We are here again, yet another month to be alive, another chance to listen to good underground music and uncover some of the fattest headphone and sound system bumps of the months. This month’s psydubhop section has indeed been buzzing and many of our favourite artists and labels have been busy creating some tasty music. More importantly, I recognize this month’s column to be one of the most varied one to date, featuring music of China and Japan, to India, the Middle East, Balkans, and North Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa, Latin and even Mayan aesthetics. It has also expanded to include more house & techno tunes, bringing you tunes from all BPMs and styles. Enjoy!
Alternatively you can access this selection as a playlist on our Soundcloud page.
Ethnic Dub / Mid-tempo
Khanum – Sprut
One of the deepest heads featured on this blog before, Khanum is back this month with a subtlety tribal bassline-driven attack on all things irrelevant to a banging riddim. Sprut is not as world-based as Sands of Time or Rattlesnake but the weight on these basslines is not to be fucked around easily.
Mudra – Divinorum [Muti Music]
This new full length release from Mudra kicks off our findings of the month in incredible fashion. Somewhere within the cross-section of trap, dubstep, IDM, neuro, reggae dub and hypnotic oriental vibes, this release is the axe of virtue being smashed into the crown chakra of wrong-doers. The whole release makes spirituality look like a Thug Life video clip. It’s the sort of thing you’d need for a video of a levitating monk tilting the lowrider suspension on his invisible vehicle. The Muti Music guys really hit home with this release and big ups to Mudra for creating something that sounds recognizably unique in a highly similar sounding style.
Quanta – Changala
Let’s just say it once and for all; Quanta is not average psydub. Through the various releases that I’ve heard in the past year or so doing this blog, Quanta’s music has stricken me to have some of the most profound polyrhythmic sensibilities possible. There is an insatiable groove that just continuous to evolve in the most unpredictable ways; take the transition from 2:30 – 3:10, or 4:00 to 4:20. There’s no immediate reason why someone should come up with such a beat structure but that’s exactly what Quanta is capable of and that’s why I regard him as one of the most unique artists in psydub today.
Bassline Drift – Dhumavati [Gravitas Recordings]
Our friends in Bassline Drift released their first full length album this month through the Gravitas crew and seeing what their live shows look like and how this release sounds, we are hoping the duo are destined for bigger things. Their music has consistently had an undeniable world-fusion flavour which can easily be heard in this track from the album, mixing traditional Hindi wailing with Rachel Sinks beautiful vocals, while Keli provides the musical backbone to the barrage of sound. Dhumavati is ridiculously volatile and high octane, and for anyone who digs this kind of energy, we highly recommend their whole ‘Proximity’ album.
Antandra – RE:ATTUNED EP
With the help of some psychedelic sergeants, Antandra’s Attunement EP gets a re-do, featuring the likes of Wolf Tech, Stratosphere, Soulular, White Robot, ICARO and In Bloom. Antandra is a name to know when it comes to world fusion music if his long career and recent release of a world fusion sample pack is something to go by. All these songs here have delicious psydub vibes with ICARO’s redo of You Are The Reason standing out as the most unique feature on the EP and In Bloom’s deep bass space extravaganza.
Mindex – ReFocused [Merkaba Music]
After a spell with some other future bass music, Mindex is back where he is known to strike best and that is glitched-out world fusion psychedelic bass music. From what the ReFocused minimix shows here, there seems to be a wealth of organic drums, wobbly bass, rich melodies and instrumentations, and most impressively, an amazing number of melodic progressions and dynamic transmissions. It sounds like a perfect mix of Mr Bill-esque IDM-hop and Globular-esque psydub. The album is also now available through Merkaba Music’s bandcamp and it’s certainly recommended for those technical bass-heavy ethnic mid-tempo moments.
Duffrey – Third Eye Vision (wassuop Remix) [Street Ritual]
Newly featured artist wassuop comes out with a super crispy rendition of Duffrey music, hitting all the nooks and crannies of your brain’s psychedelic realms with those tinnie tiny pinching sounds. This is what it would sound like if fluorescent ninja robot gnomes had to do a military march in front of their unicorn leader. Fans of intricate super-subtle and highly detailed psychedelic music, this is exactly what you need.
AtYyA – Depth Perception
The psydub veteran who’s associated with labels like Envisioned Arts, Merkaba Music, Street Ritual and Luminosity Project, comes out with a full LP which as the title suggests hits some of the deepest parts of the psydub realm. There is a melodic aesthetic to this that’s similar to the old school sound of Yahel if it was produced with the technology of today and influenced by urban music. Overall, this is more psychedelic than ethnic, however some moments of tribal goodness crossover which make it fitting for this blog; namely this is the song Ancestors Speak and its beautiful vocals from Ixchel Prisma, which is a few album’s worth of sorrowing emotions in itself.
Whitebear x Tribone – Permutations
Shanti Planti big dogs Whitebear & Tribone link up for a tune on Whitebear’s new neuropsyhop EP, delivering this monster tune which embraces the darkest side of both their productions. This is flagship music of what the post-neuro grandsons of psychedelic stomper music sound like and the two producers’ complex musical trickery creates a richly soundscaped piece. Tribone’s Israeli roots are well present in the overall sound, triggering that ethnofusion sound and merged with Whitebear’s brilliant sound-design, this is progressive technical Shanti Planti music for the win.
Tara Putra – Subdubtion
Tara Putra is arguably one of the first world fusion electronic artists that I came across, back in 2009 when I wasn’t even aware of this kind of music as a genre, and when I had heard Manali Mission through a friend who had slipped it onto my laptop. It was only this year that I pursued his music again as a result of this blog and I’m glad to be writing this today about his new project, ‘Subdubtion’. So far, what I have been able to uncover online is that this is a part of an album with Psychoz, entitled ‘Shanti’ and if this song is any proof of the rest of the album, we are in for an amazingly colourful triple O.G. psybient / ethnient album with an ultra-downtempo aesthetic, revolving meditating progressions and a plethora of aural happenings. It’s amazing how many melodies are happening in this song in a very subtle fashion and despite the lack of CRAZY bass designs or BANGER aesthetics, this just goes to show how the classic way can be most effective.
Anticode – Gita
Damn, this is definitely one of the most unique songs of this month. Hindi neuro traphop is something that doesn’t come by too often in this blog and I’m really glad to be hearing this. Like a shot of Arrack, this is minimal yet potent, gripping yet loosening and mellow yet heavy. Definitely keeping an eye out for Anticode to perhaps come out with some more tasty Hindu or otherwise ethnic epicness.
Grey Matters – Bardo
Following the trend of Asian neuro-based trip-hop, Grey Matters hits with the simplistic beat of Bardo which despite clocking in at 2:19, does a monumental job of portraying a sorrowful Near Eastern world, one that could guide you through a deep introspective journey while burning the lard on the vicinity of the ego’s core with gritty basslines.
The French Touch Connection
A compilation coming out of Paris with a whole bunch of European-fusion goodness. Mostly, things here take an instrumental trip-hop / hip-hop format with songs having an overall classical flavour. Not all songs sound ‘world’ish but a few definitely fit this category in the most intriguing ways; Spectateur’s How They Smile utilizes beautiful French folk melodies; Ethnofusion favorite, CloZee hits with what she declares as ‘Flamenco-step’ which naturally comes with a barrage of clap grooves, Hugo Kant comes out with a Hindi Waltz fusion, and LiL Fish’s White Cloud is another tasty serving of this Waltz-ridden dish. Best part about this is it couldn’t be any freer to download.
Ethnic Trap / Bass
Cavest. – Babylon
This that spiritual gangster shit that got them demi-gods twerking; this that tweaking the suspension on your lowrider magic carpet ting; this that hookah smoke out your woofer bass; this that surfboarding down a Qanat flowing pomegranate juice stream. Yep, what I’m trying to say is that this stuff is pretty good.
ASADI – Mafia / Time / Game of Thrones
Alright, it’s completely official now. Persian trap music has a face and it’s ASADI. A few months ago when I first his music, he had a few hundred followers and a few beats; now he’s on that minimum 10k listens and 7k followers in a matter of months and you can definitely hear why. Take it in Mafia and how he fuses traditional Iranian music, modern Iranian ‘gheri’ dance music with a Western trapstar attitude to create an insanely colossal banger journey. Same goes for Time with a more sorrowful sound but built for moshpits in a ‘Zoorkhaneh’. His genius take on the Farsi cover of the Game of Thrones soundtrack is another beautiful party piece that’s equally fit for a battleground as it is your hairy Cousin’s wedding.
So far, I’m amazingly glad there’s someone like ASADI doing it well at the moment, putting this unique style on the map and I’m looking forward to the time he moves on from using samples of well-known Iranian songs and starts to incorporate original recordings.
Axel Thesleff – Reincarnation
Another awe-inducing discovery this month that stands out in uniqueness with that ethno-garage vibes; another fusion genre that’s very rare to come by. It’s a merger that doesn’t feel like would work on paper, perhaps due to the lack of its availability. But listening to what Axel Thesleff is making, we definitely have something extremely distinctive, uplifting and funky. There’s a clear understanding of what music is in this composition and that is a factor that has to be credited in this write-up.
Do Hits – Vol.4
New Do Hits albums are always good news to this blog and they always psych me up. Here we have 13 tunes from presumably China’s finest future ancient beatmakers, delivering some quality bass music. Usual suspects to create some unfathomable uniqueness are ZHI16, Jason Hou & his Mongolian counterpart Yider with some throat-singing-fused madness, main man Howie Lee defining new musical territories per standard, Fang going on a mind-boggling Chinese footwork odyssey, and Duanger & Miss Melody bringing their own unique touch to the table. Ethnic or not, mad hatter hats off to this crew doing some of the most daring music around.
Rude – Eternal Youth / Yamagsumi (remix) / 22 Samurai / Secrets
Alright, let’s talk about man like Rude. Dude seems to have a pretty amazing ear for ethereal East Asian vistas, flipping them into the airways and slicing them with Kitanas for some dank instrumentals. All in pretty good time as well. That’s 4 beats for you in a month in a consistent but malleable style, that’s remembering that we last featured him for something of a more subcontinental fusion. Some of these tunes have the same aesthetic that CloZee music does but kept to a simpler Pretty Lights-esque non-glitched out hip-hop nodder. All four of these tunes rock as instrumentals and I’m stoked to see where his music will go as it evolves.
SEPARVTIZM x Mrr.GOVGVIK – Moroccan Kush
Here is your faded dark trap fix of the month straight out of Al-Dab in Bongcity. It’s just extremely ignorant, never gave two shits about anything and probably doesn’t give even one shit about my opinion or yours. Basically, instead of bass, there might as well just be a middle finger sticking out of the subwoofer while the DJ sits behinds the decks, reclining on a hammock and only spins vinyl to have easy automized ability to rub extract on the exterior of his blunts. Catch my smoke drift?
BÖ & Mazlum Uruç – Kabil II
The sorrow is real. It’s easy to pitch vocals up and completely ruin them, especially in this ethnic trap style. But BÖ & Mazlum Uruç really hit home with this one. Everything is done by the book here but every policy and legislation of how to make a banger Middle Eastern trap tune have been carefully examined and executed.
Steal This – Khanjar [OTADAYO]
Dancey battletrap with the title of a Middle Eastern dagger from the giants OTADAYO has a lot of promising potentials, and despite the use of a very over-used and recognizable sample, everything else is pretty fitting for a dancefloor. The drumwork stands out particularly, creating a fast-paced double time groove for the overall melody and prompting a raveful workout.
Gan Gah – Chaâbitronics
Gan Gah is back with a new EP with LOWUP Records, delivering that North African uptempo goodness. Chaâbi is a style of North African music that’s mostly played in festive events like weddings and for the bass generation, it is understandable why there needs to be an electronic version of it and Gan Gah ensures this task is in good hands. All four tracks on this EP have easy-to-follow grooves will make you dance erratically but there is a beautiful polyrhythm happening in the background of this music, giving a little edge from its 4 to the floor counterparts.
Todiefor feat. Daler Mehndi – Tunak Tunak Tun (remix)
Holy damn, this is definitely the most high octane track of this month. It’s officially time to name this style, “Bhangera”. Ridiculously dancey music. Bolytrap remains to be one of the most fun ethnofusion styles I’ve heard and Todiefor’s remix of this Indian classic / meme-generation gem is something that’s gonna bring a few smiles to your face.
Ethnic House / Techno
Carnibal Records – VA.14
As a result of my decision to include some straighter more accessible beats in this blog, we have a new label on our radar this week in the form of Carnibal Records and their various artists EP featuring Palov, Sibu, Joe Nagall & Bonze’s Fuel, and Bandura. Taking influences from Spanish gypsy and even Hindi music, this is the sort of thing that’s impossible not to like. It’s humorous easy-listening that’s perfectly suitable for the summer and can almost certainly bring a smile to your face. Looking forward to more uplifting releases from Carnibal Records.
Multi Culti – Moon Faze [MCLP003B]
A big LP featuring a whole load of 4-to-the-tribal tunes, with support from XLR8R, Stamp The Wax & Thump must say something interesting. Most tunes here are housey upper-midtempo scores with whirling slow progressions that almost stop type due to their sluggish evolution. Frankly, some of this stuff is too repetitive for someone who likes their music unpredictable like me, but some songs on this album really present a great balance within the predictability spectrum. Specifically, I’m talking about two tracks: Von Party and Naduve’s Cobra Kush which successfully sonifies a desert rave deep in the Saharas, and Luh’s Rosa which while being as minimal as possible, provides a brilliantly eloquent groove with the help of bird sounds, flutes, tribal singing, and an ambiance that is so deeply tribal in composition, production and presentation alike.
Surreal Flight, Zone+ & Usif – Nan Dunaem
Despite being only 2 minutes long, the atmosphere this song sets makes it an inevitable feature on this blog. By merits of this preview of the desert ethnic techno that is Nan Dunaem, this is one of tunes you need on a long journey in a car, transnational train lines or anything from the highways of the Emirates to Route 66.
Jota Carloza – Elementales EP [Cosmic Awakenings]
Glad to expand further into some Latin American territories with this blog and discover, ‘HA’ (meaning Water), the Mayan bass gem from Jota Carloza’s Elementales EP which also rocks a minimal oriental house tune in the form of Prana as well. The 2nd track is icing on this cake and the main source of awe here is the organic tribal / natural ‘healing house’ sound of HA. The drumwork sounds brilliantly jazzy and it aids the composition to create a song that sounds more like a documentary film than something you’d hear in the electronic music scene. Dazzling sounds from this newly discovered artist and label.
Nato – Nsadwasse
This is atmospheric tribal African house music, aided by the voice of Alex Konadu, singing in the Asante language, Twi. Nato’s atmosphere in this song is as rich as they get; sounds ever so indiscriminately bound into each other like the fabric of Ghanaian Kente cloths, colourfully symbolizing various concepts into tessellated patterns. This one comes with a warning that it may induce hypnotism.