Friday, 8 September 2017

Welcome to Musik Line!

Musik Line is a journal / blog dedicated to sound system culture and to African, Caribbean and other music. I update it irregularly with articles, interviews, mixes, reviews and other interesting sonic and literary fragments.

Current features are:

Jamaica Jamaica!

- A mix from the Philharmonie de Paris expo

Riddim Shack 5

- No Sleeping!

Riddim Shack 4

- Big big business

Cutting and Running in the Zouglou Nation

- Zouglou, coupé-décalé and DJ culture in Côte d'Ivoire

Riddim Shack 3

- Rave o'clock in Dominica

Fade 2 presents Riddim Shack! - The Reload

- Tun up, get low

Interzone Dub

- New album, now available on the Black Redemption label

Riddim Click!

- 90s / 00s dancehall versions

Groupe al-Redha

- Shocking out in Tangier's suburbs

Blue Bar Hotel

- A mix of funk, disco, highlife, soukous and suchlike

Everyday Hustle: Sat. 22 Dec. 2012

- Self-promotion

Gwoka Nation: Jocelyn Gabali and the Music of Guadeloupe

- Struggle, commercialization and why gwoka isn't a tradition


- Bring your airhorns and whistles for this global carnival tour

Mixes Part 1: Dub

- 70s roots, digi, UK steppas, dubstep and beyond

Ras Kush: Sound of Brooklyn

- Black Redemption and the New York sound system scene

Ten years of reggae and dub

- 2k0-2k9

Tambou means drums

- a short mix from the Antilles and Africa

Wall of Sound

- Berlin Wall sound map

African Dancehall and Hip Hop Minimix

- bump and grind

RAW dub style

- the Berlin dub scene and the RAW.tempel

Sofrito and the Antilles

- a musical voyage round the French Caribbean

1315 Broadway, 1988

- a first encounter with The Music Institute and Detroit techno

Empty Barrels Make The Most Noise

- soundboy killing with Stone Love

Gnawa: Music and the Black Diaspora in Morocco

- notes on the gnawa confraternity in Morocco, their history and identity, from the sixteenth century to the present day

Play the Music Stand Tall Man!

- dancehall session from the Stand Tall sound system in Paris, 1993


- the Italian cult of the tarantula, and its relation to music, in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries

Shaka in Africa

- Jah Shaka's history lesson about the repatriation movement, from 1989

Hip Hop in Nouakchott

- a snapshot of the hip hop scene in Mauritania in 2005

Rih: Folk and Blues from Morocco

- mix, with notes, of spiritual and popular music from 1970s Morocco

What is Musik Line?

- music and business with Prince Nico Mbarga and Rocafil Jazz

Stay tuned for future installments. Please feel free to leave your comments, or get in touch via musikline at googlemail com.


Jamaica Jamaica!

Earlier this year I was asked to contribute a mix to run alongside the Jamaica Jamaica show - a substantial exhibition tracing the evolution of reggae in Jamaica, held in the Philharmonie de Paris, in the Parc de la Villette in the north east of the city.

The location had a special resonance for me because some years ago the i-ality hi fi crew and I had set up our sound system in the park, soon to be approached and asked to cease and desist by a very polite security guard. He pointed to a concrete tower block on the periphery of the park.

"See that?" he said. "It's a cité of rastas. If they hear you playing reggae down here, they will all go mental."

Anyway, fifteen or so years later, Radio Propaganda's Franck Haderer who was curating the mixes generously said I could put pretty much whatever I wanted on the mix, so I recorded a bunch of my current favourite tunes and stuck them together and here they are for your listening pleasure.


Heptones - Mr President (Upsetters)
Dave Barker - What A Confusion (Upsetter)
Maytones / U. Brown - Too Much Pollution (GG's)
The Uniques - There's A Train (Gemini)
Dave Robinson - Redemption Time (El Speed Way)
Joe Axumite - No Equal Rights In Babylon (City Line)
Cultured Few - Better Dub (Feelgood)
King Sounds and the Isrealites - You Are My Pilot Dub (Moving Forward)
Trevor Junior - Chaplin (Stereo Pride)
Michael Palmer - Different Strokes (Tasha)
Junior Cat - Skengdon Bring Reggae Music (Skengdon)
Corna Stone - In This Town (Supreme)
Freddie McGregor - Hungry Dub (Thunder Bolt)
Dennis Brown - Shashamani Dub (New Name Muzik)
Brian and Tony Gold - Ram Dancehall (Greensleeves)
Dennis Brown - Sunshine Dub (Yvonne's Special)
Delroy Williams - Stop The Fighting (Rockers)
Fade 2 - Enemies Version (Dubplate)
Berhe Raza / Nick Manasseh - Kule Dub (Eastern Connection)

The music really speaks for itself, but a few months later I had the pleasure of going to the exhibition and took some photos, so here they are in lieu of further commentary. (There were many other things of interest, including instruments from the Black Ark, films, cultural artefacts and ephemera of one sort and another.)

The exhibition is over now, but the catalogue by Sébastien Carayol and Thomas Vendryes is available and worth purchasing.

Marumba boxes.

Trouble dus cum pon horse bak but he dus go way pon foot.

Life is one big road with lots of sign.

This True Nite of Universal Love.

Amp from Ilawi's Jah Love Musik.

King Tubby's record crate.

Rod of Correction of Michael Manley ("Joshua"), instrumental in the 1972 election campaign.

Peter Tosh's nunchucks.

Original artwork, the famous Greensleeves image from JA to Westway, Tony McDermott.

Sizzla typography.

Lee Perry's minidisc trousers, having outlasted most other uses of the medium.

A portrait by Scratch.

Old 7" sleeves.

(Big ups: Franck Newskool and all i-ality crew; Ras Kush; Hugo Mendez; Franck Haderer; Sheba Sound; Jason Lucky 7; valued but anonymous record vendors.)

Monday, 4 September 2017

No Sleeping!

Riddim Shack is back with another 55 minutes of madness - we're following the previous excursion into fresh dancehall and soca with this carnival rampage taking you from Lagos to London and Ghana to Grenada.


Gappy Ranks - Rising Out Of The Ghetto
Wande Coal ft Don Jazzy - The Kick
Karli Owli - Tell Dem Again
Prince Pronto ft Sekon Sta - Fuego
DJ Malvado - Marimba
Frenchie - Cele
Waconzy ft Ce’cile - Balling Like Waconzy
Bryte x Gafacci - I Like Your Girlfriend
4X4 & MarcusBeatz - Casanova
Iyanya ft Dbanj - Kukere (RMX)
Kissila - Je Yamo Mon Gars Il y a Koa
Janet Azzouz - Clear De Way
Keche - Sokode
Mystyk - Bring Dat
Loose Cannon - Duttiness
Mr Killa - Jab Brutal
SandMan - Obeah Man
Jean-Marie Bolangassa - Disna Ngai
Bramma - Welcome to Jab
Jab King - You Know Jab
Skinny Banton - We Doh Fraid
Jab King - No Sleeping
Lavaman - Jab Service

(Thanks to: Hugo Mendez, Ian McQuaid.)