Portable – Albatross
Imagine being born in South Africa, then coming-of-age in London & finally finding dwelling in Berlin. The sense of a permanent home would become a foreign concept. Which is why the leading chant of Portable’s ‘Albatross’ ‘Which way, which way’ can be interpreted to be a call of a diaspora generation, open to new directions. Self-released in 2013 by now sadly dormant Süd Electronic label, the frostiness of the Cold War lingering in Portable’s now permanent home’s history with the spark of Alan Abrahams heritage. The end result is an oeuvre of creativity.
The track opens with a bunch of glass bottles being hit with the summon of Luther from The Warriors. Accompanying them is a delicate pad synth, resembling of a Moodyman record that timidly enters the picture. The swing of the bassline that kicks in is characteristically South African, dynamic yet loosening. The drum work is more cadenced than that of the European compatriots. See Culoe De Song’s remix of Goldfish Feat. Monique Hellenberg – Call Me for reference. Unlike his work under the Bodycode alias, where Abrahams takes a more Jazzmatic approach to the tracks structure in the similar vein to Kettenkarussell, ‘Albatross’ is more linear. A vocalist as well as a producer, Portable provides the solemn questions which carry the spiritual pursuit of Burning Spear. Continue reading
Tony Allen – Ole (Moritz Von Oswald Remix)
Released on Damon Albarn’s Honest Jon’s Records, this Moritz Von Oswald remix is proof that the Gorillaz frontman has a delicate taste in electronic music. With the original version coming from an album titled ‘Lagos Shake’, the Nigerian influence is strong with this one. Oswald is a German multi-instrumentalist whose extensive original releases like ‘Watamu Beach Rework‘ demonstrate production influenced by 1970s bands responsible for the Kosmische movement like Tangerine Dream and Can. His collaboration with Mark Ernestus as Basic Channel introduced the world to some of the most pioneering minimal and dub tech releases. Their subsequent label Rhythm & Sound output drew influence from the dub reggae scene. Here Oswald takes his production mastery to transform Tony Allen’s original into a dub techno ambrosia.
The track begins with a set of djembe drums played with great adroitest of Yinka Ogunye. A lingering analogue synth reminiscent of a Ibiza Chillout compilation simmers with intent to collaborate. The symbiotic relationship between natural and technological instrumentation is captivating. Rather than contrasting, they manoeuvre in communion that is refreshing. Then, ninety seconds in, the the prime mover of the track announces its entrance with the charisma of Alexander the Great. A husky kick supplements a sangfroid bassline that is cadenced yet serene. An African vocalist chants ecclesiastic chants with sombre conviction. Though the words may sound alien, the spirit with which they are sung is universal. Continue reading