Concurrent with the launch of our new site layout, we are proud to present the first edition of Ethnofusion’s second year, and one of our most comprehensive to date. Join us for a range of ethnic electronic expressions and interpretations as we take you through every existing mould in electronic music and present you with their variants that carry the tribal feels. You can either leave this top playlist on to hear everything, or read the track-by-track interpretations and why they were picked. Enjoy!
Ethnic Downtempo / Dub
Ghostek – Melencholia II
Wow. Ghostek is here to teach the newbies a thing or two about deep heavy substep and haunting blackhole dark ambiance. Melencholia II is disturbingly dank caveman dub to wrestle bears with. This is stuff ceremonial DJs at Gobekle Tepe would play on the longest darkest most sorrowful days of the year. The atmosphere created, sound definitions, and overall class of this kind of deep dubstep is basically what makes the style so endearing and Ghostek has produced a perfect piece to demonstrate that.
Audeka – Ancestral Call [Methlab Recordings]
Earlier this year, Audeka produced ‘Mushrooms are Alien Probes’; the deep dark tribal ethnic orchestra of sound feat. Terrence McKenna stuff of dreams. This month, the trio have released a 15 track album with MethLab of pure sound design brainwank and spectral gritty neuro ghost music of the highest order. In parts of this journey, there are deeply fantastic ethnic touches such as is heard in the appropriately titled, “Ancestral Call”. I’m still considering this album to have its own dedicated write-up since it is better understood in its overall concept and full listen through, but it’s safe to say that it won’t do any wrong to include them on this monthly picks as what Audeka do is very close to making them torchbearers within the cinematic styles of heavy electronic music.
Ancestral Voices – Old Earth Voodoo [Samurai Music]
Ancestral Voices howl at the world from the bottom of the earth’s crust in this old earth voodoo, oozing magma through tectonic crevices into explosive formations of life-bearing landmasses. The expression is deeply ancient, portraying voices from Hadean times when even the earliest living precursor of the human was not alive. Brilliant.
DRRTYWUVLZ – Ah Yes [Street Ritual]
DRRTYWULVZ is back in our blog with this stunner full length released through Street Ritual. The album is a proverbial alloy of the best technical psydubs; conducting the electromagnetic flow like silver, glowing with the lustrous vibrancy of titanium fused with vanadium for that extra strength packing punch, dynamically evolving with the malleability of platinum and producing unstable radioactive polonium emissions.
All in all, this is predominantly a digital psydub release with few sporadic ethnic elements but the class of production makes is a worthy feature here and strong contender for album of the month. Tracks like ‘Suddenly’ nod to a Thriftworks type of aesthetic, while ethnic-inspired ‘All Them’ is g-code sadhu heady bass galore, and ‘Red Light’ can be prescribed alongside a hot pot of Lapsang Tsuchong to convey a Far Eastern well-being methodology. Regardless, this is certainly another album to be enjoyed in full.
CharlesTheFirst – Step / Time
On the ethereal corners of the future-bass-gone-neuro-n-gone-back-to-some-gangsta-shit-before-going-tribal realm, CharlesTheFirst came out with this song in his 4k SC follower appreciation EP and it’s sure to convince each of those fans that his productions are as crispy as they are glittery at this stage. It’s a subtle song but hits hard with weighty outbursts of oxytocin.
EurythmY – Nature of Mind [Shanti Planti]
Another mega-psydub actor who’s graced us with wholesome mind and body music this month, EurthmY unveils his new album, jam-packed with down and mid-tempo deliciousness. There is a certain highly welcomed garage / 2step flavour to tracks like Future Trips (with Boudika) that perhaps act as an ode of similar regional musical aesthetics to fellow UK bass artists like KOAN Sound and Shamanic Technology. Another standout ethnofusion score here is Tonglen (potentially referring to the ‘giving and taking’ meditational practice of Tibetan Buddhists) with an epic 6 minute slowly rising structure and organic polyrhythmic appeal. Both these tracks and other instances on the album show a strong understanding of both digital and acoustic elements of music masterfully combined in unison with eachother and the psych of the listeners.
Drumspyder – The Mother Rune
Once again, it’s an exciting time for this blog as there is new music from one of pysdub’s most dedicated to the ethnofusion cause; Drumspyder. A year after his last release, Drumspyder is back with the crispy and masterclass yet humble execution of The Mother Rune, delivering 9 top notch productions of tribal goodness. Perhaps it is stating the obvious but the emphasis on the (supposedly) recorded tribal drumlines all throughout this album give it that distinct Drumspyder riddim, while a combination of Neys, Strings and a bubbly wubbly bassline converge to accentuate the rhythmic structure. There is an undeniable sense of continuity throughout this album which solidifies this artist with his recognizable ‘sound’; a sound that is as fun as it is thought-provoking.
Favourite track – > a full listen through the album as a whole journey although it must be said the Balkan flavour to Vlashko Horo is amazing.
Luke Mandala – In This Dream [Merkaba Music]
Ethnofusion enthusiast and psychill OG Luke Mandala released a 5 track EP with the mighty Merkaba Music featuring this mid-tempo electronica-style beauty, with lush positives instrumentations, an old school flavour and a riding multi-faceted groove built from modulating arpeggios, drum machines, soaring strings and occasional tribal drums and wubs. It’s the sort of music that is impossible to dislike since it produces an undeniable optimistic sensation.
Kaya Project – The Seventh Citadel [Hadracadabra Vol.6]
Kaya Project is one of those musical conceptions that you know you are not going to dislike what comes out of, it is just a question of how amazing it will be. Released as a part of Hadra Trance Festival’s VA compilation of the whole psy spectrum, The Seventh Citadel particularly resonates with me, even as a 1min 30 sec preview. It’s an absolutely thrilling piece of organic mid-tempo ethno dub that works perfectly to represent this musical genre in a festival’s 6th celebratory compilation of psychedelic music.
Dirtwire – Russadir
First time Ethnofusion inclusion, Dirtwire injects a fresh stream of life into the styles we cover with this almost uncategorizable blend of flutes, guitar recordings, and highly organic percussive elements riding a peculiar yet complexly groovetastic beat. Being the child of musicians from Beats Antique, Stellamara & Jed and Lucia, it should come as no surprise how incredibly executed this song is. Brilliant discovery and an amazing project to look forward to in the future.
Mindspring Music – Reclamation VA [The Untz Promo]
A compilation for fans of deep psychedelic squelch dub glitch prayer music. With a title like that, you know the intent is to have highly meditative music and the music does to a large extent satisfy that aim. Many of these songs are more on the psychedelic side of things than ethnic, but regular ethnofusion heros like Martins Garden and Icaro come in with a good dose of that extra touch that makes them standout here. Not a ground-breaker release but a rather enjoyable affair.
Lost Cosmonauts – Kosmonautika [Adapted Records]
Coming through the gates of the glitch-hop giant label Adapted Records, Lost Cosmonauts take Kosmonautika out of their delivery box, still piping hot from the oven. It’s a modern sounding blend of post-future garage electronica drum beats, and an Axel Thesleff approach to incorporating world elements into the composition. It’s subtly heavy, classy in how it sounds, and overall, it sounds different to the majority of songs in this style. Impressive stuff. A definite favourite moment in this song is the BPM change and the artist’s utilization of this peculiar / less-often used mechanism of dynamics is commendable.
Ethnic Techno & House
Biomigrant – Aldea Mundial [Regional Label]
Aldea Mundial is a mega-project, a collaborative effort organized by Biomigrant as he travels across various regions of the Americas, documenting indigenous and urban music with respect to the local customs and value of music to the communities. Originally, this album was supposed to be a feature on this month’s blog but having had a short Skype chat with Biomigrant, I’ve learnt that it is a highly dense project that deserves its dedicated article in due time. So absorb Aldea Mundial in this list as another entry but a highly detailed account of this project will come soon.
Arman Miraan & Hraach – Aldebaran [SolSelectas]
Always exciting to hear music from SolSelectas whose previous releases have ended up in our features various time. This month, Arman Miraan & Hraach come out with Aldebaran, with its beautifully crafted and crisply delivered production. It’s deep, multi-layered, atmospheric, danceable and full of passion; it’s deep house / techno made of dreams and deja vus of bliss. Following the meaning of the title (The Follower in Arabic / star in Taurus constellation), it certainly sets a tone of bearing-finding clarity in the midst of a night desert adventure in ancient Mesopotamian lands.
Coss – Masala [AKUMANDRA]
The AKUMANDRA folks come out month in and out with delicious slow ethnic techno of utmost ritualistic value. Coss’s Masala is another herb in the label’s Ayurvedic remedies, mainly revolving around the central groove of a beautiful Sitar riff, with slow trance-inducing progressions stretching this ceremony to 7 minutes.
Ali Farahani – Younan [Cosmic Awakening]
Another remix style of multicultural magnitudes sees Ali Farhani create this piece, titled Younan (Name given to Greece in various languages), highlighting melodies produced by the ancient instrument known as Kithara. Being the father of the modern word ‘Guitar’, it is an undeniable OG within the tar family and the melodies that it creates really capture that ancient feeling. Ali Farahani has taken this aesthetic, mixing it with a lush deep house beat and soaring vocals, creating this lush soundscape.
Boozooka – 1603 [Seasidetrip]
This month we have our first feature from the Seasidetrip netlabel and there’s something about the precise clickiddy-clack of this release that gives it a distinct blog/listen-worthy release. You have all the usual suspects; oud melodies, snake-charmer pads, multi-layered percussive and synth-based techno grooves, etc., but the mixing and mastering really stand out on this release. Every single sound seems to belong in the mix and there’s a great balance between the low, mid & high ranges, & the panning spectrum, and all the elements in the music.
L.E.T. Zurich – Ararat VA
The Zurich-based netlabel / collective released this 4-track EP, celebrating world fusion techno with the help of four of their favourite producers, a couple of which definitely works to the taste of this blog. The album is dedicated to the Ararat mountain on the Armenian / Turkish plateau, and as a result, a spiritually-inclined song of praise about this South Caucasian / Asia Minor highland has been crafted with Armen Miran & Viken Arman’s productions standing out.
Sahalé – Magharibi
Care for some Africa techno as transcribed through the mind of a Parisian producer? Of course yes when it’s Sahalé. It’s a magical progressive journey, acting as a warm cup of tea to your hearing system, slowly soaking up your ears with Saharan warmth as it takes over your body. For anyone else living in Northern / polar / cold parts of the planet, this is something to help you soothe your yearning for the sun for this darker part of the year. For the rest of you lucky bastards, put this on in a beach oasis and dance around the fire for the rest of us.
Estray & Stanisha – Samsara
A few months back, we covered Estray & Stanisha’s collaborative LP which was nothing short of brilliant. Accordingly, it is stoke-inspiring that they come out with a collaborative free download, this time in the format of Samsara, with a plethora of technical tribal deep house elements. Definitely a must listen for fans of this type of music / soulful music for long drives.
Ethnic Hip-Hop / Trap
Diverstate – Shaolin [Jishin Records]
Where Future Bass and a mix of Oriental and Continental music meet, you can find Diverstate’s Shaolin, representing a kind of aesthetic similar to CloZee’s Red Forest or Dream Big, an overall epiphanic sense of acceptance, and an overall sense of calm gratitude.
no puls – Gaia’s Return
OHH SHIEEET. You remember the guy from the ‘when you’re driving and a Dilla beat comes on’ memes? It doesn’t matter which one but that broken neck thrust, the ‘that’s filth’ bass face shaking at quadruple time the BPM as a constant cry of ‘naaaaaaaah you didn’t and aww yeeeeee’ at the same time, while your fingers cripple, twist and blast in an uncontrolled display of gang violence pantomime. It’s a tough fucking beat, and the ghostly ethereal world vibe in the background gives you exactly what the 36 Chambers promised, n then some.
Alphant – Babtoo
Having an insurgence after some time, Alphant is back with a French beatmaker execution of world chill beats. I say that since there seems to be an aesthetic shared with this (for the lack of a better word) scene. Artists like Alphant, CloZee and members of the French Touch Connection have a distinct approach to chill ethnic electronic music; record scrolling, sample hunting, drum machine trip-hop styles with a distinct class attributed to the feeling it produces.
Besomorph feat. Cavest – King Hassan
Minimal banger style Arabic trap as a bi-product of these two producers colliding. The result? Pretty decent, there’s emphasis on Aztek style compositions, with a touch of Thriftworks-style synths, and those sweet foley percussion melodies. Overall, there is this empty space for every sound to flourish but the execution does not feel oversimplified.
Assasi – The Blue Giant (Prod. Baxtak)
At the risk of coming across as self-promo, I will be introducing my newest production featuring Syrian hip-hop artist Assasi. We linked up earlier this year in Nepal for some shows and created an early version of this beat. Few months later, we had a music video and it turned into the first single from Assasi’s upcoming album. I won’t praise my own beat, that’s for you to check out. But I will praise Assasi’s flow and lyrics and Anjay Khadka’s music video direction skills for this amazing video.
Stööki Sound – Endz
London duo, Stööki Sound join the ethnic trap world with this minimal ninja trap score, flaunting golden kitanas at rival gangs while saddled on low-riding chariots that shoot fireworks out the back. This is the fleek code if it was written in Akkadian cuneiforms documenting Kalmyk nomadic struggles… or something as ridiculously relevant.
Bandish Projekt – Katal Kalaa
Those who follow this blog regularly should not be surprised to see Bandish Projekt make the cut again. We’ve brought you humorous hip-hop tracks, 5/8 Indian neurostep, drum n bass and psychill from him, and this month he has seemingly mixed a little bit of all that to create Kar Natak & Dakla from an upcoming 5 track EP called ‘Katal Kalaa’ which uses Konnakol, a percussive vocal style from the south of India that closely resembles scat and jungle skibadee MCing. It’s quite a unique affair and despite the rapping being in Hindi, it’s thoroughly enjoyable for listeners of any language. Definitely a record to look out for when it’s out in full.
KSHMR – Dhoom [Wreckage Flip]
Taking the trappy selection from KSHMR’s conceptual Lion Across the Field EP and making it more suitable for a dancefloor, Wreckage’s Dhoom flip is banger trap galore, at points going into some big room and electro territories, but never quite passing the ‘that’s too much’ line. It’s ethnic stuff you could throw in your mix at a club where the audience and environment is not necessarily suited for ethnic music but can be swayed that way if you guide them through gateway tunes like this.
Pep. – Novinha Safadinha [Youth Energy]
It’s been a while since we had something like this in the blog, maybe I’ve been slacking on the latin side of things, but this brand of Latin trap is dancefloor gold. Even sitting at the desk, it’s making me do movements that I’d definitely be embarrassed about if there were people around. I need to keep remembering that I’m a hairy Middle Eastern man, not a big booty Brazilian favela princess [that’s enough detail].
Clap Freckles x Mao Skaay – Grito Badu [Worldwide Premiere]
It took me a while to understand what’s even going on here but I think I may have an idea now. This is some sort of slum party anthem that uses any percussive sound at its disposal that resembles banging on trash cans and cooking equipment, while flutes, anthems and trill synths provide the spice needed to top up this groove. It’s a really fun piece of party music, especially for anyone who likes their baile trap / favela bass / latin street rave music.