Alternate African Reality – Electronic, electroacoustic and experimental music from Africa and the diaspora (2CD & digital, Syrphe)
Alternate African Reality could be seen as a drastic improvement of 30.2, a compilation released in 2012. The CD included nine artists from Tunisia, Morocco, Algeria, Egypt, Angola, Mauritius, South Africa, Réunion and Madagascar/France. But even if I was very happy with the result, I always thought I should do a deeper research, and another issue I faced was the fact that I didn’t manage to include any women in the project.
Alternate African Reality is musically diverse, including abstract but also beat-oriented music such as ambient, electronica, electroacoustic, noise, singeli, bass music, industrial hip hop, etc.
It includes 32 artists and bands from 24 African countries and the diaspora, and last but not least, 14 women are among those vibrant musicians and composers from South Africa, Nigeria, DRC (Congo), Lesotho, Angola, Morocco, Senegal, Mauritania, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, eSwatini (Swaziland), South Sudan, Ethiopia/Somalia, Cameroon, Egypt, Mozambique, Rwanda/Belgium, Algeria, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Réunion, Madagascar/France, Ghana/France, Tunisia : Sukitoa o Namau, Mash, Pö, Jako Maron, Robert Machiri, Cobi van Tonder, Aurélie Nyirabikali Lierman, Shadwa Ali, Hibotep, Ibaaku, Emeka Ogbo, Chantelle Gray, Yao Bobby & Simon Grab, Catu Diosis and more ! [cdrk]
Yasuyuki Uesugi – I Deny Others Because My Heart Can’t Afford To Accept Others (digital, self-released)
Japanese artist Yasuyuki Uesugi plays some old school repetitive noise, somehow mechanical and mesmerising, listening to this album is like visiting the core of some gigantic machines. [cdrk]
Sooncrazy – Live at sanen sessions (digital, POTONG JARI)
Powerful harsh noise live session recorded at Kedampunk, in Denpasar (Bali). Not for the average tourist ! [cdrk]
SAABA – Inside out (digital, POTONG JARI)
Three tracks by Indonesian artist SAABA. The first piece’s beginning slowly starts with a dark loop on top of which layers of noise and crackles are being added step by step turning into noise, a crescendo that leads the listener where it suspected to go : a fantastic harsh noise climax. The second piece is made of dark repetitive loops, ambient but sinister. The third piece is a classic harsh noise wall piece. [cdrk]
Dirar Kalash and David Birchall – Dynamisms (digital, al-bayān)
Palestinian composer and improviser Dirar Kalash spent several years in Europe, especially in the Netherlands and Germany to study and perform a lot of concerts, solo and with other improvisers. This album includes three tracks recorded with David Birchall (electric guitar) while Dirar, depending on the tracks improvises with electric guitars, violin, electronics or oud. Three tracks, three different atmospheres in the field of jazz, experimental and free improvised music. [cdrk]
Sharif Sehnaoui – Concave/Convex (digital, Sounds from the Corridor)
Well-known figure of the Lebanese free improv scene, founder of the yearly festival Irtijal together with improviser Mazen Kerbaj and the labels Al Maslakh and Annihaya, Sharif Sehnaoui recorded two new acoustic guitar pieces this month during the lockdown. [cdrk]
BEEATSZ v2.0999x – You Should Already Know Where This Is Going (minidisc & digital, self-released)
Turkish project BEEATSZ v2.0999x is hyper active as always : “recorded in Berlin, 45+ days into the block on life with logistic support of BUSS: Big & Ugly Soundsystem”, a sound system made to resist the harshest and noisiest music ever produced here.
Expect very short radical noisegrind tracks with a touch of industrial sometimes. [cdrk]
Midori Hirano – And I Am Here (digital, self-released)
Japanese artist Midori Hiran first published this album on Staaltape in 2014.
It mostly consists of short piano pieces, some mixed with field recordings from Europe and Japan and unlike some of her other releases contains almost no electronics.
Here slightly detuned piano creates intimate and ambient atmospheres, tiny postcards sent from some peaceful countrysides. [cdrk]
Sun Dawei – 現時之光 / Light From Now (digital, self-released)
Chinese composer Sun Sawei aka Sulumi presents two versions of an instrumental ambient electronica track, a bit pop, a bit melancholic. [cdrk]
Grisha Shakhnes – the lesser the water the firmer the jelly (digital, self-released)
Israeli composer Grisha Shakhnes aka Mites published three 20+ minutes pieces made of field recordings creating a minimalistic, eerie and sometimes oppressive atmosphere.
Two of the tracks have been recorded at home during the quarantine so rather than sounds of nature or urban traffic, expect more intimate sounds. [cdrk]
Li Nashao – L’intuition d’un devenir (cassette & digital, Senko Issha)
Improvised electric guitar solo from Taiwan. Two live tracks, between dark free improv and noise, with a touch of space rock here and there. [cdrk]
Kamal Sabran – Obat Bunyi II (digital, self-released)
Malaysian composer Kamal Sabran presents the second part of his Obat Bunyi series.
Meditative ambient music where electronic and folk music blend. Malay and Indian instrumentations meet 1970s minimalistic and psychedelic music without falling deep into nostalgia or new age. Highly recommended. [cdrk]
Individual Distortion – 808acidgrind (digital, self-released)
Individual Distortion mixes various genres for years, from metal to harsh noise. This time as the album title tells it, acid music with cybergrind, hence, acidgrind as a new (?) genre. It starts with gentle acid techno that quickly becomes cybergrind. Interesting hybrid, Indonesia will never cease to surprise me ! [cdrk]
v.a. – Social Isolation (digital, Social Isolation)
“Created and compiled during the last week of March 2020, this compilation brings together the sound of artists in isolation creating music that’s reflective of our collective struggle during the Covid-19 pandemic.”
Fifteen Indian ambient artists (mostly, a few tracks are rhythmical) : PhilterSoup, Corridors, Eashwar Subramanian, Coma Conscience, Swaroopa, Mallo, etc. [cdrk]
v.a. – Social Isolation II (digital, Social Isolation)
“This is the second edition of Social Isolation that was compiled during the first week of April 2020. The compilation brings together the sounds of various artists in confinement and quarantine who are creating music that’s reflective of our collective struggle during the Covid-19 pandemic.”
Twenty Indian ambient artists and a pinch of ambient electronica and techno : Liquid Memoirs, Jayant Manchanda, Bidisha Das, Kaali, Manyu, Yidam and more. [cdrk]
Cenk Ergün & JACK Quartet – Sonare & Celare (digital, self-released)
D. Lippel say about this release : “Turkish-American composer Cenk Ergün writes music that achieves a hypnotic effect through masses of sound, repetition with subtle variation, and microtonality. Sonare & Celare are paired works written for the JACK Quartet that stand in opposition to one another. Sonare is mostly vigorous and loud while Celare is ethereal and soft. Despite the drastic contrasts between the two, both demonstrate Ergün’s fascination with delicate shadings of pitch and subtle shifts in phrase syntax that constantly reveal new vantage points on limited material.”
And there is nothing more to tell, this is a brilliant recording !
hashtag_blacknoise – SANS CoV-2 (digital, self-released)
One 27 minute piece by South African noise artist hashtag_blacknoise. Distorted vocal (I suppose a talk by Cyril Ramaphosa), distorted ambient and looped atmospheres. Perfect sound track for a dystopian sci-fi film telling about a pandemic… Oh, wait ! [cdrk]
Sulk Station – Dheere / Deewarein (digital, self-released)
Based in India, Sulk Station is a duo made of Tanvi Rao (vocals) and Rahul Giri (from Nepal, if I’m not mistaken, and living in India), their minimalist production are a mix of ambient electronica and synthpop with traces of Indian classical music. [cdrk]
Thylasine – weight (digital, self-released)
Thylasine is a duo based in Cape Town, they play music based on cello, electric guitar, electronics and voice. They are heavily influenced by the new wave and post-punk scene from the 1980s, sometimes taking the most abrasive part of it. This new piece, between ambient and new wave is simply fantastic, sad, emotional, if I may give my humble opinion. [cdrk]
Government Alpha / scum – Live At OTOOTO Collaboration with Government Alpha (digital, self-released)
Collaboration between Japanese 1990s noisician Government Alpha and 2010s noisician scum. [cdrk]
Aragorn23 – Selected modular atmospheres vol. 2 (digital, self-released)
“As with my first volume of modular atmospheres, the pieces gathered here represent snapshots of longer sonic spaces created for inner travels.
Each track is composed using generative techniques on a modular synthesiser – once I’ve created a musical space with knobs, buttons and patch cables, I leave the system running, typically for several hours, while I sit with headphones on and allow myself to drift off.
Several of the pieces in this collection were created in the shadow of Covid-19 and the lockdown in South Africa; creating and listening to them has helped me tremendously with remaining grounded and calm. I hope you benefit from them too, in whatever way.
The final track, Lockdown, contains a rather beautiful poem by Franciscan monk, Brother Richard Hendrick. The hour-long mix was created as a soundtrack for my friend Neil’s Covid-19 virtual art exhibition, which you can read more about at 212 Productions.
This collection of music is totally free, but if you do wish to pay for it, all proceeds will be donated to local food outreach organisations that serve meals to vulnerable people.” [Aragorn23]
DJ Die Soon – Kappa Slap (vinyl & digital, Morphin Records)
Japanese beat maker DJ Die Soon join force with some great names of the Ugandan and Kenyan radical hip hop and death metal scene : Ecko Bazz, MC Yallah, Lord Spikeheart, as well as British MC Infinite Livez and Japanese MC and spoken word artist MA.
Here is finally the result of some great solo sets and collaborations performed in Jinja (Uganda) during Nyege Nyege Festival 2019 : electronic experimentations, industrial hip hop, distorted dark hop, spoken words, death metal growling, all combine to create this unique LP. [cdrk]
Don & The Multiverses – Up in the air. Suites (digital, self-released)
Don & The Multiverses is an ambient folk musician from Bangkok. This new album includes four tracks made of looped and processed electric guitar, harmonica, and sometimes distant voices. Don & The Multiverses explores ambient and drone atmosphere that could perfectly be featured in a surreal or horror film. [cdrk]
Wukir Suryadi – @home#01 (digital, self-released)
One track composed with a Thai jaw’s harp (pretty similar to the Vietnamese ones) by Indonesian instrument maker Wukir Suryadi (Senyawa). [cdrk]
Ash Koosha – FOREST (digital, self-released)
Based in London, Iranian composer Ash Koosha composed 17 electronic music pieces in the field of electronica and glitch occasionally tinged with some ambient pop and eastern melodies. [cdrk]
the nois society – Transmission (digital, self-released)
From Nepal, Ritesh Maharjan collects sounds from his daily life, experiment with them and seems to like distortion and feedback a lot. He is this time playing with wave transmissions, the result is less noisy than some of his other pieces but nevertheless interesting. [cdrk]
Menzi – Impazamo (cassette & digital, Hakuna Kulala)
Ugandan label dedicated to East African and Congolese electronic music goes down to South Africa, Durban to be precise. Durban is the centre of gqom, a very minimalistic version of kwaito, which is already a pretty minimalistic form of afrohouse, Menzi is one of its pioneers.
I often find that many gqom artists all sound the same, partly due to the minimalistic aspect of the music but this one is an exception. All typical element of gqom are here : slow, deep, minimalistic, typical toms, voice samples but the darkness of Menzi’s music and the way he manages to turns this into a ritual is impressive and pretty unique, especially in the track GQOM Tera that features Uganda MC Ecko Bazz. [cdrk]
Aurat – Zeher (digital, self-released)
Aurat is a Pakistani-US duo whose music is deeply rooted in the 1980s post-punk scene. There new EP will make you travel in time from pure new wave (Waiting For You, Rehem, Aana) to minimal wave (Nasha), industrial (Saanp) and noise (Aaghaz). [cdrk]
Ytamo – Limited Leaf (digital, Room40)
Ytamo comes from Osaka, her music follows the tradition of minimalistic experimentations of some of the Japanese avant-garde from the 1970s and earls 1980s ( Haruomi Hosono – Coincidental Music or sometimes Phew but more gentle and perhaps a bit more gloomy), a fusion of pop, synthetic melodies, piano, minimalist and repetitive music, arrangements that seem to be out of sync but perfectly work together. [cdrk]
madam data – for Agnes Martin, six architectures in light and water (digital, self-released)
From Singapore, relocated in the USA, madam data presents six very minimalistic drone pieces : “Each piece is either the entirety or an excerpt of a long piece for modular synthesizer. Each had its beginnings in improvisation, but its details were refined over repeated recordings. Further small edits were made on a computer.”
The pieces are dedicated to and thoroughly fit her minimalistic abstract paintings. [cdrk]