V/A Alternate African Reality (Album – Syrphe)

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Genre/Influences: Experimental, Minimal-Electro, Electro-Acoustic, Industrial.

Format: Digital, 2CD.

Background/Info: The full title of this compilation featuring Thirty two tracks is “Alternate African Reality / Electronic, Electroacoustic And Experimental Music From Africa and the Diaspora”. Cedrik Fermont aka ‘C-drík’ or ‘Kirdec’ has reassembled thirty artists from twenty four African countries and the Diaspora. For now I can remember that he has always been interested in discovering and featuring artists from countries and parts of the world we don’t even know there’re artists dealing with this kind of music. His label Syrphe is devoted to this exploration. But more than this, C-drik is what we can call a traveler who visited and played in the most distant places on earth so he got directly in touch with those artists.

Artists: Hobotep, Beko The Storyteller, Monrhea + Ejuku, Jako Maron, Rey Sapienz, Catu Diosis, Yao Bobby & Simon Grab, Mario Swagga And DJ Silila, Afalfl, Ibaaku, The Age Of Heroes, Ujjaya, Amet, Pö, Aragorn23, Robert Machiri, Mash, Sukitoa O Namau, Ibukun Sunday, Shadwa Ali, C-Drik, Cobi Van Tonder, Kmru, Jacqueline George, Aurélie Nyirabikali Lirman, Victor Gama, Luca Forcucci Feat. Cara Stacey And Mpho Molikeng, Tiago Correia-Paulo, Redha M, Emeka Ogboh, Chantelle Grey, Ski Crime.

Content: The first album features 21 tracks, revealing a diversified palette of music. Most of the artists are clearly dealing with experimental music while some of them are injecting explicit African elements, which are mainly recognizable in the typical rhythmic, but still in some chants. I also noticed more sophisticated tracks, which are even touching ground with IDM (Rey Sapienz, Afalfl). I also noticed a jazzy touch running through the track by Aragorn23 and some ritual elements shared by Hibotep and Pö.

The second disc features 11 artists and I experienced this disc as more into electro-acoustic music. You’ll also recognize African elements, like artists who clearly hold on their cultural roots and legacy, which has been mixed with more ‘Western’-like aspects. I’m referring to field recordings and the typical approach of electro-acoustic creation. The tracks remain pretty accessible through the addition of vocals.  

+ + + : I first of all like this concept; this compilation is not only a way to discover music from distant countries and artists deserving more recognition, but it also is an antidote to our rigid- and blinded view upon music. There’s much more than the traditional European- and American underground music. This compilation reveals that experimental music is a world-wide concern! We have to be thankful some passionate music lovers like Cedrik Fermont are opening our musical horizon. I discovered multiple interesting artists! The album features some info about the origin of the artists and some extra info about the compilation.

– – – : It however remains a pretty experimental music and you clearly have to be familiar with music genres like electro-acoustic and experimental/impro music.

Conclusion: No doubt about it, this compilation is a truly tour de force! It must have taken time to release this work, which is an essential documentary to improve our knowledge; respect!

Best bands: Afalfl, Mash, Rey Sapienz, Ibukun Sunday, Shadwa Ali, Beko The Storyteller + Kmru, Luca Forcucci Feat. Cara Stacey And Mpho Molikeng

Rate: (8)

Label: www.syrphe.com / www.facebook.com/Syrphe

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Inferno Sound Diaries

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