Where the Zamrock phase that struck Africa in the 1970s, combining both the authenticity of traditional African sound and stirring the melting ability of psychedelic concept orchestrated something engaging and unique. In 1978, Hailu Mergia was able to construct forces with Dahlak Band to form Wede Harer Guzo. 10 tracks over just an hour were able to craft a handshake from traditional roots and a new age of distorted rebellion.
Described from the BandCamp page, “By 1978, Addis Ababa’s (Capital of Ethiopia) nightlife was facing challenges. The ruling Derg regime imposed curfews, banning citizens from the streets after midnight until 6 am. But that didn’t stop some people from dancing and partying through the night.” Rather than describing a history lesson. Wede Harer Guzo is a record packed with uplifting instrumentation and is an adventure that forces these chanting vocals as the main progression to the notion.
Featuring Hailu Mergia on the organ, both Dawit Yifru on the electric piano and Abera Feyissa on the bass pack sound into a digestible backbone. Then, Tesfaye Tessema on the percussion and Dawit Kassa on the guitar work to provide a rhythmic vibration. On the horns, both Tilaye Gebre on the sax and Shimels Beyene on the trumpet give some extra soul to the flair. Then either backing or foreground vocals from Muluken Melesse and Rida Ibrahim on the vocals are essential to forming this liquefying resonation.
Opening with “Embuwa Bey Lamitu,” the gentle waves and sounds of Mergia’s organ comes to clash as this golden touches that add up to one overarching conform of style. Then the choruses that repeat “Embuwa Bey Lamitu” continue to resonate in the mind and the recording history of the Ghion Hotel in Addis Ababa reflects this wishful performance. The sunlight of Ethiopia is immediately present in Wede Harer Guzo and transfers onto the track “Yamanesh Ayinama.”
Here the instrumentation is more focused on a jam session where the organ and electric piano can work to sculpt a tandem crossing. Most of the work here spends less time on the narration or vocalization but instead uses the instruments as vocals that can shout and sporadically burst with energy. The horns from Beyene and Gebre trade the spotlight, drowning over the organ that is infused with practical beams of the shining sun.
Even in the final seconds, Wede Harer Guzo is wading in the water as a full ensemble that powers through as a conference of resonation. From Ethiopia in 1978 to the release in 2016, the capability breaks through and 50 years later cracks to ease into the perfect serotonin-based seams.
Listen Here – Spotify
“A playlist of tracks that were featured on MattsMusicMine.com from the week of September 14th – 20th. From Reviews to Streams, never miss a track with these playlists that are uploaded every single Sunday till I drop dead.”
Featuring: Wiz Khalifa, Atramentus, Machine Girl, Ghostemane, Nas, Hit-Boy, The Velvet Underground & Nico, 93FeetOfSmoke, Dumal, Ramirez, SosMula, Angel Olsen, BKTheRula, Tokyo’s Revenge, Necrot
Track List: Never Been Part II, Number 16, Stygian I: From Tumultous Heavens, Fully In It, AI, Ultra Black, I’m Waiting For The Man, Run Run Run, RESIN!, Through Fields Of Peasant Graves, Children Of The Void, (New Love) Cassette, Impasse (Workin’ For The Name), Admit It, GOTHAM, Asleep Forever
Listen Here – Youtube
Featuring: Nell, Raider Klan, Key Nyata, Nell, Wiz Khalifa, Juicy J, Amber London, Xavier Wulf, Denzel Curry, A$AP Rocky, A$AP Ferg, SPOOKYLI, DiamondsOnMyDick, Chuck Nyndees, GRiMM DOZA, Lil Ugly Mane, Kane Grocerys, Black Kray, Robb Bank$, Three 6 Mafia, Bone Thugs N Harmony
Track List: The Revolution ’94 Outro, BYWF Intro, They Can’t See Me, T.A.P., Ridin In The Back, Pretty Flacko, Max Julien, BLXXD SVCRIFICEX, Wario, #Tekken6, Danny Trejo, THE HAUNTING, SOULJA, Throw Dem Gunz (OG), #PBD, Taliban World, Look Like Basquiat, Murder On My Mind
Listen Here – BandCamp
Featuring: Trent Reznor
Track List: Centaur Skin, Pit, Headless To Headless, Stabbed By A Knight, Chinese Aquarius, ASS-TO-TRUTH, Jinmenken, Babysitter, Road Warrior Pisces, Poisonous Horses, Mythemim, Body Double, Motherfuckers 64, Perfect Shadow
“Yeah, back and blacker than ever. Got sick of waiting for these actors to get it together. Still in them gutters, all my brothers is birds of a feather. Tried to get this money cause my people done struggled forever.” No these aren’t the words of a poet from the civil marches, but instead those of Long Beach native, Vince Staples.
On his 2014 project, Shyne Coldchain Vol. 2, Staples opens with “Progressive III,” a continuation from his first mixtape release Shyne Coldchain Vol. 1 where the rhyme schemes and instrumentation fit more for a rally than any track. Staples sits at a podium where all eyes and lenses are on him, cameras flash and the steady flow of bars comes through crafting a wade in deep depths.
Rather than gracefully floating though, the audience is cast away at sea, lost to teeter above and below the waves while saltwater begins to drag them down. Staples who appears as a predator describes, “Just sit and look at where they raised us at, seen blacks ain’t crack so they gave us that. Give us hope then take us back to the 1800s with these rap contracts.” He continues on to illustrate, “You got a right to the dream, whether it’s triple beam or Martin Luther’s, my chain heavy. Is you ready for that revolution?”
Later on the track “Nate,” Staples is able to reminisce on thoughts about his father and adapting to the early grasps at life. He describes, “As a kid, all I wanted was to kill a man, be like my daddy’s friends hopping out that mini-van. Chrome ’38 spinning like a ceiling fan, crying on my momma phone swearing he a different man.”
As the verse switches into the second section. Staples switches his demeanor and describes, “As a kid, all I wanted was a hundred grand, Uncle counting money while my daddy cutting grams. Made me promise that this shit would never touch my hands, and it never did.” The way that Staples is so detailed and graphic with his narration, it creates an emotional attachment to his story.
Even off the bombastic piece “Shots” that is one of the strongest tracks off the record, Staples is still a real threat even behind a microphone. The opening description of “Niggas die off of Poppy Street, bet my mama vouch. They drive by, we don’t run inside, bitch we shoot it out.” The first verse that follows is vital to his delivery and takes the ugliness of a street war to the headlines.
He begins, “On my grind Benz color of the crimes I’ve been committing, I’ve been fighting all my life and I ain’t stopping till it’s finished. Rapid firepower sound just like a helicopter engine, Hell ain’t threatening to niggas who ain’t never had religion.” While the subject matter is something that most listeners will never see or be able to relate to, the storytelling and way that Staples used the production from No I.D. here gives grenades to the speakers.
Before big fish came to swim or the Norf Norf was something that people were able to visit sonically, Staples was a different kind of poet. Shyne Coldchain Vol. 2 is one of the projects that has raw animosity but also the refined ability to take the listener right to 3230 Poppy St.
Listen/Watch Here – Youtube
Director: Philippa Price
Produced By: MAAVVEN
Producer: Coleen Haynes
DP: Jordan Black
Choreographer: Nina Mcneely
Art Director: Bastien Mcbride
Stylist: Aquiles Carmona
Hair: Gilbert Soliz
Nails: Krista Jones
Editor: Nina Mcneely
Colorist: Beau Leon + Framestore
FX: Skulley Effects
Listen/Watch Here – Youtube
Produced By: Cliiifford + Mathias Tyner
Directed + Edited By: JMP @ualreadyknowJMP
Creative Directed By: Lil Sabotage
Produced By: Matt Zolly
Production Manager: Sho Shrock
DP By: Russ Fraser + James Pereira
1st AC: Sergey Nikitenko
2nd AC: Bobby Pavlovsky
Additional Camera Operator: James Pereira
VFX + Animation By: The Kroot
Post Creative Produced By: Tomash K.
VFX Production Company: dreambear
AD: Amanjah Anthony
Color: Josh Bohoskey
SFX: Christian Stropko
Make Up By: Devin Bianchini
Stylist: Alabama Blonde
Gaffer: Tristan Moffatt
Best Boy Electric: Connor Soules
Key Grip: Matt Planer
Best Boy Grip: Andrew Small
Balloon Technician: Erik Arendt
Production Assistant: Asher Gardner
Production Assistant: Michael Nicholas
Set Medic: C.S. King
Covid-19 Compliance Officer: Delvin Williams
PA/Driver: Jozs Kardos
Casting By: espirit casting
Production Company: Snow Beach LLC
Video Commissioner: Shannon Leskowitz
ReVolt: Larry Ejchorszt
CryoShock: Tokyo’s Revenge
Atomic Ash: Coco Blake
Outta Site: Joel Ezra
Flexie: Meghan Lalor
Accelero: David Dukellis
Ruby Eyes: Star Abelar
Referee: Stageman Dan Gregory
Angel Olsen is an artist that no matter the record can have a distinct undertone that both absorbs the blow of loneliness, but also creates a deeper layer of isolation. On her latest 11 track record, Whole New Mess is less about falling apart, but instead about sculpting the shattered pieces to construct again.
Opening with the self-titled track, “Whole New Mess” is a loose instrumental of just reverb and strings. The steel tendrils that snap next to the frankly ethereal vocals from Olsen gives this stage to sonic demise. She describes painfully, “I stretch my bones out on the floor… getting back on track, getting back on track when it all fades to black.” Her voice is the most valuable instrument throughout her releases and Whole New Mess is no different. The storytelling and subtle narration are less muted but more just present. It does not command the listener or audience in any way, never being an overbearing force of nature.
Olsen continues through each track seemingly lost and as she reaches “(New Love) Cassette,” her guitar becomes more focused on forming build-ups and crafting a pinpoint focus to her vocals. Using only two channels for sound is how Olsen can capture the attention and be more illustrative even just through stinted moans or groans in place of lyrics. “(New Love) Cassette” through the entire track is a swell that never breaks over, instead the tension of the piece carries to raise higher and higher until, by the end of the perfectly cut three minute track time, Olsen is once again connected to an unquenchable silence.
It could be harsh to say, but Olsen does her absolute best when she is at her most sunken sounding. The use of her vocals that always has this jagged tenderness is a knife wrapped in ribbon. Her delivery is incredibly high-pitched and soothing, but the emotional distress behind the articulation acts closer to death than anything. She is a songbird with no key to the cage it sits in; there is a beauty to her sound but also a tragedy that never seems to falter.
Even on some of the final pieces like “Chance (Forever Love)” or “Impasse (Workin’ For The Name)” have a depressed delivery and little sunshine or hope packed inside. This lack of sun leads to grey aftermath from a heavy storm. The close-up shots of rain that drip off of rust and metallic overcoats relates to Olsen as the reverb and effects drown out her sound to become the focal point. Especially on “Impasse (Workin’ For The Name),” she is nearly silent at the opening but then peels back this iron plating to be fully emersed in a musical destruction.
Fading to black and eventually succumbing to that foreboding silence, Olsen on Whole New Mess is as engaging as always. The continuation of pain and more specifically just the sound of existing is more present as the knife twists deeper and turns to draw new blood from the stone delivery.