Thursday, February 14, 2008


Relevant Audio:
Masta Bingus - Welcome to My Teepee

Weekend Prince - Win This War (Please Leave Now My Teepee)

Ricardo Villalobos - Enfants (Live)

Roberto Di Simone - Secondo Coro Delle Lavandaie

The American Museum of the Moving Indian, the cherished Battery Park institution dedicated to preservation and celebration of heretofore under-heralded contributions by Native Americans to dance music, recently commissioned Brooklyn techno producer Masta Bingus to compose a new track in honor of the museum's centennial festivities. Bingus' dancefloor ode to traditional Native American hospitality underscores the traditional Native American shelter of teepee or 'wigwam' as being the original pre-white people version of the techno club.

AC presents MB's original mix, together with a Weekend Prince remix, not so much a remix as a altogether new track which is built from the original's tech-tribal stomp and twists it into a mopey synth-disco jam. Enjoy please.

Bingus is a natural choice for the AMMI's commission, as his forte is the combination with a perverse and cartoonish sense of characterization, unsurprising given his animation background. The words on 'Welcome to My Teepee' are those of a collaborator known for his remarkable Navajo vocal mimicry. The original text was quite long and appears here in highly truncated form, the remainder being set aside by Bingus for the production of an Indian-themed cartoon, which will greet visitors to the AMMI's Kidz In Da Teepee children's exhibit.

Ancient Teepee

The musicological premise of the AMMI is to emphasize the process of secularization by which the organized drum ritual of the Native American slid into to the modern electronic music spectacle. 'Welcome to My Teepee' helps reassert this genealogy, also while extolling the virtues of the teepee. Indians used to have ecstatic drum parties which were encased in temporary architecture as opposed to boring who gives a shit clubs. The clubs would go with them. They could make beats wherever they wanted.

Modern Norwegian Teepee with Bose speakers

From a broader critical perspective, the largest change once drum rituals went from being religious to secularized is that the psychological energy which is released or produced in the listener is no longer so rigidly directed. Without being so bound up with maintaining in ritual a connection between terrestrial and divine realms, the releasing of this energy makes manifest a fundamental ambiguity not only about rhythmic music but art in general, namely regarding the nature of catharsis. Music is a drug, and it all depends on the dose. You can never predict when it's going to get energy out of your system in a relieving, purifying, cathartic way, or whether it's going to jack you up, get you distressed and overstimulated, get you addicted and wanting more. This is arguably one of the biggest changes once art became de-coupled from its original cultic value.


As well a designer and video director, Masta Bingus operates out of a converted firehouse in Far Eastern Bushwick, where his closest neighbors are Pumps, a blue-collar exotic-dancer bar, which has elsewhere earned blog comment accolades such as this from "Slappy McGee III esq": The only skin bar I've been too wear the strippers have on aviator shades, sports coats and hoodies ... fucking awesome!, a lonely BP gas station alit in ghostly neon, a number of gnarly junkyards with the appropriate fauna, and an impressively desolate and fetid stretch of canal which seems to have as much of a chance of spewing into the river Styx as it does hooking up with the East River.

Of the number of Bingus videos on the web, the music clip for Hot Tub Johnny most embodies Bingus' process of getting one of his friends to act like an ass and then making a techno track out of it. The result is kind of disconcerting because it is kind of difficult to stamp the video with an origin or a context. Is it a joke? Is it for real? Like 'Teepee' it gives off the effect of having, in the middle of the night, turned on the television in a low-starred hotel somewhere in Eastern Europe, only to be harassed by an inexplicable transmission. Who are these goony ravers? Why do lights shine out of their punches? What should I do, now that I know that all kinds of things are up in this place?

Hot Tub Johnny - Let Me Tell You

Also recommended is Bingus' video for Laibach "B Mishina", viewable on the Bingus blog here

Two additional tracks in the tribal-chant vein have been added as supplements to the Masta Bingus - Weekend Prince throwdown: minimalist Ricardo Villalobos' highly-buzzed new track 'Enfants', and a very out-there song by Roberto Di Simone, experimental Italian conductor, together with his group, New Company of Popular Music. The blog Marathonpacks indicates that this track was recently the subject of an uncredited cover by the Japanese group OOIOO on their Thrill Jockey album TAIGA.

*for more on the Di Simone track see the entry on Marathonpacks blog here

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