Ethnofusion Picks #December2016

December 27, 2016 - Blog

Dirtwire – Viento (feat. Maria Del Pilar)

The opening of these pair of ears to Dirtwire this year has been nothing but spectacular. Breathing professionalism into each track as the vibes sip through every note of the band’s music, the supergroup is back with Viento; an organic and ethereal mid-tempo joint with singer Maria Del Pilar. The track stands as an ode to the often-forgotten elements of instrumental music in today’s electronic age, reminding us how music is well-served when both the traditional focus and modern electronic production are present. Brilliance, portrayed equally as well through Brin Levinson’s track cover art.

Howie Lee – Bankers [Secret Songs]

Howie Lee slaps this eerie banger just before the turn of the year, subtly slicing your mind-frame with crystal-sharp audible blades. Saying this song slays is basically as accurate as it gets. All the reversing, chopping and random sounds make a beautifully unique aesthetic that can instantly be recognized as Howie Lee, or maybe Do Hits. Definitely an innovative song to munch on and a name to glue to your brain for 2017. Trust.

NextRo x TODIEFOR – Sundown [Tribal Trap]

NextRo, the king of brassy dark ethnic trap teams up with TODIEFOR for a new intricate snail-trailer anthem in the former’s signature well-produced style. The distinct side-chained and gliding 808s collide with a haunting chant and a sufficient amount of percussive groove, in a slowly-building rise, drop, rise drop mechanism. I can only imagine this kind of tune will work as amazingly well in a hangar or festival main-stage environment, as it will in a dark dingy and uncomfortably warm basement while the rat-ridden floors pay good riddance to rats eaten by snakes, as the flickering lights display the horror in broken frames.

It Hz. – Walking Dread

CHEE and Jon Casey’s pengly-titled ‘It Hz’ project came into existence in the second part of this year, bringing wretched basslines and ragged aesthetics, and gnralily gnawing at its umbilical chords. Of course such demon-child zombie-mongering Hz, but it wails soaring ancient melodies as well, making it a suitable and ravenous feature for us.

Le Motel – Sawara [Tangram Records]

Cool oriental beat without any real definition of purpose (probably better as a rap beat), but made of strings, a succulent amount of organic click clack, and a bubbly bassline. The track is a part of a VA comp by Tangram Records with pretty gnarly glitched-out yet organic soulful vibes. Definitely worth a few nibbles, or useful for practicing rhymes on a dope instrumental, or a remix perhaps?

Pep. – Esfrega

Pep’s second feature of the year is testament to his ability to modernise the favela trap into a rich 2016 foleyful blend and judging by what the artist and his homies at BRUK get up to, we’re expecting more next level dankables to follow in 2017.

Nar – Jujeh EP [Doom Dab]

A Nar EP entitled ‘Jujeh’ [meaning chick (as in son/daughter of chicken)], spanning four songs in a weird style of ghostly polyrhythmic beats, ranging from minimal footwork and trip-hop to trap. The EP has an ambient appeal that mainly focuses on the overall atmosphere than highly engage-able transitions. Azan (meaning call to prayer) is probably the stand-out track with the brilliant paradox of how the overall static and lonely environment interacts with the fast-paced percussion.

Khoum – The End [Live at Mansion] (The Doors Cover)

We covered Khoum last year for the live improv-based work that they do. This time, it is an amazing cover of The Doors’ The End in a heavily middle-eastern style and the combination couldn’t work better. During the first 8 minutes, the fusion is executed so well that if you don’t actively listen to the words, it could sound like both languages. Given the extremely dark nature of the original, the rendition’s rabid vibe fits perfectly and overall, this is definitely something to be experienced live and the prospect of a Khoum gig resonates deep within.

Krimma x Plazid – 99 Fist Style [Prime Audio]

Time to get your mcdurrrrtilian skankface on and get into some razor-sharp kitana stabs, hadouken basses and drunken muai-thai dancing. Despite being quite mellowed-out overall, the combination of the ambiance, Heihachi’s ruthless face as cover art and the soundbites make up for a very dark, derelict and bloody Yokai forest warzone feel.

Radikal Guru – Desert Flower feat. Violinboy

One of ethnic dubstep’s absolute OGs came back with a full release recently and this track from the album is irie-vibe galore. Violinboy’s string action perfectly fits Radika Guru’s production, reminding us of the brilliant sound of 16 Bit’s In the Death Car, or Caspa’s Cockney Violin, et al. as perfected for a 2016 expectation. Not to forget, the sub on this one is deeper than the DLR concourse at London’s Bank station; that’s the deepest point in the London underground.

Khanum – Pyra Mids [Version Collective]

Representing them deep, dark, ethnic dubstep vibes of the month, Khanum graces the blog again, with this deliciously gritty kilometer-long sub. There’s also an undeniable display of delay effects here and Khanum nails the art perfectly. The riddim evolves along the same concept for the duration of the track (or currently available preview at least), providing quite a bit of breaks and variations to keep your attention peeled. Good stuff.

Nasty J – Jdidah [Keep Deep]

Another tribal Near East inspired deep dubstep tune comes this month from Nasty J. There’s definitely an appeal here for the fans of Truth, and the old sound of OG ethnic dubstep. The details are there, and an overall ambient background-scape makes the track’s overall mystified/mistified vibe pull through.

Red Kartel – Ochitsuita Ikari

Red Kartel’s new offering supposedly has a Japanese tone to it as can be heard through the song, and the title, and a google search of those two words Ochitsuita and Ikari bring the meanings of ‘to calm / take it easy’, and ‘anger’. Thus, one (who doesn’t have any Japanese people near him) has to assume that this song is about calming down from a sense of anger. In that case, the super-mellow non-aggressive yet dark tone of the song is perfectly fitting and well executed. In other cases, who cares, it still sounds pretty good.

Shankara x beatfarmer – Encounter EP [Street Ritual]

A rather dank stoic af offering from your favourite asphalt ritualistas, Shankara and beatfarmer, and part premiered through Euphoric.net. The whole EP is set around two song concepts, with both artists doing their own renditions of both. The music in this EP stands at a timeless intersection of modern dub-based bassiness and traditional psychill, providing satisfaction for representatives of both generations. Favourite moment on the EP is beatfarmer’s mix of Through The Night, through which clear cut production skill meets clear cut visionary ethos.

Ashnaia Project – A Quest for Hope

Something for the traditional psybient / psychill lovers, Ashnaia Project brings that meditative find-your-inner-peace vibe with this tune, utilising the angelic feels and auspicious yoga-pose-inducing grooves. The track is supposedly a preview for something bigger in the works, and considering the production quality, this is something positive to keep an eye out for if you like your Buddha Bar-esque choonage.

Aquatic Collective – Standing with the Waters [VA]

A huge YES / *raisedfistemoji* from the Outtallectuals camp to the folks at Aquatic Collective for taking their love of fluid aquatic music and its conceptual relevance to support an important current issue of protecting the waterways, as per their dedication to use music within the sustainability realm. The album genuinely brings context to both the words ‘aquatic’ & ‘collective’, as the biophilic terraformed atmosphere is cohesively present in all of the +50 artists’ 41 tracks, clocking in at just under 4 hours.

Ethnofusionly-speaking, the album is full of impressive moments; starting from Sacred Sound’s water prayer with the aid of Dakota Sioux’s Chief Black Fox, Supertask & Seeded Vision’s Fallible & Wu Wei’s The Moon in You’s spectral etherealm, Halfred & Whitebear’s squelchy stomaplicious remix of Martins Garden, Wei-Chi Field & Ysabell Blue’s fantastic instrument-ridden soul-warmer / head-cooler, Momentology’s under-the-waterfall-at-noon-time-in-a-tropical-jungle world, and Primal Vibration’s vividly detailed offering on Gaia’s Chant.

Overall, this one probably takes the cake for the most impressive compilation of the year, due to the sustainability-based mission statement, satisfaction of both quality and quantity, and most-importantly, its fluent-theme despite the genre diversity.

Anchor Hill – Origins

The OUTTA-contributing homie, Anchor Hill is here with his second album of the year which is quite an achievement considering the consistent quality. Origins is a mix of carefully chosen world samples as appropriate, along with flute, clarinet and trumpet playing by the artist himself, as well as crispy clean production. This album is a pot of meditative gold for anyone looking to pump their phloems with dharmic nutrition and foster a greener season.

saQi – Aspiration Prayer ft. Rigzin [Jumpsuit Records]

Take the squelch out of decent psydub and pump it with 808 appeal and you get the dankitation you can hear here. It’s one of those tracks that sounds mega-minimal but in reality, there’s a lot of stuff going on in a nano intricate manner, giving rise to this almost 3d-printed dynamic sculpture of sound. Good stuff from an OG, on an OG label.

Spaniol – Confissão (Pigmalião Remix)

Pigmalião has been one of the most creative slow rave artists this blog has seen this year, always bringing a polyrhythmic sense of groove with his songs, namely this remix of this Spaniol song. The production sounds flawless across different sound system types, indicating the intricately detailed mixing and mastering skills. Definitely a stand out find of the month.

Casa Caos – Devaneio 01-05 [VA]

The Brazilian label Casa Caos comes out with a few short and tasty VA EPs exploring the slow-rave-around-the-central-fire tribal mid-tempo vibes. It’s a strange release format as the music on the Eps could easily fit into one big VA but why not switch things up? Two of the tracks from the 1st EP really stand out; GATS’s Langlauf Auf Dem Feldberg limps on a fluid groove like skiing full speed with crutches on a rainbow and Mettabbana delivers with a meditative whirling desertronica feel on a steadily peaking and dissolving score. You can almost hear the spanners tightening your loose screws on this track. There’s a lot here for fans of this style and other tracks like Steffen Kirchhoff’s Shakana on 03, and Troja’s Atma pull off an impressive multi-layered ambiance. Impressive stuff overall.

Shkoon – Letters EP [underyourskin records]

One of the finest produced slow ethnic rave releases of the year goes to Shkoon with this two-tracks-gone-six-with-remixes Letters EP. The two originals are highly powerful and evocative songs with a shear amount of artistry on instrumental, vocal and beatsmithery levels and the remixes, especially Goldcap’s version of Ala Moj Al Bahr do real justice in switching up the groove delivery within the same musical style. The release gets special shout-outs for how amazingly mixed and mastered these tracks sound.

Dandara – Dimension [Tropical Twista Records]

I’ve always thought Dandara’s productions stand out in the slow tech genre, mostly due to the attention to detail and use of unconventionally poly-rhythmic percussion. Thus, seeing this solo release definitely caught my eye and it’s an impressive journey curated and formed over a voyage over to Brazil and back to Europe. The title track and Obiero are perfect post-sunset tropical songs to listen to; they capture the dark void of the night while using every flicker of sound to emanate lit positivity. Definitely an artist to watch out for in the long run.

Stanisha – Sacred Chants / D.L.Y.B.I.M.T

Having fully captured our imaginations with previous releases this year, especially the Samsara LP with Estray, Stanisha is back with two tracks this month, both delivering his almost signature sound. Somewhere between the multi-cultural ancient soundscape, the thumbing deep mid-tempo techno and seasonably ghost-evoked ambiance, the term ‘Stanisha style’ is fast becoming a meaningful term and we should all appreciate its unraveling.

Pandhora & Nacim Gastli – Sinai [Art Vibes Music]

The product of this collaboration is a brilliant 4-to-the-floor and also triplet-in-every-trinket poly-rhythmic beauty, that like its appropriate title, Sinai, encapsulates the well-traversed importance of this desert peninsula while being as close as possible to an intersection of the African and Eurasian continents. A brilliant collision of cultural realms, seemlessly infused through musical expression.

NILLO x Nathan Hall – Cosmologia Cabecar

Bringing noticeable LFO wubs into sluggish tribal rave music, NILLO & Nathan Hall’s collaboration has another dimension of heaviness to it that plays perfectly with the polysonic riddim of the percussions and creates a weighty and sludgy swamp vibe. It’s a pretty haunting and trippy track, and most importantly, it sounds quite unique to the trained ear so make sure to give it full focus and attention to unleash its full potential.

Global Barrio – Vol.1 [VA]

Based in Mexico City and California, Global Barrio is a new collective bringing their brand of world fusion electronic music to the world with their first compilation. Their sound is heavily based around Latin American grooves, mixing elements of cumbia, dub, reggae, techno and moombahton in a generally mellowed-out chill rave format. This stylistic approach is quite apparent throughout the album and tracks from Jyun Jyun and Lascivio Bohemia stand out in originality. We’ll be having our red dots on this label in the coming year for sure.

Alon Mor – Pablo’s Place

A really fun piece from Alon Mor, showing his ‘tension is shrinking because the tequila is making my hips loose’ side. As weird as it sounds, this could be on Strictly Come Dancing or a similar dance-off TV show. The production is also pretty tight; there is a clear understanding of dynamics, keys and scales, the overall sound is very vibrant and one can only wonder how long the drums must have taken to execute if they were inputted on midi. Important thing is it works and Pablo’s Place is definitely somewhere I’d happily drink and dine at.

Byzantine Time Machine – Adventure in Istanbul (Mudra Remix) [Outtallectuals]

We released this banger to celebrate the 10k mark on BTM’s original for Outtallectals and boy did Mudra go ham on this one. Something for fans of heavy bearded neurotic bass monsters of middle eastern deserts as they plough through any sort of LFO sensibility, crushing everything under their multi-ton caterpillar tracks.

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