This release came out of nowhere for me. Well, that’s not entirely true, because Takuya Kuroda‘s name was dropped on the recent edition of Bandcamp Weekly, and I was impressed enough by his Miles-like fusion pulses melded tastefully with hip-hop of fine quality, a mix that seems to be pleasant to my ears these days.
Kuroda‘s based out of New York, and his playing is fresh, innovative, occasionally weird, and serves as a great foil for his collaborators to underpin.
Mojito, his latest hit, has busted charts in China, and just might have the possibility of crossing over in Europe, the U.S. and Latin America. He mixed his version of C-Pop with Cuban music, making a song that flows rather nicely. Chou is actually noted for being revolutionary in the Chinese music business as being able to blend Western and Eastern music into a cocktail that isn’t saccharine or cheesy.
This is probably the best modern pop song to come out of China in the last 10 years, at least to my taste. It’s my hope that with Chou’s rather brave (for China) mixing of cultures that producers there will start implementing more and more culture-blending in their music scene.
I thank my former student, Alyssa, who kindly introduced me to his music recently. One of the great benefits of teaching in China was to have students like her introduce me to part of the popular culture I would have otherwise missed. I’m indebted to her, and to all my kids who were kind enough to help keep me in the loop in Beijing.
Hip-hop blended with a touch of bossa nova, a twist of funk and a couple drops of electro swing. Minimatic is out of France, and he manages to mix up these genres like a well-done Blue Hawaiian. Bravo!
We live in an age where a small label from Belarus can pull in musicians from Brooklyn to Siberia. Ezhevika Records has a massive and talented catalog to pull from, and their latest comp showcases some amazing trip-hop musicians.
U Know Me Records has produced a magnificent compilation concentrating on drum sounds. The artists range in genre from post-punk to soul and modern hip-hop, but done in a style that makes them barely recognizable to each category. A refreshing introduction to that which is good in Poland.
Spaceship jazz. These guys have coined a perfect term for themselves. We have free jazz, dark jazz, all sorts of jazz, but this release by France’s Massive Suits Quartet has to be one of the most enjoyable ones of 2019.
There are touches of that ur-spaceship jazz cat Sun Ra, a wee bit of percussive hip-hop beats far off in the distance, and a vibe that would not feel too out of place in a cocktail lounge.
Casablanca, Moroccoisn’t the first place I would think of as being a global melting pot, but that is because I didn’t ever have a chance to deeply explore the city. It turns out that there is a tremendous amount of influence, not only of local culture, but that of West Africa, Asia, and even elements of music from the United States like jazz, blues and hip-hop. Enter saib., a guitarist who manages to flow easily from genre to genre, making this album sound like a combination of North African groove, a touch of bossa nova and mellow jazz, underpinned by a meaty loops.
While it can be a bit embarrassing to watch Bandcamp get its liberal knickers twisted up, Sufyn handles the interview with aplomb. He’s perhaps East Africa’s best hip-hop producer, influenced by what he describes as L.A. beats. Though I’m not a big fan of hip-hop, this talented dentist is doing something very fresh, and deserves every bit of success he’s been gaining.