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Ethnofusion Picks #July2017

Posted By: Outtallect On:


The Science – The Sea and I EP [Methlab Recordings]

Turning heads to the Balkan nation of Bulgaria, the always amazing Methlab Recordings introduces The Science to the international scene with a stellar release, and arguably one of my top favourites for the month. The EP has an amazingly haunting ambiance, reminiscent of scores by Maynard James Keenan’s Puscifer, Bjork’s darker moments and Azedia’s early work with Moonflower, topped up with signature Balkan pipes. This is dense and elegant visionary music, and it doesn’t get more emotive than this without unnecessary melodrama.

To top everything else, you can expect more familiar neuroghostly MethLab vibes through remixes by new and staple artists from their roster. Big ups to the label for keeping the avant-garde at full force and much respect to The Science for the formula. An extra shoutout needs be given to Funilab for the incredible artwork, per his usual!

Read on to hear what The Science have to say about the specifics:

Q.1. This EP is supposedly inspired physically by the nature of Bulgarian coastlines and introspectively through the connection of I, the individual to the Sea, the hive mind. Can you elaborate on how you incorporated this theme in the music?

In order to explain how we “tick” as a collective, I need to make a point about systems:

We’re all built of atoms composing molecules that construct tissues, which we call body and consider our self, that are hurdling on a rock in space at thousands of miles per hour into the unknown. While it’s obvious we’re a complex onion-layered system in an onion-layered system depending on a whole lot of layers surrounding and building us up, still people get lost in the real world of paying bills and working from 9 to 5, and that’s how they forget how small and how gigantuous at the same time, they really are.

Think about it, the bacteria can destroy a system thousands/millions of times larger than its own size but is foolish enough to kill itself in the process. And if you steer away from the doomporn perspective (which is clear as day), you will also notice how that can be an empowering thing, too. But since these are two sides of the same coin, people need to also realize the responsibility.

The rest that does it for us is the will and child-like curiosity. That almost naive sense for discovery. And the times we live in do give us the means to keep it alive, as much as they have the tools to destroy it completely.

Q.2. What is that bag-pipe sounding instrument in Sonyo and W and what was the motivation behind using it?

It is actually a bagpipe, the Bulgarian kaba bagpipe to be more specific, although slightly processed.

The origin of the idea is a funny story – one day Jef, head of Methlab Recordings, mentioned he doesn’t like the sound of bagpipes. I really wanted to offer him a second perspective so he could at least appreciate the instrument for its proper usage, as seen in the Rhodope folklore. But instead of offering him a video of the kaba bagpipe being played, I decided to go a step further.

I found and cut a 30 second sample from a random YouTube video of a magical Rhodope song being played on a bagpipe. Ironically, the video was recorded in a cheap restaurant and you could hear people murmuring and glasses tingling. So I placed this on the latest two promising ideas we’ve been working on for awhile. And it just fucking clicked. There was no need to change tonality or tempo even, it just fell into place as is. Weirdest feeling ever.

Next thing I know – turns out Jef loves bagpipes, Nino’s handing me a recording specifically done for us by this excellent bagpipe player, Viara’s testing the waters for the appropriate approach towards the vocal lines that are to be included in both W and Sonyo… So again, as with The Sea and I – we just went with the flow.

Q.3. Would you consider the music to be a Bulgarian experience at its core, or something equally relatable to everyone who listens to it?

Although it’s realistic to think that a Bulgarian would relate more easily to Sonyo and W, given that they will make a personal connection with their roots, so far the responses coming from people who are not related to Bulgaria in any way are more than heart-warming and are speaking of personal connection. To us, this is a clear indication that our tunes from “The Sea and I” have managed to transcend beyond language and cultural distances.

Q.4. Can you give us a few of your favourite lines from the lyrics?

Sonyo, being a rare occurrence in the way it ended up going in a folklore direction, is definitely a favorite choice of ours. While W is making use of the Bulgarian folklore roots as a counterpoint to modern music and is merely a part of the whole concept, Sonyo really represents our Bulgarian roots, hence we decided to use the original Bulgarian lyrics sang in an old Rhodope dialect that go as follows:

“Sonyo, ti moy sonyo,
Ti moy dushmanino,
Kakvo ti men stori
Na den na pladnina
ta ne videh, sonyo,
lyube kade fana”

which translates to
“Dream, my dream,
You, my terrorizer,
What did you to me, dream,
At day, at noon
So that I didn’t see, dream,
Where my love’s gone”

Although we left out the last two lines of text from our version of “Sonyo”, I’m including them on purpose, because knowing what has been left out, gives a certain perspective and the narrative kind of changes from the past tense and the lost love, to one that’s pointed towards the present.

————————————————–

Reading their thoughts, it becomes clear that The Science have a profound interest in everything from philosophy, physics, and cultural identity, and this so-called “onion-layered system” approach closely reflects the quality and almost anthropological approach to what they have created with The Sea and I EP.

Eccentricity (musical uniqueness) = 10
Lucidity (quality of production) = 10
Intricacy (level of detail, especially instruments and foley) = 9
Cadence (groove / flow of rhythm) = 9
Sentiment (concept / emotional response) = 9

Median Ratings = 9.4

Muqata’a – Al Watar Al Wiswas

An unexpected feature this month comes from Ramallah, Palestine with Muqata’a and his hip-hop instrumental, Al Watar Al Wiswas. The broken-beat and densely-layered score comes as trippy as they get while keeping the old school sample-launching & FXing in motion. The track is certainly unique and at times, reminds me of Iranian producer, Mahdyar; perhaps this is testament to a Middle Eastern approach to ethnofusion?

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

Median = 8.4

Multani – Rishikesh

Every now n then, I hear a dark deep 808 ethnic score that just hits the spot in terms of how chants are sampled and intermingled with that addictive trap beat. Multani seems to be new on the scene and he/she’s doing a good job of providing the deep meditative gangster feels.

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

Median = 8.4

GEMO – Follow Me [Renraku]

Taken from Renraku’s recent compilation which explores unchartered realms of electronic music, GEMO’s Follow Me is as dark as they come. I’m not really sure how you can follow anyone when it’s this dark but years of evolutionary sorrow entice me to follow lead into these tenebrous paths.

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

Median = 8.4

Ago & stheps – Isyah [KeepDeep]

An unexpected gem this month comes in the form of Ago & stheps’ deep ascendant abyssal dub. The spectral post-mortem acceptance of this song resonates with me on a fundamentally primordial level. Isyah feels like it embodies the sorrow of all voices lost in time, leading me to confess that this is indeed incredibly touching music here.

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

Median = 8.6

Foxtail – Dussek’s Sonata [The Rust]

The folks at The Rust music blog took the leap into becoming a record label this month, with their debut release coming from Foxtail, featuring 5 tracks including this one, Dussek’s Sonata which breathes modern life into the late Czech composer and pianist’s piece and style. As far as electronic renditions go, it seems that not many artists approach classical European music as a source of inspiration as they do with other regions and seeing Foxtail tap into this territory is certainly commendable. Can we call this gothic bass then? Middle western electronic music? Sonatronica? I’ll leave the absurd titles to your imagination.

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

Median = 8.6

PartyWave – Future G [ShadowTrix Music]

West Coast ripper PartyWave packs heat in the form of this future ancient gangsta score. Despite the Hindi samples, you can definitely tell that this song has an all-American attitude. If you here for fun party vibe music with a little gut feeling of belly dancing, proceed with joy.

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

Median = 8.2

EurythmY – Inwards Gazing [Shanti Planti]

The latest EP from EurythmY is an amazingly dense and classy psydub release, mastercrafted and sealed in earthenware amphorae, and elegantly matured over ages. Inwards Gazing is traditional in its composition but breathtakingly modernised in how the dense layers are mixed. The use of stereo-panning and atmosphere-building is truly top-notch, making this EP a contender for top psy-dub EP of the year.

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

Median = 9

Desert Dwellers – Saraswati’s Twerkaba Remixes [Desert Trax]

Desert Dwellers take the Single + Remixes EP format to the next level, giving you just about any danceable psydub reinterpretation of the hilariously titled Saraswati’s Twerkaba, featuring the likes of CloZee, David Starfire, Mindex, Tribone & Land Switcher. You have to give credit to Desert Dwellers for how their sound has evolved and stayed at the top of the electronic music scene’s pedestal and seeing them support the next generation of artists who they have inspired is fantastic to witness.

Favourite remixes: Mindex for his mind-bending sound design, and CloZee & LuSiD.

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

Median = 8.8

Kaya Project – Dark Road (Desert Dwellers Remix)[Desert Trax]

You know what they say: Sometimes you dwell the desert; sometimes the desert dwells you. You know they are right and that time is this month as we follow up the one above with this Kaya Project remix. This remix is a part of a remix VA on Desert Trax which has DD remix many of the more established artists in this genre, however as the other tracks are more psychedelic than world, I’ve only featured this one.

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

Median = 8.8

MORiLLO – Kismet

MORiLLO carries on with the shift from the trappy Hieroglyphics EP to the more groove-based Luna EP, and fully into the realm of trip-hop with Kismet and this is certainly terrains in which MORiLLO can comfortably wander on. In my abstract opinion, the title Kismet translating into fate is highly appropriate for the steady groove on this song; i.e. if you are content and accept the path that life will lead you to, you approach it with a non-turbulent, fluent, and steady pace.

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

Median = 8.2

Adham Shaikh – No Time (Steppers Dub)

The don comes back to business with the crucial dub sound, taking things back to the real reggae dub sound. It’s actually refreshing to see less squelch and “interdimensional wubs”, and more roots influence, natural drawn out delays, heaps of MC soundbites, and world strings and melodies. If you are only hellbent on eccentric future music that aims to reinvent the wheel, No Time is an essential example of why you should never forget how good the old school sound can be if done properly today.

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

Median = 8.8

Populous – Umi [Enchufada]

The recent release from Enchufada as compiled by Branko features 14 tracks two of which I’ve chosen as favourites for the blog. The first one which is from Populous starts the tune with what seems like it will be standard slow rave goodness but evolves into some organic drum-banging and sirens, giving the feeling of a sudden rave in an unlikely slum alley.

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

Median = 8.2

Rey & Kjavik – Ulima

Making appropriate use of looped chants, Rey & Kjavik’s Ulima is a repetitive trance-inducing type of 8 minute song that works perfectly as background music for any mind-consuming and focus-requiring task you may be taking on. Haunted ritual chant house for your domes!

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

Median = 7.8

Levantamiento Colectivo – Compilación # 2

Funding the next edition of their festival, Festival Nomade launch the Levantamiento Colective compilation as a perk of their IGG fundraiser. The album is a perfect representation of the sound and aesthetic quality that the festival holds; chants, natural foley recordings, multicultural instrumentation, and an incredibly loving and laidback attitude to song-writing. A couple of the standout features include Just Emma and ALUNA’s contributions.

You can donate to the cause here: igg.me/at/festivalnomade

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

Median = 8.8

Kaleema – Nómada [Tropical Twista Records]

One of the highlight releases of this month comes from Heidi Lewandowski a.k.a. Kaleema with her 10 track full-length album. The album explores many grooves of Americana down to midtempo music and in terms of mixing and mastering and overall production value, the album sets the bar for this month’s ratings in the slow rave style. Kaleema’s approach to groove switch-ups are ahead of the curve, keeping the repetitive groove of this style intact while offering a wide spectrum of dynamicism with it. I wish I could comment on the lyrical themes but my knowledge of Spanish is not sufficient. Regardless, Nomada is definitely a masterclass release from Kaleema.

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

Median = 9.2

Timboletti – Chai Corner

One of our favourite deep house ethnomusicologists, Timboletti is back in the blog with Chai Corner, providing a steady Silk Road ride through the steps of the near east. For someone who is mega-picky when it comes to house music, I really dig this one. The bassline comes in at a perfect intensity wobbling along with the dubbed-out pads and whirling melodies. Timboletti’s Chai Corner is one of those songs that’s perfect for introspective journeys, desert drives, 3AM raving and preferably, all of those combined.

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

Median = 8

Luka. – Ganesh (Pandhora Remix) [Pipe & Pochet]

With an intro that sounds like sending out radiowaves to search for lifeforms on an M-class planet, Pandhora goes on a mission to find the deity that Luka found with the original version of Ganesh. I’m not entirely sure why this song is called Ganesh as the overall feel is not Hindi, however looking at Ganesha as the elephant-headed god of problem-solving, the clear-headed epiphanic feeling of this song becomes more visible and the forest-like ambiance surely indicates that there are some Proboscidean giants around.

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

Median = 8.8

Nochi – El Baile Del Nai [Lump Records]

Nochi uses his role as a real ethnomusicologist and anthropologist of music to venture deem into Costa Rican native lands and record the sounds of indigenous Talamanca communities, leading to the creation of this track. The song also samples recordings they took of local animals that have importance in these cultures such as the hawk, armadillo, and tiger.

The sentiment of going this far out of the way by far outweighs any sample pack and the legitimate cultural value that this song holds makes it another favourite of ours this month.

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

Median = 9

Clap! Clap! – Dig! Delve! Damn! [Dutch Archive Collection]

What happens when the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision’s Re:Vive gives one of the most creative artists of the ethnofusion realm access to Tropenmuseum’s vast archive of sound? You get a classy Clap! Clap! album which basically summarizes our planet in about half an hour!

What makes Clap!Clap! stand out is not the fact that he managed to get access to this huge library; it is that if you give the same access to most other artists, they won’t come up with such strange yet danceable grooves and seriously jazzed up melodies. An example of this is Kabwe Beats with its almost Dilla style approach to a mix of future beats, cumbia n I don’t even know. Closest thing I know to this type music is an artist called Kappah who we featured on a compilation 4 years ago. Regardless, Clap!Clap! is a legend in the making!making!

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

Median = 9.4

Puta Final Feliz – Bump Con Choke [Regional Label]

Well well, look what the bass dragged in. It’s something I’ve been hoping for a while; a dancefloor anthem that switches up from trap to downtechno and back; an artist who embraced the double/half time transitions and Puta Final Feliz gone done that with this score. This is perfect for anyone who mixes latin bass music in both tempos and wants to find a way to please both purists. Absolute heat for your dancefloors.

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

Median = 9

Herhangi – Tree of Life [Akasha MX]

We take things back to an extremely roots level with this release from Herhangi which is vitalised with an incredible and natural atmosphere, and a technicolour wall of percussion. Over 8 meditative minutes, the dense rhythms interact, mingle and morph to create a truly unique and immersive experience.

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

Median = 9

Kusht – Teapot [Drossel]

The new EP from Kusht, Teapot, is another instrument-heavy treat for the ears with an almost post-rock aesthetic with the brilliant opener Howlin’, and the slow-sailing guitar-ridden City Birds and Country Folk really hitting all the right spots. The overall organic feel of this EP, especially these two tracks is most certainly as lifeful as frequencies from a set of speakers can be, or else you’d have plants growing out of the woofers. Extra props go out to the brilliantly thought-out tag for this genre: ‘Chi-Fi’ music.

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

Median = 8.6

Rodrigo Gallardo – Maria Sabina ft. Huaira [WONDERWHEEL Recordings]

Taking the dance to extremely slow levels, Rodrigo Gallardo’s Maria Sabina is a sweet melodic take on wavy and instrumental Americana midtempo, and honestly, I don’t think dance music can get much more chilled out than this. Major props for all the carefully-placed flute, strings and percussions. Perfect musical feng shui for your ears.

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

Median = 8.8

Los Rakas – Y.L.S. (BrunOG Remix) [Worldwide Records]

Worldwide Records bring the goods again with this BrunOG remix in the Latin trap style. This is as catchy as this style gets without getting unnecessarily heavy and it maintains a brilliant sense of elegancy throughout. Definitely a vital tune for any Americana / summer DJ set.

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

Median = 8.6

Tropkillaz – Dibre feat. DKVPZ

Tropkillaz are out with a new EP exploring Brazilian flavours and this track really stood out to me. The trap / dancehall switch-ups and the playful sampling of the vocal chops really induce some serious skanking and the veteran level of production makes sure the vibes are transmitted through without any leakage of quality.

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

Median = 8.8

Sansai – Sabio do Barraco [Slum Waves]

A label I discovered this month which perfectly captures the favela trap flavour in a new perfect term, ‘Slum Wave’. You can tell this music has beyond what is traditionally considered trap and it is evolving into its own signature intricate multi-layered funky sound. High expectations from this artist and Slum Waves from now on.

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

Median = 9.2

Jowaa – Banku Dade [Enchufada]

On the other hand of the Enchufada compilation mentioned earlier, Jowaa brings the baile trap global bass madness of Latin America with this tune, crafting something different, crispy and incredibly groovy.

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

Median = 8.6

Rafael Aragon & Gan Gah – Reggada (Bäq Remix) [BABYLON]

Newly-discovered talent of the BABYLON crew, Bäq leads a remix EP for Ethnofusion’s previously featured artists Rafael Aragon & Gan Gah by producing this tribal future bass / trap score. Pointing to the trio’s different backgrounds, the track exudes a great sense of multicultural beauty and it is easily another solid from BABYLON for the scrolls.

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

Median = 8.6

LM3ALLEM – Zaman [Outtallectuals]

Shamelessly including one of our own releases this month as it fits the Ethnofusion mould and if it wasn’t good enough in the first place, we wouldn’t feature it right? The Egyptian producer, LM3ALLEM sent us this demo and following the vibes set in Koyo & Intr3pico’s Valley of the Kings in our previous compilation, I couldn’t resist the bagpipe and neat 808 and percussion action on this one.

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

Median = 8.2

Dubnium & Glowa – Hourglass

Taking things back to the liquid drum n bass terrain with moments of neurofunk basslines and wailing oriental melodies, Dubnium & Glowa make an impressive rendition of the classic sound. The track could definitely improve with more harmonic layers and some extra masala but definitely a formidable approach to fun and bouncy ethnic dnb.

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

Median = 7.8


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