Ethnofusion Picks #April2016

May 2, 2016 - Blog

I’d like to bring your attention to another edition of Ethnofusion while I convince myself that blogging is still alive, my opinion matters, I can still use words and phrases to describe music in innovative ways, and most importantly, I find dank ethnic bass music. This week, I have the usual mix of dub, trap, hip-hop, house and drum n bassy ethnofusion selection for y’all with tunes from Shanti Planti, Gravitas Recordings, Babylon Records, independent releases and many more. Hope they make your soul twerk. -Baxtak

Frequency Dreams – Meditate

One of my most enjoyed tunes this month is this title track form Frequency Dreams’ new LP as from the deepest depths of dubstep spews out this valuable sonic petroleum. Clocking in at 2:17, it’s a fairly quick affair but the groove and atmosphere on this score is fantastic. It elicits the sort of response from my brain that a Sufi poem would. On that note, I have a feeling that any self-respecting dervish would find solemn meditating to this song, which is further ode to the daring fittingness of its title.

QUANTA – Cyanesence

If Quanta is not one of your favourites when it comes to futuristic madly yet deeply sound-designed psychedelic ethnic rubbadub, then you should pay attention. From the Shanti Planti league of psydub artists, it can sometimes get difficult to set the artists and their sounds apart, but Quanta is one of the chosen few whose level of intricate sound design is considerably more noticeable. I can only take a semi-educated guess that this is what happens when you master every trick in the book in terms of psychedelic effects and bass design and mash it into one song.

Globular – Holobiont

So this month, one of my favourite psydub producers of all time came out with his crowd-funded album which was his first in quite some time. Globular’s music has always struck a chord with me with tripping balls, studying, jogging, going to sleep, etc., meaning that it is so well-crafted that I can mould it to many life situations and make them more epic. With Holobiont, the meaning of which I haven’t yet grasped or will get into (consider this album an etymology lesson), Globular manages to evoke the same emotions in me, while upping his ante in a fully psyentific package; biodegradable nature sounds brush over digital squibs through peaceful cybernetic debates, forging bilateral connections and appearing in perfect covalent bonding with other percussive and melodic elements presented throughout. It’s impossible and futile to dissect this album track-by-track as understanding it requires a pragmatic story-telling pair of ears to be fully enjoyed. Nevertheless, the richness of sound in moments such as the chantful future tribal charm of Emergent Resurgence, the word-play in ‘The Might of Condria’, the skilfully ambient offering of “…and It Speaks Of Everything”, and the almost short-film cinematics of ‘Temple of the Pollinator’ are almost illegally skilful dub sorcery, and despite ‘just being pieces of art’, they can all act against Globular, if he is ever taken to court for excessive opening of listener’s minds.

Master Minded – Phases EP

Phases EP marks the joining of Master Minded, a techy psy bass artist, to the holy alliance of psychedelic beat makers known as Shanti Planti. Needless to say, you can vaguely know what kind of thing to expect. Conceptualized as a process of evolution where we face and overcome our fears leading to a higher level of consciousness, the EP comes in three phases with the first track, ‘The Inner Conflict’ starting a slowly progressing and adrenaline-charged minimal psy n bass tone, akin to the sound of Ozric Tentacles (on Crystal Meth), before coming down into the cognitively more cohesive tempo of In Between the Links, and finally providing a sense of conclusion with the high-paced Cosmic Minds. What I am picking up from the way the EP is shaped is that both first and third tracks represent a period of high intensity, with the difference that on the third one, the listener is in more control. It’s basically similar to the process of being on a crashing passenger plane before miraculously learning to pilot the plane into safe landing and then deciding to fly another plane just so you can do the same process more gracefully.

Space Jesus feat. Digital Vagabond – Jovian Chorus

This collab between two of the bigger dogs of all things psy ethno bass is quite large in the sense that it merges the mystical trappy goodness of Space Jesus with the deep reggae dub vibrations of Digital Vagabond, creating a highly atmospheric wubbed out siren-ridden anthem. Anyone into old school dub flavours with a hint of epic Roman metaphysics, this is your jam. A favourite moment in this track is definitely the use of eagle cries as dub alarm zoopzoopzoopzoops. This track is a part of a new three track EP from the Jesus and the whole thing bangs hard enough for us to include in this write up.

Adham Shaikh – Mussafir Remix

Adham Shaikh was one of those artists who I heard about before I even knew the world ethnofusion exists. This is somewhere between 2009-10 when I came across his sound, Tara Putra, Shulman, Kuba and similar ethnopsybient triple OGs. Unfortunately, since the dawn of this blog, I hadn’t seen any activity from Adham but this month, as soon as I saw that there’s something uploaded on his SoundCloud, I knew I will have some writing to do. This remix of Mussafir (meaning Traveller in Arabic), is not revolutionary or innovative, but it is exactly at the beacon of that old school psydub goodness that Adham Shaikh belongs to. It has perfect composition with plenty of instruments and voices involved, and it doesn’t resort to a million psychedelic swishes and quablewobboolies to achieve its aim. Probs to Mr Shaikh for this masterful work.

Halfred & Lo.renzo – F.I.A.R

The superheros of this month’s feature hit with a simultaneous left and right hook, realigning the soul into your otherloving chakras. Basically, this collaboration is a match made in heaven. Halfred’s got the beatwork on lock, Lo.renzo knows how to play a million instruments, they are both Italian and they can communicate in quantum salami languages, which invariably leads to the creation of tasty musical calzone. Consider this an invitation to join us for a mouth-watering bite.

Lo.renzo – Road Never Ends EP

Previously featured multi-instrumentalist producer, Lo.renzo hits back this month twice, once in this solo EP offering through Bluehoursounds and another time alongside Outta favourite, Halfred. The EP perfectly encapsulates the key characteristics of Lo.renzo’s overall aesthetics; strings, hang drums, squelchy fx, bassline-driven dubbery, and a variety of percussion sounds. The three track EP flows flawlessly throughout and it’s a perfect taster for anyone who likes to appreciate and know that the world instruments they hear have not only been played live, but all done by the same person.

Supersillyus – Charade EP

Mirage a Trois is a masterful track portraying multiple layers of dynamic Latin-inspired evolving psychedelic music which can effortlessly go between +100mph Sonic the Hedgehog full force speed to points fully stopping into a break section before building into a semi-orchestral arrangement. This trend is seen in the other tracks on the album, where silly (pun obviously intended) rhythms turn into beautiful ideas and wobble space-time as if god was gurgling DMT-laced salt water.

XELARAIN – Travel Bug

Definitely one of the most beautiful tunes in this blog this month, and the play counts on this one don’t lie. Xelarain’s dreamy foleyful natural future trap has been bursting out of the scene with a few previous tracks like Sex, Drugs and Camping, and what sets his sound apart is the ability to be appealing to a whole range of genre communities. It’s as natural as Bwoy De Bhajan, ethereal as Bonobo, ghostly as Burial, and cute as all your favourite ‘future’ producers. Excited to see where things go with this artist who’s now under close ethnofusion inspection.

Posterkidd – Mountain Blue

Alright, here’s one of our own. I (Baxtak) met Posterkidd in Nepal who happened to be playing at a bar as I was in the area and song being played when I passed was Ecometrics’ remix of Halfred’s Alien Vibratory Fields. Knowing as obscure and odd-chanced this encounter was, I enquired further, getting to know Posterkidd who notified me about this track he was working on. We soon realized that its most probably the first attempt at a fusion of traditional Nepali music and electronic music, and a really good one at that. After testing it out in a few OUTTA jams in Nepal, we decided to go for a release through the label and use any sales from it to send back to the community affected by the 2015 earthquake. You can find purchase links to the song on the player.

Streamer – Tanzanian TripTrap

Another previously featured artist, Streamer is back, bringing a much needed African representation in this blog of trap / dub / hop ethnic galore music. Tanzanian TripTrap uses great percussion work and tribal chants to create a primal ambiance, mixing it with eightoeight goodness. It’s an impressively unique track, in a genre riddled with corny sonic remakes of Alladin and Lion King sound tracks.

Chuck Upbeat – Oriental Bass

Russian producer, Chuck Upbeat who has previously been in this blog through the Dohits compilations gets an exclusive mention here for this full length oriental bassy goodness, similar to what was previously offered with SOOHAN’s Global Gate 808 last month. The formula in here is pretty straight forward but there are a LOT of goodies in it; get a huge load of Chinese, Mongolian and Japanese samples and make that Ninja Samurai Warrior skanking. It also helps that the whole thing is available for free, so if your dancefloor demands light-hearted martial arts, jump on this sword-edge (read bangwagon).

Mendus x NextRo – Reign

Getting a little bit dark and cultish again with this Mendus x NextRo collabo which encapsulates everything you need to know about this corner of trap music which almost exclusively to the whole industry, thrives in itself without really giving a shit about anything. It’s the perfect mixture of ignorant 808 trap and repetitive sub-continental Asian sounds and although it doesn’t innovate, it will serve its rootical purpose in a trappy dancefloor.

Faddei – Mad Most Heel

Here we have Turkish producer Faddei going ham on this instrumental hip-hop beat, slaying this groove with some serious Anatolian flavour. It’s short but extremely efficient and to the point. The flip and drumpad work is amazing while managing to stay classy and avoid the grease that is seen dribbling from many similar fusions like it’s some old Doner on a grill.

EMP أجنبي – Sacred Geometry // When Solemn Bells Toll

EMP’s ghostly beatwork is everything a super laid back 808 beat needs to be. In this k-hole of trap, subtle uses of flutes create an ancient atmosphere, fluently evolving from the snail-trail first part, mobilizing into a more alive middle section before seeking comfort in the sludginess of its own slow existence. Mildly ethnic but highly effective.

4bstr4ck3r & Modern Noise Machine – Imposimple

Digital Whomp main man 4bstr4cker hits with this Modern Noise Machine collab as a part of his ‘with Friends’ EP, and it is as glitchy of an experience as reading his artist name is. Its heady psychonaut vibes suitable for low-riding Middle Eastern gangster frogs, if that makes any sense. It’s got plenty of indications that a lot of psychedelics have been used in the process of bringing this music into consciousness, but the hustling urban roots aren’t forgotten. Favourite moment of the track is the unexpected but perfectly executed switch-up from glitch-hop to drum n bass.

Jabo – Asilah

If this was to be described in one line, it would read something like this: This is what the Qatar football world cup will sound like if 2022 turns out to be something out of Mad Max. Jabo’s hard-hitting track, Asilah flows between a few grooves in various paces, utilizing an unmistakably Middle-Eastern / North African flavour to create this perfect Bedouin raver score.

Whitebear – Bardo (Halfred Remix)

Our favourite heavyweight Italian psyguru hits back with a couple of Ethnofusion entries this month. Next to his collab with Lo.renzo, this remix of Shanti Planti native Whitebear is a multi-layered slowly-evolving and quickly-evoking psynematic high to mid-tempo stomper that encapsulates a lot of elements to Halfred’s sound. Recently I had the pleasure of seeing Halfred’s live stream of a collaboration with Zebbler Encanti Experience, and having witnessed the intricate level of sound design that goes into every 16 bar, I can now understand how a track like this Bardo remix can sound so effortlessly rich. Finally, for every one who is interested to download this one, we are glad to announce that from today, the track will be available for free download on Soundcloud.

Hataah – Marduk

The Babylon records folks are always to be watched, as they can through anything your way; from ethnic cumbia and moombahton to trap and house. Hataah delivers as a staple name on the label, bringing the sizzles with Marduk. A favourite moment in the song is the sample from South Park’s episode when Stan discovers titties and can’t stop saying “ATTHA!”. Not sure why it’s in there but its antiquity somehow relates to the supposed primordial essence of Marduk and other Babylonian gods.

Acid Arab feat. Sofiane Saidi – La Hafla

Get your Omar Souleyman shoes on cause your about to go into some gulf hip stream which will cause uncontrollable booty-shaking, superfast growth of bushy black moustaches and a-little-bit-too-close yet heterosexual male/male dance partnering. Basically, it couldn’t sound more like an Arabic dance party and it really rocks the seriousness of all this serious dark or mystic near eastern trap and dub we have given you in this blog post.

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