Sound Selections 008: Truth, Amon Tobin, Buraka Som Systema, Africa HiTech, Floating Points

Truth – “Dreams Can Never Come True” (Deep Medi)

At first, “Dreams” strikes an aura of nervous awe as it introduces a troubling theater of battle. But it slips into a mood of determination once it gets to work. Like a griot, it retains an aural history, passing on vivid portraits to next generations with audio alone. Footsteps crush the remains of vanquished technological enemies. Ships leave wakes in the air as they hover. Metal clings to the breeze. An electric humidity saturates everything. The bass drum beat is loping, with a slow gait taking long steps that move it along quickly, leaving a distance filled with its own vibrations and shakers full of dust. Near the end, a melodic bongo loop makes a cameo, complimenting the acoustic highlights in the rest of the tale. The video is actually a car commercial. Much easier to appreciate in this context, though, as it fits the track perfectly. [COP IT.] – MS

Buraka Som Sistema – “Hangover (BaBaBa)” (Enchufada)

A thoroughly party-soaked hook, relentless 4×4 kicks mixed with syncopated snares, and some grumbling sci fi bass. That’s pretty much the whole of “BaBaBa”. And it’s hype. There is subtleties, of course, such as little flourishes, giant hits at the beginning of each bar for some sections, and subconscious synths stabs as well. But for the most part, this track rides on visceral energy alone. The hook, by MC Nacobeta, comes from a DJ Znobia track. The video was filmed at the Baia das Gatas festival in Cape Verde. Buraka Som Sistema is the group that helped introduce kuduro to the rest of the world. The genre, a form of house that began in Angola, really began to congeal as a movement in the nineties, and caught on in Portugal in ’99. Angola was a Portuguese colony, so the cultural roots run deep. These days, kuduro is impacting the world, and its doing so beyond countries with the same language and beyond first world countries. It’s making its way into reggaeton, Domican rappers have used it, and there are sightings of the sound in commercial clubs in Venezuela. But Sistema member J-Wow says “BaBaBa” isn’t kuduro. He actually says that nothing made by artists outside of Angola is kuduro. Znobia has suggested Ku House and Ku Bass in the past as a description for the Sistema sound, and for other producers working in that area from Portugal. But it obviously takes as many cues, if not more, from kuduro as it does from bass music and other electronic musics. [COP IT JUNE 6TH.] - MS

Amon Tobin – “Lost and Found” (Ninja Tune)

In design, there’s a concept known as biomimicry – the idea that nature has figured out so much all ready, why not try and create technology which utilizes that knowledge. So it also makes sense that musicians would begin using software to create sounds that are not perceived as electronic and rather resemble the things around us. “Lost & Found” takes this approach. The use of found sounds, field recordings, and incorporating mistakes into songs is nothing new (although it’s still creative). Tobin himself has explored a lot of this world. But this new sound is of such high quality. The edges are sanded, its surface is coated with gloss, and it’s well lit. He also moves beyond the creation of a space, and goes on to fill it with a creative, absorbable beat and a tortured, passionate melody. But in the end, “This isn’t a concept record,” so if a basic instrument works best, he’ll go for it. The song was originally released last year on the Ninja Tune XX box set, but was recently released for free download to promote his new LP, Isam. [FREE DL.] - MS

Floating Points – “Sais (dub)” (Eglo)

After making a name for himself in 2009 with the melodic house/dubstep crossover jam “Vacuum Boogie“, Sam Shepherd has been slowly creeping into the darker side of bass music with his sparse but moving releases on his Eglo imprint. “Sais (dub)” is a slow-burner of a track that rumbles beneath giant subs and sizzling percussive breaks. It’s a minimal, straight to the groove sort of jam that slowly meanders into the dissonant melodic territory that Floating Points is known for. Fans of Modernlove’s Hate series or Carl Craig’s Bug In The Bassbin tracks should be feeling this one with its quick downwards funky breakbeats offset by skyward tones and sub drops. This is dark, back room at 4AM party material. The one-sided limited edition 10″ was released as part of National Record Store Day (April 16) and quickly disappeared from stores. Have no fear, however, because you’ll be hearing this on a dance floor near you very soon. [DREAM IT] - MW

Africa HiTech – Too Late Dub (Warp)

Africa HiTech is an ambitious musical project that is using digital technology to stretch the sonic boundaries of dub music with their magic elastic elixir. Go ahead – take a sip. The first 20 seconds of “Too Late Dub” take you from the outer cosmos to Jamaica by way of deconstructed feedback bliss and traditional horns and vocals to establish the sonic locale. The depth of sound that you hear comes from the minds of two production visionaries: Mark Pritchard and Steve Spacek. Steve found success under the Spacek moniker and was also a notable Dilla collaborator. Mark, on the other hand, was one half of Global Communication and the Jedi Knights project (with Tom Middleton), and later went on to re-define the edges of electronic dub with his Harmonic 313 projects. Together these guys are pushing the limits of what feedback delay can sound like while simultaneously re-constructing dub music with the tools of today. You can read more about the project and also grab a couple free downloads over at Warp. [BLEEP IT] - MW