El Michels Affair: Yeti Season

El Michels (and see here) is clearly a man obsessed with music. He previously made an album of imagined music from “adult” films and this new one is imagined music from another kind of film, one set in somewhere like Turkey. Goodness knows what Yeti Season is. There’s a lot of funk with a stylised […]

Ayalew Mesfin: Che Belew!

The Press notes say that Ayalew Mesfin is among the greats of 1970s Ethiopian music legends, the music he created with his Black Lion Band among the funkiest to arise from Addis Ababa. His records were mostly 7in singles and reel-to-reel tapes collected for this and it’s a charming and enjoyable album. The recordings are […]

My Grito presents … Mas Alto! A Charity Compilation

This is in a good cause and is a more-than-decent album. The cause: sadly not a local one but still good: the album is raising cash for No Us Without You, a US charity providing food security for undocumented back-of-house staff and their families. “Undocumented hospitality workers are the backbone of the hospitality industry,” says […]

Millicent B James: Moyo, Vol.1 EP

Releases by local bands always make us nervous; if they’re no good, what do we say? Sadly for everyone else, this new EP from Biddolphian Millicent sets a new benchmark: it’s wonderful. She’s is not a novice: a composer, cellist and vocalist, she regularly sings with the RBC Afro Cuban Jazz Orchestra and RBC Jazz […]

Jiggy: Hypernova

Whatever you’re expecting, Jiggy is not it. Who would expect trad Irish tunes to mix so well with world and a Stereo MCs-type dance sound? For a start you can’t work out where they’re from; they sound Irish but they sing in French and some kind of Middle-European language at various points. The line-up is […]

Howard Skempton: The Man, Hurdy-gurdy and Me

We sometimes rave about albums but this is 100% wonderful. If we ever send a space rocket into space (in case you wondered where space rockets go), you could send this recording to sum up Britishness: witty, joyful, a bit mad, wildly eccentric and lots of fun. Whatever you want it’s got it, from early […]

Folk Music of China, Vol 3: Folk Songs of Yunnan

We Are Family is the opening piece but there’s no Sister Sledge in sight on this collection of traditional songs. The CD is the latest in a series exploring China’s diverse musical heritage. The songs featured in this recording are folk songs of three of the minority ethnic groups of Yunnan province — Wa, Blang, […]

Natacha Atlas: Strange Days

Atlas is from Egypt and this album sees her meld her roots with jazz. It’s a beautifully recorded selection of tracks that drifts into easy listening — the gentlest it goes is a bit late night, with an interesting fusion of sounds and instrumentation. Atlas began her career as part of the world fusion group […]

Code Sangala: Mizu

Last week we wrote about a CD from classical music label Naxos’s new world arm, a rootsy collection of traditional folk from Mongolia; this week is the opposite end of the spectrum, a cheerful collection of radio-friendly tracks from Malawi. Mizu means roots in Chichewa, the national vernacular language in Malawi. Sangala is clearly a […]