Winter Solstice 2009 Retrospective

Our annual look back at the year in music, spinning tunes that have inspired, perplexed, soothed, challenged and/or forced us to shake our booty and reprogram our bass chakra protocols. DJ Fundi is joined here and there by his compadre/alter ego DJ Playaduster -- you'll know when Playaduster takes over the decks. Because 2009 was such a strong year for music making -- is there more good music then ever before, or simply more ease of access via the interwebs and iTunes? -- this session clocks in just shy of 2 hours, so you best get yerself comfortable with a warm winter beverage in hand.

"Winter Solstice 2009 Retrospective" includes selections by The xx, Andrew Bird, Beirut, Phoenix, Neko Case, Built to Spill, Dirty Projectors, Bon Iver, Fever Ray, Heyoka, Bassnectar, ill.gates, Welder, The Mountain Goats, Iron & Wine, Grizzly Bear, Cymbals Eat Guitars, Yim Yames, The Avett Brothers, Joker, DJ Rupture, Zero 7, M. Ward, Tinariwen, Nirvana and Andras Schiff paying Bach. You can read my full list of Top 10 albums, honorable mentions and biggest disappointments on
the Fundiblog.

The Dirty Projectors


Fever Ray

The Cave Singers


What music most inspired you in 2009? Anything I missed? Feedback and tips left in comments are much appreciated!

Here's to new musical frontiers in 2010~

The Lighthouse Keeper : New Music 5

The Cave Singers, Built to Spill and Pearl Jam open this mix with a triple blast of Northwest moody rock juju.

From the fourth corner, we travel outwards over a diverse terrain of tracks, most of which are new on the scene from the past month or so. Several are lifted from the "Dark Was the Night" double-album, which I highly recommend you purchase (proceeds go to AIDS research and prevention via the Red Hot Organization.)

Bon Iver, Kid Cudi with Ratatat, Modest Mouse, Monsters of Folk, Sharon Jones & the Dapp Kings, Fever Ray with Bassnectar, Feist with Ben Gibbards, The Decemberists, David Byrne with Brian Eno, Beats Antique, M. Ward, Sufjan Stevens, Iron & Wine, Thom Yorke, Yim Yames and Q-Tip are the elements of this mix, which skews heavily towards
man-rock and beard-folk for some unknown reason. As it turns out, Sharon Jones and the Fever Ray singer are the one female representatives here -- they holds their own, I'd say.

I'd like to close by quoting Built to Spill from a new song, "Things Fall Apart," which I think are some of the most authentic lyrics I've heard in years:

"We've all seen enough, now it's time to decide
The meekness of love or the power of pride
It doesn't matter if you're good or smart
God damn it, things fall apart

Let's go for a walk. yeah, let's go for a drive
Don't know how to say, thanks for being alive
Let's go for a lifetime. let's go for a fling
Don't know how to say anything"

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EVOLUTION: Burning Man 2009

Good friends over at our sister site sent this video to us and we thought fans of the Podcast Cafe would appreciate it, so we're passing it along. Enjoy and don't mind the dust! ~DJ Fundi

* * * * * * * * *

Now it is time to launch a video project I humbly offer up: "EVOLUTION: Burning Man 2009".. At just under a half-hour in length, this video seeks to celebrate Black Rock City in all of its ephemeral glory as well as commemorate the once-in-a-lifetime quickening of people that came together organically to form Camp Get Found at 3:30 & Lineage. This production utilized the photos and videos of many friends, as well as borrowed footage from Ben Wiggins, Mr. Nightshade and John Chavez. The soundtrack features Random Rab, Welder, ill.Gates, Ezekiel Honig, Nosaj Thing and Shpongle.

Download this and many other playalicious videos by subscribing to
Destination Burning Man or by visiting

love, DJ Playaduster

Evolutionary Psychejuju

This here podcast is a special rebroadcast from our sister site,
Destination Burning Man. I'm reposting it because I know that Podcast Cafe listeners will enjoy these spicy sounds. Here's the original description of what is going on here:

40-some days until the 2009 Burn, y'all. Hhere's a mix from Radio DBM that is full of serious world-beat psychejuju to keep your preparations for the playa moving along on the good foot.

I was meditating on evolution while spinning out this set, particularly how species develop at different paces in different places around the planet. I love how one bird species, for example, will look and behave totally different from continent to continent, morphing form and behavior to match the physical ecosystem. But I also appreciate how all of life shares a common foundation, animated by the mysterious cosmic spark.

How does any of this apply to "Evolutionary Psychejuju"? Music is both universal as well as totally local. It begins with the heartbeat, and evolves in to a groove, a language every human can understand. I love how indigenous music is fitted to a particular place -- how the heat and aridity of Mali, the rhythm of the waves in Jamaica, the humid fecundity of Columbia have each inspired their own musical traditions. And I also love the ways in which some artists combine and blend those traditions in new and surprising ways. Musical evolution on a global scale. That's some of the thinking going on behind the scenes here at Radio dBM in the production of this here mix.

xo, DJ Playaduster

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Fond Farewell to a Friend

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Feedback: djfundi@podcastcafe.orgMore...

Blame it on the Boogie : A Tribute to Michael Jackson (Part 3)

The first two sets have been downloaded over 500 times each in the short period of time they've been put out on the internets, which makes me very happy. I envision Michael Jackson dance parties happening around the planet to the soundtrack of joyful music I've weaved together here. I appreciate the positive feedback I've heard from many listeners in diverse corners and hope that those who appreciate these mixes will share them widely with friends.

Michael Jackson's story is a very complicated, weird, mysterious and, ultimately, tragic. Some think his troubles originate in his childhood at the hands of his father, other argue that he brought it all on to himself. "Blame it on the Boogie" sidesteps all of these debates and instead focuses on the unmatched legacy of Michael Jackson's music -- his original blending of Motown, disco, r&b, funk and soul, spiced up with a huge amount of confident showmanship. MJ was a musical genius who created a huge body of uplifting, emotionally moving, booty-rocking music, and I hope this tribute trilogy helps remind listeners of how, beneath all the controversy, MJ was an extremely and sensitive gifted artist.

Blame it on the Boogie : A Tribute to Michael Jackson (Part 2)

Part 2 of my Michael Jackon Tribute series picks up where Part 1 ends, delving back in to the "Thriller" era before committing to an extended appreciation of "Bad" and then dropping in on a fast-paced, booty-rockin' exploration of MJ's underappreciated Late Period. I had no idead he was still putting out such amazing and ground-breaking music post-"Bad," tracks like "Scream", "They Don't Care About Us", "2 Bad", "Xscape" and "Jam." Like Part 1, this mix tells the MJ story through nontraditional tracks: home demos, remixes, dubs and rare tracks. I've been listening to both constantly these past 2 weeks, with mad appreciation for MJ's gift of groove to the world.

Against my better judgement, I had to start a third (and hopefully final!) installment in the tribute series. As I was mixing this one up, I kept finding amazing remixes and rarities online, but I wanted Part 2 to come in at under 80 minutes so it could be burned to CD, and the incoming rush of MJ music had to spill over in to a 3rd mix. A Michael Jackson "Trilogy" was unplanned when I first started out, but that is what this process has naturally evolved in to, so there it is. The man just put out too much great music -- blame it on the boogie!

Blame it on the Boogie : A Tribute to Michael Jackson (Part 1)

This musical journey starts with some selections from the Jackson 5, of course, before exploring Michael Jackson's early solo career, with a multifaceted look at "Off the Wall" and his original melding of disco grooves with Motown soul. Eventually, we reach "Thriller," looking at half of the album's hits from various different perspectives, before running out of time at the 79:45 mark -- just the right length to be able to burn this mix to CD. Part two, to be released in a couple of weeks, picks up with the second half of Thriller and runs through various side projects and the most intriguing sounds from his later releases.

Now, those listeners looking for a run-through of his greatest hits can, well, purchase or dig out his many "Greatest Hits" collections. In other words, this ain't your mamas Michael Jackson. The mix is built on alternate takes, mash-ups, early home demos, interviews and, especially, remixes. There are many, many remixes of Michael floating around out there in cyberspace, and I chose a wide variety of reinterpretations: some ready to bump your booty, some corny and others just plain weird. I reveled in the wide, creative diversity of remixes that MJ inspired, and listening to them over the past week, it dawned on me just how universal his music was -- there was an essential DNA of heart, soul and groove in just about everything he performed, and those core elements were able to be fit in and reprogramed in all kinds of musical scenarios. House, reggae, grunge, glitch, ambient -- Michael's words and voice sounded natural in so many different genres and environments, in part because it was so real. And I guess that is why he was loved the whole world over -- his gift of song was universal. It touched the heart and moved the booty, no matter what culture or creed.

His great success in moving so many people killed him in the end. His superstardom took over his individuality and he gave himself away to our collective desire for hero-worship, gossip and judgement. In doing so, Michael lost touch with himself and then with reality and that's when the freak show began. I try to withhold judgement for all his oddities and naivete -- I feel like society pushed him in to the corner he was trapped in and we have no right to judge him. Especially now that he is gone and cannot respond. We can only go back to the music that was left behind.

Instead of getting swept up in the media frenzy of the past week -- the endless analysis of his finances and prescription drug use and relationship with his family and fate of his children -- I have turned to the music to remember. Just as I imagine millions of other fans are too. And my full immersion in Michael's glorious art -- "I'll Be There," "Ease on Down the Road," "Don't Stop Til You Get Enough," "Billie Jean," "Smooth Criminal," "Jam" -- has reminded me that MJ was, ultimately, a bright light, brighter than most of us here on Planet Earth. He was born to sing and dance and make people happy. His soul was made of pure light and he came to us a bodhisattva, giving of himself to ease the suffering of humanity. "Let me fill your heart with joy and laughter," he sings, "Togetherness is all I'm after."

MJ fearlessly became one with his creative expression, merging his life with his gift, and all of us are that much better off because of it. He performed with selflessness, devotion, generosity and an amazing amount of courage. I might be getting carried away now, but hearing him sing the bridge in "Human Nature" makes me feel like Michael, in his heartfelt surrender to his muse, was channeling the divine spirit. He opened up for us and the bright light of something sacred poured forth. He made it more beautiful to be a human being. We won't ever experience another musical being like MJ in our lifetime.

This musical mix, to be released in two parts to keep it manageable, is my tribute to MJ and all that he gave. Like I said, it is exploratory and sometimes experimental, but hopefully reflects even just a little bit of the shine that Michael gave to the world.

Rest in peace, Michael Jackson. You've earned it. And thanks for all the amazing music!

Summer Solstice II : Last Heron Home to Roost

This episode features a wide array of music from just about all of my favorite genres -- hip-hop, reggae, electronica, jazz, alt-folk, Grateful, ambient, funk, weird noises -- and is like a transcription of my favorite toonz this springtime. It is a sibling mix to earlier efforts including
Spring Buds, Fall Equinox and Summer Solstice I, and a cousin to 080808. This episdode does two things: collects and presents some of my freshest harvesting of tracks -- new songs, old songs newly discovered -- alongside a random smattering of other tracks not new in anyway but riding high on my "favorites" playlist. A finely-tuned assortment of grooves, ballads and jams that fill my earholes as of late.

Is there deeper meaning within the seemingly randomness of it, like the procession of Bill Frisell into Sonic Youth into the Supremes? That is, I suppose , a question for the listener to decipher on his or her own time. Or you could just kick back and enjoy the ride....

And listening to the Dead -- the 2009 versions sans Garcia -- play my all-time favorite Grateful Dead song "Brokedown Palace" live at Madison Square Garden brings me a sweet, sweet pleasure. What I hear when I listen is the
crowd playing the band: "In a bed, in a bed / by the waterside I will lay my head / Listen to the river sing sweet songs / to rock my soul" and "Mama, mama, many worlds I've gone since I first left home" sing to my heart. An upwelling of voices, with Jerry watching over us.

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Podcast Cafe 3rd Anniversary Fundraiser Special!

For its third anniversary on 5/15/09, the Podcast Cafe is kicking off its first ever listener-powered fundraiser. The old soundsystem, aka 5-year old MacBook, is starting to wear down and its memory banks are brimming over. The headphones recently stopped working and the music vault is straining. The whole shebang starts to smoke everytime Fundi gets deep down in to the groove, and that is unacceptable work conditions. The soundsystem can't take the strain of DJ Fundi's heavy podcasting habit and so the Cafe crew looking to upgrade to a system with more horsepower -- the better to power the Podcast Cafe!

Give a little and watch it come back to you with more musical blends to tantalize your earholes and frontal lobe. In 3 years, between all of his channels here at the Podcast Cafe and his work for, Fundi, sometimes in the bewigged guise of DJ Playaduster, figures he has somehow cranked out 60-70 podcasts. No kiddin'. That averages something like 2 per month, which is ridiculous. If you've been a beneficiary of this musical manna, then we hope you'll consider donating something like a 20 dollar bill to the Podcast Cafe PayPal account and help us upgrade the soundsystem for the next 60-70 podcasts. We're all looking forward to replacing things that are barely functioning now, and can see a bright future of music-mix-making on in to the future!

What does the Podcast Cafe and its steady stream of podcasts over the past three years mean to you? What are the mixes worth to you? Show us the love with a donation today and know you've contributed to the mission of sharing music freely across Planet Earth!

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Kalimba Chai : Little Prayers

I made this here mix with the idea of exploring sacred music from Africa, the Middle East and India. I tried to keep a sublime, introspective vibe pulsing through this diverse array of selections, which include field recordings from villages on the Nile River, traditional music from Iran, Armenian chanting, drum circles, world beat fusion from Pakistan and Ethiopia and a survey of Malian masters like Bouboucar Traore, Oumou Sangare and Toumani Diabate. The journey begins and ends with hypnotic sounds made on the kalimba, or "thumb piano," opening with a track from Samite and closing with Bobby McFerrin.

I hope this swirling mix of continent-spanning music from the soul inspires your own internal journeys.
Feedback :

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Readymade: Golden Hits of the 1990s

Here is a recently-unearthed treasure trove of golden hits of the 1990's. This episode represents a cross-section of what I was filling my ears with in an earlier decade. I suppose you could also call this mix "The Roots of Fundi."

Featuring Built to Spill, Pearl Jam, Pharcyde, Soul Coughing, Kristin Hersh, Ben Harper, the Presidents of the United States of America, Beck, Ani DiFranco, Nirvana, Pavement, Cornershop, Blind Melon, Tribe Called Quest, Jane's Addiction, Morphine, Digable Planets, Soundgarden, Beastie Boys, Sonic Youth, Screaming Trees, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Blues Traveler, Spearhead and others!

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Here's a video from one of the tunes featured here on Readymade" -- "Drop" by The Pharcyde with the immortal J-Dilla: