Monday, October 23, 2006

Abstract Index playlist - October 18/06

Mei Tei Sho was my favourite discovery of last year. I think they're one of the best bands in the world - or rather, were, since the lineup which made this disc late in 2005 has since disbanded. Two members of the band will continue the name, while three others will pursue separate projects.

Their sound? They call it afro-jungle-jazz but that misses the hip hop, rock and dub elements so prominent in their work. They're far from the first hyphenated-genre band, but their ace in the hole is their magnetic frontman Jean Gomis. He's who is a cross between Ninjaman, H.R. and Zack De La Rocha, but sings in English, French and Wolof on topics ranging from politics to identity with the odd moment of tenderness thrown in. He exudes righteousness, but it's an inclusive righteousness - in a band composed of Senegalese, Turkish, and Algerian how could he not be calling for inclusion? Most songs are in tricky, subtly Balkan time signatures with choppy guitar and double-time drums, with more than enough hooks to distinguish one from another. The soprano sax of Eric Prost adds a certain smooth jazz component to the mix which is more prominent than on their last album Lo Ba, but even then Prost gets into harmonizers and other effects to turn his instrument into a melodic wash without sounding too sweet. The live dub mix on this album graduallly explodes all the sounds in the band - vocals become massively echoed hits, dubbed out guitars turn into droning textures. All the while, the band puts out punk energy and message, electrifying the crowd. The band is road-hardened - any sense of incomplete fusion-for-the-heck-of-it is dispelled upon first listen.

I've never heard such a range of musical influences delivered with such conviction and overall rocking-outedness. I hope Mei Tei Sho mark II deliver the goods

romeo heart (slight return) - sandro perri (constellation)
white phosphorus - andy haas (resonant)
space needle - damsel (temporary residence)
camel clutch - andre afram asmar (mush)
rahtid - brain damage feat. sam clayton (jarring effects)
blues 10 - milcho leview (sonar kollektiv)
dementia - lounge lizards (editions eg)
bikoutsi - sally nyolo (riverboat)
bula - pnu riff (compost)
puddles - ultra magnus (M1)
nanfulen - super manden (smithsonian folkways)
marimbita e chonta - la cumbiamba eneye (chonta)
a usted - roberto lopez project (independent)
goddess - pathless (sonar kollektiv)
a woman like me - spanky wilson/quantic soul orchestra (tru thoughts)
blackberry brandy - roland alphonso (trojan)
boom shacka lacka - hopeton lewis (treasure isle/heartbeat)
jah righeteous plan - willi williams (studio one/soul jazz)
cold outside - rob symeonn (redbud)
ghetto youth (live) - mei tei sho (jarring effects)


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