With two more months to go to close this calendar year, we have upped our game again, increasing our scope into an even more comprehensive range of sub-genres. Enjoy these finds and support the artists or causes as is suitable.
Ethnic Trap / Hip-Hop
Liquid Love Drops x An-ten-nae – Water Protectors
STAND WITH STANDING ROCK
It comes as a moral duty to open this month’s blog with the most purposeful feature of this period; the one dedicated to the struggle of Water Protectors at the Standing Rock Reservation. This situation is yet another case of greasy money-hungry oil-guzzling moral sluttery, but the unity between Native tribes and their perseverance has positively influenced the international community to become united in what is now a historically and environmentally important battle and the jabs are coming from left and right. The musical front-line is the flank from which Liquid Love Drops and An-ten-nae have chosen and utilizing the Water Prayer of the Souix tribe, the duo take tribal trap to the next level, making it fully aligned with a deeper-than-shake-your-booty-club-bangers purpose. While I’ve tried to stay aware of the ‘conscious’ electronic music community’s contribution to this cause, this seems to be the first direct support I’ve seen for this current war of waterways, and it is a directive that should be supported throughout the community. Other music communities should now take head and follow suit if they really stand for the progressive sustainable values that they make their many dollars from. Huge props and respect for you folks purposeful art.
Take/Five x Curfew – Kalahari [All Trap Nation]
‘Kalahari’ is a refreshing take on the genre with obvious influences from mainstream EDM aesthetics, and a lot more. The atmospheric execution is spectral in nature, yet hood as a council estate building elevator. Definitely something to consider for a dancefloor; if you got the spirit of your crowd in your palms, then no qualms.
An-ten-nae & SOOHAN – Baratang [Muti Music]
Well what do you expect. Throw these two in a blender and you have a perfect recipe for spiritual soul twerk extravaganza; put some ethnic vibes in there and you got a banger, an extrabaganza if you will. Simple, effective, fun, good vibes.
manitee x slight – A-Z
All you need from a dark trap mellow banger. Stoic ancient warrior anthem of the 808th order, heard to assist you persevere in the face of darkness. It’s dark and minimal, but dynamic enough demonstrate a good fight, and overall, triumphant.
Gianni Marino & ICHI – Pray [Tribal Trap]
We covered Ichi with his shamanic Mayan inspired EP in the past and it’s nice to have him reappear here with his half/double time take on dancefloor ethnic trap, this time alongside Gianni Marino. It’s a neat piece of basssmithery and tribal frequency creation, and is sure to bump some Eastern consciousness into crowds.
Guzz Music – 林中之象 An Elephant in the Jungle [Do Hits]
Man, it always psyches me to hear new stuff from any of the Do Hits crew and Guzz Music comes out with a full-length album and it’s as fun as all them dope Do Hits choons. It just sounds so unique to an untrained / semi-trained ear to hear authentic Chinese takes on trap and folks like Guzz Music never fail to deliver. One for those who wanna venture into a bit more ethnic territories than the usual Arabic and Indian suspects. On the other hand, some songs on this album like Duet are experimental but more friendly, bubbly and generally cute. There are a lot of foley breaks throughout, giving an amazing overall organic feel to this whole journey so we just suggest you listen to it all and cherry-pick your favourites.
LOFIMAKER – 狮鼓鸣 [Babel Records]
Another Chinese producer making the cut this month with what at least seems and sounds like a brilliant and well-produced effort to bring historic context to music. A difficult album to cypher since all the information is in Mandarin, but using Google Translate, it seems that this album uses ancient influences from Central Asia and Kazakhstan to highlight instruments that have influenced Chinese music over the centuries and utilize them in a modern context. Stylistically, this goes from chill hip-hop beats to double time footwork/trap-esque beats and some other variants of pan-tempo Asian goodness. It is a rather impressive album actually, and it sounds like it took a LOT of work, so I take my hat off for LOFIMAKER and salute him on this brilliant and unique piece of work. Favourite tracks include 喝酒 (drink), 风雨雷电 (lightning storm), 迪吉里杜 (Digeridoo) & 南海神尼 (something about the South China Sea).
David Starfire – Lapis
Well, it’s a stacked month and it wouldn’t be quite the same without OG representation. The Starfire is back with a tasty EP, featuring guest vocalists in Hindi, a Kaya Project remix, and an appearance by Ragga Twins. Safe to say that my favourite moment on this EP is the title-track with an amazing dance-inducing capability. Ridiculous groove… glitches on the instruments and voices… epic flute leads, double time drums marching the vibes through trap / footwork style foundations… there’s even a foley sound of a can opening at same point which shouldn’t make any sense but does. Definitely a banger not to miss this month.
Mancho – Devotion
One for the fans of instrumental hip-hop beats that come with Arabic herbs. It’s short n sweet, would probably work better with vocals, but in another way, it keeps that central spot for you to think for yourself. Subsequently, definitely recommend this on repeat for anyone trying to write bars.
Ethnic House / Techno / Cumbia / Electronica
Haunted Water – La Juala De Oro [Shika Shika Collective]
On an unchartered domain of organic cumbia electronica, Haunted Waters has created a highly captivating soundscape that really stands out from most other music and musicians in this Latin American style. It has this Western film vibe to it with the occasional whistle melodies heard, and the lush recordings of guitars present style with ever note, even when just sliding on the strings. Definitely an artist with a different approach that you should be on the look out for.
Spaniol – Benzaiten [AKUMANDRA]
Akumandra keeping things legit yet again, this time through the creation of Spaniol. ‘Benzaiten’ sounds out from the rest of music in this style because the instrumentation is genuinely fascinating. There’s so much going on, executed in an almost live atmosphere which makes you feel you are truly present there, peeping over a bush in a forest to witness a tribal ceremony you have encountered. You are then spotted and asked to join because you have a guitar on you and despite the whole scariness of this dynamic, you perform and everyone digs it and accepts you as an essential element in this moon’s ritual.
Xique-Xique – Xaxoeira (Nicola Cruz remix) [The Magic Movement]
Nicola Cruz’s take in this remix is nothing short of spectacular. The whole soundscape and this track is composed just resonates on both comfort and experimentality, simplicity and complexity, and infused organic and digital madness. There are heaps of delays everywhere, as the sounds of Bellicose women, waterfalls, and Amazonian nature intertwine. Magical stuff.
Frente Bolivarista – Nômades VA
A compilation that sees this label cultivate music from their favourite artists in Germany’s Nomade Festival, as well as some of their homegrown artists. The result is a slick display of all things slow tech / slow house and mid-tempo organic ethnic cumbia dankity. There’s a very fluent continuity to this compilation and tunes from folks like Pigmaliao, Gama, El Remolon and Ethnofusion favourite, Steffen Kirchoff standout in their unique technical takes on this largely laidback and easy-listening genre.
PrΛ.Λ.H – Chamada (Dandara’s Vocal Mix) [Festival Nomade]
Dandara makes another appearance this month outside the above compilation and through Nomade Festival itself, and this time remixing PrΛ.Λ.H’s Chamada. It’s an astonishing multi-layered forest-tech percussion click-clack laden track with a mix of well-synthesized sounds and bird sounds that are often undistinguishable from eachother, and pitched down vocals to embody an ancient and distant voice of the forests.
Anatolian Sessions – Parpar [Ready Mix Records]
Deep house gets its representation certified this month through Anatolian Sessions’ sub-bass conscious meditative vibrations. It’s the kind of soundtrack you need to persevere on a desert road at 3am with, as you find yourself, speeding alone in a seemingly endless ocean of sand, and involuntarily run this situation as a parallel to life’s ultimate struggle for meaning and beautiful decay.
The Soul Brothers – Hooda [Souq Records]
The Soul Brothers truly live up to their name with this absolutely screamer of an atmospheric track, with haunting vocals, harp melodies pouring on the soundscape like flows of honey, and a thumping tech-house beat to keep you grounded in the face of temptation to leave the planet, using only your spiritual connection as wings. Highly impressive stuff.
Mose Robert – Alma [AKUMANDRA]
AKUMANDRA hit the spot this month twice with two stellar deep tracks, previous one from Spaniol and this deep ethnic house score from Mose Robert. The branding of this label’s music as Multicultural Electronic couldn’t be more accurate, as for example, this song made by the artist from Guatemala has an overall Middle Eastern touch and this is a trend that can be felt throughout AKUMANDRA’s releases; music that’s so primal that almost surpasses the specific cultural identity, and penetrates to a precursor fabric that binds them all together.
Psydub / Ethnic Glitch
Synchromystica – Synchromystica EP
Couldn’t be fresher off the shelf, or the womb even. Premiered on the last day of this month, this new project has taken off as presumably the lovechild of two psydub artists whose identities I’m unaware off but clearly know what the fuck’s up. Through these four tracks, there’s a heap of mystical (duh) ethnic instrumentation and glitchy psybass goodness. There’s nods to everything dear; I can hear bits of Beats Antique, Thriftworks, Tipper, in a package spanning ethnic trap, dancehall and glitch-hop riddims. It’s really well-executed actually; I’m certainly looking forward to hear more of this super-inspired new musical project.
Subaqueous – SlipStream [Chillage Records]
There’s something distinctly good about Subaqueous’s dreamy pan-electronic sound that’s the cause for excitement with his announcements of new material. SlipStream satisfies on a medicinal level with an overall sense of direction, multi-instrumental execution and subtle yet present sound wizardy. This music does not sacrifice its soul for tech-jerk aesthetics and it does offer some of that where applicable, such as the collaboration with Halfred for added squelchy goodness. All in all, the ethnic half of this EP hit it home on the dub and trip-hop territories and we recommend this to anyone who appreciates classy positive world bass music.
Sub Roots – Singularity
Another fresh discovery of an act previously laying below the scope of our radar, we are glad to include Sub Roots in this month’s picks. As the title suggests, Sub Roots has plenty of hypnotic low end rub-a-dub appeal, as well as an effective minimum evasion of mid and high melodies. The overall sound lies very close to deep reggae dub, often replacing the usual reggae sounds with world instruments and meditative synths. This theme is consistent within the album’s stream, making it difficult to pick a favourite and easy for a smooth pleasant journey and we recommend you cop all these riddims for their suggested price of free.
Don Pedropoulos – Mantra Chanting [Unified Audio]
For those of you who need their Trush-ish deep dubstep fix, this one here from Don Pedropoulos has bass low and heavy enough that’s almost unhearable. Here’s a score to have you gorilla stomping, Rhino spearing anything in your path as you wrestle worthy opponents in a mud pond. Or something a little less violent as the title would suggest but I guess you can have your imagination run pretty wild with these things.
Loba – Sahara Steppa EP [Squinty Bass Records]
In the lifeline of this blog, [free] Loba and his Squinty Bass Records crew have come up various times and each time, we are delighted to bring these traditionally executed heavy bass ethnic steppa riddims to you. There are three tracks on this EP, each providing rootical vibrations from different sources within the Asian/North African region. One for the ones who are more comfortable with a tried and tested and perfected formula to dub.
Bukez Finezt – False Friends [FKOFdigital]
Normally known for all sorts of experimentations within the dubstep/140/trap family, it’s a pleasant surprise to hear the sirens in this intro going into the direction it does. It’s all in the blend of dub(step) fxs, trappy bass n brass hits, lush tender melodies and an otherworldly atmosphere of screams and discomfort.
Beatfarmer – The Ritual [Quantum Digits Record]
Cultivating high grade world grooves and to a high extent, a sense of stylistic continuity in approach, Beatfarmer hits back this month with The Ritual; a snail trail take on Hindi dub with a barrage of wailing licks battling for the foreground of your attention, leading you to get lost in the overwhelming sensory reception… all in the best possible way.
Tikki Masala – Jīvasūvarī ( जीवसूवरी ) [Masala Records]
The mastermind behind Masala Records is back with a signature authentic chilliest possible psy music. In this journey, Tikki Masala takes the traditional approach of long slow evolving traditional psychill while benefiting from the abundance of devotional Hindu instruments, chants and vocals. This is the sort of ethnofusion that’s equally accessible with the older generation (say +40) psyheads who like their prayer music in the format of the genre’s done and tested triple OGs; and Tikki Masala nails it. It’s the kind of good that might not shout to you to be awed, but you just go ahead and put this on and tell me how you feel in an hour (insert wink emoji). I mean, have you seen that album cover?
Favorite moments on the album: Solstice (feat. Sami Be Free) & Ethnic East
Visionary Shamanics Records – Timeless Journey VA
A compilation for fans of traditionally executed ethnic psydub, in the vein of Subbass Ethnostep releases and music of folks like Martins Garden, Mettakin, et al. There’s a lot of glitchy old school wubs, outer body soundbites, and whirling melodies, with some favourite moments including the two artists above, as well as Icaro delivering some serious time-bending glitches on Depth of Perception.
Shandy & Nuphlo – Mindset EP [Hundred Colours Music]
Not available on Soundcloud yet but you can pop onto Juno or Spotify to checkout this beautiful release. On all three tracks, the duo’s ethnic take on breakbeat jungle music is truly unique and magnificent. I can honestly say that I haven’t heard anything as good as this in this style in the past year or so of this blog’s life. Most definitely a standout release of the month, and potentially the year.