New music: World Music round-up – April
New releases from Bassekou Kouyate, Melechesh and Insanlar
Bassekou Kouyate & Ngoni Ba – Ba Power (Glitterbeat) ●●●●
Malian ngoni virtuoso Bassekou Kouyate and his band Ngoni Ba return for a fourth album. Ba Power is more polished than its 2013 predecessor Jama Ko, with the fire of Kouyate's amplified ngoni tempered by the crystal-clear acoustic sounds around it. 'Musow Fanga', featuring Fourth World trumpeter Jon Hassell, takes Ngoni Ba into oceanic drift, but the band still bring the heat on the driving funk of 'Watti', with Kouyate reeling off blazing leads on overdriven ngoni. Singer Amy Sacko is as much the star of the show as Kouyate, imbuing strong melodies with a graceful confidence.
Released Mon 27 Apr.
Melechesh – Enki (Nuclear Blast) ●●●●
Mesopotamian metalheads Melechesh are unlikely to be playing WOMAD any time soon, but the Jerusalem-based group's inventive fusion of black metal and Arabic music is hugely potent. Ashmedi's scatching vocals tell of Sumerian gods and ancient magic over devastating oriental riffs and thunderous blast beats. The customary acoustic track, 'Doorways to Erkala', sees the group forge an intense form of Assyrian folk, while 'Lost Tribes' has Sepultura's Max Cavalera unleash his unmistakable Brazilian roar over monstrous middle-eastern thrash riffs. Brutal, complex and often anthemic, Enki is testament to the power and creativity of non-western rock.
Insanlar/Ricardo Villalobos – Kime Ne (Honest Jon's) ●●●●
A remarkable double EP set from Istanbul DJ Baris K's psychedelic disco troupe, Insanlar. Kime Ne unfolds over 23 mesmeric minutes, weaving improvised baglama (saz) lines and pitch shifted vocal refrains over a steady pulse of acid house bass. The verses are adapted from the 17th century poet Kul Nesîmî and the 16th-century icon Pir Sultan Abdal, making for an out-of-time quality that is utterly transporting. As the track flows and builds, trickles of analogue synth usher in rapped vocals and cosmic trails of treated baglama. A stunner. The remixes, by minimalist maestro Ricardo Villalobos, are immaculate, stripping the track back and opening up the drum patterns.
Release date TBC.