[ international (africa) ] titles at Aquarius Records
search by:
view shopping cart

home
newest arrivals
about mailorder
catalog / list archive

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O
P Q R S T U V W X Y Z Other

20th century composers
compilation / split
country/folk/blues
country/folk/blues ("no depression")
dvd / video / film
electronic
exotica / novelty
experimental
finland
found sounds, field recordings, oddities
hip hop
hip hop (turntablism)
hiphop
hiphop (turntablism)
international
international (africa)
international (asia)
international (central / south america)
international (cuba)
international (europe)
international (french pop)
international (latin american psych/tropicalia)
international (middle east)
japan
japan (noise/free/psych)
japan (pop)
jazz
local
metal
metal (black metal)
metal (stoner rock)
metal (stoner/doom)
new zealand
print
reggae/dub
rock/pop
rock/pop ('60s psych/garage)
rock/pop (goth/industrial/darkwave)
rock/pop (krautrock)
rock/pop (prog rock)
rock/pop (punk/hardcore)
soul/funk
soundtracks
spoken word & comedy

Records of the Week
Alison's Favorites
Allan's Favorites
Andee's Favorites
Andrew's Favorites
Antaeus's Favorites
Ashley's Favorites
Byram's Favorites
Cameron's Favorites
Christine's Favorites
Cup's Favorites
Frank's Favorites
Harry's Favorites
Irwin's Favorites
Jenny's Favorites
Jill's Favorites
Jim's Favorites
Jon's Favorites
Kerry's Favorites
Lauren's Favorites
Matt's Favorites
Michael's Favorites
Nick's Favorites
Pam's Favorites
Sally's Favorites
Scott's Favorites



IMPORTANT (Please read to avoid confusion):
Some items below may be tagged with a bold, red, all-caps "out of print/unavailable" notice. This does NOT mean that all other items not so tagged are, in fact, in stock -- or for that matter, in print and available, though there's a good chance they are. Some folks get confused on this point, and we can see why, so please read this for further clarification and other important before-you-order information. Unlike some mailorder websites, we don't have an electronic inventory system linked to our site, so you can't be sure of what we actually have or don't have in stock at any given moment without asking us -- please email our mailorder department for availability status -- or better yet, just go ahead and place your order using our shopping cart function and we'll get back to you with the status of each item. If you have general non-mailorder questions, email the store.


album cover ACQUAYE, SAKA & HIS AFRICAN ENSEMBLE Ghana: High-Life and Other Popular Music (Nonesuch) cd 12.98
Those expecting a Fela Kuti / Tony Allen spin off will be disappointed by this recording as, unlike Nigerian high life, there's not a trace of James Brown or "funk" to be found here. It also is completely different than the Latin infused sounds of the Kinshasa style high life the Congo. Utilizing both traditional Ghanaian instruments and European flutes, saxophones, trumpets, vibes, kit drums, double bass and guitar, the music of Saka Acquaye and his African Ensemble takes as its kernel big band jazz. The result is something that sounds alternately like a really progressive, hot marching band and Martin Denny with teeth. Apparently quite the renaissance man, Acquaye was an educator, sculptor, and a champion hurdler as well as an accomplished musician. He spent at least ten years in the United States, receiving not only an advanced degree from the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, but a Fullbright Scholarship for the study of opera from UCLA. Originally released in 1969 as "Voices of Africa: High Life and Other Popular Music", this album was recorded after Acquaye's return to Ghana. And though this album might not appeal to those who take Afro-Strut as the final word on the gems offered by African popular music, I highly recommend that they give this one a shot until someone re-issues fabulous recordings on John Storm Robert's Original Music label.
RealAudio clip: "Concomba"
RealAudio clip: "Congo Beat"

album cover AFRICAN SOUNDS AT DUSK (ANTHONY WALKER) African Sounds At Dusk (Nuits Africaines) (Sittelle) cd 17.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.

album cover AFRO FUNK Body Music (Secret Stash) cd 15.98
The latest in a series of killer now NOT on-vinyl-only releases from the Secret Stash label, now on cd!!!
Secret Stash do indeed seem to have access to a secret stash of international groove obscurities. This rare record, originally released in 1975, was the sole album from Afro Funk, a band of West Africans based in London, England. Can you guess what this one sounds like from the band name? Yes you can! Afrobeat rhythms meet electric American funk. It's chock full of percolating percussion, chirping horns, wacka-wacka guitar, and chanted funk-shaman vocals. Also, some some JB's "Blow Your Head" style synth Moog-ery, notably prominent on side two's mesmerizing 8+ minute instrumental jam "Farewell To Ibusa". Overall, the lp's got a loose languid laidback vibe, yet the playing is tight and funky throughout. Reminds us a bit of Soundway's recent reissue by the Black Truth Rhythm Band, and also would fit in with the great stuff Academy Records/Voodoo Funk digs up, like Marijata. In fact, we now remember that their track "Afro Funk" appeared, appropriately, on the comp Afro Funk Explosion some years back, alongside the likes of Blo, Manu Dibango, and, yes, Black Truth Rhythm Band. Quite a groovy gem, well worthy of reissue.
MPEG Stream: "Tei Egwu"
MPEG Stream: "Hot Love"
MPEG Stream: "Farewell To Ibusa"

album cover AFRO FUNK Body Music (Secret Stash) lp 17.98
Latest in a series of killer vinyl-only reissues from the Secret Stash label, who indeed seem to have access to a secret stash of international groove obscurities. This rare record, originally released in 1975, was the sole album from Afro Funk, a band of West Africans based in London, England. Can you guess what this one sounds like from the band name? Yes you can! Afrobeat rhythms meet electric American funk. It's chock full of percolating percussion, chirping horns, wacka-wacka guitar, and chanted funk-shaman vocals. Also, some some JB's "Blow Your Head" style synth Moog-ery, notably prominent on side two's mesmerizing 8+ minute instrumental jam "Farewell To Ibusa". Overall, the lp's got a loose languid laidback vibe, yet the playing is tight and funky throughout. Reminds us a bit of Soundway's recent reissue by the Black Truth Rhythm Band, and also would fit in with the great stuff Academy Records/Voodoo Funk digs up, like Marijata. In fact, we now remember that their track "Afro Funk" appeared, appropriately, on the comp Afro Funk Explosion some years back, alongside the likes of Blo, Manu Dibango, and, yes, Black Truth Rhythm Band. Quite a groovy gem, well worthy of reissue. Comes with mp3 download card.
Watch out for more reviews of Secret Stash stuff as we catch up on their catalog...
MPEG Stream: "Tei Egwu"
MPEG Stream: "Hot Love"
MPEG Stream: "Farewell To Ibusa"

album cover AGA, ALEMU Ethiopiques Vol. 11 : The Harp of King David (Buda Musique) cd 15.98
We were pretty surprised to see an eleventh volume in the Ethiopiques series here, since we were all under the impression that the collection was slated to end at volume ten. Well, turns out we were wrong and we are happy to be wrong because 11 is an excellent disc in its own right. Of all the discs in the series, Ethiopiques 11 shares the closest resemblance to volumes 2 or 5, but only in that it's a complete departure musically from the rest -- 2 and 5 included. Ethiopiques 11 features Alemu Aga playing the beguena, a large lyre with ten paired tuned strings. The beguena is often called the "Harp of King David" because it is believed that David (as in David and Goliath) played a similar such instrument to accompany his psalms way back when. As would be expected, the beguena has always been closely tied with the church -- Coptic Orthodox -- and had a rich repertoire that was very nearly destroyed along with all the other great music and arts during the Stalinist period of Ethiopia's history which began in 1974. Twenty years later Alemu Aga (this album was recorded in 1994) and others were finally able to continue with the instrument's traditions and now, slowly, the beguena is being returned to its place in society.
As stated earlier, you won't find much similarity in the music here to the rest of the series. Consisting solely of Alemu's soft voice accompanied by the beguena songs have a mesmerising quality. The beguena's strings buzz and rattle as Alemu Aga sings both religious and secular songs in a low, smoky voice. If you skip through the tracks on the disc you might be fooled into thinking you're hearing the same track over and over again. Yet although the instrument's melodies are seemingly repetitive -- given its limited range and single tuning -- they form an interesting counterpoint to Aga's vocal lines.
RealAudio clip: "Tew Semagn Hagere"

album cover AHMED, MAHMOUD Ere Mele Mele (Kaifa) lp 23.00

album cover AHMED, MAHMOUD Ethiopiques Vol. 19 : Alemye (Buda Musique) cd 15.98
Recorded in 1974, smack dab between the lps reissued as Ethiopiques 6 (1973) and Ethiopiques 7 (1975) Alemye is the third entry in this series given over to documenting Ahmed's complete recorded output, a totally unique, gorgeously smooth funk / soul / jazz groove accompanied by Ahmed's unmistakable crooning. There are plenty of resources to read more about Ahmed and the history of Ethiopian music, on the net, even elsewhere on our website, but this review is all about the music. This is sexy sultry stuff, lively horns and fluttering flutes sway hypnotically above a muted rhythm section of bass drum and organ, in fact the rhythm section is so subdued that it almost sounds like it's bleeding through the wall from a room next door. But that gives it a super warm, warbly droning feel, all dreamy and mesmerizing and totally otherworldly. But it's all about that croon. Ahmed is known as the James Brown of Ethiopia, which makes sense in that he is definitely a funk / soul superstar there, but sonically, he is way less hyper and energetic, less wild and teetering on the edge of collapse, and way more broodingly sexual and sensual, lights low, the room cloaked in smoke, tense and mysteriously intense, his voice slipping smoothly up and down impossible scales, a rich warm velvet purr, capable of soaring into passionate wails and back down again, slithering and shimmering with that perfect vibrato. Extensive liner notes and photos as with all of the amazing Ethiopiques releases, of which this is apparently the penultimate installment, and an especially great one at that.
MPEG Stream: "Alemye"
MPEG Stream: "Wegenie"

album cover AHMED, MAHMOUD Ethiopiques Vol. 26 (BudaMusique) cd 15.98
What more can we say about the amazing Ethiopiques series of compilations that we haven't already? And what else can we say about legendary Ethiopian vocalist Mahmoud Ahmed, who is probably featured on more of the various Ethiopiques collections than any other musician?
Have a look at our reviews on the aQ site of the other 25 installments, and you'll see just how much we love this stuff. In fact, Volume 4 in the series might just be one of our best selling titles EVER. For those new to Ethiopian music, this is as good a place to start as any, featuring some of the earliest recordings of Mahmoud Ahmed, recorded when he was a member of the Imperial Bodyguard Band, during a time when most modern Ethiopian music was generated exclusively by military institutions, army bands, police bands and even, yes, the Imperial Bodyguard Band, which Ahmed joined in the early sixties.
There's a wild tale in the cd booklet about a huge musical festival held every year, where the various institutional bands would perform in front of thousands, and compete for the adoration of the crowd, the competition so fierce, that the various bands would rehearse secretly, and post guards outside while they practiced, stopping immediately if anyone got too close, and it was this intense competition that drove these bands to practice incessantly, and continually get better and better. And it says something that these early tracks are so incredible, and it's not just Ahmed's voice, the arrangements are lush and intricate, the melodies, the horns, the background vocals, the music is hard to describe, it's soulful, a little funky, and distinctly Ethiopian, once you've heard a few of these comps, the second you hear Ethiopian music from this era, you know, it sounds like nothing else. Listen to the sound samples, we're guessing you'll be smitten as we are, and once you've absorbed volume 26, you can begin to work your way back through the first 25. You think we're joking, but this stuff is really that amazing...
MPEG Stream: "Yeshiharegitu"
MPEG Stream: "Eneman Neberu"
MPEG Stream: "Ebo Lala"
MPEG Stream: "Esset Mera"

AHMED, MAHMOUD Ethiopiques Vol. 6 : Almaz (Buda Musique) cd 15.98
Now that many of you have discovered the rich and funky sounds of Ethiopia circa mid-1970s, here's a deeper look into the career of Mahmoud Ahmed, master crooner and national Ethiopian treasure. Almaz is his very first album (from 1973), which to our knowledge has never been released in Europe or America before today. It's unbelievably good -- full of impassioned soul-stirring vocals, funky horns, and gorgeous melodies. Trust us: you will be so happy with this cd! An excerpt from the liner notes says it better than we can: "For many years everything we knew about Mahmoud Ahmed (and Ethiopian music in general) was limited to the cult album Ere Mela Mela, recorded in 1975 but released for the first time in Europe in 1986. The first eruption of this brassy, electric urban pop, swinging and hypnotic, heart-rending and funky, so unusual, so different from anything else coming out of the African continent, this musical UFO long remained our only glimpse into Ethiopian groove. Mahmoud's first LP Almaz, recorded two years before 'Ere Mela Mela' now bears new witness to the talent of one of the greatest Ethiopian artists of the past 35 years."
MPEG Stream: "Asha Gedawo"
MPEG Stream: "Zemedie"

AHMED, MAHMOUD Ethiopiques Vol. 7 : Ere Mela Mela (Buda Musique) cd 15.98
One of the best in an amazing series!!! This reissue of Ere Mela Mela (previously on Crammed I think) is an essential purchase if you dig the grooves of the James Brown of Ethiopia, the amazing Mahmoud Ahmed.
MPEG Stream: "Ere Mela Mela"
MPEG Stream: "Metche New"

album cover AHMED, MAHMOUD Jeguol Naw Betwa (Mississippi) lp 14.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
**MISSISSIPPI RECORDS ALERT** **MISSISSIPPI RECORDS ALERT** **MISSISSIPPI RECORDS ALERT**
You'll want to pay attention to this one, because this rare Mahmoud Ahmed, originally self-released in 1978, has never been reissued before in any form, cd or lp, and it's a KILLER! Recorded with The Ibex band forming funky circular rhythms of bass, guitars, horns, organ, and percussion around Ahmed's soulful and sultry vocals, the songs are upbeat yet heady, hypnotic and serpentine in a way that only Ethio-jazz can be. We've long been fans of Mahmoud Ahmed, waxing rapturously about his many contributions to the long-running Ethiopiques series and we've covered plenty of his back story in past reviews. But just when we thought his entire back catalog must have already been made available, turns out there are apparently new treasures to be found and this record is certainly worthy of that esteem. An awesome find that is truly magical and beguiling. Don't sleep on this one! Highest Recommendation!

album cover AHMED, MAHMOUD Music Accompained [sic] By Ibex Band (Mississippi / Change) lp 14.98
**MISSISSIPPI RECORDS ALERT**
Missisippi Records continue their welcome run of Ethiopiques vinyl releases with another blast of hot desert soul from the one and only Mahmoud Ahmed. Also released on cd as Ethiopiques Vol. 19: Aleyme, here's what we said when we first reviewed it in 2005:
Recorded in 1974, smack dab between the lps reissued as Ethiopiques 6 (1973) and Ethiopiques 7 (1975) Alemye is the third entry in this series given over to documenting Ahmed's complete recorded output, a totally unique, gorgeously smooth funk / soul / jazz groove accompanied by Ahmed's unmistakable crooning. There are plenty of resources to read more about Ahmed and the history of Ethiopian music, on the net, even elsewhere on our website, but this review is all about the music. This is sexy sultry stuff, lively horns and fluttering flutes sway hypnotically above a muted rhythm section of bass drum and organ, in fact the rhythm section is so subdued that it almost sounds like it's bleeding through the wall from a room next door. But that gives it a super warm, warbly droning feel, all dreamy and mesmerizing and totally otherworldly. But it's all about that croon. Ahmed is known as the James Brown of Ethiopia, which makes sense in that he is definitely a funk / soul superstar there, but sonically, he is way less hyper and energetic, less wild and teetering on the edge of collapse, and way more broodingly sexual and sensual, lights low, the room cloaked in smoke, tense and mysteriously intense, his voice slipping smoothly up and down impossible scales, a rich warm velvet purr, capable of soaring into passionate wails and back down again, slithering and shimmering with that perfect vibrato.
MPEG Stream: "Alemye"
MPEG Stream: "Wegenie"

album cover AHMED, MAHMOUD & EITHER / ORCHESTRA Tsedenia Gebre-Marqos (Buda Musique) dvd 14.98

album cover ALKIBAR GIGNOR La Paix (Mississippi) lp 14.98
**MISSISSIPPI RECORDS ALERT**
La Paix is the very first US release from Alkibar Gignor, a garage rock band from Mali, who spends much of their time touring local villages, ferrying their gear around in a donkey cart, and over the last few years, they have become one of the most beloved underground groups in Mali. The songs hear appear to be recorded live, you can hear children laughing and playing, conversations, city life in the background, which only gives the music that much more of a lively intimate feel, there are even a few points where you can hear children singing along faintly in the background, not to mention the occasional blast of feedback. But this is not garage rock how we imagine it, the sound of Alkibar Gignor is a fusion of Western influenced rock, classic African high life, folk music, in fact, the opening track is super stripped down, just acoustic guitar and vocals, gorgeous and intimate, the vocals soaring and passionate, the guitar playing lush and dexterous, but that's only really one facet of the group's sound, the next track is all warm spidery melodies, a shuffling groove, call and response vocals, and a wild solo played on an instrument that sounds like a fiddle, and ends up sounding super psychedelic. Elsewhere, the band slip easily into buzzing almost raga like jams, still rife with playful folky melodies, before returning to the hushed folkiness that opened the record, then onto something way more bombastic and wild, megaphone vocals, shouted whoops and hollers, lo-fi buzzing guitars and crunchy pounding rhythms, and then back again. The sound so spirited and energetic, intense and alive.
Housed in a thick black and white jacked, and includes a fold out poster/liner notes.

album cover ALLEN, TONY Afro Disco Beat (Vampi Soul) 2cd 30.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Wow! This is on fire! While Tony Allen will always be best known for being the amazing drummer in Fela Kuti's band, he is responsible for some totally great and inspired body moving music of his own. This collection collects four of his best albums onto two discs for a nonstop offering of Afro-Beat perfection! These records, which all originally came out in the 1970's, share a very similar sound and spirit to the work that Fela Kuti was doing when Allen was in his band. So it makes a lot of sense that three of them were produced by Fela. Long, stretched out passages filled with the kind of grooves that work their way right into your body and soul. While there is certainly nothing wrong with being known as the drummer in Fela's legendary group as well as more recently a member of the Damon Albern led supergroup The Good, The Bad & The Queen, we think this release could help make it plain to those who don't know already, that Tony Allen is a legend in his own right! Every time we play this in the store immediately people start asking what we're listening to moving their bodies up and down and all around. Highly recommended!
MPEG Stream: "Hustler"
MPEG Stream: "Ariya"

album cover ALLEN, TONY Afro Disco Beat (Vampi Soul) 3lp 42.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Wow! This is on fire! While Tony Allen will always be best known for being the amazing drummer in Fela Kuti's band, he is responsible for some totally great and inspired body moving music of his own. This collection collects four of his best albums onto two discs for a nonstop offering of afro-beat perfection! These records which all originally came out in the 1970's share a very similar sound and spirit to the work that Fela Kuti was doing when Allen was in his band. So it makes a lot of sense that three of them were produced by Fela. Long, stretched out passages filled with the kind of grooves that work their way right into your body and soul. While there is certainly nothing wrong with being known as the drummer in Fela's legendary group as well as more recently a member of the Damon Albern led supergroup The Good, The Bad & The Queen, we think this release could help make it known to those who don't already, that Tony Allen is a legend in his own right! Every time we play this in the store immediately people start asking what we're listening to moving their bodies up and down and all around. Highly recommended!
MPEG Stream: "Hustler"
MPEG Stream: "Ariya"

ALLEN, TONY Black Voices (Comet) cd 16.98

ALLEN, TONY Jealousy / Progress (Evolver) cd 16.98
Finally a domestic, single disc reissue of the first two albums Tony Allen released under his own name in 1975 and '77. Legendary drummer for Nigerian visionary Fela Kuti's band Afrika '70, Allen has often been called a co-founder of Afrobeat (along with Fela). In fact Allen's drum parts were often the only element that Fela did not pre-score. These records swing and stutter and groove and majorly kick ass, stretching themselves out often to 15 minutes or more (and you never want it to end anyway). In addition to the saxophones, trumpets, congas, bass, maracas, the extraordinary standout guitar work is very hooky to these western ears, which is mostly why I like it so much, especially on the song "Jealousy", and there are lots of drum solos, more than on the Fela records. Really great -- listen to the soundclip and know there's more where that came from. Essential to any Afrobeat collection, and also a great place to start!
RealAudio clip: "Jealousy"

album cover ALLEN, TONY Lagos No Shaking (Honest Jon's) cd 16.98
So nice to hear a master of their craft! Even nicer when it's new material from someone who has been releasing records since the '70s and it still ranks close to the top of anything he's put out. While he will always get mentioned in the same breath as Fela Kuti (he was part of Fela's band back in the day) Tony Allen should certainly be looked upon as one of the leaders of the Afro-beat movement, not just a kick ass sideman (although he was that too!) What's so impressive is that even after all these years he still sounds passionate and filled with fire and the music totally reflects that. When we put this on for the first time we thought for sure it had to be a reissue as the sounds were as captivating and groovy as all the great '70s Afro-beat records he and Fela recorded together. But closer examination revealed it to be a brand new release and he again demonstrates that just because so many others burn out, fade, that doesn't mean he's gonna... 'cause this album is still a totally funky kick ass outing... and be sure to hang in for the closer 'cause it's the album's sole instrumental and it's totally on fire!
MPEG Stream: "Awa Na Re"
MPEG Stream: "Gbedu"

album cover ALLEN, TONY Lagos No Shaking (Honest Jon's) 2lp 22.00
Now available on vinyl!
So nice to hear a master of their craft! Even nicer when it's new material from someone who has been releasing records since the '70s and it still ranks close to the top of anything he's put out. While he will always get mentioned in the same breath as Fela Kuti (he was part of Fela's band back in the day) Tony Allen should certainly be looked upon as one of the leaders of the Afro-beat movement, not just a kick ass sideman (although he was that too!) What's so impressive is that even after all these years he still sounds passionate and filled with fire and the music totally reflects that. When we put this on for the first time we thought for sure it had to be a reissue as the sounds were as captivating and groovy as all the great '70s Afro-beat records he and Fela recorded together. But closer examination revealed it to be a brand new release and he again demonstrates that just because so many others burn out, fade, that doesn't mean he's gonna... 'cause this album is still a totally funky kick ass outing... and be sure to hang in for the closer 'cause it's the album's sole instrumental and it's totally on fire!
MPEG Stream: "Awa Na Re"
MPEG Stream: "Gbedu"

album cover ALLEN, TONY No Accommodation / No Discrimination (Evolver) cd 16.98

album cover AMADOU & MARIAM Welcome To Mali (Nonesuch) cd 15.98
While we've always liked what we've heard from this famous musical couple from Mali, it wasn't until this outing of theirs that we fell hard for their lively approach. They craft songs that come from their West African heritage while bringing some modern influences into the mix. Welcome To Mali has an immediacy and urgency in its grooves that swept us away on our first listen. While so many others who try to inject bits of electronics into traditional 'world' music usually fail miserably, creating a sound watered down and glossy beyond recognition, somehow Amadou & Mariam understand how to do so successfully while still staying so true to the roots of their music. This is an electrifying record that makes us move a bit bolder and brighter when we have it on. The way they catch grooves and bring so much energy to their songs is a reminder about how totally potent true dance music can really be!
MPEG Stream: "Ce N'est Pas Bon"
MPEG Stream: "Magosa"
MPEG Stream: "Masiteladi"

AMADOU & MIRIAM Folila (Because) lp+cd 27.00

album cover AMADOU ET MARIAM Je Pense A Toi (Universal) cd 16.98


AMANAR Alghaflat (Mississippi / Little Axe) lp 14.98

album cover AMANAZ Africa (Q.D.K. / Normal) cd 16.98
The lo-fi, garagey, psychedelic "Zam Rock" scene that flourished in the southern African nation of Zambia during the mid '70s is now getting some long overdue exposure and appreciation over here, thanks to a bunch of recent reissues: Chrissy Zebby Tembo, Ngozi Family, Witch (highlighted last list) and now, also the lesser known but no less amazing Amanaz! Like Witch its reissue was facilitated by Egon of Stones Throw, who also wrote the liner notes, which make us realize how lucky we are to have these reissues, 'cause the original Zambian LPs are super rare and, Egon says, usually in about the same poor condition as an experienced frisbee. He also helps explain the genesis of the Zam Rock movement, suggesting that Zambia's Socialist government required a preponderance of "Zambian" content on the radio. Apparently the gov't also mandated a high fuzz content as well!
The Amanaz album, from 1975, certainly fulfills that quota, though at first listen we thought that maybe this one was mellower than some of the others like Witch, and parts if it are, in a stoned sorta way, and it's also somewhat more "African" sounding as befits its title, in its rhythms and vocal stylings, with some of the singing doing in the Bembe tongue, though most songs are in English. But still there's quite a supply of heavy fuzz here, with the likes of "History Of Man" being plenty brutal in that dep't. for sure!
And man is it beautiful, full of lovely, lovely grooves in a warm bath of lo-fi hiss and hum, maybe not as gritty as Witch and Ngozi but still gritty enough, and maybe even more memorably groov'd. There's fully a dozen songs here and it's hard to pick highlights, we dig 'em all, somehow so fuzzy yet so gentle, well, not always gentle, like how the otherwise laidback "Nsunka Lwendo" includes a phenomenally LOUD and PIERCING guitar solo, that wanders back and forth from left channel to the right channel, looking for a way to crack into your skull. Meanwhile the sizzling, syncopated "Green Apple" throbs with what almost sounds like a buried Geezer Butler bass line, and the exuberant "Making The Scene" features a part that we swear appears on a Witchcraft album, or close to anyway! Wow. More proof Zam Rock RULES. Recommended!
MPEG Stream: "Amanaz"
MPEG Stream: "History Of Man"
MPEG Stream: "Africa"

album cover AMOUMINE, ALI AG Takamba (Mississippi / Sahel Sounds) lp + 7" 14.98
**MISSISSIPPI RECORDS ALERT**
The latest from aQ beloved Mississippi Records is in fact sort of a three way label split, with Mississippi sublabel, Change, as well as Sahel Sounds, who recently released that amazing Music From Saharan Cellphones compilation. This fantastic album features live 'stream of consciousness' recordings of Agali Ag Amoumine, a griot (a West African storyteller/singer who is a repository for oral tradition) from Timbouctou, who plays in a distinctive style called Takamba, which is essentially a droning electrified guitar, or in this case a more lo-fi electric 3 string lute called a terhardent, accompanying himself with a simple haunting rhythm on a calabash, which is a sort of hollowed out gourd used as percussion.
Fans of the Sublime Frequencies series, especially Group Inerane, Group Bombino, and the other sort of African desert blues groups will find much to love here, as will folks into hypnotic droned out ragas, as Amoumine unfurls glorious gouts of fuzzed out steel string buzz, all anchored by that simpler percussion, all accompanied by Amoumine's emotive vocals, the result is a droned out desert blues, mesmerizing and trancelike, the 'guitar' playing incredible, wild squalls, flurries of notes, warm shimmering buzz, the sound almost looped sounding at times as Amoumine locks into a groove, and while the sides are separated into songs, the whole record plays like one epic continuous psychedelic desert trance jam. The lp also comes with a bonus 7", the A side featuring a much more mellow, acoustic version of the sound found on the album proper, accompanied by a handful of female vocalists, some of them perhaps children, changing the vibe of the sound completely, while the B side is still acoustic, but is just as frenzied and frantic, droney, tranced out and psychedelic as the electric version.
So completely amazing! And so totally recommended. A new unanimous store favorite. And absolutely required listening for Sublime Frequencies fans for sure!

album cover APOSTLES, THE Onye Akpa / Oshi Onwu (Academy) 7" 9.98
And here's a Record Store Day release that we still have simply 'cause our shipment of these 7"s from Academy Records didn't arrive until a few days ago, AFTER Record Store Day. Billed as the funkiest Record Store Day release ever, and we don't doubt it, Academy's expert Afro-Funk bona fides being second to none. Working in conjunction with DJ/digger Frank "Voodoo Funk" Gossner, as they so often do, they've unearthed and reissued this early '70s West African gem, an ultra rare, ultra funky 45 of which only two original copies are known to exist today. Both A side "Onye Akpa" and "Oshi Onwu" on the flip offer up a head nodding, hip swinging stew of call-and-response chanting vox, chicka-chicka-chicka funk guitar, boom-boom-bap drumming, and psychedelic organ warble.
It's a remastered, official reish, limited edition of course, and "pressed extra loud for maximum impact".

album cover AQUARIUS BUTTONS 2 x 1" buttons 1.00
Hey, we just got another batch of AQ buttons made up...
Spread the word! Show the world your true aQ colors! COOL COOL COOL aQ buttons, now in 6 different vibrant color combinations. 5 new color combos (blue on pink, red on dark grey, dark blue on blue, orange on black, and yellowish green on dark green) and a popular one we had previously (brown on yellow).
TWO FOR $1!!! Colors are random, but buy enough and you'll be guaranteed to get 'em all! And of course all feature our spiffy James Gang style logo!! So stylish!

album cover ASTATKE, MULATU Ethio Jazz (L'arome Productions) lp 16.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.

album cover ASTATKE, MULATU Ethiopian Modern Instrumental Hits (L'Arome) lp 16.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Vinyl Headz pay attention! About two years ago we were fortunate enough to catch a few copies of Mulatu Astatke's Ethio Jazz on vinyl. Volume 4 of Ethiopiques (easily the single most popular release in the series) was essentially the album Ethio Jazz, but expanded to include another five Astatke tracks. This release includes those five tracks previously only available on Ethiopiques Vol. 4, plus three tracks of Astatke's which were on Ethiopiques Vol. 1, and one track of his from Ethiopiques Vol. 8. Here's a little background on Astatke from our Ethio Jazz review: "Astatke had the unique privilege to be sent off to school in 1960 (at the age of 17) to study music in London. From there he continued on to the United States, attending The Berklee School of Music in Boston and later moving to New York. One can imagine he picked up a wide range of influence, and that he did. He became absorbed in Latin and Caribbean musics, eventually forming his own group the Ethiopian Quartet in New York. Upon his return to Ethiopia in the late sixties he was treated like a king, being hailed as 'the first-Ethiopian-musician-educated-abroad' and as a arranger/bandleader he was unequalled."
This record is an absolutely stunning collection of instrumentals. Most are composed by Astatke, while others are arrangements of traditional songs or other composers. His music is a wonderful amalgam of swinging jazz tunes, sweet soul and punchy funk and laden with fuzzy electric guitars and tremolo drenched electic pianos. What's more is that unlike the afro-funk of Nigeria, the rest of Africa or the world even, the unique scales of Ethiopian music produce the most haunting melodies that we've ever heard. Now for the bad news: we only have a small handful of these puppies in stock and when they're gone, they're gone... No more, vamoosh! Another small pointer for those that do pick this up: the copy we cracked open had the A side and B side labels mis-printed on the vinyl. We suspect the whole pressing may have this erroneous labelling. No biggy, just something to pay attention to when identifying what you're listening to.

album cover ASTATKE, MULATU Ethiopiques Vol. 4 (Buda Musique) cd 15.98
Ethiopia was the site of some of the most beautiful yet sadly forgotten music in the '60s and '70s. This compilation takes some of the best tracks from the enterprising Amha Records. This label specialized in recording unusually catchy and groovy pop songs that are not dissimilar to late '60s Jamaican rocksteady fused with jazz signatures and Ethiopian folk, plus plenty of James Brown funk.
This disc features the all instrumental "Ethio Jazz" by Mulatu Astatke. We don't know of anyone who's heard this and not fallen absolutely in love with it. Recommended without reservation! Probably the most popular of the entire 25 disc (so far) Ethiopiques series, a good one to start with, easiest for the uninitated to get into due to its instrumental nature.
MPEG Stream: "Yekermo"
MPEG Stream: "Metche Dershe"

album cover ASTATKE, MULATU Mulatu Of Ethiopia (Worthy) cd 24.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Finally! This amazing disc of fantastic Ethiopian grooves available on CD!
By now we're all pretty familiar with Mulatu Astatke, what with Ethiopiques #4 and the LP reissue of his Ethio Jazz album he's practically a household name by now (at least around here). I'm kidding of course, but rabid fans of the inimitable funk/soul/groove sounds from Ethiopia no doubt place him pretty high on the short list of the greatest from the period. And what's better is that "Mulatu of Ethiopia" contains entirely exclusive tracks. Yep, that's right, none of these tracks are on any of the discs in the Ethiopiques series (though there are two reworkings of tracks - "Dewel" and "Munaye" - from Ethiopiques #4). The album itself, a reissue of a 1972 release of the same title, was recorded by Astatke in the U.S. during his tenure here and until now it fetched high prices on the collector's market. Given Astatke's experiences working in the U.S. with American jazz and Latin jazz musicians it should come as no surprise that it sounds nothing like anything else among the myriad Ethiopian groove reissues. For one, it's super smooov' (in a good way) with Mulatu picking up his mallets and playing vibes through it all and the recording - which must have been done at some swank U.S. studio - is ultra lush (what's that? You say you can hear the bass?) The music on this album totally sounds like a soundtrack to some long lost Michael Caine political intrigue film. You can almost see the cigarette dangling out of Caine's mouth as he drives around in an Austin Healey tailing a bad guy. On Mulatu Of Ethiopia, Astatke is accompanied by a pretty tight ensemble, much smaller than the orchestras of the Amha recording era. The backbone of his accompaniment is an uber funky organ/electric piano that sounds at times like they've got a wah wah pedal hooked up to it. Also included in the ensemble is electric bass, drums, percussion and plenty of soloing assistance from saxophone, flute and trumpet. HIGHLY recommended, but act fast 'cause, as with so many things, we don't know how long this will be available.
MPEG Stream: "Mascaram Setaba"
MPEG Stream: "Kasalefkut-Hulu"

album cover ASTATKE, MULATU Mulatu Of Ethiopia (Worthy) lp 13.98
Now is one of those rare times when the dedicated lovers of vinyl are rewarded with something exclusive to LP. By now we're all pretty familiar with Mulatu Astatke, what with Ethiopiques #4 and the LP reissue of his "Ethio Jazz" album he's practically a household name by now (at least around here). I'm kidding of course, but rabid fans of the inimitable funk/soul/groove sounds from Ethiopia no doubt place him pretty high on the short list of the greatest from the period. And what's better is that "Mulatu of Ethiopia" contains entirely exclusive tracks. Yep, that's right, none of these tracks are on any of the discs in the Ethiopiques series (though there are two reworkings of tracks -- "Dewel" and "Munaye" -- from Ethiopiques 4). The album itself, a reissue of a 1972 release of the same title, was recorded by Astatke in the U.S. during his tenure here and until now it fetched high prices on the collector's market. Given Astatke's experiences working in the U.S. with American jazz and Latin jazz musicians it should come as no surprise that it sounds nothing like anything else in the myriad Ethiopian groove reissues. For one, it's super smooov' (in a good way) with Mulatu picking up his mallets and playing vibes through it all and the recording -- which must have been done at some swank U.S. studio -- is ultra lush (what's that? You say you can hear the bass?) The music on this album totally sounds like a soundtrack to some long lost Michael Caine political intrigue film. You can almost see the cigarette dangling out of Caine's mouth as he drives around in an Austin Healey tailing a bad guy. On "Mulatu of Ethiopia" Astatke is accompanied by a pretty tight ensemble, much smaller than the orchestras of the Amha recording era. The backbone of his accompaniment is an uber funky organ/electric piano that sounds at times like they've got a wah wah pedal hooked up to it. Also included in the ensemble is electric bass, drums, percussion and plenty of soloing assistance from saxophone, flute and trumpet. Highly recommended, but act fast 'cause, as with so many things, we only have a few...
MPEG Stream: "Mascaram Setaba"
MPEG Stream: "Kasalefkut-Hulu"

album cover ASTATKE, MULATU New York - Addis- London: The Story of Ethio Jazz 1965-1975 (Strut) cd 14.98
If there was an actual way to measure the warmth of music, the sounds Mulatu Astatke created in the '60s and '70s would be at the top of the thermometer, his incredible and rich Ethio-Jazz sounds drifting right from the speakers and melting into your ears, permeating every cell of your body. Strut strike gold once again, coming up a killer collection of some of Astatke's finest material, recorded between 1965-1975.
After leaving Ethiopia as a teen, Astatke studied music in different parts of the globe and it's wonderful to hear how he subtly infused those various outside influences into his classic Ethiopian groove based sound. Some of the tracks here will stand out as being the classic Astatke tracks we are all familiar with, culled as they are from the amazing Ethiopiques 4 collection, but Strut digs deeper as well, exploring some of the lesser known songs and sides, many of which show an awesome Afro-Latin jazz influence, as well as some tracks that find Astatke teaming up with vocalists like Muluken Melesse and Menelik Wossenatchew.
Astatke really does belong in that divine elite class of musicians like John Coltrane, Alice Coltrane, Ravi Shankar, John Fahey, Duke Ellington, Moondog, etc. - the sounds he creates are universal in their appeal. Infused with so much soul and emotional warmth, these are sounds that transcends genre or geography, plain and simple, this is amazing music!
MPEG Stream: "Shagu"
MPEG Stream: "Emnete"
MPEG Stream: "Wubit"
MPEG Stream: "Kasalefkut Hulu"

ASTATKE, MULATU, FEATURING FEKADE AMDE MASKAL Ethio Jazz (L'Arome Productions) lp 16.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
If I had a dime for everytime someone has picked up a copy of Ethiopiques #4 and asked if we had it available on vinyl I'd probably be able to afford to buy the original pressing of "Ethio Jazz" for the price it fetches on e-bay. But now for a mere 170 dimes vinyl lovers everywhere can at last have a copy of their own. Mulatu Astatke's "Ethio Jazz" was released as Volume 4 of Ethiopiques (expanded from 9 to 14 tracks for the CD issue) and is easily the single most popular release in the series (at least here at AQ anyway.) Astatke had the unique privilege to be sent off to school in 1960 (at the age of 17) to study music in London. From there he continued on to the United States, attending The Berklee School of Music in Boston and later moving to New York. One can imagine he picked up a wide range of influence, and that he did. He became absorbed in Latin and Caribbean musics, eventually forming his own group the Ethiopian Quartet in New York. Upon his return to Ethiopia in the late sixties he was treated like a king, being hailed as "the first-Ethiopian-musician-educated-abroad" and as a arranger/bandleader he was unequalled. This record is an absolutely stunning collection of instrumentals. Most are composed by Astatke, while others are arrangements of traditional songs or other composers. A "jazz" record, yes this is, but hardly just. "Ethio Jazz" is a wonderful amalgam of swinging jazz tunes, sweet soul and punchy funk and laden with fuzzy electric guitars and tremolo drenched electic pianos. What's more is that, unlike the afro-funk of Nigeria, the rest of Africa or the world even, the unique scales of Ethiopian music produce the most haunting melodies that we've ever heard. For better or worse, this record has probably the broadest appeal of any release we've had. Very highly recommended (and for CD buyers, if you haven't picked up Ethiopiques #4 yet we always keep them in stock.)
RealAudio clip: "Netsanet"
RealAudio clip: "Sabye"
RealAudio clip: "Gubelye"

BALLA ET SES BALLADINS The Syliphone Years (Sterns Africa) 2cd 24.00

album cover BAMBA, SORRY Volume One 1970-1979 (Thrill Jockey) cd 15.98

album cover BAMBA, SORRY Volume One 1970-1979 (Thrill Jockey) 2lp 21.00

BANGOURA, ABDULAI Sigiri (Avant) cd 21.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
1990 field recordings of master percussionist, balafon & kalimba player Abdulai Bangoura of Guinea. A follow-up to Avant's earlier "Drums of Death" disc.

album cover BEBEY, FRANCIS African Electronic Music 1975-1982 (Born Bad) cd 16.98
When we first heard a track from this album a few months ago, our immediate reaction was A) wow, we really had better find a way to get it for the store and B) if and when we do, it'll probably have to be a Record Of The Week. And that was just from hearing ONE song. Fortunately, we did manage to get some of these imports, and the rest of the record only confirmed and amplified our first impression. Record Of The Week it is! (Actually, some of us here, like Andee, were already Bebey fans from way back, but for others of us, gosh, what an introduction...)
As you know, we've certainly seen a bunch of great groovy African reissues lately (in fact, there's a couple others elsewhere on this week's list). But this collection of the late Cameroonian composer & writer Francis Bebey's music is rather unique, to say the least. And it's got something in common with another cool item we're reviewing this week, the vintage "electronic soul" compilation Personal Space. As the title indicates, the focus here is on the especially electronic side of his discography, from the era when multi-instrumentalist Bebey experimented with the latest gear - tape recorders, keyboards, drum machines - to record his own music at home in Paris, making for delightfully dancey, avant-garde Afropop.
The track we had heard was the first one here, "New Track", an over 8 minute long number that starts off with tinkling thumb piano before blaring synth stabs, burbling keys, and ticking drum machine rhythms kick in... pretty soon, the song has become dense with loops and layers, repeating vocals about bananas and potatoes and politics creating a kind of cheerfully confusing mantra. It's as fresh and charming and mesmeric and groovy today as it was when Bebey recorded it in back in '82.
Though this would pretty much be worth it just for that memorable song alone, the rest of this 14-track collection is full of further futuristic Afrofunk highlights. Meaning, more blurting synthesized horns, head bopping basslines, thumping electronic beats augmented by hand percussion, and laidback vocals - some spoken, some sung, in various languages (Duala, French and English). Bebey's talent on classical guitar is also evident. It's quite an amazing mix altogether; 'makossa' music from Cameroon meets "Blow Your Head" style Moog outbursts (as on the woozy instrumental track "Super Jingle", with its skronky synth shiver set amidst hypnotic percussive pulsations). Sometimes the mood gets emotive in other ways, Bebey bringing the beats down and singing sadly in a soft, ragged voice... Here we will go out on a limb, and make a wild hypothetical rock crit "cross between this and that" equation, of Konono No.1 + Arthur Russell, whattya think?
Basically, this is as cool as anything you could imagine something called "African Electronic Music 1975-1982" might possibly sound like! And maybe even cooler than that.
Packaged with liner notes in both English and French.
MPEG Stream: "New Track"
MPEG Stream: "La Condition Masculine"
MPEG Stream: "Pygmy Love Song"
MPEG Stream: "Savanah Georgia"

album cover BEBEY, FRANCIS African Electronic Music 1975-1982 (Born Bad) 2lp 29.00
When we first heard a track from this album a few months ago, our immediate reaction was A) wow, we really had better find a way to get it for the store and B) if and when we do, it'll probably have to be a Record Of The Week. And that was just from hearing ONE song. Fortunately, we did manage to get some of these imports, and the rest of the record only confirmed and amplified our first impression. Record Of The Week it is! (Actually, some of us here, like Andee, were already Bebey fans from way back, but for others of us, gosh, what an introduction...)
As you know, we've certainly seen a bunch of great groovy African reissues lately (in fact, there's a couple others elsewhere on this week's list). But this collection of the late Cameroonian composer & writer Francis Bebey's music is rather unique, to say the least. And it's got something in common with another cool item we're reviewing this week, the vintage "electronic soul" compilation Personal Space. As the title indicates, the focus here is on the especially electronic side of his discography, from the era when multi-instrumentalist Bebey experimented with the latest gear - tape recorders, keyboards, drum machines - to record his own music at home in Paris, making for delightfully dancey, avant-garde Afropop.
The track we had heard was the first one here, "New Track", an over 8 minute long number that starts off with tinkling thumb piano before blaring synth stabs, burbling keys, and ticking drum machine rhythms kick in... pretty soon, the song has become dense with loops and layers, repeating vocals about bananas and potatoes and politics creating a kind of cheerfully confusing mantra. It's as fresh and charming and mesmeric and groovy today as it was when Bebey recorded it in back in '82.
Though this would pretty much be worth it just for that memorable song alone, the rest of this 14-track collection is full of further futuristic Afrofunk highlights. Meaning, more blurting synthesized horns, head bopping basslines, thumping electronic beats augmented by hand percussion, and laidback vocals - some spoken, some sung, in various languages (Duala, French and English). Bebey's talent on classical guitar is also evident. It's quite an amazing mix altogether; 'makossa' music from Cameroon meets "Blow Your Head" style Moog outbursts (as on the woozy instrumental track "Super Jingle", with its skronky synth shiver set amidst hypnotic percussive pulsations). Sometimes the mood gets emotive in other ways, Bebey bringing the beats down and singing sadly in a soft, ragged voice... Here we will go out on a limb, and make a wild hypothetical rock crit "cross between this and that" equation, of Konono No.1 + Arthur Russell, whattya think?
Basically, this is as cool as anything you could imagine something called "African Electronic Music 1975-1982" might possibly sound like! And maybe even cooler than that.
Packaged with liner notes in both English and French.
MPEG Stream: "New Track"
MPEG Stream: "La Condition Masculine"
MPEG Stream: "Pygmy Love Song"
MPEG Stream: "Savanah Georgia"

album cover BEHOLD! THE MONOLITH s/t (Arctic Forest) lp 13.98
On the last list, we reviewed the latest cd-r from LA metal masters Behold! The Monolith, and as we mentioned in that review, we had already had this self-titled debut of theirs for a while, and had been digging it big time, before we got the new one. And since the new one was such a hit, we figured we oughta go back and list the one that started it all. Our thumbnail description from that other review still definitely applies, we reference Sleep and Mastodon, Electric Wizard and Venom, Motorhead, epic metal mastery and big arena riffing, doomy stonery sludge and classic thrash, this record if anything is a bit more raw that the follow up. Opener "Battlestagg" the first we'd ever heard from these guys, so still in some way it's the defining song, with its churning metallic crunch, the raspy vokills, the massive drum pummel, not to mention the middle stretch where the distorted bass takes on the melody all on its own before the band kick back in. That's right, amidst all this metal pound, the band kick out some serious melody, and hooks galore, in fact, that sensibility, combined with the thick guitar tone, definitely reminded us of sludge poppers Torche too, albeit not nearly as poppy, and WAY more thrashing and metallic.
"Battle For Balls Deep" is one of the two epics here, starting out with some misleadingly funky drumming, and some guitar scratch to match, the band soon explode into some dizzying mathiness and progged out heaviness that should have most weirdo metalheads in heaven, before the band launch right back into some serious Sabbathy dirgery, the track is all over the map, even slipping into some weirdly twangy country drift midway through, complete with some gorgeous sun dappled lapsteel, slowly building to what almost could be some sort of Mogwai / Godspeed slowbuild epic, before lumbering right back into some churning downtuned crunch, but managing to still retains some of that soaring melody and subtle poppiness, before finishing off with a wild psychedelic guitar freakout over a grinding churning metallic crush. The record finishes off with another epic, a 12 minute, three parter that starts out all post rocky, and deceivingly jangly, this record deviating from the group's metal core much more than the follow up, this song offering up long stretches of hooky sludge pop, of crunchy stoner metal pound, of woozy post rock lope, even some weirdly psychedelic wah wah guitar driven classical infused moodiness midway through, but with all that weirdness, they manage to sound heavy as fuck, the metal parts massive, and the whole sprawling dizzying multipart epic somehow falling together perfectly.
Needless to say, if you bought the more recent record, you're gonna want this one too. And this might actually be an even better place to start, the sort of metal record that just might drag nonmetalheads over to the dark side, and alternately, the sort of heaviness that just might convince metalheads, that there's more to music than metal.
Like the other record, totally bad ass fantasy cover art, this time some sort of axe wielding antler-ed gorilla riding a demon deer through a wall of hellfire. Fuck yeah!
MPEG Stream: "Battlestagg"
MPEG Stream: "Battle For Balls Deep"

album cover BEHOLD! THE MONOLITH s/t (Arctic Forest) cd-r 9.98
On the last list, we reviewed the latest cd-r from LA metal masters Behold! The Monolith, and as we mentioned in that review, we had already had this self-titled debut of theirs for a while, and had been digging it big time, before we got the new one. And since the new one was such a hit, we figured we oughta go back and list the one that started it all. Our thumbnail description from that other review still definitely applies, we reference Sleep and Mastodon, Electric Wizard and Venom, Motorhead, epic metal mastery and big arena riffing, doomy stonery sludge and classic thrash, this record if anything is a bit more raw that the follow up. Opener "Battlestagg" the first we'd ever heard from these guys, so still in some way it's the defining song, with its churning metallic crunch, the raspy vokills, the massive drum pummel, not to mention the middle stretch where the distorted bass takes on the melody all on its own before the band kick back in. That's right, amidst all this metal pound, the band kick out some serious melody, and hooks galore, in fact, that sensibility, combined with the thick guitar tone, definitely reminded us of sludge poppers Torche too, albeit not nearly as poppy, and WAY more thrashing and metallic.
"Battle For Balls Deep" is one of the two epics here, starting out with some misleadingly funky drumming, and some guitar scratch to match, the band soon explode into some dizzying mathiness and progged out heaviness that should have most weirdo metalheads in heaven, before the band launch right back into some serious Sabbathy dirgery, the track is all over the map, even slipping into some weirdly twangy country drift midway through, complete with some gorgeous sun dappled lapsteel, slowly building to what almost could be some sort of Mogwai / Godspeed slowbuild epic, before lumbering right back into some churning downtuned crunch, but managing to still retains some of that soaring melody and subtle poppiness, before finishing off with a wild psychedelic guitar freakout over a grinding churning metallic crush. The record finishes off with another epic, a 12 minute, three parter that starts out all post rocky, and deceivingly jangly, this record deviating from the group's metal core much more than the follow up, this song offering up long stretches of hooky sludge pop, of crunchy stoner metal pound, of woozy post rock lope, even some weirdly psychedelic wah wah guitar driven classical infused moodiness midway through, but with all that weirdness, they manage to sound heavy as fuck, the metal parts massive, and the whole sprawling dizzying multipart epic somehow falling together perfectly.
Needless to say, if you bought the more recent record, you're gonna want this one too. And this might actually be an even better place to start, the sort of metal record that just might drag nonmetalheads over to the dark side, and alternately, the sort of heaviness that just might convince metalheads, that there's more to music than metal.
Like the other record, totally bad ass fantasy cover art, this time some sort of axe wielding antler-ed gorilla riding a demon deer through a wall of hellfire. Fuck yeah!
MPEG Stream: "Battlestagg"
MPEG Stream: "Battle For Balls Deep"

BEMBEYA JAZZ NATIONAL The Syliphone Years (Sterns Africa) 2cd 24.00

album cover BERAKI, TSEHAYTU Selam (Terp) 2cd 19.98
From the same label (The Ex's Terp label) that brought us the recent Konono No.1 live record, comes this amazing double cd release from legendary Eritrean singer Tsehaytu Beraki. Initially, the folks at Terp were just trying to help locate material for the Ethiopiques series, when people kept suggesting that someone should do something for Beraki, who was forced to flee from the turmoil of Eritrea and somehow ended up in Rotterdam. After some determined digging, Terrie from the Ex managed to track her down and began to discuss ideas for releasing a cd. It ended up that after years and years of performing and recording, very litte of Beraki's music had actually been recorded or released! So plans were made, and everything on these two discs was recorded in a modern state of the art studio with a handful of unlikely guests (free jazz drummer Han Bennink for one!) between 2000-2003. You'd be hard pressed to tell though, because the sound, the songs and Beraki's vocals are so perfectly timeless. Mostly performed on a krar (and occasionally a bass krar), a buzzing stringed instrument like a harp / banjo / sitar hybrid, these songs are gorgeous, with Beraki's warm, resonant vocals over a bed of buzzing strings, muted melodies, and a simple insistent and hypnotic rhythm. Every time we play this in the store someone comes up to find out what it is. Folks who dug the Ethiopiques series (especially Vol. 16) and the recent Konono No.1 will LOVE this. So beautiful.
MPEG Stream: "Atzmtom Keskisom"
MPEG Stream: "Hey Li Habelmalet"

album cover BIRIGWA s/t (Porter Records) cd 16.98
Originally released in 1972, this album by the Uganda born Birigwa is one of the most unique and hard to categorize albums of afro-folk-jazz-blues-psych we've ever heard. Birigwa came to America to study at the New England Conservatory in the early '70s when he made this beautiful record, which falls somewhere between Tropicalia, pastoral South American psych, spiritual soul-jazz and eclectic blues, accented by his super versatile vocals which swing freely from deep to falsetto, playful to wonderfully weird (check out the last track!) to downright pretty. Backing Birigwa was a really strong band, his sound bolstered by the rich bass lines of Stark Reality member Phil Morrison and the perfect flute touches of Stan Strickland. Think of Caetano Veloso, Jorge Ben, Devendra Banhart or Milton Nascimento, with one foot in Africa, the other dipping its toes in sonic waters flowing from all sorts of great and unexpected places.
MPEG Stream: "Uganda"
MPEG Stream: "Obugumba"

album cover BIRRA, ALI Ammalele (Domino / Mississippi) lp 14.98

album cover BLACK GODDESS (REMI KABAKA) OST (Soundway) cd 15.98
We'd heard how awesome the soundtrack to this film was for years, so we were so psyched to discover that Soundway was finally giving it a proper reissue. The film was directed by one of Nigeria's most respected directors, Ola Balogun, and was shot on location in Brazil. Balogun recruited the musical mastermind and fellow Nigerian, Remi Kabaka, to score and produce the soundtrack to the film. Kabaka has played with a wide range of folks including Ginger Baker, Hugh Masekela, Paul Simon, and Paul McCartney, and for the soundtrack rounded up some of Nigeria's finest players and crafted a collection of songs filled with such a unique and left-of-center Afro-jazz sound. There's something so raw and mysterious about these tracks evoking all manner of sweat and suspense. We're totally feeling this, late summer, slow burner for sure!
MPEG Stream: "Brothers + Sisters"
MPEG Stream: "Black Goddess"
MPEG Stream: "The Warrior"

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 »

top of page