Autonomous Africa III


Autonomous Africa return for the third edition of the afro-grooving, beat crunching, border crossing music project curated by Glasgow’s legendary DJ and producer, JD Twitch. This series of small run, independently released 12″s and the accompanying fundraising nights are raising money for the Mtandika Mission, a charity working to offer education and improve conditions in the village of Mtandika, Tanzania.

Musically, the EPs are distinctly dancefloor orientated, the producers taking the kick vs snare 4/4 structure and splicing it with grooving African infused samples and rhythms. Volume III features tracks from Midland (who grew up in Tanzania), Glasgow stalwarts Auntie Flo and General Ludd, alongside a tack by rather special track from JD Twitch himself.

The project also has a sharp political edge and a message to get across, best explained by Twitch himself

“An autonomous Africa run by the people for the people, where African land is predominantly used to feed African people and Africa’s vast wealth of resources is used to benefit the people of Africa seems the only logical way forward. Autonomous Africa’s goal is to highlight this message and here presents to you 4 tracks of African inspired grooves….Individually we have little power but collectively, the power is ours”

Volume III will be released in July / August. There are also plans afoot to release a full Autonomous Africa compilation featuring music made in Africa itself.

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Soosh – SoFar EP (Fremdtunes)

Gloopy, undersea vocals cut into pieces, swirling synths, sunshine chords and a hint of Dilla-hop or “Dreamhop”. That is one way to describe Glaswegian producer Soosh’s music. Following on from his self-titled EP, SoFar, released through Dutch label Fremdtunes, is another journey into the producer’s sun splattered undersea musical world.
Though the EP sometimes sits a little too close for comfort to the James Blake/Mt.Kimbie style, Soosh does manage to carve out his own sound, epitomised by snippets of carefully arranged vocals and spoken word, patched together with sparse percussion and really warm soothing, subby bass. It is an EP of late afternoon autumnal sunshine and if it were a colour it’d be dusty orange:
The three original Soosh tracks are also complimented by four top-quality remixes from the likes of Greenwood Sharps and Kelpe (my personal favourite). You can get your hands on the EP on vinyl or digitally now via BandcampBeatportBoomkatDigital Tunes or Juno.

Sunday Mashup – Auntie Flo vs Los Mirlos

Auntie Flo, otherwise known as Glaswegian Brian D’Souza, has been making waves over the past year or so with his take on tropical/afro-house and DJ sets at the Highlife club night. His previous tunes ‘Goa’ & ‘Highlife’ were the first releases from club turned label Huntley & Palmers which was followed by this tune ‘Oh My Days’, backed by South African house producer DJ Sdunkero’s ‘Choosing Love’.

Todays mash-up takes the Alejandro Paz remix of ‘Oh My Days’, slows it down and, keeping with the recent Peruvian theme on the blog, blends it with some classic chicha c/o Los Mirlos.

Record Store Day

Saturday the 16th of April is  Record Store Day, a great opportunity to go to your local record store and show some support. There are a number of events in record stores all around the world to celebrate and support the local independent record store. In Glasgow, Rub a Dub records on Jamaica Street have got a handful of DJs including Koreless, Lucky Me’s The Blessings and Instra:Mental to spin some tunes throughout the afternoon inspiring while you browse.There are also a number of special releases which will only be available in record stores including exclusives from Akron/Family, Biblio/Clark, Floating Points, Franz Ferdinand, New Order, The Flaming Lips and a whole lot more. Check them all as well as the events at the Record Store day website.

Tigerstyle Interview

Tigerstyle have been at the forefront of the UK bhangra scene for over ten years now, making a name for themselves through their open-minded approach to the style, fusing traditional rhythms and instrumentation with everything from hip-hop to reggaeton. Check out our Q & A with Pops from the Glasgow duo and while you are reading have a listen to their latest podcast (see below).

The band was recently involved in saving the BBC Asian Network radio station after the BBC proposed cutting the station. It will however still face a 50% slash in its budget.
RnR: What would this mean for the UK Asian music scene?

P. We’ve got where we have so far with the support from the BBC Asian Network, we’re recognised across the globe as being ambassadors of the UK Bhangra scene, but without the Asian Network I doubt we’d be still making music today. If the BBC wants to nuture British made Asian music then they have to keep the station running. The whole world looks to the UK for music, and Asian people across the world look to the Asian Network to be educated.

RnR: Since your early days as Desi Bombsquad Soundsystem have you seen the Scottish bhangra scene grow?

P: When we first started, the clubs in Glasgow were all just playing cheesey pop or dance music, even hip-hop wasn’t played in the clubs at that time. There were no regular bhangra nights, just the one off event here and there. We ran a series of bhangra events at what was then called the Temple nightclub, were part of a group of artists resident at B.Ding which was a global electronic night, and we also then ran a bhangra residency at Destiny nightclub. I think that gave other DJs and promoters the confidence to start promoting their own nights.

The scene has gone through the process of being built, and then being flooded by too many events all happening at the same time, to now being pretty dry, aside from the events put on by Bobby B and GTown Desi. Those guys do a good job in keeping the local Bhangrheads in tune with what the current sounds are.

RnR: Do you feel Glasgow is an open-minded city (music wise)?

P: I feel like its a lot more open to different music these days, more so than it used to be. It used to be hard to find venues which hosted events associated with the sounds we were into, like drum ‘n’ bass, UK garage, hip-hop and dancehall. It has changed now and there’s a healthy music scene here in the city with even the most cutting edge sounds like dubstep being given a platform. Its just a shame that bhangra or Asian electronic music has not been embraced by as much of the non-Asian public as we’d hoped. Maybe this is something we should work on.

RnR: Tigerstyle  were early pioneers of the mash-up (Nachna Onda Nei for example) and bootlegging, are you still fans of mash-up culture?

P: Mash-ups are cool, they have a special kind of energy cos’ the tunes that are mixed are usually hype themselves so if songs are combined well the product can be great. Nachna Onda Nei was a huge tune for us, and being used by Signature for their Britain’s Got Talent performance just made it bigger. It was a shame we didn’t manage to clear the samples otherwise the tune would have been a chart topper at the time I think.

RnR: How has the increasingly global music scene affected your productions/DJ sets?

P: We’re very open with the approach to what music we play in our DJ sets, it just depends on the crowd though. You need to play to the crowd. If you think they wanna be tested and excited by new sounds then you can take risks and be creative, but if they are into one type of sounds you have to stick to it so that they can enjoy the experience of your DJ set rather than you trying to educate them. It totally depends on the situation. Our podcasts are a good cross-section of the type of sounds we’re into, be it bhangra, bollywood, hip-hop and dancehall or Bass music like UK garage, drum ‘n’ bass, electronic and dubstep.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

March 2011 Podcast Cloudcast by TigerstyleOnline

(The interview continues after the jump…)

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Optima Cumbia Glaswegiana

After having discussed cumbia briefly in an interview I did a few years back with half of Glaswegian DJ duo Optimo, JD Twitch, and given his real love of the genre (Beats in Space Radio Show from September 2009) it isn’t much of a surprise to learn that the first of a series of 12″ releases through Let’s Get Lost records is pura cumbia. The 12″ (available here) has four dancefloor orientated cumbia cuts including some rather ace covers of “Staying Alive” and Do Ya Think I’m Sexy”. To be filed under disco-cumbia, cumbia-house or detroit-cumbia. In Twitch’s words:

“I’m not 100% sure what was going on in Colombia and Peru (amongst other South American countries) in the mid to late 70s but some of the craziest, wildest, hypnotic music I have ever heard was being made.”

Optimo, as a club night, may be no more, but the duo still DJ on a Sunday evening at the Sub Club for Hung Up! and continue to bring surprisngly great guests alongside their wonderfully eclectic DJ sets.

Surprisingly, this is the second cumbia release to come out of Glasgow (please correct me if I am wrong!) after the a Frikstailers release through the unfortunately short-lived Revolt into Style label (who even brought the Argentine duo to Glasgow back in 2007.) Here’s to global cumbiasation!