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Re: Hot Tips

PostPosted: Tue Nov 02, 2010 11:50 am
by AndyM
Fair enough, Garth, but middle-class white Western audiences deserve to hear decent music, surely ? Better 'Afrocubism' than Michael Buble.

Re: Hot Tips

PostPosted: Tue Nov 02, 2010 12:23 pm
by Rob Hall
I wrote this about a month ago in the "Best of 2010" thread:

I played the Buena Vista Social Club album the other night, and it sounded lovely. When something becomes as ubiquitous as that did, it's easy to forget just how good it can be to listen to without the baggage that it attracts. I suppose you could say the same thing about a lot of non-mainstream music that gets absorbed into the mainstream.

My feeling so far is that AfroCubism is the lesser of the two albums. Based on the evidence of my ears, it seems to have less depth to it, less dynamism (maybe these are the consequences of the two very different line-ups?) and the tunes are not as strong. But I recommend the practice of separating the baggage from the musical content; there's much more to enjoy that way.

Re: Hot Tips

PostPosted: Tue Nov 02, 2010 1:23 pm
by garth cartwright
Andy, I've no idea if Afrocubism is better than M Buble as I've never listened to that gent. I believe those who buy WC releases on label strength alone deserve a better offering. My criticism of the album is its predictability. And of World Circuit's predictable recording strategy/marketing etc. No other world music label has ever had anything like the BVSC phenomenon yet rather than Gold (worth his weight in gold etc) taking chances, investing in new talent, he continues to flog old Cubans and dead Malians (AFT). Imagine if ECM only did Keith Jarrett. Def Jam endless Beasties imitators etc.

Re: Hot Tips

PostPosted: Tue Nov 02, 2010 2:01 pm
by Nigel w
garth cartwright wrote:Gold ...continues to flog old Cubans and dead Malians (AFT).


Garth, you are entitled to your view, of course.

But just as a matter of record, the last four WC projects :

AfroCubism (all alive, and some of them relatively young like Bassekou and Lassana)

Cheikh Lo (neither Cuban nor Malian, alive and young-ish)

Toumani Diabate (musical genius, still in his early 40s)

Tony Allen (neither Cuban nor Malian, although admittedly getting on a bit...)

As for ''investing in new talent'' try the Anga album and for ''taking chances'', have a listen to the boldly experimental album by Cachaito...

Re: Hot Tips

PostPosted: Tue Nov 02, 2010 2:39 pm
by garth cartwright
Yes Nigel I was generalising but I'm still right - Lo has been on the WC books for decades and makes dull albums. Afro Cubism is nostalgia and Bassekou is not a WC artist. Nor is Lassana. Toumani's best albums were years back - Ancient Strings and New Ancient Strings. The albums with AFT are full of padding. Tony Allen - yes a Nigerian but its like Alligator signing, say, BB King: household name among African music fans.

As for the Cachaito album - it didn't work, trying to make a Cuban album that had trip-hop flavours. A couple of OK tracks but overproduced. Compare it to the magnificent Cachito albums from the US and it dissolves quickly. Anyway, no risk taken doing an album around a BVSC illuminari. If Nick had signed some Cuban DJs and rappers or something like that then I would agree that he takes chances. Who is Anga?

Re: Hot Tips

PostPosted: Tue Nov 02, 2010 3:44 pm
by Nigel w
garth cartwright wrote:. Who is Anga?


Well there you are! He's the Cuban tyro you say World Circuit should sign.

They did and you never even heard the album he made with DJ Dee Nasty - described on Amazon as ''the World Circuit label's most extreme Cuban fusion project so far''. Came out about 6-7 years ago and Anga is now dead. He was only 30-something.

Sorry you don't like Toumani's albums. I'd say Mande Variations is his finest hour as a virtuoso and the Symmetric Orchestra album is him at his most collaborative and experimental. And a shame you find Cheikh Lo dull. And that you can't get on with Cachaito's album, which was more experimental jazz than trip-hop to my ears, and is actually my favourite of all the albums on WC. Clearly you don't like the Nick Gold/Jerry Boys sound, because you are right that they definitely do have a sound they favour, built around playing live in the studio.

But hey, "World Circuit is all old Cubans and dead Malians'' is a good line. Even if the facts inconveniently contradict it!

Re: Hot Tips

PostPosted: Tue Nov 02, 2010 5:37 pm
by Jonathan E.
Nigel w wrote:But hey, "World Circuit is all old Cubans and dead Malians'' is a good line. Even if the facts inconveniently contradict it!

Sadly, because Nigel's list really reminds me that there are now probably more dead Cubans than Malians on the WC roster. The Cachaito album was great and so was the Anga one — and as Rob pointed out the original BVSC was also rather fine. I'd given it a few listens several weeks back to remind me of its qualities and they are indeed evident once baggage is separated from music, although clearly it's a retrospective sound rather than leaping boldly and recklessly into the future. I continue to maintain that a great of BVSC's success was due to non-musical factors — the sense of palpable redemption inherent in the project. Everyone likes redemption. Don't they?

Anyway, I recalled why I made my intemperate remark concerning World Circuit releases. It came about because of Jamm, which unfortunately I think is a rather limp album also. Pleasant, but is it a worthy follow-up to the previous three? I think not. Anyway, what got me was the presence once again of Pee Wee Ellis handling the horns. There is, of course, absolutely nothing wrong with Pee Wee Ellis per se. However, his style has become just a bit predictable when layered on top of the original tracks. And that's sort of house WC style to my mind, although clearly not every WC release has that sound.

Re: Hot Tips

PostPosted: Tue Nov 02, 2010 5:57 pm
by garth cartwright
You two are both right - Pee Wee Ellis drove me crazy on a recent WC release: was it Oumou's last? Way too high in the mix. And yes Nigel, I can no longer stomach the Gold/Boys sound. Very predictable and rather overegged for my taste - the Cachao album is OTT when it comes to reverb and such. I think I realised this a few years ago but due to the label always making a serious effort with each release I dutifully listen - played Afrocubism at least six times before I retired it. Will see if Anga is on Spotify.

The fact that WC sold over ten million BVSC albums (original and offshoots) but has since taken so few risks with the music it releases I find depressing. Look at Crammed or Asphalt Tango or Arhoolie or any other functioning roots label - they still take chances, have a fervour for music. WC seems to me unwilling to take the slightest risk. Sad.

Re: Hot Tips

PostPosted: Tue Nov 02, 2010 6:43 pm
by Neil Foxlee
This old Hot Tip will do for me: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AWSUx38Oui0 (over the Gatherers' classic Words of My Mouth).

Re: Hot Tips

PostPosted: Tue Nov 02, 2010 7:30 pm
by Nigel w
garth cartwright wrote: Pee Wee Ellis drove me crazy on a recent WC release: was it Oumou's last? Way too high in the mix.


I think Pee Wee works best when he's bouncing off a nice fat organ sound, preferably a Hammond. That was one of the things I loved about the Cachaito album. Nick seldom uses an organ on WC records because he prefers the Cuban piano and you don't find many keyboards in west African music, but for a while around 2001-2 he brought Bigga Morrison into the WC fold - and when you had Pee Wee on horns, Bigga on Hammond, Galban on guitar and Cachaito on double bass, that to me was as fine as it's ever going to get instrumentally. Try A Gozar El Tumbao and Wahira on the Cachaito album.

The Anga album was kind of a spin-off from the Cachaito record. Both had Dee Nasty doing the turntabling. If you track it down , Garth (it's titled Echu Mingua), I suggest you avoid the tracks with (Not So) Magic Malik's flute all over them. If you can't find the album, Anga's great version of A Love Supreme was on that sampler WC put out on their 20th anniversary a few years ago, and which you probably have.

Re: Hot Tips

PostPosted: Tue Nov 16, 2010 11:03 am
by Jamie Renton
Portugal's Terrakota have a delightful new album out called world Massala featuring tracks recorded in Lisbon and Ladakh, India, with strong doses of reggae & Angoolan roots in the mix. One reviewer has already described it as "the spiciest sounding new thing I've heard in a longtime" (that was me, in a forthcoming fRoots review)
They're playing at Momos next Thursday.

Re: Hot Tips

PostPosted: Tue Nov 16, 2010 7:01 pm
by Chris P
Jamie Renton wrote:Portugal's Terrakota...
They're playing at Momos next Thursday.


Bristol Fiddlers Friday 26th

Re: Hot Tips

PostPosted: Tue Nov 16, 2010 7:35 pm
by Jonathan E.
At least Terrakota's third album and I suspect their fourth, one of which I half recall had an Youssou N'Dour connection. The two I have never rose to the top of the pile, although pleasant enough. I'm intrigued to hear about the new one and look forward to an audition.

Re: Hot Tips

PostPosted: Fri Nov 19, 2010 7:45 pm
by Chris P
Jamie Renton wrote:Portugal's Terrakota have a delightful new album out called World Massala featuring tracks recorded in Lisbon and Ladakh, India, with strong doses of reggae & Angolan roots in the mix. One reviewer has already described it as "the spiciest sounding new thing I've heard in a longtime" (that was me, in a forthcoming fRoots review)


listening to it now on Spotty, it's sounding good ! (only 3 tracks in so far)

Re: Hot Tips

PostPosted: Sat Nov 20, 2010 2:55 pm
by Jamie Renton
I'm enjoying a new compilation on Strut (who put out the Next Stop Soweto collections). Sofrito: Tropical Discotheque was put together by the Sofrito DJs & features African, Latin American & Brazilian tunes with a couple of bits of soca thrown into the mix too. Kind of like what I play a lot of the time when I DJ, but by people with (I suspect) better haircuts & more expensive trousers than me!

http://sofrito.co.uk/