Archive for septembre 29th, 2010

septembre 29, 2010

Hola A Todo El Mundo – Hola A Todo El Mundo

Origine du Groupe : Spain

Style : Alternative Folk , Experimental

Sortie : 2010

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From Official Myspace :

Tomando prestado el titulo de un poema de Walt Whitman como nombre de la banda, Hola a todo el mundo nace en la primavera del año 2006. Ensayando en casa, rodeados de instrumentos, dan forma a
sus primeras composiciones. Canciones largas, llenas de diferentes pasajes, que como un viaje progresan de forma cambiante para nunca volver atrás. « Un luz que nos guía para encontrar la única
verdad del espíritu », como ellos mismos explican en sus letras, un tanto proféticas, mezcla de fabulas o cuentos agoreros. En el año 2007 graban su primera maqueta en los estudios Heatroom de
Madrid. Y un año mas tarde debutan en la Sala Sol como teloneros del grupo sueco Club 8. Comienza así su andadura en directo, tocando, con tal solo un puñado de canciones en myspace, en el
Festival de Otoño de la Comunidad de Madrid, en el Wintercase 2008, o en el Primavera Sound 2009, entre otros. En abril de 2009 fueron elegidos por la revista Mondo Sonoro como una de las tres
mejores bandas madrileñas debutantes. Ese mismo año fueron galardonados por los premios Pop-Eye 2009 como mejor grupo Folk del año. Desde Noviembre 2009, Hola a todo el mundo cuentan con oficina
propia, Producciones Disonantes, con quien han cerrado acuerdos de representación, contratación, y producción de conciertos. El 8 de Marzo de este año saldrá a la venta su esperado primer disco,
producido por Luca Petricca en Reno Studios (Madrid). Autoeditado en su propio sello, HATEM Prayer Team, y distribuido por Popstock.

Tracklist :

01 – Choose your own Adventure Part 1

02 – A movement between these two

03 – Hatem prayer team

04 – Making your num your best friend

05 – Choose your own Adventure Part 2

06 – Amor fati

07 – Current road

08 – Inuit

09 – The past and the son

10 – Golden sound



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septembre 29, 2010

V.A – Indestructible Beat of Soweto Vol.2 : Thunder Before Dawn

Origine du Groupe : V.A South Africa

Style : World Music

Sortie : 1987

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Perhaps the easiest way to understand the differences between the Real World and Earthworks labels is to understand the differences between socialism and populism.

The Real World label, as formed and popularized by Peter Gabriel, features recordings from assorted artists around the world. Listening to most such recordings, the phrase which might most easily
enter the mind of the listener is « cultural displays ». That is to say, the « art » frequently seems quite deliberate — and, if not quite Westernized, nevertheless somewhat removed from
street-level scene in the musician’s place of origin. Some exceptions obviously exist, but the albums released in this series tend to have the same ethos about them as do government-funded art
projects in North America.

From my perspective — admittedly somewhat removed from the cultures in question — the Earthworks label is a bit different. One frequently gets the impression, listening to these records, that
the music would not be out of place in the casual venues of such cultures. In cruder terms, this might be more in line with the sort of music that profit-based corporations use for their
day-to-day business (though, given the economies of scale in many Third World nations, the practical impact of this assessment is probably rather limited).

This reviewer will not take a side my favouring one side over another — both have their place in the greater musical economy, and both promote forms of musical expression which the other is not
likely to touch upon. Nevertheless, this distinction may be of some importance in understanding the impetus behind works on these labels.

One frequent characteristic of populism is a misleading « front » or « cover » for the substance of the entire thing. This is certainly the case with Thunder Before Dawn (a.k.a. The Indestructible
Beat Of Soweto Vol. 2). The front cover of this release shows a group of South African tribesmen in a ritual dance, with one prominent figure in mid-air and possibly about to jab two spears into
the ground before him. This cover suggests that the music on the release will be traditional tribal fare. As per the above description, this is not quite the case — rather, the music seems more
appropriate for a tavern or club atmosphere … or perhaps even a specialized radio format.

That aside, this album does yield some interesting discoveries about black South African music in the dying days of apartheid (for the uninitiated, that is). Perhaps my greatest surprise,
listening to the work, was the predominance of Hammond organ chops in the musical setting — the vocal harmonies, rhythmic guitar lines and non-standard beats were all somewhat predictable; the
Hammonds were extremely less so. I’m quite curious as to whether this was typical of most South African music at the time, or whether this sample is simply misleading. One way or the other,
though, this certainly won’t interfere with a progressive fan’s take on the entire affair.

(Of course, given the ethnic distinctions within black South Africa, it may be inappropriate to make any blanket statements about the music of the area as based solely on this release. Although
the musicians featured herein are from a variety of ethnic backgrounds, all songs except one are sung in Zulu.)

In terms of song « form », the first track — by vocal trio Amaswazi Emvelo and singer Simon « Mahlathini » Nkabinde — is fairly typical of what one might expect of pop music of this sort.
Thankfully, though, it’s quite good in terms of content (not to mention rather catchy). The Hammond lick at the beginning gets this off on a fairly strong note, and there’s nothing to fault the
musicians for on this number — the bass solo, in particular, is pretty good. The focal element of the song, however, would be the vocal harmonies; not too aggressive in their melodic style, they
fit the tone of the quite well. In short, this is good pop music (and it grows on the listener with successive hearings as well).

Mahlathini Nezintombi Zomgqashiyo (hereafter « MNZ ») is described in the liner notes as a mbaqanga (ie. « township ») supergroup, featuring the aforementioned Mahlathini, the original Mahotella
Queens, the Makgona Tsohle Band, and guitar/composer Marks Mankwane. « Thuto Ke Senotlolo » (the only song on the album sung in Sotho), features extremely deep lead vocals (presumably by
Mahlathini) which are impressive enough to grant the song a fairly high rating on their own — and, on top of that, we also have more Hammond organ coolness throughout the number. About the only
problem with this track is the ill-considered « call and answer » vocal form — the Mahotella Queens wear on the nerves somewhat, after a while (those familiar with Pink Floyd’s backing vocalists
should get the idea).

Dilika are cited as a Zulu-guitar group led by David Mtshali, and the introductory Tomorrow-esque guitar line would seem to verify his dominance in the group. This is a nice, infectious number
which isn’t terribly hindered by the fact that the drums sound somewhat canned. The guitar is the high point of this song, of course; the vocals, though good enough, aren’t really superhuman.
Still, we’re easily three for three, so far.

Abafakasi (featuring Osiaz Ntsele on vocals) then follow with « Wakwami », perhaps the most immediately memorable vocal line on the album. The Hammond chops which begin the track seem quite proggy
in this particular instance (believe it or not), and the bass line throughout the verse is quite nice as well. This group is apparently known for its saxophone performances, one of which makes a
good enough appearance in mid-song. This track might seriously confuse some progressive fans, but it shouldn’t disappoint them.

Johnson Mkhalali, according to Trevor Herman’s liner notes, is a « prominent accordian jive specialist » (one wonders if accordion fans in this part of the world engage in Mkhalali/Rossy debates).
« Sunshine Boots », the track featured here, some JM’s skills in the foreground, with some nice guitar flavouring as well. This is clearly good stuff, though a tad repetitive.

Jozi, another zulu-guitar group led by Moses Mchunu, provide the first true masterwork of the album with « Phumani Endlini ». The drums sound rather canned here as well, but that’s hardly the point
— the acoustic guitar and amazingly urgent vocal delivery are strong, strong points in this song’s favour. The harmonious bass sound is pretty damned good as well, as are the vocal harmonies (I
have no idea what the spoken word bit is actually communicating, but it sounds fairly impressive nonetheless … actually, the lack of information about the actual songs is another distinction
between this label and Real World).

From here, we go back to MNZ, and their « Kwa Volondiya ». The airy guitar lines and heavy bass performances go well with Mahlathini’s deep voice (but where’s the Hammond?). This is probably a more
developed number than the previous MNZ track, though the unfortunate problem of the backing vocalists is common to both. The guitar soloing between the verses is rather impressive.

As this stage, the Makgona Tsohle Band step out on their own with « Vula Bops », a shuffle-driven number that’s probably about as good as « good-time » music can be. 😉 The prominent horn delivery
over this danceable number might draw a few similarities to Louis Armstrong in terms of « musicality which prevails in spite of restraint », though the content of the track is something rather
different. One way or the other, though, this is a thoroughly enjoyable number.

And, following this, it’s time for Amaswazi Emvelo to step out of their own. « Jabula Mfana » features some good electric soloing at the beginning, and a drum line which is fairly interesting in
spite of its apparently canned nature (some sudden shifts make it worthwhile). The vocals are, obviously, the lead element once again, and are notable for a strong element of chaos therein (the
complexity of the arrangement is fairly impressive in its own terms). A guitar solo follows afterwards; the entire track seems somewhat longish.

How ironic is it that « Siwuhambile Umhlaba », by Amaswazi Emvelo & Mahlathini, sounds quite similar to the Talking Heads? This is a somewhat more poppish number than some other tracks here,
with the deep vocals and guitar lines appearing as expected. The vocal arrangement, once again, is quite impressive here; moreover, this track actually improves by virtue of its length and use of

The third and final MNZ track is, unfortunately, the least impressive number here. This is something of a ballad, and not completely removed from the stigma which is normally associated with that
term; the fact that this is also the only track sung by a female lead vocalist may be proof that some demographic arranging is cross-cultural. The instrumental elements of the song are proficient
enough, and the vocals themselves aren’t terribly obnoxious … but, really, this just isn’t that great of a song. Rather, this is one of the few occasions in which Thunder Before Dawn seems
rather … well … ordinary.

Thankfully, the next song is something completely different, and easily the most bizarre thing on this album. If there is a such thing as « mbaqanga psychedelia », I would suggest that Malombo
should probably be regarded as the godheads of the movement. A rather minimal guitar presence (vaguely akin to « Sweet Jane ») sets the musical tension, and a rather odd (and somewhat undermixed)
vocal line might easily make the listener wonder if this wasn’t improvised … late one night … at the tail-end of a lengthy festivity. The sheer sonic arrangement of the entire thing dominates
over any single element of musical performance (which isn’t a bad thing, of course). This track alone might be enough to recommend the album for fans of bizarre musics.

Thankfully, though, there are other tracks to impress listeners with adventurous tastes. There may be better albums of this sort of there, but this one shouldn’t disappoint.

The Christopher Currie

(review originally posted to on 30 Jun 1998)


Tracklist :

1 Amaswazi Emvelo and Mahlathini – Utshwala begazati

2 Mahlathini Nezintombi Zomgqashiyo – Thuto ke senotlolo

3 Dilika – Amazimuzimu

4 Abafakasi – Wakwami

5 Johnson Mkhalali – Sunsine boots

6 Jozi – Phumani endlini

7 Mahlathini Nezintombi Zomgqashiyo – Kwa volondiya

8 Makgona Tshole Band – Vula bops

9 Amaswazi Emvelo – Jabula mfana

10 Amaswazi Emvelo and Mahlathini – Siwuhambile umhlaba

11 Mahlathini Nezintombi Zomgqashiyo – Ngasebenza ngedwa

12 Malombo – Motshile


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septembre 29, 2010

Human Spirit – No pasaran

Origine du Groupe : France

Style : Reggae , Funk , Ska , Alternative

Sortie : 1992

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From Wikipedia :

Human Spirit est un groupe français ayant vu le jour en 1986 à Paris XIVe. Leur musique est une fusion entre le reggae, le funk, le jazz et un brin de rock, résolument engagé et toujours soutenu
par une sérieuse section de cuivres, qualifiée de « urban reggae ». Le groupe connut ses heures de gloire essentiellement sur scène au cours des années 1990 ou encore avec des morceaux tels que
« RMI », « Police », « Rien à péter » fortement soutenus par Radio Nova. Souvent associés à « l’Hôpital Ephémère » ils firent partie, au côté de FFF, Vercoquin,Juan Rozoff, Malka Family de ce qui fut
alors qualifié de « nouvelle scène groove parisienne ».

Discographie: No pasaran, 1992 / L’esprit humain, 1993 / Partisan, 1997. Apparaît également sur: It’s a frenchie reggae party, 1997 / Let’s skank, 1999 / Collectif reggae ragga, 2000

Le flûtiste Magic Malik qui fit partie du groupe pendant dix ans est aujourd’hui une figure importante de la scène française du jazz, en compagnie d’un autre ancien membre, le saxophoniste Denis

Le 1er bassiste, Gaby Amireille, a continué avec Pakal King. Le 2nd bassiste, Thierry Negro, a poursuivi avec Faya Dub et Villa St Michel. Le chanteur Jam a poursuivi dans un style hybride RPR
(Reggae Pop’n’Roll), entre autres avec les Pigments Libres. Le dernier batteur, Hubert Motto, travaille avec Marc Lavoine.


Tracklist :

1. African beat (4:01)

2. Rien à péter (5:01)

3. W.A.S (3:35)

4. Sar’Hamouli (1:41)

5. Prends le reggae (5:19)

6. Soula djengo (0:42)

7. Apocalypse (4:24)

8. Come on and dance (4:53)

9. Zig folies (1:18)

10. Police (4:35)

11. Sur la piste du Boul’hana (9:46)

12. Système à fric (6:41)

13. Le roi Berger (1:34)


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septembre 29, 2010

Mulatu Astatke – Mulatu Steps Ahead

Origine du Groupe : Ethiopia

Style : World Music , Ethio-Jazz , Alternative

Sortie : 2010

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Depuis sa fructueuse association discographique avec The Heliocentrics pour un Inspiration Information Vol. 3 (Strut) qui lui a valu le prix du meilleur album aux trophées Afro-Caribéens en 2009,
plus rien n’arrête Mulatu Astatke. Embrayant sur une tournée de salles combles et un best-of, New York-Addis-London, simple mise en bouche destinée à replacer son œuvre, il revient pour un album
sous son seul et unique nom. Enfin. Ouvert par la somptueuse inspiration mystico-méditative  » Radcliffe « , Mulatu Steps Ahead n’est que le reflet de l’idylle que Mulatu Astatke vit depuis
quarante ans. Une histoire d’amour entre un génial compositeur éthiopien et sa création, complexe assemblage musical qu’il nomme éthio-jazz, un édifice bâti à la force de ses maillets de
vibraphone. Quatre décennies durant lesquelles le démiurge d’Addis-Abeba n’aura eu de cesse de parcourir le monde à la recherche des nouvelles inspirations qui enrichiront et embelliront sa
musique, fusionnant des courants qu’on aurait juré incompatibles, développant une incomparable science de l’arrangement. Des plaines verdoyantes au Danakil, des rues brûlantes aux salles
obscures, des clubs de jazz new-yorkais aux bouges latinos enfumés, la musique de Mulatu est un passeport où toutes les pages sont martelées de tampons et de visas. Aussi à l’aise pour tresser
des cordes que dompter un groove radical afin qu’une kora s’y ébatte en toute quiétude (écoutez donc  » Mulatu’s Mood ! « ), capable d’ordonner un cortège de cuivres comme d’hypnotiser un piano,
Mulatu multiplie les clins d’œil à ses propres œuvres tout en allant de l’avant, laissant dans son sillon des mélodies envoûtantes. Efficace en électrique comme en acoustique, le Négus nous
confie neuf titres multidirectionnels promis à des écoutes répétées et prolongées.

par Franck Cochon


Tracklist :

01 – Radcliffe

02 – Green Africa

03 – The Way To Nice

04 – Assosa

05 – I Faram Gami I Faram

06 – Mulatu’s Mood

07 – Ethio Blues

08 – Boogaloo

09 – Motherland



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septembre 29, 2010

Aqua Velvets – Nomad

Origine du Groupe : North America

Style : Rock , Folk , Instrumental

Sortie : 1996

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Despite their watery name, the Aqua Velvets don’t spend the bulk of this album riding the waves. In fact, the title and desert cover art seem to point in the opposite direction. And although they
still obviously love reverb and twang, the band, led by guitarist Miles Corbin, proves it is more diverse than previous albums might indicate. Sure, there’s plenty of Duane Eddy/Ventures licks,
but the Aqua Velvets introduce them to a world music palette. This is surf-influenced music that transcends its previous limitations. To emphasize that, the disc kicks off with the spaghetti
Western atmospherics of the title track before the group gets its collective feet wet in « Surf Nouveau »‘s more straightforward, Shadows-style approach. But they really wander off the beach on the
bongo-infused slow burn of « Snorkle Mask Replica, » where backwards tapes provide an eerie backing for the multiple, overdubbed guitar solos. Ennio Morricone is referenced often here, especially
in the dusty « Return to Paia, » a high, lonesome mood piece. « In a Spanish Mood » is just that, with a vague flamenco groove that snakes through drum-less percussion with Corbin’s echo-heavy solo.
With one foot on an American surfboard and the other on foreign soil, the Aqua Velvets show they are ready to push the envelope of their often constricting field without abandoning it. The
closing tracks tread water, swimming in calm seas, yet not really going anywhere, although the reggae rhythm of « Shrunken Head » is a calm coda. But Nomad is an eye-opening, if not quite
groundbreaking album in a genre that has far too few of them.

by Hal Horowitz


Tracklist :

1 Nomad

2 Surf Nouveau

3 Smoking Panatelas on the Blue Mediterranean Sea

4 Holly Tiki

5 Snorkel Mask Replica

6 Return to Paia

7 Ho’okipa

8 In a Spanish Mood

9 Nervous on Neptune

10 Summer at Dreampoint

11 Shakahoochie

12 Shrunken Head


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