From the Archives: Clarence Baxter Around the World With Cornelius

The ghetto blaster revolution is in full steam, my comrades. We’ve made our way through Australia, into Malaysia (where we had to skip town in a big hurry and I lost a primo blaster to a bastard customs agent), stopped over in China where we were denied visas

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Clarence Baxter

My quest to open the world’s ears to underground music by any
means necessary has been progressing well since I
last wrote
. The ghetto blaster revolution is in full steam,
my comrades.

We’ve made our way through Australia, into Malaysia (where we
had to skip town in a big hurry and I lost a primo blaster to
a bastard customs agent), stopped over in China where we were
denied visas (as usual the incident was not covered in the fascist
western press), and went to Mongolia to pick up an old friend
for the next leg of the tour…

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Formerly known as Jargalsaikhany Enkhsaikhan, he took the name
DJ E-Z Fu and decided to travel the world with me spreading the
twin gospels of acid house and post-rock. Fu especially loves
Tortoise, and during tours often blasts the second track off the
Millions Now Living Will Never Die album. Just to fuck with people,
he’ll also play the Mongolian
National Anthem
  on his Panasonic Mini-329XR– which
makes him no friends in the Chinese regime.

After a few relaxing days spent in DJ Fu’s yurt on the tundra,
we hopped a bus to Moscow, where we were to meet the last member
of the crew, a grizzled blaster veteran from the old school, and
begin the Slavic leg of the tour.

Moscow, April 27, 1999

When we arrived in Moscow, McGinty was nowhere to be found, and
he had not left word at his hotel. Exhausted from the 7 day bus
trip, we slept for a few days in a safe house run by a former
associate on the West Side of the city. Given the current climate,
we weren’t taking any chances.

Moscow, April 28, 1999

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Akbar X and Shenard Rodriguez

The air was crisp on the streets of Moscow and our blasters were
tuned to perfection.  DJ Fu, Akbar, and Shenard and I headed
for the Kremlin, blasters slung low on our hips, itchy fingers
on the play button, just waiting for provocation.

While walking along a small side street, we heard something that
stopped us dead in our tracks– "Winds of Change" by
the Scorpions. Such a song, regardless of the irony involved,
could not go unpunished.

I crouched down and waved the others on. This was to be a solo

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In my blaster I had the new Cornelius remix album, CM, where
the Japanese superstar remixes tracks by European and American
acts like the High Llamas, Money Mark, and the Pastels. Fingering
play nervously I seized my moment, (Down to Goooorky paaark) and
burst into the bar, blaster blazin’.

A dozen middle-aged Russian men turned and stared at me with
watery eyes. I had selected to blast Cornelius’ remix of Coldcut’s
The track starts off slow and lush, with orchestral flourishes,
but soon unwinds into a drum n bassy extravaganza of drums, vocal
samples and raw sounds. Sensing the men’s extreme annoyance, I
turned my blaster up to "11," and prepared to bolt.

But the door slammed shut behind me. The mission was quickly
turning bad as the group of severely inebriated men surrounded
me. Panicking, I hit the autoreverse, only to be confronted, mid
song, with the airy, breezy, beautiful remix of the High Llamas
"Homespin Rerun."

I felt vodka breath on the back of my neck and prepared to use
my blaster as a club when all of the sudden the door was thrown

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Standing there in silhouette was McGinty, the former lord of Venice
Beach, the outlaw blaster warrior. Smiling slyly, he pressed play
and unleashed a cacophony of noise that all but shattered my eardrums.
I recognized it at once as the opening to Six Finger Satellite’s
"Baby’s Got the Rabies", cranked up so loud that only
blaster veterans like myself could handle it.

In the ensuing confusion I ran into the street, blaster still
playing the soft, gorgeous, electronic lushness of the High Llamas
remix. The men poured out of the bar, fiercely angry but also
bewildered beyond belief.

It was one of the greatest moments of my life.

Seeing those Russian men realize that an entire underground of
music existed that they had never even imagined was the reason
my comrades and I do this. Those Russians needed to feel the spirit
of the true revolution that has been lacking since the 1920’s.
They needed to know the tyranny of oppresively banal Western pop
music and revel in the spirit of a new age of underground music.
They needed to shit their pants in fear and have their eardrums
bleed the blood of the virginal ear.

The revolution is on, my friends. The question is, will you stay
in the protective womb of ignorance, or will you join us? Will
you be shocked and afraid of the new sounds, or will you relish
them, embrace them, put them on tape and blast them at 100db around
the world?

The choice is yours.

USOUNDS | 1999

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