Shugo Tokumaru is a Japanese singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist. He’s basically a one-man show.
But you don’t need to understand his native Japanese to dig his euphoric melodies, such as the jubilant track ‘Bricolage Music’ which pops and claps in a fidgety rhythm before breaking open to a balearic jam at the two-minute mark.
Yasmine Hamdan is a Parisian-based electronic musician who grew up in war-torn Lebanon. While’s she gained a reputation in the Middle East as an underground artist, her latest solo record Al Jamilat plans to unleash her to a broader audience. The track ‘La Ba’den’ offers dreamy electronic Arab vibes. Compelling stuff.
+ Listen to her interview on the latest Gilles Peterson show.
From the Nigerian archives comes the band Grotto’s lost 1977 gem, At Last, reissued by the Lago-based Odion Livingstone label. Odion Iruoje was a former A&R manager at EMI whom discovered the group and recorded their album.
Influenced by the likes of Jimi Hendrix and Carlos Santra, the group formed a rock/funk fusion band at St Gregory’s college in 1974. Recalls Odeon:
“I was into youth bands at the time, I felt they offered something fresh, most pros were into reggae which I hated (not as a genre but the aping of it).. youth bands allowed me to experiment, I gave them something and they in turn gave me something, which I could take to the next project. They made me in a way. EMI (Nigeria) did not really get the emergence of the youth market, they thought I was fooling around with kids.”
Flako is Dario Rojo Guerra, a Berlin-based producer known for his helter-skelter beats. I first discovered him in 2010 with his jaw-dropping Pharcyde sample on the track ‘Love.’
He’s since expanded his sound beyond hip-hop to include more live instruments and global soundscapes, paying tribute to his German-Chilean heritage. Now releasing music under his rebranded name Natureboy, Flako has done some reworks most notably with Malian Wassoulou Oumou Sangaré’s track ‘Yere Faga.’ A worthy listen.
Arvo Pärt is Estonian composer of classical and religious music, known for creating his own minimalist style of “little bell” sounds which he calls Tintinnabuli. Here’s how he describes it:
“Tintinnabulation is an area I sometimes wander into when I am searching for answers – in my life, my music, my work. In my dark hours, I have the certain feeling that everything outside this one thing has no meaning. The complex and many-faceted only confuses me, and I must search for unity. What is it, this one thing, and how do I find my way to it? Traces of this perfect thing appear in many guises – and everything that is unimportant falls away. Tintinnabulation is like this. . . . The three notes of a triad are like bells. And that is why I call it tintinnabulation.”
His track ‘Silouans Song’ is a spiritual tune that came out in 2006 but I just heard it in a Benji B radio show co-hosted with Joy Orbison, so it’s fresh to me.
According to his Wikipedia page, Pärt has also been one of the most-performed living composers for the last five years. Bjork is also a huge fan!
Gulu singing legend and ‘Acholi folk pop’ pioneer Otim Alpha teamed up with London producer Jesse Hackett and multi-instrumentalist Albert Ssempeke to produce Ennanga Vision, “deconstructed musical forms from the kingdoms of Uganda.”
The album’s single ‘Otim’s War’ mashes together techno elements into traditional choral signing. The result is something like you’ve never heard before. The music video is fascinating too.
William Onyeabor was a Nigerian musician and businessman. He was known as “The Chief” in southeast Nigeria, where he built “the greatest record manufacturing business in all of West Africa.” He released nine funky electronic albums in total, all pressed at his own studio.
A legend, he passed away last month. His music survives him.
Kxngs is an electronic music producer from Brixton, London. His debut EP Earth Sign dropped on the Ex-local label.
Describing Kxngs craft other than worldly is hard. As he says, “No real Genre, just music.” His track “Through the Storm” premiered on the Boiler Room:
Lined with kinetic kuduro rhythms and shooting dynamic vocals, “Through The Storm” is spurred on by cascading strings. Drawing upon wide-spanning influences from his travels, Kxngs has created a jittery, upbeat marvel that’ll get any feet tapping.
Sarathy Korwar is an American-Indian producer and drummer. While born in the United States, he spent most of his childhood growing up India where he listened to American jazz records in local record shops.
‘Bhajan’ is the first song on his debut album, Day To Day, which weaves together both Indian folk and jazz music into a unique sound that Korwar can call his own.
’Day To Day’ is an exceptional debut by this multi-percussive artist fusing jazz, electronic and Indian harmonics.” — Gilles Peterson
Whether it’s Istanbul, LA, Congo, or Kingston, Paris electronic producer Débruit seems to work his diverse production palette to the sounds of the local scene.
His latest project débruit & Istanbul highlights the swing and spirit of the Turkish city on the Bosphorus. Below is what Gilles Peterson said about the artist’s collaboration on ‘Duman.’
“Istanbul is a melting pot of traditional, visionary, electric, psychedelic, futuristic, melodic and experimental music. On ’Duman,’ he links with Murat Ertel, lead singer and guitarist in BaBa ZuLa, one of Turkey’s most beloved alternative bands. The hypnotic cries of a guitar take centre stage, powerfully reverbing as if echoing across the Bosporus. débruit adds his own rhythmic touches with drum machines and synths, coming close to the minimal techno feel of Baris K’s Insanlar project.”