Beyond the bayou’s Britney Jean, and Magnolia’s Lil’ Wayne, we have something fundamental, something fresh, and something authentically New Orleans in the midst – call it an amalgam, call it NOLA-EDM: a mix of “destruction – kind of – creation, improvisation, taking something very modern like EDM – or what people perceive it to be – twisted up and given a soul:” welcome Hello Negro.
Me: For you I think, you’re kind of rebuilding this idea of a post-colonial sound for a Post-Katrina New Orleans. A lot of people say, “electronic music is soulless,” because there is that preconception of “just press play and repeat” – but you improvise. I guess I want to get your thoughts for how you see your music as an environment, and seeing it as if it were this soundtrack for New Orleans – you being New Orleans’ native son – what does the music say to the environment you’re building?
Hello Negro: That’s an interesting question. In my experience, if you look at some great New Orleans musicians – you bring it back to Jelly Roll Morton, and you look at Louis Armstrong, you look at Kid Orie, you look at King Oliver, you look at Dr. John, you look at James Booker, you know Terrence Blanchard, Wynton Marsalis, Duvel Crawford, Troy Andrews, George Porter – who’s a bass player for The Funky Meters – these are all the New Orleans musicians… What we do in New Orleans, and this is going back to “the amalgam,”
what we do in New Orleans is we create, as musicians, we create music as a function of our environment. So, there’s not this “thing” you can do to make your music “New Orleans,” you either understand what that is because of the environment that you came up in – or you don’t.
So, the techniques I use – whether it’s sampling the funky Meters, or it’s a specific rhythm I’m using – none of it is overly … it’s not deliberate.
So… if nothing else, 2012 proved that by George the Mayans had it all kinds of right: this year proved a renaissance of apocalyptic proportions – a year when the culturally amnesiatic cynics failed to recognize a sea change over the screams of their own skeptic scoffs… alas, even in the midst of privately-backed Super-PAC pocketed media, bindered women, NRA publicity stunts, mass school shootings, a deluge of false formations and knowledge starvation, the spectacle’s continued triumph over literacy shrugged – and oh, Sandy; even in the midst of all that, there was music – glorious music – because after all, to mark the fall, the birth of tragedy is forever conceived in the spirit of music.
Somewhere along the 365 steps on the road to perdition, albums debuted, someone named Franked caused an Ocean of tears, a boy named Ken lamented the m.a.a.d. urban terrain, and Fiona spun the wheel while time idly passed by… but this isn’t about them – although everything else prior has unremarkably revolved around the former two – this list is about five albums I listened to, five albums I didn’t need people to tell me I liked, five works that are tragic in their own right, five that may not be cool, may be too young for school, but five that at the end of the day reminded me of what “those” Mayans might play had they lived to see this day…
MDNA – Madonna
This was easily some of Madonna’s best work to date – contextually – period. Although sonic cohesion and precision ebb and flow within the confines of Madge’s contemporary discography, MDNA solidified a mood and melody for the Monarch’s tumultuous mindset. Ciccone grabbed the circuit and spun it up proper, regardless of all analog static enveloping the release. Best friends, boyfriends, and rhythmic revelations in tow – Madge dropped a bomb, aurally addicting, introspectively intriguing, albeit misguided at times, but always spectacular – MDNA what a mighty majestic show.