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6 albums you should listen to this week

The Analog Africa label releases a compilation recalling the golden age of Edo funk in Nigeria; STR4TA embodies the nostalgia of the British funk scene of the 80s; Azu Tiwaline breathes new life into her album paying homage to her Tunisian roots with a remix EP; Major Lazer re-releases his last project alongside Aya Nakamura; Pharoah Sanders and Floating Points unite on a new project accompanied by the London Symphony Orchestra, forming a symbiosis between jazz, classical and electronic music; A-Reece makes waves with his lyrics on a new project… March has been an incredible month of music on PAM.

Aspects
STR4TA

Long time friends and collaborators, Gilles Peterson and Jean-Paul ‘Bluey’ Maunick, join forces to breathe new life into an essential era they both helped build, the British funk scene of the 80s. Peterson met Maunick, who was the founding member of the major British band of that era, on the must-have Incognito. This album is the first joint release by the two acolytes for more than ten years. It is a project that encourages us to savor a particular state of mind: for Peterson, it’s as a label owner, DJ, collector and radio show host; for Maunick, it’s as a musician, band leader and hit maker. The Incognito leader states: “Like everyone who plays music, we had sought to emulate our heroes. But we didn’t have the tools, we didn’t learn the music: we played everything by ear, we were inspired by songs taken here and there from records we cherished.” This album is guided by the same ambition: to create a sound that is direct, immediate, light and straightforward, mirroring the period of British music history they both continue to contribute to.

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Today’s Tragedy, Tomorrow’s Memory: the mixtape
A-Reece

At 19, the young rapper won the coveted “Lyricist of the Year” title at the South African Hip-Hop Awards for his 2016 album Paradise. Now 23, A-Reece has already released two tracks this year, namely: “Strictly For My B” as well as “The 5 Year Plan,” and has been nominated for the MTV Africa Music Awards 2021 in the “Best Fanbase” category. In this new project, the melodically-talented South African evokes, in particular, the conflicts of love, during which we oscillate between the will to escape intense conflicts, triggering strong emotions, and sexuality as a means of reconciliation. He explains: “It’s about the ups and downs in a relationship and how you can get into a heated argument with your partner at any time of the day. It can happen in the morning when we’ve both just woken up. So I say I’d rather wake up and make love to my partner than argue about something trivial. I’d rather wake up feeling blessed and not depressed.

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Promises
Floating Points, Pharoah Sanders & The London Symphony Orchestra

Pharoah Sanders and Sam Shepherd, better known as Floating Points, have concocted a whirlwind of jazz, classical and electronic music. Although it’s only one track, which lasts 46 minutes, the recording is captivating because of its spontaneity and authenticity. These were intense sessions punctuated by the space provided by Floating Points, which takes us on a dreamlike journey. Sam Shepherd defines his collaboration with Pharoah Sanders as follows: “We are both seekers. We’re always looking for music that can take us further.” Despite the health crisis, the London Symphony Orchestra was able to participate in a recording session at George Martin’s legendary AIR studio in the summer of 2020. While respecting social distancing, the masked musicians used a hundred microphones to bring Floating Points’ arrangements to life. He defines this particular moment: “The sound of this orchestra playing with so much space between the musicians was a sonic manifestation of these strange times we live in. It was expansive and impressive, and once I heard them play, it was like I had found the last piece of the puzzle.

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Edo Funk Explosion vol.1
Various Artists

The label Analog Africa honors Nigerian Edo funk on its new compilation. A hybrid musical genre born in Benin City, in the heart of Fela Kuti‘s country, it brings together funk and traditional music of the Edo culture and made for a very popular style during the late 70s, when musicians fused all these sounds with those of the nightclubs of West Africa. This compilation is a tribute to Sir Victor Uwaifo, who is seen as one of the main pioneers of this genre, along with Osayomore Joseph and Akaba Man. Uwaifo constantly fused traditional Edo music with electric guitars and synthesizers, while Osayomore introduced the flute into a world dominated by brass-based highlife. This musician had an audience with the royal family and devoted himself to the modernization of Edo music, mixing in funk and Afrobeat. His songs denounced the colonial past of his native country, but also the corruption of the government. As for Akaba Man, he is the philosophical master of Edo funk, having experienced great success through his profound lyrics and transcendent grooves.

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Music is the weapon (Reloaded)
Major Lazer

Major Lazer continues his collaborations through the re-release of his fourth album Music is the Weapon, released last October. This American group has called on several singers and musicians from around the world, such as the American-Trinidadian Nicki Minaj, the American-Moroccan French Montana, the Canadian of Italian origin Alessia Cara, the Colombian J Balvin, the Dominican El Alfa, the Puerto Rican Guaynaa and the Nigerian Joeboy. The title “Titans” brings together Sia, the Australian pop star and the British artist Labrinth, increasingly present on the UK music scene. We also find Aya Nakamura, the most-listened-to French artist on Spotify. She sings in “C’est Cuit,” accompanied by the American rapper Swae Lee. Major Lazer’s goal is to bring together as many cultures as possible on one common project. This is perfectly illustrated by the presence of the Indian artist Rashmeet Kaur, alongside the hugely popular Indian DJ Nucleya with the track “Jadi Buti”.

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Draw Me a Silence (Remixes)
Azu Tiwaline

The Tunisian producer calls on bass music royalty for her new EP Draw Me a Silence (Remix) on I.O.T Records. With her debut album Draw Me a Silence, Azu Tiwaline paid tribute to her own cultural heritage of El Djerid, which is embodied by Tunisian rhythms. Following years of reflection, sometimes unconscious, Azu Tiwaline has undergone a true period introspection. Her last EP, Magnetic Service, impressed the English label Livity Sound through the union of Amazigh (Berber) and electronic music. This year, she is back with an EP of remixes from Draw Me a Silence, on which she featured Flore, Laksa and Don’t DJ, producers from Lyon, Bristol and Berlin. Azu Tiwaline defines this new project as: “A new name for a new spirit.

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