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Ethnofusion Picks #March2018

Posted By: Outtallect On:


Presenting the March 2018 edition of Ethnofusion Picks, carefully curated to include the month’s best world fusion music, including wacky genres like forest chill, Japanese half-time, footwork & post-industrial neuro, mutlicultural dub, tribal bass, Hindi trap n bass, Israeli-Persian psydub, Bolivian downtempo, Afrolatin house, tribal bass, and more.

– Baxtak

p.s. Apologies for the delay this month, doing my best to balance everything in my life right now.

Magic in the Rain – Welcome [Pleasure Anthem Publishing]

Having composed music for everyone from Justin Bieber, Britney Spears, Major Lazer, and many other modern mainstream household names, Andy Swanson’s latest mystical forest of a musical offering comes in the form of the aptly-titled artist name ‘Magic in the Rain’.

The 8-track album is nothing short of a melodic masterpiece and a clear reason for his multi-platinum hit-making ability. With overtones of forest atmospheres, and a plethora of string, wind and percussive instruments, this self-titled release should be served for meditative purposes. In all the songs, a mist of technicolour happiness shrouds over the listener as the murmurating parcels of sound dance in evolving harmonic patterns of human emotion.

It’s a shame that I only learn of this artist now but it is quite enlightening to see the brains behind the major label hit-making machine. For anyone who wants unadulterated pop sensibility without the famous person tag, Magic in the Rain is the one for you.

https://soundcloud.com/magicintherain/sets/magic-in-the-rain

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

Median = 9.6

Lapsung – Zhizhu [8MANA]

Coming in with the Koto-driven heat like a fresh-brewed teapot-full of revitalising caffeine juice, Lapsung’s Zhizhu is the manifestation of aromatic music. Rumour has it that if you inhale deep enough, you can smell the catechins in these tunes. The consistent groove stimulates your cardiovascular activity as a theobromine, while the overall soothing melodies act as theanine for to relieve your stresses. Who’s up for a cuppa?

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

Median = 8.4

https://soundcloud.com/internet_ghetto/premiere-lapsung-zhizhu-ep-out-march-26

Kai Whiston & S280F – Two Kotos

Following where the above feature left off, one of our favourite producers of the demonically-possessed league, Kai Whiston is back with the help of an S280F character to deliver the darker and bolder side of the Japanese-inspired sound. A glitchy half-time vibe dominates the first drop while the second goes into an absurd spectral footwork section, oozing out creepy noises and echoing the decaying souls of all severed Shinto devotees in history.

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

Median = 9

https://soundcloud.com/kaiwhiston/two-kotos

Poztman – Shinrinyoku ft. Telenranhi0d [Outtallectuals]

“Shinrinyoku” is a tune we released this month from Poztman, inspired by the Japanese practice of soaking in the atmosphere of a forest, i.e. “forest bathing”, featuring Telaranrhi0d on the didgeridoo. The song is taken from the 40th release on the OUTTA catalog, “Komorebi EP”; Poztman ‘s debut release on Outtallectuals and an exploration of dark industrial spectral electronic music, with an overall influence of Japanese concepts and sounds. The 4-track EP combines elements of ambient drum n bass, post-black metal, neuro, and the avant-garde, to manifest a dystopian etherealm. Each song portrays a certain concept, aurally represented through the specific attunement of each composition.

Can we rate a track on our own label impartially? Let’s try!

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

Median = 9

https://soundcloud.com/outtallectuals/outta040-poztman-shinrinyoku-ft-telaranrhi0d

Axel Thesleff – Two Worlds [Khatru Music]

The relatively well-known world bass producer, Axel Thesleff delivers his first full EP release in 2 years, presenting an incredibly well-balanced collection of dancefloor-ready scores in his signature joyous style. Bringing in the European mid-tempo sound with Akasha, crunky future-bass / trap with Salomon, reggae-inspired dubby trap of Eco, half-time grooves in Cascade, and Hindi breaks in Dunya.

Overall, as the title might suggest, Two Worlds is a brilliant world-bridging body of work, a de facto contender for EP of the year, an absolute essential release for DJ sets this summer and beyond, and a great show of Axel’s ability to thematically piece a number of songs together beyond the single release format.

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

Median = 9.4

https://soundcloud.com/axelthesleff/sets/two-worlds

Bassline Drift – Give & Take [Gravitas Recordings]

The duo of Bassline Drift presented us their second full album through Gravitas Music in March, blending all that is dear about their style into a cohesive album. “Give & Take” is an evolution in the technical prowess of the group and a shift towards a more refined and professional package of their alternative electronic pop sound. The album blends elements from around the world, including an undoubted American feel, akin to an anthemic electronic version of Smashing Pumpkins on the title track, Engine, Intersect, Wolves, Lovers’ Apocalypse, and Forever Young.

However, beyond those tracks, it is the three songs, ‘Mni Wiconi’, ‘The Fortune Teller’ and ‘Radha Ramana’ which tickle this blog’s interest. We asked Keli of Bassline Drift for some insight about these tracks and the following are a few notes on these tracks and the meanings behind them.

‘Mni Wiconi’ is a water prayer, written during the time of the Standing Rock protests, honouring this crucial element of life, also featuring the sound cheering sound of protests when a group of buffalos seemingly joined their protest.

‘The Fortune Teller’ uses the sample from the 1949 NBC radio program, Candy Matson, the story of a female private investigator; to tell the conceptual tale of a gypsy soothsayer as she warns her client of the great risks involved in knowing your future.

Finally, inspired by a pilgrimage to India to learn classical music, connect to the Krishna Consciousness and record organically played instruments, Bassline Drift present “Radha Ramana”; a merging of divine mantras in collaboration with the Kirtaniyas, heavy yet polished drumstep beats, and a “calling out for love” in times of hardship.

Few artists put as much effort into devotion to the essence of the ethnic music that they incorporate in their music as Bassline Drift, and this is becoming more evident with their releases and the evolution of their sound. We can only hope that they continue this path of cinematic world-influenced music in their future endeavours and carry on pushing music that tells a story.

Eccentricity = 8 (unique collaborations on this album, balancing the other songs’ pop sensibility)
Lucidity = 10 (highly-intricate and heavily crafted album, with a rich overall sound)
Intricacy = 10 (rich blend of electronic, instrumental and vocal elements)
Cadence = 9 (a stellar variety of dancefloor & downtempo grooves in commonly accepted rhythms)
Sentiment = 8 (strong concept behind most of the songs & the existence of a story-telling attitude)

Median = 9

https://soundcloud.com/basslinedrift/sets/give-take

Saadji – Micellyum

Taken from his recent Krysalid album, Micellyum is a dark tribal didgeridoo-led stomper, perfect for hunting frogs and fairies, swamp diving, or if you are feeling less adventurous, having a nice groove on a dancefloor.

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

Median = 8.4

https://soundcloud.com/saadji/micellyum

Boddhi Satva & Spilulu feat. H-Baraka – Kanga Mutu [Offering Recordings]

Dubbed through the ID tag as ‘Ancestral Soul’, Boddhi Satva’s recent collaboration with Spilulu and H-Baraka is a unique afro-house tune with strange repeating patterns and a hybrid trap and favela influence. The track has the perfect balance of ghetto and melodic charm through the unique vocal styles and overall drive of the track.

For fans of Branko, Pedro & Mina.

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

Median = 8.8

https://soundcloud.com/boddhi-satva/boddhi-satva-spilulu-feat-h-baraka-kanga-mutu-main-mix

Cimm. – Eagle Eye

Albeit presumably being a short preview at the moment, this gem from Cimm is a delicious deep tribal dubstep offering this month, channelling the more melodic Middle Eastern flavour of the genre. Fans of Submassive Orchestra, Oudjat, Truth and other modern 808-driven deep dubstep, you are in for a certain treat.

Eccentricity = 8 (deep Middle Eastern dubstep exploration like a true champ)
Lucidity = 9 (neat mix and and fire-blazing clarity on every single sound in the mix)
Intricacy = 8 (nice melodic layers, could be accentuated with more intricate drum syncopations)
Cadence = 9 (something to get crunk to, from the Gulf of Persia, all the way to the Gulf of Mexico)
Sentiment = 7 (little in the way of conceptuality but captures the Middle Eastern vibe very well)

Median = 8.2

https://soundcloud.com/cimmmusic/cimm-eagle-eye-forthcoming-xxxxxx

Sumac Dub – Old Man Willow LP [ODGPROD]

Within the first 2 minutes of this LP, Sumac dub’s Old Man Willow is already a contender for the best intro track and concept of 2018. Opening a number of doors to other domains of music before closing them, the album’s Doors become Wild Openj as soon as the stripped-down reggae dub commences. The 11-track album then goes on to stay consistent with the rubbadub sound, spanning different grooves within the roots family.

https://soundcloud.com/su_maac/sets/old-man-willow

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

Median = 9.2

To get a real feel of the importance of this album, it is crucial to mention Sumac’s music-making process, as is visible through his Jam Session videos on YouTube. His one-man band approach to music-making and live execution definitely adds another level of brilliance to his sound and considering that he mentions to Kiss Kiss Bank Bank that the album was made with live performance in mind, we must give him a few more extra salutes and props!

L*o*J – Kong

One of March’s most impressive finds comes from L*o*J with this percussion-led tribal score, supposedly based around the idea of mixing music of nations. The organic flavour to this track, the majorly cadent feel, and overall simplicity in its execution makes it stand out as tall, ravage and pronounced as the animal it’s named after.

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

Median = 9

https://soundcloud.com/loj-2/kong

Grouch in Dub – Grouch in Dub LP [Shanti Planti]

Coming off of a long streak of music-writing in realms closer to the trance world, Grouch is back with an “In Dub” release; a 9-track album with nine collaborators on the didgeridoo, vocals, bansuri, violin, electric guitar, sitar, 12 string guitar, clarinet, trumpet and steel string guitar. The 67+ minute album is bound together within an earthly husk, while each lengthy composition has its own unique evolutionary character within the domains of mid-tempo / psybreaks / reggae dub / trip-hop. The overall scope of this release sounds like a fast-forward experience of almost every music type heard in a psychedelic festival’s chill stage, and in that sense, Grouch In Dub is a perfect reference point and ambassador moment to contemporary healing dance music.

For fans of Tipper, Brooklyn Gypsies, Detox Unit, Byzantine Time Machine & OTT

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

Median = 9

https://soundcloud.com/grouchnz/grouch-in-dub-teaser-release-coming-soon

Adham Shaikh – Deep Bhang

The ethnofusion pioneer, Adham Shaikh continues his streak of activity with another golden tune this month, titled ‘Deep Bhang’. The song switches between trappy hip-hop grooves and double time DnB-esque sections, bringing a mix of old school and new school flavours to the dance floor. Adham Shaikh’s musical output since 1993 has always evolved through the years, and 10 albums and many singles later, his sound remains as relevant as ever.

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

Median = 8.8

https://soundcloud.com/adhamshaikh/deep-bhang

Zebda The Spy From Cairo – Fog Al Nakhel

If it’s not The Spy From Cairo who comes in with the heavy duty oud-driven OG rubbadub sound, then we haven’t heard of it. ‘Fog Al Nakhel’ is a perfect manifestation of steppa style instrumental Arabian reggae, and it will fit very well next to your collection if you favour organic elements over the overly synthesized approach. Another brilliant offering by Zebda to add to his collection of brilliant Brooklyn Gypsies contributions, solo projects and countless fruitful collaborations.

For fans of Brooklyn Gypsies, Sumac dub, Byzantine Time Machine & Sikada.

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

Median = 8.6

https://soundcloud.com/zeb-the-spy-from-cairo/fog-al-nakhel

Yestegan Chay – Rambam 8 [Mystic Sound Records]

Pour another one of those cups of tea as the Iranian-origin Israeli producer, Yestegan Chay just blessed us with a particularly strong dose of Rambam, whatever that may be, tackling an Iranian ‘ghery’ groove with mystical Levantine aesthetics. The song’s eventual evolution into a Israeli mid-tempo psy-stomper style is a clear indication of cross-breedism across Middle Eastern and Asian music, and perhaps metaphorical symbol of what we need more of in this region.

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

Median = 9

https://soundcloud.com/yestegan-chay/rambam-8

Plantrae – Seeing in the Dark LP

One of the blog’s most anticipated ethnofusion artists of the past few years has been Plantrae who’s handful of releases since 2013 still hold weight as modern world fusion classics. This month saw his return with this full-length release and it is certainly not a disappointing one.

Plantrae’s signature viola-led sound evokes an epiphanic and triumphant feeling, as it balances sombre emotions with positive attitude. Seeing in the dark embraces the challenges of existence, igniting vision through bioluminescent overtones, and it is the sort of tale that disrupts the ‘light-at-the-end-of-the-tunnel’ narrative by encouraging you to enjoy the journey across the whole tunnel.

For fans of CloZee, Hugo Kant, Feverkin, Gyro, & Koresma

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

Median = 8.8

https://soundcloud.com/plantrae/sets/seeing-in-the-dark-1

Harmonie – Welle

Our favourite deep consistent-flow downtempo tune this month comes from Harmoníe with Welle, giving us the desert drive, low-ego, terra-traversing sound to declutter our minds with. The song is persistent, determined to move along with the groove without changing its character too much, yet, it manages to do so with a graceful focus on cinematic feel.

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

Median = 8.8

https://soundcloud.com/oytunemre/harmonie-welle

susobrino – MAPAJO [Global Hybrid Records]

Our ‘adventurer of the month’ cake goes to susobrino this month for Mapajo, a compilation of songs recorded throughout a travel in Bolivia, with field recording evidence from Amazonia, all the way to the Carnaval de Oruro, a traditional ceremony in Bolivia which has evolved since the ancient times of the Uru people, to include other eras of Bolivia’s Incan and post-Hispanic culture. The sheer diversity of as this heritage is also echoed in these songs and the diverse genre possibilities that have arisen in this EP.  Expect a bold 9-minute ambient track comprised of sonic background radiation stemming from the Amazon forest.

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

Median = 8.8

https://soundcloud.com/global-hybrid-records/sets/susobrino-preview

Katabtu – Desert Nomad [KollektiV LiEBe e.V]

The record label / crew known as Kollektiv Liebe demonstrated their approach to social activism in a model not too different to ours at Outtallectuals, by releasing this donation-based downtempo tune from Katabtu, in support of sustainability projects in Senegal. The label aims to use sales from this release and other tunes in their discography to fund their next trip to Dakar where they have succeeded in organising workshops with the help of the Afroculturban NGO and the government to promote and educate about the use of renewable energy. We always big up efforts like this, especially when its backed up by brilliant musicianship, so kudos to this crew. We will be monitoring their activities closely now.

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

Median = 8.2

Muno – Prehispania [Leveldva]

A brilliantly atmospheric and almost proto-ethnic downtempo tune from Muno, taken from Leveldva’s recent 2-tracker. Prehispania does amazingly to keep the non-digital feel of the era it portrays, and the rest is a thumping and deep bassline to keep y’all 21st century bionic folks intrigued.

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

Median = 8.6

Legartijeando – Camino el Llamas (Uji Remix) [Wonderwheel Recordings]

This rendition of Legartijeando’s ‘Camino el Llamas’ by Uji is everything you want your Andean natural forest downtechno music to be. It’s one of those things when you can just feel that the music is genuine and authentic; a level of intention that no second-hand ‘made in elsewhere’ imitation can be sincere enough to flatter.

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

Median = 8.6

https://soundcloud.com/ujitimebeing/lagartijeando-camino-en-llamas-uji-remix

The Busy Twist – Sunny Side EP

The Busy Twist have been absolutely bossing all things afro-bass, with their signature vocal-driven mix of afrobeats with latin influences, bass music and jazzy vibes. With support from all big supporters of world electronic music and beyond, such as the BBC, Stamp the Wax, Wonderwheel Recordings, Wormfood London, Rinse FM, Annie Mac, Trax Magazine, Soundway Records and more, the hype is totally real.

Sunny Side EP is another chapter in this young band’s saga, and it can be considered a step in these ‘early’ stages of the band’s success as a band with truly explosive potential on the international scene. This success is matched by the band’s inception of their own record label, Busy Life Records, with a sustainable approach to collaboration between West African, Carribbean, South American and UK electronic music through artist exchange and residency programs. Accordingly, this release which has been curated in a trip to Ghana, including collaborations with Zongo Abongo from Northern Ghana, and two singers, Kyekyeku & Siaka Djarra from Burkina Fasso.

The group’s sound can be highlighted in its optimistic outlook and positive attitude, and a cross-school aesthetic which is equally pleasing to the electronic and world music palettes. With so much room to grow and a collaborative spirit to the group, it’s safe to be excited for their show that you will go to in 2020.

Eccentricity = 8 (arguably, an easily recognizable afrolatin electronic sound)
Lucidity = 9 (warm sound, spacious mixing with super wide panning ‘timeless’ sound)
Intricacy = 9 (minimal overall sound but rich mix of melodies and rhythms)
Cadence = 10 (incredibly groovy and dance-friendly music)
Sentiment = 10 (sustainable approach to world electronic fusion / authentic attitude)

Median = 9.2

https://soundcloud.com/thebusytwist/sets/sunny-side-ep-1

Tarante Groove Machine – Herbalist

Tarante Groove Machine come back this month with one of their mega-professional sounding releases. This is the kind of music to get the fans of Balkan Beats / reggae mash-ups excited; the purely principal sound of ethno-hop akin to the Gramatik, Chinese Man and Beats Antique domain of the style. The merging of vocals, sax, drums, percussion, and immaculate production skills lead to this anthemic celebration of the herb, and what better day to include this in a playlist than 4/20?

Eccentricity = 7 (principal ethno-hop sound with a slightly pronounced sense of familiarity)
Lucidity = 10 (highly professional overall sound, immaculate mix and master)
Intricacy = 10 (multi-layered instrumental, vocal-driven ethnic group bass music)
Cadence = 9 (totally oriented towards a fun dancefloor moment)
Sentiment = 10 (sustainable approach to world electronic fusion / authentic attitude)

Median = 9.2

https://soundcloud.com/tarantegm/tarante-groove-machine-herbalist


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