Savana Funk – “Ghibli” – [Garrincha Gogo]

aarbor   1/25/2023   A Library, CD

Savana Funk is Aldo from Italy, Blake from the UK, and Youssef from Morocco. They met Italy in 2015. By 2018 they were Savana Funk. A mixture of African music, funk, blues, psychedelic rock and jazz influences run throughout their music. My favorite tracks are: 3,4,6,8,1,7,9 AArbor

Dreckig – “Digital Exposure” – [Broken Clover Records]

aarbor   12/30/2022   12-inch, A Library

Dreckig is Portland-based husband and wife duo David “Papi” Fimbres and Shana “Azucar” Lindbeck. This is their 3rd album. Their music filters Latin dance rhythms through a base of Krautrock and electronic club music. Then they layer drum machines, synthesizers, percussion and vocals in Spanish, English and German. Here they also add a chirpy flute. It is more psych than “international”. AArbor

Movements vol. 11 [coll] – [Tramp Records]

aarbor   12/30/2022   CD, Soul

Movements is a series compiled by Tobias Kirmeyer of Tramp Records in Germany. This is the newest release in the series and it’s just as fresh as its 10 predecessors. The series covers a wide spectrum of genres: early R&B, Soul Jazz, Latin Soul, James Brown style Funk and mid 70’s pre-disco. The tracks are in chronological order. The notes are well researched and give you background on each track and the people who contributed. All the tracks are worth playing. My favorites: 4, 11, 13, 14, 17. AArbor

Bauchklang – “Jamzero” – [Ecco.chamber]

aarbor   11/30/2022   A Library, CD

This is Bauchklang’s debut album from 2001 and it put them on the map. Bauchklang means belly sound. They’re an Austrian outfit whose sound mixes human beatboxing, mouth percussion and other kinds of vocal sounds. They cover a musical landscape stretching from Electro over Minimal, to Dub and Hip Hop, using only their voices. It’s kinda 21st century doo wop – very delightful, playful, experimentative. Vocals are in English (French lyrics on track 9). AArbor

Calabar Itu Road: Groovy Sounds From SE Nigeria [coll] – [Comb & Razor Sound

aarbor   11/30/2022   CD, International

When most people think about Nigerian music, the first thing that comes to mind is Lagos—the country’s main commercial center, and the musical luminaries such as Fela Kuti, King Sunny Ade and others. Nigeria has other interesting music: Igbo highlife and rock bands of the east-central region, Edo roots rhythms from the midwest, and the keening, ornamented Fulani melodies of the north.

The least known is the music of the south eastern land of the Efik and Ibibio ethnic groups in Cross River and Akwa Ibom State—the region colloquially referred to as “Calabar.” This region was one of the earliest outposts of Nigerian popular music. Its rhythms traveled across the Atlantic during the slave trade to provide the part of the foundation for Afro-Cuban grooves that would go on to influence the development of jazz, rock & roll, R&B and funk. This is 15 tracks recorded between 1972 and 1982, spotlighting rare music from “Calabar” superstars such as Etubom Rex Williams [14], Cross River Nationale [2], Charles “Effi” Duke [8], The Doves [10] and Mary Afi Usuah [11]. Most tracks are upbeat, dancey, excellent playing, and do not have English lyrics. AArbor

Bio Ritmo – “La Verdad” – [Electric Cowbell Records]

aarbor   11/28/2022   12-inch, International

An upbeat, dancey 2011 release by Bio Ritmo, a salsa band based in Richmond, Virginia formed in 1991. The name Bio Ritmo is a Spanglish word play on the term Biorhythm – the rhythm of life. Their salsa mixes Afro-Caribbean song patterns, the Cuban son montuno tradition, Puerto Rican street beats, and jazz. This 10-piece band has been around for more than 20 years and their playing is tight. All tracks delightful and worth airing, especially while dancing like there’s no one watching! AArbor

Antilles Mechant Bateau [coll] – [Born Bad Records]

aarbor   11/15/2022   12-inch, International

Afro-Caribbean roots music from the 1960s in the French West Indies. Mechant Bateau means bad or wicked boat – this refers to the slave ships that brought so many people from Africa to the West Indies.

Gwo Ka is a drum made of old salting or wine barrels which is at the center of this music and has been revived by recent generations to pay tribute to their ancestors’ suffering. The “ka” once creolized, was a powerful symbol of resistance since the colonial era. Blues and Ka represent the same battle – centuries of oppression. Jazz gives it an emancipating energy and sense of humor from established formats. It borrows from the “latin” rhythms of neighboring islands, and includes beguines with percussion-spiced tempos. There are also laid-back – but dark – ballads all sung in Creole (the French of the African descendants). This compilation takes us back to the early days of a movement of rebirth synonymous with recognition of heritage. It is the sound of identity for the descendants of the African slaves. Recognition of their identity and heritage in which all the musics from the Black Atlantic diaspora naturally intertwine. Reminding us that an original culture emerged from the holds of these ‘wicked boats’. AArbor

Black Flower – “Ghost Radio” – [Zephyrus Records]

aarbor   11/15/2022   12-inch, International

Black Flower is a 5-piece outfit from Belgium led by saxophonist / flutist Nathan Daems, which mixes Ethio jazz with afrobeat and dub. In 2016 the band was between album releases and decided to go into the studio for two days. They wanted to record unorchestrated and unrehearsed material – spontaneous compositions and new sounds that had been emerging from their improvisations at live shows. The result is Ethio jazz as I’ve never heard it before: moodier, gentler, spookier, more airy – and fabulous. Don’t miss! One of my favorites this year. AArbor

Heliocentrics, The – “Sunshine Makers, The” – [Soundway Records]

aarbor   11/9/2022   12-inch, Soundtrack

This is the soundtrack to a 2015 documentary about Nicholas Sand and Tim Scully early LSD evangelists who made ‘Orange Sunshine’ for many years – while it was legal and while it wasn’t; with original music by the Heliocentrics. According to Sand and Scully, their mission was to “change the consciousness of the world in a positive way.” I watched the movie and discovered that the Heliocentrics’ music was only a part of the soundtrack. It blended nicely into the background, the more prominent sung tracks were more noticeable. Listening to it by itself (without the movie) gives it center stage – which it deserves. AArbor

Freshly Composted Vol. 2 [coll] – [Compost]

aarbor   11/9/2022   A Library, CD

Freshly Composted volume 2 a Compost label compilation from 2007 features 13 tracks of techno, deep house, future jazz and hip hop. It’s a survey of what Compost considers important releases from the recent past years. Don’t miss the remixes by grandmasters of the game like Carl Craig, Moodyman, Todd Terje or Robag Wruhme. AArbor

n.b. FCC on Track 11

Cuba: Music & Revolution (Culture Clash In Havana Cuba: Experiments In Latin Music 1975-85 Vol. 1) [coll.] [Soul Jazz]

aarbor   9/28/2022   A Library

DJ Gilles Peterson and Soul Jazz Records founder Stuart Baker compiled this collection of fine Cuban tracks made “after the revolution”. Before Fidel Castro and Communism in Cuba it was where all the major dance crazes came from: mambo, rumba, cha cha, bugalu… Communism restricted some of the innovation in Cuban music, although bands like Los Van Van and Irakere (both on this album) are known outside Cuba. This compilation uncovers many other gems. Some are pre-revolutionary artists whose careers were given a funky reboot in the 1980s. It’s not just an Afro-Cuban or Latin Jazz sound. There’s also unusual time signatures, heavy-duty psychedelic organ solos, FX-laden guitars and touches of atonalism, along with spiky horns, squeaky Farfisa organs and occasional American funk. AArbor

Sound Storing Machines: The First 78rpm Records [coll] – [Sublime Frequencies]

aarbor   9/28/2022   CD, International

The first commercial recordings from Asia were made in Japan in 1903 by Fred Gaisberg. He was a producer and recording engineer who traveled the world making recordings for the Gramophone Company (later His Masters Voice). The recording industry barely existed at this time. These fragile discs survived: wars with Russia and China, the fire bombings during World War II, modernization, and the onslaught of Western media. They document, through a dreamlike haze of surface noise, a Japan that had just barely begun to open its doors to the rest of the world.

You’ll hear Japanese classic music like gagaku (court music) [1,8], noh drama [6?,10], solo instruments like the shakuhachi (flute) [11], shamisen (plucked stringed instrument) [2,3,4, 12, 13, 14], chikkin (a bamboo xylophone) [9], storytelling [7, 15], and folksong [5]. These recordings are a unique glimpse into an ancient culture and an important document of the beginnings of the recording industry. Sound Storing Machines spans only 9 years of recording—-from 1903 to 1912, the beginning of Japan’s homegrown record industry, and a few sides taken from Japan’s notorious bootleg 78rpm industry. AArbor

Tuba Skinny – “Some Kind-A-Shake” – [Self Release]

aarbor   9/21/2022   12-inch, Jazz

Tuba Skinny is a jazz band from New Orleans. For over 10 years the band has evolved from a loose collection of street musicians into an ensemble of excellent players dedicated to bringing the traditional New Orleans sound to audiences around the world. Their range of musical influences is from spirituals to Depression-era blues, from ragtime to traditional jazz. Their sound evokes the musical heritage of New Orleans. Their loyal following likes their distinctive sound, their commitment to reviving long-lost songs, and their live performances. This release is from 2019 and is primarily ragtime and traditional jazz. Instruments: sousaphone, trombone, clarinet, cornet, alto sax, banjo, guitar, percussion. Some of their other recordings include a washboard (frottoir). AArbor

Mori, Ikue – “Tracing the Magic” – [Tzadik]

aarbor   9/21/2022   A Library, CD

Ikue Mori was born and raised in Japan. She says she had little interest in music before hearing punk rock. In 1977, she went to New York, initially for a visit, but she became involved in the music scene, and stayed. Her first musical experience was as the drummer for the no wave band DNA. Though she had little prior musical experience (and had never played drums), Mori quickly developed a distinctive style: One critic describes her as “a tireless master of shifting asymmetrical rhythm”. This is her latest release on the Tzadik label. There are 7 tracks, each paying tribute to a woman who has inspired her. Mori’s notes give you a sense of each woman. Each track is quite different with somewhat different instrumentation although all include digital electronics. Of note are: track 2 which includes traditional Japanese instruments and sounds as well as prepared piano, and track 7 which includes bagpipes. AArbor

Tabaamrant, Rayssa Fatima – “Tyaghlaghalt Ou L’Echo De L’Atlas” – [Harmonia Mundi France]

aarbor   9/7/2022   CD, International

This is Rwais music. It’s similar to the itinerant troubadors of the European Middle Ages, but more like the West African Griot tradition. Rwais are Berbers from South Morocco. Like the Griots they are the guardians of oral tradition, poems, songs, stories. Their songs tell of the evolution of Moroccan society. Rwais performances are about show and entertainment – they are considered professional musicians. Fatima Tabaamrant grew up as an orphan, never attended school, lived in a rural environment. This most likely informs her poetry/songs. She is the first woman to lead her own troupe and sing her own poems. Her subject matter is cultural, social or moral order. The 7 tracks here follow a Rwai performance with an opening instrumental, Salutations, 4 tracks of songs and a farewell instrumental. AArbor

Nouri & Le Groupe Traditionnel Gnaoua – “Dalali” – [Culture Press]

aarbor   9/7/2022   CD, International

An excellent album from Nouri and the Gnawa (traditional) group. They are from North Africa. The Gnawa are an ethnic group who were brought to Morocco as slaves, their ancestry is traced to sub-Saharan West Africa. Gnawa music mixes classical Islamic Sufism with pre-Islamic African traditions, whether local or sub-Saharan. Gnawa musicians also practice healing rituals, with apparent ties to pre-Islamic African animism rites. In Moroccan popular culture, Gnawas, through their ceremonies, are considered to be experts in the magical treatment of scorpion stings and psychic disorders. They heal diseases by the use of colors, condensed cultural imagery, perfumes and fright. The 7 tracks here which were released in 2000 are traditional but sit well in modern ears. Don’t Miss! AArbor

Sangare, Oumou – “Timbuktu” – [World Circuit]

aarbor   9/7/2022   12-inch, International

Oumou Sangare is from Mali and well known for her feminist views. This is her latest release (2022). She visited the U.S. in 2020 and got caught in the COVID lockdown. She decided to stay in Balitmore, bought a house and started writing and recording songs for this album. From the U.S. Sagare sings words of praise and caution to the folks back home in Mali, especially its women. Sangare has been rising above setbacks for most of her life. To help her single mother – abandoned by her father – to make ends meet, she sang in the street to raise cash at the age of 5. Sangare went on to win a pre-Kindergarten singing competition and embarked on a career that saw her touring the world. Now she is an iconic performer and successful businesswoman who owns hotels, businesses and a car company in Mali. Accompanied by a chorus of vocals and traditional African instrumentation. Sangare creates a sound that sounds ancient but lives comfortably today. AArbor

Os Paralamas Do Sucesso – “Severino” – [EMI Records Ltd.]

aarbor   8/31/2022   CD, International

This is Os Paralamas Do Sucesso’s 7th album from 1994 produced by Phil Manzanera – it is considered to be their most experimental album. Os Paralamas is a 3-piece Brazilian rock band. As you listen to the songs you’ll notice that the introduction to each track is different than then rest of the track.

Queen guitarist Brian May makes a special appearance on this album, providing guitars for track 6. Other musicians of interest include Linton Kwesi Johnson (dub poet of Windrush generation – London is the Place for Me) and Tom Ze [track 7]. The album’s cover was drawn by a famous schizophrenic artist from Northeast Brazil: Arthur Bispo do Rosário. AArbor

Kasirossafar, Mohsen / Mitev, Veselin – “Ditirambi” – [Hermes Records]

aarbor   8/31/2022   CD, International

Mohsen Karossafar is Iranian and is the percussionist here. He lives in Rome and works with many known musicians and composers including Ennio Morricone. Veselin Mitev is from Bulgaria. Here he sings the vocals, plays the gaida (Bulgarian bagpipes), and the kaval (Bulgarian flute). This is modern music which melds ancient Indo-European musical cultures creating atmospheres informed by legend. AArbor

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