Thursday, May 17, 2012

This Batida Album is Totally Worth It!

Designer Lewis Heriz deserves credit for creating my new wallpaper.

From my review at the PopMatters, some sentences about an album that's in the same ballpark as Buraka Som Sistema, only lusher. (Real grass as opposed to artificial turf?) (No; more like a beautifully landscaped terrace in the midst of all that concrete and steel.)

Near the end of Batida’s vaguely sinister song “Ka Hueh”, some guy helpfully sneers the word “Freestyle!” Frankly, it’s hard to tell what he means by that.

Batida mastermind DJ Mpula tricks out the beat with a kaleidoscope of echo and FX, including what sounds like a bunch of oversized resonant fork tines jangling together in space.

Like Baltimore house and Brazilian baile funk, kuduro music can intimidate and punish, but it can also tantalize you with touches of beauty that gain power from their harsh surroundings. You appreciate when kuduro at least tries to make you happy.

The Angolan MCs, on the other hand, are tense and tight, their chewy voices taunting the beats and competing for attention with the DJ’s laser sounds. Dama Ivone, Ikonoklasta, and Sacerdote—a woman and two men, it’s worth noting—tear up their tracks and deserve to be heard far and wide. And hey, even The Economist just ran an article on Angolan rap, so you know it’s hot.

More often, Mpula fundamentally transforms his source material—as in “Allegria”, when sample dissolves into sample, choirs appear out of nowhere, and the textures shift like a dream. It’s an uneasy early-morning dream full of noise and relentless beats and freestyle, whatever that means. 

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