|Drop Me There||Guzo|| |
|Nightwalk||In Trance|| |
|JuJu (Justin Adams & Juldeh Camara)|
|Entoto Dub||A Town Called Addis|| |
|Haunted By Your Love||Never Trust A Hippy|| |
|Cold Storm||Quick Look|| |
|The Day That You Were Born||Invisible Fields|| |
|Iarla Ó Lionáird|
When Nick Page) (aka Dubulah, a charter member of the legendary worldbeat ensemble Transglobal Underground), spent a summer in Addis Ababa, he quite unsurprisingly ended up in the studio with a revolving cast of local singers and instrumentalists. The result of that month-long experiment was this utterly entrancing album, a bubbling stew of reggae, dub, Azmari singing, traditional instruments, and rich horn charts (courtesy of the Horns of Negus). At times the musical fusion recalls some of Bill Laswell's work, especially the dark and dreamy arrangements he has written for his Ethiopian wife Gigi, and at other times the music swirls and dances in entirely unique and unexpected ways. "Shegye Shegitu," which primarily features piano, handclaps,and call-and-response vocals, is good but not spectacular; the one-drop extravaganza "Black Rose" (on which charming female vocals are accompanied by what sounds like a strummed dulcimer and are then quietly upstaged by a brief and jaw-dropping guitar solo) and "Yeka Sub City Rockers" (with its weird flute, trippy ambience and keening male vocals) are much more impressive, and for the most part the program holds up the high standard it sets. Strongly recommended to all adventurous dub fans.
Rick Anderson, Rovi
It's hard to think of this as Adrian Sherwood's first album under his own name, since he's been so prominent on many other discs. But for his solo debut, he pushes things all the way to the edge and over. He does let the tension build through the album, hinting at the madness on "Paradise of Nada Remix" before unleashing it with "Processed World" and "The Ignorant Version," where Sherwood's daughters sing a nursery rhyme, the bass kicks you hard, and the beat demolishes your mind. There are plenty of the usual Sherwood suspects on hand, but also some surprises, like Sly & Robbie, who lend their inimitable drum and bass talents to a couple of tracks, or the late palm wine singer S.E. Rogie, who appears on "Dead Man Smoking" with Ghetto Priest, while the deep qawwali voices of Rizwam-Muazzam Qawwali suffuse "Paradise of Nada Remix." It's a success because Sherwood has deliberately placed no limits on the sound. With only himself to please, he's taken it all the way, with some sci-fi dancehall dub that seems to be from another world entirely.
Chris Nickson, Rovi
Although Chandra had been recording for over a decade when Weaving My Ancestors' Voices was released, this may be the album where she truly found her creative voice. Most vestiges of the pop/dance/rock rhythms of Monsoon, and some of her early albums, are absent. Chandra is now a virtuoso of the voice, offering almost avant-garde presentations of vocal gymnastics on "Speaking in Tongues." More often, though, she presents explorations of various musical cultures: India, of course, but also Irish folk, a Spanish lullaby, and Islamic singing. The spiritual quality of the material is enhanced by the drone-like textures of much of the music, devised by Chandra and her writing/production partner, Steve Coe.
Richie Unterberger, Rovi
When the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomehni banned all music in Iran and declared it to be sacrilegious, his views by no means reflected the outlook of all Muslims. In fact, Islam's Sufi sect believes music to be a sacred and necessary element of spiritual life. Like Hindus, the Sufis passionately encourage meditation, dancing and chanting. Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan is a master of traditional Qawwali, the music of the Sufis. Soulful and hypnotic, Khan's passionate singing on these songs of praise underscores the richness and vitality of Sufi culture. While Qawwali music goes back centuries, the use of synthesizers adds a modern edge to the highly absorbing Mustt Mustt.
Alex Henderson, Rovi
Oryema plays the nanga, a zither described as having seven strings, though some have one string that runs seven times across the instrument making them hell to tune. This is half of a terrific CD -- wonderful except when Brian Eno and co. get in on the act and undercut it. You can program out the well-meaning-but-blah bits -- unless you disagree anyway, in which case all is well.
John Storm Roberts, Original Music, Rovi
You may never have thought of Celtic and African rhythms as complementing one another, but this very interesting effort takes both idioms into new territory with some engaging results. The outcome is a sort of hip-hop jig and reel, like the Chieftains meet the Chemical Brothers. Masamba Diop's masterful talking drum creates an exotic pulse under Myrdhin's fine Celtic harp, and it sounds like a party at some global crossroads. Indeed, the most fascinating aspect of Afro Celt Sound System's Volume 1: Sound Magic is the very real sense that a common language can be found between any cultures, no matter how divergent they may seem. This effort is worth a listen just for its audacity alone.
Tim Sheridan, Rovi