s industries (the guy who owns the sugar monopoly also owns the tobacco monopoly, hence Grand Candy and Grand Tobacco), as well as its own mafia in charge of smuggling and sex traffic. They hang at the numerous strip clubs around the city, as well as the karaoke bars that wouldn’t let me in. There’s such a market for Soviet kitsch in the former USSR that the markets have bootleg Soviet goods. There’s even a commie theme restaurant in the center of the city.

Russian pop music, itself in thrall to European dance-pop, is everywhere on the radio, as well as on television — Yerevan gets about 20 TV stations, half of which are Russian, and several which show music videos throughout the day. In fact, the major pop radio station (there are several devoted to classical music and jazz as well as Armenian traditional music) is instructive in tracing the influences running through this tiny country. About a third of the music is straight-up Russian pop and dance music. Perhaps the most arresting of these was a remix of 50 Cent’s “Ayo Technology” by DJ Baur.

Yes, the 50 Cent global hegemony is in full effect in Yerevan. Hip hop is popular, but only the biggest rappers — 50 Cent, Ludacris, Snoop Dogg — show up on the radio. Tupac has a presence due to the large Armenian diaspora population in Los Angeles. There are also Armenian rappers, most of whom hail from LA (Glendale specifically), none of whom I found very interesting. Hip hop is either club music or the realm of a few over-serious acolytes with lots of dour beats — if there is any insurgent or politically-aware hip hop, I didn’t find it. If you are the rebellious type of Armenian, you are probably into metal. Super Sako is one of the more successful Armenian rappers: his latest hit “I Love You” features English rapping and traditional style Armenian singing on the hook, an oft-repeated formula for Hye-rap division of labor.

More compelling to my ears was the increasingly strong native pop industry. Following the progression of Turkish popular music (a strong, if stridently unacknowledged influence on Armenian pop), Armenia has incorporated “R&B” structures into the relentless Eurodance onslaught, with melismatic singing and danceable syncopation. They even have some nice video budgets on occasion. The biggest song in Yerevan during my visit was the quite excellent “Vortekh Gitnem” (Where I Find) by Sofi Mkheyan, which is also probably the most entertaining music video I saw.

Sofi is about as close to girl power as it gets in Armenia; unlike most female pop stars, she eschews tight dresses and sexpot sultriness for straight up kicking ass. An older Sofi hit shows her battling between her good girl persona (preferring trad Armenia ballads) and her more defiant “hip hop” persona who wants to jam to Daddy Yankee. Oh yes, reggaeton is popular here (along with salsa), but again, you only hear the biggest hits.

Rivaling Sofi’s chart domination was Arame’s “Ur E.” Arame has recently ventured into R&B after sticking largely to ballads, surprising to many Armenians because as someone unnaturally tall (6 feet!), it was assumed he could not dance. He probably won’t win contests with his moves in this video, but he has some!

Notice the celebrity cameos, ripped from films and pasted in the video. Bruce Willis shows up in his Fifth Element gear, and I’m pretty sure he’s not getting any royalties from this. Armenia shares Russia’s cavalier attitude towards intellectual property, and bootlegs can even be found in official videos! Bootleg DVDs and CDs were the norm — there were no places to buy “official” licensed copies, although the bootlegs claimed their own copyrights in a bid to imitate every aspect of a legitimate release.


Note the All Rights Reserved

Note the "All Rights Reserved"


You have two choices — a top-of-the-line bootleg compilation for 1500 dram ($5), or a much more economical MP3 CD which holds 6-10 albums for about the same price (even cheaper in the countryside). I bought several of each, and perhaps my most interesting MP3 CD was “Best of Rabiz Music” by Grisha Aghakhanyan.

Rabiz” is a hard-to-translate slang term that was variously described to me as “flirt” or “low-class,” but essentially means an Armenian version of an East Coast “guido.” Grisha is part parody, part homage to rabiz culture. Most of his songs are covers of songs popular in Armenia, many of them American (Grisha now lives in LA). Here’s his version of “Gasolina,” which I am pretty sure is bemoaning high gas prices (about the same price as the U.S. with a much lower per capita income) while lampooning Armenian car culture.

“Bom Bom Ashotik”, which interpolates the Macarena at the end, strikes me as very ghettotech:

National questions always loom large for Armenians, especially since they have been without a state for so long. What makes all this stuff “Armenian,” or any music part of a nationality)? The language plays an important part: Mesrop Mashtots, inventor of the Armenian alphabet, is still revered as a national hero.

And partially it is music produced for a specifically self-identified Armenian market, which spans the globe in spite of its largest distribution channels existing in the nation itself. But it’s also Armenian because of the parts from “outside” seeping in: the Russian electropop, the Turkish melodic structures, Middle Eastern instrumentation, U.S. fashion. There is no ontological core of Armenian-ness to any of this music, and just as Armenia historically had to shift alliances with larger powers to preserve its autonomy, so it selectively appropriates foreign musical traditions to shore up its sense of ethnic identity, without which those dollars and rubles and Euros and pounds and lira made by diasporans wouldn’t be converted back into dram in the motherland. 

Ok, enough reading – time for the bangers!

Armenian Bangers 2008 Mix

1. Sofi – Vortekh Gitnem (best Armenian pop song ever!)

2. Arman – Khutchutch Aghchik (“curly girl”)

3. Gayane Torosyan – Zepiur Nman (“like a breeze”)

4. Grisha – Tash Tush (“Tash Tush” is slang for “party” – a cover of “I Like To Move It”)

5. Super Sako and Hayko – I Love

6. Kreativ Techno Hamuyt – SMS (This sounds JUST like Brazilian eletro)

7. Arame – Ur E

8. Gayane Seobyan – Manushak (“Violet”)

9. 50 Cent feat. Justin Timberlake – Ayo Technology (DJ Baur Mix) (Ok, it’s technically Russian)

10. Serjo – P.S. Club (Serjo is the biggest dance producer in Armenia)

11. Grisha – Bom Bom Ashotic

12. Vartan Sargisyan – Mi Kayl (“One Step”)

13. Grisha – Yerevan (cover of a song by Tata, the biggest Armenian pop star)

14. Vache – Hishatakner

15. Arame – Inch Eh Katarvum (“What’s Going On” – not a cover!)

16. Lilu – Im Sere Kez Hamar Eh (“My Love Is For You”)

17. Sofi – Qez Kanchum Em (Sofi’s earlier, more Turkish-style pop)

18. Kreativ Techno Hamuyt – Hayastan-Hrazdan-Zodiak (Hrazdan is the district where they make bread)

19. Grisha – Loer Misha



Musical Tourism, Ethical Consumption and other blog resonances pinging through my mind

June 21, 2008

Around the neoworldmusic/”global ghettotech” (Wayne, I confess to disliking this term) blogosphere and beyond, ethics of consumption remain a high priority. This is the commandment of self-reflexivity upon one’s subject position taught in liberal arts programs amongst other places: think about your subject position (class, race, gender) when engaging in critique and analysis, and results in a lot of intellectual labor devoted to the divide between the privileged position of the educated middle class listener/writer and that of the producer of the music: poor/ghetto/third-world. I’ve certainly done plenty of soul-searching about my own relationship to enjoying reggaeton or funk carioca or merengue de calle or whatever, though that usually comes after the thrill of initial engagement and discovery, and is usually far less enjoyable. It’s penance though, right? The price I pay for free music from people I will most likely never meet (though I feel less inclined to pay this price for downloading Justin Timberlake mp3s, and I’ll probably never meet him either). 

There’s really no shortage of “UR DOIN IT WRONG” examples of engaging with world music, and you’ll see the specter of the tourist (an increasingly perjorative term among the cultured) lurking in the shadows. “[A]t best a musical tourist” Eric Grady inveighs against Diplo, who has been the poster-child for UR-DOIN-IT-WRONGitude for so long he’s had to form an NGO to keep the booty-bass-intelligentsia at bay. The often-excellent Greg Scruggs calls him out along with serial offenders Sublime Frequencies for scrubbing out the names of artists on their mixes.

“If indeed they are “explorers” on the “urban frontier” of Rio de Janeiro seeking to “portray” a particular “moment,” then they are uninformed explorers who make no effort to explain the parameters of that moment – where, when, why.”

SF aren’t explorers, they are vaunted musical tourists, giving us a mere snapshot of the favelas, forcing us to provide our own contexts based on our own prejudices. Over at Dutty Arts, gex reminds us once again that we should translate the lyrics of what we hear if we are to listen (and DJ) in good conscience. We should be active listeners if we are going to travel into the third word internet, instead of being passive tourists who rely on paid bilingual intermediaries — tour guides — such as Diplo and SF. Ethnomusicology, a heavy influence on the global ghettotech discourse, has been hating on musical tourism for years now.

Which brings me to this interesting post on tourism as a particular mode of consumerist existence, broadly put as “a certain nostalgia for objects, coupled with a strange identification.” Cultural logic of late capitalism, y’all! This is of course what most of us word music consumers steeped in the liberal arts tradition want to avoid: we should be anti-tourists, cultivating a fair, ethical, meaningful relationship with music. But there are problems with this stance as well, things that niggled at me before Traxxus’s post crystallized some (and I do mean only some) things for me. It’s a desire to be the “heroic exception” to mindless consumers looking for the next cool thing (*cough* hipsters *cough*), but one that’s highly problematic in the academicky parlance of our times.

“Incurable observers who run up against their own limits respond, like marketers, with another absurd fantasy, that newness depends on the rearrangement or rejection of old categories (which were impositions to begin with), or that we need to ’stop being’ tourists, critics, adventurers, consumers, and replace them with something new and improved, though assembled from their remains, that the future is determined aesthetically by committee. Oblivious to the creativity it pretends to value, this brand of criticism kills the living and mystifies the dead.”

We try to shuck our inherited identity as tourists or consumers or Orientalists or neocolonialists, and build new identities in their places. Ethical, authentic identities that will assure us that our musical choices match up with our liberal politics — no Boom Bye Bye, no simple indie/thirdworld mashups, no missing tracklists, no mistranslations, no middle class appropriators. But this faith in the progressive power of self-fashioning is itself part of the problem, and anyway, we are all tourists now.

Calling Diplo a “neocolonialist” is missing the point. Diplo is not occupying any foreign countries, installing client regimes or coercively extracting resources. That he got big off a bunch of music made in the favelas is a symptom of neocolonialism, not a cause, and becoming ethical consumers isn’t going to change it (I’m actually more skeptical of the NGO angle). Sublime Frequencies certainly exoticizes its subjects (and I would love tracklistings on several of their releases including C.V), but they don’t actually have much effect, good or bad, on the music scenes they (inaccurately) document. Spank Rock doesn’t have much sway over the sounds of Baltimore’s clubs, and the favelas aren’t rocking Bonde do Role. The case could be made that they help provide a small part of an ideological screen to an influential class of Westerners which allows Western governments and corporations to continue to exploit the places where this music is made. But I wonder if castigating the middle class appropriators is rooted more in a desire to fashion ethical identities for ourselves than in correcting inequality. The increasing appropriation of the third world in music of all levels of popularity reflects our neoimperialist economic situation, in which Western (musical) economies are propped up by the exploited (creative) labor of the Global South, but I’m not sure to what extent it causes or creates it.

I’m not sure if I have some overriding point or position, more like nagging thoughts I tried to collide in a way that would help me make some sense of this. I agree with the sentiments of the bloggers mentioned above, and respect a lot of their writing. I don’t want to help reproduce exploitation or exoticization, I want to understand where the music I like comes from, what the lyrics are (even if most of them are about sexy girls), I want struggling artists to be compensated for their work. I want music to support the political causes I value. But I also want to be realistic about the limitations and pitfalls of the ethical consumerist approach to political problems. And hey, maybe get rid of some of this anxiety around one of the chief pleasures in my life.

Proyecto Uno

April 28, 2008

So a belated follow-up/expansion of this blog’s greatest hit (los exitos de unfashionablylate) so far with some further thoughts on merengue de calle. Proyecto Uno was (is?) a Dominican group mixing merengue with hip hop and club dance back in the go-go ’90s. There’s something charming and cheesy about these weird little major label forays into niche-market hybridity, where house beats pop up everywhere — I get it from El General’s lesser ’90s work as well, not to mention some of the weaker 90s hip-house cuts, which seem to be the antecedent of this stuff. Definitely NOT authentic, to reference an earlier discussion, and often not very good either.

Though I must say, the boys at Proyecto Uno have something. Their biggest hit, “El Tiburon” still gets plays on La Calle (the “hurban” station here in Chicago, which has mercifully diversified from its all-reggaeton playlists of 2005). Their sound is a very self-conscious patching together of merengue, hip hop, and house – the seams show, although that’s not always a bad thing. And it makes sense, since these guys were based in NYC and almost certainly scarfing down the hot club sounds along with a healthy diet of more traditional Dominican sabrosos. 

I’m wondering how influential these guys were on merengue de calle, though it’s possible that they aren’t at all. Still, I hear more than a trace of what’s to come in “Pumpin.'” Yeah, it’s called that. What they lack in cool sophistication (and rapping ability), they make up in enthusiasm. If they didn’t inspire merengue de calle, they were plowing a similar furrow, but more synthetically/syncretically. 

I picked up their greatest hits in Bowling Green of all places. Perhaps the most interesting is the “Techno” mix of “Merengue Con Letra” (which also appears in its merengue version). Shamelessly cribbing the synth riff from Reel 2 Reel’s “I Like To Move It Move It”, it sounds a whole lot like that “Calabria” tune that’s as universal a hit as we’ve got these days. Has anyone mentioned that the sax riff in “Calabria” is basically a restrained, slightly interpolated version of the hook on Reel 2 Reel’s infamous party starter? No cheeky nu-rave DJs mashing it up? The melody’s already locked away in our brains, it just takes a Scandinavian producer to trigger those dormant neurons.

Anyway, to bring this back to my original topic and maybe digress somewhere else, I wonder how this 1990s stuff — El General, Proyecto Uno, Reel 2 Reel — fits into the global ghettotech nexus. It sounds cheesy to my ears in a way that a lot of contemporary stuff doesn’t, and it hasn’t made its way into hipster record crates. Perhaps it lacks the undercurrent of violence and menace that makes the Other authentic in the post-gangsta music-scape? Or maybe it’s just time: will flogging the 808 Volt riddim will sound passe in the next generation’s funk carioca (and for whom will it be passe)? The papers keep telling me those ’90s synth presets are retro-cool again, so maybe Proyecto Uno’s proyecto techno is due for a reappraisal.