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- Music from Saharan Cellphones Volume 2 by Various
9/10 Mike Staff review, 23 January 2013
It’s a nice surprise to come to work today and find this LP on the review pile. The first instalment is a regular fixture in my house, providing as it does a varied snapshot into filesharing culture in northern Mali, where mysterious recordings from bedroom artists and star musicians alike are circulated between people’s cellular devices.
There are a couple of familiar faces from the first comp too, specifically Mdou Moktar’s heavily vocodered lo-fi afro-soul and Iba One’s machinegun rapping (both decent but very similar to the previous offerings...why no more Kaba Blon? If anyone I want more from them), there’s a totally bonkers bit of unattributed Egyptian pop with a kid singing, and a lot more hip hop than the previous collection. I’m enjoying the aggressive bounce and rinky-dink synths on Lakal Kaney’s ‘Soul Tamashek’, and DJ Mopao’s addictive coupé décalé floor-filler ‘Peguele’, with its elastic afrobeat guitar, uplifting vocals and laid-back rhythms, is right up there with its Joskar & Flamzy counterpart on the first LP. Another one that really impresses is the Rai Guercif on the closer from Cheba Wassila, which is full of crazy electronic polyrhythms and vocodered vocals.
If I have a complaint it’s that some of the tracks are sourced from fairly low quality MP3s and I can’t help but feel like they might have been able to source better versions of the tracks, but I guess the lo-fi aesthetic fits with the concept so it’s not too off-putting and is only particularly noticeable on a couple of tracks here. The genre-diversity does leave you wanting more of some of the styles, though. I’d love it if they put together a coupé décalé or hip-hop or folk specific collection that went into a bit more depth.
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