AIENU

AIENU: Ambient Electronic Music From Japan

AIENU

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I couldn’t tell you a thing about Japan’s AIENU or his latest album 222, but this is the kind of ambient, Samurai Champloo-like electronic music that works best the less you know about its creator. 222 is a quick listen and very much worth your time to get lost in, even if you wouldn’t consider yourself a “fan” of slower grooves that take its sweet time.

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El 3ou

El 3ou: traditional Algerian music with hints of trip-hop, jazz, and reggae

El 3ou

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Omar Siakhene, aka El 3ou, puts a new electro-pop remix spin on classic Algerian music. The touches of trip-hop, jazz, and reggae work to wonderful effect on these songs via this Boumerdes artist that you should know about.

El 3ou: Facebook SoundCloud

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Aseul

Aseul: South Korean artist returns with the glitchy “Wake Up”

Aseul

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According to Korean Indie, “Wake Up” is a preview of Aseul‘s new, somewhat different, sound and that you should check out her first record for a proper introduction. I agree, but there’s also a lot to like in the new song; the song is free of any tight constraints and the melody comes and goes as it pleases over glitchy beats. Very excited for the new record.

Aseul: Website Facebook SoundCloud Twitter

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Sufyvn

Sufyvn: old school Nubian Sudanese percussion and grooves

sufyvn

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I get the same feeling from listening to Sufyvn that I do listening to Tame Impala – a sort of otherworldliness that I can best describe as an ancient psychedelic sound. The Sudanese Beatsmith has been consistently releasing excellent music for the past couple of years, including his latest release, the Ascension EP, out now.

From Bandcamp:

“The second installment of a four-part series. Compositions inspired by Nubian Sudanese percussion salvaged from old cassette tapes in Sufyvn’s hometown of Khartoum…Concept, arrangement, and cover artwork by Sufyvn.”

Sufyvn: SoundCloud Facebook Twitter

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thruoutin

thruoutin: American-born, Chinese-based electronic producer and multi-instrumentalist

thruoutin

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I’m all for the somber glitches and steady beats of thruoutin, an electronic musician with an eclectic discography all worth checking out. My personal favorite is his most recent release, April’s Contingent of Outlying Territory, followed by 2015’s Service.

From Bandcamp:

“This release is about the exploration to new places, whether physical or within our minds. The tracks were written between January to October, 2016. At this time I was finding new ways to approach writing songs; from a technical aspect I was limiting myself to a single sound source for the material. After an idea had been established I would expand upon it with another sound source to build on the original foundation. In this same period, on a physical level, I had moved house twice as well as traveled to new cities in between. With each movement I felt better about my surroundings and more comfortable with these journeys to new places. The album’s sounds narrate an expedition into uncharted territory. Each song is a chapter that takes the listener along on this mission.”

thruoutin: Website Facebook SoundCloud Twitter

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Trenga Records

Trenga Records: New noise from Morocco

Trenga Records

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I couldn’t find much information on the mysterious Casablanca-based independent label Trenga Records, but everything I’ve heard has been fantastic. I’m especially drawn to The Afro Ninja, which reminds me at times of DJ Shadow. It’s just one of the many sounds of this eclectic label that you should be following.

Trenga Records: SoundCloud

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Okamotonoriaki

Okamotonoriaki: mü-nest’s latest release is a remix EP of the Japanese musician’s “Our Happy Ending.”

Okamotonoriaki

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Okamotonoriaki is a Japanese electronic musician and videographer who releases music on Malaysian indie label mü-nest. The original mix of “Our Happy Ending” sounds like the quiet sunrise you find on a long road trip that shares a similar wonder for lonesome peace as Yo La Tengo and Broken Social Scene. This EP includes remixes from recent mü-nest signees Dae Kim, Burnie, and Shuzhen.

From Bandcamp:

“Lonesome can appear to be a tough task to go through in our life. It, sometimes leads us to existence without purpose, find a love one or even death in drastic cases. What comes as a closure from it, can be sometimes harsh or nurture us to be who we are today. And this is what we learnt from okamotonoriaki’s third album, “Happy Ending”.

Our Happy Ending EP consists of three new affiliates of mü-nest, Dae Kim, Burnie and Shuzhen, bringing re-worked versions of the song, expressing different perspective to their happy endings.

Korea-born producer/composer, Dae Kim, captures similar serendipity with the original track. The song is quite susceptible to sappy tendencies and rather pop infused at times. The rhythms are the decorations rather than the element that carries the songs’ momentum, when rather the melodies’ and musical notes create flows and rhythm for the listeners to hold on to. Reminiscing poem subtly lies within the layers of synthesizers.

On the other hand, Burnie, who released his debut album, “Lotus City” last January through 4daz-le Records, offers rather different perspective to the mix. The song introduces itself with a sampled vocals and the poem surrounded by lush synthscapes, collaged narratively. The part that makes this remix comparatively special is when the tastefully constructed beat with well mashed amount of swing emerges into the song. Furthermore, grim yet sentimental distorted ambient guitar shifts its emotion to rather sanguine with xylophones complementing the blend, which shows the Macao producer/DJ’s own closure of the song.

Meanwhile, Shuzhen offers more minimalistic approaches to her epilogue. Classically trained pianist, who arises from Johor Bahru of Malaysia has paved her path to be a composer by collaborating with local artists for variety of different projects. The Johor Bahru composer invigorates her arrangement with subtle soundscapes and the poem. Dramatic tendencies form itself through uplifting yet bittersweet phased chords of piano slowly fading in. When the drums fades out to present contrasting synthscapes, which elaborate themselves to form complex yet sumptuous kaleidoscope of sound which reflects her distinctive feminine sensitivity.

What separates us from one to another is how we define a happy ending. For some, what defines a happy ending would be a success in life, whereas for some, it is simply to get a taste of their favorite meal. Perhaps, the happiest ending possible in our life is in us. To truly understand ourselves and what lies ahead of us.”

Okamotonoriaki: Website SoundCloud Facebook Twitter

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Jeich Ould Badu & Ahmedou Ahmed Lewla

Jeich Ould Badu & Ahmedou Ahmed Lewla: Instrumental synth and lute from the Sahara desert and Sahelsounds

Jeich Ould Badu & Ahmedou Ahmed Lewla

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‘Top WZN’ is another Sahelsounds collection that focuses on Mauritanian WZN (instrumental music), a sort of pop music for this West African country. Both Jeich Ould Badu and Ahmedou Ahmed Lewla are masters in their own right at the manipulated lute and the Arabic scaled pitch synth that, played together, sound oddly soothing in its freakouts and delicate tempos – you can never tell where the songs will go, which keeps you on your toes.

from Sahelsounds:

“The album (originally released on cassette in 2009) showcases Jeich Ould Badu and Ahmedou Ahmed Lewla, playing a signature genre of instrumental music. Known as اوزان (transliterized as “alwazan” “wezen” or “wzn”), literally translated as “rhythm,” it colloquially refers to a contemporary genre of instrumental music, defined by synthesizers, electric guitars and lutes, and electronic drum patterns. Jeich Ould Badu is from a celebrated family of griots, and learned to play music at a young age. He plays the tidnit, the traditional Hassaniya lute – modified and updated, the goat skin replaced by flattened tin, and hacked together with phaser pedals and built in pre-amps. Ahmedou Ahmed Lewla is one of the most well known keyboard musicians in Mauritania. He plays an Arabic moded synthesizer capable of the quarter tone scales adapted from the fretless strings of classical Moorish traditions.

Popular Mauritanian music is often performed publicly with large troupes of guitarists, tidnits, synthesizers, and multiple rhythm sections. But in the past decade, the influx of small recording studios and a booming cassette industry has led to artist driven productions. WZN has followed suit, and has been transformed into an established genre. The slick studio sound, warbling tidnit, and microtones of the synthesizer are an integral part of today’s musical landscape, blasting from open air music shops and taxi cabs throughout the capital.”

Sahelsounds / Jeich Ould Badu & Ahmedou Ahmed Lewla: Website Facebook Twitter SoundCloud

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Boomarm Nation

Boomarm Nation: Portland label releases experimental global sound system music

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Boomarm Nation is a Portland, OR-based label that releases experimental sound system music from around the world on vinyl, cassette, and digital. A recent highlight for me is the fuzzy, furious remix of Mali tehardent musician Aghali Ag Amoumine off January’s ‘Family Album 2017’ compilation.

From Bandcamp:

“Blessings to all the people of the world. May we unite aside our differences and together find peace and strength amongst the tyrants. 2017 – We ready.”

Boomarm Nation: Website Bandcamp Facebook Twitter

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Pastacas

Pastacas: Estonian “Lo-fi Folk-(nohik-)punk-electronica”

pastacas

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Ramo Teder is a 46-year-old dreamer and multi-instrumentalist from Viljandi, a small town in southern Estonia. He currently lives in Teijo, Finland, in the middle of a large national park filled with lakes, forests, and historical villages. Consequently, the presence of nature is felt so clearly in every song of his musical project Pastacas. This pastoral vibe, however, doesn’t reach the listener’s ears untouched: traditional music and nursery rhymes are decomposed and represented in a new and unexpected form.

The music of Pastacas feels like a complex and mystic journey into a place both familiar and unknown. The title of his last album, ‘Pohlad’, is Estonian for lingonberries. Each song is a short and immersive experience into old and fascinating Baltic tales. Guitars and mandolins are matched with old folk Estonian instruments such as the hiiu kannel, a particular four-stringed bowed lyre. Electronic beats and the repetition, inversion, and decomposition of both his instruments and his voice, though, push his music towards a surprising direction.

Teder himself defines his work as “Lo-fi Folk-(nohik-)punk-electronica”, where nohik means “nerd” in Estonian. It’s a playful definition because this sort of futuristic approach to pastoral and folk music is not easy to label. What’s sure is that experimental music is rarely as emotional and homely as it is here. The same emotion relives in the skinny and heartfelt characters he draws for the artworks of his albums, and in the contemplative live shows, where he recreates his music by playing and looping all of the instruments he uses on the records, bringing the audience to the cold yet inviting forests he calls home.

Pastacas: Facebook Bandcamp

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