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SUN HOP FAT – “Sun Hop Fat” – [Self Released]

aarbor   3/11/2020   A Library

Sun Hop Fat are Oakland’s own Ethiojazz outfit and this CD is almost as good as attending one of their live shows.  Tracks 5,8, and 9 are traditional Ethiopian favorites beautifully done, and the rest are their own high energy honky, squonky sax driven tunes. Don’t miss Spackelface [6] and Yum Yum [4] AArbor

POP MAKOSSA: The Invasive Dance Beat of Cameroon 1976-1984 [coll.] – [Analog Africa]

aarbor   3/11/2020   A Library

Once again Analog Africa succeeds in unearthing beautiful and obscure tracks of ‘Makossa’ a kind of dance music from Cameroon. Makossa bridges traditional African music to the funk, disco and soul of the US in the 1970s and ‘80s. Vocals by Donna Summer or even James Brown could work on some of these tracks. An extremely well curated collection that was 7 years in the making. AArbor

Jain, Sunny – Wild Wild East – [Smithsonian Folkways]

aarbor   3/11/2020   CD, International

Sunny Jain is the leader of Red Baraat a Brooklyn-based Indian-style street band and an up and coming player in the NYC music scene. When I read that he had a new release on Smithsonian Folkways I was curious, and after listening to the first few tracks and reading the liner notes, I was completely hooked by the passion of this release: it’s very personal- it tells about his life [don’t miss the family pictures in the liner notes]. Jain grew up in Rochester, NY as the child of East Indian immigrant parents. He writes in the liner notes about his confusion in 1st grade when learning about the first Thanksgiving with the Pilgrims and the “Indians”, and the numerous Cowboys and “Indians” stories. Here he plays with these themes: The “Indian” on Western terrain, Cowboys and Immigrants [2]. Morricone and Bollywood [5,6,9], South Asian rebels [7], Spirituality [10], his childhood [8] and other musics which influenced him (jazz, surf, post-punk) [1,3,12] He wonders which side is he on? [4]The music plays with Indian words and instruments mixed into Western songs. On track 4 a Muslim rapper decries the way he’s treated in post-911 America. This is an album that brings tears to my eyes as the child of immigrant parents in 21st century America. Even though my family comes from a different continent, I’ve felt those feelings too. – AArbor  

KUTI, FELA RANSOME & HIS KOOLA LOBITOS – “Highlife Jazz and Afro-Soul” – [Knitting Factory Records]

aarbor   3/4/2020   A Library

Fela’s first (pre-Afrobeat) band was the Koola Lobitos and this is 3 CDs full of their music. Before he went to England he was the vocalist for Victor Olaiya’s All Stars. He returned to Nigeria from Trinity College of Music in London to find Highlife being thrashed by pop music and he responded by creating a new style that you can hear on this album. It brings together Highlife and Jazz – African rhythms and elements of the Jazz he must have heard in London. This is truly the “roots” of Afrobeat. AArbor

DE TRIANA, CHININ – “Cante Jondo” – [Folkway Records]

aarbor   3/4/2020   A Library

Chinin De Triana (1927-2006) was the stage name of Vicente Garcia Valganon, a popular flamenco singer in Spain. On this 1963 recording on Folkways Records, De Triana is accompanied on guitar by Emilio Bonet. Flamenco music (usually associated with Andalusian gypsies) has strict and complex forms, with occasional improvisations in the lyrics. This is classic flamenco. AArbor

Da Damn Phreak Noize Phunk – “Electric Crate Digger” – [!K7 Records]

aarbor   3/4/2020   12-inch, A Library

Da Damn Phreak Noize Phunk is Oliver Bondzio and Ramon Zenker. They also release music as Hardfloor with more of an acid sound. Both have collaborated with numerous others. Released in the UK in April of 1999  Electric Crate Digger is their very first release as Da Damn Phreak Noize Phunk. Driving rhythms, wah wah guitars, break beats, trip hop and an appealing dancey vibe. – AArbor  

TAMBURO, MIKE – Way To Be Free, The – [Sounds Eternal Music]

aarbor   2/26/2020   A Library

Mike Tamburo is an independent musician, sound explorer, music educator, filmmaker, musical instrument builder, interdisciplinary sound artist, gong enthusiast, storyteller, writer, meditation teacher, installation artist, painter, who lives in Soquel, CA. He is a well known multi-instrumentalist and plays the hammered dulcimer, gong, shahi baaja, swarmandal, autoharp, the crowned eternal (an instrument he built out of a headboard), tuning forks, guitar, percussion, electronic instruments, bulbul tarang, bass gopichand, gulbulgar, singing bowls, bells and clarinet. He runs 2 small labels called: New American Folk Hero and Sounds Eternal. He teaches Kundalini yoga, Nāda yoga, sound therapy and Experimental Instrument Building. Early in his career he gained notoriety for his string playing (hammered dulcimer, guitar and shahi baaja). This release is 4 tracks: 1 short and 3 long. The short track includes a Mellotron. The tracks verge on trancey in an East Indian way but are enjoyable listening. AArbor

SHANTEL – Oh So Lovely/Remixes – [!K7 Records]

aarbor   2/26/2020   A Library

Shantel is German DJ/producer Stefan Hantel whose ancestry goes back to Bosia, Serbia and the Romanian part of Bukovina than is now part of the Ukraine. This explains his music which mixes gypsy brass orchestras, and traditional Balkan music with electronic beats. You’ve heard his music on the Electric Gypsyland compilations.   This release is from 1998, it is Eliza Doolittle’s song “All I Want is a Room Somewhere” as remixed by Serious Dropout, Shantel himself, and Mr. Scruff. AArbor

Konan, Antoinette – Antoinette Konan – [Awesome Tapes From Africa]

aarbor   2/26/2020   CD, International

Antoinette Konan is from the Ivory Coast and she is known as “The Queen of the Ahoko”. The Ahoko is a 3-piece wooden (scraped) idiophone handmade from a thin, ribbed, flexible stick; a smaller chunk of wood is rhythmically scraped against the ribbed stick. She originally learned the ahoko to distinguish herself from other musicians. She put the ahoko on the map when she re-introduced it as a part of 20th century popular music. This album was originally released in 1986 and was re-released last year by Awesome Tapes From Africa. Here you’ll hear the ahoko with a roaring backdrop of synths, bass guitar and drum machine.  – AArbor  

As One – Planetary Folklore – [Mo Wax]

aarbor   2/19/2020   A Library

Kirk Degiorgio is As One. Here he is on Mo’ Wax from 1997. The sound is more jazzy [4,7,8] than the ‘70s soul and funk or Detroit Techno you hear in his earlier releases. There’s still a bit of funk present in the electronica here. – AArbor

SOFA SURFERS – Sofa Rockers Remixes – [Klein Records]

aarbor   2/19/2020   A Library

The Sofa Surfers are Mani Obeya, Markus Klenzi, Michael Hozgruber and Wolfgang Frisch of the Austrian posse of the ‘90s. Here are 2 of their tracks A1 and B1 with 2 gentle funky remixes of A1 by Richard Dorfmeister (of Kruder and Dorfmeister) – call it Downtempo, call it Trip Hop… but be sure to listen to it.   AArbor

Ekuka – Ekuka – [Nyege Nyege Tapes]

aarbor   2/19/2020   12-inch, International

Ekuka is Ekuka Morris Sirikiti a griot from Northern Uganda, who plays the mbira (a metal thumb piano), and is the ‘musical grandfather’ to a whole generation of rappers and producers from Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya. These are recordings that listeners made of radio broadcasts at a time (during the reign of General Idi Amin) when Ekuka didn’t have access to recording studios.  As a result there’s some distortion – but the mbira seems to shine through the murk. Lo-fi vintage recordings of a griot master with a remix by Ekuka as the last track. AArbor

Freedom Satellite – Soul Samba – [Vienna Scientists]

aarbor   2/12/2020   12-inch, A Library

Jurgen Drimal and Gernot Ebenlechner are Freedom Satellite. This is their first (electronica) release from 2000 which helped launch the Vienna Scientists label. The tracks on the A side: Soul Samba and Savor are 2 of their best known tracks and well worth a play (as are the 2 on the B side). – AArbor  

KUMASI TRIO – Fanti Guitar in West Africa 1928, Vol. 1 [coll.]

aarbor   2/12/2020   A Library

These rare recordings from 1928 are some of the first ever to feature African music played on Western guitars.  Kumasi is a city in Ghana which in 1928 had an open air market and one of the first British department stores in Africa. The trio is H.E. Biney and Jacob Sam (whose real name was Kwame Asare) on guitar, and Kwah Kanta on percussion. The trio were brought to London to record 36 double-sided records. This is considered the first recording of “highlife”. For reference – Amponsah is a standard highlife song.  AArbor

GENTLE PEOPLE, THE – Journey

aarbor   2/12/2020   A Library

The Gentle People are a combination of 1990’s club culture (Electronica) and 1950s cocktails and tiki kitch (Lounge). Think sugar coated/easy listening with vocals and nostalgic cheeseballness. Their names are Dougee Dimensional, Honeymink, Laurie Lemans, and Valentine Carnelian.This is their single Journey remixed by the likes of Aphex Twin (whose Rephlex label they record on) and Hazchem. I especially recommend the remixes. AArbor

I:CUBE – “Disco Cubizm” – [Versatile]

aarbor   2/5/2020   A Library

This is I:Cube’s  (Nicholas Chaix) 2nd release from 1996. Disco Cubizm and Listen 2 The Bass are playful, bouncy fun tracks, with a sense of humor. The Daft Punk Remix on the B side is more sober.  – AArbor  

Music For the Gods – [coll.] – [Rykodisc]

aarbor   2/5/2020   A Library

Indonesian music is more than just Gamelan! This beautiful collection aptly demonstrates this by giving you not only beautiful gamelan music, but excellent examples of other interesting instruments and vocal stylings. On track [3] slit drums or tubular bells, jew’s harp [6], a harvest song [7]. Kecak [10] a famous [monkey] dance from Bali in which the male singers chant much like a gamelan  in 8 layers of chants and the dance is choreographed to the chanting. Track [13] is Mamaca – sung poetry. AArbor

Pike, Dave – Jazz For The Jet Set – [Atlantic (Jazz)]

aarbor   2/5/2020   12-inch, Jazz

Recorded in NYC in the Fall of 1965. Vibraphonist Dave Pike plays mariba here and Herbie Hancock plays the organ (an instrument he rarely played again).  This is Herbie Mann’s first outing as a record producer. The charm of this album is that even though it’s a “Jazz” album it’s also got a dash of boogaloo and pop with catchy melodies. AArbor

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