There’s a raw beauty in Tamikrest’s rock’n’roll. It’s there in the driving, insistent groove that powers the songs, the lean, snaking bass lines and the guitars that twine and twist around the melodies, and the utterly natural musical blending of Sahel Africa, the Maghreb, and the West – a reflection of influences as diverse as Pink Floyd, Rachid Taha, and flamenco. Yet the Sahara, and the people who live there, is always firmly at its heart.
Formed by Osman Murat Ertel and Levent Akman in 1996, Baba Zula took Turkish psychedelic pioneers of the 1960s as their inspiration and foundation for what they called Istanbul psychedelia, the fathers of a scene that’s since grown up around them. Baba Zula have played all over the world, won awards for their work in film and theatre, and had their albums counted among the most prestigious ever released in Turkey.
Lying between the mountains of northwest Tunisia and the Algerian border, the Bargou valley has developed its own culture that had never been documented until Nidhal Yahyaoui began the task. Born in the valley, he was determined that the music and traditions shouldn’t slip away into obscurity. With Targ, the album he’s made with his band Bargou 08, Yahyaoui has perfectly fused the past and the present to place Bargou on the map.
Gaye Su Akyol is at the forefront of the new Istanbul scene. Her influences range from the Turkish chanteuse Selda Bağcan to Nick Cave, surf bands and psychedelia. In Gaye Su Akyol’s universe, the past becomes folded into the present and launched into the future. Hologram Ĭmparatorluğu is heady, powerfully intoxicating and beautifully dangerous. Gorgeous, cinematic and subversive. Past, present, future. Her music, her art.
Born in Bolgatanga in rural Ghana, King Ayisoba was a prodigy on the kologo, playing locally until he’d outgrown the possibilities of the area. Moving to Accra, the country’s biggest city, he eventually released the song “I Want To See You, My Father.” There was nothing modern about it. No hiplife rap, no electronic beats. But somehow it conquered the country and brought the tradition firmly into the mainstream.
Noura Mint Seymali hails from a Moorish musical dynasty in Mauritania, born into a prominent family of griot and choosing from an early age to embrace the artform that is its lifeblood. Yet traditional pedigree has proven but a stepping-stone for the work Noura and her band have embarked upon in recent years, simultaneously popularizing and reimagining Moorish music on the global stage.
Ifriqiyya Electrique was formed in the Djerid Desert in southern Tunisia, home to the Banga ritual of Sidi Marzûq. The Banga is a key annual event in the lives of the black communities of the oasis towns of southern Tunisia, descendants of the Hausa slaves transported from sub-Saharan Africa. It is a ritual of adorcism not of exorcism: of accommodating the possessing spirit rather than expelling it.
The NYC based duo of Rick Brown and Che Chen, creates hypnotic, pulsing music that weaves an ecstatic line from raw electric blues, Arabic modes and entrancing folk minimalism back to the streets of New York. Uncut called it: “An astonishingly potent next stage in an ongoing cultural exchange…magnificent; like a gnawa ritual that’s been convened by Junior Kimbrough.”
Simultonality – in Joshua Abrams words – is an album of “pure motion.” Without sounding frenetic it is the most explosive Natural Information Society music on record, & without sounding over-determined it is Abrams’s most structured & thru-composed music yet. Much of it is also fast, a mass of densely patterned elements swiftly orbiting constantly reconfiguring centers that are variously harmonic & rhythmic, clearly stated or implied.
Led by Sergio Mendoza (Calexico, Mexrissey), Orkesta Mendoza fashion borderless sounds that span the Americas (North, Central, South). Embraces mambo and cumbia with the same vigor as psychedelic pop, twang rock and analog electronics. Guests on “Vamos a Guarachar” include: Camilo Lara (Mexican Institute of Sound), Gabriel Sullivan (Giant Sand, Xixa) and John Convertino & Joey Burns (Calexico).
Aziza Brahim (1976) was born and raised in the Saharawi refugee camps in the Tindouf region of Algeria where her family settled in late 1975, after fleeing from the Moroccan occupation of Western Sahara. Growing up in the severe conditions of these desert camps, Aziza discovered music was both a source of entertainment and a natural way to express and communicate her personal emotions and thoughts of resistance.
The Sao Paulo based Brazilian group Bixiga 70’s new album titled “III” is a breathtaking rhythmic storm where inspired solos, harmony and dynamics, beats and improvisation all mesh together in vital and unpredictable ways. Spanning between a joyous danceability, a sharp sense of humor and committed political reflections, the life-blood of this ten-piece unit is instrumental music, but it is an instrumental music that speaks profoundly.
Sarajevo born and raised, Damir Imamović has been steeped in the sounds of sevdah since childhood. Much has been said of his stellar family tradition – both his father and grandfather remain legends of the form. Since those early days, however, when he would ward off boredom during the siege of the city in the early 1990s by learning guitar chords in his basement shelter, Imamović has completely changed the rules of the game.
Spearheaded by the legendary Afrobeat/Fela Kuti drummer Tony Allen, the Afro-Haitian Experimental Orchestra rose out of Allen’s 2014 visit to Haiti where he collaborated with some of the countries most notable singers and percussionists. Analog synthesizers and raw psychedelic guitars join the mix yielding an unheard and unholy mixture of Haitian voodoo rhythms, afrobeat drumming and Krautrock experimentation.
Think and dance. A way forward delivered with the urgency that’s become a hallmark of M.A.K.U. Soundsystem. The new album Mezcla captures the live sound of the band, that thrilling rawness where the rough edges become a vital part of the whole, plenty of freedom but with the tightness honed by night after night of gigs. And that’s exactly how Mezcla came together.
This Seattle-based duo made up of Tendai Maraire and Hussein Kalonji (in Shona “Chimurenga” means revolutionary struggle). Tendai is one-half of the visionary hip-hop group Shabazz Palaces and has family roots in Zimbabwe, while guitarist Hussein partly grew up in the Congo. The music they create is timely and explosive: otherworldly hip-hop meets Shona rhythms, Congolese guitar ambiance and political resistance.
Glitterbeat doesn’t release many 12” singles (this is the second), but this two-song beauty is so good we couldn’t pass up the chance to put it out. El Leopardo brilliantly morph urban dub textures together with sparse Colombian percussion, spoken incantations and deep, hypnotic bass.
Bassekou Kouyaté & Ngoni Ba has revolutionized the sound and narrative possibilities of the ngoni, the lute-like instrument that is essential to Mali’s Griot culture. Griots are esteemed musician/storytellers whose lineage stretches back centuries. Through Bassekou’s invention of repertoire built around the melodies and rhythms of four interlocking ngonis, Bassekou has demonstrated his respect for the past by radically pulling it into the future.
Gandadiko, the title of Samba’s potent, diverse and ambitious new album, translates from his native language Songhai as: “Land of Drought” or “Burning Land.” Samba’s guitar playing has never been so anxious, exploratory and rock and roll and his voice has never been as smooth and relaxed. Samba wants to be many places at once and the accomplishment of Gandadiko is that by successfully navigating these sorts of “contradictions,” Samba’s artistry has reached an even higher level.
A kaleidoscopic road trip through imaginary 60’s soundtrack music and post-folk sounds from Italy and beyond. This innovative Italian band decimates genres. While the album is mostly instrumental, there are also songs voiced in Italian, English and French. Guitar pioneer Marc Ribot makes an appearance as does Sonido Gallo Negro, Evan Lurie from the Lounge Lizards, drummer Steve Shelley (Sonic Youth) and Giant Sand’s Howe Gelb.
Grammy-winning producer Ian Brennan (Zomba Prison Project, Tinariwen, Hanoi Masters) went to Southeast Asia to record unheralded, traditional-based musicians from Cambodia, all of whom are survivors of the genocidal Khmer Rouge regime. The result is heartbreaking, inspiring and sublime.
What is Dirt Music? Well that’s relatively straightforward. Luther Fox, fish-poacher, lonely hunter, enchanter, “shamateur” and tragic hero of the modern Australian masterpiece ‘Dirt Music’ by Tim Winton conveniently drawls out a definition for us: anything you could play on a verandah. You know, without electricity. Dirt music.
The London-based quintet Fofoulah (meaning “it’s there” in Wolof) was formed in 2011 and features Tom Challenger (Red Snapper) on saxophone and keyboards, Phil Stevenson (Iness Mezel) on guitar, Johnny Brierley (Outhouse Ruhabi) on bass, Dave Smith (Robert Plant’s Sensational Space Shifters) on drums, and Kaw Secka (Irok) on Sabar drums.
“Dub 4 Daze” is a richly animated sonic journey that slips and slides between soulful roots (Eye Water), down-tempo brass (Top Level Dub), 3D mysticism (Jah Man Dub) and space echo abstractions (Physics of Dub). The album shows Dennis “Dubmaster” Bovell in full command of his craft.
Formed by three school friends in the Turkish capital of Ankara in 1999, Hayvanlar Alemi have established themselves at the vanguard of global psychedelic sound. Interfacing with the golden age of Turkish psychedelic rock, surf music, Cambodian pop, West African guitar motifs, Middle Eastern traditional music and the knife edge of indie rock, it was clear from the beginning that Hayvanlar Alemi was an instrumental rock band for the unfolding millennium.
Sonido Gallo Negro (Black Rooster Sound) is a stunning 9-piece, instrumental combo from east Mexico City (Aragon) that channels both the mystique and mysticism of 1960’s Peruvian cumbia. The band integrates styles like Amazonian cumbia, huayno, sonidero cumbia, boogaloo and chicha with electric guitars, Farfisa organ, Theremin, flute and of course fluid Latin percussion. Spaghetti western soundtracks, psychedelia and surf music also echo in their compositions.
An out-of-time, visceral collection of songs & sounds from Bamako-based producer Paul Chandler’s unparalleled archive. These high fidelity field recordings and eleven accompanying videos (from all corners of the country) take us deep inside the full sonic power of the Malian musical experience.
“Hanoi Masters: War is a Wound, Peace is Scar” is a haunting audio document recorded in the summer of 2014 by Grammy-award winning producer Ian Brennan (Tinariwen, Malawi Mouse Boys, The Good Ones). The sepia-tinged songs are sung and played live and direct by elderly Vietnamese musicians using half-forgotten traditional instruments. These musicians all have deep personal connections to the upheavals of the Vietnam War and the album’s mesmerizing mood navigates the blurred line between raw beauty and sadness.
Our first remix album with ten genre-spinning, mind-bending sonic reinventions of the Glitterbeat catalog. Remixers include: UK dub-master Dennis Bovell (Linton Kwesi Johnson, The Slits, Fela Kuti), Berlin legend Mark Ernestus (Jeri Jeri, Rhythm & Sound), Warp recording artist Nozinja (Shangaan Electro) and post-punk legend Mark Stewart (Pop Group, New Age Steppers). Vibrant future sounds.
Widely celebrated at the time of its release in 1980 – as the third installment of Brian Eno’s emerging ambient music series (Ambient 1-4) – the album also brought with it an aura of mystification. An uncharted synthesis of resonating zither textures, interlocking, hammered rhythms and 3-D sound treatments (courtesy of Eno) “Day of Radiance” seemed to push open many doors at once, ambient music being only one of them.
Originally released in 1980, Jon Hassell and Brian Eno’s collaborative album “Fourth World Music Vol.I: Possible Musics” is a sound document whose ongoing influence seems beyond dispute. Not only is the album a defining moment in the development of what Eno coined as “Ambient Music” but it also facilitated the introduction of Hassell’s “Future Primitive” trumpet stylings and visionary “Fourth World” musical theories to the broader public.
In late 2004, Bombino recorded acoustic versions of nine songs in the Ténéré desert, which became this, his first real album. He sings and plays several of his own compositions and also pays tribute to other Tuareg artists (Abdallah Oumbadougou, Hasso, Kedou). Recorded mostly around the campfire, his assembled friends join in on handclaps and undulations.
A mysterious two-song release, licensed directly from a group of Bamako musicians who, with the exception of the Souku master Zoumana Tereta, choose to remain anonymous. In the last years, the political turmoil in Mali has caused many of the cities clubs to shutdown and dried up other sources of musician income like weddings and festivals. The situation continues to be desperate, but the music remains a powerful force: both a refuge and a medicine.
Lobi Traoré (1961-2010) was a true African original, a guitarist of profound depth and originality, a singer and songwriter with universal appeal, and a performer who became part of the very fabric of Bamako, one of the world’s most musical cities. We are lucky to worked with the man. The recordings we made together captures the pure essence of his artistry in full flower.
Aminata Wassidjé Traoré is a rising voice in Mali. Born in Diré, near the fabled city of Timbuktu, Aminata was raised within northern Mali’s rich cultural brew. From an ethnic Songhai family, Aminata started singing as a young child.
Much of the Malian music that has been released on European and American labels in the last few years shares one thing: it is mostly down tempo and reflective. The kora majesty of Toumani Diabate, the Songhi blues of the late Ali Farka Toure, the singer-songwriter tropes of Rokia Traore and the dusted, acoustic meditations of Tinariwen (on their most recent album) are a demonstration of this point. Even the later albums of the once exuberant Salif Keita have grown more melancholy and ethereal.