Raffaele Pezzella strikes gold yet again with this compilation of experimental musicians from all over the Maghreb and Sub-Saharan Africa. Most of these names are quite new to me, but all show the potential to provide scores of impressive releases as time passes.
This is a great snapshot into the field of avant-garde music from Africa.
I grew up in a house that appreciated the work of Frédéric Chopin. My Mom was and is still a big fan of his compositions. It came as a pleasant surprise to hear that a North Carolina pianist issued some arrangements of Chopin’s music which were recorded beautifully.
Pianist Chad Lawson is joined by Judy Kang on violin and Rubin Kodheli on cello. They update Chopin’s work into a modern, minimalist landscape.
The grand old man of psychedelic noise pairs with a rather powerful improv band I knew little about until today. Keiji Haino is up to his old tricks with his screeching vocals, chanting and brutal guitar playing, while SUMAC give him just enough structure to keep his madness contained. Powerful listening.
I feel bad saying it, but I had thought that Ken “Mr. Coffee” Nordine had passed away some time ago, but it seems he passed away today at the age of 98. His albums Word Jazz and Colors are hip masterpieces.
Alemayehu Eshete has been considered the golden voice of Ethiopia for nearly sixty years. Thanks to Germany’s Philophon Records, we will be hearing more of his music. This is a old track which was re-done with Philophon’s house band, maintaining the spirit of the original but updating the sound quite a bit.
Norwegian composer Juhani Silvola is the heir of the French electroacoustic music tradition, and he has managed to update the sound while maintaining its spirit. According to his biography, “Juhani’s music often explores themes circling post-humanism, nature and virtual reality, questioning the role of humanity in the near future, and painting varied scenarios without exclusively condemning or glorifying the techno-futuristic vision.” We’re in for a bleak future, folks.
Post-Biological Wildlife is his latest album, released on his own Eighth Nerve Audio.
Wings Of An Angel is a mysterious one-man project out of Israel who release a new album VERY frequently, but manage to maintain good quality throughout. Long, droning, wandering ambient tracks with horribly long names in the finest post-rock fashion, but all in all, a decent and very engaging listen.
As an aside, WOAA is generously offering his entire back catalog, at least a couple hundred releases, for the sum of $1.50. A good investment.
This is an indescribably weird and wonderful combination of two bands, one from Russia, and one from Belarus. This split LP provides everything from electroacoustic music and noise to free jazz and improvisation here. Somehow, it just works.
From the bands’ record label, NoiseUp’s Bandcamp page:
Internet-label NoiseUp presents the collaboration of two experimental projects. Russian group of musician Mecizand was formed in the beginning of 10s and counts more than 10 album in its discography. Last two were released on NoiseUp. Their music varies between ritual and dark ambient, musique concrete and free jazz. Belarusian project Simulacross appeared on the experimental music map in 2002 and during the years of existence created different sound collages in percussion and improve industrial, noise and musique concrete. This album will be the debut collaboration of Simulacross and Mecizand. 10 new compositions are presented on the album made separately by every project and collaboration created by both. Part of the tracks is made with guest musician, among which you can find Belarusian folk-singer Irina Hlushets from the band Yagorava Gara, voice of Vladislav Novozhilov from Belarusian metal-band Gods Tower and bass of Pjotr Shkalenok from the retro-beat project Yatata. Also different musician playing of various musical instruments such as harp, flute, violin, organ, calimba, trombone and many others could be heard on the album. It tuned to be an explosive mixture of post-folk electroacoustic avant-garde with ritual atmosphere and percussion soundscapes. Fascinating experiments of Russian-Belarusian collaboration will be available for free download on January 29th on the official NoiseUp website and on the Bandcamp page of the label. The digital release will be followed by the physical cassette limited edition on the label Hvedrungrsmil Records. It will be out in the beginning of February. Noise the world!
Worth tracking down.
Respect to director and documentarian Brett Garamella for weaving a story of Assyrian Christian cab driver Estaifan Shilaita, who was a talented boxer in his native Iraq until he was forced to flee to America.
From his Youtube Channel:
From 1968 to 1976, Estaifan Shilaita was the boxing champion of Iraq. Despite his success, Estaifan was barred from representing the Iraqi national team. After this defeat and seeing many of his family members affected by the newly emerging Ba’ath party, he risked everything to leave his home country. He traveled to Greece where he struggled to keep himself afloat as he watched his dreams of boxing slip away. Everything seemed hopeless until he meets his wife Hannah who brings a joy into his life that has lasted almost 40 years. Although Estaifan never finds the success in sports he desires, his journey leads him to a greater success and fulfillment than he ever imagined growing up in Iraq.
The Anglo-French singer and guitarist Alexis Evans must have had one hell of a good soul and R&B collection growing up, because he sounds like he studied under the masters.
The last 5 years have been amazing for neo-soul music, especially with the likes of Sharon Jones (RIP) and the Dap-Kings, The James Hunter Six and Charles Bradley, and to thing that Bordeaux, France had such a scene is almost mind-boggling, but this track, from Alexis’ upcoming album, I’ve Come A Long Way, is a barn-burner!
Expect to see a lot more soul reviewed here!