The Merkolator

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Jack is building a new council estate House in East London.

01 Kowton – Stasis
02 Boddika & Joy Orbison – Tricky’s Team
03 Daphni & Owen Pallett – Julia
04 Fish – Merk U
05 Joonipah – Gut Feeling
06 Boddika – Soul What (Rmx)
07 Artifact – Exist
08 X5 Dubz – Shapes
09 Boodika & Joy Orbison – Swims
10 Indigo – Aradia
11 Nativ – Breathe
12 Wen – Swingin’ (LDN mix)
13 Detboi – Focus
14 Charlux – Unmarked Patrol
15 Volac – My Crew
16 Volac – Hips Don’t Lie (Sammy W & Alex E Rmx)
17 Emeskay – Searchin (Zoltan Kontes Rmx)
18 2ndcity – I’ll Tell You
19 Ko Kane – Rockin’ With The Best
20 Ill Phil & Lorenzo – Jump Around
21 Ill Phil & Lorenzo feat. MC Sim – It’s Getting Hectic
22 Majestic – Lets Go Back (Cause N Affect Mix)
23 Lockhart – Get Down (Busta)
24 Flava D – In The Dance
25 Formula – Hoods & Bass
26 Jook 10 – Strike
27 Icicle – Final Master
28 Dj Deeon – Titties And Ass
29 Sky Cell – Foam Feathers

MUTANT 4 – Meta House

METAHOUSE

Evil twin of the last MUTANT mix of brightly hued, sun-kissed club music for endless summer nights, Meta House is heavy, narcotic. Including lots of deep techy tracks, some jacking, bassline, healthy dose of ghetto, a touch of shuffling, and material which may be in the category of “House Not House” — but as abstract or bassy as any part of it may be, i made sure that all selections are primarily, unmistakably House – all steady kicks and offbeat hi-hats.

01 Kowton – EFX01 X R.I.P AJ
02 Altered Natives – Die 4 U
03 Boddika – Steam
04 Rommek – Puffin Original
05 Thomas Meinecke & Move D – Work Me (That’s Fierce)
06 Altered Natives – Shake That feat. E.S.P.
07 Gage – Burnin
08 Boddika & Joy Orbison – Tricky’s Team
09 Rushmore – Jumpshot
10 Matrixxman – Stop It (Original Mix)
11 Randee Jean – You Got It (Dexter & Awanto 3 Mix 2)
12 Altered Natives – Friends & Lovers
13 Tom Flynn – Mr. Hedgehog
14 Kill Frenzy – Booty Clap
15 Joy Orbison, Boddika & Pearson Sound – Nil (Reece)
16 Kris Wadsworth – Mainline
17 PulseCode – Get Large
18 INdigo – Aradia
19 Dark Sky – Ruk
20 Effy – The Look
21 Boddika – Warehouse
22 Braiden – The Alps
23 Omar S – Kosmos 1402 X Nina Kraviz – I’m Gonna Get You
24 Omar S – Income Tax Refund Dance

MUTANT 3 – In the House

Endless Summer

MUTANT 3 is about euphoric and summery, purely pleasurable, feel good electronic music from North America and Europe.

Encompassing classic Chicago, Deep, Acid and Tribal House as well as new-school French and UK styles, going beyond House into Bass and Garage territory with even a touch of pop. Alternately euphoric, somber, psychedelic, whimsical and sexy, This mix is the soundtrack for summer in the city.

Ngoma massive world wide need not worry, there are plenty of drums in these “Western” grooves, and plenty of Africa in the machine. To be honest it was difficult keeping all the ghetto, bassline, even more percussion driven, and crazy ill tribal jacking shit out of this — coming up next.

01 Omar S – j-a-i-p-u-r / Tony Allen – Ole (Moritz Von Oswald Remix)
02 The Zohar – Dog Day
03 Dj Qu – Party People Clap (Dj Jus Ed Remix)
04 Omar S – Here’s Your Trance Now Dance (Shadow Ray Remix)
05 Jus Ed – Down & Dirty
06 Spoonz – High In Chicago
07 Robert Hood – Motor City
08 Tin Man – S_MPL HOUSE
09 The Early Sound Collective – MS3
10 Medicis & Vanshift – Minneapolis
11 Generation Next – Full of Life
12 Simple & Thigpen – Licking
13 Percussions – KHLHI
14 Mia Dora – Jezebel
15 Dense & Pika – Crispy Duck
16 Mosca – Bax
17 Tom Zanetti – Darlin X Flight Facilities (ft. Giselle Rosselli) – Crave You (WtchDctr Remix)
18 Ossie – Tarantula
19 Octo Octa – Through The Haze
20 Ryan Wells – Dimes
21 Myrryrs – Blood of a Slave (CEDAA Remix)
22 Wiley – Skanking (The 2-Bears Remix)
23 Simon Off – Want U
24 Yosa – Desmond
25 New Devices – Everything Good (Juan Kidd and Corey Remix)
26 Martyn – Newspeak
27 Bombe – Eclipse
28 Braille – Rise
29 Walton – Every Night
30 Spoonz – 97

NGOMA 14 – DRUM

DRUM_600

This edition in the Ngoma Mix Series focuses on new 125 bpm African Electronic Dance Music.  As i have argued in the “Real Roots of Kwaito” piece for This Is Africa, American and European Disco, House, and Hiphop were crucially influential in the beginning stages of development of post-Apartheid South African urban music, but since then SA House and Kwaito have matured and grown into its own skin, much more an extension of indigenous rhythm cultures than related to “Western” dance music.  For example the beat patterns in these tracks are distinctly different: the constant off-beat high hats found in the US and Europe are almsot entirely absent; and with much more rich and developed rhythm elements and very different emphasis, this music should probably be thought of as simply new African dance music, with not much to do with what is traditionally known as “House” or “Techno” at all.  

OR: STREAM: MIXCLOUD //// DOWNLOAD: ZIPPY OR MEDIAFIRE

Selections come mainly from South Africa and Angola, with lots of percussion, many balafons, a touch of jazz, some diasporic elements from Cuba and Colombia, couple tunes made in Spain, and a  shot of Nigerian Pop at the peak.  This is the first part, relatively bright in feel:  stay tuned for DRUM 2 – the dark side.

01 Dj Shimza & Cuebur Ft 340ml – Let The Sunshine (Reprise)
02 Invaders Of Africa – Impi Yamakhanda
03 Culoe De Song – Tsonga Song
04 Pro Tee – Thee Broken Keys
05 Dj Small Jon – Return Of the Drum
06 Black Motion feat. Nqobi  – Second Thoughts
07 Dr Ada T feat. Muzaic – Ewe
08 Jason Cheiron – Primal
09 Monocles, Slezz – Umba Kayo (Dj Alpha Kazu Dub)
10 Mbuandje – Mbuandja (Reprise) + Zozo – Totos Dance
11 Pablo Fierro – Agua (Nuevayorkquinas Mix)
12 Pablo Fierro – Sandulivi
13 Kosha Roots – Revival
14 Homeboyz Muzik – Samburu (Jungle Drums Original)
15 Dj Ad feat ZB E PJ – Patagoloza
16 Heavy K feat. Sarah Webster- The Gun Song (A Lesson Twice Learned Edit)
17 Lvovo – Original
18 3G Music – Vagabos
19 Pinto Dos Santos – Ma’e
20 Dj Kapiro & Mad Aksoul – Akanela (Oliver Twist Theme) + Estelle ft. D’banj – Oliver Twist (Remix)
21 Big Nuz – Rockafella
22 Franklin Rodriques – Para Na Wey
23 The Busy Twist – LDN Luanda
24 Dj Satellite & Dj Patrick – Malembe, Malembe
25 Boddhi Satva feat. Mangala Camara – Nankoumandjan (Dekalstrumental Mix)

Sonic Liberation Front

Made this for ultra cool international / art / architecture / concept / urbanism / fashion / music / design organization Platoon: United rhythms towards a borderless future: African House and European Acid, Hungarian Folk and Korean Pop, Cumbia Electro and Arabic Techno, Avant Jazz and Street Bass – international beats for dance floors and head space – against prejudice and xenophobia.  DOWNLOAD:  mediafire

The Real Roots of Kwaito

(bigup This Is Africa for publishing this!)

The few times western publications have written about Kwaito and South African House, styles which have thrived for many decades, the story is almost always told in terms of a unidirectional migration of House Music from the United States to Africa.  This is problematic because 1 central factor is not only understated, but entirely missing, including from the South African voices sometimes interviewed.

This central factor is the wealth of Southern African musical traditions which was the real precedent, the main cultural lineage, the Mother (with Chicago perhaps being the Father, which might be an exaggeration) of Kwaito and SA House.

Mbaqanga, Township Jive, SA Jazz, music styles from Tsonga (Shangaan), Xhosa, Tswana, Zulu, Swazi, Venda, Sotho, Ndebele, etc., tribes, numerous other Southern African 20th Century and traditional styles, and influences from other parts of Africa, these are the true ancestors of contemporary urban electronic music.

In many classic, pre-80s South African jams you can hear the 4 to the floor kick, the consecutive high-hats (sometimes done with clapping), the off-beat snares (as opposed to on the 2), additional percussion, distinct baselines, driving chants — all elements which live on in today’s SA dance music.  Many older recordings sound almost exactly like Kwaito played on acoustic instruments:

modern Kwaito:

2 examples of unmistakeable precursors to SA house, 1 of traditional music, the other of classic Jive:

During the earliest days of new urban music in the townships, as a new wave of Afro-American and Afro-European imports landed in the form of disco and house, SA artists took a lot of inspiration from these refreshing electronic sounds, incorporating the influences and sometimes outright imitating.   Western sounds had the effect of an initial stimulant and inspiration, but its impact did not last, and soon after this initial phase, Kwaito, and a little later SA House, began to mature, and became its own thing, less and less influenced by outside sources, more and more taking ideas from indigenous Southern African musical heritage.  Eventually, as African musical roots fully manifested themselves, these genres took their rightful places in the history, the lineage, the continuum, of South African music.  Important was the shifting of rhythmic emphasis: as early as the 90s, Kwaito started to use more and more the homegrown “Dembow” rhythm pattern with offbeat snares, distinctly different from the mechanical Duple 1-2 beat of Western House.

Today, if one looks at canonical artists of SA House, those most emblematic of the genre, such as Dj Cleo, Dj Clock (most recent releases of these 2 artists excepting), Black Motion, or Dj Vetkuk, the music is clearly, much more than anything else, the descendent of deep African roots, with American or European characteristics largely left behind, almost as if it was never there.  Indeed, a very good case can be made, through analysis of musical form, that South African House is now a related but entirely different breed from Chicago House, with its own rhythm signature, its own palette of sounds, attributes, textures, and stylistic conventions; its own family tree, genealogy, and history.

Yet western journalism to this day nearly always focus entirely on the American Father, to the point of completely neglecting the African Mother.  Franky Knuckles was surely seminal (unlikelihood of the gay brother impregnating anything aside), but this influence needs to be seen in the context of a larger cultural womb rich with musical nutrients which nourished and gave birth to modern SA music, and its limits recognized.   Too much importance, as always, is given to Western exports, as if SA is only doing an African version of an American thing, as if Kwaito is only “Slowed Down US House” – a distorted view so common that it is on the Wikipedia page.  Even more extreme, This article absurdly compares the relationship of SA House to Chicago to that of the Rolling Stones to Muddy Waters, demonstrating plain ignorance and ethnocentricity. Grossly over-simplified, reductionist, and simply false claims such as these are made too frequently, perpetuating structurally West-centric points of view.  Even those with the best of intentions, such as Dj Lynnee Denise, often subconsciously take the hegemonic position, inadvertently denying Africans of cultural and historical agency.   And it is not surprising that South Africans themselves often reproduce these skewed perspectives, being a people recently liberated, and still largely in awe of everything from the wealthy people up north, often under valuing their own, in every way much more significant cultural heritage.

When it comes down to it, African Mother is much older and possessive of much larger bodies of deeper and more varied musical knowledge than American Father; the later being himself, of course, only one of her many children.

Dance Music’s So Called Progressiveness

Morgan Geist commented on a pretty scary NYT article on the commercial success of Electronic Dance Music.  For now i will leave the numerous serious problems with the article itself aside, and focus on the quote of a quote:

“Let’s remember a quote from a Detroit techno pioneer (possibly Jeff Mills) that I think of often: “At rock concerts, people scream when they hear something they know and have heard before. With techno, people scream when they hear something they’ve never heard before.”

While on the surface it rings true, the much applauded and alleged “progressiveness” and “open mindedness” of electronic dance music culture, now nearly 30 years on, is debatable to say the least. A more accurate description would be:

“techno crowds scream when they hear something they’ve never heard before, but which bangs exactly in the same manner as something which they have heard many, many times before.”

By now, to me at least, a lot of the innovative, genre-defying, unconventional and potentially insurrectionary energy of many forms of Electronic Dance Music such as house and techno has solidified and genrified into a stagnant, closed minded and xenophobic conservatism which still worships exactly the same few sacred recordings: for example, you will find ZERO Acid Techno since the release of Phuture’s Acid Trax* which pushes the genre further, in any significant ways, by even 1 centimeter.  Not that there is anything wrong with screaming at the recognition of a sound**, we are all creatures of habit after all, but if you play some EDM which is objectively, formally speaking at least equally as “banging”, “deep” and danceable as Jeff Mills, but which is truly rhythmically and sonically fresh, truly boundaries pushing in the context of western clubs in 2012, say, some Kuduro or South African Electro, at a techno party a lot of people will head for the door.  (i know from many personal experiences).

The illusion that Electronic Music is somehow “inherently, by its very nature, more progressive” than anything that came before will not benefit anyone, least of all electronic music makers or lovers — in the history of modern western Louis Armstrong was much more revolutionary than Derrick May.  But musicology aside, in the most-boring-argument-ever between “real music” and electronic music, if the EDM heads want their bleeps to be taken seriously, just like “real instruments”, they need to also, at the same time, realize and admit that just because it is done with synths and drum machines don’t make it necessarily any more wild and crazy and new and “futuristic”** than anything else.

* Actaully, now that i think about it, i do miss playing acid techno a hell of a lot.  Maybe will get back into it, nostalgically, a little bit :)

** This quote of a quote also embodies the kind of out-dated modernism typical in the serotonin depleted rhetoric of Electronic Dance Music — the self proclaimed but in fact disingenuous obsession with newness actually sets up a reactionary and conservative dichotomy between “new” and “old”, in which the essential truth of the nature of creative progress, that the ideas which drive the discovery and development of the new always arise from the old, is sidelined and dismissed.  Techno routinely wheels out the ideas of visual artists from 1910 – 1930 as if they were at all original or even relevant in the 21st Century; the geometric minimalist forms and surfaces betray a wholly retrograde consciousness.

FUSION 4 – Djinn Bass

OR: STREAM:  MIXCLOUD  // 1 TRACK DL:  MEDIAFIRE // SEPARATE TRACKS DL:  MEDIAFIRE

Grounded in the rhythmic traditions and tonal language of North Africa and the Middle East*, Djinn Bass fuses Sufi Ritual Music and Club Beats, Sacred Egyptian Hymns and Abstract Dub, Classic Rai and Dubstep, Turkish Taqsim and Tech House, Moroccan Chaabi anthems and Tribal Electro.  Ouds, Flutes, and Darbukas mix and blend with electronic pulse; vocal refrains underpinned by digital bass, sometimes chopped, looped, and dubbed out.  Decidedly anti short-attention-span, as the FUSION series have increasingly become, the tracks are long because duration is essential for the ecstatic and immersive nature of this music.

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01 Georges Kazazian-Sagate Tassabih + Moritz Von Oswald Trio – Pattern 4
02 Salam E Varzesh – E Bastani + Sideshow – African Cherry (Zhao Extended Edit)
03 Farhang Sharif – Pishdaramad Homayoun + J Kenzo-Conqueror
04 Yaşar Akpençe – Kings of Tomorrow + Jason Cheiron – Afrotastico
05 Unknown – Sultana + Doomwork-Isla
06 Flutes Gasba Du Nord – Est De L’Algerie + Uncle Bakongo – Makonde
07 Es’lam Yfattar_VS_Dj Gregory-Elleeol Ritual (Zhao Percussive Mix)
08 Cheikha Rimitti – Mohammed Ay Sidi + Dj Jeroenski – African nights + Roska – Squark
09 Tabla Voyage – Tablat Barhum + Roska – Jackpot
10 Nass El Ghiwane – Salif Albattar + Zombie Disco Squad – The Dance
11 Nass El Ghiwane – Iahmami + Raw Artistic Soul-Keep On Shining
12 Scarab – Fall of The Towers of Convention + Dead Can Dance – Saldek + Foiledtorsos – The Specialist
13 Ali Hassan Kuban – Walla Abshero + Malente & Dex – Bangkok (James Braun & Dan M Remix)
14 Birol Yayla & Şenol Filiz – Outro

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*for a different take on North African and Arabic flavors, get into NGOMA 9.

FUSION 3: house of Eshu

In Yoruba spiritual traditions (contemporary Ghana, Togo, Benin, and Nigeria) as well as its descendant Afro-diasporic faiths like Vodou, Santeria/Lukumi and Candomble, Eshu is the divine messenger between Gods and Man, the gatekeeper, protector of travelers, guardian of the Crossroads, offering choices and reveals possibilities.  Often identified by the number three, and the colours red & black, Eshu represents the balance of nature, Day and night, creation and destruction, old age and youth.  Yet more than conduit between this and other worlds, Eshu is also a spirit of Chaos and a devious trickster, playing games and serving up mischief with the ultimate aim of waking people up and teaching them lessons.

OR: STREAM: MIXCLOUD // 1 TRACK DL: MEDIAFIRE //SEPARATE TRACKS DL: MEDIAFIRE

So, in the spirit of Eshu, FUSION 3 represents the balance between traditional and modern, “east” and “west”, listening and dancing. This mashup album stands at the crossroads between the musical worlds of Yoruba talking steel drums, Cuban piano, Indonesian Gamelan, Cameroon Mbira (thumb piano), Black Panther poetry, South African Jazz, etc., and the House and Techno club sounds of today.

I think it will play a few tricks on minds which insist on seeing the world in discontinuously separate compartments.

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01 [Nigeria/Germany] Etubom Rex Williams – Uwa Idem Mi <> Maurizio – M1
02 [Pan-Africa/USA] Guem & Zaka – L’Abeille <> Oasis – One
03 [Indonesia/Cuba] Django Mango – the wisdom of the fool <> Fast Vision Soul – Babatunde
04 [Burundi/South Africa] Chant d’enfant accompagne d’un arc musical umuduri <> Spikiri feat. Hugh Masekela – Spiyanko Bonus Beats
05 [Nigeria/UK] Wahabi Arowoshila – Gbogbo Musulumi Ododo (Fuji) <> Hector and Bryant – Tension
06 [Cameroon/Germany] Frances Bebey – Africa Sanza <> Basti Grub – oma vovo
07 [Cameroon/UK] Frances Bebey – Bameda <> AudioFly – Sweeter Than
08 [Indonesia/Germany] Sambasunda – Sumimaula <> Liapin – BlackMamba
09 [USA/Italy] Sarah Webster Fabio – Glimpses / Nigger Sweat <> Double Dash – Mas
10 [Nigeria/UK] Madam Mujidat Ogunfalu & Her Waka Group – Ololo Nise Awo Won Ni <> Chris Wood and Frank Leicher – Into the Jungle
11 [South Africa/USA] Ricky Rimbiandarison  –  Imamohamana Dry (The Wake Up Drum) <> Cpen – African Jack
12 [Ghana/USA] Charles Kofi Amankwaa Mann – Funky Hi-Life <> Yonurican – Lucha Machete (Ricardo Miranda Drum Mix)
13 [Mali] Oumou Sangare – Yala (Zhao Fix)
14 [Ghana/Netherlands] Guy Warren – BUILSA <> Gregor Salto – Classic Beat
15 [USA/Nigeria] Sarah Webster Fabio – Boss Soul <> Osunlade  –  Native Tongue
16 [Mali/Sweden] Ahmed Fofana – Balani <> Jamtech Foundation – Too Fast (Zombie Disco Squad Remix)
17 [Ethiopia/Germany] Bole 2 Harlem – Home <> Booka Shade – Hide and Seek In Geishas Garden