AMN Reviews

AMN Reviews: Various Artists – Anthology of Contemporary Music from Africa Continent [Unexplained Sounds Group]; Maurice Louca – Elephantine [Sub Rosa SRV474]

The Unexplained Sounds Group, the netlabel run by sound artist Raffaele Pezzella, aka Sonologyst, has with its latest various artists compilation delved into the largely unexplored territory of contemporary experimental music from the African continent. For that reason alone the collection is worth hearing. But the music itself makes its own case for listening. The fourteen tracks give evidence of a creative ferment that meld Western electronics with the musical heritages of the various cultures of that highly diverse continent. A good number of the pieces included in the anthology are rooted in song — in the cyclical rhythms of a given region or in the melodic lines built on traditional modes. For example, several tracks, of which Ahmed Saleh’s Right Side is representative, feature North African vocal, flute or oud music as source material for processing or as a musical framework for electronic overlay and embellishment. Other pieces — AMET’s Imposer Le Savoir and In_o’s track, which seems to be based on a recording of Jiddu Krishnamurti speaking – represent a variety of musique concrete where radio transmissions or other samples are electronically rearranged. There also are more conventionally “experimental,” abstract electronic works, such as Abdellah M. Hassak’s two contributions. This is a fine collection that provides insight into an area of musical experiment that isn’t yet well-enough known.

Elephantine, an LP devoted to new music from Cairo guitarist/pianist/composer Maurce Louca, shows a different, jazz-influenced side of contemporary African music. For this recording, Louca put together a group of twelve international musicians in which North African oud, violin, and vocals are juxtaposed or mixed with Western jazz instrumentation of reeds, tuba, vibraphone, and bass and drums. The music is a successful, organic fusion of jazz timbres and improvisation with North African modality and rhythms.

Daniel Barbiero


Larry Ochs’ Sax and Drumming Core Coming to NY

Scott Amendola 1
Image by michaelz1 via Flickr

From Roulette:


Larry Ochs Sax & Drumming Core was formed in June 2000 for a special – invitation performance in San Francisco. The Core’s music is a meditation on and a 21st-century distillation of the songs of American and eastern European blues-shouters, and of traditional chant-singers from Asia and Africa. This is the space that this band was inspired by – at first. But then, after all, the end result is modern. Larry Ochs Sax & Drumming Core consists of both Scott Amendola and Donald Robinson on drums and is led by Larry Ochs on tenor and sopranino saxophones. As of November 2007, the trio expanded to a quintet, including Satoko Fujii on synthesizers and piano, and Natsuki Tamura on trumpet.

OCTOBER 13th @ 8:30 PM
20 Greene St (between Canal and Grand St)
Admission $15 Students/Seniors/Under 30s $10 MEMBERS FREE
TICKETS/RSVP: 212.219.8242

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AMN Podcast: Brad Shepik – Human Activity Suite

Human Activity SuiteBrad Shepik
“Blue Marble (Africa)” (mp3)
from “Human Activity Suite”
(Songlines Recordings)

More On This Album

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