I have a piece up on Alterati today about M.I.A and her new album Kala:
M.I.Aâ€™s new album Kala whips listeners through the poorest corners of the world, moving too quickly to quite distinguish between the various locales. Is this Rio or Trinidad? Calcutta or London? Wait, the Australian outback? Itâ€™s all blurred, mashed-up.
M.I.A brings us straight to the bleeding edge of modern culture. While indie rock endlessly recycles the past, M.I.A is busy remixing the future. In his essay The Sudden Stardom of the Third-World Cityâ€ Rana Dasgupta wrote â€œIs it going too far to suggest that our sudden interest in books and films about the Third-World city stems from the sense that they may provide effective preparation for our future survival in London, New York or Paris? Our fast-moving media culture, groping always for any image of the â€˜newâ€™ that can be used to produce more astonishment, operates in a zone slightly ahead of knowledge.â€ In other words, westerners are increasingly looking to the Third-World to catch a glimpse of our own future.