2. From Basa Basa to Dabrye
CLNK – Thrak (listen2me)
Arte Moderno - Musica Cabeza (Domestica)
Arte Moderno was a project running in parallel lines to the overriding trends in early 80s Spanish music. Short-lived as it was (active between 1981 and 1982) its musical output has continued to amaze the connoisseur ever since. Their only release was a 7” single called Ninette en New York (Ja Ja Records,1982). The band hailed from the Canary Islands in late 1981, being its nucleus Javier Segura, seriously prolific musician active since the 70s, and Juan Belda, who had worked together previously. As Javier Segura himself states in his notes: “The tracks were created with a TR-808, harmonised with textures and guitar screaming, and the rich Belda keyboards plus choruses effects and noises I recorded on a separate tape.” Mandi Capote at drums and Javier Cabrera at bass guitar joined later on. Arte Moderno recorded a grand total of 8 tracks, of which only 2 were released at the time.
Basa Basa - Homowo (High Life Music)
"Here are the twins from Ghana" announced the guards, as they escorted Joe and John Nyaku, the 22-year-old founders of Basa Basa into Fela Kuti's living room. Fela was seated, surrounded by his entourage of female dancers, band members and followers. Upon seeing the brothers, Fela rose to his feet, bowed theatrically and exclaimed, "Dear twins! We are honoured to welcome you."
Having thrilled music aficionados since 2006, Bombay Connection's new born sublabel Vintage Voudou (also a fine store of the same name in Amsterdam), does a perfect job reissuing one of Ghana's holy grail records from the '70s. It was recorded in 1979 under the name of Basabasa Experience - Together We Win on the Nigerian label Take Your Choice Records because back home in Accra, the studio's equipments weren't suitable for the recording sessions. Mysteriously, in 1983 the LP was released in the Netherlands too with this different yellow cover and was renamed Homowo, which is the yearly festival celebrated by the Ga people of Ghana. Recording "Together We Win" took part at the Decca studios in Lagos, a multi-track facility, and Basa Basa laid down the backing tracks over two days, playing the songs live. In the evenings they would eventually return to the studio to record overdubs of vocals, flute, percussion, the Mini Korg synthesizer with its distinct sound and other keyboards, including piano and a string synth along multi-talented instrumentalist Themba "T-fire" Matebese. "African soul power, disco music / African soul power, has the feeling" are the main lyrics on the top track of this album and they're pretty much overwhelming as the twins simply say after, "Making music music for the people" - all these backed by a monster soul / afro-rock instrumental. In fact the whole album is amazing, inspired by Ghanaian traditional music, making it their most innovative work to date. The music was carefully remastered, extensive liner notes are found inside, as well as a 60 x 60 fold-out poster of the front cover, so a very welcoming release for the year 2018. Hoping for many more to come! Picked by Alexandru Drăgănescu / JB
CLNK – Thrak (listen2me)
listen2me is a fresh collective of Romanian artists and electronic music producers, operating under a Bucharest based record label and a series of club nights. Thrak is CLNK’s second album to date, an intriguing journey through dark evocative soundscapes. Call it techno, house or whatsoever, but if you’re digging for rough electronics to melt your brains and dry your muscles, you’ve come to the right place.
Dabrye – Three/Three (Ghostly International)
When Ann Arbor's Tadd Mullinix began exploring hip-hop under the name Dabrye 20 years ago, he soon honed in on a startling vision of what the genre could be: ingenious, refined, daring. The blend of American and British dance music, hip-hop sampling, and Jamaican sound clash energy that underpinned Two/Three remains a quiet, guiding principle. At the same time Mullinix rejoices in a refreshed perspective, having had time to incubate ideas and find clarity in the distance between albums and the evolution of scenes.
VA - Dub Affairs Vol.III (rohs! Records)
The third installment of Dub Affairs released by the Independent Berlin based record label rohs! Records, offers a nice insight into the more electronic corner of Dub music and for me even the strongest part of the series.
Egyptology - Sur Les Autres Mondes (Hands In The Dark)
The Parisian duo of Egyptology is made up of Stéphane Laporte (Domotic) and Olivier Lamm, two musicians who have been active since the late 90’s in the French post-electronica/avant-pop scene. Sur Les Autres Mondes finds its title and a fitting visual inspiration in a publication by French astronomer Lucien Rudaux (1937, Larousse) in which he imagined the landscapes of other planets in our solar system through scientific descriptions. Partly composed for a performance at the prestigious Louvre museum in Paris, the album is the band’s first full length output since 2012. The duo is bringing the 70’s kosmiche genre back to life in a very fresh, bold way, offering a strong shot of pure analogue sound and a fantastic, melodic approach to synth-based ambient music.