Friday, December 3, 2010

Latin Meets Rock n' Roll number III

Tuesday, December 3rd at the Midway Cafe in Jamaica Plain

Friday, October 29, 2010

Latin Meets Rock n' Roll

happening this Tuesday at the Midway cafe in Jamaica Plain. It's the Boston release party for the Barbes records compilation "The Roots of Chicha volume 2" and I'll be playing a bunch of chicha singles.

Monday, October 25, 2010

The Intercontinental featured in the College Music Journal

the Intercontinental was featured in the September issue of the College Music Journal. A small feature was published in the print journal in an article by Marisa Aveling called "Five Special Specilay Shows" [pdf] and a longer feature appeared online at Here is the basic text from the online version:

Specialty Show Profile: The Intercontinental, WMBR

Jesse Kaminsky, host of The Intercontinental – WMBR’s ‘international’ specialty show
Give us a brief rundown on the history of the show.
I started the Intercontinental in 2006 as a way to explore some of the more
obscure sounds from around the world. I felt like the ‘world village’ idea of a
global culture was the dominant model for foreign music on the radio, and that really left me cold. That mentality seems to be based on the idea of the west as cultural compass and bankroll and felt a lot like the mondo type exhibition without context. I was really interested in tapping into the type of cultural movements that have been happening for centuries independently of the US. The Yugoslavian fascination with mariachi music or Japanese-Cuban music, for instance, produced some really fascinating records, made only for the domestic markets in those countries.

How did you get interested in ‘international’ music in the first place?
Growing up in Arkansas before the internet was a really off the ground, it was
difficult to find anything other than local bands and the current top 40. I was really hungry for something else, though, so I just tried to use every resource to cast a wide net and listened to anything that might possibly be interesting. I would ask every foreign exchange student what they were listening to. I had a lot of weird tape dubs of Yugoslavian ska punk bands in high school. I went to local punk shows in high school but was also trying to find where to order Conlon Nancorrow CDs or whatever music was the farthest from what I already knew, it was all in pretty much the same category for me. I didn’t really focus exclusively on international music until the idea for the show came along, it’s really taken over my life since then.

The music you play comes from almost every country imaginable. How do you source it all?
It can be really difficult to crack into a stream of culture that wasn’t meant for
you, especially if it doesn’t exist anymore or is all in a script that I can’t read.
The internet is great, though, and I’ve found that people can be very helpful with information if they can see that you’re serious about it. I can’t read Farsi so I scanned all my Iranian singles and put them on my website and suddenly people are emailing me from all over the world with translations and history, they’re amazed that someone like me has interest in pre-revolutionary Iranian pop music. There are dealers for anything, though. I do a lot of trial and error purchasing, buying things based on the picture or something. If you buy enough Turkish disco singles you eventually start to figure out what’s good or what to avoid. Once you have a handle on part of it you can do associative things like: if Yugoslavia had such a great newwave/synthpop thing in the 80’s then what about Hungary, or Poland. If you look it up, it’s there!

What’s the weirdest piece of music you’ve ever found and played on your show?
There is some music from the Dagestan region of Russia that’s really singular.
It’s a kind of techno with traditional rhythms and melodies. Drum machines and accordions with reverbed out mcs, totally unlike anything I’ve heard anywhere else. There’s also a really strange Dagestani version of Jimmy Ajaa (the Bappi Lahiri Hindi disco song that MIA covered) that was reworked to be a praise song for Allah that’s a strong contender for weirdest song.

This entry was posted on Monday, October 18th, 2010 at 2:17 pm and is filed under Industry Profiles, Interviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Failure gifs

While I'm finishing up soundtracks to the two photocopy-based animations that premiered at Backyard Bandwith last Saturday, here are some animated gifs from some of the nice parts.

Failure of a system is based on the idea that more can be understood about a situation that has failed than succeeded. Stress tests are based on this idea, that limits can be understood when failure occurs. Understanding a thing's failure can give a better understanding of its physical makeup, its tendencies and its restrictions. The failure of a photocopy machine means that it has not done its job of replication well. The tool is turned on itself and the essential material qualities emerge.


Saturday, August 14, 2010

solos and duos

Last week I played a short solo saxophone set and some duos with Josh Jefferson at PA's lounge. Thanks to everyone who came, if you weren't there you can hear it here: mp3

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

failure of a system

How many blogs have you seen that look like this:
7 or 8 posts in a brief period of time, very excited about the idea of having a blog, sharing with the world, big plans.
1 post 4 months later, discussing the time off, busy lifestyle and pledging renewed commitment to the online adventures.

consider this to be one of those.

I'm working to finish a new photocopy-based animation for the next backyardbandwith

If you don't know bybw, it's an outdoor film event that takes place in Jamaica Plain several times a summer. Usually silent films and live music and home made pies! It's well worth a visit. 21 Brookside Avenue in jp.

I'm reworking some of the earlier animations that I've posted here before, but this time it's in color. stills below:

Friday, July 30, 2010

at home map making

Second phase of the Personal Form of the City, how to continue a project without institutional support.

I'm looking for people willing to take part in some map-making experiments. It can be fun and can be easy, here are the instructions:

map 1
draw a map of a neighborhood that you have lived in for a significant amount of time (usually your current one).
think about the paths you travel through the neighborhood and why you use those routes.
think about how you leave and enter the neighborhood and what makes the perimeter.
imagine all the interior spaces that you've been in in this neighborhood and other buildings that you've wondered about.
think about destinations, places you've spent the most time and why you spent that time (waiting for a bus, at a park, shopping, etc.)
feel free to add information if it's important.

map 2

Think of it like a map of your linear path through space, but drawn according to a time-based scale
One useful idea for doing it might be like this:
1. mark the beginning and end of your commute
2. think about how long it takes to get there and find the half-way point.
3. fill in the details. Include everything that you find significant/use to navigate or time yourself along the way and all time markers that occur to you (when you know you're almost there or running late or areas that are always slow or fast to move through or whatever.

email me for details on how to send it to me, you can either mail it (best way) or email it (no problem).

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Imperialisms at RIver Gods

It's become a monthly thing at River Gods. Usually the last Tuesday, I join forces with Angela Sawyer of Weirdo Records to present 4 hours of weird foreign music. Much of it comes from the psychedelic 60s/70s but we do stray into genres as disparate as cumbia, new wave, disco, luk thung, garage rock, electro and the like. You can find playlists and past fliers (beautifully designed by Angela) here

the Boston globe just gave us a mention:

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Cereal in the Looper Supergroup at Rought Night II at Outpost 186

I'm playing with Cereal as a subsection of the Looper Supergroup, which debuts on Thursday, May 6th as a part of Rough Night II at the Outpost 186 in Cambridge. Does that make any sense? No?:
-Cereal is an improvising horn trio collective.
-The Looper Supergroup is a group that is bigger than cereal but not less improvising. It features horns, guitars and a theremin.
-Rough Night is a monthly series of sound and visual art curated by French Clements. It takes place at the Outpost 186.
Watch for it.

Monday, April 5, 2010

I need you

Wanted: you and your housemates.
you and your co-workers.

Are you interested in taking part in the Personal Form of the City project but can't make the workshops or don't live in Boston? Maybe you did it already but still have more patience for my projects. I'm looking for participants in a related project who are willing to work with their house mates or co-workers to draw a map of their commute. It's simple: you can do it on your own time, you don't have to work with the other people, and you don't have to know how to draw.
If you think you're interested, email me at jskaminsky [at] gmail and we can work out the details.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Maps of maps of the south end

We've now had 3 mapping workshops to date, the most recent taking place at Northeastern University. Thanks to Sophia Ainslie and her experimental drawing class I now have a pile of great maps to sort through, those images are coming soon. In the meantime, here are some portions of maps that were made by participants in MyTown, a fantastic organization located in Boston's south end that trains Boston-area teenagers to give historical walking tours of the south end. They took part in the first workshop in which I asked them to make maps of their tour route. One theme that emerged was the "map within a map":

There are still 3 workshops upcoming in April and as always, registration to each workshop is always open. Groups and individuals both welcome.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Photos from the First Workshop

On Thursday Jesse held his first workshop with a group of local teens, drawing maps of the South End and their pathways throughout the city. Photos are coming soon! In the mean time, don't forget to register for the upcoming workshops on Tuesday March 16th, Tuesday April 13th, and Wednesday April 28th! Contact Cynthia Woo at for registration and inquiries.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Registration Open for Workshops!

You can still rsvp for the first workshop, it's easy. Sign up now!

Sunday, February 28, 2010

The Personal Form of the City workshops

From March 1st to April 30th I will be Artist-in-residence at the Boston Center for the Arts. It's the first residency that they've hosted and it will serve as a pilot for the program. My work during this time, "The Personal Form of the City," will focus on the activity of mapping my personal experience in Boston and will involve my drawing a map of Boston from memory.

Everyone who lives in the city inhabits the same physical environment but no two people use it in the same way. Our use of the city informs our mental landscape and so everyone's personal city is shaped differently. It's difficult to describe what you don't know so I'm hoping to use drawing as a method to tap into my unconscious use of the world.

As a part of the project, I will be hosting three drawing/mapping workshops. These workshops are free and open to the public. Participants will map their neighborhoods, commutes and daily lives in the city and through the act of drawing will learn about the way they each experience the city. I'll be incorporating the maps from these workshops into my larger maps of the city. These will be two-hour workshops and no drawing experience is necessary. Ages 13 and up.

March 16, 2010 4-6pm
April 13, 2010 4-6pm
April 28, 2010 4-6pm

Workshops are limited to 20 participants.
Please pre-register by March 9th for the March 16th workshop,
contact Cynthia Woo at cwoo [at] bcaonline [dot] org, or 617.426.1119.

They're also posted here: Boston Center for the Arts

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Music of Iran - a guest post on Radio diffusion blog

I wrote this little essay for the mighty music blog radiodiffusion, curated by the gentleman behind, among other things, the Sublime Frequencies compilation of Indian steel guitar soundtrack music called Bollywood Steel Guitar. If you haven't been there before, it's worth thumbing through his vast collection of obscure records from all over the world. My little post, with mp3, can be found here, or you can read the text below. You can view cover scans of most of my Iranian records here:

Information on the popular music of pre-revolutionary Iran is hard to come by if you don’t read Farsi. Most reissues of the music are in Farsi and have little to no liner notes, save for G√∂hkan Aya’s well researched essay for the Raks Raks Raks compilation released last year on Raks Discos. This is perhaps due in part to the political situation surrounding the music and culture, much of what was recorded prior to the 1978 revolution became illegal with the new regime and was destroyed when found by the police. Performers who had substantial careers prior to the revolution had to flee the country or risk persecution as even the simple act of a woman performing as a soloist became illegal, not to mention the performance of westernized Persian music that had become increasingly popular under the last years of the Shah. Records that you find now from that period in Iran have likely survived many hardships and they almost always show it in one way or another.

Stuart has already covered much of the cultural history of Iran in his previous posts so I’ll leave that for now and say that this track from the singer Pouran. She began singing in 1951 at the age of 18, using the stage name of “Unknown Lady” or “Lady Anonymous Singer, ” depending on how you translate the Farsi. She married her vocal instructor, violinist Abbas Shapouri, and altered her stage name first to “Lady Shapouri, ” then to the simpler “Pouran, ” collaborating with Shapouri for the duration of their seven-year marriage to produce some of her most popular songs. At the height of her career, she was well regarded as an actress and singer, possibly recording as many as 2000 songs, although that’s really an impossible number to confirm. After her divorce, she continued to perform and record, often appearing on Iranian National Radio, until the late 70’s, when the revolution forced her to stop performing and flee the country. She died in 1991 during a visit to Iran and is buried in the Imamzadeh Taaher cemetery in the city of Karaj.

As an example of the difficulty in finding information on this era of recorded music, this line from the Google translation of her Wikipedia page jumped out at me: “Art said his toe in Salt Lady nephew heartsome other is born of that era” in reference to her musical association with her first husband.

Without much of a discography available, I’d guess that this record is from the later part of her career. It’s released on Ahang Rooz, the first and largest of pre-revolutionary Iranian record labels, and has the analog synthesizer sound that seems to have enjoyed some popularity in the later 70’s. The single includes the two songs: “Shahr-e Paeez” (The City of Autumn) and “Ye Roozam Maa Ra Faramoosh Mikoni” (One Day You Will Forget Me).

Thanks to Hamineh, Kourosh and Ramin for their help on this post as well as for all the other information that they’ve helped me with. Any factual errors or misunderstandings are mine.

Catalog number AR-2519 on Ahang Rooz of Iran. No release date listed.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

photocopy animations from 2008 part 2: Failure

This is an excerpt of the photocopy animation 'Failure.' Again, low resolution on youtube.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

photocopy animations from 2008 part 1: 1=1

This video was created in 2008 as part of my time as the Berwick Research Institute Artist in Research. It was made almost entirely with a photocopy machine (original page was a laserjet printout) and animated with final cut pro. This is a low resolution version on youtube because I'm not that adept at video yet.

Friday, January 15, 2010

2009 Annual report II

Daily breakdown of my activity for 2009. Commuting time and sleep were only tracked October-December. Represented commuting time for January-September was based on average round trip time of 40 minutes for bicycle commuting and 75 minutes round trip for transit (actual time is likely higher). Sleep pattern for January-September is likely similar to October-December. Rest of time is untracked. For whatever reason, these charts go up to 25, even though the days tracked here were 24 hours long.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

2009 Annual report

How do you define a year? Here's a couple of ways to diagram the way I spent 2009.

and here's a couple of month by month breakdowns:

this one makes almost no sense but is a nice graphical non-illustration:

there are several projections in this. The 'work' and 'commuting' totals are projected. The 'other' total is every hour in the year that is unaccounted for.

and more ways to view my month-by-month breakdown of activity:

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Blind Portraits-
These are from a series of mostly blind portraits. Newest ones at the top, going back to 2001. Most are ballpoint pen on paper, but some are pencil on paper.