beyond tape
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beyond tape

Beyond Tape: Album Of The Week (Part D)

In 2020 I started a new one-year project:
The idea is to concentrate on albums that I always wanted to hear (in-depth). Albums that, for example, have been recommended to me by friends, that I discovered by chance or that you just need to listen to but for unknown reasons never found the time to do so.

My plan is to focus on albums that are new and undiscovered to me, those albums that are inspiring and encouraging to listen to more of the music of the artist or the genre. Exactly one album per week the whole year 2020.

Follow our Twitter account or browse through all the albums in our now 10th playlist Beyond Tape: Album Of The Week to get a weekly update.

Week 40

Saniye Gülden Göktürk, better known as Gülden Karaböcek (born 1953) is a Turkish fantezi and arabesque singer.
After completing her primary and secondary education in Ankara, she took singing and solfege lessons from Yaşar Aydaş at Ankara Radio. She came to Istanbul with her family from Ankara and completed her first records at the age of 14–15: “Yazılanlar Gelir Başa & Garip Kaldım”. Famous artist Orhan Gencebay accompanied Karaböcek on this plaque, playing bağlama.

Anadolu’nun Bağrından is her first album, released in 1975.

Listen to the full album on spotify

Week 39

Oumou Sangaré (born 1968 in Bamako, Mali) is a Grammy Award-winning Malian Wassoulou musician, sometimes referred to as “The Songbird of Wassoulou”. Wassoulou is a historical region south of the Niger River, where the music descends from an age-old traditional song, often accompanied by a calabash.

Acoustic is a different beast entirely. Recorded live in a French studio over two days last August, without amplifiers, overdubs or retakes, it lends its songs a new intimacy and intensity. A guitar and ngoni provide the intricate string-driven backdrops while two female singers provide heft, setting up call and responses with Sangaré, who is in magnificent, free-flowing form.
Whatever the subject — the wiles of womanizers, the conduct of social life, the rights of women — Sangaré is always serious.

[Review on The Guardian]

Full album on Bandcamp
Listen to the full album on spotify

Week 38

Lucas MacFadden (born 1972), better known as Cut Chemist, is an American DJ and record producer. He is a former member of Jurassic 5 and Ozomatli. He has collaborated with DJ Shadow on a number of projects.

When Cut Chemist was tapped to create a DJ set in opening for Ethiopian jazz icon Mulatu Astatke back in 2009, he took the opportunity to delve into the sources, influences, and echoes of the Ethio-jazz scene that Astatke and others developed in the 1960s and 70s. Sound of the Police — named for the tendency for many Ethio-jazz recordings to originate from military bands — does a lot to contextualize that musical terrain for hip-hop heads who might not have delved too deep into its shared roots.

This mix runs on an interesting setup: Sound of the Police was assembled and recorded in real time on an unusual one-turntable rig, with a loop pedal and mixer taking the place of a second deck for transition-building purposes. (Think a stripped-down, single-turntable equivalent of Cut Chemist and DJ Shadow’s 8-deck Hard Sell setup.) It’s a deft highwire act, and it allows him to pull off some agile scratching, sonic layering, and self-overdubbing with original, unearthed vinyl records he likely couldn’t find a second copy of. In other words, it has all the careful, hands-on, as-it-happens nature of a DJ mix combined with the loop-constructing composition of a beat tape — and it’s a pretty impressive technical achievement in that sense.

[Review on pitchfork]

Cut Chemist performing Sound of the Police with only one turntable, a loop pedal and a mixer.
Cut Chemist takes us on a tour through his life, his records and beyond.
Another great boiler room set with Cut Chemist
Full album on Bandcamp

Week 37

Herbert Jansch (1943–2011) was a Scottish folk musician and founding member of the band Pentangle. He was born in Glasgow and came to prominence in London in the 1960s, as an acoustic guitarist, as well as a singer-songwriter. He recorded at least 25 albums and toured extensively from the 1960s to the 21st century.
Jansch was a leading figure in the 1960s British folk revival, touring folk clubs and recording several solo albums, as well as collaborating with other musicians such as John Renbourn and Anne Briggs.

After presenting almost all-original sets on his first two albums (albeit originals that sometimes borrowed heavily from traditional folk themes), Jansch opted to devote all of his third LP to traditional folk numbers. His future Pentangle partner John Renbourn joins him on four of the eight songs. Highlights include the ten-minute title track (whose length was a real oddity on contemporary folk albums of the time) and a cover of “Nottamun Town”.

[Review on allmusic]

Listen to the full album on spotify

Week 36

Robert Hood (born 1965 in Detroit, Michigan) is an American electronic music producer and DJ. He is a founding member of Underground Resistance as a ‘Minister Of Information’ with Mad Mike Banks and Jeff Mills. He is often considered to be one of the founders of minimal techno.
In 1994, Hood founded the minimal techno label M-Plant in Detroit.

Put on Minimal Nation for the first time and you’re confronted with the Platonic ideal of techno: a kick drum, a single melodic element, a hi-hat and maybe some alien flourish that defies easy description. It’s hypnotic, captivating and utterly self-contained, techno stripped of the vestiges of everything that came before. If the earliest techno was inspired by the sound and image of the Detroit-area automobile factories, then Minimal Nation summoned the factories of the future.

Every granular element of Minimal Nation is purposeful, from the twitchy hi-hat that jumps to the front of the mix on “One Touch” to the single modulating chord on the confrontationally sparse “Unix.” The latter track is a masterclass in composition and arrangement: the kick drum and keyboard note seem to phase in and out of each other, as your focus switches between them every few milliseconds. Then Hood introduces a small, hissy hi-hat that adds a new rhythmic texture, the kind of thing that would blow your mind deep in the night on a booming dance floor.

[Review on residentadvisor]

Listen to the full album on spotify

Week 35

Michael George Henry OD (born 1943), better known as Ras Michael, is a Jamaican reggae singer and Nyabinghi specialist. He also performs under the name of Dadawah.

The Nyabinghis are the oldest group of Rastafaris, named after the Ugandan queen Nyabinghi. She was a legendary Rwandan/Ugandan/Tanzanian woman, whose name is reported to mean “the one who possesses many things”. For the Nyabhingis, the connection to the African continent plays a special role: the drum sessions as well as their rhythms, which take place during their festivals, are the origin of all reggae music.

Comprised of four long, ruminative tracks, the classic Peace and Love — Wadadasow is probably reggae’s closest answer to Ash Ra Tempel: highly spiritual and free-wheeling, totally enveloping in its psychedelic nature with the brooding appeal of dub. It’s the second album by Ras Michael, released under the moniker Dadawah, and here his passionate chanting and singing is treated with expansive post-production effects courtesy of Lloyd Charmers. Willie Lindo provides incredible bluesy guitar improvisation. The rhythm section is held together tightly by a constant bass groove, and “Zion Land,” for instance, highlights the spiritual and emotional core of the album. It’s as much a spacey trip as it is an intensely devotional record.
[Review on listentothis]

Many thanks Tim for pointing me to this wonderful music.

Though sometimes claimed to be a direct continuation of an African cultural form, Niyabinghi drumming is best seen as the voice of a people rediscovering their African roots.
Full album Peace and Love (only available on Youtube)

Week 34

Megadeth is an American heavy metal band formed in 1983 by guitarist Dave Mustaine and bassist David Ellefson in Los Angeles, California. Along with Metallica, Anthrax, and Slayer, Megadeth is one of the “big four” of American thrash metal, responsible for its development and popularization. Their music features complex arrangements and fast rhythm sections, and lyrical themes of death, war, politics, personal relationships and religion.

Thrash metal (or simply thrash) is an extreme subgenre of heavy metal music characterized by its overall aggression and often fast tempo. The songs usually use fast percussive beats and low-register guitar riffs, overlaid with shredding-style lead guitar work. The lyrical subject matter often deals with criticisms of The Establishment and concern over the destruction of the environment, and at times shares a disdain for Christian dogma resembling that of their black metal counterparts. The language is typically quite direct and denunciatory, an approach borrowed from hardcore punk.
The genre emerged in the early 1980s as musicians began fusing the double bass drumming and complex guitar stylings of the new wave of British heavy metal with the speed and aggression of hardcore punk.
Philosophically, thrash metal developed as a backlash against both the conservatism of the Reagan era and the much more moderate, pop-influenced and widely accessible heavy metal subgenre of glam metal which also developed concurrently in the 1980s.

Released in 1990, at an incredible time of flux and creativity in the rock world, their fourth studio album Rust in Peace still stands as one of the greatest metal albums ever made.

Their opening song “Holy Wars… The Punishment Due”

Week 33

The Stereo MC’s were founded in Clapham, London, in 1985 in by singer Rob B. (Birch) and DJ Nick “The Head” Hallam.

The first album was recorded with a small budget in 1989 for their own record label Gee Street. The single Elevate My Mind from their second album was the first British hip hop record to reach the American charts. Their biggest success was the single Connected and the album of the same name, for which they won the Brit Awards in the categories British Group and British Album in 1994.
Supernatural is their second release (1990). In 1996, Mixmag ranked the album at number 46 in its list of the Best Dance Albums of All Time.

Stereo MC: Set Me Loose with samples from…
…Psychedelic Shack by The Temptations
Listen to the full album on spotify

Week 32

The People’s Choice was an American disco & funk band formed in 1971 in Philadelphia by Frank Brunson and David Thompson.

Boogie Down U.S.A. is the debut studio album, released in 1975 on Philadelphia International Records.

If you asked five different R&B experts what the first disco songs were, you might get five different answers. It has been argued that the disco beat was born in Philadelphia in 1972, when Jerry Butler recorded his fast, ultra-danceable version of the Kenny Gamble/Leon Huff classic “One Night Affair” (which had been previously recorded by the O’Jays in 1969). Even if Butler’s hit wasn’t the very first disco single, it was definitely among the first. It’s inaccurate to give Philly all the credit for disco’s birth — Isaac Hayes and Barry White, neither of whom are Philadelphians, have been exalted as two of disco’s early architects — but the city deserves some of the credit. When Philly soul gave way to Philly disco-soul, one of the groups that got in on the action was the People’s Choice. The group’s 1975 smash “Do It Any Way You Wanna” is a definitive example of Philly dance music, as are several other disco-funk gems on Boogie Down U.S.A., including “Party Is a Groovy Thing” and the clever “Nursery Rhymes.”
[Review on allmusic]

I just love this video for ‘Do It Any Way You Wanna’
The song formed the basis of the 1977 reggae hit “Cocaine in My Brain” by Dillinger, featuring Sly and Robbie.
Listen to the full album on spotify

Week 31

Since my last three reviews there is a small historical connection in minimal music: While Steve Reich was strongly influenced by Miles Davis in his time, Manuel Göttsching named Steve Reich (and Davis as well) as his idol and so Basic Channel were of course strongly influenced by Göttsching’s music.

Basic Channel is a German music duo and record label, composed of Moritz von Oswald and Mark Ernestus, that originated in Berlin in 1993. The duo has also worked under other names, including Rhythm & Sound and Maurizio, and have founded offshoot label imprints such as Chain Reaction and Main Street. Their work in the 1990s is regarded as pioneering the minimal and dub techno subgenres.

And here is a connection again: The musician Carl Craig released the single remake in 1994 under the alias Paperclip People on his label Planet E. The piece Remake (Duo) contained on it is a techno reinterpretation of E2-E4 by Manuel Göttsching.
In the same year, a remix of Basic Channel was released on Planet E. The reinterpretation e2e4 Basic Reshape by Oswald and Ernestus is an extremely reduced dub-techno variation, which does not use any known samples of the original.

On their album BCD, repetition is merely a deception and very slight changes in the elements of their sound occur frequently and in an unpredictable manner. Subtlety is certainly the key to the sound of Basic Channel in that there are little to no sudden changes, memorable melodies or any sense of linear structure to their songs. Instead, Ernestus and Von Oswald create environments of sound which morph slowly but organically, running a short palette of sounds through a wide variety of custom effect-chains and loops, constantly tweaking knobs and fiddling with faders in order to create the desired sense of movement amongst the few layers of sound in their tracks. Their penchant for delay-based effects (a key element in dub music) combined with intricate attention to detail with their sequencers allow Basic Channel to constantly vary and shift the sense of rhythm that is pulsing throughout these songs.
[Review on sputnikmusic]

Paperclip People: “Remake” from 1994 contains samples from Manuel Göttsching — E2-E4.
“e2e4 Basic Reshape” originally appeared in 1994 on Paperclip People — Throw / Remake (Basic Reshape)
Listen to the full album on spotify

Enjoy listening, share this one or our other articles with your music friends. Of course, you can also write your personal inspiration in the comments section if you like. Stay curious!

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Don Lu

(yet another) berlin-based freelance UI/UX-designer, exploring music and sounds