Saturday, December 31, 2011

More Things To Do In Bongolia

If you're Electric Cowbell Records and you've released one of the best compilations of the year, 101 Things To Do In Bongolia, what do you do next? Why you immediately start releasing a batch of limited edition 7" records featuring a slew of artists including Debo Band, Sway Machinery and newcomers Karthala 72. Essential to say the least, each of the seven inch records offers a different take on the rather large umbrella of world music. From brassed off tunes, to tribal Afropop Electric Cowbell continually searches the world over and then releases records that take the genre of world music and turn it upside down.

Sway Machinery & Khaira Arby team up to create an Afropop record that gets down. The two songs that make up this seven inch "Gawad Teriamou" and "Youba" take tribal sounds and make them funky. I would challenge anyone not to move during the boogie breakdowns that pulsate through, "Youba;" it's just not possible.

A bit more traditional in it's approach but still spectacular comes Cheick Hamala Diabate. A West African historian and master of traditional Malian instrument, ngoni, Cheick combines the ancient rhythms and ideas of his ancestors with a bit of an American slant; living in D.C. will do that to ya. Anyway, the results are two songs that are intricate, intimate, and absolutely beautiful. Cheick has done his ancestors proud and has taken something ancient and made it seem modern.

Os Magrelos almost seem like a world music influenced jazz band complete with organs, horns, and downtempo drums. The three songs that make up this seven inch sound like some sort of Mad Men Brasil 66 team up. It's gorgeous, sexy, seductive stuff that will remind you of 60's jazz beatniks who hang out with Burt Bacharach. In other words, vintage awesomeness abounds here and this is a fantastic record.

Continuing that beatnik vibe, Karthala 72 offer up two tracks of tribal psychedelic influenced fusion that gets funky and rocky at the same time and seems headed to somewhere just outside of our galaxy. It's trippy vintage sounding stuff that at times seems almost primal and rough in its efforts but just freaked out enough to keep things moving along. Both tracks are pretty good listening.

On the exact opposite end of the universe comes No BsiBrass who for some strange reason have done an all brass version of Aha's, "Take On Me." As bizarre as it sounds it's almost like listening to some sort of 80's high school marching band in your living's amazing. On the flip, the band amp up the tuba and go to town w/getting funky. Chuck Mangione these guys are not, but they are a lot of fun and I'd love to see these guys live w/the Florida A&M Rattler band!

Little Shalimar wraps things up here with two songs that are the least world music sounding of the bunch. In fact Little Shalimar is an indie rock band whose members are Lebanese, Jewish, and white Anglo Saxon Protestant all at the same time. Little Shalimar writes extremely hooky tunes that incorporate funk, rock, and kazoos into the mix and almost sound like Electric Company songs from the 70's. This is a fun seven inch record that's got an incredible back beat and hooks so large they could round up a whale shark.

So there you have it...the Electric Cowbell Records seven inch frenzy; it's one heck of a follow up to the awesome Bongolia compilation and if you even remotely like global grooves you should do yourself a favor and pick up this collection. Check out Electric Cowbell at

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