8-bit reggae project

Being a reggae/dub amateur for quite some time, I always wanted to write about it. The lack of time, and the remote character of this topic wrt to other interests made me postpone this for a long time. Last year, I started becoming intrigued by a sub-genre where artists play reggae with 8-bit machines... and I thought this would be a peculiar research topic for the Geneva bureau of the Laboratory.

So... after conducting a series of interview with musicians, a copious literature review about the history of reggae/chiptune and an analysis of technological artifacts used by performers (things like modified C64 SID turned into dub machines)... it seems the final correction has been made on the "8-bit reggae" manuscript and Etienne (Editions Volumiques) is currently working on the page layout. The idea is to have a paper-booklet on which the reader can use his phone to access media content (music, video); without a QR code (this is important as I find them annoying). To be released at the beginning of 2014!

The book is a description of how the world of reggae/dub collided with the one of video games... and how it led the birth of an intriguing, and original form of culture. It's the occasion to introduce the idea of "machine creolization" – the role of machines/algorithms in the hybridization of culture – an important feature of contemporary culture. The effort is now on working on other projects related with this concept.

Talking about the book project recently, I've been asked several times if I could give "an introduction" or "a playlist" to this subgenre, here it is!

  1. Jahtari X Uprooted Sunshine: Level Up!
  2. Disrupt/JAHTARI - They Lie
  3. Jody Bigfoot - NINTEMPO RIDDIM
  4. LEGO SOUNDS - Dubologist encephalogram
  5. Helgeland 8-bit Squad - Psybeam Riddim
  6. BitBurner - Shroom Roots
  7. Jody Bigfoot -Kob Dub (cant think of a name for this tune remix)
  8. Helgeland 8-bit Squad - Pai Mei Riddim
  9. wellwellsound - Billie jean
  10. LEGO SOUNDS - Dub Adub Abeba

Why do I blog this? Update on a project rarely mentioned on this blog!

David Byrne Urbanism

Saturday April 11, 21.54.27

Backstage, this plus bicycles, Notingham, England.

This is a nice, succinct reflection on the characteristics of cities, and the characteristics personally likable by David Byrne, titled David Byrne’s Perfect City. Worth the quick read. The short essay also serves as a reminder for the new Byrne book, Bicycle Diaries.

Why do I blog this? It’s no big secret that the Laboratory is a big fan of David Byrne because of the music, certainly. But, also, and as importantly, for the expanse of his creative wingspan, this article being one symptom of that. It’s also quite nice to have these sorts of insights into the urban condition presented from the ground, from a bicycle, from someone who carts his bicycle wherever he goes. And, having recently completed a world tour — I mean, you have to think that this level of insight reaches way beyond tooty, snooty urban theorists. Or, maybe that’s too harsh — it has a perspective that not many others can share just for lack of on-the-ground experience. We’re not bragging, but recently while visiting family who are in David Byrne’s band, we were struck by what we overheard while heading towards the buses: OH: “We still have to load the bikes.” I asked — “Besides all this equipment, you bring bikes?” Well..naturally.
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