There we have it; the ouroboros has finally eaten its tail and concluded its tale.
After 4 years of continuous research and presentation, I have arrived at a point that I need to terminate my monthly operations with Ethnofusion blog. Since July 2014, I went on a mission to listen to as much ‘ethnic electronic’ music as possible and uncover as many varieties this genre, its labels and artists can offer. Every month, I listened to a Soundcloud feed of a growing number of artists (1770 of ‘em until today), handpicking all that stood out to me. It’s quite impossible to put a number on how many songs I’ve heard in this time, but here are the stats that I can confidently show from my archives:
- A total of 822 releases were featured and written about (singles, EPs, albums & compilations)
- 45 Interviews were carried out with artists from all over the globe
- A total of 124690 words and 886,421 characters were typed on my keyboard.
Throughout the evolution of the blog and the shear repetitiveness of the task, a series of criteria immerged for me as a sort of ‘benchmark’ of how I was valuing my favourites and after some time, I decided to apply them as a rating of 10 to songs. I probably pissed off a lot of artists with my pseudo-professional ratings, but oh well… at least I admit my own music would barely scratch a 7 on this blog, and I never featured any tracks below that mark.
The whole aim of this benchmarking exercise was to experiment with establishing an ‘objective standard’ of musical value and whether this was even possible. What were the results? The following 5 factors that aim to summarise these key points as concisely as possible. I personally am stoked to apply this to my personal music, label submissions control and future promo work, and I hope it has some value to y’all as well.
Being a fan of the avant-garde, I believe music as an artform needs experimentation to evolve, and any attempt to break the existing mould which may lead to a ‘unique’ distinction or signature sound; hence, the word, eccentricity was chosen to reflect its technical meaning; “deviation of a curve or orbit from circularity”.
Some artists that I rated a 10/10 in this factor include, Howie Lee’s “Homeless EP”, Mahdyar’s “Seized”, numerous Bwoy De Bhajan tracks, Alon Mor’s “Long Awaited Journey” & Ruby My Dear’s “Brame”.
What sets apart professional and amateur musicians is normally the quality of production a.k.a. ‘lucidity’; the guaranteed expectation that the music is mixed and mastered clearly, and can translate to different types of so systems.
Some examples of optimum lucidity include Tipper’s “Latice”, Bandish Projekt’s “Dakla 2″, The Widdler & Otz’s “Outlawz” & Chancha Via Circuito’s “Bienaventuranza”.
Artists that pay great attention to detail can create rich and multi-layered music that leaves you discovering new sounds and groove interactions even months after your first listen. Moreover, conquering the over-digitalisation of electronic music, many artists are bringing instruments and field recordings into their equation and I commend this combination of live humanizing element and tapping into a large pool of sound as an ‘intricacy’ factor.
Some examples of intricate music include POAN‘s “Maro”, almost everything by Globular & Quanta, Gama‘s “Microscopic Cookbook”, and Kaya Project‘s “Up from the Dust”.
Since the ancient practice of stomping around a fire with repetitive chants, one of the most primordial concepts behind music is to dance, or follow a repetitive ‘beat’ with degrees of variation. Even the best produced and most detailed sound art piece may not evoke optimum response if it lacks groove. Accordingly, this bop, physical response, flow of rhythm, or ‘cadence’ should be valued in music.
Some examples of premium cadence include Shpongle‘s “Empty Branes”, Adham Shaikh‘s “No Time”, Helucze‘s “Light of the Straw Hats” EP, and Andi Andean‘s “Luciérnaga”.
Music is a story-telling artform. The ability to conjure up certain emotional response from a listener. Over time, many great conceptual albums and songs have been able to capture an idea so vividly that they make you feel as if it is happening to you. Alternatively, the backstory to certain songs can often be a strong indication of why they are valued, and this has been categorized as ‘sentiment’.
Some of the most sincere concepts I’ve heard behind releases on the blog include outreach and fundraising campaigns by Beating Heart, Aquatic Collective & our own Outtallectuals fundraisers, Nochi’s ethnomusical research in “El Baile Del Nai”, Biomigrant‘s conceptual audiovisual journey in “Aldea Mundial” and much more.
Future of Ethnofusion (as Shivelight)
It’s unlikely that my discovery of new music will stop, and I aim to continue curating Ethnofusion as a Playlist on Spotify and still listen to as much of the Soundcloud feed as possible. However, the monthly writing, public playlists and in-depth reviews will be discontinued. This is because:
- My personal life has changed significantly since I started this blog 4 years ago and I simply cannot dedicate as much time to the project.
- I’ve ran out of words to describe releases. Originally, my aim was to not repeat myself and the shear repetitive nature of the duty has outpaced my vocabulary growth.
- The whole format of music promotion and discovery as written blogposts is unfortunately a dying field and the music world demands me to move on with the times.
Instead, we’ll be merging the Ethnofusion channel with our partner YouTube promo channel, Shivelight, and using both of our focuses to promote a much more carefully selected number of tracks accompanied with visuals. Samaya’s Shivelight channel has been growing significantly over the past 2 years, recently passing 40k subscribers on YouTube, and partially, this is thanks to some of his viral mixes which took influence from Ethnofusion blog and Outtallectuals releases. Over the past year, we’ve been working ever closer with each other and seeing as our tastes are highly aligned, we’ve decided to continue this partnership in a more cohesive package by merging the Ethnofusion Soundcloud and Facebook platforms with Shivelight’s. Shivelight will remain an independent entity and a close promo partner for Outtallectuals and a number of other carefully selected labels and artists which we have identified and established relationships with over the platforms’ lifetimes.
We will continue our playlists on a Private & Exclusive format that will be accessible via Shivelight’s upcoming Patreon pledge, the details of which will be revealed in the coming weeks.
Shivelight on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/c/shivelight
Thanks to all our readers in the past number of years, and keep listening to and supporting global bass / ethnofusion music!
p.s. For now, keep an eye on our Ethnofusion / Shivelight playlist on Spotify for our all-time favourites and recent discoveries while we work out the new channel arrangements.