Join MUTEK Mexico, NAAFI, & PANDEMIC for A Night that knows no borders

Published On March 23, 2015 | By Jenna Moen | Music

naafiVIA brings world club music from Mexico City to Pittsburgh in a two-part event featuring a lecture by MUTEK.MX, NAAFI, and PANDEMIC, followed by a live performance entitled ““noche de ritmos periféricos,” or “a night of peripheral rhythms.”

Taking place at SPACE gallery (812 Liberty Ave, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15222) on March 28, the lecture will feature Damian Romero, founder and director of MUTEK.MX, an international festival exhibiting the most avante garde and culturally innovative music and digital arts worldwide. MUTEK.MX (Mexico) is part of the larger MUTEK festival family that includes MUTEK Montreal and MUTEK Barcelona. It also holds projects by regional musicians and digital artists in locations around the world, including Beijing, Shanghai, Tokyo, Nagoya, Montreal, New York, Berlin, Buenos Aires, and more.

Since its inception in 2003, it has supported only the most cutting-edge artists who know how to manipulate digital machines to create nothing less than audio-visual ecstasy so magical it brings viewers to tears.

Also attending the lecture will be Thomas Davo and Alberto Bustamante, co-founders of NAAFI, a music label and event series in Mexico City that has become almost synonymous with Mexico City’s party scene. It’s no coincidence that NAAFI is the same acronym for the British Navy, Army and Air Force Institutes, but it’s also an Afrikaner (a South African person of European descent) slang term that means “”No Ambition and Fuck-all Interest.”  We aren’t sure where their intentions lie with this; however, submerged within the chaos of their music lies subversive political messages. For example, their “Peripheral Rhythms” promo video, done with drone camera work, depicts one of their members tattooing the head of a dead wild boar. The video can and will be interpreted in many ways – ambigious, rebellious, and random, among other things – but we think that’s kind of the point.

naafi beachNAAFI has expanded into the artwork and apparel realm, further solidifying the label’s reputation as a growing legend. Their freshest project occurred in December 2014, closing out the year with a bang. It was a three-day beach party in the city of Puerto Escondido called “Club de la Playa,” where guests ate, drank, and relaxed in the sun while dancing and partying to NAAFI’s newest records.

The guest moderator for the lecture is Pete Spynda from Pandemic. For 10 years, Pandemic has thrown Pittsburgh’s most raucous dance nights featuring a hybrid of traditional folk music and contemporary dance music from around the world. They reenergize global folk music by mixing it with modern dance music, such as tropical bass, cumbia, dancehall, bhangra, electro shaabi, chalga, Russian folk, bollywood, Afrobeats, Brazilian brass, Asian pop, Balkan beats, and more.

Following the lecture is a label showcase at Round Corner Cantina (3720 Butler St. Pittsburgh, PA 15201). Two of NAAFI’s core members, DJs Smurphy and Mexican Jihad, will perform “peripheral rhythms,” which explore their worldly club music trends and regional Mexican references, seapunk and vaporwave aesthetics, chaos magick spirituality, and more. Seapunk and vaporwave have both emerged in the past few years as indie dance genres with associated fashion and subcultures.

Seapunk, for example, was developed by online social media enthusiasts who were nostalgic for 1990s internet culture. It contains a narcotic energy that mixes new age music with drum and bass, witch house, and southern rap. Images associated with seapunk are usually rotating geometric shapes floating above green and blue oceans. Subsequently, vaporwave emerged in the late 2000s, and is what some may call next-gen seapunk. The motive behind the culture, though ambiguous, is thought to be a satirical depiction of consumerist society, or a nostalgic exaggeration of 80s Yuppie culture. Vaporwave music utilizes heavy samples from the late 70s and onward, particularly drawn from lounge, smooth Jazz, and Muzak. The art culture of the genre typically depicts imagery such as Renaissance sculptures, 90s web design, outmoded computer renderings, glitch art, and classic cyberpunk aesthetics.

This will truly be “a night that knows no borders,” so get going this Spring with some fresh global inspiration. The lecture runs from 3-4PM and festival passes are available to purchase for $20. The label showcase starts at 9PM and general admission tickets are $10.

This event is part of the very first Pittsburgh Humanities Festival, organized by the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust and the Humanities Center of Carnegie Mellon University, and hosted by VIA. From March 26-29, the festival will take place in the Cultural District and neighboring locations, featuring renowned artists, academics, and intellectual innovators offering intimate conversations and performances that range in subjects from art and music, to science and politics.

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