Ethnofusion Picks #Jan2016

January 29, 2016 - Blog

First edition of the monthly Ethnofusion columns as curated by Baxtak is here, uncovering the month’s most hypnotic world x electronic fusion music.

Ethnic Dub

Red Kartel – Gizli Sufi

Mastering the art of Near Eastern fusion, Red Kartel is making an impact in this genre by his soulful selections of samples and tunes that can exist in unison with deep dubstep vibrations. Gizli Sufi is one as such. Flawless war-cry style percussion-work balance out the soothing tone of the Anatolian voice, creating an enlightening introspective soundscape that can instil hopes of sanity in the darkest of minds.

Mettakin – Preliminary Beats EP

Outtallectuals multi-genre hypnotist, Mettakin came out with this release for Horsepower Productions on Ektoplazm, finding a home for his recently unreleased down to miad-tempo side fusion sounds, some of what were featured in his guest dubplate for Outtallectuals. While strictly sounding like Mettakin, this has a very distinct slowly building aesthetic which utilizes shamanic chants, tribal grooves, flutes and horns from antediluvian times. The overall sound of the EP fuses sounds from around the world in a transcontinental sound that finds the unifying marriage of all these different ethnic sounds. The first track Pathfinder navigates through the dark of cave-ish ambiance, coming up to the beach beauty of Steps Ekliptik and continuing into extremely bassy and haunting territory of Ojija. Lonely Parade floats somewhere between gritty dub and orchestral ghostwave, creating a unique and enchanting space and beatfarmer’s remix of Lanterns and Caravans wraps up the EP with its rendition of a Mettakin track that could have easily fit in this EP as well but has been well substituted with this EP finale.

Muudra – Way Li Mine Dub (Viyan Peyman Tribute)

Emanating from the deepest of the deep, Muudra’s tribute to Viyan Peyman, the hero female Kurdish fighter from Kobani who died fighting ISIS, is moving and emotive. How deep this song gets really portrays how deep the battle in the Near East has gotten and the song manages to portray these emotions while sounding genuine and not picking a topic for a trendy case of relevancy.

Organic Dreamers – The Timeless Machine

Still in the (preview) soundcloud phase, but it’d be a crime to run this blog and not include this. Coming to fruition as the musical child of Ashnaia Project and Hypnotizer, this album is set to be great blend of all things ethno, psychill, dub and wub. This is metaphysical zenifer music, sounding like a blend of Cinematic Orchestra, Shulman and all things Buddha Bar. It’s lounge-y goodness by the book but since the book’s considered holy scripture, these sounds will certainly keep you from going astray. Standout tracks: Sedatin Sitar & The Blue Moon.

Shanti – Shiva

Your gateway artist to universal peace is back with a whirling dubtastic serenade for the Hindu god, while avoiding cliché instrumentations and keeping true to his deeply psychedelic wubsicles, Shanti’s active inclusion in this blog doesn’t cease to exist with constant outputs and despite being just a clip, this one is not one to miss. Looking forward to the full version.

Free Loba – Karonte Steppaka

Squinty Bass Records releases often have a similar dub style which is a mix of old school stepper and early digital dubstep. It doesn’t automatically make you wow in terms of sound design or innovative beat structures, but it does what steppa dub has do to really well. Tons of melodies, breaks, drops, echoes, blips, four to the floor sections, etc. The first track from their new release from free Loba is what the aforementioned instructions says about digital OG dub but it mixes it with beautiful Mesopotamian flute harmonies, creating a snake-flirting environment.

Ethnic Mid-Tempo

Chamberlain – Deity EP

Easily a contender for the ethnofusion release of the month, Aussie producer, Chamberlain comes with the holy matrimonious child of Gramatik and CloZee with a barrage of glitched-out mid-tempo goodness. The two track release strikes the perfect balance of ethnic melodies via guitars, sitars, female vocal harmonies and digitally induced bass heaviness and funky fresh drumlines. Both tracks, Prajna and Path to Shangri-La are all heavy and mellow at the same time, giving you something for your workdesk, haram, dancefloor or permaculture-heavy yoga retreat. Not sure why I hadn’t heard of this guy before but definitely one to look out for with eagle scope and bat hearing. Stellar release from the folks at Adapted Records.

Bandish Projekt – Common Tongue EP

As a tribute to old Bollywood films, Bandish Projekt takes his favourite 70s hits of this scene and turn it into mid-tempo goodness. This EP titled Common Tongue utilizes over 8 artists, proper studio production and what seems to be full dedication to the project. The EP really does tell a story of Hindu deities and holy myths as portrayed by the spoken word section in the first track and carried forward to the next tracks. Not only every element sounds properly recorded, mixed and mastered, the beatwork is also stellar. Common Tongue is also full of unexpected elements like the rap by MC Mawai in Kali Yatra, and Mc Toda Fod in Cows. Other standout tracks include Language of Love with its absolutely unique musical work, spoken work message and delivery. One of the top reasons this EP does so well is that it delivers its deep message through a humorous medium and despite being highly spiritual, it doesn’t make it all that serious and self-indulgent. It really goes to show that if you spend a lot of time and dedication to a project with a purpose, and have the skills to portray your idea, you can really strike gold, which this EP definitely has.

Street Ritual – Global Glitch Vol. II

Celebrating the label’s 100th release since 2008, Spacegeisha has compiled a compelling case for a complete low-down to the label’s sound. Boasting a great line-up including CloZee, Tribone, Halfred, beatfarmer, Sixis and more, the overall sound on this release is fantastic. Within the Ethnofusion real, some of the tracks on this album deliver super-hard; Tribone’s rendition of Echo & Tito’s YYY is even unique compared to the usual Tribone midtempo stomper sound; CloZee’s Arena, well, … it’s CloZee and we also covered the tune last month. Johnny Pablo brings the mystic candle fire for the marching moths with its inking of octopus squelches, as well as samples encouraging this presentation of otherworldly tones merged with early civilization harmonies; Calma Dub brings a whispering glitchy psychill offering to the table; beatfarmer makes his second one of the month with a similar midtempo signature goodness. Other standout squelchy / psydub tunes from the album include genius beatwork from Ecometric, Halfred and Chris Komus, all completing this ritual of the concrete jungle in mystical, alien and badass delivery.

Gaddy – Jumbalaya Juggernaut

First of all, that’s one brilliant track title. Second, it really follows up to the title’s awesomeness with its unique soundscape that mixes a groovy hip-hop swagger, ethnic harmonies and a foresty ambiance. It’s glitchful stuff but doesn’t over do it; the switch-ups between tons of different sounds are intuitive and capable of taking the flow forward seamlessly.  Street Ritual haven’t been shy of great ethnofusion releases this month and this one is another brilliant one in their collection which equally rocks the street and the tribal ritual.

Chavo – Misery

Ohh this is something to slip into Tarentino’s pockets for his next score. Beautiful band music courtesy of Chavo and via Batov Records; the sound experienced is something of a tango dual between Antonio Banderas on euphoric prescriptions and a gypsy queen who’s soul shall forever belong to an army of dead warriors who ward of evil spirits from her nomadic tribe. The polyrythmic and multicultural tone around this tune give it a certain charm that can save your ass if you ever happen to be DJing on no mans land between unchartered Hispanic and Settler territories and are looking for a Nobel peace prize.

Akasha – Liquid Grip (Tribone Restomp)

Having slowly hijacked the term of ‘stomper’ music to basically only remind you of Tribone, the Israeli native is back with this ‘re-stomp’ of Akasha’s Liquid Grip. This is Shanti Planti music to the bone and damn.. that bone marrow is nutritious. Tribone is slowly becoming one of the most easily distinguished sounds in this scene and he does so even when remixing other folks’ music. Templesteppin psy-hoppin meta-dubbin glitchomaniacs, please care to dig in for your daily dose of irregular mind-imploding sound-burgers cause this masala wubton soup is delicious.

Arure feat. Matthew Conley – Creatures

The tribal feel heavy tune from this pair is an incredibly haunting score that resembles score music more than what you’d hear in a club but the overall sound definition, mixing, panning and tuning of what seems to be over 50 sounds has been done to perfection. Composition-wise the track evolves in its primitive culture and brilliantly creates an ambiance that slowly and seamlessly moves into a strange jungle-inspired section. This is a really inspiring intersection of all things tribal, psychill, jungle, ambient and dub and definitely stands noticeably tall in the sea of today’s psychedelic mid-tempo music.

Ethnic Trap

Howie Lee – Mù Chè Shān Chū

Chinese producer Howie Lee has nearly been included in every single Ethnofusion article we have done and it is no surprise that his full length release has caught our attention again as some of the most unique releases in the blog’s history. Sharing the kind of aesthetic heard in CloZee tracks, and bringing added compositional integrity to the mix, most of the tracks on the album mix bubbly oriental melodies with heavy 808 drums and ever-changing grooves. Each four bar has its own story and each song executes another idea within the same soundscape, creating a world that is equally down and up tempo. Howie Lee has more than definitely solidified himself as a leader in both modern and Far Eastern beat-making, let alone their combination. With song lengths similar to that of Thriftworks albums, it is evident that the producer is so full of ideas that churning out 13 for an album and leaving some at 01:22 won’t phase him. Definitely a recommended album for anyone with a taste for innovative beats.

11:11 – Make It Rain

11:11, the co-product of Imagika Om and Beatty come out with probably the most spiritual use of the term ‘make it rain’ and rightfully so. The hypnotic goddess in a bottle voice leads this trappish offering into mystic territories, producing a sound that portrays the transition from purgatory to the heavens on a fluid rain-induced river of bliss. Despite mainly being based in an etherealm rather than a solely ethnic one, with an activating name like 11:11, a code that the first ever Outtallectuals compilation was based on, it was difficult not to include this track on the selection.

Kadeon – Egypt

Delivering on that trap-a-shebang-bang-step vibes, Kadeon comes out with Egypt, unleashing synthesized notes on an eastern scale battling each other for number one heaviness pole position. Composition-wise, this is clubbing music done according to the formula but it delivers with a punch reminiscent of early Dr.P tracks with E-funk (read Eastern) snakey leads and heavy vocoder wubs. Definitely a good one for anyone looking for dancefloor vibes suitable for Dave Batista powerbombs.

Ichi – Shaman EP

A superb heavy banger EP release from Ichi which brings the Shamanic distorted throat singing, digeridoo, jaw harp, Indian vocals and more mayhem to heavy 808-style basslines, with plenty of heavy dancefloor breaks n drops. Comments on SoundCloud calling it ‘Indi-step for Indigenous step’ really descripe what you are getting here. For any sort of caveman friendly crowd filled with Flintstones hipsters, Dinasour-riding Jurassic chicks and bottles of Hen being drunk out of goat skulls, this one should really do the trick. Careful what you end up sacrificing for vibes to this thing.

Ethnic Uptempo

Halfred – Granular Swimming

Contributing to Abstrakt Reflections’ recent VA, Halfred brings out his magic wand once again. He sets precedent again by taking his squelchy sound to superfast tempos, creating a mutant breed of glitchy drum n bass that not many can recreate. The track jumps between half time, mid time and double time speeds like an alien rafting afloat on an ever-changing cosmic rainbow where a hailstorm of tachyon particles burst into their monsoon season as they please. Basically, Halfred is pushing his sound to stand out from the average artist from the psydub scene and he is doing so with full effect.

Dysphemic – Anatoli feat. Yiani Treweeke

An absolute belter by Dysphemic, Anatoli is one of our top picks of the month in the heavyweight section. It really smacks the rattle of the snake with its groove and execution. Taken from his recent EP with Gravitas Recordings, Anatolia is the Bosphorus between Turkish instrumental aesthetic and western hoptastic bass-ridden grooves. The release gets even more beautiful considering the other track, Age of Vern is a tribute to Dysphemic and his brother Yiani’s father, Vernon who passed away last year and the emotional dedication can be felt throughout the release.

Kalamour – Dervish Bass

Delivering a super unique tune that brings the Dervish vibes to a border world between drum n bass and psytrance, Kalamour creates something wholly novel. Melodies reminiscent of Ozric Tentacles mingle with Sufi Sama and an atmosphere that is usually home to liquid drum n bass, forming a highly charged and hypnotic space.

Celt Islam – Rise Up!

Generally, if Celt Islam comes out with a new tune that even has only tablas in it, it almost certainly fits in this blog. What is different in his inclusions is reflected in how he is feeling about the world at that moment which either translates into beautiful mellow ethnic dub or what he describes as ‘Dub Driven Mayhem’. This month, it seems that he is on the more chaotic side of his realm and this shows through Rise Up! with its infectiously heavy alien delivery, aided by the Sufi wails, pads and percussive work.

DHZ – Jogi (Remix)

It’s difficult to approach this original tune and make something out of it that doesn’t sound overly used. This remix presented here just about clears the stereotypical sound with its banger style that’s somewhere between ethnic glitch-hop and trap. Nothing out of extraordinary here but if your dancefloor is begging for hindi music and you don’t want to move out of your glitch realm, here’s a goto track.

Vaporizing Dreams – Comanima (Spaceship Earth Remix)

With a name like Spaceship Earth and track details: “Taking us to the dopest mystic realms the multiverse has to offer…”, it’s quite evident what can be expected from such a track. This is heavy ethnic dubstep with trancy leads and mid-sections switching up from the 70s to the 140s for a bit of added psytrance flavour. The general feel of the track is similar to Builder’s Hindi Dub, released around 5 years ago. Evidently, the track isn’t doing anything that hasn’t been done before, but it certainly ticks every box that needs to be ticked for the ethnic dubstep / psytrance crossover sound.

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