Saturday, December 15, 2007

Roots and Wires inna India!

Greetings Musical Fans, Friends, and Extended Family,

Recent events in the World of Roots and Wire Sound Dimensional have unfolded in ways synchronistic and magical. A few weeks ago we were asked to perform at the Indian Electronic Music Festival in New Dehli on 21 December 2007. The opportunity to dig into our dub basket and play a set of our original productions alongside some exclusive tracks sent our way is an honor indeed.

A big thanks to Qasim, the festival organizer, for offering us the opportunity to play this gig.

So if you are going to be in New Delhi during the holidays make it a point to swing by and check Roots and Wires in action. The outernational audiovisual vibes of Roots and Wires Sound Dimensional will be present in full force. The festival venue details are as follows:

Venue: The 2007 Indian Electronica Festival: Delhi will be held at Kuki - a new spot located in Greater Kailash II.

E 7, Greater Kailash II,
Masjid Moth Commercial Complex
Phone: 29225241

Kuki's website:

Tickets at the gate! Come early! Stay late! Roots and Wires will be hitting the stage at 11 PM so Don't be late.

While in Delhi we will be entering the studio to record with a number of Indian classical musicians including members of the Roots and Wires extended family, Kishu and Vishal Nagar. In typical Roots and Wires fashion we will also be documenting our journey with camera and video cameras in tow. Nuff magnificent audiovisual magic must rise! So fret not if you can’t bounce to India!!! 2008 should bring some more audio inventions, deep dubs, and visual trickery from the RWSD set and sound. Stay tuned and in touch whether you may hail from east, west, north, or south!

May this holiday season bring blessings to you and yours. A special musical message from Roots and Wires Sound Dimensional!

Andy G and Special Agent K
Roots and Wires Sound Dimensional

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Who Was Mr. Brown?

Link to 111 Minna Performance Audio Stream

I was recently invited to perform at a New Global Citizens fundraiser, sponsored by Alarm Magazine. The visual and aural artists were asked to give individual expression to a fantastical story of a coffin that was said to have floated through Kingston with three crows perched on top… Though there are several versions of this tale in reggae music, the most known is Bob Marley’s – “Who is Mr. Brown?” It’s been referred to as one of his “most memorable songs.” Perhaps we can understand some of it's popularity through a consideration of socioeconomic forces, but upon reading the 1970 news report from the “Jamaica Daily Gleaner,” it seemed to me that there was something deeper at work in the capacity of this story to fascinate. Let’s take the first few paragraphs of this news report as a launching point for our own depth psychological exploration:

Hundreds of curious persons chased through the streets of downtown Kingston yesterday. For the
Majority the object of their chase was both elusive and invisible.

With pedal cyclists setting a hot pace, hagglers, office clerks, and school children rampaged along
King Street, Orange Street, Beckford Street, invaded Tivoli Gardens, and then doubled back on
their route; all the while searching for a glimpse of the object. The chase was provided with added
fuel by the spate of fanciful and weird rumors.

The whole narrative has a feeling of the mysterious and the fantastical, a numinosity that makes it clear that there are deeper elements of psyche at work... It can be looked at as a dream in which all the elements are aspects of an individual psyche, or also at the level of the group or collective psyche. Viewed from a Jungian perspective, in either case there is something from within or beyond (chose your preferred metaphor here) seeking relation or emergence. How will we respond to the calling? The frenzied quality of chasing after this strange and mysterious object, seems to reflect an ambivalent curiousity and an existential yearning for the numinous and spiritual – a hunger for the otherworldly. The collective nature of the frenzy reminds me of a good soundsystem dance - being connected in individual and yet collective ways to something (and some process) that we often term spiritual...

Of course, this type of contact can also evoke dread (which is why I say "ambivalent curiousity"), as obvious in the next quote:

A policeman shot at it in Spanish Town, a rumor stated. He was immediately stricken and taken
to the Spanish Town Hospital in an unconscious condition. The Spanish Town Police denied that
any member of the Force in that town was so incapacitated.

It’s fascinating to see this arise in the narrative. This fearful shooting at the otherworldly is associated with a state of unconsciousness. If looked at as a dream, the shooting can be equated with attempts to repress - in part, because of the intense anxieties associated with the unknown. Rudolph Otto, in his "The Idea of the Holy," defines the numinosum as Mysterium Tremendum et Fascinans - the mystery that not only fascinates, but also evokes dread and fear. As we know, we often try to destroy what we don't understand and what we fear. Yet, if we can't step up to it and into it, if the communication is repressed or ignored, consequences can follow, leading to or sustaining states of unconsciousness… If we look at Jung's recently published Red Book, we see the devastating consequences across Europe (during the World Wars) when the material in the personal and collective shadow was ignored. And we only have to open a newspaper or get online to see how the devastation emerging from unconsciousness continues across the globe through to the present...

Returning to the news report, it's interesting that it's a policeman that does the shooting. If we look at this "dream" in another way, we might also consider the police to symbolize something of the collective order that needs to be broken down, to allow space for new structure that is more congruent with the spirit of the times. This is like the myth of Osiris, Ra and Horus - where the old patriarchal order needs to be symbolically killed off in order for the new patriarchal principle (a new and more dynamic king principle) to be established. This is the potentially healthy impulse in rebellious energy (as Jungian Analyst Heinrich Karl Fierz says, the health versus dysfunction of this depends on whether we are trying to depose the Ra or Horus principle)...

The details of the elusive, mysterious object are also intriguing – it was reported as a coffin that either floated through town in mid-air, or rolled on three wheels. On top were perched three crows – in some versions, they were dressed in coats! This seems to accentuate the archetypal, trickster aspect often associated with crows. As well, from shamanic and Native American traditions, the crow is seen as the mediator between worlds (e.g. consciousness and the unconscious). Synchronistically, as I was preparing for the show – just the morning of the performance – I heard cawing and looked out over my laptop and midi controllers to see two large, black crows sitting on my fire escape. It was as if they had escaped from Mr. Marley's track and this blog piece into the world, flowing as ravens and crows do between worlds! The world as having qualities of dream is an interesting topic but for another time. I will say that the archetypal has a tendency to externalize at times, with the related phenomenon of synchronicity blurring the boundaries between internal and external, between dream/myth and so-called consensual reality… It's uncanny to see this unfold or emerge when I get into deeper processes with the patients in my psychotherapeutic practice. And back to the "dream" - the coffin image is also relevant. In alchemical treatises, where the goal was most deeply a process of transformation of cultivation of the lapis (philospher's stone) or the Alchemical gold (i.e. a living relation with our core nature - what Jung and vendantics call the "Self" or Atman), one important stage along the way was the nigredo which involved the dying off of older and relatively limited ways of being, perceiving and so on, in order to pave the way for a new and more whole or authentic relationship with oneself, others and the world...

(this image is from a 17th century Alchemical text depicted the Nigredo - note the presence of the raven/crow!)

Rewinding the story a bit, as I sat with this news report in Andy G’s echo chamber, the whole account seemed to come together as a contemporary fairy tale or myth. Starting with the mundane, ordinary state of consciousness. Then, the encounter with the Mystery – or psychologically, the encounter of the ego with the Self, or consciousness and the Unconscious. Next, an initial fear in relation to the encounter, as it shakes things up and breaks things down in a sort of symbolic dismemberment. Sometimes we don't have the ego-strength or right attitude to pass the initiatory trial (e.g. the policeman who shoots and is rendered unconscious) - leaving us with a failed initiation. And sometimes we do - see Jung's essay "Spirit Mercurius" - Alchemical Studies CW 13 - for another version of this myth and this theme. There’s an ensuing struggle and the process of potentially transformational contact between consciousness and soul, as the ego seeks to reconstitute itself in new relationship with the depths. In our composition for the event, we tried to capture some feeling of these dismembering-fragmenting processes by transitioning from slower, darker dub (Little Tempo’s “Boogie Man Walk”) to subsequent, more frenetic junglist riddims. Finally, when all goes well, there’s the reconstitution of a more integrated person/group/culture. When it doesn't go well, there's some form of psychosis - either literally or metaphorically...

The collective unconscious emerges in images. The most vivid images are found in popular culture. There is a compensatory aspect to this emergence from the shadows, with the goal being movement into a relatively more whole and integrated state of being - again at both personal and collective levels. Of course, this is always an ongoing process, rather than some final end state. Along these lines, there is the history of Jamaica as a former colony, largely composed of the descendents of former slaves. In the 1930’s, Marcus Garvey started the “Back to Africa” movement, echoed throughout roots reggae and reggae-influenced songs. This is another expression of yearning for the (breakdown and then re-) creation of a new, more empowered and authentic identity - here, one with more capacity for self-determination and with connection into a larger framework of roots and culture… We attempt to convey this sort of movement in the Aswad track “Back to Africa,” as well as a version by the Japanese band “Tokyo Reggae Clash.” This theme also continues with the classic Earl Sixteen track, “Going to Africa,” and concludes with the wicked Smith and Mighty version of Mudala Kunene's “Ubombo” that evokes a sense of trembling and quivering connection with one's deeper nature and power...

So enough of these meandering and words for now! Get cozy in your space, and click on the link below to hear the performance as played at 111 Minna on August 10, 2007 by the Special Agent K…

Link to 111 Minna Performance Audio Stream

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Bass is Maternal: Rob Smith in the Sound Arena

BASS IS MATERNAL: Rob Smith in the Sound Arena

BY ANDY G, Roots and Wires Sound Dimensional

“For me, dub is about the combinations and the omissions… hard and soft, rough and smooth, and also about the space in between sounds.”
~Rob Smith~

Music on my sound system in the here and now:

Smith & Mighty’s first full-length album, BASS IS MATERNAL.

With each pulse, each hi-hat rewound and rerubbed, each sliver of keyboard omitted and reintroduced in between the constant heartbeat of a dubwise bassline, the boundary between me and the sub-frequencies entering my ears and body is diminished. I have entered an all-encompassing womb of sound…BASS IS MATERNAL. WHEN IT IS LOUD I FEEL SAFER…Believe…

In the realm of sounds and blues, Rob Smith, founding member of Bristol beat makers Smith & Mighty, Blue & Red, and More Rockers reigns supreme. Born out of the rich musical firmament of the early 1980s Bristol U.K. scene, Rob Smith cultivated his now distinctive sound through endless experimentation with old reel-to-reel tape recorders. Slowly but surely, Rob began making loops and playing sounds through echo pedals.

Given the dub reggae foundation on which his sound has been forged it is no surprise that Rob also cultivated his skills by playing rhythm guitar for early Bristol reggae band, Restriction. During this time his band shared the stage in support of many a roots reggae stalwart. He did the Rasta Serenade along side Aswad. He did the Herbsman Hustle on the same bill as Sugar Minott. He recorded for the mighty Mad Professor at Ariwa Studios.

All the while Rob soaked in the vibes of roots reggae sound systems: Jah Shaka, Jah Tubbys, too many to mention. Dub like dirt. Musical dispensation. Heartical revelation.

Around 1985 he met up with Ray Mighty. On discovering that they had a similar interest in synchronizing beat machines, synths and sound effects, the untrained pair began producing their own sound based on hip hop beats, dub reggae treatments and sixties melodies. Smith & Mighty was born.

In late 1987, on their own Three Stripe Records label, Smith & Mighty produced and released ‘Anyone,’ a bass driven cover version of Burt Bacharachs ‘Anyone Who Had a Heart.’ After their follow up underground hit ‘Walk On By,’ the pair took on a string of productions including Massive Attack’s debut single ’Any Love’, and top ten hit ’Wishing on a Star’ for The Fresh Four who’s members included the young DJ’s Krust and Suv. Since those heady days Smith & Mighty have released three albums, the aforementioned "Bass is Maternal," "Big World, Small World," and "Life is..." as well as contributing to K!7 record's longstanding "DJ Kicks" series.

I was first exposed to the revelatory sounds of Rob Smith’s productions via the foundational drum & bass junglist “Dubplate Selection: Volume 1.” Released on Smith and company’s very own MRR (More Rockers Records) imprint, “Dubplate Selection: Volume 1” represents one of the finest mixes of wicked ragga junglist basslines, atmospheric and soulful lyrics, and tough-like-lead dubwise reggae samples. When a tune like “Selector,” with its Jah Tubby’s sample hits one’s ears the debate need not continue. “Selector him good. Selector him Wise.” More Rockers runs proper junglist vibes. Unsurprisingly, Smith has carried the More Rockers sound far and wide with Volume 2 of the series coming on Select Cuts Records out of Germany and Volume 3 featured on Japanese imprint Rush Productions. Also not to be missed is the compilation "Select Cuts From More Rockers 12 Inch Selection," a set of dub, drum & bass cuts originally released as singles on the MRR label.

The next brick that the builders of pop culture refused but that caught my curious ear, the mid-1990s underground and shamelessly overlooked digital roots masterpiece from Rob Smith collaborators Henry & Louis entitled “Rudiments,” brought me deeper into Smith’s sonic fold. Whereas Smith & Mighty’s soul inflected, dub inspired breakbeats and More Rockers dubwise jungle meet somewhere between a Jah Shaka session at Digwall’s and a Soul II Soul dance at the Africa Centre, Henry & Louis is pure roots dub tailored for those that champion the next generation UK digital roots reggae sounds such as Manasseh, Iration Steppas, and Aba Shanti I. Seek this one out at all costs. One for the steppers crew.

Born out of the same collaboration, Rob Smith/Blue & Red and Henry & Louis released “Time Will Tell” on the now sadly defunct Portland based BSI records in the early 2000s. Once again, roots reggae was the sonic glue. Recorded in both Jamaica and the U.K., “Time Will Tell” was another digital roots scorcher replete with guest vocalists such as Johnny Clarke, Tony Tuff, Willi Williams, and Tippa Irie. Keeping up his strong connection to the Japanese dub/reggae/breakbeat scene Smith released the dub companion to “Time Will Tell” on the Japanese Rush Productions imprint.

More recently, Rob’s passion for bass and dub treatments has been evident on his solo album projects ’Up On The Downs’ and ’In One Way Or Another.’ Continuing in the same vein as Smith & Mighty, these two full-length sets represent a mix of breakbeat, dub, soul, and hip-hop.

Year 2007 has seen Rob unsurprisingly moving from strength to strength. So far this year Rob has released two breakbeat dub twelve inch singles on the Functional label entitled ‘Give Love’ and ‘Loveage.’ Likewise, he has entered the dubstep realm via the new Bristol dubstep label Punch Drunk. This time, working under the nom de beat, RSD, the tunes ‘Dub Corner’ and ‘Pretty Bright Light’ are serious entries into the “Best of 2007” category. Never one to rest long, Rob will also be releasing a new heavyweight dub track named ’Kingfisher’ on Earwax along with ‘Firewall’ on the Dub Related imprint. Rob is also busy making remixes for UK digital roots crew Zion Train, UB40, and Japanese outfits Antennasia and Rub-A-Dub Market.

Currently deejaying all over the globe from London’s ‘Fabric’ to Tokyo’s ’Club Yellow’, Rob drops a combination of reggae, breaks, dub step and drum and bass. He will also be playing guitar with Bristol ten-piece band Dub From Atlantis at this year's Glastonbury Festival. The long standing UK festival will also see him once again join with Ray Mighty as one-half of Smith & Mighty.

…But hold tight… Before you start booking your flights for Europe’s premiere summer music fest you can see the mighty Rob Smith live in his first San Francisco appearance in over five years.

The STATELESS crew (Michael K, Andy G, and Special Agent K) are proud to present Rob Smith at the Rickshaw Stop on June 8th. Featured along side Rob Smith will be The Worker and Roots and Wires Sound Dimensional dropping the very best in outernational beats. Check this link for more info. Reach early. Stay late. Miss it at your own peril.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

STATELESS @ Rickshaw Stop V. 1.2

Men and Women, Young and Old…All of them are ready for Chapter Two of the Stateless crew’s run at the mighty Rickshaw Stop coming this Saturday, March 10th.

Hot off the heals of our successful party featuring Stateless stalwarts Roots and Wires Sound Dimensional and the Worker along side SF favorites, Lemonade, and Rio’s Magabo, Chapter two only increases the heat as we move into the spring months.

This time around we have very special guests and Soot Records recording artists DJ Rupture and Filastine.

Barcelona based, DJ Rupture will be bringing his trademark sonic clash of global beats mashed up inna 3-turntable fashion. Audio alchemy through a 21st century filter!

Filastine, in his second performance at a Stateless event, will be dropping his politically charged sounds siphoned through a laptop and stitched together with hip-hop backbone and live percussion. Postworld sonic grit aimed straight at the World Bank’s head!

…And just in case you thought it ended there, Roots and Wires will be playing their trademark blend of original productions and outernational beats from dubstep to UK steppers. Of course, Special Agent K and Andy G will be running it all through their wide array of sound banks, effects units, and secret sonic weapons inna dubwise fashion! Roots and Wires’ highly individual take on visuals will also be omnipresent throughout the night…So open your eyes and ears for the sounds and sights of the Roots and Wires!

Rounding off the bill will be the Worker with his always tight and tip-top minimal house, ragga breaks, and international hip-hop vibes.

As always reach early and stay late for this musical dispensation meant to rock the nations!

For more information check these links:

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Serious Sonic Pressure a Gwaan!

Attention all music lovers…

Thank you for the massive attendance at our inaugural Rickshaw Stop event. Maga Bo (from Brazil) and Ustaad Vishal Nagar (from New Delhi, India), alongside the Worker and resident soundsystem Roots and Wires Sound Dimensional, dropped some serious sounds that night... It was a truly outernational event. There were 500+ people and such warm, sweaty and beautiful vibes that night. People were even moved to tears at certain sonic moments and quite a few told us it was one of the best events they had been to in some time - I kid you not!

You can see some video footage of our set, with Tabla Virtuoso Ustaad Vishal Nagar dropping vicious tabla bhols over original Indian Classical Dubstep, at our myspace site:

The next STATELESS will be even more massive, but first:

This Friday night all roads lead to Madrone Lounge (500 Divisadero at Fell).

Six Degrees records presents Casa De Degrees: A Night of International Music featuring Roots and Wires Sound Dimensional dropping tunes hotter than lava and heavier than lead. Your auditory nerve will be blessed with original digital dubplates produced in the firmament of the Roots and Wires studio as well as a serious selection of roots reggae, dub, dubstep, junglist rhythms, and beyond.

Roots and Wires….Serious Dubwise Pressure….Seen?

Featured along side Roots and Wires will be The Worker (Stateless, Six Degrees) serving up International hip-hop, hard-hitting Brazilian beats, and global techno sounds.

Reach Early! Stay Late!

And, just in case you haven’t been taking your recommended daily dose of sonic vitamins you can mark your calendars early for the next chapter of STATELESS at the RICKSHAW STOP. Coming up March 10th the STATELESS crew will once again be bringing in a unique blend of sonic sculptors and knob twisters for an outernational sound conference.

This time around, DJ Rupture and Filastine, two premier beat blenders from the SOOT record label, will be blessing SF with their transnational mash ups and jarring effects.

As usual, Roots and Wires Sound Dimensional and the Worker will be holding down the foundation and turning the tastemakers’ heads with a unique set of sounds unlike any other club night in San Francisco. Believe.

andy g & the special agent k