Sunday, 30 September 2012

Orient Noir - Review

Artist: Various

Album: Orient Noir

Label: Piranha Musik

Release Date: September 18th 2012

I found myself interested in reviewing this album for two reasons. Firstly, it featured Mahmoud Fadl who Drumspyder had cited as an influence in his review (in fact “Maqsoum” was actually a cover of a Fadl piece).   Secondly, the album features more actual world music than our usual world music/electronica fusions.

The album kicks off with French act the Watcha Clan (who I was already familiar with). The track is really more of a short intro combining eastern vocals with music I’d associated to the smoky jazz café’s of times gone by.

The album moves forward from the jazz vibe through a variety of artists from Israel, Morocco, Pakistan, Algeria and even New York with the focus mostly on traditional music from Israel and the Middle East.

Although I find the album an interesting journey and like the rhythms and wind instruments in the tracks. I must confess to preferring electronica which utilises world music with either accompanying instruments or samples. This is probably why I’m drawn most to the Watcha Clan's cover of Ofra Haza's “Im Nin’Alu” by the Watcha Clan, which musically is not unlike a skankin' Beats Antique with an alluring vocal.

Although, I’m also partial to the closing track “The Garden” by Efendi’s Garden where in the elongated intro the emphasis is on the vocal, in the manner of the Islamic call to prayer but then transcends into Krautrock with an Eastern tinge.

Review by Woodzee

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Afterlife - The White Island Review

Artist: Afterlife

Album: The White Island

Label: Subatomic UK

Release Date: September 2012 

'The White Island' is Afterlife (UK chillout producer/remixer Steve Miller's) latest album and the title is most appropriate as the whole feel of the album is one of just letting the cares of the world go while you hear the tides lapping and everything else that being on you're own perfect island conjures up.

The album kicks off or should that be glides into 'Saxophone' a gorgeous Samba number with 'Lovely Laura' (M.O.S, Hed Kandi, Space- Ibiza to her credit) An amazing and accomplished Saxophonist she perfectly compliments the Brazilian beats underpinning it.  She is so in tune with the vibe. Every note is perfect

It then leads into the beta blocking heart beat of 'Seriously' with some seriously smooth vocals by Alexandra Hamnede. Echoing distant horns add to the near horizontal feel.

'Espalmador' brings the tempo up a few notches with some fine circular congo action and some gorgeous thermal synths. We are still in Brazil but now lifted from the beach skywards. It's like looking over it but with that stillness. It's pretty much like I'd imagine hang gliding to be.. 

I never try to put a negative in but I have to say that 'Les Cellulaires' is a tad misplaced..Maybe it's just me …. but maybe that's me lacking some sense of fun I just think it could have come in later.

Next up.. 'Down' with Rachel Lloyd on vocals, high note synths and mellow bass wash like the tide to create a perfect tune to watch the sun set to.

With 'Loftism' the night torches are being lit, the first cocktails are being poured and everyone is getting down to the 4x4 beats. Smooth housey organ stabs and the party is getting started 

White Islands closes with an unexpected turn with 'Gekko Beach' but this in no way detracts from the vibe created beforehand. With it's shift of continents to a dusty, dry African Nomadic desert it finishes with an introspective feel that allows the listener to soak up and properly take in the vibe created and to once more balance that primordial Yin/Yang 

There's more besides ... I will say if Ibiza doesn't have this playing in their bars then they've lost the spirit. Saying that though this is universal so if yer coming down in Dumfries or coming up in Dalston then this is your sound track. Overall it's a quality release from a man who knows what works and how to apply it. 

Reviewed by CKA John