Sunday, February 25, 2007

Abstract Index Playlist - February 21/07

As much as I love the utter searchability of online music, there's nothing to replace the personal touch. There's just something about the personal recommendation or good ol' disc exchange which seems timeless. My buddy Sandro get together every few months to swap discs, and he said the music of Asa Chang was "made for me". Now, I totally missed their go-round with the Leaf label from 2002-4, so aside from one track buried deep on some CDR, this was all news to me - good news. Actually, the best news, I reckon - when music comes your way from a personal recommendation it strengthens the bond of the friendship; you can't say that about Amazon. Minna No Junray, pictured here, is only available as a high-priced import in North America so far as I'm aware.

One of the highest compliments I can give any music is "futuristic" - usually anything that aims for futurism sounds pretty retro in a few years. But in this case, the accolade is right on target. For starters, the "groove" of this music is both addictive and non-existent. Snatches of tabla sections coupled with vocals resembling the fast paced, tongue twisting Indian technique of Khyal (except with Japanese vocals instead of Hindi) provide a dense percussive texture. But just when you think it's going to settle into regular meter, the computer chopping introduces multiple hiccups into the flow. This produces a rhythmic statement which is also melodic in orientation, keeping the listener alert to whatever may come next. Upping the ante is the 'backing' orchestration, which is fabulously diverse. The Balkan horns - and this music was recorded years before Balkan beats became all the rage - fit like a glove onto the tabla lines, and given Gypsy origins in India, makes a weird kind of cultural sense too. Other tunes feature cut up Sade samples, a reinterpretation of some John Frusciante guitar licks, gamelan orchestra breakdowns, and truly crazed swirls of brass that recalls some of the nuttier ICP-type moments.
"Senaka", played last week, is actually one of the more conservative tunes, with classy sounding synth pads a la Six Degrees-type worldtronica gluing the beats together. Some tracks don't work at all, mind you, but I'll definitely take the few lows when the highs are as delirious as this.

This is masterful stuff, breaking free of the need to use synthesized versions of trap drums and funked up rhythms to create an addictive rhythmic experience, and complemented by unusually moving melodic and harmonic ideas.

my game of loving - white noise (normal)
senaka - asa chang & junray (leaf)
chana - autorickshaw (tala wallah)
spiritual sin egoismo - telmary (bis)
kalashni-cancerous - corvid lorax (little whore)
can i help you? - amnesty (now again)
paper works - world saxophone quartet (black saint)
pulsen - badun (rump)
everything under the sun - nostalgia 77 (ubiquity)
i need help - bobby byrd (king) great label history
soul strokes - sydney pinchback & schiller street gang (numero)
the pimp walk - hamilton bohannon (dakar)
bad food - lee perry, sese molenga & kalo kawangolo (sanctuary)
heart of gold - subatomic sound system feat. treasure don (modus vivendi)
troubles - keith hudson (pressure sounds)

Labels: , , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home