by Sean
Please note: MP3s are only kept online for a short time, and if this entry is from more than a couple of weeks ago, the music probably won't be available to download any more.



Kasai Allstars - "Quick As White". I like magic. I have always liked magic. I like the magic of wardrobes, opals, old groves, secret passages. I remember the disappointment I felt one morning, age 7 or 8, realising I would never touch a magic sword. There's even some magic in the book I'm writing (and there's magic in most of the favourite books I've read). The magic of my childhood, the magic I still listen for at the trunks of willows or in the cries of birds, was a northerly magic. I was born in Scotland and came of age in Canada; of course it was a northerly magic. I did not dream of wizards in Africa, of their spells under stars. And yet, so strangely -- this is the sound of magic. This song, here: the most fiercely magic sound I have ever heard.

There are drums and voices, and electric guitars in shades of fizzy starlight; there are thumb-pianos like light in lamps; there are bells, sticks, shakes, slips, and a hundred kinds of glimmers. Though the Kasai Allstars are from Kinshasa, Congo, and this is the third in Crammed's Congotronics series, the Kasai Allstars are not some mere Konono no. 2. They are sorcerers, wonder-workers, enchanters pulling hopes from throats and making me wonder, here in Montreal sun, if maybe one day I will touch a magic sword.

"Quick as White" is from an album titled In the 7th moon, the chief turned into a swimming fish and ate the head of his enemy by magic.



My friend, hip-hop head Jay Smooth, will be talking in New York tomorrow along with Ze Frank and the Sound of Young America's Jesse Thorn. It would be a wonderful way to spend a late afternoon.

[photo source]

Posted by Sean at June 13, 2008 12:31 PM

This has nothing to do with this post, but I just wanted to thank you for putting up "Keep Yourself Warm" by Frightened Rabbit several weeks ago. I bought their EP today and it is beautiful.
Your writing and your music make my day.

Posted by Sarah at June 13, 2008 12:43 PM

Careful, Sean! All this talk of touching magic swords may give people the wrong *cough* impression...

Posted by Amy at June 13, 2008 1:11 PM

point taken, amy. one of the things i most regret about growing up is that i can't talk freely of touching magic swords or um grabbin' rubies.

Posted by sean at June 13, 2008 1:14 PM

that NY Times article is completely jaw-dropping - thank you!

Posted by jez at June 15, 2008 9:30 AM

If I let you touch my magic sword, will you refrain from writing any more of your dreadfully overwrought blog entries? Maybe even just for a week or so? I'm willing to negotiate.

Posted by Please Sir at June 17, 2008 10:41 PM

Post a comment

(Please be patient, it can be slow.)
about said the gramophone
This is a daily sampler of really good songs. All tracks are posted out of love. Please go out and buy the records.

To hear a song in your browser, click the and it will begin playing. All songs are also available to download: just right-click the link and choose 'Save as...'

All songs are removed within a few weeks of posting.

Said the Gramophone launched in March 2003, and added songs in November of that year. It was one of the world's first mp3blogs.

If you would like to say hello, find out our mailing addresses or invite us to shows, please get in touch:
Montreal, Canada: Sean
Toronto, Canada: Emma
Montreal, Canada: Jeff
Montreal, Canada: Mitz

Please don't send us emails with tons of huge attachments; if emailing a bunch of mp3s etc, send us a link to download them. We are not interested in streaming widgets like soundcloud: Said the Gramophone posts are always accompanied by MP3s.

If you are the copyright holder of any song posted here, please contact us if you would like the song taken down early. Please do not direct link to any of these tracks. Please love and wonder.

"And I shall watch the ferry-boats / and they'll get high on a bluer ocean / against tomorrow's sky / and I will never grow so old again."
about the authors
Sean Michaels is the founder of Said the Gramophone. He is a writer, critic and author of the theremin novel Us Conductors. Follow him on Twitter or reach him by email here. Click here to browse his posts.

Emma Healey writes poems and essays in Toronto. She joined Said the Gramophone in 2015. This is her website and email her here.

Jeff Miller is a Montreal-based writer and zinemaker. He is the author of Ghost Pine: All Stories True and a bunch of other stories. He joined Said the Gramophone in 2015. Say hello on Twitter or email.

Mitz Takahashi is originally from Osaka, Japan who now lives and works as a furniture designer/maker in Montreal. English is not his first language so please forgive his glamour grammar mistakes. He is trying. He joined Said the Gramophone in 2015. Reach him by email here.

Site design and header typography by Neale McDavitt-Van Fleet. The header graphic is randomized: this one is by Neale McDavitt-Van Fleet.
Dan Beirne wrote regularly for Said the Gramophone from August 2004 to December 2014. He is an actor and writer living in Toronto. Any claim he makes about his life on here is probably untrue. Click here to browse his posts. Email him here.

Jordan Himelfarb wrote for Said the Gramophone from November 2004 to March 2012. He lives in Toronto. He is an opinion editor at the Toronto Star. Click here to browse his posts. Email him here.
our patrons
Said the Gramophone does not take advertising. We are supported by the incredible generosity of our readers. These were our donors in 2013.
watch StG's wonderful video contest winners

our favourite blogs
(◊ means they write about music)

Back to the World
La Blogothèque
Weird Canada
Destination: Out
Endless Banquet
A Grammar (Nitsuh Abebe)
Ill Doctrine
A London Salmagundi
Words and Music
Petites planétes
Gorilla vs Bear
Silent Shout
Clouds of Evil
The Dolby Apposition
Awesome Tapes from Africa
Matana Roberts
Pitchfork Reviews Reviews
i like you [podcast]
Nicola Meighan
radiolab [podcast]
CKUT Music
plethoric pundrigrions
Wattled Smoky Honeyeater
The Clear-Minded Creative
Torture Garden
Passion of the Weiss
Juan and Only
Horses Think
White Hotel
Then Play Long (Marcello Carlin)
Uno Moralez
Coming Up For Air (Matt Forsythe)
my love for you is a stampede of horses
It's Nice That
Song, by Toad
In Focus
WTF [podcast]
The Rest is Noise (Alex Ross)
My Daguerreotype Boyfriend
The Hood Internet

things we like in Montreal
st-viateur bagel
café olimpico
Euro-Deli Batory
le pick up
kem coba
le couteau
au pied de cochon
mamie clafoutis
tourtière australienne
chez boris
alati caserta
vices & versa
+ paltoquet, cocoa locale, idée fixe, patati patata, the sparrow, pho tay ho, qin hua dumplings, caffé italia, hung phat banh mi, caffé san simeon, meu-meu, pho lien, romodos, patisserie guillaume, patisserie rhubarbe, kazu, lallouz, maison du nord, cuisine szechuan &c

drawn + quarterly
+ bottines &c

casa + sala + the hotel
blue skies turn black
montreal improv theatre
passovah productions
le cagibi
cinema du parc
pop pmontreal
yoga teacher Thea Metcalfe

Cult Montreal
The Believer
The Morning News
The Skinny