A fairly new outfit in the ethnofusion genre and with only two released tracks, Khoum is a product of jam sessions in Beirut, Lebanon based on bridging the gap between Anatolian, Armenian and Caucasian music, and the modern context. The result is a beautiful, haunting and timeless merging of emotive melodies and heart-pumping basslines. This is real instrumental music performed live, and it sounds like exactly that. Highly recommended to fans of ethnofusion where the instruments are not butchered in sampling and electronic elements are kept to a minimum.
Here’s what it is. With all things Sufi dub, there’s the pathos of earned or yearned enlightenment. It’s what may seem sorrowful but turn out to be the final resolution of an inner-self battle. When the music is done well, it’s almost impossible to tell which one it is. This tune from Submassive Foundation does exactly that, at times representing a highly opiated candlelit barrage of red wine and praise, and at others (namely the UZI shots at the drop), the pity of war in its hosting origins. As voiced through the sample:
“Man, this inability to live on Earth in a spiritual way will come to a crossroad of great problems. It’s the hope you believe, it’s our belief that if you are not spiritually connected to the earth and understand the spiritual reality of how to live on Earth, it’s likely you won’t make it.”
The master of Sufi dub / bass is back to show the young guns how it’s done. Releasing a bunch of new ones on the whole spectrum of chill / heavy, these tunes are exactly what you’d want to hear from him. Human Mystery has top notch percussive work with amazing buildups and knockdowns, with tons of explosive basslines and vibes. One the more reggae dub side of the spectrum, the Inder Goldfinger featuring track, Earth City Rockers is an ode to the label’s (Earth City Records) signature sound, with beautiful soaring melodies and layered skanks. The latter track is definitely on par with Celt Islam’s best offerings and it’s an absolute blessing to hear.
Starting out with the familiar sounds of nature, saw-ish synths and Om Namah Shivaya chants, this slow dub creeper immediately sets the tone that it’s portraying, with uber heavy mixtures of 808 and wobbly bass. This is perfect meditative ethnofusion music for anyone who likes the snail-speed side of the dub genre. Be warned however, the bass on this can seriously rattle thy neighbours and consciousness.
The premium innovative trap / beatmaking label Do Hits came out with a compilation this month that blends all that’s dear about hip-hop influences, chill melodies, future funkiness and foley, and each track has its unique fusion of styles. Bunch of these tunes stand out for their obvious ethnic Chinese influence, sounding quite unlike any other music. Jason Hou’s 眼保健操 sounds straight like a school trip along the wall of China, if done in zorbs made of out of bubble gum jelly. Howie Lee’s 婚前性行为是情网 featuring 狠毒男孩, 3Bangz ,Bloodz Boi & 张学友 brings the highest level of gangsta Chinese pop/trapstar charm mixed with a heap of different synth and percussive work. Zhi 16’s 7Lili, Guzz’s 情歌, Anti-General’s remix of Jason Hou’s Sheng all stand out as well, following similar criteria. All in all, the whole name your price compilation is brilliant and there is definitely a sense of a continuity throughout the songs and the artists’ styles, shining a bright light on Beijing’s finest ethnofusionistas.
One of the all-round favourites from this month, this one blends wordsmith hiphop duties with a super deep Japanese trap beat. Rightfully titled ‘Wakizashi’ (type of Japanese sword), this one cuts through with full force as embodied through the ghetto samurai.
Separvtizm makes our monthly cut again with his screwed haunted style, embodied through the soul of a million dead ancient trvpstars. It’s as darkly grand yet minimal as they come.
It’s always great when a new producer comes to your attention, especially when they craft high grade dark spiritual ethnic trap music. This production by Twilight may seem simple as the wailing female hook repeats throughout the track, but the subtle progressions along the way create a beautiful ancient atmosphere of smoke signals painting hieroglyphic camel reincarnations in the night-time desert sky. Top tunage for ethnoeight bass monsters.
Short and painful, this score by AZTEK wins scores for being freaky AF. Throat singing mixed with heavy basslines, trilling shakers, and a bunch of other foleyish sounds create quite a unique atmosphere that blasts the wool off of any yak before turning it into a pashmina trapestry. Still not sure why it ends so abruptly or why the artwork is of the Microsoft recycling bin. Can’t know everything, eh?
Still fresh from his Rhythm Code offering, the shantiful (pun intended) master mind is back with a new one with the help of Boudika, echoing Inspected-esque rhythms in the likes of KOAN Sound, mixed with his own signature guitar lines, pianos, psychedelic revolving synths and squelches. The beat structure on this one is simply phenomenal with every 32-bar progression effortlessly going through dubstep, garage, neurohopish beats, creating a perfect marriage of modern post-everything fusion electronic sound and psydub appeal. Definitely one of the month’s biggest.
This work released by Samurai Music and under Liam Blackburn’s (Indigo, Akkord) new alias is an absolute stellar piece of musical composition, standing way above par with many of this month’s releases. It’s the sort of music that will uncover new layers with every new listen and the ambiance crafted on it is so dense and detailed yet minimal and effortless. The whole concept of an ‘ancestral voice’ is portrayed perfectly; the darkness amongst euphoric tribal enchantment is that of the primal human’s dark truth of tough survival coupled with moments of bliss. The album is extremely ambient yet heavy and it embodies a beautifully macabre dichotomy of friendly and spiteful, endearing and untrustable, and familiar yet new. Serious props to everyone involved in this project.
Coming from the main man behind the Aquatic Collective, expect super fluid trippy trappy wailing intergalactic wizardry from this score. Somewhere between Shanti Planti and old heavy Builder tunes, this is perfect for that tribal ambient chill aesthetic.
Shanti makes the cut this month through two different features, with this one being his new solo EP offering, blessed upon us through Mycelium Music. The album is perfect for the chilled foley-crazy psysteppas out there but a couple of the tunes come with perfect ethnic instrumentation. Firstly, the opneing track with Ovoid, Pearlescent Matter stands out as a monthly highlight with its Bwoy De Bhajan-like falling melodies and textures and ambient beauty. Then, the final track Forest Shinigami absolutely hits the nail on the head with undefinable qualities of ever-changing beat patterns and Japanese flute company. For a good 6 minutes, neuroish bass, pianos, FXs, and the lead flute dance and whirl together in an onslaught of organic peaceful sound delivery. Shanti’s rise as a producer is certainly felt and this EP, as well as his feature with Sponce covered in this article are some of his best works to date.
Well-known amongst the glitchsters and psy-wanderers, Mindex hits back home with one, creating a soundscape similar to his signature sound, infused with haunting roars of a human lioness and highly FXed synth patterns. The song slowly builds up without any sudden realization into an almost drum n bass speed of delivery as the birds tweet and the riverside blossoming ambiance of a forest are reminisced upon.
Well what needs to be said? We have none other than Desert Dwellers choosing their favourite producers to do remixes for their album. However, the opinion of this blog becomes somewhat irrelevant when this is put into perspective, right? Either way, David Starfire’s redo of The Sacrament, Emancipator’s Wings of Waves retransmission, Lulacruza’s beautiful Warm Desert Sands and Bumble’s The Elephant March remixes stand out beyond a psydub fanatic standpoint. All tracks here are of absolute gigantic quality and really no less can be expected from such a ridiculous line-up.
Highly multi-layered chilled psy music that constantly switches up between an ambient, mid and uptempo nature. You can tell this song took a lot of work with the amount of foley and subtly places melodies that fly in the earspace. Definitely an impressive feat of musicianship and perfect for transiting those mellowed out hippies into stomper soliders.
It’s difficult to pass on electronic music with the Sarangi in it, especially when there is voice, hang drums and harps involved as well. This mid-tempo mellow stomper score by Lo.Renzo is created in superior fashion; the side-chained harps create a unique ambiance of cyclic structure while the free-flowing melodies of the other instruments break the repetitive mould, or at least round its edges for smooth rolling. It’s certainly not an easy task to stretch a song to 7:30 minutes, but seems like Lo.Renzo’s got this one.
A strange mixed collaborative compilation between the two outlets, tunes in this are bound by an unholy union of glitchhop and funk music, yet at times swaying into ethnic and textural realms. Standout examples of this include Nocturnal Status’s liquid and grooving mid-tempo score Oriental Showdown, Conscious Kalling & Zenova’s flute-driven funktrap Prana, and at most obvious level of quality, Shanti and Sponce’s epically textured and spaced ethno-whomp closer Rikus Demise.
This almost entirely instrumental tune holds up in our monthly selection simply for the perfect use of live instruments. The high-pitch flute melodies twirl with syncopated jaw harp melodies while building drumlines provide the backbone and perhaps the only electronic element of deep basslines bring the electronic quality we hold so dear.
The man behind all sorts of global bass, cumbia and moombhaton glory comes back with a new single released by global bass gurus Babylon Records, loaded with a handful of remixes. Aza Djouka is super-fast-paced with an almost juke-ish kick pattern and lots of tribal power. Mix this song with a few poisonous beverages and the will to move and you will have an army of hoopers, movers and shakers going early primate on any dancefloor.
On another occasion, Rafael attacks in the name of Istanbul’s famous central region, Teksim, this time in collaboration with Alizarina, and on a beautiful fast-paced techno speed. This is one to save for the post AM portion of any dancing extravaganza when the beat is your crowd’s only hope of remaining standing.
This new EP from this Moroccan / Belgian producer blends perfect parts of Berber rhythms and changing beat structures. Currently only findable on Soundcloud as an EP preview, the three tracks on this EP already bang super hard. First and second tracks EYWA and Kasbah are insanely creative with their arrangements, and third tune Kasbah is the sort of favela-ish tune that’s perfect for a Football World Cup. With endorsement from Red Bull Elektropedia, this one is set to make an impact and be a hit on any global bass friendly dancefloor. World Cup 2018 theme song anyone?
When you think there’s not much left to experiment with in terms of electronic sub-fusion, you get hit with something like this. ZEE & Ananaki’s composite tune hybrids full on psytrance with ethnic trap in a crazy high octane package that’s simply unlike any other song within the two genres. This is potentially sure to piss off those who are adamant on the format continuity of both genres, but for those who love music in general, this is fusion gold right here. Big ups to ZEE & Ananaki for this daring project.
Our buddy Kermode strikes again this month with the help of Monand Moon to make some ubber glitchy hoppy goodness. It’s got that unique Kermode flavour of broken beat structures and the Japanese vibe fits its perfectly. It kinda sounds like CloZee on robot steroids, and the bouncy IDM-esque tribal percussion arrangements are smack on point.
The song is a part of a two track EP, with ‘Mast It’ providing the other half of the offering. This one follows the high octane nature of the first track with a start working contrast of soft melodies and angular robotic glitches, spiced up with chopped up hip-hop vocals. This one’s also solid for any crowd nuts enough to understand the groove.
One of the psy scene’s rising starts who’s had a stellar year of belting releases is back with this release through Shanti Planti which brings together everything unique about that Tribone sound into one package; mid to high tempo whomper stomper stuff with a ton of hypnotic synths and sound design coming in from all angles of the stereo panning. While most of the release is more psychedelic than ethnic, the final track makes this list with perfect tabla percussion, tar-ish melodies, and an ancient bionic overall vibe. This is psy music for the general music fan, not just whirlhead hippies. Spanning over 6 minutes, this song rolls on piling up a snowball of shantiful sonic assault.
The folks at High Chai have crafted an EDM-esque compilation fit for dancefloor purposes, ranging all across the electronic sub-genres. There are a few standouts here: Nuphlo’s Poltergeist is perfect parts ghostly ethnic vocals and deep bass while switchin up to footwork / jungle upon energy releases; David Starfire’s Naga is mid-tempo steppa / garage of a bhajanic nature with plenty of Indian soul, heavy wubs, beat dynamics and reggae dub qualities; DJ Nasha’s Madras Chai has that super playful Gulf region Arabass on lock while bringing in dubstep switchups and electrohouse synths to the table; dimmSummer’s Dhol & Bass remix of Sidd Arta’s SRND brings the trapstar big room heat for all EDM junkies; Defunk’s blend of glitch-hop and oriental instrumentation holds true to his familiar style yet stretching into unchartered territory; and finally Bastik Legion’s ethnic dnb / jungle / trap hybrid sounds probably the freshest of the album with its unique take on how to blend these styles into fast-paced madness. All in all, this is perfect for those looking for ethnic tunes that work well in a bass-heavy dance system and the High Chai folks have done a very decent job getting this solid release together.
Being somewhat of a mix of Macedonian tune and a collaboration with saxophonist Paul Bertin, this one’s a fun gypsy style of almost uptempo trappy fun times; makes a change from some of this month’s darker offerings. Can’t go wrong with well composed gypsy danceable tunes, right?
Masala vibes are strong this month with this collaboration from Gowax & Tikki Masala, donning out some uptempo percussion-ridden highly danceable ethno-tribal house. It’s amazing how the song stretches out for nearly 7 minutes with minimum melodic input and just by utilizing different percussion patterns. Definitely something to consider for fast pace dancefloor moments.
Ethnic Dub Khoum – From Beirut to Anatolia A fairly new outfit in the ethnofusion genre and with only two released tracks, Khoum is a product of jam sessions in Beirut, Lebanon based on bridging the gap between Anatolian, Armenian and Caucasian music, and the modern context. The result is ...