Archive for the ‘2010’ Category

La Mara Tomaza

May 5, 2010 Leave a comment
So, I have this thing that when I find new music, I HAVE to do hours of re search and find out everything I can about it. This translates to a new blog entry! Thinking about my workload tomorrow, I should definitely be asleep, but why should I sleep when I could be listening to El Hijo De La Cumbia?

El Hijo De La Cumbia is a young Argentine producer/DJ who commands prolific knowledge over the vast extent of cumbia regardless of time or geography (cumbia sounds different in every region and have obviously evolved over time). He is dubbed the “Son of Cumbia,” and this moniker suits him well as he is the product of hundreds of generations of cumbia before him, but his take on modern cumbia will make him the Father of nueva cumbia, or cumbia new roots. Cumbia has a deep regional characteristic, for example in Colombia the style is strictly percussion and vocals and sometimes accordion, and in his present day Argentina cumbia is of the light-hearted and somewhat goofy villera style. He is able to break away from the norms of cumbia and incorporates elements of instrumental hiphop, dub and dancehall, with a heavy amount of cumbia samples. The end product is nueva-cumbia, a high energy, psychedelic dance groove with lots of spaced-out accordion and obligatory cuts of cumbieros of yesteryear shouting in glee.

He has out a mix-tape and a few appearances on modern cumbia/dance compilations as well as his first full length, Freestyle De Ritmos which was released by the Spanish label, Soot Records, in 2008. This video is from the Freestyle album, but was released in February so I’m not sure if it’s indicative of something new to come? Either way, I love this video for being everything that a typical indie-hiphop video is: tour of the hood (in Mexico City) with lots of local color, a trip to the record store and the necessary shot of gems, and then DJing the party. Great sound, hope to hear a lot more from him in the future. Hit up his myspace page and check out “Soy El Control,” and tell me that track wont be making your trunk rattle for the next week. Also, check out the second video which has a live in the studio version of “Soy El Control” with his “band.” CUUUUUUUUMBIIIIIAAAAAAAAAAA!

Categories: 2010, argentina, cumbia, video

Independance Cha-Cha

May 1, 2010 Leave a comment in a recent podcast mix focusing on contemporary African music, state that “Africa is the future” and while I believe this is an undeniable truth, the future wont sound like a Fela Kuti record released in 1975, but rather closer to the music that artsists like Baloji are making today. Unlike many of the artists included in the ParisDJs mix, Baloji is not using the same formula of blaring horn sections, thundering congas and chicken-scratch guitars as his vehicle, but rather using the influence of African music of the last 60+ years to guide his politically charged rapping into the future where Africa is king.

Using only local musicians for his backing band, Baloji incorporates all elements of the West African musical tradition in his quest for a spiritual unity amongst not just those people in his native Congo, but to anyone who has the capacity to feel music. As many hoping to escape the degradation and civil war that imperialism left across the continent of Africa, Baloji moved to Belgium as a child. He spent time in the hip hop group Starflam, before parting ways and recording his first solo release, Hotel Impala in 2007. The record has an African vibe as far as hip hop records go, but with his latest release Kunshasa Succularse he abandons the drum machines, samples and electronic effects, in favor for a completely organic sound while adapting many of the songs off the Hotel Impala record. There are a few totally new numbers on here, specifically the latest single “Le Jour d’Apr├Ęs – Siku Ya Baadaye (Ind├ępendance Cha-Cha)” which is a cover of a song written in celebration of Congolese independence in 1960. 2010 marks the fiftieth anniversary of the ousting of Belgian control of the Congo and Baloji is at the helm of a pivotal movement to help stabilize a nation that has struggled with poverty and civil war for most of its European cartographical existence. For a country who only dropped dictatorial rule in 1997, who democratically elected their first president in 2001, who saw their leader assassinated in 2003 and who had to elect a new president (the prior’s son) in 2006, 2010 marks a pivotal year as country-wide elections are due to take place again.

Baloji spent 2009 recording with various musicians in the Democratic Republic of Congo adapting his previous work with inspired jam sessions molding a style of pan-African music with rapping in French (the official language of the DRC) and Swahili (the official language of the Congolese) with touches of English (the official language of capitalism). The result is absolutely beautiful, an organic product that could not have been created anywhere else other than the dirt streets of Congo’s captial Kinshasa. This is the sound of future-Africa, an internalization of roots that are as old as the human race itself, with the conscious knowledge of the past, present and future.

When I first heard Kunshasa Succularse it was released as a free download backed by Baloji himself, a product geared towards a now online Africa. I had been gearing up to post the album here, but while doing my research this week I found the old links taken down and according to his Myspace page, Kunshasa will be officially released by French label Kraked in September of this year. The move is understandable, Kraked is responsible for the influential blog as well as playing a role in the biggest distribution networks in Europe. I will respect both Baloji and his record label by not posting the album, but I will instead post the videos he has made.

Baloji will be a name to watch in the future of not just African music, not just hip hop, but all conscious music of the future. (fantastic blog! all things africa, art, hip hop)

Categories: 2010, Ghana, hip hop, video

Verbal Headlock

April 26, 2010 2 comments

Clutchy Hopkins has returned with his fourth release for Ubiquity Records and his second “solo” album, The Storyteller. For those not familiar with Clutchy, the man is a mysterious cooperative of talent (I’ve heard rumors about DJ Shadow being in the mix?) putting together some of the freshest, grooviest, mellow music around. The team incorporates elements of instrumental hip hop, dub, jazz, funk, fusion, and psychedelic rock with the end product fitting into none of these pigeonholes.

As usual, the production is something to really enjoy as the instruments (usually acoustic instruments with exotic percussion and slight touches of electronics) sound clean and the drums sound crisp, the bass deep and the jam hypnotic. Upon first listen you may not be impressed, but take a second time to look at ol’ Clutchy and listen to the way these masterminds incorporate elements from music around the world and throughout time. Accordions layered over funky basslines, andean flutes dance with electric guitars, and my favorite, humming becomes a valid instrument when paired with congas, cajon and a funky backbeat.

The single “Verbal Headlock” is the most “hip hop” sounding track on the album with the deep bass and the claps, but I can see a smoked out MC mumbling shit on top of any of the tracks. Great single, amazing album, in fact I think it is my favorite Clutchy record so far. Definitely will make it to my top ten albums of the year. Not uploading this one, go out and support the people who are making music right now.

Categories: 2010, US, video