Latin American cosmology inspires the new album ‘Siku’, by Ecuadorian producer Nicola Cruz

A focus on ancestral Latin American cosmology has always featured in the music of Nicola Cruz. The Ecuadorian searches into the roots and rituals that are found in the origins of Andean and African culture, so heavily influential in South American identity. His latest album Siku continues this retrospective study and explores the rhythms and oral aspects of Latin American heritage, as well as by adopting traditional instruments and utilising them for a new musical purpose.

The siku is a wind instrument of Andean origin and is highly symbolic in ancestral rituals. It is made up of two separate, complementary parts – the arca and the ira, and is a symbolic representation of duality, which is an essential element (some say) of an indigenous world view. On his album – Siku – Nicola Cruz combines instruments, such as the sitar, the siku, and the balafon with hints of electronica. He draws influences from samba, cumbia and rhythms of African, Andean and Hindu origin and combines them with his unpredictable style and charm.

Cruz’s first record – Prender el Alma (2015) – “explored the development the consciousness and spirituality, and how they connect with music”. These themes certainly continue to the present day with his latest work. Siku is onZZK Records and is out now.

Ambient soundtrack for Japanese consumers: Light In The Attic compiles “environmental music” and feature visionaries of the genre

Kankyō Ongaku  translates as “environmental music” and collectively describes the soundscapes and acoustics – as well as incidental music – that soundtracked the spaces and experiences of 1980s Japan.

During Japan’s booming export of manufacturing and design products, corporations began to invest in art and music to enhance the user and consumer experience. A rage of artists subtly infused the everyday world with their avant-garde musical forms – from in-store music for the Japanese high-end retailer Muji, to the companion music for a Sanyo Air Conditioning Unit.

Fumio Miyashita

This genre-defining collection of ambient and sculptural music features internationally acclaimed artists such as Haruomi Hosono, Ryuichi Sakamoto (Yellow Magic Orchestra) and Joe Hisaishi (Studio Ghibli, Totoro), as well as perhaps lesser-known but equally pioneering artists like Hiroshi Yoshimura, Yoshio Ojima and Satoshi Ashikawa, who deserve a place alongside the undisputable giants of the genre such as Brian Eno and Erik Satie.

Takashi Kokubo

“As this music continues to echo in modern times and resonate with a new generation of listeners, I’m very happy to help present a window into its universe,” says compilation producer, Spencer Doran, curator of the set and label head of Empire of Signs (Hiroshi Yoshimura, Music For Nine Postcards).

Masahi Kuwamoto

It’s available this month and the LP and CD packages contain extensive liner notes and artist bios, including an essay by compilation co-producer and Japanese music scholar, Doran, who is also a member of Portland-based duo Visible Cloaks. The 3xLP vinyl collection features deluxe Stoughton “tip-on” jackets and slipcase, while the 2xCD release comes housed in a custom 7”x7” hardbound book. Both formats feature a cover photo by photographer Osamu Murai depicting buildings designed by famed architect, Fumihiko Maki.

Kankyō Ongaku follows Light In The Attic’s celebrated ambient anthologies, the acclaimed I Am The Center (2013) and The Microcosm (2016). It is preceded in the ongoing Japan Archival Series by 2017’s Even A Tree Can Shed Tears: Japanese Folk & Rock 1969-1973 and the recent reissues of Haruomi Hosono’s classic output, made available earlier in 2018 for the first time outside of Japan.

Jun Fukamachi

Tracklist:

1. Satoshi Ashikawa – Still Space
2. Yoshio Ojima – Glass Chattering
3. Hideki Matsutake – Nemureru Yoru (Karaoke Version)
4. Ayuo Takahashi – Nagareru*
5. Joe Hisaishi – Islander
6. Yoshiaki Ochi – Ear Dreamin’
7. Masashi Kitamura + Phonogenix – Variation・III
8. Interior – Park
9. Yoichiro Yoshikawa – Nube
10. Yoshio Suzuki – Meet Me In The Sheep Meadow
11. Ryuichi Sakamoto – Dolphins*
12. Toshi Tsuchitori – Ishiura (Abridged)
13. Shiho Yabuki – Tomoshibi (abridged)
14. Toshifumi Hinata – Chaconne
15. Yasuaki Shimizu – Seiko 3
16. Inoyama Land – Apple Star
17. Hiroshi Yoshimura – Blink
18. Fumio Miyashita – See the Light (abridged)
19. Akira Ito – Praying For Mother / Earth Part 1
20. Jun Fukamachi – Breathing New Life
21. Takashi Toyoda – Snow
22. Yellow Magic Orchestra – Loom
23. Takashi Kokubo – A Dream Sails Out To Sea – Scene 3
24. Masahiro Sugaya – Umi No Sunatsubu
25. Haruomi Hosono – Original BGM

 

South African smasher kicks off 2019 for Left Ear Records

Lungile Masitha & Jimmy Mngwandi (Co-Writer & Arranger), pictured together in ’85. This snapshot is taken from their 12” single ‘Let’s Get Up’, while performing with their group ‘Image’

Melbourne’s Left Ear Records continue their output with two supreme South African dancefloor hits from the 1980s. Lungile Masitha was the short-lived studio name for renowned SA artist Sello ‘Chicco’ Twala, who played with such iconic bands as Harari and Umoja. However, in the mid 80’s his name was under license to one of the major labels and so he recorded under the name ‘Lungile Masitha’. This is how he linked up with long term friend Jimmy Mngwandi to co-write and arrange the two tracks Vuyani and Makoti, both sung in his native Tsongan tongue.

Vuyani shows off Chicco’s unique vocal style, backed with piercing drums and distorted choruses, while Makoti is a mellow blend of floating keys and choruses sung by local kids in an effort to expose “emerging talent”. It’s out now through Rushhour.

World Treasures Music radio show – some top December and new year releases and reissues

Tracklist

Collocutor – Agama (Al Dobson Jnr Remix)

Gecko Turner – Cortando Bajito (Jungle Fire Remix)

Salif Keta – Diawara Fa

Shimshon Miel – Nueiba Nueiba

The Scorpions & Saif Abu Bakr – Saat Alfarah ساعة الفرح

Chip Wickham – Snake Eyes (Ishmael Ensemble Remix)

Maajo – Umefika

2fox-Lonzania

Ekiti Sound – Area 10K Boys Riddim (Radio edit)

Sangre Voss – One Bad Mango

Mina – Saiya Mikamba

Coen – Huu

Sangre Voss – Blda

William & The Young Five – You Turn Me On (Vocal)

Starlight – Keep On Moving

Yuji Toriyama – Night Together

Inoyama Land – Apple Star

Yuji Toriyama – Stranger In The Mirror

Takashi Toyoda – Snow

Yuki Toriyama – Donna

Murder He Wrote – Ilonge Riddim

Dengue Dengue Dengue – Eye Acucho ft. Mikongo

Dengue Dengue Dengue – Ayani Huni Kuin – Habu Raminibu (Dengue Dengue Dengue & Joutro Mundo Version)

‘The Golden Voice Of Africa’ Salif Keita returns for farewell album of innovation and tradition

Salif Keita – aka ‘the Golden Voice of Africa – returns for his 14th studio album Un Autre Blanc on February 1st, 2019. A three track single – Bah Poulo/Diawara Fa/Itarafo is out now. It follows a six year break for the Malian star and he is joined by luminaries such as Beninoise singer Angelique Kidjo, Parisian MC and trap artist MHD and Nigerian pop star Yemi Alade – who won the Peak Talent Show in 2009 – and is now a prominent leading light on the Afropop scene. Alpha Blondy of Ivory Coast and South Africa’s Ladysmith Black Mambazo also collaborate on the album.

Un Autre Blanc  is Keita’s first self-produced record and encapsulates his 50 years in the business. A key theme is about the fight for justice for people with albinism and builds on the work his self-made foundation conducts across Africa, helping to create awareness about the plight of those living with albinism. The Foundation Salif Keita pour les Albinos was set up in 2005 and is now run by his Paralympian gold-medalist daughter Nantenin Keita.

Salif Keita was a prince and exiled from his village by his family at a young age because of the colour of his skin. It was seen as a sign of bad luck in Mandinka culture. His royal background can be traced to the founder of the Malian Empire almost 1,000 years ago. It meant he turned to the ways of the musician ‘griots’ and moved to the Malian capital Bamako in 1967 at age 18. He became a singer in the Government-sponsored Super Rail Band and his success led him to join rival band Les Ambassadeurs.

Les Ambassadeurs Internationaux

The band fled to the Ivory Coast in the mid-1970s because of military unrest in Mali. They returned following the conflict and found international recognition under a reformed name, Les Ambassadeurs Internationaux – and for pioneering a sound combining Zairean (now the Democratic Republic of Congo), Cuban and Malian influences to their incredible repertoire.

Watch this classic ode to president Sékou Touré of Guinea by Les Ambassadeurs Internationaux – featuring singer Salif Keita and guitarist Manfila Kanté. It is taken from Malian television broadcast in the early 1980s:

Since his solo debut Soro in 1987, through to the critically acclaimed Moffou in 2002, Keita has soared. Utilising fresh artists’ contributions, alongside some legends of African music, he has created a swansong album that is a fitting farewell for such a great talent and icon.

Follow ‘The Golden Voice of Africa on Facebook.

Africa Seven return to Cameroon releasing special edition of Momo Joseph’s ‘War For Ground’

The French Africa Seven label’s next instalment returns to Cameroon with a special edition version of Momo Joseph’s in-demand LP – War For Ground – with three extra tracks.

Momo may be better known as an actor, most notably featuring in the French youth picture La Haine, in 1995. But his music is definitely as memorable. With this “Edition Speciale” reissue, Africa Seven provide all the originals from War For Ground remastered, alongside his classics Cameroon Airline, Love Africa Soul and his lesser known tack Oh Momo.

Oberman Knocks’ electronic artistry returns to Aperture Records after four year break

 

UK producer Oberman Knocks – who is Sheffield-born Nigel Truswell – makes a welcome return to Aperture Records since his last release a while ago. Dilankex in 2014 also featured an outstanding 17 minute remix from Autechre.

Working on other projects during this time seems to have charged his creative output and Oberman now propels himself back into the fold for his third album, Trilate Shift. The album’s polished production could see his appeal rise across a wider audience.

Trilate Shift has 14 tracks and encompass disembodied vocals and the distinctive sound of the artist that fans have come to love.

Last year, Oberman produced the soundtrack to The Red Tree – an award winning documentary film from Still films (New York / Dublin) and in 2016 he was commissioned by The Lowry in Salford to produce a sound installation, 30 Days of The Smiths. It formed part of their Week 53 festival and a version was also performed live.

For more click on www.aperturerecords.com