Not Cumbia, but Doombia: Huelepega Sound System douse some heady reverb and downer vibes over a combination of processed samples, FX and real live instrumentation (timbales, congas, keys), dumped into a great new Inyrdisk label CDR called En Los Ojos de Dios, Todos, Somos Ilegales. While it's loose and lo-fi as hell, it's far from any recreational or patronizing stab at the genre of Cumbia you might expect by seeing the extremely on-the-fly packaging. Member Sergio Elmir has been a solid figure in Toronto alt-Latin scene as a DJ and writer for years, David Dacks is a leading light in Canada's dub and electronic fronts, and auxiliary musicians Ernesto and Amadeo Ventura studied under some heavy Afro-Cuban musicians including Jerry Gonzalez. The blurred, hazy vibe of this CD reminds me of African Head Charge slowed down to 16RPM at times, and while they certainly don't seem to be encouraging anyone on the dance floor at this particular time, they've surely curated some kind of new room at the club. "Untitled" (MP3)
When Koes Bersaudara (literally "the Siblings") hit the almost non-existant Indonesian rock scene in 1965, they (along with the girl group Dara Puspita) served as magnets of anti-Western sentiment. They tread water for a while to please both sides, but upon crashing into the Beatles' "I Saw Her Standing There" at a party they were hired to play at a naval officer's house all hell broke loose. It was a grand statement against President Sukarno's drive to eliminate ngak ngik ngok (imperialist) music from Indonesian culture, and his supporters pelted the house with rocks and eventually the entire Koes Bersuadara got thrown in the slammer with no chance to defend themselves for three months. Their two 1967 albums that followed their release To the So-Called Guilties and the earlier, floatier Djadikan Aky Domba Mu (compiled now on one Sublime Frequencies disk) became immediately super-rare (the anti-government stance of the former especially kept labels at bay from interaction) and wed Beat aspirations with some real darkness. Recording was live, primitive, and the spirit intact, check out "Poor Clown" (MP3) aimed square at Sukarno, reminding him "the fun has dropped down from the west/I'll tell you what, you should delight/we're free, horizons are bright."
Claw Toe is the project of London-born, Chicago-residing Criminal IQ label honcho Darius, and the new "Ingrown Ego" (MP3) /b/w "Girl From the Gas Station" 7" sounds like a perfect slice of Shadow Ring vs.UK 80's DIY soup, especially elements of Cultural Amnesia. Synth blurts punctuate some Flipper-style feelbad vibes with deadpan narration of what sounds like some real chest-beating over having big hands and never washing them while leaving the bathroom a mess. Darius says it's all recorded in his mother-in-law's basement, his lack of sanitary regard in this respect is hopefully not being culled from current real-life experience. Either way, I don't enter this forum to be a judge of hygiene, so let it just be said that this remains 5 minutes of good zonked claustrophobic atmopshere.
Hizzoner Joe Belock has already proclaimed White Mystery's self-titled disc one of his faves of the year, and indeed I too can get excited over most anything Ms. Alex White pipes on. Raw soul vox, very-live primitive guitar (complete with some aborted fuzz pedal stomps left into the songs to make it sound even more one-take) and able drum pounding by brother Francis. I'm looking forward to a May 8th jam on Terre T's Cherry Blossom Clinic (where Alex has appeared previously), and in the meantime check out "Farmer" (MP3).
Where do shamanism, Michel Legrand, and Estonian jazz converge? Collage Ensemble started up in 1966 via Raivo Dikson and assorted friends from Estonian Academy of Music choirs and radio/jazz groups to filter some adventurous outside influences in (many drawn from dedicated listening to BBC, catching music on Finnish TV broadcasts etc.). Dikson left and Aarne Vahuri became leader and arranger, and helped focus on taking old traditional folk songs of the region, Regilaul (Runo) songs, and drawing some real inspiration from imported records of French vocal combo Les Double Six. That in itself is some snazzy stuff, but add to the equation the idea of much Regilaul being steeped in repetition and variations on vocal mantras, and an even more open mind to outside progessive sounds (Swedish pianist Jan Johannson also inspired Collage to seek out a more forward-folk-based means of making records). A very unique language developed for at least a decade thereafter and Collage managed to play a few foreign gigs as well. "Petis Peiu" (MP3) has a healthy dose of Estonian bossa nova with female scatting, but the vocal approach on Forty Seven Minutes Four Seconds (Wool Recordings) ranges from booming wholesome male choruses, to blissful psychedelic folk chanting, even a lo-fi raga. Great reissue.