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Freegums: South Florida's Freshest

Freegums. The name brings to mind the gummy smile of a senior citizen with his dentures out, or a dish of brightly colored Chiclets. It's actually the alias of 25-year-old Peruvian Alvaro Ilizarbe, who's been causing havoc in the streets of Miami, Florida since he was exported from Lima at the age of nine. Flexing a loose, colorful style that incorporates claws, laughing hyenas, palm trees, and clever sayings, Ilizarbe's graphic design work is a smart, tongue-in-cheek reflection of South Florida and its environs.

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Celluloid Records: Change The Beat

If you were to travel back in time to the early '80s, you'd find a vastly different musical landscape. Though the disco era was in full swing and funk's motherlode was still fertile, album-oriented rock ruled the roost. Alternative rock and electronic music were still in their fledgling stages, R&B had settled into a safe, comfortable groove, world music was the province of folk-loving hippies, and hip-hop had yet to explode across mainstream America's consciousness.

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Jel In The Studio

When you take a peek into Jel's Oakland, CA studio, you come to realize that it really doesn't take that much space to create some of the most textured, spatial, and exquisite instrumental hip-hop records of the last couple years. With albums like 10 Seconds (a reference to the extended sample time he achieved by speeding up records) and his latest, Soft Money (Anticon.), he's becoming increasingly known for his drum sounds, whether they be lifted or programmed, but never played live. Read more » 

Belong: New Orleans Mirrored

Though Michael Jones and Jason Mark (the duo known as Belong) finished their debut album, October Language (Car Park), a year before Hurricane Katrina hit, they can still hear parallels between the New Orleans of the aftermath and the record's sprawling waves of guitar and synth noise, which often threaten to swallow the listener whole. "I agree [that] a fellow New Orleans person can listen to it and be affected [knowing it was] created by people who live in New Orleans," Mark says.

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8-Bit: Eight is Enough

8-bit music is something of a moving target, more of a movement than a genre. Even a name can't be agreed upon–the closest to universally accepted terms are "chiptune," "micromusic," and "8-bit," but new variants are being churned out every day, with varying degrees of cleverness ("bitpop," "blip-hop," etc.).

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