album

Ann O’Aro ~ Ann O’Aro

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“Ann O’aro aime tout ce qui touche au mouvement du corps, des rythmes et de la voix : « Je viens des arts martiaux et de la musique, avant de choisir le maloya pour chanter sur des sujets intimes et tabous ». Son écriture sauvage s’imprègne des langages accidentés ou des tics langagiers : une fulmination poétique branchée sur les tabous insulaires et les émotions fortes, la violence sexuelle, l’inceste et la passion amoureuse. Comme dans Kap Kap, une de ses chansons écrite dans le créole de la Réunion, son île natale. Un fonnkér cru et cinglant qui décrit l’étreinte d’un père incestueux, qui embrasse la folie et la violence d’une pulsion criminelle dans toute sa banale sauvagerie : « Amoin, marmay, bonom, lo lou, tousala ansanm, mi mor pour rash aou in kri, kan mêm sa pal amour / Moi l’enfant, l’homme, le loup, tout à la fois, je meurs de t’arracher un cri, à coup de griffes, à coup de queue, même si ce n’est pas un cri d’amour ». Et le chant d’Ann jaillit. Un chant qui plonge dans la réalité et n’a pas peur des ombres. « Ann O’aro », premier album éponyme (Produit par Philippe Conrath).”

© Cobalt / BUDA Musique

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album

Streifenjunko ~ Like Driving

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“Streifenjunko has taken a shift towards electronic sounds. Their previous albums “No Longer Burning” (SOFA 2009) and “Sval Torv” (SOFA 2012) was remarkable in the magnificent sound achieved only with a saxophone and trumpet. With the seemingly endless possibilities of electronic instruments their strategy of finding simple tasks has been put to the test, and in the making of this album Streifenjunko was put back to the starting position to re-discover their focus and recognisable simplicity. The result is music with sharp edges and sudden changes, crude starting and stopping. The engine of the music is the interlocking of slow moving streams. Some of the electronics are self generating for Espen and Eivind to follow, and the different sounds and layers are multiplexed using starting and stopping signals. To play is simply to follow the signals, like driving.”

© SOFA

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album

Alison Cotton ~ All Is Quiet At The Ancient Theatre

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“Alison Cotton of avant folk duo The Left Outsides creates a psychedelic pagan folk ritual with her viola, recorder, percussion and ghostly voice on ‘All Is Quiet At The Ancient Theatre’. Slowing things down to a droning pace, Cotton seems to summon up mystical powers through her eerie Clannad-ish chants on ‘The Bells of St Agnes’. And like Laura Cannell, she finds similar tones of drone within her string music by allowing space for the dragged out notes to echo and buzz on ‘The Last Sense To Leave Us’. Her choral vocal pipes in with a numbing effect, floating upfront and back into the shadows again on the five tracks, which were all improvised… Better than any mindfulness app for cleansing the brainwaves and stilling the souls of the godless for hald an hour or so…” Claire Sawers, The Wire 

© The Left Outsides

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mixtape

Grup Ses ~ Mimaroğlu Tapes

The Mimaroğlu Tapes mixtape prepared by Grup Ses is a selection of music from the music cassette archive of İlhan and Güngör Mimaroğlu. It helps to keep in mind that some of the cassettes were likely to be gifts or promotional copies given to the couple. The selection was based on the subjects and themes of the documentary “Mimaroğlu”. > www.grupsesbeats.com


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album

Jay Mitta ~ Tatizo Pesa

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© Nyege Nyege Tapes

“Since its founding in 2016, Kampala, Uganda’s Nyege Nyege Tapes label has been a steadfast advocate for underground music from across East Africa, the kind that doesn’t often find its way to Western record labels. Its rapidly growing catalog encompasses a range of styles, from traditional ceremonial drumming and virtuoso mbira performances to hybrids like Otim Alpha’s electro acholi, a digital update of Northern Ugandan Larakaraka wedding songs, or Jako Maron’s electronic experimentswith the traditional Maloya music of Réunion Island. Nyege Nyege is no stranger to the ultra-modern and ultra-globalized: Its sublabel Hakuna Kulala is a showcase for jarringly dissonant, heavily abstracted club music more in keeping with outlets like PAN or Príncipe. But one of the wildest sounds Nyege Nyege has showcased so far is singeli, a blisteringly quick style of dance music from Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania.

To the uninitiated, singeli might sound a little like Latin American merengue played on a cassette deck whose fast-forward button has gotten wedged in place. Tightly syncopated loops of sampled and synthesized drums spin at dizzying speeds while glassy keyboards pump away like the needles of an industrial sewing machine. It’s at once giddy and disorienting, and on Jay Mitta’s Tatizo Pesa, the surprises come fast and thick into something approaching a state of meditative grace.

Nyege Nyege first introduced singeli on 2017’s Sounds of Sissocompilation, a showcase for Sisso Records, a Dar Es Salaam outfit whose unvarnished style is a world away from the glossier strains that can be heard on Tanzanian pop radio. Sisso affiliate Bamba Pana delivered an especially erratic version of singeli with last year’s Poaa, where tempos sometimes reached 200 BPM or more. Some listeners heard an accidental echo of gabber, a pile-driving Dutch strain of trance music, but where gabber’s breakneck cadencetelegraphs an unmistakable menace, Bamba Pana’s tones were less violent—less a brick to the face than the prickle of a foot that has fallen asleep.

The fellow Sisso member Jay Mitta’s Tatizo Pesa is less frenetic—the tempo swings between a mere 180 and 190 BPM—but perhaps even more kinetic, given the elasticity of his sounds. Where Bamba Pana’s loops can sound tinny and lo-fi, Mitta’s layers of percussion samples and stabbing synth leads have a hi-def sheen. Early singeli tended to sample taarab, a style popular in Zanzibar that sometimes has the sticky-sweet flavor of keyboard presets, but Mitta’s production is more nuanced: Once your eyes adjust to the glare, there are shadows lurking just outside the perimeter of the neon glow. On “Dura,” synth pads reminiscent of 1980s quiet-storm R&B are buffeted by ping-pong balls and punctuated by declarative acoustic drum fills; on the title track, the 14-year-old rapper Dogo Janja’s rapid-fire chat trails off into an unexpected explosion of dub delay. The staccato “Mpya Singeri” is virtually nothing but drums and a plunging bass synth, suggesting unexpected echoes of UK club music.

Its true pleasure lies in the details. A meowing cat lends slapstick energy to one song, and in another, a melody briefly lands on the refrain from Stevie Wonder’s “Part Time Lover.” Over the course of its 40-minute run, songs don’t go much beyond the three-minute mark, but “Don Bet” stretches to nearly eight minutes, the patterns switching up every few bars: earsplitting synth stabs, dissonant counterpoints, major-key piano chords, all set to that tireless, mechanized hand-drum bounce. That kind of variety plays out across the album as a whole: From track to track, the subtle shifts in tempo and timbre are enough to make each song feel like a whole new world, even though the elements are roughly the same. Every twist of the kaleidoscope brings a fresh surprise.” > Pitchfork

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album, reissues

2018 – Fav. Reissue: Luc Ferrari ~ L’Escalier des Aveugles

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«Tous les matériaux concrets ont été enregistrés à Madrid. Chaque lieu est en même temps le portrait d’une jeune femme, à la fois guide, interprète et actrice. Les éléments ont été ensuite recomposés en studio, pour leur donner une dimension surréaliste, particulièrement madrilène.»

L’Escalier des Aveugles, or The Stairway of the Blind, was commissioned in November 1990 by Spanish National Radio (Radio Nacional de España). Asked for a piece to premiere as part of the European Day of Music, Luc Ferrari returned with a radiophonic concept that organised his anecdotal music into montage form, sequencing short, elusive narratives in a successive way.

The completed composition is formed of thirteen chapters containing a mixture of environmental and synthesised sound, commentary, chatter, and encounters with people and places. Each focuses on a small event within this playbook, and Ferrari notes that each “in addition to being a realistic photograph, will be the subject of a ‘setting to music’: fragments of voice and atmosphere will be sampled and will produce musical matter or a ‘song’.”

The sonic language of Madrid forms the setting to which Ferrari lays out the persistent theme of the piece, that of the composer being guided throughout the city by a young woman. Using a game-like structure (liners for this edition include Ferrari’s “Regles de Jeu”, or “Rules of the Game” which act as a script or score to the piece) the motivation is posed: imagine that one day you are told “I know a place in Madrid that sounds amazing (or bizarre)”, to which you reply “Let’s go to it together.” The recordings toy with the relationships between guide and tourist, translator, director and actress, and masculine and feminine that emerge as Ferrari and the actresses follow this action, documenting the shared experience and connections they make as they visit these places.

Six actresses guide Ferrari (and the listener) through locations simultaneously ordinary and sonically rich: the metro; the El Corte Inglés department store where we hear the gossip from changing rooms set against music emanating from the PA; vagabonds declaiming their political stance in the Conde de Barajas plaza; interactions buying apples in a market; the reverberant and spacious halls of the Prado Museum where one actress gives a moving description of her favourite painting – Goya’s The 3rd of May 1808.

Ferrari replies in French to their comments in Spanish, and there are several self-referential plots, devices, and word games that flirt with the poetics and rhythm of language and sound. A recital of Lorca’s poem “La Casada Infiel” in “Hommage À Lorca” in amongst the location recordings feels striking, and the call and response of “La Nouvelle de L’Escalier”, where one of the actresses descends the staircase of the blind – a long stone stairway in Madrid proposed to Ferrari as an interesting location to visit during the trip by producer José Iges. She replies to Ferrari’s vocal enunciation of the place (and title) in French – L’Escalier des Aveugles – with the place-name in Spanish: La Escalera de los Ciegos.

Using this repeated title and image of the staircase of the blind as a symbolic place, a line is drawn to a situational landscape experienced and diffused through snapshots and allusion rather than holistically overviewed, sound conjuring pictures within the imagination. In the sensorial qualities of Ferrari’s treatment of emotion and language—fortified with electro-acoustic motifs and musical properties—the piece accelerates towards a render that is truthful, beautiful, yet also surreal; somewhere between theatre and reality, a gonzo cinema of the ear.”
> Mana Records

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