By Kat Bein
By Shea Serrano
By S. Pajot
By Terrence McCoy
By Falyn Freyman
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By Jacob Katel
By Michael E. Miller
The question is not a joke, riddle, Zen koan, or pick-up line. It's the inquiry at the heart of Eternal Peasant, a new compilation from Miami's only global indie record label, Other Electricities.
It all began when O.E.'s founder and curator, Emile Milgrim, was introduced to the music of South African electro-acoustic sound sculptor João Orecchia. After releasing Orecchia's 2009 album, Hands and Feet, the collaboration continued with the solo artist's recently assembled Motél Mari group.
One cross-cultural exchange led to another, and now Other Electricities has assembled an EP's worth of Motél Mari tracks remixed by producers from South Florida and vice versa.
New Times: What inspired the premise for Eternal Peasant?
Emile Milgrim: That a label in South Florida released an album by a band in South Africa. It's so incredible that technology enables things like that to happen. We take that stuff for granted, but it still amazes me that it's possible. South Florida (Miami in particular) and South Africa (yes, I know that's a whole country and Miami is just one city) have an incredible array of sounds and artists. I thought it would just be interesting to mesh the two and see what happened.
Tell us about the remixes by the South Florida producers.
The two Miami artists on the comp are ARK IX and Ashworth. Both took the original Motél Mari tracks and infused them with their signature styles. ARK IX took "Just Like a King," an organic, atmospheric, almost hip-hop track and transformed it with sci-fi beats. To me, it's a little reminiscent of Massive Attack at points. Ashworth took the elements of "It Won't Be Easy" and blended them into a moombahton-esque track. His track is mixed thoughtfully with bunches of sounds swimming around. It kills on headphones!
What about the South African remixes of music from Miami?
Their treatments really differ from each other. Dirty Paraffin's remix of "According to Who" employs the Kwaito style that the band is known for, transforming the original (essentially a rock song) into a jagged dance track with new verses spit on top. The Brother Moves On remix of "See You Later" takes vocal and instrumental melodies of the original and adds additional vocal, percussive, and harmonic layers, creating a jazzy, Afro-rock feel. Motél Mari also tackles one of their own tracks, "My Shoulder," and gives it an upbeat glitch-bass rework you'd want to roller-skate to. I suck at roller-skating, though.
Did you start the label with the intention of having an international focus?
Other Electricities didn't initially set out to release music from around the world. Our first few releases were from U.S. bands. Then it turned out some of the bands we started to discover were in other countries. Thanks, Internet! We just went with it.