World’s Largest Muslim Population Blessed With Commercial Radio as Crappy as Ours


The Sun City Girls’ world music imprint Sublime Frequencies spent much of 2004 showing us that Syria, Cambodia, Java, and Sumatra were more than axes of evil or fair-trade coffee flavors; they were people who were saddled with crappy U.S. pap, too.

By never naming names, with a twist of the dial and some staticky smoke, Alan Bishop’s alchemical radio listening habits in each country converted pop with rote DJ scratching, caller karaoke, or techno salsa into field recordings. A recent ride with Long Island radio didn’t sound all that far from Radio Sumatra: The Indonesian FM Experience. The disorienting effect comes from being just like us.

The largest Muslim population in the world is also subjected to: morning zoo crews, bareback rap-rock, Jim Morrison, and prostitutes pedaling “cool songs and today’s best music” as if listeners were marines on shore leave.

A warm welcome to have both Lite Jazz and Z100 to choose from: Korn-ky Tonk Women horn-honking traffic updates or Billie Jean big pimpin’ Stan. Plus Natalie Merchant ox-calf bleats on bad world beats (after a single news item about Iraq).

I wonder if anyone there got imminent-tsunami e-mails from their Aunt Cassandra like I do here on the East Coast.

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