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Ethnofusion Picks #Dec2017

Posted By: Outtallect On:


Proud to present the final picks of 2017, featuring the best stuff we came across through submissions and our feed of over 1700 artists operating in world fusion electronic music. This month, we cover, praise, and rate 29 releases in a range of executive branches, including, Asian psydub, Latin American slow rave and Baile trap, multicultural bass music, pan-Arabian dub, Persian dubstep, Turkish downtechno, South African house, and a whole bunch more. Read on to uncover more and make sure to subscribe to our new playlist on Spotify where we archive the very best of the blog’s finds: sptfy.com/ethno, as well as our partner channel on YouTube, Shivelight. Thanks to everyone who follows this blog, and we aim to bring you even bigger coverage in 2018. Happy new year!

Lo.Renzo – Cave [Visionary Shamanic Records]

Wrapping up a highly productive year, Lo.Renzo comes out with Cave on the Visionary Shamanic Records’ Ancestral Vibrations compilation, with a stellar display of high-intricacy composition. Clocking over 7 minutes, Lo.Renzo brings many of this instrumental abilities to the table, playing live sarangi, lap steel guitar and udu, to make a highly psychedelic edition of the Todi raga. Frankly, psydub very rarely gets any better than this in terms of live musicality, vibes, quality of production and detailed composition, and we can only salute Lo.Renzo with this one.

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

Median = 9.4

Mantis Mash – Meraki [Shani Planti]

Shanti Planti delivers its final release of 2017, in the form of Mantis Mash’s Meraki EP, presenting all that is dear about the label’s highly signature psydub sound. The EP sits perfectly in balance, between the techier Quanta/Halfred domain of the genre, and the more classic dub and psychill-oriented realm of Globular and O.T.T. It has to be said that the crispiness and overall production quality of this EP is absolutely precious; it is not an easy task to fit so much intricate details while maintaining such shivelight of silence in the soundscape and this alone merits Meraki to sit amongst the handful of highest quality psybass EPs released this year.

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

Median = 9.2

Khromi – Apparition [The Rust Music]

The good people over at The Rust released a compilation this month, covering a lot of ground in all things trip-hop, bass, 808 and between. This tune particularly caught my attention for this blog because of the ethnic touches and also the shear level of production. The expression on the low-end movements is extremely pronounced, while a lot of melodic action engulfs the mid and high ranges. Apparition strikes one of the most impressive balances of style, adherence to genre cores, quality value and shear emotional response. Definitely one for the books.

For fans of Phaeleh, Sub Roots and deep minimal emotive dubstep.

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

Median = 9

Ourman – Gargoyle [Subworld Audio]

Another old-skool deep dubstep feature this month comes from Ourman, with an arsenal of oriental flutes, gully wubs and a groove that switches back n forth from halftime to stepper style. Perfect stuff for fans of ethnic dubstep with a Truth type of production.

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

Median = 8

4bstr4ck3r – Aubergine [Psychill Café]

4bstr4ck3r absolutely nails this ethnic reggae dub score, merging old-school real dubstep with a million Rials skank stabs, and a heap of Persian / Middle Eastern melodies. The song is forthcoming from a Psychill Café compilation, but it was impossible not to feature it now. Although, I’m super picky with all forms of old-school LFO, this one gets an easy pass with distinction.

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

Median = 8.4

The Spy from Cairo – Nothing New Under the Sun [Wonderwheel Recordings]

Moreno Visini, a.k.a. Zeb, the OG oudist and producer and otherwise known as the Spy from Cairo delivered a full-length album this month through Wonderwheel Recordings who also handle Zeb’s other project and one of our blog’s favourites, Brooklyn Gypsies, a few members of which also contribute to this project. The album is founded on hip hop and dub grooves, with a heap of percussive and melodic instruments bringing an authentic Middle Eastern feel to the table. Some stand-out moments on the album include the Shaabi Dub (Good Things) featuring the vocals of Innov Gnawa and switching up between this unique North African style and dub, Beirut Skank with a distinct reggae rub-a-dub vibration, and the steppers style track, When Giants Ruled the Earth. Overall, this is perfect for anyone who loathes the organic side of ethnofusion, with subtle electronic touches and fat 808s added throughout.

For fans of Byzantine Time Machine, Brooklyn Gypsies, and Celt Islam’s “Baghdad”.

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

Median = 8.8

Anchor Hill – Heartwood

Anchor Hill, Canada’s premium ethnofusionista delivers his most recent album, Heartwood, before the turn of the year, presenting a thorough display of his multi-instrumentalist background, and deep-rootedness in all that is sacred. The album pre-dominantly features Rich Heart (Anchor Hill) playing a vast number of instruments, including the flute, kalimba, clarinet, and trumpet, as well as full production, recording and mixing duties.

Songwise, the album features a number of Anchor Hill’s recent compilation entries as well as 7 brand new beautiful compositions; “Heartwood (single) is an intricate and empowering healing serenade, Jungle Heat explores the more dimmed and mystic canopies of the forest, Muy Caliente presents an interesting blend of tribal battle-cry percussions and dancehall / cumbia rhythms, La Cultura is best described as triumphant psychedelic Latin bass music, Grasping The Infinite is a holy violin-ridden composition, accompanied by the wailing vocals of Ste. Grace, Full of Dreaming moves towards the more digital terrains of psybass, and finally, Incremental Liberation is an orient-inspired tale of perseverance and reward-based salvation.

Overall, Heartwood is a strong display of how Anchor Hill’s dedication to influenses from many corners of the planet manifests in rich blends of instrumental mediums, beautifully decorating the accompanying frequencies of deep 808s, wubs, and militantly positive grooves.

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

Median = 8.4

Chico Mann x Captain Planet – Night Visions Remixed [Bastard Jazz]

Bastard Jazz’s latest ethnofusion offering comes in the form of this remix EP, with Allen French handling the remix of one the happiest songs on the blog this year, sounding like what pop EDM music would have been if it was actually good and made of flute leads rather than cheesy synth leads. Another tune on here is the Fela Kuti tribute, Ariwoko, which fully captures the jazzier side of the affairs and a grown-man attitude to the funk. The original album had slipped our attention earlier in the year, but it’s safe to say that Chico Mann and Captain Planet’s album is definitely one to look out for if you dig the more refined side of ethnofusion.

For fans of a happy bastard jazz child of The Polish Ambassador and Thornato.

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

Median = 8.4

Neval – Terelelli

The Istanbulite singer, Neval released this music video earlier in the year and it came to our attention this month and we couldn’t miss it to close the year. Based on a traditional Turkish poem by Yusuf Turhalli, Terelelli has a particularly freaky vibe to it which is mainly manifested through Neval’s soothing yet melancholic voice. The black and white music video is reminiscent of Ingmar Bergman’s iconic 50’s movie, The Seventh Seal, where the protagonist challenges Death to a chess game on the beach. The inspiration is perhaps not coincidental as Neval holds a bachelors in Film, and the deep anthropocentric aesthetic can also be attributed to her other degree in Psychology. Deep cerebral stuff, indeed.

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

Median = 8.4

Kusht – Vardo [Frente Bolivarista]

Kusht keeps up a hardworking year with another stellar EP, entitled Vardo and released through the dons at Frente Bolivarista. This release is supposedly crafted as an ode to Kusht’s dedication to travelling, leaving his home for the road and bringing in elements from all the destinations in mind. Accordingly, you can hear Celtic, African, South American, Gypsy, and forest/nature influences, with a strong dedication to clear and organic production. The standout track is probably the closer with an emotive vocal performance from Velse, and a humorous yet ominous touch of psychedelia. Overal, Kusht tells us that his creative process involves travelling, stocking inspiration, settling down somewhere, outputting the inspiration into music, and moving onto the next adventure, and one can assume that this organic cycle epitomises ethnofusion artistry. Special props to Kusht’s pops for laying the guitars on Twangklang.

This EP is perfect for anyone into downtechno / slow rave music with an almost stoner / desert rock vibe. Stone rave, perhaps?

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

Median = 8.6

kidä – magic carpet

A unique feature this month comes from the psychedelic r&b producer and singer, kidä. ‘magic carpet’ is as sensual as your cvlt-friendly ethnic lo-fi trap will ever get. kidä’s melancholic yet erotic invitation isn’t one to dismiss, and it equally pushes you away from and closer into a bittersweet romance. For millennial fans of Erykah Badu’s Medusa effects, manifested through vaporwave aesthetics.

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

Median = 8.4

Joaquin Cornejo – El Viaje [KONN ®]

A collaborative EP from Joaquin Cornejo, with a number of sensual guest vocal appearances from Wabi Sabi and Aeve Ribbons, and violins from Haoma. The overall vibe is lo-fi, chill, and South American; something you’d want to hear in a misty morning in the Andes, or wherever else you might need to calm your mind at.

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

Median = 8.2

Wasca – Desert Call [underyourskin records]

This full length 12-release release from Wasca uses the deep house framework to reference a wide array of world sounds into its compositions and induce trances through a repetitive chant-type methodology. It’s one of those albums that even one listen through it will let you understand the amount of meticulous crate-digging that has gone into. With this level of production quality, one can only wish for a big credit list of guest musicians on this for fresh instrumentations.

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

Median = 8.6

Breger & Timboletti – Rising Hay Bale [Copycow]

Taken from Copycow’s most recent compilation, Raising Hay Bale, takes an odd approach to electronica house, fusing it with very welcome FX work, the sort you’d expect to hear in the psychedelic trance realm; lots of reversed actions, warped bleeps and bloops, drum rolls, and ethnic instrumentation. As someone who digs technical sound design, I definitely appreciate the sound-designy aesthetics to this one.

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

Median = 8.8

unsbeat – Ϙ (VA)

A rather unorthodox compilation this month comes from a new Brazilian label, unsbeat, who are very evidently aiming to renovate the scene using broken beats and a unique approach to their songs. The songs are a by-product of hip-hop, slow-rave, natural and ethnic sounds and psychedelia. Take Cigarra’s Baleila for example of a fluid groove, literally mainly made out of water sounds and topped with a casual sample of Bjork for that stamp of leftfieldism. Other examples include Kurup’s opener, Bit Silencio, with a detuned aesthetic, meditative flutes, and spooky reverb on percussions, creating an almost Inspector Gadget in the Jukai forest vibe. J G B’s Hermetologia is another stand-out feature, with a lush and floral sense of jazziness and evolving cross-genre groove.

Overall, Ϙ (Koppa; an ancient Greek letter) is a brilliant experiment, and daring start for a label. There are a few hit and miss moments overall, but because the exploratory nature of the music, they are all dear and welcome.

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

Median = 8.6

Dragao – Camino [Galletas Calientes Records]

Camino is a hybrid release where synths, beatboxing, acoustic instruments, and guest vocals meet to bring you a mix of dub, cumbia, breaks, and reggae, deeply rooted in Colombian heritage. The stand-out track must be the Nidia Gongora collaboration with its anthemic and empowering vibe, making producers out there itch for a chance to remix it.

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

Median = 8.2

Beating Heart – South Africa VA

Dubbed as Afro Futurism, Beating Heart’s mission statement genre could not be more accurate as the label boasts one of the most sustainable approaches we’ve come across in this blog so far. With their fourth and final instalment of the South Africa VA, the album takes field recordings and sounds recorded in South Africa in the 50s to produce 24 tracks in a wealth of different takes on afrobeat. Some of the standout tracks in the comp include Tru Fonix’s Roar with a warm and clean upbeat house vibe, Shawn Lee’s Inkulu, sounding like a hypothetical track from a Big Lebowski sequel, set along the Silk Route, and Hunrosa’s jazzy goodness through Mohodo.

What really moulds the project’s overall concept together is the label’s support of local charities in the specific project country, in this case being the gender equality group, Women’s Legal Centre, and music production at Grahamstown’s Access Music Project. Big props to Beating Heart for supporting the people and fundaments behind ethnic music.

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

Median = 8.8

Global Hybrid Records – Hybrid Rituals Vol.3

The core GHR crew, Rafael Aragon, Alizarina and Fanfara Electronica all represent on this three-tracker, displaying their individual and collective approach to world dance music. The Brussels crew cook up a truly fusive and multicultural dish, aptly described as a delicious “three-course meal”. Expect to visit the Balkans, French folk, North American bluegrass, Amazonian, and Hindi in 16 minutes, manifested through steppe, desert and forest climatic atmospheres; pretty on-point for a label called Global Hybrid Records, right?

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

Median = 8.6

Ohxala – Berimbal Regionau [Rodrigo Gallardo Remix]

A really subtle yet eventful slow rave global folktronica remix of Ohxala by the Chilean producer, Rodrigo Gallardo. Beautiful is the only way to explain this music, or maybe I’m just being lazy, and it’s more appropriate to say that this sounds deep enough in its emotional scope to resemble the view of a soaring eagle traversing the globe’s landmasses, observing the distinctions and similarities all at the same instance. Extra props for the use of the Berimbau!

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

Median = 8.6

Dirtwire – Blaze

Well, if there is anyone who can produce two brilliant full-lengths in one year is Dirtwire; our heavily-blogged favourites. While their previous album, The Showdown, saw them explore a worldlier approach, Blaze is further in their direction of being a folk n roll travelling band. The instrumental essence of this album is quite indicative of what Dirtwire shows look like, and the band is certainly moving beyond the realm of electronic music with this one. To me, Dirtwire represents a truly American amalgamation of world music, and this is a clear indication of the ethnic melting pot nature of modern United States.

For fans of Bonobo, Emancipator and band-based world fusion music.

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

Median = 8.8

No Saints – Marginal

Probably the wonkiest baile song that’s graced this blog ever; although only clockin in at 2 minutes, this deserves full score for bringin somethin new to this yung genre. Props to No Saints for the innovation, vibes and grooves, please give us them full length choons now.

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

Median = 8.8

DKVPZ – Dia de Role w/ MC DENNY

A monster hit by DKVPZ, supported by Sango, and full-on baile trap vibes for daaays. There’s so much potential for hits in this genre and its nice to see others nailing the hits to the same level as other artists like VHOOR and VLIEN BOY.

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

Median = 8.8

VLIEN BOY – TODO LA BUM BUM [Worldwide Records]

It’s been a fairly consistent trend to cover VLIEN BOY remixes as this dude always has a way to make them Latin American vibes shine through contemporary trappy aesthetics. This is absolute dancefloor gold, something you certainly need for your DJ sets, cocktail parties or whatever funky business you may attend, and it’s safe to say that if you don’t vibe t this, you simply don’t have soul!

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

Median = 8.8

Balkan Bump – Irfan ft. Paul Bertin [Lowtemp]

It’s really in the name; Balkan Bump take music from this region and pump it with 808s and a modern club flavour, leading to            this tune which is set for release through Gramatik’s Lowtemp label. Special props should be given to the saxophonist and producer Paul Bertin for truly spicing up the vibes on this one.

Fans of happy Balkan dance music and trappy hip-hop, you know what to do.

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

Median = 8.6

Alphant – Sadhu

The French producer, Alphant gives a dose of Hindi trap-hop with Sadhu, featuring tight Soohan-esque 808 work, pitched Bollywood vocal chops and a whole lot of twerkelicious flavour. Top-notch quality party waves for your babes.

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

Median = 8.6

Furo X No Saints – Belly Dancer [La Clinica Recs]

For any fans of Indian dancehall trap (another term I’ve probably never said before), you’ve come to the right place with this one. This is a high-octane mash-up of a heavy Latin American flavour of production, meeting Asian aesthetic in this lava-flowing meeting of plate tectonics. Have no doubt about this one for a dancefloor, and have fun with those moombahton, bhangra, EDM and hip-hop elements as well.

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

Median = 9

Stephen Jacobs x Mudra – Flow [Muti Music]

This collaboration is another show of Mudra’s ability to make any half-time tune into an absolute slaughterhouse of brutal ethnic sounds, riding a limp swagger that can only be described as the equivalent of accidently applying your car’s lowrider suspension to a hip replacement surgery.

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

Median = 9.2

APASHE – Supernova (ft. Dope D.O.D) [Kannibalen Records]

Random to have Dope D.O.D on the blog but you never know who ends up on a flute-heavy Middle Eastern banger. APASHE gets hold of the dutch hardcore hiphop spitters on this heavy EDM ting, sounding like futuristic pharaohs on steroids. Dope DOD’s rise over neurohop beats and regular crossover into electronic music is always encouraged and its nice to see them spit on ethnic-tinged heavy neurotrapstep.

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

Median = 9

SOLTAN – Kabul [Never Say Die Records]

Arguably the most prolific ethnic EDM dubstep artist, SOLTAN is back this month with Kabul, a brostep riddim banger for the clubs with a fairly progressive spin to it. Childern of Skrillex can certainly rejoice in this is they want to be reminded of militant South Asian intensity when they skankin on the dancefloor.

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

Median = 8.8


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