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Ethnofusion Picks #Aug2017

Posted By: Outtallect On:


The ending of this August marks the second full solar cycle that I’ve been writing this monthly blog. So far, I’ve handpicked over 750 releases in a world fusion electronic format that have met evolving criterions I’ve developed. In this process, I’ve also tried to conquer some of my pre-conceived genre preferences as they had been shaped by personal experience that limited my partiality on the topic.

This process has really forced me to evaluate how I rate songs, and go on a mission to identify an objective benchmark, leading to the development of 5 factors.:

  • Eccentricity:

Being a fan of the avant-garde, I believe music as an art form needs experimentation to evolve, and any attempt to break the existing mold which may lead to a ‘unique’ distinction or signature sound has been developed into the ‘eccentricity’ factor.

  • Lucidity:

What sets apart professional and amateur musicians is normally the quality of production a.k.a. ‘lucidity’; the guaranteed expectation that the music is mixed and mastered clearly, and can translate to different types of sound systems, and the sound-sphere has been used efficiently.

  • Intricacy

Artists that pay great attention to detail can create rich and multi-layered music that leaves you discovering new sounds and groove interactions even months after your first listen. Moreover, conquering the over-digitalisation of electronic music, many artists are bringing instruments and field recordings into their equation and I commend this combination of live humanizing element and tapping into a large pool of sound as an ‘intricacy’ factor.

  • Cadence

Since the ancient practice of stomping around a fire with repetitive chants, one of the most primordial concepts behind music is dancing. Even the best produced and most detailed sound art piece may not evoke optimum response if it lacks groove. Accordingly, this bop, physical response, flow of rhythm, or ‘cadence’ should be valued in music.

  • Sentiment

Music is a story-telling art form. The ability to conjure up certain emotional response from a listener. Over time, many great conceptual albums and songs have been able to capture an idea so vividly that they make you feel as if it is happening to you. Alternatively, the backstory to certain songs can often be a strong indication of why they are valued and this has been categorized as ‘sentiment’.

Finally, the five factors are all ranked in base 10, and combined into an average score.

Today’s musical output of thousands of songs per day requires artists to master every aspect of music production, and to value the artists who I humbly believe to have understood the core value of musicianship, the Ethnofusion blog will happily embark on another 12-month run of mindful and constructive criticism and praise. In this dying age of blogging, thanks to everyone who reads this column, and appreciates the art of words and cyber crate-digging.

Ethnic Glitch-hop / Psybass / Midtempo / Dub

The Widdler x Otz – Outlawz [Dank N Dirty Dubz]

The ‘Outlawz’ EP by The Widdler and Otz is one of the releases this month that totally captured my attention. The level of cinematic visualisation that I can conjure up in my mind with this release was so high that I decided to write a piece on it for The Untz. I feel like I can’t express it any better than that article so here is a copy of it:

“We encourage the listeners to pony up, buckle in and join us for this tale of bravery and honour by two great buckaroos, The Widdler & Otz, as they traverse the barren terrain of the Great Bas[s]in. Quadrice upon a tune, the howling producers deliver a unique take on both deep dubstep and Wild West heroism.

Introducing affairs with the harmonica, piano and acoustic guitar/bass laden title track, “Outlaws,” the EP sets off on an incredibly organic ride, gaiting every beat with a true sense of authenticity, and whipping horses to foley up snares as they neigh with cadence.

The attention to detail on the entire chuckwagon recipe of these tracks is truly commendable; one after another, the crystal-clear productions and cowboy attitudes merge as the embrace of desert quests translates through song. A touch of reggae adds to the stylistic execution of “Once Upon A Time,” eagle shrieks and a tribute to Ennio Morricone’s theme from The Good, The Bad and The Ugly give a pleasantly unfamiliar feel to jazzy garage of “New Frontiers,” and while less noticeably on the EP’s theme, “Before the Dark” sets a more minimal approach to the nightfall of this EP.

Overall, the level of reimagination and creativity on this EP is exactly what the music industry needs more of; a truly cinematic and gripping atmosphere that instantly makes you visualise and miss a place you may have never even been to or only seen in the movies. In short, this is perfect music for fans of Dirtwire, Den Sorte Skole, Ion Driver’s ‘At Dusk’ & Sorrow, and those who enjoy triple-distilled instrumental electronic music.”

Eccentricity = 8
Lucidity = 10
Intricacy = 10
Cadence = 9
Sentiment = 10

Median = 9.4

Liquid Bloom – ReGen: AtYyA Remixes [Black Swan / Desert Trax]

Liquid Bloom’s album that was released earlier this year gets a full revamp from AtYyA in what is probably one of the most fun opportunities to have your own take on someone else’s music. The original release has over 40 instrument takes from 17 top-tier musicians in the scene, including Amani Friend himself, Deya Dova, Natalie Clavier of Thievery Corporation, and many more. The remix album stays true to the core meditative aesthetic of this release, keeping the overall organic sound intact, and adding subtle and tight groove changes overall.

Overall, this is an absolute essential listening in the realm of organic psydub, and a successful remix edition to a legendary album.

Eccentricity = 8
Lucidity = 10
Intricacy = 10
Cadence = 10
Sentiment = 9

Median = 9.4

Giyo – Shallow Water EP

Giyo’s classy instrument-heavy trip-hop sound never fails to hit the spot, and the fact that the artist produces and writes every aspect of his music is something that I will always respect in this blog. Shallow Water EP is another classy European-style composition, reminiscent of Hugo Kant, CloZee, Feverkin, etc. and a masterful and matured balance of organic and electronic elements.

Originally intended as a collection of unreleased material, Giyo told us that in the wake of hard drive issues and dissatisfaction with results, this was all that was left from a collection of tunes written during a recent turbulent time of his life, after his brother was killed in a questionable case of manslaughter/murder. While most of the music he made was lost, Shallow Water EP is what is scavenged as closure to this era, before major upcoming life changes, including moving to a different part of the UK, and starting new musical ideas. As Giyo puts it: “That’s it really. Old music that I thought maybe people might enjoy, and now it’s time to move to the new place, make new music, new friends, start over. Try and find some solace in this crazy world we live in.”

Healing such intimate wounds in the form of music-making is arguably one of the most genuine sentiments of the art and the level of sincerity is instantly audible in these songs. Nevertheless, in more technical terms, this collection of ‘outtakes’ is better produced and more musically valuable than some music that people spend years on. This is indicative of the true level of musicianship by Giyo in general, and on this EP specifically. Overall, this is nutritious food for old souls and I truly wish the best and renewed inspiration for Giyo in the new chapter of his life.

Eccentricity = 7
Lucidity = 9
Intricacy = 10
Cadence = 9
Sentiment = 10

Median = 9

Fire Water – Eastern Sun [Merkaba Music]

Taken from Merkaba Music’s recent compilation, this Fire Water tune stood out with the brilliant forest ambiance, riding groove and a superb overall indigenous sound. Definitely something to listen to if you like to be reminded of a green environment in its fullest floral glory.

Eccentricity = 8
Lucidity = 9
Intricacy = 10
Cadence = 9
Sentiment = 8

Median = 8.8

Govinda – Giza

Supposedly inspired by Govinda’s visit to Egypt, Giza is a groovy and dreamy score, topped up with a cold stream of falling arps, electromagnetic squelches, and a healthy dose of Romani violins to heat up the soundscape. The ethnic influence of the pyramids is not very obviously evident but whatever the journey did to Govinda has certainly translated into dope multicultural bass music.

Eccentricity = 8
Lucidity = 9
Intricacy = 10
Cadence = 9
Sentiment = 7

Median = 8.6

Gaddy – Papa Chorizo [Adapted Records]

We featured Gaddy ages ago with an almost identically executed beat, Jambalaya Juggernaut. Now, Papa Chorizo seems to be a similar serving with a few changed toppings. Nevertheless, both tunes are amazing organic boom-bap ethnohop with deep basses and a lot of humour and I know that I can instantly recognize a Gaddy beat like this as that groove is permanently buried in my psyche now.

Eccentricity = 8
Lucidity = 9
Intricacy = 9
Cadence = 10
Sentiment = 7

Median = 8.6

Mettakin ft. Eyera – Oneironautic EP [Street Ritual]

Outta regular, Mettakin expanded into the Street Ritual roster with this release which combines many aspects of his production into a unique n lucid experience. Over 5 tracks, Mettakin’s highly psychedelic and multi-layered sound evolves, fusing many influences from glitch n tribal music in ‘Xigoda Gaia’, deep forest dubstep on Between Two Worlds, breakbeat, garage and god knows what in ‘Luna Soul’, full-fledged psydub in Dreams to Begin With with ‘Eyera’, and heavier glitchhop vibes on It’s Strange.

The standout track from the EP is Between Two Worlds, and to a greater extent, Dreams to Begin With which has Eyera’s first-time devotional vocals interacts with the beat. Mettakin has continuously evolved his extremely rich and textured sound, and he is certainly maturing with every release yet maintaining his instantly recognizable sound.

Eccentricity = 9
Lucidity = 8
Intricacy = 10
Cadence = 8
Sentiment = 7

Median = 8.4

Dysphemic feat. Yiani Treweeke – Zeus [Gravitas Recordings]

The Treweeke brothers, the sons of the great late Vernon Treweeke, release this heavily charged full length, delivering heavy ethnic bass as par with Gravitas’s standard of banging dance music. The musicality on this LP is truly awesome and the duo delivers hypnotic timeless bassaults on your domes. Bar Chamberlain, I can’t think of any other artists who do this ethnic glitch-hop sound as decently as Dysphemic does, or at all, and that is definitely a praise-worthy aspect of the artist’s work. The LP also provides some psychedelic neuro drum n bass n drumstep moments, binding everything that passes off as heavy electronic music and fusing it with Yiani’s soothing guitars and Dysphemic’s beatsmithery. Definitely a godly enough release from the Treweeke boys to deserve the title, Zeus.

Favourite tracks: Phoenix & the Gypsy Swing-inspired Vodka Demon

Eccentricity = 8
Lucidity = 8
Intricacy = 10
Cadence = 10
Sentiment = 7

Median = 8.6

Middle Eastern, African, Pan-American & Oriental Trap / Bass

BÖ – Siyah Kalabalık

Repping the first wave of dark ethnic cult trap, BÖ returns with this Turkish trap score. Siyah Kalabalik is a nice horns-ridden slow trap tale with pitched down vocals, curvoeights, stuttery synths, and an overall blackened attitude, and it’s certainly an ode to the more old school sound of this genre.

Eccentricity = 7
Lucidity = 8
Intricacy = 8
Cadence = 8
Sentiment = 7

Median = 7.6

ASADI – Roya

ASADI, the Persian trap music ambassador is back this month with Roya which might be one of our favourite tunes he’s made. Still based on a straight forward EDM-ish beat that is MPC-enabled for live execution, this one trades the trill synths heard in some of ASADI’s previous tracks with a more laidback and organic attitude. I still think ASADI is not even close to his full potential but even at this stage, it is amazing to instantly recognize his sound.

Eccentricity = 8
Lucidity = 8
Intricacy = 8
Cadence = 9
Sentiment = 7

Median = 8

LM3ALLEM – Bel Araby

LM3ALLEM is firmly representing the Arabic / Egyptian trap sound again with a serious bag-pipe banger attitude to EDM. The track has a few more groove twists than LM3ALLEM’s other tracks and this is a good evolution to witness in terms of his song-writing. This track can firmly get your blood’s crunk level to a boiling Sahara temperature, and if the music’s about being turnt up, why not erect it in a Pyramid shape?

Eccentricity = 8
Lucidity = 9
Intricacy = 9
Cadence = 8
Sentiment = 8

Median = 8.6

Zwirek – Heat

The ethnic trap phenom Zwirek made Heat as another tune in his series of sellable beats, and again, it doesn’t fail to get an Arabic dirty south 808 hip-hop vibe on lock. Would certainly be interesting to see which rapper will buy this and how they will vocals it.

Eccentricity = 7
Lucidity = 9
Intricacy = 8
Cadence = 9
Sentiment = 7

Median = 8

VOLO – Inspirit

VOLO’s new EP symbolises everything that’s triumphant in nature, and especially this tune, Inspirit really caught my attention. It’s rare to get a gellable future bass track that has successfully implemented world instruments like the one we hear here, without getting cheesy. This track reminds me of CloZee’s Dream Big, Axel Thesleff’s Reincarnation, or some of RUDE’s tracks, while having its own charm. I spoke with VOLO about the release and the inspirations behind it. Here’s what he had to say:

“For the EP I wanted to touch on all of my different styles of production and take the listener on a journey through different soundscapes. I wanted each track to really feel unique and stand on its own, but have touches of similarities that weave them all together. I’ve been weaving ethnic instruments into my music for a while now and has just been something that’s felt natural to me.

Specifically, on the last track ‘Inspirit’, I liked using the flute as an energetic lead to contrast with the other parts of the song that have more of a melodic “wall of sound” feeling to it. I also sampled lots of bells/gongs/and metal type instruments to give it an organic touch.”

Eccentricity = 8
Lucidity = 9
Intricacy = 9
Cadence = 9
Sentiment = 7

Median = 8.2

RUDE – bluu xx

RUDE’s been featured in the blog a few times before with his dreamy and euphoric orient-inspired future 808. This is basically what it would sound like if clouds had ethnicities, and this particular misty flow of sound serves well to pour positivity on your hearing water-tanks.

Eccentricity = 8
Lucidity = 8
Intricacy = 8
Cadence = 10
Sentiment = 7

Median = 8.2

RATHERO – Commando

This is probably the biggest “BANGER” feature we have this month, with flawless production quality, lots of intricate details and pretty awesome groove and feel. Perhaps the only point that this tune falls a bit short on is the overall common trap songwriting structure, but it’s safe to say that ethnic EDM doesn’t get much better than this.

Eccentricity = 7
Lucidity = 10
Intricacy = 10
Cadence = 10
Sentiment = 7

Median = 8.8

SHVNKS – Fili Dei

Sounding like a scene from the Godfather if Hollywood films were bedroom-produced stoner trap music, SHVNKS’s Fili Dei is as smooth and cvlt as it gets, and it’s the theme song that is heard after the mafia leader gives a slight nod to his henchmen, signaling that the man kneeling at his feet is needed no more. Shame it’s too short though, don’t know what happens after the order.

Eccentricity = 9
Lucidity = 7
Intricacy = 8
Cadence = 9
Sentiment = 7

Median = 8

Sángo – Meio Da Noite

Sángo dons the laid back Latin / Baile 808 vibes with this jazzy Brazilian score. It’s incredible how pleasant this genre is when executed properly, and Sángo’s inclusion of cinematic intro/outros gives a haunting FlyLo-type distinction from the other similar tunes. Definitely, it is something to enjoy in your remaining weeks of Summer.

Eccentricity = 8
Lucidity = 9
Intricacy = 8
Cadence = 9
Sentiment = 7

Median = 8.4

Sansai – Passa Nada

Following the Brazilian slum waves, Sansai is back in the blog with a fresh score, showing once more why the South American movement of this genre needs to be seriously considered as one of the most creative fronts of ethno bass music right now. The only shame is that the track is a little bit short, but the vibe is on point.

Eccentricity = 8
Lucidity = 8
Intricacy = 8
Cadence = 9
Sentiment = 7

Median = 8.2

RATHERO – Te Voy Adal (ft. Godwonder) [Worldwide Records]

Standard premium mega-groovy material from the Worldwide Records folks, blurring the lines between dembow, reggaetón, hiphop, and trappy bass music in a way that you can’t resist moving to. Again, only shame is the length of this tune, and the fact that you have to follow about a million channels to download it.

Eccentricity = 8
Lucidity = 8
Intricacy = 8
Cadence = 10
Sentiment = 7

Median = 8.2

Tarante Groove Machine ft. Gilad Vital – Kumana Ye

Well if this isn’t the definition of a joyous party where you, your kids and your uncle are all drunk, raving their nuts off, then I don’t know what is. Mixing a bunch of North African influences, including Moroccan grooves, live drums, darbuka, didgeridoo and more, Tarante Groove Machine and Gilad Vital definitely make a desert banger with this one. Although it may come across to some of you with a touch of parmesan cheese, you can’t deny that you love that dairy goodness.

Eccentricity = 7
Lucidity = 9
Intricacy = 9
Cadence = 9
Sentiment = 7

Median = 8.2

Slow Rave / Ethnic House / Tribal Downtechno

Mitú – Cosmus [Zzk Records]

A truly unique sounding release this month comes from Mitú in the form of Cosmus, sounding like a bridge between synthpop, Atari theme music, and rainforests. While most of the tracks really break the mould with some outlandish experimentations, a number of them really hit the spot, including Fin, Pyra, Nave and Lobos. The duo apparently released this mainly digital sounding release with the idea of performing it live in its entirety and that is even more commendable. Dubbed as ‘jungle techno’, this sounds like so many things at different points, going from cumbia to footwork and electronica in a space of a few songs.

Eccentricity = 10
Lucidity = 8
Intricacy = 9
Cadence = 8
Sentiment = 8

Median = 8.6

Bedouin – Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun [Crosstown Rebels]

This is an incredibly produced two-track EP from Bedouin matches the artist title perfectly with the riding desert house cover of the Pink Floyd classic of the same title, backed up by a Guy Gerber remix. One of the things that make this record stand out is the incredibly tuned kick drum on the title track, arguably gaining the award of ‘kick of the month’. Overall, this is a classy release from the duo with outstanding production, and seeing as it has been approved by Pink Floyd’s drummer, Nick Mason, there’s not much else to say.

Eccentricity = 8
Lucidity = 9
Intricacy = 9
Cadence = 9
Sentiment = 8

Median = 8.4

Random Collective – Fekutai VA

Dedicated to the music of Vanuatu, Random Collective combine old field recordings relating to the area, with organic electronic beats, creating a highly atmospheric jungle atmosphere with these songs. Musically, spanning different grooves of slow rave music. My favourite track from this EP is probably NILLO’s contribution as it strikes a great balance of experimentality, atmospherics and groove, but overall, this collective shows a promising take on the genre which has the ability to induce legitimate imagery of the researched area. I got into a conversation with NILLO about this project, here are some of the highlights:

“This album was conceptuaized by Maracuyá she lived in Vanuatu a few years and got deeply influenced by the culture and the forest, those memories drove her to investigate and find rare recordings that we used as base of the songs.

I have founded the label with Maracuyá some years ago and now we have Nathan Hall and Funka collaborating with us, we are dedicated to research and publish music that move our souls, we are focused in world beat and experimental music, trying not to follow any trend so we have the opportunity to discover new stuff every day.”

Eccentricity = 8
Lucidity = 9
Intricacy = 9
Cadence = 8
Sentiment = 8

Median = 8.4

Dark But Gray – Santa Sangre Patria ft. Nicolas Larco [Akumandra]

Akumandra show once again why they are one of the most innovative players in all things multicultural electronic, with this phenomenal release from Dark But Gray and Nicolas Larco. The 8-min track evolves as slow as the BPM and the sparsely spaced soundscape oozes of musical confidence, as the guitars collide with the hauntingly emotional vocals. Fantastic mature organic electronic music right here, ladies and gents.

Eccentricity = 9
Lucidity = 10
Intricacy = 9
Cadence = 8
Sentiment = 9

Median = 9

Fertil Discos – Noche / Dia [VA]

Based around the neat sentiment of day and night-themed music, the Argentinian label, Fertil Discos released this double VA, covering both the dark and light side of foresty ethnic goodness. Some of the tracks on the compilation hit the spot right on the head and while I’m not gonna give a detailed critique of every song, some of the favourites include, Helucze’s Fireflies with an almost drum n bass organic aesthetic, Lobo’s whirlingly goofy and polyrhythmic Objetos from the Night side, and Paisandoom’s mega-broken beat house on ‘Periferia’, and Andi Andean’s beautiful broken naturescape on the day side. I can’t say I can very obviously tell the difference of the sound in the two separate sides to this tape, but the quality of these aforementioned songs is incredibly high.

Eccentricity = 8
Lucidity = 9
Intricacy = 9
Cadence = 9
Sentiment = 8

Median = 8.6


Beating Heart – South Africa Vol.3

An incredible social initiative by Beating Heart sees the use of an archive of South African sounds through the International Library of African Music to create these tracks in the form of high-quality Afro Jazz. With proceeds of these series going to a number of different causes, including the support of gender equality in South Africa through the Women’s Legal Centre, and teaching music production skills to kids at Grahamstown’s Access Music Project. This is the highest forms of sentiment in this blog, especially in the localised fashion that this EP has been carried out in and we can only say words of praise to Beating Heart and all the involved artists. Major ups!

Eccentricity = 8
Lucidity = 9
Intricacy = 9
Cadence = 8
Sentiment = 10

Median = 8.8

Ibu Selva – Camel

Approaching the slow rave style with a tinge of psychedelia, Ibu Selva builds on a solid groove with percussive elements, wind instruments and chopped to shreds Islamic hymns, forming this 6-minute journey. Something slightly different to what you get in this genre, and for fans of a glitchy yet melodic attitude.

Eccentricity = 8
Lucidity = 9
Intricacy = 9
Cadence = 8
Sentiment = 7

Median = 8.2

Phanoman – Balabania [Moonster Music]

Despite being a small label. Moonster Music has consistently been featured on this blog with their high-quality productions, mostly in a deep house genre. Phanoman’s Balabania is another knot in that tapestry, and the song’s hypnotic flute work rides the groove perfectly. Must hear for anything into Near Eastern deep house goodness.

Eccentricity = 7
Lucidity = 9
Intricacy = 9
Cadence = 9
Sentiment = 7

Median = 8.2

YokoO – Pachamama

Another deep and hypnotic house score this month comes in the form of YokoO’s Pachamama, which is at a slightly faster BPM than the track above, and takes the form of praise for the Andean goddess. The track is layered very nicely with the perks of percussions being sprinkled in all the right little places. Another essential for y’all househeads.

Eccentricity = 7
Lucidity = 9
Intricacy = 9
Cadence = 9
Sentiment = 7

Median = 8.2

Samarana – Rina Karuta [Tropical Twista Records]

Tropical Twista do it again in two consecutive months, releasing stellar music from female producers we’ve never heard of. Obviously, it is not great practice to do any type of female / male divide but when reporting about the majorly male-dominated music industry, it is refreshing to see an equal playing field. Beyond gender politics, Samarana’s EP is a fantastic display of mid-tempo / slowhouse multicultural music, inspired by a traveling lifestyle and influence from such movements.  All three tracks strike a very graceful balance of organic and electronic, showing a consistent musical style, crisp production, and tasteful melodies. Samarana is now clearly on our radar!

Eccentricity = 7
Lucidity = 9
Intricacy = 10
Cadence = 9
Sentiment = 8

Median = 8.6

Meca Meca – Nando Godin [Akasha MX]

Following the vocal-heavy feature above, Meca Meca come out with this brilliant tune through Akasha MX who are establishing themselves as a serious contender in the texture-heavy downtechno scene. Nando Godin is slowly evolving, emotionally evocative, and in terms of technicalities, it is rather well-produced.

Laroz – [Magnetic Moon Records]

Hailing from Israel, Laroz presents solid Middle Eastern / North African / Mediterranean house music, mixing elements of music from these places in a clean-cut format. Some of the highlight moments include the overall implementation of the oud, duduk, and a very heavily live sound overall. Self-confessed as Bedouin dance music, we couldn’t agree any more with that description!

Eccentricity = 7
Lucidity = 9
Intricacy = 9
Cadence = 9
Sentiment = 7

Median = 8.2

High Octane Ethnic Dance

MiloMilo – Balkan [La Clinica Recs]

Ending this month’s features with a couple of mega high-octane features, here’s MiloMilo’s Balkan with a ridiculous football world cup hype type of steel-drum banging street party craziness, topped up with a touch of Balkan elements. This is as festive as it gets with this high energy music and if you don’t dance to this, you are a bonefide party poop.

Eccentricity = 8
Lucidity = 9
Intricacy = 9
Cadence = 10
Sentiment = 7

Median = 8.6

Blaxtork – Survival [Black Llama Records]

Similar to the one above but with a slightly more EDM tinge, Blaxtork’s Survival also has a ridiculously high energy level and it almost had me moshing at the coffee shop table. The song has a few great switch-ups as well, letting you breathe before going into berserk mode again. Known as ‘Selva’, this genre is Central America’s answer to Jungle music, sounding equally good in top notch madness while adding a more primal tribal element to it. SICK!

Eccentricity = 8
Lucidity = 9
Intricacy = 10
Cadence = 10
Sentiment = 7

Median = 8.8


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