Archive for ‘VA’

novembre 1, 2010

V.A – Music From South India

Origine du Groupe : V.A South India

Style : World Music

Sortie : 2004

From the land of a thousand Gods and Goddesses

from the land of ragas and talas….

ancient mystical music,

to jump start the spirit, to hot wire the soul

Side 1

1. Varnum, Raga Intha. A varnum is an opening piece in praise of the half human half elephant god Ganesh, asking him to remove all obstacles. perfromed by Mandolin virtuoso, U. Srinivas,

2. Thyagaraja Kriti Kalavati. A piece composed by the 17th century Saint Thyagaraja. Preformed by the brother / sister duo of Krshnan and Vijaylaksmi Lagudi.

3. Jaya Jaya, Pradmabha Nabha. Performed by one of the great vocalists, Sanjay Subramanium.

Side 2

1. Vapati, Hamsa Shvani (Song of the Swan). Perfromed by the elder statesman of flute, Dr. Ramani.

2. Saraswati Namosthuthe, composed by G.N. Balasubramanium. A song in praise of the Goddess Saraswati (goddess of learning and music). Nadadesswaram is a large oboe like instrument used in
wedding celebrations.

*Recorded in 2004 by Dr. Temiz

by nicholab  from  permalink

Tracklist :

01 Varnum, Raga Intha

02 Thyagaraja, Kriti Kalavati

03 Jaya Jaya, Padmabda Nabha

04 Vapati, Hama Dhvani (Song of the Swan)

05 Saraswati Namosthuthe


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octobre 23, 2010

V.A – Introducing Townes Van Zandt Via the Great Unknown

Origine du Groupe : V.A

Style : Country/Alt-Country & Americana, Country/General, Folk/General

Sortie : 2009

The ideas simple, get a eclectic bunch of unknown (mostly) indie artists together and record an album of Townes van Zandt songs, we’ve already had one van Zandt tribute recording this year from
the great Earle senior, which I blogged about back in March.

Do we need another one ? Absolutely and this one is coming at it from a different angle, does it work – in a word yes. Why? Well the power of Townes writing tends to transcend most music and in
this instance the covers are not half bad either.

The packaging for the CD is great too, the accompanying booklet giving plenty of information on the unknowns encouraging the buyer to go do some research, unknown of course is a relative term and
there are of course some recognisable artists on the CD, here’s the full tracklist.

by simon2307


Tracklist :

1 Lessons In Time (AU) – At My Window

2 Thomas Denver Jonsson (SWE) – To Live Is To Fly

3 Loophole & Ciaran Kirby (IRL) – Lungs

4 Great Lake Swimmers (CAN) – Our Mother The Mountain

5 Fort King & My Hawaii (US) – Loretta

6 Christina Kulukundis (UK/US) – If I Needed You

7 J. Tillman (US) – My Proud Mountains

8 Gustav Haggren (SWE) – Fare Thee Well, Miss Carousel

9 Kevin Tihista (US) – Still Looking For You

10 Kate Maki (CAN) – I’ll Be Here In The Morning

11 Anders Parker (US) – No Place To Fall

12 Telafonica (AU) – St. John The Gambler

13 Nick Jones (US) – Don’t Take It To Bad

14 The Wheel (US) – She Came And She Touched Me

15 Stephen Duffy & The Lilac Time (UK) – Pancho And Lefty

16 Pacific Ocean Fire (UK) – You Are Not Needed Now

17 Chris Mills (US) – Tecumseh Valley

18 The Be Good Tanyas (CAN) – Waiting Around To Die

19 Jad Fair (US) – Turnstyled, Junkpiled


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octobre 17, 2010

V.A – The House of Urban Grooves – THUG Jazz

Origine du Groupe : Various North America

Style : Nu-Jazz , Soul , Funk , Groove , Rap Fusion

Sortie : 2004

This is an intriguing set. Although put out by the Concord subsidiary Peak, the jazz content is pretty low, with the flavor of jazz utilized much more than any serious improvising. However, the
dance music is continuous and episodic, and keeps one guessing. A lot of different colors are used (whether it be Louis Van Taylor’s tenor, Karen Briggs or Trey Duncan on violins, the keyboards,
or the occasional vocalists), plenty of moods are covered, and the grooves never stop. Its main fault is that the electronic rhythms do not vary often enough (do dancers really need to have the
beat stated so obviously all the time?), but in general this is a more interesting set than expected. It works best as background party and dance music.

by Scott Yanow


Tracklist :

01. Hey Shorty

02. Vanelli

03. Jak Ghetto

04. Howard’s In

05. Enemy

06. Da Truth

07. Deringa

08. Kaos

09. Sumpin’ Else

10. T.h.u.g. Theme

11. Vicious Vamp


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octobre 15, 2010

V.A – Salamat Nubianaorl

Origine du Groupe : Egypt

Style : World Music

Sortie : 1996

More new treasures from the Nubian culture vaults presented by Berlin-based Mahmoud Fadl and his group Salamat. A wealth of delicacies from the voluptuous garden of North African tradition –
earthy rhythms and oriental melodies, recorded in Cairo with the stars of the Nubian New Wave scene. A modern tribute to the glorious past of a lost civilisation which nonetheless remains vibrant
through its music. Shake your roots!


Tracklist :

01. Marinthod

02. Yanas Baridouh

03. Noura

04. Zikraati (greetings from Cairo)

05. Elleyl Elhadi

06. El Zekra, Pt. 1

07. El Zekra, Pt. 2

08. Howa Sahih

09. Ashry

10. Sabreh

11. Nuba Noutou


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octobre 7, 2010

V.A – Crooklyn Dub Outernational – Certified Dope 4 Babylon’s Burning


Origine du Groupe : V.A World

Style : Electro Dub

Sortie : 2004

media player

Nine years ago, a loose collective of rebel souljahs calling themselves the Crooklyn Dub Consortium launched a new movement in sound with the seminal Certified Dope, Volume 1 (WSCD003), a
compilation which defined a burgeoning style from the underground dubbed « Illbient » by the press. Once again, one-upping the downtempo dummies, the crooked knights–including Spectre, Scotty
Hard, HIM, and Bill Laswell– return to prove that good music will always outlive the hype. Certified Dope, Volume 4 (WSCD048) stands as a testament to the awesome power of the Sound. Count on
the expanded Crooklyn Dub Outernational to define these crucial times with this latest slate of dubwise illtronica. Babylon’s Burning, ya heard? Or do the powers that be want you to party and
bullshit till oblivion? Crooklyn Dub has the sonic cure to get you through the commercial blues. And as always, all styles and flavors represented here ripple with originality. French dub powers
Brain Damage and Lab lead the charge with the haunting collabo, « Ph neutre, » sounds from the Other Side. From the deviant dub-hop of Philosophy Major’s « The Soundless Hum of Prayer » to the
digital roots of Zion Train’s « Modimo, » the kaleidoscopic mix is seamless yet unpredictable. Twilight Circus suprises us with the world class dub-funk of « Twlight Circus Meets WordSound Inna
Crooklyn 2003 Style, » while Bill Laswell takes it back to the old school with Sly & Robbie riding shotgun on « Finite State Machine Dub. » Roots Control rides the crushing backbeat of
« Boombastic » to dubwise glory. And Doug Scharin’s HIM outfit has grown in leaps and bounds as they display adept musicality on « Disco Lips. » Meanwhile, left coast assassin King Fader treats a
Systemwide beat like Adrian Sherwood on « Eyupsultan » as bonny Prince Charming treats us to his delightful dub rendition of « A Touch of Romance. » For the hard stuff, look no further than Scotty
Hard, who’s coughing up chunks of suspicious dub matter on « Smoke Damage. » Teledubgnosis, too, lends some earth-shaking dub-rock to the set with « Ladies &Gentlemen…. Always. » World famous
DJ/Rupture represents with the tweaked out madness of « Pleasure Ruin Dub, » and bass terrorist Spectre never disappoints with the all out low-end assault of « Al Quaida. » Always light years ahead
of the pack, the genre-bending, boundary-breaking WordSound proves, once again, that Crooklyn keeps on making it HOT. Much more than music, this is a sonic tonic for survival as Babylon



Tracklist :

01      Ph Neutre

Brain Damage and Lab°     4:31

02     The Soundless Hum Of Prayer (Remix)

Philosophy Major     4:04

03     Finite State Machine Dub

Bill Laswell     4:49

04     Modimo

Zion Train     5:08

05     Eyupsultan (The King Fader Mix)

Systemwide     6:55

06     Disco Lips

HIM     5:32

07     Twilight Circus Meets WordSound Inna Crooklyn 2003 Style

Twilight Circus     4:02

08     Boombastic

Roots Control     4:25

09     A Touch Of Romance

Prince Charming     3:28

10     Smoke Damage

Scotty Hard     7:52

11     Ladies and Gentlemen… Always

Teledubgnosis     4:01

12     Al Qaida (The Bass)

Spectre     4:51

13     Pleasure Ruin Dub

DJ /rupture     3:24 


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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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mars 16, 2010

V.A – São Paulo is Burning !