Clouds Hill Notes Acquires Catalog, Masters of Artist Omar Rodriguez-López’ Vast Musical Library

Clouds Hill Notes announced today the acquisition of the catalogs and masters of musician Omar Rodriguez-López’ vast musical library. The acquisition includes the catalog of works published under Rodriguez-López Productions, including dozens of solo albums. Clouds Hill Notes, in partnership with Wise Music Group, will also handle the catalog publishing of The Mars Volta.

It’s about the right time to announce the acquisition of the RLP catalog and The Mars Volta publishing now. After being Omar Rodríguez-López’s friend and business partner for such a long time, I am honoured and proud that he decided to also entrust me with this catalogue. Our HQ in Hamburg is now responsible to push this unique catalogue back into everyone’s minds.

Johann Scheerer, Music Producer, CEO/Founder of Clouds Hill Group

The acquisition comes months after Clouds Hill released a trio of albums ORL recorded with the label: The Clouds Hill Tapes I – III.

I hope this means that many of the albums/projects ORL worked on from 2004 – 2013 under various names (The Omar Rodriguez-Lopez Quintet, The Omar Rodriguez-Lopez Group, The Omar Rodriguez-Lopez Quartet, El Trio de Omar Rodriguez-Lopez, El Grupo Nuevo de Omar Rodriguez-Lopez, etc.) will see the light of day once again via official streams and reprints of physical media. This man wants a copy of Mantra Hiroshima!!

Other groups that were part of the RLP imprint include De Facto (another project I hope gets republished asap!), the dub group before TMV, and Antemasque, the band that reunited ORL with long-time friend & collaborator Cedric Bixler Zavala following the dissolution of TMV. I also hope Zechs Marquise, the defunct group from El Paso that featured ORL’s siblings, is included in the catalog as well.

Clouds Hill Notes is the publishing arm of the Clouds Hill Group, a company that includes a record label, a recording studio, a film production company, and a boutique pedal company.

The first order of business following this announcement will be the release of TMV’s Tremulant EP on streaming platforms this Friday, Feb. 26th!

First Story of 2021: Latinx In Gaming

My first published piece for the year is up at Gamecrate: How Latinx In Gaming Is Uniting A Community.

EXCERPT:

“We try our best to steer things in a direction that we think is positive for the community, but we also really want stuff to come from the community itself,” says Tirado. “We had an open call and did our best to pick out content that would benefit most people or would highlight communities that would not necessarily get as much shine.”

For three days on Twitch, that community and LIG showcased its talents in a variety of ways. There was a roundtable conversation about Afro Latinidad in the games industry community, for example. A separate 3.5-hour stream highlighted the speedruns of Speedruns Mexico, one of many members of the Latinx speedrunning community. Another video featured League of Legends Lead Animator Jose “Sho” Hernandez as he walked viewers through the creation of the Luchador skin. Yet another video featured four IGN employees sharing personal stories on how they launched their careers in games media while visiting each other’s islands in Animal Crossing. There were even food segments featuring recipes on how to make arepas & baleadas with co-founder Gomez and another on Puerto Rican tembleques.

The approach was a fun and informative way that allowed for the full expression of the diversity of Latinidad within the games community.

Read the full story here: https://gamecrate.com/how-latinx-gaming-uniting-community/26486

Vaudeville, Folklorico, and Mexican Cinema

I have three stories published on KCET this week!

The first is about the Hola Mexico Film Festival. 2020 marks its 12th year and founder Samuel Douek had to make numerous changes to move the festival to an online format.

Read about it here: https://www.kcet.org/shows/southland-sessions/the-hola-mexico-film-festival-moves-online

Next is my conversation with Adriana Astorga-Gainey and Jesenia Gardea of the Pacifico Dance Company. The Los Angeles-based non-profit company takes a serious approach to folklorico dance that centers on training professional dancers.

Read it here: https://www.kcet.org/shows/lost-la/pacifico-dance-company-sharing-the-love-of-traditional-mexican-dance-around-the-world

Finally, my favorite of the three: I delve into the history of Hispanic/Spanish-language vaudeville in Los Angeles.

Read all about it here: https://www.kcet.org/shows/lost-la/broadsides-reveal-las-once-booming-hispanic-vaudeville-scene

Indie Venues In So Cal Struggle To Remain Open

The music industry has found itself in a unique predicament during the pandemic. The global shutdown forced festivals and artists worldwide to cancel all live performances for the foreseeable future. One solution to the global quarantine has been the use of distanced concerts at drive-ins and, more popularly, streaming concerts online with the help of radio stations and other media companies.

One sector of the live performance industry that has been overlooked is the plight of independent venues. In my latest story for KCET, and my first for their new initiative Southland Sessions, I write about the National Independent Venue Association, a non-profit working with independent venues in the US to help them get the assistance they need to remain open until the pandemic ends and millions of music lovers can regroup at their favorite venues to see their favorite artists.

LINK: Endangered Indie Music Venues Band Together to Seek a Lifeline

EXCERPT:

After 25 years of live music, The Satellite (also formerly known as Spaceland) in Silver Lake will remove its performance stage along with the infamous shimmering, sparkling, blue-and-silver curtain that served as a backdrop to thousands of nightly concerts as the owners transition the business into a restaurant for the COVID-19 era.

“We can no longer afford to wait for the day we will be allowed to have shows again,” reads a statement on the venue’s website. “If we do that, we will not have the money to continue and will be forced to close forever.”

The future of live music venues, especially independent ones, in SoCal and across the nation, looks bleak, and the present-day situation is already precarious. Venues have had no source of revenue since the announcement of the pandemic in early March and continue to struggle to survive. The statement by Satellite owner Jeff Wolfram is just one example of the extreme measures some owners are taking to keep their businesses alive in any way possible.

FC Barcelona Camp Nou tour 2019

I visited FC Barcelona‘s Camp Nou stadium last year on April 5th, which was the day before they defeated Atlético de Madrid with two late goals. It was exciting to have walked down the same tunnel many legendary players have walked through.

Here’s a short video of the tour including the walkthrough of the locker room area and the player tunnel ending with the entrance onto the field:

And a few photos:

fc barcelona camp nou tour 2019 008
Lionel Messi’s 5 Balon d’Or on display at the stadium museum.
fc barcelona camp nou tour 2019 001
fc barcelona camp nou tour 2019 003
The press area.
fc barcelona camp nou tour 2019 006
fc barcelona camp nou tour 2019 007

The full album of photos is available at: https://www.flickr.com/photos/afroxander/albums/72157714330528121