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Ethnofusion Picks #May2017

Posted By: Outtallect On:


Glad to present another juicy jam-packed edition of Ethnofusion picks for all those who have also tuned into this realm of world music. This month is specifically exciting as I’ve decided to introduce a measure of rating to better express my thoughts on why features are chosen. Read on to uncover everything from Hindi neuro dnb and Chinese trap to slow Brazilian techno and gypsy dub.

In over 15 months of writing for this blog, I have identified some qualities that I use as benchmarks for quality and although it is all subject to opinion, I deem it necessary to include these criteria and quantify this blog’s pre-dominantly qualitative narrative. The qualities include eccentricity (uniqueness), lucidity (quality of production), intricacy (level of detail, especially instruments and foley), cadence (groove / flow of rhythm), sentiment (concept / emotional response), and an overall median, all ranked in base 10.

Bandish Projekt – Ab Na Jagao feat. Vidhya Gopal

The don of Hindi bass music is back with a minimal dnb score featuring the vocals of Vidhya Gopal and a wealth of subtly placed natural atmospherics. The tune is exactly what you expect from Bandish Projekt; unique, emotive and boundary-pushing, while sticking to BP’s signature sound that can immediately be distinguished from any of his peers. The concept of the track seems to be to about fusing Bandish Projekt’s heavy bass sound with the Bhairav Hindustani raga and it’s fair to say mission has been successfully completed.

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

Median = 9.2

Q.1. Do you have a certain creative process when fusing the two? I.e. build your drum lines on a bol?

As far as drums are concerned they come naturally to me, i think it comes with the mood and the flow i am in because of my Indian classical tabla training, but thats just not enough. The first is the emotion of the track, if that hits me then rest of the things just fall in place.

Q.1. Why do you pursue the fusion of raags and electronic music?

Because i have grown up into that culture and i have learnt indian classical Tabla for a very long time. Roots really inspire me to what i do today as a musician and artist and same with electronic music i started listening and producing Drum & bass music in my teenage, thats why i love drum& bass music and mix these 2 worlds of music. In fact i created an alias for just bass music called MOSILLATOR.

LOFIMAKER – 暗潮 Dark Wave

LOFIMAKER’s been busy this Spring, coming out with an EP as well as this single, all providing proof of excellence for this brilliant sound the Chinese producer and his dohits colleagues have manufactured. Dark Wave owes as much to his crew as it does to Thriftworks-style limp beat skits, crafting a scenario that is beyond his predominantly Asian-sounding, yet stellar as usual.

Eccentricity = 9
Lucidity = 9
Intricacy = 10
Cadence = 6
Sentiment = 8

Median = 8.4

LOFIMAKER – 发丘 [dohits]

LOFIMAKER’s EP release this month is also another highly organic oriental work and it definitely bears its own charm as well as the instantly-identifiable signature dohits sound. Most the tracks on the album capture various grooves in highly dynamic song structures, but track 2 and 3 really hit home with overall quality and why LOFIMAKER is a force to be wreckened to. Conceptually, the album plays on the borderworld of life and death, using Chinese traditions of witchcraft, burial and tomb-raiding; a quality that may have been executed more clearly, but a praise-worthy motive nonetheless.

Favourite Track: 碎牙嚼尸

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

Median = 9.2

Liquid Bloom – Re.Generations [White Swan Records]

Re.Generations is an album that avowedly sees Liquid Bloom revitalise his music in a more immersive fashion. Putting this theory to work, I took the album on a test drive and despite not being familiar with the previous generation, it’s easily perceptible that these tunes are certainly rich, multi-instrumental and highly fitting of the artist name, Liquid Bloom. An assemblage of aquatic sounds and organic shakers collide with vocals of Deya Dova and more, slowly-progressing grooves in what can be described as the border point between traditional meditative Buddha-bar-esque psychill and modern world bass done to perfection. Hard to pick a favourite track but definitely an album to listen to in its entirety and forget the time axis with.

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

Median = 8.6

Q.1 – What drove you to regenerate these tracks?

I was called to play a Liquid Bloom set at a festival called Lightening in a bottle in 2016.  I started going into some of my genesis Liquid Bloom songs from 12-15 years ago and remixing them so they had more energy. The remixing process continued on after LIB, and I incorporated a lot of new musical relationships I have cultivated in recent years, such as vocalist Deya Dova, Porangui, Numatik, and the Armenian Duduk player Arsenal Petroyasan. The resulting Re.Generations album took on a life of it’s own while also paying homage to those early works at the same time.

Q.2 – How have you gone about making it a more immersive experience?

Liquid Bloom is booked at the Oregon Eclipse festival in August 2017. For this set we will have live vocalists, musicians, performers, and dancers all part of the set.

Nicola Cruz – Espìritu de Protección [Multi Culti]

Multi Culti’s most recent release comes in the form of a super eerie offering from the slow rave genre’s shining star, Nicola Cruz. The stretched and repitched vocals and the overall lofi feel add a proper ghostly vibe to the track as it slowly evolves and the flute coming in at 2:40 is exactly what the beat needs to evolve beyond repetitiveness. The track is both signature and unique and it does justice to embody Nicola’s spirit as a protectionist of this genre.

Eccentricity = 8
Lucidity = 6
Intricacy = 7
Cadence = 10
Sentiment = 9

Median = 8

Kurup – Minguante EP [Shika Shika]

A magnificently unique EP from Kurup exploring organic digital folk soundscapes that sound like they were made by photo-synthesisers which get direct input from the sun. The attention to foley in this EP is worthy of champagne toasts. The EP is a testament to the ‘waning moon’ phase of the month as celebrated in his home country of Brazil and his self-confessed ‘electric forest’ sound is effortlessly enjoyable, specifically through the opener Bossa A La Calle and Nheengatu, as well as a brilliant remix from Pigmalião. Miguante is an absolute must listen for anyone into downtempo organic bass music and a very well-crafted look into Brazilian electronic folk music.

Eccentricity = 6
Lucidity = 9
Intricacy = 9
Cadence = 8
Sentiment = 9

Median = 8.2

Wei-Chi Field – Pathways LP [Aquatic Collective]

Knowing both Wei-Chil Field and Aquatic Collective’s potential to create highly detailed atmospheric releases, Pathways has been an album I’ve been looking forward to since it was announced few weeks prior to release. This is one of those pen-ultimate conceptual albums, specifically curated as a fully-powered psychedelic trip, starting with over 5 minutes of ambient mood-setting until your substances start to kick in. Beyond being music, the album at most points sounds like trinkets of bioluminescent knowledge elixirs dribbling on the internal walls of a dark mind cave, evaporating back into mist, gliding through a whirlwind of emotions and periodically changing elements. Overall, the album is a delightful mix of crispy 2017 foley-ridden production and a traditional world-infused psydub aesthetic, and thinking about the insane amount of work that seemingly has gone into it, it is definitely one of the year’s most impressive psydub releases so far.

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

Median = 8.4

Gypsy Hill – Their Routes (Remixes) [Batov Records]

A super fun remix EP from Gypsy Hill exploring various adaptations of their original gypsy bass music, including moombahton, slow rave dub, glitch-hop, breakbeat, dancehall and trap. Stand-out remixes come from AlgoRythmiK and ShazaLaKazoo with their insanely dance-inducing scores. This type of music is the definition of having a good time as imagined through a party where sweaty and hairy Balkan men are saying cheers and smashing pints of beer together while modestly dressed village aunties clap on the dancefloor’s circumference.

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

Median = 8.4

Howie Lee – Homeless EP

Dohits main man comes out with a three track EP this month as well which explores a pretty heavy and experimental side of his music, sounding like an angry and distorted mix of Chinese and Middle Eastern trap. Howie Lee is a bona fide torch-bearer of ethnofusion music and all his releases automatically earn a spot of honour in pushing boundaries and being eccentric. Overall, the EP is ridiculously dynamic and strange, and may not be as well-balanced as his previous releases as it feels more like a exploratory beat-tape than a wholesome EP, but it is still essential to give him props on this project and include it in this blog.

Eccentricity = 10
Lucidity = 10
Intricacy = 10
Cadence = 6
Sentiment = 6

Median = 8.4

Martins Garden & Friends – Horizon [Merkaba Music]

I first heard WIPs from this super-project initiated by Martins Garden a few months back and was originally asked to take part by providing poetry for the album. Unfortunately, traffic in the passage of time didn’t allow for a high word mileage on my behalf but knowing the producers involved and the sheer amount of collaboration that has gone into this album, it automatically grabbed my attention. 9 tracks fusing the combined magic of Martins Garden fused with Yechidah’s devotional psydub, sound design by Aquatic Collective mainman, Ponder. & squelch-don Halfred, as well as instrumental input from Spyfromcairo and sarangi guru Lo.Renzo. The album has the crew experimenting within different scales of hypnotic bass music, so there’s a bit of Asian, Oriental, Hindi, Middle Eastern goodness for a wholesome experience. To top it all up, the track Mithraya is a collaboration with dancer, Imaya Sabine and it comes with a fascinating video. All in all, this album is another release this month that bridges the modern and traditional psydub realms and gets full props for its collective effort and execution; no wonder why it has found a home in one of this genre’s biggest labels.

Favourite tracks: Horizon, Mithraya, Reincarnation

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

Median = 8.8

Q.1. What is the most special experience you had while taking part in a big collaboration like this?

Martins Garden: My most special experience I had during the process was: the deeper I dove into Himalayan culture the more I was fascinated by Buddhism. And this is all about this album stands for: Broad your horizon, train your mind to become a better and happier person. Buddha is now and idol for me. He did not claim that he was the messenger from a god. He was a human being who perfected himself and taught that if we followed his example, we could perfect ourselves also.

Q.2. Regarding the relationship with Imaya’s video, to what extent was the music inspired by the dance, and vice versa?

Martins Garden: Ponder and I met Imaya at Symbiosis 2016 and we were absolutely hypnotised by her irresistible dakini dance style. So we decided to produce a track just for that kind of tribal bellydance style. That was the birth of the track Mithraya and the idea to create a music video clip about the story of Mithraya represented by Imaya.

Spyfromcairo: I could definitely say that working with people you really don’t know in person and just exchanging recordings of each other via internet is a pretty magical thing…. Like, you get to know people strictly by their musicality and souls and I simply love that. It’s definitely a great way to make new talented friends in the most sincere way.

Kusht – Voodoo Love [Akumandra]

A rather experimental release from Akumandra, with this trappy slow rave release from Kusht, exploring a magical cult vibe that’s stacked on the low end frequencies. It’s nice to see artists in this genre break the monotony of a simple four-to-the-floor kick groove and include switch-ups like heard in this track. It makes a far greater dynamic listening as it encourages to explore double n half time modes of dance, n all things in between.

Eccentricity = 8
Lucidity = 7
Intricacy = 10
Cadence = 6
Sentiment = 6

Median = 7.4

Hiygalo – Masters of Dabke (SOOHAN Remix) [Zoom Tube]

SOOHAN remixes are always something to get hyped about if you like your banger world 808 vibes. With this one, he explores the modernisation of the Arabic Dabke dance and the track has reportedly been supported by the Masters of Dabke YouTube Channel, and released in collaboration with Zoom Tube who focus on Dabke dance. This is important as the collaboration indicates the artist has managed to satisfy both qualities of the tradition and modernisation without comprising the culture and this is to be respected.

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

Median = 8

Q.1. Why did you choose to remix Dabke music?

SOOHAN: Found the dabke through the youtube video this year after it went sort of viral and became immediately obsessed with it.

Q.2. What was your strategy to make sure your remix will still incorporate the feel and value of the original?

SOOHAN: Hmm well It worked out really nicely to have the bass slam down on the down beat like that. It caters to the original flow of the music so I wanted to keep it that way, plus I had never really heard a dance rhythm like that, and was pretty happy with how it turned out.

Giyo – Queen of Hearts

Giyo’s status as a European style producer / multi-instrumental who’s music oozes class on each second in undeniable. This is mature song-writing and production at the calibre of Feverkin, Koresma, et al. and the melodic value in terms of chord progressions and craftsmanship is much richer than many of its similar counterparts.

Eccentricity = 6
Lucidity = 9
Intricacy = 10
Cadence = 9
Sentiment = 7

Median = 8.2

Vlien Boy – Sola Te Dejare (Trapchata Ed!t) [Worldwide Exclusive]

Damn, this one is definitely one of my top favourites this month, definitely at least in terms of something I want to dance to as immediately as possible. It’s perfect parts folk and banger and the 808y goodness is subtly and neatly placed on the tune, not to alienate either type of party; family gathering, cultural celebration or a club. With the consecutive features in the past three months, Vlien Boy is definitely on top 5 of our list of dudes killing the ethnofusion freshness this year.

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

Median = 8.8

Bwoy De Bhajan – Antique Cicada [onedotsixtwo]

Bwoy De Bhajan is the tree that keeps giving, and his music doesn’t seize to evolve. With Antique Cicada, he takes on a more jazzy approach compared to his usual world-fusion sound, but the forest vibes are still completely intact. This is what music at a bar of a 5-star hotel in the Amazon would sound like. His productions are still some of the crispiest around, most impressive musical pieces out there.

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

Median = 9.2

Q.1 – While this is still quintessentially Bwoy music, what drove you to experiment with this Jazzy vibe?

Bwoy: When Tripswitch asked me to contribute a track to the first compilation on his new label Onedotsixtwo, i was told that it would be 2 CD’s. One with downtempo and one with techy house rhythms. I tried to bridge the two with this track. I’m into uptempo music, absolutely! .. But i try to be really careful touching it with this project. I’ve used jazz chords, rhythms etc. in my music since i started. It goes hand in hand with spaced out music, and with this track having a bit of a summer vibe to it, i had to add rhodes piano amongst other elements.

Q.2 – Any cool concept behind the title, Antique Cicada?

Bwoy: Nah.. Well, listening to the finished track, i kind of envisioned an ancient cicada waking up from its thousand year slumber, experiencing how much taller the grass has grown around him, and how much the bug world has evolved in that time. From the first mystical look around, to feeling shocked, then embracing the change and at last finding peace in it’s new surroundings. .. If only i could animate.

Stanisha – Touch

Stanisha delivers on Touch per usual with the haunted multi-cultural world vibes and hypnotic groove. It’s superb in the sense that it does to your mind and body what most Stanisha tracks do; uncontrollable whirling around the room, lake, fire or any other physical body that may be at the locus of your ceremony. The main thing the tune is slightly lacking in is that hi-fidelity crispness of production. Other than that, definitely something to have for your summer nights.

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

Median = 8.4


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