Music Reviews

Artist: Gabriel Le Mar (@)
Title: Jump Cuts
Format: CD
Label: self-released
Rated: *****
Yebo! One of the two Saafi Brothers (the psychedelic trance and dub freak he created with Michael Kohlbecker), Gabriel Le Mar, erects an ideal bridge between Zulu traditional music, one of the richest one as well as one of the meaningful of the African ones, and contemporary forms of techno music by bringing it back to the concept of tribalism, which inspired for many years all those essayists which tried to give a conceptual framework to the techno movement. Zulu music already acted as a source for inspiration for many European and American contemporary composers, but Gabriel maybe has been the first musician proposing an interesting mélange mixing together contemporary minimal techno with branches of Zulu musical tradition (in particular mbaqanga and maskanda) as well as a certain mysticism belonging to that culture ('¦and many musicians know how important is music for those tribes, whose lyrics are usually old poems, lullabies, chants which sometimes even include animal verses in order to highlight the deep connection with environment and nature'¦) by putting them into the groove in such a brilliant way and by involving some key figures of that scene, including the deep voice and the creative wit (according to many African music experts, she had been one of the best fusionist of the contemporary age, by proposing many astonishing hybridizations of marabi, maskanda and mbaqanga with elements of jazz, rock, rap, reaggae and even opera!) of Bushi Mhlongo (mourned by all South-African music scene for her recent decease in June'¦she will enjoy ethereal dances on tracks such as Critical Caution together with the holy spirits of other musicians in the area of the Heaven, which, I imagine, has been reserved to musicians'¦), one of the voice which inspired the fight for freedom in South Africa according to President Zuma, Lungiswa Plaatjies (another impressive singer, who got a certain notoriety for the fact she's maybe the first mbira female player) , Madala Kunene (the enthralling Konkomania, a remake of his song Kon'ko man, meaning Strong Man in Zulu language, which helped spreading the music from the native Kwa Natal all over the world, is definitively one of my favorite track of this record) and Mantombe Matotiyani, voice of Amampondo, one of the favorite band by Nelson Mandela and previous collaborators of Gabriel Le Mar as well, borrowing her trance-inducing voice on Drift, one of the best sample of the above-mentioned mélange, featuring a catching dub-techno groove .

Vocal-powered record whose mystical connection has been based on the whimsical and meaningful mixture of some ancestral feelings and hypnotic African rhythms with nowadays forms of dub and techno (Le Mar's preferred music territories indeed!) which reminded to me that daydreaming state of mind between reverie and befuddlement Zulus usually name Dwaal. A calling to arms to all music listeners who love more syncretic electronic freaks!

Jubulani, Zakea! [Be happy'¦it's beautiful!]

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