Bandcamp Picks of the Week 1/18/17

Bandcamp Picks of the Week bringing you two records you may have never set yer sights on otherwise!!!

bandcamp picks of the week ibrahim

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Ibrahim El Hassan – SUDAN TAPES

Genre: Sudanese Funk

Favorite Tracks: N/A

Well, I’m now one of the few people in the world who have both heard of and own this cassette. As far as music discovery and mythology goes, the African continent is one giant Mecca. The legend of this recently unearthed tape owes itself to the Berlin-based Habibi Funk Records, who were digging around an old warehouse in Cairo and discovered a treasure trove of unreleased and unplayed Sudanese funk tapes. If that level of intrigue and exclusivity weren’t enough to tickle your fancy, the music contained within will be sure to. As with all vintage tapes from Africa, the instrumentation consists exclusively of synthesizers and drum machines. However, there are particularly unique synth pads utilized here, with a tinny, vaguely space-age aesthetic that can never be truthfully replicated. Bringing to mind Hailu Mergia, Cantonese pop, and Thai luk thung music in equal measure, El Hassan’s voice is also a treat, with a lilting, soothing timbre that makes him an ideal balladeer. Look, I’m not going to lie and say this doesn’t get a boost from the context behind it, but it’s also a tape you can get lost in for a pleasant minute or two, and it’s a conversation starter, if nothing else. You can listen to it here. [Thomas Seraydarian]

bandcamp picks of the week smart

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Smart Bomb Oakland – HEART CENTERED SONGS: A BENEFIT & TRIBUTE ALBUM

Genre: Futurist, Jazz, Hip Hop

Favorite Tracks: N/A

“This is about collaboration, this is about community. This ain’t just me up here.” The penultimate track on HEART CENTERED SONGS, “Najee Amaranth – Live At The Legionnaire,” puts words to what the previous 21 tracks had expressed (almost) entirely in beats, textures, and jazzy composition. Following the tragic events of the Ghostship Oakland fire, Smart Bomb Oakland has collected 23 responses from local artists to directly promote and contribute to the Fire Relief Fund for Victims of Ghostship Oakland Fire run by the nonprofit Gray Area Foundation for the Arts. HEART CENTERED SONGS is a record of triumphant and crushing music, just scratching the surface of a lush cultural scene in mourning. As a response to tragedy, one cannot separate the pieces of HEART CENTERED SONGS from the environment they were born of; to compartmentalize an artist’s emotional responses as something not to take into account while listening to HEART CENTERED SONGS would be an insult to the form and art-process itself. These songs are a powerful glimpse into an art culture that is alive, well, and worthy of appreciation. Check them out here. [Micha Knauer]

Crossfader Staff

The good people of Crossfader Magazine.

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