The Outernationalists Present Ethnomixicology
Ethnomixicology is a monster. I'm not talking little nuisances like Megalon, Gigan or even Mothra. No, we're talking Godzilla versus King Kong, where two ferocious forces wage Ragnarok and get down with the truly dirty. Compilers Simon Emmerson (African/Celtic-electronica fusionists Afro Celts founder) and Phil Meadley (UK journalist/DJ) may not breathe fire, but they set it on the dance floor with this mixed compilation of deeply roving club cuts fluid as it is outright rugged.
There's few collections where you can't spot at least one or two (or for too many, a dozen) mediocre-to-boring tracks amid a handful of killers, but Ethnomixicology achieves the opposite. In truth, not one travesty in 14 cuts, and no matter how you look at it, 100% spot-on. It's not only selection, but sequencing making this a full-fledged Dionysian tribute to orgiastic stomper seekers searching out fiendish sonic fixes. There are no peaks and valleys but straight adrenaline rushes until you hardline or surrender entranced in a brilliant subterfuge of percussion, bass and budding rhythms spanning numerous cultures under one beat clapping.
Mysterious Traveler's opening "Green Africa" - reworking of Fela Kuti scats and countdowns into a thumping house cut - sets the stage with, in the Afrobeat King's words, a "little hip-opening." Africa will be revisited at the closing "Deep Channel" from Emmerson's Celts, and in between the pair visit the Middle East (Headmix's "Passenger") and Romania (Bucovina Club vs. Taraf de Ha´douks' "Carolina"), the latter a top remix on Crammed's incredible Balkan digitalism project Electric Gypsyland. The overall focus, however, relies on percussion, and there's plenty of it: Harem's "Oriental Carnival" borrows Brazilian drum poetics with sparse explosions, and Durban, South Africa-bred mbira/umqangala player and vocalist Doreen Thobelike adds a refreshing vocal lift on "Hambanam."
Balkan Brass, thumb pianos, tablas and timbre, limitless language and sonic gymnastics, EthnoMixing and EthnoTechno, the world is losing grip on categories but gaining linguistic juxtaposition. We had to reference culture to hint that citation is useless. Meadley's been covering the global game in print and behind the decks for years, while Emmerson combined Africa and Ireland for four rich albums (and a recent remix effort). United, they've anted the pot with a beast of many colors. If the palate expands further, soon we'll finally give up the meaninglessness of words and join the dance.