Boomarm Nation is a Portland, OR-based label that releases experimental sound system music from around the world on vinyl, cassette, and digital. A recent highlight for me is the fuzzy, furious remix of Mali tehardent musician Aghali Ag Amoumine off January’s ‘Family Album 2017’ compilation.
“Blessings to all the people of the world. May we unite aside our differences and together find peace and strength amongst the tyrants. 2017 – We ready.”
“Kumu” is one of the many highlights from last year’s collaboration between Italian Afro-Futurist beatmaker DJ Khalab (not to be confused with Snapchat motivational speaker DJ Khaled) and prolific Malian musician Baba Sissoko.
DJ Khalab is a producer known for his fusion of modern electronic beats with traditional tribal drums. Sissoko, who is a Griot, a West African historian-like figure who stores and retells history through spoken poetry and music, is a real-life incarnation of West African heritage. Together, they both preserve and play with tradition to create a sound both new and familiar.
The duo’s debut, Khalab & Baba, out now on Wonderwheel Recordings, is a slow burner. These 10 tracks don’t jump out at you or demand your attention. Instead, Sissoko hisses and moans over (and sometimes under) Khalab’s repetitive, hypnotic loops and drones. Both musicians are inspired by the Malian Amadran structure, which focuses on building repetition rather than melodies. With Khalab’s touch, the music’s glitchy and sometimes danceable minimalism sounds in tune with the silver-soul sound that James Blake made famous. It’s a fruitful collaboration that you won’t want to miss.
Make sure to check out the duo’s SoundCloud for several remixes of the album’s singles.
Bassekou Kouyaté, The legendary Malian virtuoso of the ngoni lute (“the Hendrix of the ngoni lute” is his unusual yet accurate tag), who has played with Taj Mahal, Paul McCartney, and Damon Albarn, released one of the best albums of 2015 according to Spin. It’s surely one of the most exciting electric sounds coming out of West…
Sounds Like: Talking Heads, but from the North African desert.
Like fellow Mali desert rockers Tinariwen, Songhoy Bluesis a group that formed out of the struggle for one of Mali’s many ethnic groups, the Songhoy, to preserve its history and culture against oppression through the power of music. But these musicians…
Tinariwen is a Grammy-winning ensemble of Tuareg (desert nomads) musicians who have been around since the 80s when the founding members met at a Tuareg camp in Libya. The band was inspired by western music, especially old American blues and Jimi Hendrix, and they fused the “sound of the city” with the sound of their desert heritage. The music…