Sound Travels today was like a New Music Wednesday as I focused on the latest releases to highlight some important newer releases. I'm saving the mixtape for the weekend, but I've got a clutch of cuts from today that are highlights on cd's that I certainly think are worth a listen in their respective entireties. First up was a new release from the undisputed master of Ethio-Jazz vibes, Mulatu Astatke. Deep fans of world music should know the name if not the music, but his work has been a staple of the now-legendary Ethiopiques series and his solo albums are much sought after by collectors. Given his relative recording silence (having not released an album since the 80's), this release release is a bit of a surprise. Checkit. (also see: Ethiopiques(comps), Alèmayèhu Eshèté, and Mahmoud Ahmed) Mulatu Astatke "Faram Gami I Faram" Mulatu Steps Ahead [Audio=1] The album was recorded with a mixture of Ethiopian musicians and The Heliocentrics, British jazz players who were previously known to me for their Sun Ra-esque epiphanies and otherwise heady jazz vibes. It's an enjoyably eclectic collection in which Astatke standards like the Afro-Latin groove "I Faram Gami I Faram" work well with his newer material showing that though his age has increased, his skills are undiminished albeit a bit less exuberant. Hard to believe its been ten years that Argentina's Gotan Project brought the big beat of hip hop to the previously sultry but acoustic sound of Tango. Taking it out of the grand ballroom and putting it in the club. While their latest is not as groundbreaking as the 3.o update would imply, it is solid, and if you really like the "new" sound of tango, this will definitely do. (also see: Astor Piazzolla) Gotan Project "El Mensajero" 3.0 [Audio=/sites/default/files/mp3/09-el-mensajero.mp3] This release Next Stop…Soweto, I can already tell you, will be my spring into summer favorite. No "new" music on this carefully crafted re-issue out now on Strut Records. But that the music on it has been re-issued at all, makes this the most important comp on '60's and '70's Township Jive since The Indestructable Beat of Soweto came out in the wake of Paul Simon's legendary Graceland back in the mid-eighties. Irresistable, the sound is so alive and the vocalists truly on a whole 'nother level from a sound called Jive, that is akin to being the flip side to the African-American story without the third party New World setting. Lot's of church vibes here though the inimitable lens of South African artistry and style. Rock this and you will roll, so infectious that three cuts into this one will have you dancing and singing. (see also: The Indestructable Beat of Soweto) The Mgababa Queens "Maphuthi" Next Stop…Soweto [Audio=/sites/default/files/mp3/02-maphuthi.mp3] Last, I had a very exciting new project from the man at the helm of the Nostalgia 77 ship, Ben Lamdin. Just in time for the summer, this is one from the Brighton bunch is a turnto a more live sound, with afro psychedelic funk being the backbone for a "band" known simply as The Skeleton. Or as Ben puts it:
"The Skeleton is a made up band. I kid you not – it doesn't exist. These musicians never stood in the studio together, they just passed through my house or left some scraps of sound behind after sessions we were working on. This record is like a guy, pieced together and ready for the bonfire… Some of the music here started life as commissions for a library music company, pastiches and forgeries paid for by the current vogue for a certain style of African jazz. Once I'd done a few though I couldn't stop… to me the whole thing has been a self indulgent forgery, an act of mindless fun. If it sounds good then it's because I just enjoyed the music and enjoyed myself."
Sounds good too… The Skeleton "Adam and Eve feat Alice Russell" Smile [Audio=/sites/default/files/mp3/12-adam-and-eve-featuring-the-voice-of-alice-russell.mp3] And if you caught(or missed) Sound Travels on Sunday and wonder what you'd heard or want to hear my mix, here it is… Sound Travels Sunday Devocational Mix [Audio=/sites/default/files/mp3/devocational-mix.mp3] tracklisting: Feng Shui Masters Tibetan Singing Bowl Universal Harmony Absolute Feng Shui – Life in Harmony M. Sayid Chisti "unknown" Suns Of Arqa "Jagnath Bhairavi" Jaggernaut : Whirling Dub Gregorian Chants "Antifona Alla Comunione: Ecce Virgo" The Brotherhood Of St. Gregory And The Sisters Of Mercy Choir "Gloria" Monks Of The Abbey Of Notre Dame "Alleluia" Snatam Kaur "Tantric Wahe Guru" Meditations for Transformation 1: Merge & Flow Buddhist Monks of Maitri Vihar Monastery "Three deep singing monks" Tibetan Mantras & Chants Smadj "Betty" Take It and Drive Richard Kaplan and Michael Ziegler "Psalm 150" Tuning the Soul: Worlds of Jewish Sacred Music Smadj "Sel" Take It and Drive Richard Kaplan and Michael Ziegler "Ki Eshmerah Shabbat" Tuning the Soul: Worlds of Jewish Sacred Music Prince Far I "What You Gonna Do On the Judgement Day" Trojan Dancehall Roots Box Set Major King "Jahovia" Arietha Barnes, Luther & The Red Budd Gospel Choir "My God Can Do Anything" Big Noise: A Mambo Inn Compilation The Viceroys "Love Jah" Ya Ho Os Tincoãs "Ogundê" Os Tincoãs Mary Love-Comer "Come Out Of The Sandbox" I Like It Vol. 1 The Masonic Wonders "I Call" Him Good God! A Gospel Funk Hymnal