100 WORDS L -Superficial – Amp Fiddler

 

Todays tune is a lesson in humility. Superficiality is a day to day curse and a strain on every relationship; and on an historic day where policy is on everybody’s minds it’s important to remember the small things that make the world turn. This immaculately produced groove reminds me that everything is a lesson in manners.

Amp Fiddler is a genius in his own right, every gracefully selected note, every samba infused beat is in precisely the right place; rhythm is his currency, harmony is his coin and he spends every penny wisely.

waTambuka

100 WORDS XLIX – Truth – Dwele

Truth is the product of one of Motown’s greatest grandsons. Dwele’s production values on this jam are second to none and his soulful vocals are to die for. This is another song which needs no introduction, it just demands to be heard; the shuffling groove is a march toward paradise and the harmonies are a beauty all by themselves.

The percussive elements of this tune are key to its success, as I mentioned its the shuffling groove fitting together like a musical jigsaw that makes it work; it reminds me that we are all just shuffling towards the truth of our lives. Play this song loud, let the neighbours hear it.

waTambuka

100 WORDS XLVIII – Settle Down – Kimbra

The key to this song is in it’s title. Every day we ask ourselves what we should do next, or what we could have don differently and the answer is often the most obvious, we need to just Settle Down.

Kimbra’s percussive voice is the only instrument you need to pay attention to on this track, the rest is just icing on the proverbial cake. It’s a song of freedom, of release from the daily grind of life, its a reminder to take things one step at a time. It reminds me of my own personal motto, Life is a Brai.

waTambuka.

100 Words XLVII – Umoya – Heavy K

Mushaka World! It’s a Good Sunday to be Alive Zed.

We’ve all heard this story of heartbreak of loss and sorrow, but this groove makes it visceral, it gives power to the emotion of loss, this is Umoya by Heavy K.

Umoya is fire come down from the mountain made flesh. The heartfelt harp tones sit beautifully on the rhythm and the result is phenomenal. Heavy K, Professor and Mpumi have made a true party tune to be reckoned with on this track. Its groove should be heard from the mountains to the shoreline, but I’ll let you make that decision for yourselves.

waTambuka.

Rambutan – Landshapes.

Rambutan Cover

Moody, mournful and a dash morose; all words which come to mind when I think of this debut. After a streamlined renaming, Landshapes nee Lulu and the Lampshades have shifted their sound to a more challenging form of aggression. Rambutan is  a broody painting of internal struggle, but if I was to put a single word to it, I’d name call it. bewitching. Bella Union certainly do know how to pick them.
Opening with Racehorse, we are thrown into a pensive reflecting pool, a collection of slow grooves which certainly pierce the soul. interplay between singers is  haunting; the  tones are certainly piercing but it is  entwined in a delicate harmony which you can rather easily lose yourself. your mind in.
In limbo, is possibly  the most fascinating track on this release, the calm does come before the storm and this in way exception. It has a little something for everybody, the percussion is beyond varied the guitar work beautifully restrained and the bass work is deliciously relaxed, Lulu herself reveals the power beneath her voice with a candor I relish and admire.
LJ Jones is another brilliantly arranged song, theoff-beat approach to syncopation outdoing with wonderful latinate rhythm is inspired but the great thing about this song is its middle eight, the resolution becomes something so much more as it becomes more introverted and riddled with self-reflection. The next three songs start to follow an extremely well executed pattern, building up to a perfectly executed selection of crescendos whilst always spiraling into glorious madness.

Impasse is especially enthralling, its slid intensity is only matched by its unidentifiable quirkiness. The exceptional weave of vocal patterns weave a thick cloth of sadness which fills you with not only sadness, but a grim determination.
Demons, the only surviving reminder of Lulu and the Lampshades Cold Water EP, is a fruitfully folksy affair, and as much as I quite despise western folk, this cannot really be faulted, it’s jarring brings on a palpable feel of unease, it twists and turns and displays some frankly terrifying arco work from the fiddles.
As always I have a highlight, Insomniac ‘s club is a percussionists heaven, the groove has a puisance which resonates with samba, calypso and soca, whilst still holding a western edge . The result is spicily tribal groove, Lulu’s fresh airy tones over the top is an added force of nature. This tune really ties the album together in a beautiful way.
Rambutan Isn’t a game changer, it just made a new game. It throws you into a world of dreams bordering on nightmares, its dangerous quality is the root of its appeal, and one would be remiss not to accept the challenge and listen. They are masters of syncopation, their vocal arrangements ethereal, and they take no prisoners.
Landshapes make their own standard, then they surpass it. Enjoy.

100 Words XLVI. Mouth to Mouth – Melt Yourself Down

melt yourself down

Today’s tune is something beautiful, a groove from a band which meld soca, with heavy break beat.

Melt Yourself Down are a collection of super musos, They create insane rhythms, and  that is pretty  the long and short of it. Mouth to Mouth speaks to the percussionist in me; it boasts a technical veracity which strikes a tone with the dancer within me. The sensual blend of funky Soca and blazing Afrobeat creates a force to be reckoned with, it’s truly a tune to be danced to with extreme vigour.

Enjoy friends.

melt yourself down

100 Words XXXXV. Verdis Quo – Daft Punk

DiscoveryToday’s 100 feature a  beautifully constructed piece; Verdis Quo is one of my favourite songs from Daft Punk’s 2001 masterpiece Discovery. It’s a tune which burrows it’s way into your mind, the insistent groove is a thing of wonder. It smoothly blends house with baroque harmony creating an air of graceful sophistication. But the real cherry on top is the fact it all majestically rests  on a relaxed groove, relaxed yet profoundly forceful. It’s a tune which invites both peace and distance, a tune for holding somebody, yet somehow still for quiet solitude.

To any drummers reading this, I suggest blasting this groove and having a free for all, it’s apparent simplicity has amazing opportunities for improvisation.