Glitterbeat Vinyl, CD & tapes from this label at Norman Records
Look everyone, it's Mekons, but now with brand new material! The inventive Leeds punk / post-punk group went to Joshua Tree in California in order to record Deserted (it's a desert, geddit?), but managed to avoid absorbing too much of the ghost of U2 into their sound. It’s brand new Mekons guys, what more do I need to say? On Glitterbeat.
Fourth World Vol. 1 is one of Brian Eno's most underrated collaborative records, offering a different perspective on his ambient compositions by way of percussionist and trumpeter Jon Hassell. It questioned the paradigms of "world" music and also queried what the term would imply in the future, melding together electronic innovations with the older disciplines of several different regions. It's a deeply textural and agonisingly hypnotic work.
Fofoulah return to Glitterbeat Records (Samba Toure, MAKU Soundsystem) with the follow-up to their eponymous 2014 debut LP. On Daega Rek the band step into a bold new sound, one that is difficult to categorise despite its many apparent influences (sabar, Afro-house, dub, footwork and jazz all get a look in here). It’s a potent record of fevered playing and wide-eyed vocal performances. Think Afriqoui if they really threw caution to the wind. Good stuff.
Bixiga 70 are a many-handed group, with ten members all pouring their heart, soul and funk into vivid, multi-hued music. Quebra Cabeca is African music made via Brazil, positively drenched in groovy vigour and fun. They sound like the kind of band who would absolutely slay at a festival, but this fourth album of theirs will do very nicely if you aren’t in a summer field. Out on Glitterbeat.
- Vinyl Double LP (GBLP063)
Spain return to Glitterhouse Records with their seventh studio LP. Josh Haden wanted to capture the energy of the band’s concerts on Mandala Brush. As such, all songs were recorded live and without a click track. This results in a nice ebb and flow to the brooding Americana-noir of tracks like ‘Maya In The Summer’.
- Vinyl Double LP (GRLP964)
This is a good one. Stella Chiweshe is well-known in her native Zimbabwe as a master of the mbira (thumb-piano). As the nation spent the 1970’s gearing up for revolution, Chiweshe released a run of mbira recordings that became soundtracks to the Chimurenga. Now Glitterbeat have collected some of her best early singles - none of which have previously seen releases outside of Chiweshe’s home continent - for Kasahwa.
AMMAR 808 is a fantastic proposition: North African music pulled through the vortex of a Tunisian producer with his eye on the bass bins. Maghreb United has a range of excellent singers from Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia sitting at the centre of an ecstatic whirl of traditional instrumentation, distorted treatments, and big booming bass and drum patterns. Brilliant, energetic stuff, out on the Glitterbeat label.
The third LP from Malian guitarist and songwriter Samba Toure finds him streamlining his sound. Wande largely eschews the high-energy call-and-response desert blues of his previous work for a taut, funky synthesis of Sahel sounds and Western rock tropes. The likes of ‘Yerfara’ feature strutting grooves that contain as much Jimi Hendrix as Ali Farka Toure.
Bassekou Kouyate & Ngoni Ba
Bassekou Kouyate and Ngoni Ba team up once again for a wonderful collection of blazing jams, louder and more willing to lean into distortion than ever before. Kouyate leads with his ngoni, and the band follow him with loose-but-tight afro-rock grooves. Jon Hassell and Chris Brokaw are the Western guests making appearances, but the African guests are where it is really at. Ba Power is out on Glitterbeat.
Here is an album that displays Jon Hassell’s early conception of Fourth World music: an attempt to step outside of rigid cultural boundaries. Dream Theory In Malaya was recorded with Brian Eno and Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan on board, and uses an engaging combination of electronically-affected trumpet, field recordings, glitches and drones, and much more besides. Reissued with a bonus track, on Glitterbeat.
In 2016 the wonderful Baba Zula celebrated 20 years of existence, in which they expanded their reputation, becoming forerunners in contemporary psychedelia and deserving an esteemed place in Turkish music history. Spanning two discs of career defining moments, the new one traces a vast and suitably colourful journey through their history with electrifying live and unreleased gems sitting alongside studio tracks and an alternative version of "Bir Sana Bir De Bana", one of the band’s best hits.
Explorers looking to take themselves on a sonic and historic journey with the masters of the Istanbul freak sound are in the right place.
- Vinyl Double LP (GBLP042)
People forget that the 3rd part of Brian Eno’s Ambient series wasn’t just another solo Eno outing: it was actually mostly the work of Laraaji, the spiritual zither experimentalist. Ambient 3: Day Of Radiance is a lush and gorgeous thing whose influence stretches far. It has been remastered and is pressed to 180g vinyl in a gatefold sleeve. On Glitterbeat.
Slovenian band Sirom bring us their second album of wildly sculpted folk-infused sounds, on I Can Be A Clay Snapper. Their hand-fashioned collection of instruments emit fantastical noises outside of constraints like geographical land borders. A huge, mesmeric blast of fun. Mixed by Chris Eckman, for Glitterbeat, on LP and CD formats. Two tasty choices.
This compilation presents a variety of treasures from Rwanda, performed by members of the Abatwa peoples. Why Did We Stop Growing Tall features not only single-string violins and traditional harps and vocals, but also lo-fi battery-powered looping machines, which gives these recordings a delicious variety. CD and LP editions on Glitterbeat.
Throughout Kin Sonic, Jupiter and Okwess put a modern twist on the usually traditional style of Congo music. This album is a produce of all Jupiter & Okwess' encounters and influences throughout their lifetime. Okwess (meaning 'food' in Kibunda) is the fruit of his journeys throughout his lifetime, and the album is a perfect creation from many different inspirations.
Ifriqiyya Electrique is a post-industrial spin on traditional Sufi trance music, wherein the chanting vocals, nagharats, krakebs and hammering percussion of the Sufi musicians are bolstered by electric instruments and dense industrial production. It's a curious blend, but rhythm is at the core of it all, so Ruwahine is a success.
King Ayisoba’s new album is a particularly powerful statement from the Ghanaian musician. Produced by regular associate Zea (aka The Ex’s Arnold de Boer), 1000 Can Die takes ‘hiplife’ (the Ghanaian blend of highlife and hip-hop) as a starting point and flies yet further from there. Funky, high-energy African music. Out on Glitterbeat.
Fourth album from Tamikrest, the Tuareg nomadic group with the tight desert rock sound. Kidal is named for the Malian town that is at the core of Tuareg identity, and it carries the heat and the hope of the culture in its deep grooves, its vocal chants, and its sweetly meandering guitars. CD and LP release on the Glitterbeat label.
Bargou 08 is the band formed by Nidhal Yahyaoui to circulate the unique music of his home region, situated near the Tunisia / Algeria border. Targ was recorded at home with a set-up of Moog, loutar, bendir, drums and flutes. Yahyaoui sings these traditional songs passionately, richly representing the Bargou tradition. Targ is released by Glitterbeat.
Gaye Su Akyol has been gaining some attention outside of her native Turkey. Combining traditional Turkish instrumentation and rhythms with typically Western techniques, Akyol’s music keeps a strong identity of growing up in Istanbul. Hologram Imparatorlugu (Hologram Empire) is a fantastic mix of seductive vocals and swooning strings, creating a pop album with a strong magnetic pull.
Noura Mint Seymali
Noura Mint Seymali builds new shapes on top of the music of her Moorish griot heritage, with the intention of forging a new Mauritanian sound. It seems to be working: Arbina is a fantastic listen, packed with electrified vigour, traditional and non-traditional rhythms, and Noura’s huge voice. Arbina is released by Glitterbeat.
If you were expecting Khmer Rouge Survivors to be the name of another edgy white indie band, think again: this music was recorded by traditional Cambodian musicians who lived through the murderous Khmer Rouge regime. These folk musics are powerful, beautiful, and increasingly rare, but They Will Kill You If You Cry makes them available outside of Cambodia. On Glitterbeat.
Putting different musicians together is always a great experiment, and the Afro-Haitian Experimental Orchestra is no different. Thrown into a five-day recording session in a transatlantic culture promotional effort, musicians from Nigeria and Haiti made this high-energy, positive-vibe filled poly-rhythmic musical experiment with no idea what to expect. And it turned out great.
M.A.K.U. Soundsystem is an 8-piece band of New Yorkers with Colombian roots. They ground their music in the body-dominating rumbling rhythms of cumbia, but throw afrobeat and hip-hop vibes in as well. The result is a super-rhythmic juggernaut of impossible potency. Mezcla is the collective’s third album. Out on Glitterbeat.
Super groovy and far-out West Saharan rock ‘n roll from Aziza Brahim. On Abbar el Hamada she has built a wonderful band to perform her varied songs. Now Saharawi rhythms, meet Senegalese drums, Afro-Cuban arrangements and emotive blues. Glitterbeat release this scorching album on CD an vinyl LP.
Girlz With Gunz is an international collection, taking in sonics from Zimbabwe and the Congo, where the two members of Chimurenga Resistance (one of whom is Tendai Maraire of Shabazz Palaces) have their respective roots. This half-hour EP is packed with energetic elements from hip-hop, Shona music and more. LP release on Glitterbeat.
Cool album cover on this one.
Dennis Bovell has been beavering away in various music projects since the 1970s. A member of reggae acts Linton Kwesi Johnson and Matumbi and a producer for The Slits and Orange Juice, he has also worked with Fela Kuti and Marvin Gaye. He’s released numerous dub records over the years and Dub 4 Daze is his latest. It’s a mix of spacey electronica to deep soul via jazz and a bit of voodoo thrown in. A gotta hear.
Relatively speaking, Sao Paulo is close to the African coast. When you listen to III, you can almost forget about the tectonic rifts that have separated the two continents. Effortlessly merging funk, afrobeat and samba, Bixiga 70 have produced a copper-packed smorgasbord. Not just world music, but world-class music.
Turkish psychedelic cult band Hayvanlar Alemi was formed in 1999 by three friends while they were still at school. ‘Visions of a Psychedelic Ankara’ (originally released in 2010 and only available in digital format) marks a dramatic move away from their earlier eclectic influences (Turkish psychedelic rock, surf music, Cambodian pop, West African guitar and traditional Middle Eastern music) into the previously uncharted territory of dub-reggae.
Hanoi Masters: War is a Wound, Peace is Scar is a recording from 2014 from producer Ian Brennan, who has worked with names such as Tinariwen, Malawi Mouse Boys, and The Good Ones. Recorded live by Vietnamese musicians on traditional instruments and capturing the haunting fractured psyche of what the Vietnamese called the American War. Vinyl and CD from Glitterbeat.
Available on 180 gram 12” vinyl in gatefold case on Glitterbeat. Live recording from Taureg rock band Tamikrest. Layered percussion grooves and dirtied electric guitars filled with extensions and improvisations of album tracks. It’s excellent desert blues for fans of Can or Pink Floyd. Limited 1500 copies, with download code.
- Vinyl LP (GBLP022)
- Limited edition
Noura Mint Seymali
A joyous tomato party from Noura Mint Seymali. Tzenni is the new genre redefining exploration from North Africa. Her deeply emotive and technically brilliant voice is at the heart of each piece being accompanied by Mauritania instruments mixed with electric guitars, drums and modern production. She bridges the gap between traditional music of North Africa with 20th century western sounds to make a truly unique and contemporary record. Out on vinyl LP and CD from Glitterbeat.
Straight out of the Glitterbeat Records vaults is their new vinyl double LP Glitterbeat: Dubs & Versions I. A fantastic compilation of various artists releases from the label, and packed full of excellent collaborations from an array of monster producers. Focusing on Mali and West Africa - these originals and dubs are a must for any groovophile looking for some deep afrobeat, dub and afro-funk.
- Vinyl Double LP (GBLP018)
The third LP from Tuareg group Tamikrest is an embattled, passionate record. Though they hail from Northern Mali, the band currently live in exile in Algeria on account of the imposition of Sharia law throughout their home territory. Chatma serves as a comment on Tamikrest's divided situation - a burgeoning musical reputation in both Africa and Europe, yet like many of their friends and family they have been cast out of their homeland. The pounding tracks here fuse desert blues with rock, funk and psychedelic influences to powerful effect. ‘Chatma’ literally translates as ‘sisters’, and the album’s lyrics act as odes to ‘the courage of the Tuareg women, who have ensured both their children's survival and the morals of their fathers and brothers.’ An excellent and necessary listen.