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- Music From Saharan Cellphones by Various
9/10 Mike Staff review, 16 December 2011
The concept behind this compilation LP is simple but inspired. Christopher Kirkley travelled to Kidal, Mali, and discovered a culture where cellphones are used as portable multimedia devices blaring out music everywhere (a bit like Leeds) and music was spread through file sharing by bluetooth, with all sorts of bedroom producers putting out lo-fi hybrid music which mixes traditional sounds with hip-hop and electronic music and then having it spread virally. He spent some time there, traded mp3s with people he met locally, and amassed a library of out-there DIY sounds from West Africa. Mini street corner anthems that exist within this whole other world of file-sharing, full of wonky grooves and energy and experimentalism, from Papito's hi-energy hip-hop to Mdou Moctar's weird vocodered synth/folk/pop warblings, to Bayta Ag Bay's smooth acoustic melancholia. The styles and production values of the artists on this collection vary and I'm not a fan of the sleeve art but for my money this is the most surprising and inspiring compilation I've heard in ages. I'm totally getting one for myself.
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