New music: World music round-up – April 2016
Featuring Fumaça Preta, Konono No 1 and Elsa Soares
Fumaça Preta – Impuros Fanaticos (Soundway) ●●●
Fumaça Preta's 2014 debut was a riot of demented psychedelic rock and Afro-Brazilian rhythms, with wildcard elements like acid house and free jazz thrown in for good measure. There's more method to mastermind Alex Figueira's madness on Impuros Fanaticos, with the songs honed to reflect the attack of the band's live shows. Of course, they're still pretty nuts. 'Baldonero' invents Caribbean doom metal, its grooves topped with Cookie Monster growls, while on 'La Trampa' the Lebanese surf-rock of Omar Khorshid is hotwired to organ-led garage fuzz. With its electric sitars and reverb, 'Morrer de Amor' sounds like a Turkish spaghetti western soundtrack, while 'A Serpente' relocates Black Sabbath to the Middle East.
Konono No. 1 meets Batida – Congotronics 6 ( Crammed Discs) ●●●●
Lisbon is home to some of the world's most exciting electronic music, with artists like DJ Marfox creating mind-blowing mutations of house, techno and West African dance genres like kuduro. It makes sense then that Kinshasa's mighty Konono No. 1 should pay a visit to the Portuguese capital to bring some of that energy to their own music. Batida, aka producer Pedro Conquenão, underlines Konono's amplified likembe thumb pianos, hand drums and chants with contemporary club sounds, orienting their ecstatic trance music towards the dancefloor. A joyous sound.
Elsa Soares – The Woman At The End of the World (Mais Um Discos) ●●●●
The Woman At The End of the World teams septuagenarian singer Elsa Soares with musicians from the São Paulo avant-garde for a stunning album of experimental samba sujo ('dirty samba'). Brazilian grooves meet spiky art-rock, electronics and squalling jazz horns on a powerful set of songs about racism, domestic abuse, drug addiction, poverty and environmental degradation. Soares' deep, raspy voice is a remarkably versatile instrument, by turns fierce, righteous, sarcastic and sensual. Highlights include the hard rolling neo-Afrobeat of 'Firmeza', the angular Arto Lindsay samba rock of 'Muhler Do Fim Do Mundo', and the elegant chamber pop lament of 'Solto'.