The Subverse Mini Hip Hop Documentary

by John Bartmann

Sometimes the most fun performances are had when you volunteer your time, equipment and effort to give back to and build your community. The Subverse is a hip hop crew from Cape Town. Like many others, they are intent on breaking down barriers through music. According to their Facebook page, the aim of The Subverse is to connect musicians and like-minded people and to work towards a database of support. They invited us to join in jamming with them using our live electronic devices and instruments. So, this is what happened!

Improvising with The Subverse

The group spontaneously created much of the music on the night. The ability of rappers to improvise so skillfully is always impressive. Using their environment and crowd as the inspiration, they perform a type of lyrical jazz!

Who’s who

The parties involved in creating this event included:

Musicians Gareth Harvey of OctaveLeap, Django Flaherty and myself kept the tunes going. Music included samples from pioneering South African artist Digital Sangoma. Lastly, if you’re interested in how Cape Town’s musical landscape is changing with the times, keep an eye on my social work category.

Three Ways To Deal With Feedback On Your Music

by John Bartmann
Three Ways To Deal With Feedback On Your Music

Unsolicited advice on your unfinished creative work is one of the most common reactions you’ll ever receive. But it seems that no matter how many times you go through it, it always stings to hear someone offer their two cents on your latest draft. Especially if you’re only sharing it to air the work out and let off some steam after an uphill slog. So, what do you do when impulsive and often ignorant feedback pin you down?

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Alibi: South African Podcasting At Its Best

by John Bartmann
Alibi: South African Podcasting At Its Best

The following post was written by podcast music composer John Bartmann for Alibi.org.za

When This American Life launched its groundbreaking show Serial in 2015, they chiseled into the relatively misunderstood medium all sorts of legitimacy and validation as both a storytelling and journalistic medium. Since then, we’ve watched the floodgates open and podcasters compete to fill the feeds with spoken word, interviews, music, theatre, book readings and inspired messages on every topic imaginable, from news to horror fiction to hip hop culture.

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Music For Podcasts vs Music For Film

by John Bartmann
Music For Podcasts vs Music For Film

Ever watched a film where someone throws a beer bottle out of shot and the sound of it breaking just…isn’t how it would really sound? Or the overt ‘creaky doorness’ of a creaking door makes you laugh out loud? Sure, probably only audio editors would notice these moments. But in a radio drama or a podcast, the same sound effect in the same context would seem way more obvious and out of place. Why is that?

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How The Alibi Podcast Music Was Made

by John Bartmann
How The Alibi Podcast Music Was Made

The following post was written by podcast music composer John Bartmann for Alibi.org.za

Writing the music for the podcast Alibi was a project that resonated very strongly with me early in the dialogue with the show’s multiple award-winning creator Paul McNally. The written material deals with a distinctly South African theme – injustice; one benefiting from another’s misfortune. Every day in South Africa, you’re presented with opportunities where you feel compelled to balance out this injustice of your own volition. The ongoing parade of unfortunate individuals begging at traffic lights, lying on the sides of the street and drinking their hopes away is a byproduct of a systematic, decades-long oppression that all South Africans feel, whether they want to or not.

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