Tag Archives: global electronica

Constructing a New Form of Malian Music

Invisible System – Dance to the Full Moon (Arc Music, 2019)

Invisible System is the psychedelic world fusion project of British multi-instrumentalist and producer Dan Harper. On Dance to the Full Moon, Harper continues his enthralling explorations of Malian music. He invited a talented cast of musicians and griot vocalists and recorded them in Bamako, Mali.

Dance to the Full Moon features an effectively balanced mix of traditional acoustic instruments, electric guitars and electronics.  

The lineup includes Dan Harper on bass, guitar, synthesizer, drums, programming and cigar box guitar; Astou Niamé Diabaté on vocals; Sambou Koyaté on vocals; Banjougou Koyaté on guitar, jun-jun and jembe; Sidi Touré on vocals, guitar and calabash; Penzy on rap; Kalifa Koné on guitar; Ousmane Dagon on ngoni and tama (talking drum); Dou on guitar; Kalifa Koné on guitar; Morissamda Diabaté on drums; Djémory Kouyaté on balafon; Cherif Soumano on kora; Seyba Kouyaté on kora; and Oumou on backing vocals.

Invisible System – Dance to the Full Moon

Dance to the Full Moon reveals a deeply satisfying, futuristic vision of Malian music.

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The Captivating Thaitronics of Apichat Pakwan

Apichat Pakwan – Esantronics

Apichat Pakwan – Esantronics (Animist Records, 2019)

Esantronics introduces a wonderful world of hybrid music where traditional Thai music meets European electronic music. Apichat Pakwan includes Thai musicians who perform music from the Northeast region of Thailand, also known as Esan, and Dutch composer and producer Olivier Schreuder.

The project got started when Olivier Schreuder became passionately interested in the music of Laos and Esan. While studying this music in the city of Khon Kaen in the region of Esan in Northeast Thailand he encountered a group of young and very fine musicians with whom he started playing and recording a mix of the traditional music with local instruments like the kaen (mouth organ), phin (stringed instrument), pi phu thai (flute), sor (fiddle), a wide range of percussion and analog and digital electronics.

Apichat Pakwan live at Amsterdam Roots Festival in July 2019

Apichat Pakwan is not a studio only project. The group has performed live throughout Asia and Europe. The lineup varies and there is always room for improvisation. Although the ensemble originally played instrumentals, vocalist and composer Anusara ‘Bee’ Deechaichana joined the project. She wrote the lyrics for the songs.

Apichat Pakwan live at Cinetol Amsterdam in 2019

Although Apichat Pakwan had released some recordings before, Esantronics is the debut full album. It was recorded at various locations in Thailand, as well as in Singapore, Amsterdam and Berlin.

Apichat Pakwan at Houtfestival in The Netherlands, 2019

The lineup includes Olivier Schreuder on percussion, drum programming, Fender Rhodes, kaen, electronics; Pumisakseri ‘Kwang’ Sasida on phin, kaen and sor esan; Angkanang ‘Num’ Pimwankum on percusssion; Anusara ‘Bee’ Deechaichana on vocals; Wimonmat ‘Wiw’ Kangjantha on vocals; Arthit Krajangsree on phin; Pongsapon Upani on kaen; and Chanawat ‘Smurf’ Jonhjoho on sor esan.

Esantronics is a superb album where fascinating, innovative Thai roots music meets masterfully-crafted electronica.

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Futuristic Cuban and Brazilian Sounds Rooted in Yoruban Traditions

Afrosideral – El Olimpo de los Orishas (Wonderwheel Recordings, 2019)

El Olimpo De Los Orishas is an irresistible global electronica album by Cuban musician Kumar Sublevao-Beat also known as Afrosideral. A former rapper, Kumar embraced world music when he moved to Spain. El Olimpo de los Orishas is a superb tribute to Yoruban music and deities that are present in some parts of Cuba and Brazil.

Afrosideral – El Olimpo de los Orishas

Kumar combines cutting edge electronic beats and samples; Afro-Cuban chants; Cuban and Brazilian rhythms rooted in African traditions; electric guitars and bass; and more.

El Olimpo De Los Orishas includes an impressive cast of Cuban and Brazilian musicians: Ariel Brínguez, Martín Meléndez, Jurandir Santana, Dreiser Durruthy, Sexto Sentido, Doctor Matanza and Arema Arega.

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Shamanic Sonic Paradise

Poranguí – Poranguí (Sol Creation Records, 2019)

The Sol Creation Records release Poranguí is where fantastical rhythms rise from the earth, where vocals dive off cliffs to be buffeted by didgeridoos and flutes and where electronica seeps through the air like mist. Part shamanic ritual and part sonic wonderland Porangui is where listeners can find their rooted place on earth, fly along with the birds and perhaps on the edge of firelight dance just a little wildly.

Poranguí – Poranguí

Following up on the releases of the original motion picture soundtrack Ayahuasca and Ayahuasca Remixed, the live looping artist, musician and educator with an ethnomusicology background from Duke University, Porangui shows listeners and live audiences with way with meditative sounds and dance grooves with addictive results.

Everything I do live is steeped in improvisation, in spontaneous sound. A lot of the work I do musically is about connecting to what’s happening in the moment in a given space with a given group of listeners,” says Poranguí. “I try to get a feel for what is in the seen realm and the unseen realm, really tuning into the energetics of the space. That’s where the magic is.

Recorded at an opening ceremony for Lightning in a Bottle and at the Espiritu stage at Santa Fe’s Unify Fest, Porangui Live opens with an electronica and chant combination on “Ganesha,” and the magic musical carpet ride just takes off from there. The sound of frogs opens “Tonantzin” but is quickly taken over by the twangy goodness of didgeridoo wrapped around some tightly packed rhythms and soaring vocals. Just as wonderful is the delicate and dreamy “Oxum” with its birdsong, water sounds and silky vocals before the rhythms ramp up deliciously.

Porangui notes, “Music isn’t entertainment for me, as the goal is transformation. It’s a bridge to the heart, to a space where we can begin to imagine our best selves. This is crucial as our planet needs humans to upgrade themselves. For me, it’s coming into contact to our role as fire keepers. Technology is merely a different form of the fire we came to master long ago. We have a choice: to burn ourselves and everything around us with the fire of technology or to use it to illuminate the way.”

And, Porangui Live illuminates the way with offering of a percussion and mouth harp combo as a sort of invitation to play with the coyotes that can be heard in the distance on “Otorongo” or the flute lines along with rattles that sound like old bones against a thrum of percussion before evolving into a call to the night sky on “Danza Del Viento.” Closing with a kind of celestial lullaby on “Stardust,” Porangui lets us return to earth and revel in the night sky with loving vocals against dreamy electronica.

Snaring a little nature, riding waves of soaring vocals and hypnotic electronica and letting the mind of the listener slide from track to delicious track, Porangui Live is a kind of sonic sanctuary where listeners might just heal what ails them.

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Artist Profiles: Nortec Collective

Nortec Collective

The Nortec Collective is comprised of various artists. The first lineup included Fussible (Pepe Mogt), Bostich (Ramón Amezcua), Panoptica (Roberto Mendoza), Clorofila (Jorge Verdún) and Hiperboreal (PG Beas). These musicians created and perform a style of music called Nortec – a fusion of Norteño (“from the North”) and Techno, documenting the collision between the style and culture of electronica and traditional Mexican music.

Some former members of the collective created an offshoot called Niño Astronauta. The group released a debut CD, Niño Astronauta.

The 2005 album, Tijuana Sessions, Vol. 3 (Nacional Records, 2005), features the hypnotic first single Tijuana Makes Me Happy, as well as the infectious Tengo La Voz.

Discography:

Nortec Sampler ‎(Mil Records, 1999)
Nortec Collective Presents Bostich + Fussible – Nortec ‎(Opción Sónica, 2000)
The Tijuana Sessions Vol. 1 (Palm Pictures/Mil Records, 2001)
Tijuana Sessions Vol. 3 (Nacional Records, 2005)
Tijuana Sound Machine (Nacional Records, 2008)
Nortec Collective Presents Clorofila: Corridos Urbanos (2010)
Bulevar 2000 (Nacional Records, 2010)
Border Revolver ‎(2013)
Motel Baja (Nacional Records, 2014)

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Syrian Electronic Music Innovator Omar Souleyman To Perform at North Beach Bandshell in Miami

Omar Souleyman

Syrian musician Omar Souleyman is set to perform on Friday, October 5 at North Beach Bandshell in Miami. Omar Souleyman has released albums on Diplo’s Mad Decent record label and has collaborated with artists such as Björk, Four Tet, Modeselektor, and Giles Peterson.

Souleyman has become a leading electronic music artist. Although he started as a wedding singer in Syria with hundreds of albums under his belt, he has become a cult hero in the electronic music scene.

Omar developed a synthesized version of the Levantine dance music known as Dabke, incorporating modern electronic dance music. Recent albums include To Syria With Love, Wenu Wenu, Bahdeni Nami and Haflat Gharbia: The Western Concerts.

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Artist Profiles: MIDIval PunditZ

MIDIval PunditZ

Gaurav Raina and Tapan Raj a.k.a. the MIDIval PunditZ are spearheading the Asian electronica musical revolution from their home base in New Delhi with their raw energy in their music and their radical DJ-sets at Cyber Mehfils – events the two produce inspired by Talvin Singh’s influential Anokha club night in the U.K. Their love of Indian classical music is intrinsic to their aesthetic, as is their natural fusion of crushing beats and insistent digital sequencing.

The musical partnership of India’s Gaurav Raina and Tapan Raj dates back to their childhood years. Having cemented their acquaintance in grade school, several years’ separation would ensue before the two reunited in 1994. Each member brought his unique talents to the party: Gaurav was an architecture student who moonlighted as a radio DJ and Tapan, an IT specialist by day, engineered at a New Delhi recording studio where Gaurav’s station booked time. Both were veterans of India’s dance club culture and, more importantly, both shared a love of the spare yet soulful classical music of their homeland. Pooling funds begged from relatives and friends, the two set up their own studio and, by 1997, their partnership had coalesced into the MIDIval PunditZ.

Much as both Gaurav and Tapan liked the imported hip-hop, breakbeat, house and especially the drum’n’bass sounds of their club-hopping nights, the foreign sounds, “Didn’t leave an impression,” by Tapan’s account. Dedicating themselves to a fusion of their beloved classical ragas with the beats and loops of electronica, the nascent PunditZ circulated pressings of their initial efforts on New Delhi’s club circuit. These were well received, setting the stage for their initial contact with Talvin Singh, whose musical hybrids of Indian raga and electro-beats were gaining international notice. His positive response to the duo’s demos led to their meeting in 1998 when Singh visited India. In addition to the PunditZ being asked to contribute a track for Singh’s second Anokha compilation, they became part of Tabla Beat Science .

The MIDIval PunditZ have gained instant notoriety in the U.S. with their featured track in the hit film Monsoon Wedding and their recent involvement with Bill Laswell’s Tabla Beat Science Project. They were also a featured act in 2002’s Asian Massive tour, which had sold out shows in both Los Angeles.

The MIDIval PunditZ are the first-ever Indian electronica band to sign to an international label.

Discography:

MIDIval Punditz (Six Degrees Records, 2002)
Let’s Enjoy, soundtrack (Times Music, 2004)
MIDIval Times (Six Degrees Records, 2005)
MIDIval PunditZ Remixed (2007)
Hello Hello (Six Degrees Records, 2009)
Light (Six Degrees Records, 2015)

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Ammar 808 Tops the Transglobal World Music Chart in August 2018

The album Maghreb United (Glitterbeat) by Ammar 808 is the number one album on the August 2018 Transglobal World Music Chart. Ammar 808 is the cutting edge global electronica project of Sofyann Ben Youssef, the leader of acclaimed Tunisian act Bargou 08.

The rest of the list:

2. Fatoumata Diawara – Fenfo – Montuno / Shanachie / Wagram
3. Dobet Gnahoré – Miziki – LA Café
4. Catrin Finch & Seckou Keita – Soar – Bendigedig
5. Samba Touré – Wande – Glitterbeat
6. The Turbans – The Turbans – Six Degrees
7. Toko Telo – Diavola – Anio
8. Hermeto Pascoal – Hermeto Pascoal e sua Visão Original do Forró – Scubidu
9. Bombino – Deran – Partisan
10. Shadi Fathi & Bijan Chemirani – Delâshena – Buda Musique

11. Monsieur Doumani – Angathin – Monsieur Doumani
12. Amsterdam Klezmer Band & Söndörgő – Szikra – Vetnasj
13. Anandi Bhattacharya – Joys Abound – Riverboat / World Music Network
14. Invisible System – Bamako Sessions – Riverboat / World Music Network
15. Rahim AlHaj Trio – One Sky – Smithsonian Folkways
16. Nancy Vieira – Manhã Florida – Lusafrica
17. Koum Tara – Koum Tara – Odradek
18. Angelique Kidjo – Remain in Light – Kravenworks
19. Barcelona Gipsy balKan Orchestra – Avo Kanto – Satélite K
20. Solju – Ođđa Áigodat – Bafe’s Factory

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Artist Profiles: Frederic Galliano

Frederic Galliano with African Divas

Frederic Galliano was born December 23, 1969 in Grenoble. He’s an eclectic musician who works with cutting edge electronic music, jazz and world music.

From the age of 14 he became interested in Cuban and Latin American music, French singer-songwriters and German electronic music of the 1970s. The jazz of Miles Davis and John Coltrane impressed him greatly. Later, his continuous search led him to discover African and Middle Eastern music.

For five years, 1987-1991, he devoted himself to sculpture. In 1994 he entered the circle of French DJs. He produced for the F Communications label since 1996 and created his own label, Frikyiwa, in 1998.

After his first two albums Espaces baroques and Live infinis (F-Com), he has focused his research on bringing electronic music, jazz and some African influences into contact. His different concepts of creation includes references to art, philosophy and diverse cultures of different countries.

Galliano traveled through several West African countries for several years. There he recorded some of the most important female voices of Mali, Ivory Coast, Senegal, Niger and Guinea Conakry. The result of this work is the double CD Frederic Galliano And The African Divas, in which jazz musicians also participate.

Discography:

Espaces Baroques (1997)
Live Infinis (1998)
Frederic Galliano And The African Divas (2002)
Sacré Live! (2004)
Kuduro Sound System (2006)
Kuduro Sound System volume 2 (2010)

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Rise of the Shamstep

47Soul – Balfron Promise (Cooking Vinyl, 2018)

Balfron Promise is an album by 47Soul, a shamstep band that has been getting a lot of attention in the British press. Although currently based in London, the four musicians have Palestinian and Jordanian roots.

Shamstep is a genre created by 47Soul in which Palestinian traditional music such as dabke is combined with cutting edge electronic music and vocals in Arabic.

The synthesizer player produces some of most fascinating elements in the band, injecting high energy Middle Eastern melodies using distorted synthesizer sounds. The rhythm section is formidable, mixing electronic beats and acoustic percussion such as darbuka.

The lyrics focus on social injustice in London (Balfron Promise refers to residents of Balfron Tower being evicted due to gentrification) and sociopolitical problems in the Middle East.
The lineup includes Z the People on vocals and synthesizers; El Far3i (Tareq Abu Kwaik) on darbuka and vocals; Walaa Sbeit on percussion and vocals; and El Jehaz on guitar and vocals.

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