Wugazi Goes Viral
In the annals of time, great events have been made by visionaries who found themselves able to look at two seemingly disparate objects and imagine them as one, like the first guy to combine peanut butter and chocolate, or the inventor of the snuggie. Musically, the concept of fusion (in the broad sense of the word) has had its share of mixed results, some brilliant (a la Fishbone), some not (see Bizkit, Limp). More recent history has given us the mash-up, a sort of ADD version of the remix that made its first real impact on the cultural consciousness when a then unknown Danger Mouse released his Jay-Z/Beatles hybrid known as The Grey Album back in 2004. A slew of less skilled imitators followed and the mash-up quickly became the modern equivalent of the ‘80s hair metal ballad – played out and on life support.
Enter Wugazi and “13 Chambers” the latest madcap mash-up sensation (quickly approaching one million downloads since its July 13 release) that manages to succeed brilliantly where its predecessors either failed or fell short.
Wugazi (Fu-Tang would also have been acceptable) is the brain child of musicians Cecil Otter and Swiss Andy, a couple of white skateboarding hip hop heads from the Midwest. A year in the making, Otter and Andy meticulously combed through both groups respective catalogues (including solo projects and the larger Wu-Tang family) to create something novel without succumbing to novelty.
Wu-Tang and Fugazi have always been relative outliers in their relative genres, two groups with seemingly invincible reputations, existing largely on their own plane and succeeding largely on their own terms. The dark and grimy underworld of the Wu-Tang Clan blends seamlessly over gritty DC guitars and paranoid rants by Ian MacKaye and Guy Picciotto. Both of these groups possess an uncanny clarity of vision and focus, along with that transcendent gift that’s commonly described as catching lightning in a bottle. Bringing them together in such a way is akin to capturing a couple of supernovas and corralling them into the same cosmic neighborhood, which is exactly why Wugazi works so well. The problem with The Grey Album is that it was too cute, too “Piggies” meets “Big Pimpin.” Instead of the parts distracting from the whole, Wugazi brings it all together like Voltron – dangerous in his parts, unstoppable as a whole.
The great Afrika Bambaata was once asked what kind of DJ he was. His response was to lambast the idea of being a single genre DJ, arguing that if you really break it down it’s all pretty much the same thing. Wugazi continues that great tradition of being an ambassador of music, diving into new sonic territories and showing the world that things aren’t so different after all. — Mark Sullivan
A little more on the Earth First! Rendezvous and Big Oil protest from today's EW, but now in a multimedia format, courtesy of Rising Tide North America.
From Rising Tide:
As a culmination of the 2011 Earth First! Round River Rendezvous, climate activists including Rising Tide and Earth First!ers occupied Montana Governor Schweitzer's office to demand that he revoke support for the Keystone XL Pipeline and the megaload shipments. The pipeline would transport oil from the tar sands to international markets and the megaload shipments would bring equipment, built in Asia, to the tar sands. Both pass through Montana. Both would allow the tar sands energy project -already regarded as the most destructive industrial project on earth- to expand.
5 PEOPLE PUT THEIR BODIES AND FREEDOM ON THE LINE TO FIGHT FOR A LIVABLE FUTURE. PLEASE PUT SOME MONEY IN THEIR LEGAL FUND! http://ow.ly/5CRJz
Click any image to see a slideshow of more.
I was hoping to hear it in person at the show. No luck on that but they did close with their own vamped version of John Prine's "Spanish Pipedream"!
Our photo intern, Rob Sydor, hit up two great shows last week. Apologies for the lag in posting.
Eddie Vedder live at The Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall 7.14.11
McKenzie Pass has been plowed to allow bikes and pedestrian traffic in recent weeks (see our EugeneCycles blog) and we hear the scenic highway will open to motor vehicle traffic Friday, July 15. Both lanes are clear but ODOT is doing some minor repairs before allowing cars. So you only have a couple of days to experience this remarkable road without the traffic.