Double Cheese: Garage Surf, La Rochelle, France
Kad’Hébbé: Club, Lille, France
Desert club grooves via Garage 83-C. “Kad’Hébbé is back et c’est sur Garage 83-C que ça se passe. Symbiose de samples orientaux et de rythmes erratiques : 3 bombes pour dancefloor straight from Lille. Un EP tribal, plein d’effets et de samples chelous, prêt à faire bouger la fesse gauche, la fesse droite, la jambe droite, le mollet gauche et les cheveux.” Bandcamp. –HN
Rose Tiger: “Seapop Music played by cyborgs from the great city of Archaeopolis”
French artist Wendy Killmann has a new EP, Top To Bottom, out next week under his Rose Tiger name. A romantically vicious image, the music also uses beautiful synths and new-wave inspired pop to create aggressive, sometimes frantic sounds. And there are dinosaurs.
To hear all his music, check out his SoundCloud.
“ROSE TIGER is the brainchild of French artist Wendy Killmann, a young man who dreams of a parallel world where humans coexist with dinosaurs and whose musical taste is inspired by 80s British new-wave (Tears For Fears, Depeche Mode), 90s video games (Final Fantasy VII, Pokémon Blue) and favourite Manga theme music from his childhood (Dragon Ball Z, Gundam Wing).
His first EP/Comic titled « From Top To Bottom » will be released November 17th along with an 8-page comic book by famous Instagram artist Sibylline Meynet. A video for the song Submarine (Where Have You Been?) will be released on the same day as the EP.”
Racha Rizk: “Diva of the Damascus Opera”
What a voice. Racha Rizk is a singer from Damascus now based in Paris. “Sakru Shababîk” is my current favorite Rizk track for that soulful, powerful voice and bonus electric guitar – something I don’t hear too often in Arabic pop. Check out her interview with Onorient from earlier this year, and check her out via Facebook.
From Onorient (translated):
“Passed far too unnoticed, the first album of the Syrian diva, “Malak” released early 2017, deserves to be widely presented on new scenes.
The compositions of Racha Rizk tell with troubling softness the destructive consequences of the war in Syria. Her past of prima donna at the Opera is guessed in the elegance of her phrasing and the amplitude of her melodies. With the freedom of the great artists, she sings in Arabic on oriental music tunes, tinged with jazz, pop suspicions, or a few rock riffs.
His enveloping voice has already charmed several generations of moviegoers in France. A few years ago, she had lent her voice to the films of the Lebanese director Nadine Labaki Caramel and And now we go where? From now on, its homage to Syria and the Syrians is a tribute to the web, beyond the borders.”
Jo Tongo: Parisian Funk via Cameroon
The latest Africa Seven release is a collection of old and new tracks from Parisian funk great Jo Tongo. Active for many decades, Tongo is apparently working on new music to come out soon. Give this new collection a spin to hold you over and get your daily fill of high-quality afro-funk.
“Our hero, Jo Tongo (born Joseph Ekambi Tongo Mpondo) was born and raised in Douala Cameroon. In 1964 he headed off to Paris to begin Pharmaceutical studies. Somewhere along the way the music in his soul eventually won out and he embarked on a life of music. In the latest of our series of “Funk Experimentals” LPs we dig for the funk. Not necessarily the artists greatest hits but most definitely the funkiest ear benders. We proudly compile together tracks from 1968 to 3 new brand new exclusive tracks from present day 2017. And yes, they all have the funk. In spades.
The album opens up with stunningly catchy Jangolo. Jo’s awesomely funky bass and percussive “jangly” guitar. The track is underpinned by African drums, funky stabs and 70s nascent synthesiser string machines. Next up we take a trip to 1979 and “Funky Feeling” from Jo’s “Those Flowers” album. Here the beats are big, the strings are sweet and the clavi is into overdrive. We then jump back to 1976 for the evergreen, horn-puncher, funk stomper “Piani”. Before the sweet smooth funk of “Those Flowers”.
Next up is “American Lady” with the bright strings, jangly guitars and driving keys. All locked on to maximize the groove. We then take a trip back to 1968 for Jo’s second single the ever so funky and ever so ahead of its time, “Dig It Babe”. Soul, horns, groove and punch all in two perfect packages. Part 1 and Part 2. Next up it is the funk boogie afro swingers “Ewande”.
Bringing things up date we jump forward to 2017, present day. Jo has been making music more or less non-stop and here we are lucky to premier three brand new tracks. The drums are punchy, the guitars ooze the funk and the locked on keys tie the tracks together in one tight-as package. Jo is on the production and at the controls for the mix. “Lion Roar” is first with its driving clavinet and all-out-assault funky drums. The brass is big and this song is Bold with a capital “B”. “It’s The D Day” is next with swinging soul style groove before “Mystic Power” features a ballsy brass-laden beat and jazz funk overtones.
Many thanks Jo for choosing the music. Nearly 50 years at the top of the game.”
Oiseaux-Tempête: for fans of Godspeed You! Black Emperor and uplifting dread
You know that feeling when you listen to Godspeed You! Black Emperor and you sense that the world is about to fold onto you and crush you and everything you’ve ever known, but somehow this is OK and in tune with how the world should be? Parisian band Oiseaux-Tempête knows this feeling, and they add a Middle-Eastern flavor to their uplifting dread that takes its time with you. Stick around for all of ‘AL – ‘AN ! الآن (And your night is your shadow — a fairy – tale piece of land to make our dreams)’ and you won’t be disappointed.
“These are some live epiphanies improvised between Middle-East and Europe during the year of chaos 2016…Field recordings shot in Lebanon between March and October 2016…Poems by Mahmoud Darwish extracts from ‘The Offering’ and ‘Red Indian’s Penultimate Speech to the White Man'”
Bandcamp Daily did a great profile on the Paris-based rock group Dead Pirates and how it transformed from a fake cartoon band into a real band. I recommend reading the entire profile as you check out the music video for “Ugo” below.
The group began as musical accompaniment for a music video by French illustrator Matthieu Bessudo (known as Mcbess). At first Mcbess did all the music, but soon he recruited other members and began touring the music. A side project turned into a full-time gig.
“It was strange,” Mcbess tells Bandcamp. “I went to South America to do an exhibition, and a friend of mine there was into some good music and said it would be easy to set up a tour. He landed us like six or seven dates.”
Highmare is the group’s debut LP. The “Ugo” music video features Mcbess’ trademark Max Fleischer-inspired artwork as the video is some sort of twisted adult spin on the classic animation.
I always think of the ’50s as an innocent and square time (think Happy Days). But classical music in the ’50s challenged the restraints of its romantic past to confront a less romantic modern world. The US was fighting Russia in a Cold War, a conflict that was affecting most other countries still coming to terms with the devastation caused by two back-to-back World Wars. Surely the world was going to end in fire or nuclear radiation. This reactionary movement among artists was happening even before Schoenberg and the atonality movement, but several new composers throughout the world came into their own in the ’50s to challenge the notion of classical music’s place in modern culture.
One such artist was Pierre Boulez, who passed away earlier this year at 90. For his famous piece “Le Marteau Sans Maître,” the French composer took the surrealist poetry of René Char and used its words as the focal point for a chamber ensemble to create an unsettling, random sounding composition. Except everything was in order. The piece took two years to write and incorporated flutes, xylorimbas, and a contralto, a classical female singer with the lowest possible vocal range who provides the only sense of human life. Everything else sounds cold and calculated. It’s long, but random hits of the bongo and crashes of instruments keep you engaged. It’s a piece I’ve come to enjoy in a certain mood (if you encounter me in such a mood, run away from me).
As with any classical music I write about, I encourage you to read the master Alex Ross for more details into the life of Boulez.