Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Get on the mixcloud

I'm calling this mix 'Trek Five'. It aims to be a diverse, multistage journey through modern music, often with an African or African diasporic flavour or a dash of electronic marginalia. The 80-minute mix reps music from the 70s onwards and from Cape Verde, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana,  Kenya, Morocco, Niger and South Africa as well as major western centres of immigration such as Lisbon and London. Embedded is the link to the Mixcloud, and another one to the Spotify playlist of the tunes that were available on the Swedish streaming website.

As ever, the mix reflects recent listening habits, which since a trip to Ghana four years ago have increasingly been tuned to modern (and not-so modern) African dance music from all corners of the continent. It takes in the tranced out gnawa excursions of the master Maalem Mahmoud Guinia (his visit to london to play his collaborations with James Holden live was a real treat), urban, funky and grime joints from London ('Slewisham' boy Elf Kid was inspired by his trip to Ethiopia), western producers paying obvious due to African influences, a few nods to Lisbon's polyglot sound, dashes of marginal electronic music and even the sound of an artistic installation to kick the mix off.

Trek Five has a quintet of more atmospheric moments presaging the next stage of rhythmic combinations. Listeners may balk at some of the connections, and i wouldn't pretend to have expertise of any specific scene or country's output - if something grabs me on a website, I explore further to see if they are worth downloading; standard practice. Congolese outfit Mbongwana Star, a Kinshasa outfit formed by an Irish producer, former members of Staff Benda Bilili and other Kinshasa scenesters, is a case in point - having been linked in Okay Africa's recent list of acts to watch from the continent.

We keep hearing about the death of the download but the majority came from purchased digital files, with only one originating on vinyl and streamed into the computer via USB. But with modern tastes in mind, I'm also sharing a Spotify playlist of the mix. Hopefully that will help people go exploring too.

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