Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Dub Colossus - Town Called Addis

Dub Colossus- Azmari Dub (stream)- from A Town Called Addis - buy

You gotta love a guy who has taken on the professional "nom de plume" of Count Dubulah. Nick Page, formerly of global electronic pioneers, Transglobal Underground and more recently Temple of Sound has trimmed his moniker to simply Dubulah these days- but his trademark deep, dub drenched bass stye and his obvious love of melding traditional music with more modern dance and electronic grooves remains a constant in his projects. His latest musical adventure, Dub Colossus is one of my favorite world fusion releases of 2008. Dub Colossus' debut album, In a Town Called Addis, is a beautiful mash up of Ethiopian and Jamaican dub styles that magically retains the best qualities of both genres without diluting either.

We think this record is a "must hear" for all fans of global sounds and we're very excited that our friends at the wonderful Real World Records label (founded by my all time favorite artist Peter Gabriel) have let us share this music stream (not downloadable this time I'm afraid)and video so that you can be introduced to it's many unique charms.

Album Bio:

This project brings together an extraordinary but little known African musical heritage, a labour of love recording in a makeshift studio in down-town Addis Ababa and then a journey back to Real World to capture for the first time ever in the UK some of Ethiopia's finest performers.

This project is the vision of Dub Colossus - Dubulah - aka Nick Page. Composer, guitarist, bass player and programmer Nick started his music career with Michael Riley (Steel Pulse) and in 1990 formed Transglobal Underground with Tim and Hammi, produced-wrote-played six albums before leaving in 1997 to form Temple of Sound with Neil Sparkes.

Ethiopian music is the hidden gem of Africa. At the end of the Sixties and the early Seventies, Ethiopia was in the dying years of the imperial decline of Haile Selassie and the early years of a brutally repressive junta led by Mengistu. Within the confines of this stifling and constrictive environment there flowered some astonishing music. At times showing Fela Kuti's influences, in the big band sax flavour and other times a different take on regional music, this is a music that is accessible to all and has been championed by the likes of Robert Plant, Brian Eno and Elvis Costello. The style of contemporary Ethiopia music captured by Dub Colossus ranges from dreamy blues, hypnotic grooves, jazz piano and driving funk brass.

"A Town Called Addis" was inspired by meeting , writing and working with singers and musicians in Addis Ababa in August 2006,and is a collaboration between Dub Colossus (Nick Page) and these amazing musicians covering Azmari and traditional styles as well as the popular singing styles of the 60s and 70s. It seeks to combine the golden years of ethiopique beats (popular again thanks to the release of the critically acclaimed 'Ethiopique' compliation ) and ethiojazz with the dub reggae styles of early 70s reggae groups like the Abyssinians, Mighty Diamonds and so on. along with a hint of Sun Ra..." (Dub Colossus/aka Nick Page)

The first sessions took place in a breeze block hut under corrugated iron roof bombarded by the sounds of the rainy season high up on the mountain plateau where Addis is built. "...the sound of children playing, dogs barking and women washing all permeate the sessions and help the flavour of the record, albeit as ambient smoke.....Although a howling cat chasing a rat under the roof destroyed one vocal take completely...!"

We brought these unique urban field recordings home to Real World to complete the picture. In March 2008 we invited a group of outstanding performers from Addis to travel to the UK. Some of these artists are unknown talents who have never traveled outside of their country before now, while others such as singer Sintayehu 'Mimi' Zenebe (Addis Ababa night club owner and know as the Ethiopian Edith Piaf ) and master saxophonist Feleke Hailu (a classical composer, lecturer and head of music at the Yared Music School and part of a dynastic tradition that stretches back far beyond the classic hits his father arranged for Mahmoud Ahmad in the late 1960s) have a huge reputation. They are joined by Teremag Weretow who, with his plaintive voice, playing his messenqo ( one-string fiddle) is a youthful carrier of an ancient tradition; extraordinary pianist Samuel Yirga is an exciting new discovery - a young prodigy of classical and Ethiojazz and finally the glamourous star Tsedenia Gebremarkos, winner of a Kora award as the best female singer in East Africa in 2004,

From the most primitive recording context to one of the best in the world, this project is an audio journey - and discovery of one of the most alluring, funky and seductive genres of African music. -Read the full Post-

Monday, November 24, 2008

End of Year List-mania- Part 1

The other day I was shocked to see my first "Best of 2008" list up on a blog. As mind boggling as it may be, (it certainly was to me) this crazy, topsy-turvy year is almost at an end. While it's been a challenging year in many ways, challenging times often inspire great art. I think 2008 was actually filled with some great music, films, and touring. So, in order to celebrate the outgoing year in style, I've asked a fun cross section of industry friends, artists, and producers to get creative and to list their favorites of '08. I often find recommendations from people who I respect and whose tastes I trust can turn me on to all kinds of things that I wouldn't necessarily find on my own- so maybe these will be a jumping off point for discovering some new and worthwhile things for you as well- maybe even some perfect holiday gifts.

We'll be putting these lists up in installments from now through the beginning of '09 and if you want to join in, I welcome lists from you, our readers. Just leave your suggestions in the comments section of the blog or E mail them to lists@sixdegreesrecords.com. Happy compiling!

2008- My 10 Favorite Things from a Crazy Year

Compiled by Bob Duskis- Co-founder of Six Degrees Records

Best New Singer songwriter: Bon Iver

Best Musical Return Of Some Old Friends: David Byrne & Brian Eno- Everything that Happens Will Happen Today

Best Electronica Discovery: Guillaume & the Coutu Dumonts

Best Swedish Vampire Film: Let the Right One In

Best Ethiopian Dub Electronica Record by a former member of Transglobal Underground: Dub Colossus: In a Town Called Addis

Best Epic Fantasy Novel: Tie between Toll the Hounds by Steven Erickson & Last Argument of Kings by Joe Abercrombie

Best Concert: Tie between David Byrne performs the music of David Byrne & Brian Eno @ Davies Symphony Hall & Robert Plant & Allison Krause @ the Greek Theater

Best New Television Show: Fringe

Best Family Moment: Weeping with my wife, daughter, brother & sister in law when Obama's win was officially announced

Best thing about 2008- It's almost over

Best World Music Releases of '08
Compiled by Charlie Gillett -host of BBC 2's Radio Program: Without Frontiers

1. Umalali: The Garifuna Women's Project
2. Nina de Fuego, by Buika
3. A Mad & Faithful Telling, by DeVotchKa
4. 3MA, by Sissoko, El Maloumi, Rajery
5. Ceu, by Ceu
6. Mali Koura, by Issa Bagayogo
7. 03, by Son of Dave
8. Rebel Woman, by Chiwoniso
9. Tchamantche, by Rokia Traore
10. The Edge of Heaven - soundtrack

Top 5 of '08

Compiled by Bob Blumer aka the Surreal Gourmet - Creator and Host of Glutton for Punishment as seen on the Food Network

concert: Goldfrap at the Orpheum Theater, L.A.
film: Mike Leigh's 'Happy Go Lucky'
city: Rekyjivak (now 50% off)
spirit: Eden Apple Cider Dessert Wine
life changing experience: Obama!

Top 5 British Festival Experiences

Compiled by Sheila Chandra,Vocal goddess and Real World recording artist

Prettiest site-The Big Chill… They are consistently the best at this.
Prettiest place to visit-East Neuk Festival (Scotland)…. Incredibly beautiful countryside and villages
Quaintest and most ‘English’- Wychwood….I don’t know of another festival with a ‘tea garden’ right in the middle of it, complete with posies on the tables and gingham tablecloths
Politest- Cambridge Folk Festival…. Full to bursting and yet amazingly good natured and courteous audience
Performance I most enjoyed -Jeremy Hardy (comedian) at Glastonbury Festival. He said he was only testing material out but he was brilliant, as always. -Read the full Post-

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Ursula Rucker

Free Download - Ursula Rucker - Read Between the Lines (FiveSix Media)

Ursula Rucker is one cool lady. While I generally am not a big fan of spoken word recitation over music, there's something so darn "musical" and sensual about the way Rucker lays it down that I find her irresistible. That, coupled with the fact that she is always saying something thought provoking and downright "smart" makes any new release from her worth celebrating. Executive produced by Ursula with our buddy King Britt and featuring contributions from 4 Hero's Dego, Rich Medina and Tim Motzer, her new release, Ruckus (great title) is possibly the best thing she's ever done. King Britt has released the record on his own new Five Six Media imprint and has been nice enough to give us this slinky track that he produced "Read Between the Lines" to wet your appetite for the rest of the release

Be sure to check out King's hot new on-line store here and keep up with all of the interesting things he's doing at www.fivesixmedia.com

Ursula Rucker Press Release

The queen of the spoken soul scene is back, after a 2 yr recording break. Continuously touring to spread the words of hope, Ursula went back into the studio to come up the opus that is The Ruckus Soundsysdom!

Working with an amazing array of producers, Dego (4Hero), Rich Medina, Tim Motzer and of course King Britt , she continued on her quest for sonic bliss. The treat this album serves is the introduction of some of brooklyn’s best female producer, something Ursula has always wanted. They include the electric Rucyl Mills, sound assassin Amatus and avant-soul duo FISHEYE.

The first single Read Between the Lines, is getting fantastic accolades and spins by music lovers worldwide! Executive Produced by King Britt and Ursula herself, the album brings together raw emotion, love and sensuality, unlike any other Ursula album.

So all aboard the Ruckus Soundsysdom! TURN IT UP ! -Read the full Post-

Monday, November 17, 2008

l'Orchestre A-Dakar

Free MP3- Lay Lay by L'Orchestra A-Dakar

One of my favorite things to do with this blog is to give exposure to
new and deserving groups that are just starting to try and get their
music out into the industry. Baz Mattie, one of the two Amsterdam
based musical architects of l'Orchestre A-Dakar, has been
corresponding with me for quite some time now. I have been
consistently impressed with this lovely African/electronica project
and am happy to be sharing a track with you now. I suspect that you
will be hearing much more from this project in the future, just
remember, you heard it here first.


What is an African singer from Senegal doing in an electronic
soundscape created by a duo from Amsterdam? The answer: l’Orchestre

Baz mattie met Mola Sylla in 2000 during a tour with Chris Hinze, and
was impressed with his distinctive voice and melodies. Out of
curiosity, Mattie began to work on a remix of one of Sylla’s tracks.
On the face of it, Sylla’s voice and Mattie’s electronic music
promised to work well together, but the results were even better than
either of them expected.

Spurred on by this nice surprise, they decided to collaborate
further, creating the tracks on this debut album in the same manner.
Sylla’s demos, in which he accompanied himself on instruments such
as the Mbira and the Xalan, were re-edited and placed in a completely
different context.

Plaintive, earthy vocals by Mola Sylla, sung in Wolof, the language
of Senegal, are fused with a swirling, pulsating dark soundscape of
electronic beats and distortion by Baz Mattie and Frans Molenaar,
from Amsterdam. This is urban music that refuses to be geographically
fixed, and sits well with our ever more cosmopolitan world.
l’Orchestre A-Dakar do not shy away from experimentalism: long
tracks built from a wide sound palette encompassing the above-
mentioned electronic sounds and distortion, as well as modern
classical music, a complete string orchestra and choir. Yet, the
music is never inaccessible, as it unfurls itself slowly, with warmth
and purity of spirit, creating a comfortable cocoon for your mind to
build a succession of pictures. So compelling is this fusion of
disparate elements that you do not even need to understand Wolof to
be drawn in.

This timeless debut CD is the end result of the incredible journey
through the musically imaginative world of the collective,
l’Orchestre A-Dakar.

http://www.orchestre-a-dakar.nl -Read the full Post-

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Bruce Lee vs. Karsh Kale and the Midival Punditz

Talk about dream gigs! Our very own Karsh Kale was recently commissioned to compose and perform a new score for the classic Kung Fu flick, Enter the Dragon. (a movie that I vividly remember sneaking into when I was not old enough to get into R rated movies and which rocked my young world BIG TIME!). Karsh worked with the Midival Punditz to take the score out of it's original "kitschy" direction and straight into the world of serious electro-action. The video tells the story and gives you a good idea of how cool the end result is. -Read the full Post-

Friday, November 7, 2008

Kaya Project - ....And So it Goes

Free Download - Kaya Project -...And So it Goes

Seb Taylor is a very talented guy. Whether he is recording under the guises of Hibernation, Digitalis, Angel Tears or Kaya Project (in which he collaborates with Natasha Chamberlain), his music always incorporates a wide palette of tasteful electronics, exotic rhythms and sounds from around the planet. As a follow up to our Interchill label profile, we are pleased to be offering you a free track from the excellent new Kaya Project release, ...And So it Goes. Six Degrees fans may be familiar with Kaya Project from their track "Twin Soul" which we included on our Arabian Travels 2 compilation. Here's a chance to dig deeper into the musical world of one of global fusions more interesting outfits.

Artist Profile:
Kaya Project is the musical incarnation of Seb Taylor and Natasha Chamberlain. Based in the UK, the duo has achieved a world renowned name via their first two albums 'Walking Through' and 'Elixir' released on Interchill Records in 2004 and 2005 respectively. A skilled musician, Seb plays guitar and other instruments on many of the Kaya Project tracks as well as adeptly handling the programming and production. Natasha contributes vocals, keyboard and flute throughout the compositions. Over the years they have performed Kaya Project live sets at events in Japan, Canada, the US and Australia. Since the previous 2005 album release, 'Elixir', Seb has been busy working on music for television, including the award winning BBC Natural World Documentary 'Buddha, Bees & the Giant Hornet Queen', as well as composing original music for commercials and TV shows. Seb has also been concentrating on his breakbeat project 'Digitalis' with recent releases on Ministry of Sound, Sinister Recordings and Sound of Habib. His various electronic music projects have previously had BBC Radio One airplay from the likes of Annie Nightingale, John Peel, Danny Rampling, Pathaan and Brandon Block. Also due for imminent release is the long-awaited Hibernation album on Aleph Zero Records. The Hibernation project delves into more experimental electronic territory as has been heard on compilations from Interchill (Arcana, Bliminal), New Land Music (Max Chillroom) and Aleph Zero (Midnight Soul Dive).

For more info visit www.kayaproject.com -Read the full Post-

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Yes We Did!

Free Download - Rara Avis - "Uplifted by Hope"

It's a great day for all of us today. A day that reminds us that hope is not always foolish and that sometimes the right thing DOES happen. These are sentiments that had been crushed in many of us after eight years of darkness and despair. I am so happy that I could share this moment with my daughter and that the flame of her enthusiasm, optimism and hope has been fanned by this, rather than crushed by the alternative.

After the Obama victory had been officially announced, I checked my E Mail, knowing that messages would begin pouring in from friends and family. Among the many happy messages I found this wonderful track that Rara Avis had spontaneously composed, recorded and posted on the net. It is called "Uplifted by Hope" and I think it just about sums it up for all of us.

Here's to better days ahead-

This track was inspired by several things. Most of all the word HOPE.

Back in my early 20's, an amazing teacher named David Goulet was apprenticing me to work on terminal cancer patients using sound and yoga therapy combined. It was an amazing experience that brought me deep into some timeless truths, for all is revealed when death is at the door. One day when we were reviewing a patient with nearly 700 tumors in her abdomen, he looked up at me and said "The best thing we can do for her right now is give her back a sense of hope... people always need to have hope." It struck me as so simple, yet so profound. Our ability to respond to life threatening situations and highly stressful times by relaxing and opening to the possibilities has everything to do with maintaining our connection with the possibility of a positive outcome... even when everything both inside and out tells us otherwise.

The past few months have been a very stressful time indeed for many of us. Almost no one I know can say they haven't been highly affected by the political, economic and social climate occurring here in the US and around the world. That being said, the Mantra of the people I admire the most was always to have HOPE. It was so palpable yesterday that I was literally bursting with it... a sense that somehow things could actually change for the better, and we would wake up today feeling a little brighter, a little more optimistic.

Collectively, the power of optimism and desire for positive change is exactly the kind of miraculous shift we need right now. Not only for ourselves and future generations, but for all life on this planet. The time for suffering and wreck-less competition is at an end, and though we have a long way to go I felt, and always feel, that creating music from my heart, from the deepest place I have inside of me, and simply giving it away for free is the best thing I can do to support this epic and momentous change.

So here's to creating change through the power of positive perspective.

The other inspiration I had for this track is more of a personal issue with regards to simply playing my guitar. In today's world of techno-enhanced song writing, digital instruments and endless sample libraries, it's often all too easy to forget about the power of playing your instrument, whatever that may be. I was born a guitar player and will die a guitar player... it's a huge part of my soul that I love and cherish which often gets put aside in the quest for more beats! So I want to thank my two biggest axe supporters, my collaborator, producer and dearest friend Criag Kohland, and none other than Six Degrees co-founder Bob Duskis - both of whom always tell me - "just play your guitar man!~"

So - it is with great pleasure and honor that I offer up this new tune - written in the late hours of the election buzz, yesterday afternoon - may you be "Uplifted by Hope".

Please download it, share it, pass it along - send it to your friends, family and loved ones - even if they say they hate electronic music... i find that coming from the heart always converts those who believe they are closed to something new.

Blessings to the new times,
Rara Avis -Read the full Post-

Monday, November 3, 2008

Alice Russell - Pot of Gold

Free Download - Alice Russell - Got the Hunger? - from Pot of Gold
Buy on iTunes

I'm not sure when I first heard Alice Russell's voice. It might have been on one of her early collaborations with Quantic, or her version of "Seven Nation Army" that she did with the group Nostalgia 77. While I'm not clear on the exact moment of the revelation, I DO remember my response, which was something along the lines of "Holy mother of mercy, WHO the hell is that?".

Before Amy Winehouse and waaaaay before Duffy made retro-raspy voiced soul safe for the airwaves again, Alice Russell was belting out vocal performances that she seemed to be channeling from some 70 year old, soul diva from another era. After a series of goose bump inducing vocal cameos on various projects with other producers, Alice found her musical soul mate and foil in TM Juke ,a young brit wunderkid producer and instrumentalist who effortlessly seems to embrace soul, funk, hip-hop and jazz influences and whose arrangement sense mixes the best from the past with the street smarts of the present. Together, Russell and Juke have whipped up one of the freshest sounds in recent memory and put all of the pieces together into Alice's latest solo record, Pot of Gold.

We are incredibly excited to be releasing this record in North & South America and happy to be slipping you this free taste of it's many pleasures. -Read the full Post-