Saturday, August 3, 2013

P044: Cabeza de Vaca – Morphosis special

Lebanese artista Rabih Beaini has been around for about a decade now, but it was only with his “What have we learned” album on Delsin in 2011 that he really cemented his place in the techno pantheon and marked himself as somewhat untouchable. There are lots of clues to this relatively slow genesis on this weeks Cabeza de Vaca show over at Scanner FM.

Perhaps the underlying message of all this and many of the other genuinely interesting and innovative artists that we have previewed on the show recently is that the best take time to make their music. They sacrifice something to develop a sound. Eduardo de la Calle best embodies this and has done his best to convey this message in the Beatz documentary, but it is something that cannot be emphasised enough. It is not only in dance music, but elsewhere that there are too many musicians almost doing their best to fit in, but who ultimately are one drop in the sea and are rarely heard or heard for long enough.

Beaini’s journey essentially begins with the Upperground Orchestra which he co-founded by chance after a double booking at a Venice venue where he was living at the time. The group continue to exist and play and record, although releases are few and far between still. We open the show with their debut release and one of the earliest on Beaini’s Morphine Records label which he cofounded with Stefano Boati aka Ksoul. Apart from the “Solaris Eremit” single there is only the “Eupen Takes” album from last year which is a lot less conventional than the first single and clearly takes in more of the influence of Sun Ra.

Sun Ra’s influence on modern electronica continues to grow and it is no surprise to find a few artists on the label that clearly draw inspiration from the great man, particularly Hieroglyphic Being, but also the pranksterisms and free form workouts of Madteo, Metasplice and Container.

The new material clearly has a lot of Sun Ra influence too and feels fresh and challenging because of it. On the “Albidaya” album the last track “Ya shatter” in particular is a feast of world music, jazz and modern electronics. A totally compelling jam, apparently partially realised in Detroit on some of Mick Huckaby’s synths.

In The Wire interview we mention on the program, Beaini also claims to have some important input from Newworldaquarium who gave him the advice to “think like a band” since as an electronic artist you are essentially playing all the instruments yourself. Beaini’s work under the Morphosis name clearly carries that sound, being equed and teased out in a direct hands-on approach, mistakes and all, and mixed with an unusual balance to the mix that requires a different way of entering the music. It necessitates a bit of effort on the part of the listener or a bit more patience to see the evolution before it makes sense. This is particularly true for the more off-kilter tracks which, as the Wire said, completely “crack[s] apart the mechanical rhythm of the loop". Indeed, some times the balance of the Morphosis sound is so original that you wonder how easy it is to mix, though that didn’t stop Lawrence or Marcel Dettmann from including tracks from “What we have learned” in their respective mixes “Timeless” and “Conducted” from 2011.

Finally and serendipitously, the day after publishing the show, Morphosis announced a collaboration and tour with Donat Dozzy , another artists we feature in the program. All bodes well.

Upperground Orchestra
Solaris Eremit
Morphine Records
Rabih Beaini
Light within a light
Annihaya Records
Tamrat version
Honest Jon's Records
Dirty matter
They just dont care
Styrax Records
Abdulla Rashim
Semian Terara 1
Abdulla Rashim Records
Dense and Pika
Lack of light
Hotflush Recordings
Donato Dozzy
Europa (coda)

Cabeza de Vaca Facebook

Scanner FM

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