Dawame, Luna Abu Nassar’s second album, sounds like a dream on the banks of a Tel Aviv river, with echoes of different voices and instruments coming in and out as sounds of nature set a calming scene. Her extra touches add a somewhat sinister, deep blue feel that’s very compelling. She could easily be one of the musical artists at the end of the new Twin Peaks episodes.
Mabiisi is Art Melody and Stevo Atambire, an African hip-hop duo that first met in Accra, Ghana. The name means “brothers from a same mother” in the Frafra language and conveys the bond between these two acclaimed hip-hop artists who look to their heritage for inspiration for their music, which blends traditional country instrumentation with urban lyrical styles.
Their debut LP from last year rightfully earned much praise, and now there’s a new remix album in which top African DJs reinterpret each track.
“Mabiisi’s debut album has made its way into some of the most inspiring and respected radio shows and playlists around the world: the raw energy of the kologo and both Art Melody and Stevo Atambire’s powerful vocals have paved the way for shows and international tours in Europe and Africa. It only made sense to take the sound further and let a group of talented producers re-interpret the duo’s opus, and intersect it with their own sounds and aesthetics.
The result is a very creative and diverse set of remixes, a large half of them particularly suited for peak hour dance floor action, others more appropriate for – dare I say it – meditation!”
Ramo Teder is a 46-year-old dreamer and multi-instrumentalist from Viljandi, a small town in southern Estonia. He currently lives in Teijo, Finland, in the middle of a large national park filled with lakes, forests, and historical villages. Consequently, the presence of nature is felt so clearly in every song of his musical project Pastacas. This pastoral vibe, however, doesn’t reach the listener’s ears untouched: traditional music and nursery rhymes are decomposed and represented in a new and unexpected form.
The music of Pastacas feels like a complex and mystic journey into a place both familiar and unknown. The title of his last album, ‘Pohlad’, is Estonian for lingonberries. Each song is a short and immersive experience into old and fascinating Baltic tales. Guitars and mandolins are matched with old folk Estonian instruments such as the hiiu kannel, a particular four-stringed bowed lyre. Electronic beats and the repetition, inversion, and decomposition of both his instruments and his voice, though, push his music towards a surprising direction.
Teder himself defines his work as “Lo-fi Folk-(nohik-)punk-electronica”, where nohik means “nerd” in Estonian. It’s a playful definition because this sort of futuristic approach to pastoral and folk music is not easy to label. What’s sure is that experimental music is rarely as emotional and homely as it is here. The same emotion relives in the skinny and heartfelt characters he draws for the artworks of his albums, and in the contemplative live shows, where he recreates his music by playing and looping all of the instruments he uses on the records, bringing the audience to the cold yet inviting forests he calls home.
Glen Campbell’s cover of “Sadly Beautiful,” one of the great late-careerReplacements tracks, will break your heart when you hear it transformed into a country ballad with a lot more strings. This is also a reminder that Paul Westerberg is one of the great ballad songwriters of any genre (see also his unreleased demo for “You’re Getting Married”).