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After the blink-and-you missed it Afro-house banger that inaugurated Alma Negra's eponymous record label, the Swiss trio turn their attention into the midst of the Indian Ocean with a 12" dedicated to the folk traditions of the Réunion island. If you copped the Ziskakan LP earlier in the year (my most played record in recent months - Patch), then you'll know all about Maloya, a traditional Réunion style which dates from the dark days of the slave trade. The release revolves around two contrasting Alma Negra re-workings of Lindigo's "Tany Be". The first takes a classic call & response structure in 12/8 and 6/8 rhythms, adding a driving bass line and guitar licks. A solid 909-kick locks things in step, along with a sax flourish and FM synths. Their re-imagining of African and Tamil influences for modern dancers is a triumphant manifestation of the music's origins. With the main reworking focusing on a rolling dance floor groove, the dub mix concentrates on trance-inducing aspect of Maloya. Using a modular set up to pick apart layers of percussion, it is a dense and heady trip into the spirit world. The B side focuses on Christine Salem, one of today's stars of the Maloya scene. Without wanting to squeeze the soul from her deep tones, "Kabaré" is slowed down a notch, with drums added sparingly. This sensitive treatment gives the track just enough weight and tension to punch in on today's dance floors without losing the intent of the original. The source material for this EP has been road tested from the very beginning of Alma Negra's journey. The collective have gone to great lengths to ensure the original creators are on board.
Patrick says: Swiss trio Alma Negra have long been favourites of Piccadilly, and this latest release is perhaps the most soulful and sophisticated offering to date. Pulling off the gas a little and taken some thump out of their trademark drums, they ensure the focus is on the groove, paying a fitting tribute to the music of La Reunion.
1. Lindigo - Tany Be (Alma Negra Rework)
2. Salem Tradition - Kabare (Alma Negra Rework)
3. Lindigo - Tany Be (Alma Negra Dub Mix)