Bastien Keb

These days, the best music (IMHO) either picks a single idea and just nails the fucking shit out of it, or, it draws upon many disparate and sometimes contradictory influences and melds them in a manner that seems so natural that you wonder why no one has yet thought to do this. The music of London-based multi-instrumentalist Bastian Keb falls neatly into the latter category, drawing on a cornucopia of influence from jazz and funk, to world music, a cappella music, boogie disco and hip-hop.

His debut Dinking in the Shadows of Zizou recently released via One-Handed Music is simply stunning debut. Keb plays all of the instruments on this record (and there are many—probably more than can be counted on two hands) and chops it all up with some deft MPC sampler skills to boot.

His multifarious compositions have grit, soul and striking originality, a combination of qualities that just seems to be in short supply these days—particularly in loop based music.

I’ve literally been listening to this record on repeat like what for the past two weeks or so.  Get it here (vinyl run sold out already unfortunately) or at his Bandcamp.

Young Fathers – “Tape One”

TAPE+ONE+cover

If you are like me the prospect of Scottish rap might sound about as palatable as white-boy fusion reggae. Sweeping generalizations aside, these Scots have in fact come up with something worthwhile, and something that is uniquely theirs.

Their fusion of innovative rhythm and texture—with roots that can be traced to at least three continents—has led some to proclaim them something of a De La Soul for post-globalization. I think that comparison is a little forced, but I will grant that there are indeed three of them (like De La) and that the left-field hip-hop they make is quite satisfying.

Tape One was actually self-released back in 2012, before being given a proper release in January via Anticon. It doesn’t really sound like anything else on the Anticon roster, but that kind of makes it a perfect match for the weirdo hip-hop stalwart known for pushing the boundaries of what can rightly be associated with the genre.

The Young Fathers

The Young Fathers

Thematically, Tape One could be described as something like pan-Africanism, infused with a healthy dose of dystopic British paranoia.

Weird droney noises and snippets of synthetic ambiance snake in and out of spiraling poly-rhythms. The verses, which are half rapped and half sung, are broken up by call-and-response refrains and tribal-ish sounding chants. There’s even a straight reggae track in there  (possibly just to throw the listener off).

The experience as a whole is a little like what I’d imagine the ‘80s might have sounded like if dub, hip-hop and British post-punk had been smashed together instead of separated by oceans.

Good stuff.

Young Fathers – “Sister”

Young Fathers – “Rumbling”