Artist: Amadou and Mariam
Album: Welcome to Mali
Amadou and Mariam flex eclectic in this joyous adventurism. A riot of Malian pop textures and western influences, this album captures a festival folk spirit of a continent and layers it with the sonic templates of European ingenuity, a real pin ‘n’ mix of salubrious styles. Damon Albarn pops in on the album’s opener and offers sophisticated production over the duo’s effortless rhythm. Each track a winner, Welcome to Mali is uplifting to the last and essential music for those loose of feet or Bamako bound.
[right]Artist: Gun N’ Roses
Album: Chinese Democracy
Axl Rose has reformed this once great rock band and forgotten to include the other members. There’s no Slash, no Izzy and no Duff, no Pinky or Perky either, but one suspects they could have done a better job and may have looked pretty cool singing ‘Welcome to the Jungle’ with over-grown perms and fags hanging in trotters. Chinese Democracy is a failed comeback, an album with no redeeming features apart from Axl’s unique voice; the songs are like mangy, withered rock dogs, chained to the kennels of their past success and desperate for a dose of rabies. Avoid!
Yes I know I’ve been plugging Dubstep on these esteemed pages in recent years and when the clubs of Chiang Mai become saturated with its pioneering half-steps and sub-bass you can tell me to let off. ‘Nomad’ by Headhunter is a different animal to Burial and the Bug, further consolidating the genre’s reputation as a morphological and pleasantly unpredictable soundscape. Nomad prefers the snappy beats more akin to one of Dubstep’s many fathers: electro. It is also blessed with the wrinkly-faced experience of decades of Techno and Progressive House which stomp over this experimental work like angry elephants. May 2009 be soaked in Dubstep!