Music Furthest From the Sea

Album of the week for anyone who loves central Asian music, especially the kind that gets blasted across bazaars, from who let the camel loose?, one of a couple of blogs from Xinjiang in far western China, so far west that it’s only really possible to think of it as China if you can suspend laughing for a bit while imagining Turkey is part of Belgium. The best thing is, it’s free, as in something-for-nothing. Download it here: Music Furthest From the Sea Vol. 1, and check out the excellent Xinjiang blog The Opposite End of China 中国的另一端 while you’re at it.

“Nim Bolde!

Officially labeled Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, this northwestern expanse of the P. R. C. contains some of the most disorienting cultural terrain that any visitor expecting “China” will experience, as the Uyghur are distinct ethnically, culturally, linguistically and historically from the land that governs.

Among modern regional cultivations is a prolific, fantastically vibrant popular music scene sadly little known outside this territory. A stroll down my street for example, past the side by side VCD shops and through swarming street bazaars, charms you with an ear splitting, walking collage of the most deliciously infectious local pop sounds. Traditional instruments, heavy drums, local flavor Casiotone and powerful, ornamented vocals deliver an unequivocally unique fruit of these lands – a land that at once processes it’s place within these borders while maintaining a fixed grip on a continually challenged cultural identity.

For this collection, I simply went out into the street…into tiny, booth sized shops and to carts selling pirated discs; listened to and bought the ones that I, A: thought well represented part of the recent local soundscape; B: just really dug; or C: took a chance on because they were cheap.

There’s a mixture of production value here, but I felt it fair to represent from the spectrum one hears, which ranges from polished, studio recordings to a notch barely above karaoke machine productions. Most of these songs are Uyghur, with the few exceptions of the occasional Uzbek artists within who are also very popular here. So there you go, in the spirit of sharing, a gift from your man in the city furthest from the sea!

I hope you enjoy! -FC

brought to you by: the Royal Oculus & Gramophone Company – Ürümqi, PRC. 2007

— who let the camel loose?

some new blogs

About a week ago I was doing something and ended up splurting “contemporary dance” Melbourne into Google Blog Search. I know, who’da thot I’d ever do something like that yah? There was a reason for it, I think, possibly a self-aggrandizing one. Anyway I ended up stumbling upon two blogs that have really made the Melbourne+Art+Blog part of my daily blog-whoring a more pleasurable and intellectually stratospheric experience. Then I realised there’s been a heap of blogs in the past couple of months that have quite fallen in love with, so as I am too lazy to update my blog-roll (to the right, down a bit – or a lot of you are feeble enough to use IE), here they are, starting with the two that are responsible for this post:

The Morning After: Performing Arts in Australia, yeah really, he reviews Contemporary Dance on a blog.

Alison Croggin’s Theatre Notes. OMG!!! she does too!

A number of blogs widening my geographical reading beyond China, Hong Kong and Taiwan have been introduced to me by Global Voices Online and RConversation, both blogs I thoroughly recommend.

Ethan Zuckerman’s … My heart’s in Accra, blogging on Africa, the developing world, technology and so much stuff that just makes me want to read his entire blog.

Recently banned and recently added to my news feeds, Mahmoud’s Den cutting sarcasm from Bahrain.

Juan Cole’s Informed Comment is pretty much the war in Iraq and it’s one of the more disturbing daily reads that anyone who has an interest in Middle-East politics and American policy should read.

Getting all political and stuff, which seems to be all I read sometimes, like I have some Quaker-imbued duty to witness.

Balkanization, where water-boarding in the service of America and dunking witches in the service of the Inquisition are the same thing.

Back to China, or East Turkistan, The Opposite End of China 中国的另一端, another blog out of Xinjiang which is more of a ‘stan than a ‘guo, and has some awesome Uyghur music videos.

I did have a bunch of pornographic shemale blogs to link to also, coz I know that’s why most of you come here (around 500 searches a day for ‘shemale realdoll’, can anyone tell me why I’m getting thrashed for this lately. did I get /.ed or something?) but I think you should educate yourselves beyond the concerns of you loins.