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The Evolution of Helvetica

As Plexifilm's president and head producer, Gary Hustwit's usual pursuits are music-related–everything from the recent Detroit techno doc High Tech Soul to Wilco's I Am Trying to Break Your Heart has passed through his productive hands. Read more » 

Somewhere: Tecnobrega in Brazil

Brega, in Portuguese, means something of bad taste; it also refers to a genre of Brazilian popular music whose songs are usually about heartache, and include questionable use of synths and strings. Despite being virtually ignored by the media of Rio and São Paulo, brega has been hugely popular for decades with the favela dwellers of Northern Brazil, particularly in Belém do Para. Eventually, brega met electronic music, birthing the rudimentary dance music known as tecnobrega (roughly translated: "cheesy techno").


Soil & Pimp Sessions

The stage at Camden Jazz Café in London is a riot of Japanese musicians rocking rainbow-colored boutique hip-hop wear, skater steez, and '70s gangster suits. The saxophonist thrusts his instrument towards all four corners of the crowd before dropping to his knees and soloing his sax like it's an electric guitar. As he finishes, the six-piece band launches into a crescendo of jazz. Read more » 

Documenting Urban Decay

Photographer Camilo Jose Vergara has been documenting urban decay in the U.S. since the '70s. On his website, this Chilean native tells the somewhat Dickensian tale of two troubled cities–Camden, New Jersey and Richmond, California–through time-lapse photographs of specific corners, houses, people, and trees, watching them crumble, disappear and, sometimes, get put back together again. But what's most unique about the site is the arrangement of the images, which form a revolutionary sort of digital map.


What Is It? Kuduro

Move over, baile funk. The newest word in Portuguese bass music is kuduro, a genre that hails from South Central... South Central Africa, that is. Bubbling up from the ghettos of this former Portuguese colony, kuduro (which translates as "hard ass") combines the sounds of European techno and hard house with insistent, often vocoder-filtered Creole vocals and driving rhythms inspired by native dance music genres like kizomba and semba (the predecessor of samba).


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