Bass Music . Future Beats . Nu Garage


Genre pick of the week Cover of October / Macondo by Airhead.


October / Macondo

Yep! Airhead's writing big ones now. Inspired by afterhours sessions in some of the world's best and worst nightclubs, HEK024 bangs with the best of them and enforces a new weight behind the producer's delicate production style.

The roughness debuted on this summer's 'Believe' EP for 1-800 Dinosaur (a label Rob 'Airhead' McAndrews co-runs with James Blake and friends) on which he soaked up plenty of influences from US and UK club tracks and effortlessly intertwined them with his measured songwriting and arrangement skills.

HEK024 is mastered at Metropolis by Stuart Hawkes, who's done a mighty fine job of getting ultra deep, warm bass tones without any needle wobble.

And let's face it, this is all about the bass: On side A get ready to ring the alarm! Catastrophic fanfares, snare rolls, those big 808s and a few words of rudebwoy warning quickly combine into a one-two bass / kick punch that will knock you off your feet. Proper soundsystem business

Seconds away round two; Flipside cut 'Macondo' shuffles around the ring in snake style formation, dazing the competition with voodoo flutes, heavy kicks and percussion. Funky, swinging bass house music from the land of off kilter for fans of Mr Scruff etc.

Senegalese griot Aby Ngana Diop was famous for her taasu, a form of oral poetry spoken to the rhythmic accompaniment of sabar and tama drums. Taasu is typically created and performed by griot women (a class of poets, storytellers / musicians), with a lead taasukat (practitioner of taasu) performing her distinct style of heightened, rhythmically declaimed speech in call-and-response with a small chorus of female vocalists. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, Diop developed a reputation for being one of the most sought-after taasukats in Dakar, performing with her backup singers, dancers and drummers at parties, weddings and baptisms of the Dakar elite, including government officials and dignitaries. Aby Ngana Diop was undisputedly the best taasukat of her generation!

In 1994, the Dakar diva released her one and only studio cassette recording, 'Liital', to the Senegalese market. 'Liital' was groundbreaking in the history of Senegalese music because it was the first commercial recording to feature a traditional female taasukat performing to the modern accompaniment of mbalax, Senegal’s quintessential pop genre. The combination of Diop and her backup vocalists with their powerful taasu, along with the driving, complex rhythms of the sabar and tama drums, mixed with key elements of mbalax (such as the syncopated, polyphonic marimba sounds played on the Yamaha DX7 keyboard) was something the Senegalese public had never heard before. But it wasn’t only because of the fusion of taasu with mbalax; unlike in other mbalax tunes, the musical arrangements on this cassette are instead peculiarly minimalist and almost trance-like, with static harmonies and melodic figures playing more of an atmospheric role.

The cassette became a huge hit, propelling Diop to a new level of superstardom. It could be heard blasting from taxis and from loudspeakers at house parties, weddings and baptisms for years to come. 'Liital' bridged the gap between the more traditional taasu and the modern mbalax sound, thus appealing to all generations of the Senegalese public – and they simply couldn’t get enough of it! When Aby Ngana Diop died unexpectedly on July 4, 1997, the country mourned her passing, but continued to celebrate her music. Other artists such as Cheikh Lô, Thio Mbaye and Lamine Touré released recordings based on some of Diop’s taasu and accompanying drum phrases, paying further tribute to her musical legacy. Although this cassette has caught the attention of some African music aficianados who have stumbled upon it in recent years, it remains largely unknown to the wider world. Hopefully this re-release from Awesome Tapes From Africa will change that.

A shadowy collective of well known names from the world of contemporary clubbing get incognito and present the first in a fresh series of straight up, in-the-moment club killers of the highest calibre! Based on the Japanese folklore of the 'Night Parade of One Hundred Demons' each release in the series will take the name of a demon / monster from folklore and a graphic artist is asked to interpret / re-imagine it in their own style for the screen printed sleeves. Up first is Finland's gruesome and grotesque dragon lady Ajattar, who in this instance stands as a guardian of two full scale peak time thumpers. On the A-side "The Sun The Moon" is a slamming NYC / UK bass house work out fitted up with a spiritual soul sample and buzzing bassline, sure to cause all sorts of carnage on the floor. On the flip, "On The Edges" is a rising, building and banging filter house stormer that's gonna demolish terraces and clubs the world over! 

Various Artists

Barry Brown - Sweet, Soulful & Sexy Vol. 8

    After delivering five mix CDs of UK funky sounds, local lad and long-time Piccadilly Records customer 'Barry Brown' switches tack for his latest offering. New series "Sweet, Soulful & Sexy" adds soulful house to his usual mix of UKF and UK bass sounds, making for a more melodic selection than his previous 100mph hyped-up dancefloor / boot-of-car sub woofer aimed CDs. Featuring 23 un-listed tracks, the set rips its way through a big pile of quality UK garage, funky house, soulful house and future beat cuts. There's plenty of sweet female vocals on display, along with ragga MCs aplenty, and some catchy instrumentals too.

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