FreeDub Missive

16/08/2012 § Leave a comment

A missive for the IR release 26.1 FreeDub. You can download it HERE, but do read on with what some might call liner notes, others might call a diatribe, which we call our infomercial for dub living. Basically pulsed out to the press and available to the public in each and every download of IR26.2, giving up the history of the IR label and the why and wherefore of the musical collective known as Indigenous Resistance. As culled from the writings of Tapedave and IR’s creative liason and traveling dignitary, The Ghost.

FreeDub for the people. What does that mean exactly, specifically? It’s not exactly free as we are not exactly free as a people, anywhere. Where there is a power structure it’s never a zero sum game. There’s winners and losers, the losers just need to lose a little less and win more. That is where the words come from, that struggle for freedom, that struggle for respect, the struggle continues every day.

So it’s a double-edged sword this FreeDub, it is free — “getcha download here, extra dub on the side” — but it also speaks to being free, the urge, the want, the need. Revolution you can dance to has been part of the IR mission since the beginning of crafting and splicing spoken word dissent into deep bass-laden tracks of dance, dub, techo. Tracks that were crucial, but lacking interest from the wider music industry, and so limited distribution made even more limited when one record company courageous enough to take it on, went out of business, kaput, taking masters, artwork, and royalties down the rat-infested drain. With help from Dorado, another courageous outlier of the music industry (before they dissolved), IR regrouped, reinvested with time, spit energy and re-engineered itself. The music can now be found on iTunes (and elsewhere) through Believe Digital, with some releases in the earthbound form of CDs through CDBaby. But dems the dub that helps pay the way for getting the real deal back to the people; the indigenous, those who need to hear the words and dance to the music, to break down the barriers put up against the hand-packed brutality of their day-to-day, to push off the trod that downward, and incessantly, presses against their very soul. As well as you, reading this, slogging it out against selfishness and the grubbing for winning over losing, wanting for a bit of individuality and mindfulness, in this time and space we share.

To that end, IR started this FreeDub programme to foment the FreeDom movement. Ten years ago, the very first IR release, was a blue twelve inch vinyl featured a remix by former Asian Dub Foundation founding member, the bassist, Dr Das. Following the theme of the musical content of the record it also contained a pullout document, fully illustrated revealing the horrendous murder of the activist Galdino to the world outside of Brasil. It was a radical piece of writing, not only about the murder, but also about the horrendous stereotypes and political situation facing indigenous people in Brazil. Galdino was an indigenous, burned to death, not for his activism, not for what he did, but for who he was, because he was “just” an indigenous person sleeping in the street. It was not pop music for pop people. No questioning “Where’s The Party At” to sing about, no posturing about shooting your “steez” of and getting down and dirty, etc. etc. Nope, no commercial potential, while IR realized that both the musical and written content of this package would not be welcomed by the mainstream cos they were all posturing about “waiting for the right time to shoot my steez” and getting “nekkid,” our priority at IR was to disseminate the music to where it was needed.

Zumbi Musica became the first instrument of IR’s FreeDub program. Zumbi, a radical thinker of black  and indigenous ancestry, makes his living selling used records on the streets of Ro de Janeiro pulling his mobile hand-driven cart laden with vinyl through various favelas, neighborhoods. Zumbi became the exclusive distributor for the first IR release. We arranged for a Carioca grafitti artist BraGGa to paint a replica of the cover of IR1, a picture of an indigenous person crying tears of blood. on the Zumbi’s cart. The image drew a lot of attention sparking rake many a conversation…conversations that Zumbi would take to draw out those interested in finding out more about the indigenous, those who would be open to hearing an alternative truth breaking down the many false notions about the indigenous force fed to the general populace. Those who glimmered an interest would be given a free copy of the IR vinyl and there on the streets of Rio, this radical FreeDub was born. The astuteness of Zumbi’s choices, was keen, borne out many years later when IR was walking in the Lapa neighborhood. We encountered, there, a Brasilian DJ coming from a late night gig and with him was a Los Angeles-based DJ and radical filmmaker, Akaider. We quickly zoned in on Akaider’s dubversive spirit and started talking up IR. The Brasilian DJ knowingly pulled out a copy of the IR1, the copy that he had received after his Zumbi conversation/conversion. With Akaider, now in the IR distribution hub, IR shipped off subsequent releases for Akaider to give them out to other Los Angeles DJs. Akaider has since helped IR film and document clandestine grafitti and street art projects, like the video for Deeder Zaman’s ‘Us and Us” track for OnUSound [ ]

Since the first vinyl was given off Zumbi’s cart, FreeDubbing has taken place in various places throughout the globe. IR has FreeDubbed CDs to students at a school in one of the most distant reservations in Northern Ontario, Canada. Through a tag-team relay system of folks in IR a network of sorts, starts with mailing IR CDs from our cache to a friend who is set to travel to somewhere near another friend who can then take the package as they journey on to another… With this network in constant flux, IR has been able to do FreeDubbing in places as far flung as Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Ethiopia, Colombia, and Zanzibar. IR has been particularly pleased with our efforts to get IR work placed in the libraries of schools and Indigenous Cultural Centres in places like India. Subversive folks working in media like Senor Bamboo in Australia have helped us to get FreeDub IR works to islands in the South Pacific like the Solomon Islands where they have in turn ended up with local radio broadcasting the IR broadsides. FreeDub is a hand-to-hand relay system, breaking down barriers of distance, to strengthen resistance.

If you FreeDub, you must FreeDub. Take one down, pass it around…

Worried about the politics versus the message? The medium of the messenger scalding, not warm and inviting? Fret not, read up with Music Media Monthly’s Rick Anderson as he discusses IR and one of our releases, IR25 Dubversive:

“INDIGENOUS RESISTANCE is a revolutionary musical collective creating crucial pan global collaborations between indigenous cultures from the jungles, favelas and barrios with those in the industrialized world who work their musical magic in mixing studios and on laptops. IR releases are completely autonomous self-funded works achieved through barter, little money, but an abundance of commitment and co-operation.” Okay, then. For the potential music buyer, this kind of language raises an inevitable question: which comes first for these folks, the music or the message? If the latter, then one might understandably be tempted to just raise a fist in solidarity and take one’s money to greener musical pastures. But as it turns out, this shadowy collective appears to be just as interested in creating brilliant grooves as in promoting social justice. Don’t take my word for it: notice that on this album, collaborators include the brilliant Deeder Zaman (formerly of Asian Dub Foundation), producer Adrian Sherwood (mad mastermind behind the On-U Sound project), guitarist Skip McDonald (Tackhead, Little Axe), and Dr. Das (also of Asian Dub Foundation). It’s hard to tell who are the charter members of the group itself, which I’m sure is intentional, although guest singers and instrumentalists are diligently credited. As for the music, be prepared to hear a bracing mix of bahia drumming, jungle and reggae beats, Latin funk, and techno, most of it wearing its politics lightly and all of it doing so very groovily. In addition to this full-length album, the Indigenous Dublands EP is well worth seeking out, as is the “Krikati” maxi-single titled Direct Action Dubmissions. Grade: A-


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Media contact: The Ghost


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