ZZK Release Ritmos Bastardos Short Film
Buenos Aires’ ZZK records, who celebrated their 10th anniversary last year, have published a new short film entitled Ritmos Bastardos: The Story of Zizek Club & ZZK Records. The film explores how the Zizek club movement, and subsequently, their label, were born out of the Argentine depression and civil unrest during the early 2000’s, and how their blend of traditional styles such as cumbia with contemporary electronic music was a creative force in the club and on record. The film was directed Pablo Mensi and features many of the label’s artists, including Nicola Cruz, TREMOR and Chancha Via Circuito. Check it out below and find the label on Bandcamp.
The Repeat Listen: Yelfris Valdés – For The Ones
Cuban trumpeter Yelfris Valdés has been based in London for five-and-a-half years now, during which time he has bedded himself into the capital’s music scene. His decade spent with Sierra Maestra, an ensemble that falls under the Buena Vista Social Club umbrella, his credit on Yussef Kamaal’s Black Focus, and work with the late Abram Wilson’s Philippa Project, provides a snapshot of his versatility as a player, but it’s this, his debut full-length, that reinforces that versatility with artistic vision.
The record is the result of Valdés concentrating on music in a more spiritual way: looking to numerous traditions, his ancestry and religious beliefs, plus the skills and attributes of the diverse musical team gathered around him, to execute a rich and experimental record that reflects his two-decade journey in music.
Highlights include third track Maktub, which hears Valdés layering a lyrical hard bop lead line over a repeating horn melody in 6/4, which itself weaves into the propulsive Gnawa rhythm defined by Simo Lagnawi’s quraqeb percussion. To that Lagnawi adds his voice and guembri, which drift in hypnotic fashion through a psychedelic soundscape, until an unexpected key change lifts the composition onto a different plateau. Ancestry is a further highlight, with beguiling horn harmonies leading into a rich electric bass lick, which lays the groundworking in turn for a cool, electronically embellished instrumental that vocalist Modou Toure adds his astonishing tenor voice to.
Valdés was clearly pushing himself as a musician long before embarking upon this first recording, but with the many elements he has successfully melded here, he has taken his exploratory efforts one step further. For The Ones is both his first full-length record and the first album to be released on Tim Garcia’s Musica Macondo label, rendering it a successful first in more ways than one.
New Sounds and Visuals
Local songwriter and wearer of beautiful shirts James Holt has released a new video for his single Little Green Light. Directed by Matt Boone, it captures Holt playing a variety of instruments and features the lovely interiors of The Fitzgerald. Fans of The Lemon Twigs are certain to dig the vibe.
Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry has collaborated with a number of notable artists and producers in recent years: including The Orb, Adrian Sherwood, Subatomic Sound System, Mad Professor and Daniel Boyle amongst others. Now comes the turn of Peaking Lights to give Perry the digital dub treatment, which they do artfully on the new eight-and-a-half minute cut, Magik. With reverb-drenched hi-hats, sharp synth leads and boomy low end, they craft a cool dub reminiscent of their 2012 Lucifer in Dub project.
British Indie rock outfit Swim Deep drop their new album, Emerald Classics, today. Discussing new cut 0121-Desire in a recent interview with HMV, they described the eighties-inspired cut as the track on the album that took them the longest to get right, stating, ‘[it] underwent so many transformations that it almost ended up being about four or five different songs.’ They added, ‘It’s that Prince ‘Raspberry Beret’ 12” version percussive beat that sort of set the song on its path to how it ended up.’
Carla Dal Forno’s dub-inflected dream pop sound might be best saved until Sunday, when its tone and subtlety will sink in nicely. If you can’t wait that long, the beautifully-arranged electric bass, percussion and synths of Took A Long Time evoke images of a city in the rain after the sun has set — a comforting yet disquieting vibe that many strive for, but precious few capture.