Montreal’s Kaytranada has already made a name for himself at a young age, garnishing millions of plays through YouTube and Soundcloud that has culminated in the EP release with the imprints HW&W Recordings and Jakarta, Kaytra Todo. Teetering on the line between hip hop and trap, Kaytranada’s productions on the EP are bass heavy, emotionally enlightening and neck-snapping raw pieces that gets bodies dancing and minds activated. Kaytranada is capturing the future of electronica production in a much more hip hop augmented format and has captivated audiences around the world with the quality of his productions in Kaytra Todo.
An element of Kaytra Todo that really captures my interest is the drum tracking and bass lines. Low end is dense yet clean while frenetic drum patterns scatter all over the mix in unorthodox forms. Synth glistens over this state of rhythm in a harmonious way, snapping the aura of the music out of the darker states of the bass tones. This same pattern evolves in various melodic voices from track to track. Most of the music leans towards the future while a few of the tracks are reflective of the past. “Hot Jazzybelle” is a perfect example of the traditional passage that appears, presenting lush samples of piano, bass and early electro rhythms. “Demolitions” has a sleek darkness that captures hip hop music at its rawest states in the 21st century. Album opener “Killa Cats” paves the way for the future aura of the album, blending menacing bass lines with shimmering synth patches and syncopated drumming. The albums closer “Holy Hole Inna Donut” has a very similar vibe to the opener and leaves the album in an intoxicating sphere of tones.
A phenomenal album front to back that goes without question in importance of this years album releases, Kaytra Todo has a wealth of stellar material to process in many different listening mediums. Dive into the album below and check out where the sounds of Kaytranada have been going this year.
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As the concept of what is rare in recorded musical works around the globe begins to stretch beyond previous limitations, excavation of rare LP’s, 45′s and tapes from many untouched areas around the world are finding their way to the surface. Teranga Beat has separated themselves from the rest, diving into the legacy of Senegal and one of the regions most influential and popular groups Dieuf-Dieul De Thiès. This has resulted in the first proper collection to compile their works. Aw Sa Yone Vol. 1 is the collection and is housed in a beautiful packaging that has a pleasing flow like the sonic beauty found within. Dieuf-Dieul De Thiès was headed by guitarist and composer Pape Seck, a visionary who was soaking in the sounds of Jimi Hendrix, Miles Davis, James Brown, Fela Kuti, Fania All Stars and many other world leaders of sound in the 60′s and 70′s and fusing with the rich cultural foundations of his people and their sustained lineage of influence. The connection to all these spheres is easily apparent over the eight songs, most of which clock in over the ten minute mark.
Endless bass grooves, hypnotic percussion, psychedelic infused guitar and the shinning vocal trio of Assane Camara, Bassirou Sarr and Gora Mbaye, Dieuf-Dieul De Thiès is given a new chance to breath life with this first compilation, already gaining praise and recognition from young and old fans of world music. The identity of Senegal’s musical scene has become expanded in my perspective with Aw Sa Yone Vol. 1, something I couldn’t be more thankful for considering how gratifying, transfixing and spiritual the music is. From the magical aura of “Sibaye” to the fearless and traditional sound of the opening number “Na Binta”, each song has a serene feel that puts me in the most confident and happy of moods. The crowning achievement for me moments come when the intervals for solo’s are stretched out a little more than usual and sax, keys, guitar and other instrumentation takes flight to voice their emotions beyond the vocal presentations. Ethereal music from the musical cosmology of a region little outside of it have proper perspective on. The essence of cumbia, salsa and the soulful sides of the Latin scene circa 1970′s finds its way into every track as well. Bass grooves, horn blasts, percussion tandem, it all plays to both Africa and Latin America. Tracks like “Ndiguele” and “Mariama Yayou Salam” really thrive in this state where as numbers such as “Aling Na Djimbe”, “Demba Saly Madior” and “Yande” have a much more influential realm to the ethos of their origins.
Sourced from a bulk of the groups second recording session, Aw Sa Yone Vol. 1 is a spiritual pathway to musical evolution as it was shifting in the 70′s and beyond. The voice of Senegal as it stood in those times. Musicians of this type were all over the world, giving the underclasses a pulse and sense of identity that has traveled far past the initial sound systems, clubs and record players they were first played on. Take a journey with Teranga Beat for this exciting window into the sound of Senegal during the 70′s.
Animal Collective is about to release Monkey Been to Burn Town, a remix EP that will come out on Domino. It’s got a colorful palette of re-designed sounds from the likes of Gang Gang Dance, Teengirl Fantasy, Traxman and Shabazz Palaces. Nope, sorry, no Dam-Funk as speculated rumors suggested.
Shabazz make “New Town Burnout” into a rumping bass booming psychedelic anthem that goes off on a swirling and slightly menacing planet. At 6 minutes your head will be dancing high in the palace sky kissing clouds. “Out of my body, out of my mind.” Yup. Just where I like to be. Thanks for the musical astral-projection. I love this track.
Gang Gang Dance’s Brian DeGraw brings his cyber-tribal constructions (nodding at God’s Money) into Animal Collective’s world. At minute 40, he drops you off on a delicious beat that fumbles itself around slinky bass lines that relax themselves around equally funky synth rhythms. Faithful to Gang Gang Dance, the arrangements and even Avey Tare’s voice functions as a melodic percussion. It’s a surprising, progressive dance floor banger.
You can Pre-order the limited 12″ here. You’ll get instant downloads of Gang Gang Dance and Shabazz Palaces remixes.
Black Boulder is a UK funk 2-step release that works itself around tight and near-excessive production. The end result is a blackened gem that hovers in smoke, as the albums cover adequately portrays. For having a lot of movement, Black Boulder (50 Weapons, 2012) remains a slow burning album that gently rocks itself around funky synths and UK bass snaps. It’s a very careful and meticulous album and it works well for Phon.o. It’s clean and cleared of all fat. The engineering on the album is its pinnacle point. The composition without it would feel too skeletal, but Phon.o has mastered his production techniques and therefore has produced a sleek beast that doesn’t have many foot faults.
Where as Burial enjoys playing in darker, more atmospheric and ambiguous realms, Phon.o is all about the clean, white hand towel approach. It’s silky smooth. Although at times it can become monotonous because of its over-analytical production and lack of mystery, Phon.o ultimately makes his craftsmanship shine bright. Phon.o has dabbled a lot in dub and minimal techno. On Black Boulder it is apparent that his techniques with such styles have lent themselves to the formation of the album. The cuts and strategically placed sounds are so well kept that the rewards of Black Boulder are immediate and digestible. It’s something that is understood on first contact. That is not to say that the trip and experience stops on first listen. It finds a way to continually grow in its smoke filled white room and expand sound without ever hiding any of them to begin with.
It’s UK Techno garage with dub and minimal infused that has become recognized all over the world. Black Boulder breathes with a soul that is clean, smooth and sexy funk. It’s minimal tribal with its percussion that jumps around without effort throughout the 11 tracks. “Leave a Light On” is by far the most memorable song. It screams for remixes and repeats. “Leave a light on for me, I’ll be home don’t give up on me please,” coons the gorgeous voice over an incredibly emotional UK garage composition with Clint Mansell hints strung into the mix.
Black Boulder is an incredibly well engineered delight that is as easy to digest as it is to evolve.
London-based Bobby Krlic has released his second album this year under the moniker The Haxan Cloak with Excavation. It’s a cinematic success. A sound designers dream. “Excavation (Part 1 and 2)” are perfect examples of why Bobby has accomplished an audio movie. And although it is apparent and interesting to think of Excavation as a movie, it is even more intriguing to view it as the soundtrack that a movie can be based off. But where as a movie explains through picture, video and sound, Excavation does not rely on a camera to make itself into a video. In fact, an accompanying video might even weaken the sensational effort brought together on the release.
To understand Excavation, it isn’t necessary but certainly helpful to know where his debut self titled left off. It is a loosely based concept record about a person’s journey towards death. Excavation takes the character on after death without the occidental concepts of Heaven and Hell. It’s called Excavation because it’s “about being excavated to a different level of existence.” The character is unknown even to Bobby, which helps and encompasses the abstract unpredictability found on the album. The unpredictable and menacing bass lines are so poignant because of the high-frequency noises that screech in between the lower and heavy registers. It methodically levels itself out.
Of course horror movies come to mind while listening to Excavation. And yes, these tortured movies tend to find themselves in incredibly desolate, dystopian torture chambers. The difference is that where a slasher film will feature an enormous amount of blood and limbs, Excavation stays primarily inside of the mind where the real terror seeps through, infecting and growing into ambiguous and haunting shapes that loom and sway inside of the corners of ones mind. I am a horror head. There is a huge difference between horror and slasher. Horror to me is basically what Excavation has done. And to put it mildly, this album accomplishes what most horror films wish to do. The visuals are left for your own unconscious to whip up.
This is why it is so terrifying and satisfying. Because it throws you down into the cellar of your own mind where one basically assemble scenes that crawl to life. Take “Miste” for example. It nods to doom metal progressions. Although it is heavy in sludge, it has an elegance that doesn’t cease to impress. There is a constant, looming fan throughout the record that changes its speed depending on the depth and magnitude in which this unknown character finds himself in. The interesting thing is that Excavation allows you to become this character. In fact, it does not only allow but it submerges you, detaches you of your will and forces you into the main character. It’s simply a terrifying body of music.
Excavation is a cohesive monolithic motion picture designed to place you in circumstances that you might not like to find yourself in. A journey. Depending on the movie it makes within your life, you come out either haunted, enlightened or both.
Sydney, Australia’s Flume is one of the youngest producers to make a name for himself on a global platform, releasing his debut self titled full length this last February with Mom+Pop at the age of 21. Soulful, futuristic electronica, Flume infuses a spectrum of ideas so diverse and particular, it has become an atypical path in modern electronica. A delicate yet driving sound reflective of the worlds compassion side of the human experience, Flume enhances the audio experience to extraordinary levels with lush vocal work, natural overtones, gorgeous synth lines and a futuristic dream state that emerges out of the blissful rhythm and bass tandems. Sensuous and alive, Flume implores a complete sonic experience of superbly crafted songs, not just a collection of beats. Flume is perfect music for this year and the rest of time, beaming in delight and joy over the fifteen songs present.
The synthetic soulful side of Flume exposes itself right away with album opener “Sintra”, holding onto its forward direction with big drum work and the keyboard phrase that opens the song. The chopped up vocals and dreamy overtones are a very critical component, moving it far beyond beat music as each section dynamically shifts around these fragmented layers. “Holdin’ On” is a futuristic R&B and electronic soul track, complete with dark synth lines, heavy kick and snare and an exuberant vocal section that offers up something for those who love to dance. The spirited and passionate state of the album fully blossoms by the time the first two tracks have gone through all of their phases, leading to a run of three vocal collaborations that include Chet Faker (“Left Alone”), Jazzeball Doran (Sleepless) and T. Shirt (“On Top”). Each of these collaborations is a new spectrum to the Flume sound, removing any indication to limitation in scope or vision he could possibly have. “Left Alone” has a smooth tone that Chet Faker takes to one of those desolate scenes where a stretch of unoccupied land is all that one can see for miles. Jazzeball Doran’s collaboration dives back into the world of R&B, offering up one of the most soulful and beautiful dance tracks of the record. Los Angeles MC T. Shirt moves the albums sonic complexity into futuristic hip hop for conscious and uplifting lyrics. Flume adds one of his most submerged sounding tracks of the record for T.Shirt, giving him the perfect center of mass to rise out of.
“Stay Close” brings back the vibe found of the albums opener with high pitched and morphed vocal chops, thick funky synth and a mid tempo pace. The pitched modified vocals in the highest sections sound like a synth line oscillated, offering yet another stunning addition to the dreamy essence of Flume. “Insane” with Moon Holiday takes a dip into the more influential sides of Flumes sound with a track you could fit onto any major radio playlist during the 80′s or 90′s. The drum fills, keyboard tones, pitch shifted vocals, bass lines and spacious atmosphere have a really classic feel that will surely become a staple to DJ sets all over the world. Retaining his usage of pitch shifted vocals that connects a majority of the albums identity, “Change” reaches new heights with a mystic vibe of wisdom that is akin to the LA experimental beat movement. A large portion to the remainder of Flume taps into this same experimental state of beat music that is sprouting major life on the west coast of the United States. The mystic water like flow of “Warm Thoughts”, the experimental and spiritual mantra of “Star Eyes” to the cosmic sleek essence and deep space voyage of “Space Cadet”, Flume showcases an entirely different set of sonic worlds as the album sequences into its latter stages.
“More Than You Thought” is a very unique song for the record, moving completely outside of the other tracks for an exotic take on dubstep clothed in darkened electronica. Bright moments of rest points with some of the most astonishing vocal layering are placed around the dub rhythms and melodies to surreal affect, showing how much detail is given to dynamics regardless of the genre influence. The elongated synth lines in the dubstep sections are powerful and some of the most memorable sounds of Flume, voicing out like a siren from an incoming invasion. Vocalist George Maple’s appearance on “Bring You Down” makes up the last collaboration with a lighthearted charming piece that paints a light of determination and speaks of the will power to escape ego and the prisons that labyrinth in ones mental perception. A fitting track of delicate grace, Goerge Maple brings out the calmest of moods found on the album.
Flume is a very impressive debut full length album, following up on his first EP release of 2011′s Sleepless. The live presentation of Flume has been gaining a lot of reputation since opening tours with major artists and has really taken the world by storm with the masterful work contained within Flume.
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“Not a ‘project’: a real band.” Marc Ribot writes in his list of what Ceramic Dog is. So we’ll start there, three band members. At the forefront stands the prolific guitarist Marc Ribot, whose vast list of collaborations include work with John Zorn, Elvis Costello, and Tom Waits (hear “Diamonds & Gold” from Rain Dogs) as well as leading and composing in a number of his own free jazz, Cuban and fusion bands. Alongside Ribot the brilliant bassist and multi-intrumentalist Shahzad Ismaily and long time Xiu Xiu drummer Ches Smith write and perform. Together the three are a simmering pot just waiting to once again boil up a recipe of noise rock experimentation.
This year brings Ceramic Dog’s Greg Saunier (of Deerhoof) produced LP Your Turn, a follow up to 2008′s Party Intellectuals. With Party Intellectuals Ribot wanted to introduce Ceramic Dog as what he’s called his first rock band since high school, pulling grooves with Smith and Ismaily from their own dissonance and chaos. For the last few years the band has written and rewritten what has become Your Turn partly in Ismaily’s basement, rearranging and improvising in session and finally overdubbing polished versions fit to print. The band used this process to clear out some of the more involved structures most notable on the excellent Party Intellectuals. What’s left isn’t a typical sophomore release but rather a new form of Ceramic Dog the rock band, something much more raw but just as unapologetic.
In fact, calling Your Turn unapologetic may be an understatement. Its conception is rooted in sheer defiance, protest music in particular, and in effect Your Turn is a protest record. In the track “Bread and Roses” the awareness of influences echoes in the call and repeat mic checks used notoriously during OWS. The song itself is a brilliant rework of the labor tune, a passionate display that relieves tension with spiraling aggression. Opening track “Lies My Body Told Me” is a slithering post-blues companion to Bread and Roses, it’s a sickened ballad both sticky and jaded by the biological urges Ribot scowls at while the song “Masters of the Internet” is a sarcastic jab toward today’s current state of music consumption. More pointedly – at you and I, dear reader.
“Download this music for free, we like it when you do. We don’t have homes or families to feed… we serve the masters of the internet” Ribot shouts over Ismaily’s Middle Eastern bass march. It’s a movement meant to replay in our heads early Hollywood visions of ancient Egyptian slave labor as Ribot offers to suck our dicks for a pay-what-thou-wilt fee, ala Radiohead. Masters is the most ballsy thing I’ve heard in a while, with it Ceramic Dog takes a humorous leap directly into the sacred den of thieves.
“Masters of the Internet” sits confidently between two complete killers, the instrumentals “Your Turn” and “Ritual Slaughter”. The latter carries over Masters sense of playfulness like a last laugh, like the band is saying “you sit there and think about what we’ve said. We’ll be right here, shredding.” With nearly half the tracks being instrumentals this opportunity arises again and again. On the almost meditative noise rock track “Prayer”, the wonky space funk “Mr Pants Goes to Hollywood” and on the fusion build of “Special Snowflake”. The Paul Desmond penned “Take 5″, most famously introduced to the world via The Dave Brubeck Quartet, is warped to beautiful abandon. The Residents couldn’t have orchestrated a more eulogious seizure.
For good measure Avanti Popolo, the socialist theme of the Italian Labor Movement, introduces a reggae-rattling contemplation on today’s health care system, “Ain’t Gonna Let Them Turn Us Around”. Ribot’s island soul comes through equal parts pained and buzzed atop the quiet backing vocals of Eszter Balint (singer/actress, SCV readers may recognize in Jarmusch’s Stranger Than Paradise and Buscemi’s Trees Lounge). On the track “The Kid Is Back!” they croon jazz well-cultured and irreverent, Ribot singing like pixar era Randy Newman as he likens his own love of his gal to Hitler’s for Eva Braun.
The humor of Your Turn is low brow and everywhere, even cynical when it overlaps the political. In this, you can feel the passion and energy from every musician in the mix, Ribot, Ismaily, Ches, Balint, and guest guru Arto Lindsay (who earns additional SCV style points for being in John Lurie’s Lounge Lizards). This mixture of cynicism, playfulness, and activism is what makes Your Turn ring disarmingly true to the modern listener and the listeners to come. You don’t need to read the lyrics of “Masters of the Internet” to get that it’s made by real people with real talent.
- Nick Bernal
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Anywhere is Christian Eric Beaulieu (Triclops!), Mike Watt (The Stooges/Minutemen/fIREHOSE) and Cedric Bixler-Zavala’s (At The Drive-In/Mars Volta) band. It’s sometimes frequented by ex-Sleepy Sun’s Rachel Fannan and Big Business guitarist Toshi Kasai. They got together due, mainly, to Christian’s solo project “Liquid Indian” which incorporated elements of open eastern acoustic guitar that appealed to Cedric. They met at an art opening for mutual friend Sonny Kay. Cedric was spinning vinyl and Christian and him hit it off. Once into the recording process of Anywhere, Christian asked Mike Watt is he down to play bass. And thus, “Anywhere” was formed.
These three, distinct musical talents bring together an eastern experiment in punk-defied spirituality and world music. It’s incredible to hear an acoustic guitar used so refreshingly and although the songs seem to call for an electric guitar, the acoustic open ended, hypnotic strumming’s will the sound far better than any electric could do. It is really the centerpiece of their debut. Although 70’s German Kraut plays its role (as it is doing with a lot of releases these days) it really isn’t the primary ingredient. The riffs, derived from Stooges punk mixed with Eastern notes and the tumbling percussion gives way to a very interesting mix of musical genre’s.
As ATP wrote, “…Minutemen punk velocity, other moments emotionally spiraling toward a haunting, ethereal beauty akin to Vashti Bunyan lost in the desert of a desolate western. Blending acoustic and minimal electric guitars with a multitude of percussion instrumentation, digital tabla machines, sci fi electronics and feedback, this avant garde collective of envelope pushing splatter artists have created a new presence.”
It cannot be emphasized enough that the punk roots are basically due to the aggressive strumming. The vocals are haunting melodies that Cedric is so well known for. The drums (by Cedric) play a spastic sort of dub/reggae drumming gone Prog (see Defacto) while the bass is thorough and pounding. The bass works as a motor for emotions as well as stability while the electronics take their course and soar around complex time signatures that although progressive, play on pop structure (especially notable with the chorus’s).
“Anywhere” the song plays on aggressiveness but because of its acoustic principles it is subdued and almost tranquil, calming. A sort of chugging of a train towards peace. When Bixler sings “I’m not anywhere” along with the high frequency western cowboy sci-fi effects, it haunts and chills the bone as you all of the sudden feel completely distant yet in tact all at once.
Bixler isn’t a stranger to Kraut, psychedelic music, world music or punk. Nor is Christian, but it is very interesting to here legendary Mike Watt give his gorgeous and incredibly talented input on the bass. The collaborations with “Sleepy Sun” fit in perfectly as their sound has many similarities to Anywhere. It gives chills as well as guides by the hand. It isn’t a dark record by any means. The haunting is almost hopeful, it summons the yearning for something to return.
The Lewis brothers, Pierre and Andre, were two very musical Twin City teenagers before a car insurance settlement crashed into their laps. Taking time from rehearsing alongside other mid 70′s funk pioneers of the coming ‘Minneapolis sound’ (such as The Time Predecessor Flyte Tyme and Sonny T’s The Family) the brothers decided to use their settlement money to finally fund the record that they had always planned on putting together. The time was right as the period was nearing its boiling point of revealing the synth funk era that would emerge in the 80′s. To boot, the musicians who would soon spearhead the movement were freely available to play and collaborate.
Still, it was a recording a few years earlier that had initially brought on the idea of a full album release. By bus Pierre and Andre had met with two other musicians still in the band hopping days of their youth, Sonny T. himself and a 21 year old Prince. At $120 an hour the players spent their studio time recording what would become the song “Got to Be Something Here”. Prince contributed background vocals into a swaying group of vocalists and played rhythm guitar onto the track that is arguably his earliest recording. It was Sonny T. who penned the song and it’s Sonny’s vocals who command it, a soulful ballad that was originally meant as a Sonny T./Lewis Brothers collaboration for the group The Family. The problem with the track was the hourly studio expense. Sonny and the brothers agreed: Whoever could pull together the money would own the masters.
An overturned Buick Century later Pierre and Andre Lewis had one side of an LP and an itch to record the other. Studio hopping with engineer David Rivkin (most likely by bus again) Pierre’s keyboards and Andre’s bass played alongside an array of additional musicians. By 1979 the release was sold city-wide, sleeved under the moniker The Lewis Conection. Despite this misspelling the LP legitimized The Lewis Conection, larger clubs were soon opening their doors to the brothers and offering them opening spots for much bigger acts. Even now, decades after its release both brothers are well into their 50′s and still live off their music despite no additional Lewis Connection releases. Andre has made a life for himself as a Nashville musician while Pierre has traveled to every music loving city in the nation working with new incarnations of KC & The Sunshine Band and most recently The Commodores.
“The Lewis Conection” LP has also made a legend of itself in recent years. Its initial pressing was so limited and notorious for the mythical Prince contribution that it had become an extremely sought after record. This status as a holy grail crate find made it ripe pickings for the Numero Group, the much loved purveyors of the rare and the label respected for re-releasing its trove unmolested of remasters. The quality of these recordings is the real deal, lo fi and Twin City raw. The LP in its entirety is a true time warp into an unseen corner of an era. “Get Up”, “Higher”, “Feel Good To Ya”,“Dynamic Duo”, and “Mr. G” (reportedly titled after Morris Day’s dog) offer a spiraling Parliament and Earth, Wind, & Fire ground-level mesmerization.
- Nick Bernal
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When one looks into the current political and social landscape of Mogadishu, Somalia, a rich and vibrant night life culture doesn’t come to mind. In the 80′s, this was a different story and the Dur-Dur Band were one of the most popular bands putting out music in the region during that era. Blending rhythms and melodies in a way that is outside of anything else created, it’s a truly unique approach to music that soaks in a little bit of everything. Afro-beat, jazz, funk, traditional, music, it’s hard to pinpoint where one song leans heavily in which direction. It’s a sound I am absolutely in love with, containing some of the best sounds I have ever heard from that area. Awesome Tapes From Africa has been the main portal to tap into what this band created and the label has released the groups Volume 5 this year. Sourced from a cassette tape in the private collection of the band, the rare album Volume 5 is given new life in the digital and analog age and it’s still something that is far beyond its time. The mix is indicative of the source it comes from, giving it a really raw and saturated feel that anyone who enjoys tapes can really appreciate.
When the political climate shifted in Mogadishu during the 90′s, the Dur-Dur Band disbanded and went their ways to avoid persecution from the type of music they performed. The western influence of jazz, soul, funk and other non traditional forms had become forbidden by the 2000′s and the Dur-Dur Band became a relic of the past that was removed from the identity and history of the people living there. Living through the hearts and minds of people 30 some years later, Volume 5 is a glowing testament to how powerful music can resonate with a people and its era. No matter what type of restrictions were held in place, this tape made its way to Awesome Tapes From Africa and instills a deeper and more positive history to Mogadishu.
Volume 5 retains the essence of traditional Somalian music with the influence of popular music from all over the world as it traveled into the small record shops of the biggest cities in that time. With artists creating sounds that captivated the interests of people all over the world, groups like Dur-Dur Band sprouted everywhere during this important cross over period. The album has been repressed for the first time since the first copies were made in 1987 and has become one of the greatest reissues of the year to us. LP, CD and Digital versions are available in record stores and Awesome Tapes From Africa direct.
The music that comprises Ghanaian producer and arranger Ebo Taylor’s self-titled debut album has become a classic staple of the afro-beat and highlife movement of the 70′s. Released in 1977 on the influential Ghanaian label Essiebons, Ebo Taylor blends the pulse of western ideologies of jazz, soul and funk into the rich framework of the Afro-beat movement that existed at the time. Once a very rare album to purchase and fetching very high price tags in second markets, the reissue of the album has found its first pressing with Mr Bongo in their Classic African Recordings series. Fully detailed LP and CD packages bring this album to life for all of the people in the world who thirst for this vibrant and culturally rich music. On the first listen of the vinyl reissue put out late last year and it was an instantaneously falling in love moment. As a big fan of the African wave of fusion during the 70′s, this shoots itself to the top of my list for the most spell binding Afro-beat related work in the later half of the 70′s.
Ebo Taylor’s background was rich in training and cultural influence, soaking in the fire of energy international artists of the Afro-beat movement started to accumulate along with a plethora of western influences that stretched the scene of African-American artists. He was a major component on the scene, playing in highlife bands during the late 50′s and producing the regions best in the 60′s and onward. By the time Eboy Taylor had penned and released his 1977 debut album, he was already a legend in his community and would be loved and cherished for years to come. Every track from Ebo Yaylor rides over five minutes and has some of the most beautiful percussion, bass, horn lines and experimentally driven keys or guitar of any Afro-beat album I have heard. The fact that it took this many years for a proper reissue is beyond me but we can only thank the staff at Mr Bongo Records for doing so. A majority of the lyrics are sung in the groups native language with a handful of tracks containing English lyrics, a typical component to the cross over of the genre into every pocket of the world. The rich state of the vintage recording was preserved well with this reissue, shining in every area of the mix with that raw but lively analog glow you can’t recreate with today’s technology.To hear the music on a high definition is simply unreal, bringing to life something that is far beyond definition and full of the purest essence possible.
Ebo Taylor is a record that is worth every penny spent and will still be rotating in your system for years to come. Don’t hesitate to grab a copy of this African 70′s masterpiece why copies are still available.
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