Sonar Calibrado Sound System Reboot
Sonar Calibrado Sound System was born when I needed to take Roda (see foto) out for a test drive. We crashed it through the fence of the ber-hipster Capitol Hill Block Party in Seattle, and blasted our custom mashups of brazilian funk, left-field hip hop,grime & breakcore, reinforced by extra 808 kick drums and spliced with collages of street noise. It sounded something like Lost & Stolen Goods, a mix we made at the time. This was ten years ago, there was really no term "global bass" nor much output that could be defined as such. This may sound arrogant, as if we were trend setters, but to the contrary... at the time we felt like total losers. There was almost no audience for this sound. Since there were no clubs or festivals would program this kind of ambiguous music, we played only outside, put a sound system the street in Rio de Janeiro during carnival, hot-wiring electricity from the utility pole. It was mad fun, but also discouraging. We felt like this is where music needed to go, but nobody was willing to go there with us.
In the decade since we've seen the triumph of bass music, and a little slice of success for the subset which is now getting used to the title "global bass." On the margins of that subset, both Maga Bo and myself both struggled to carve out our unique little niche as artists. It seemed the project was over until I was recently asked to play a solidarity gig protesting the eviction of a place called Mount Zion. The gig fit with our profile: illegal, outside, dodgy sound and electrics. Mount Zion is a block of crumbling warehouses on the edge of Barcelona squatted by a hundreds illegal immigrants, mostly from West Africa.
The chief industry in Mount Zion is metal scrap recycling. These are globalization's refugees, a nomadic army of the dislocated for whom it was worth braving the deadly Saharan and Atlantic crossings to live to scavenge from the trash of Europeans. Not the trash of any Europeans, but the Spanish, who aren't exactly conspicuous consumers- about half the population here is looking for a job. Think about what that says about the desperate state of the world, when and endless supply of humans will risk their death to migrate to an economic basket case. Mount Zion teeters between utopian mutual aid and dystopia survivalism, it is both dangerous and friendly. It is a village, there are bars, restaurants, a barber.
Allegedly certain metals (like coltan) from scavenged e-waste can be used as coin, ironic since this is Africa is were most of these rare earth metals are mined. Every war causes a refugee, and it is only logical that our current war, with its' unprecedented assault on the natural world, an especially the looting of the material wealth of Africa. Not sure how to explain this, lit by the full moon on a warm summer night, to an audience of migrants and local activists, surrounded by rubble, burnt couches, and a riot of graffiti, we felt very welcomed and right at home . Thank you Mount Zion. Thank you organizers. noisedeejaying until the batteries ran down.
Had absolutely nothing to do with world music, even less to do with electronic music (minimal house was in vogue), there was no Tropical Bass, electro-cumbia, Globalization's refugees, a nomadic army of the dislocated that managed to make it through the often-deadly journey to Europe, where they founded Mount Zion, a block of squatted factories on the edge of Barcelona.
- Tags: Sonar Calibrado