E is for Electronic Music Infiltration

‘E’ in Beaver’s A to Z of Fusion goes to the sounds of electronic music for their like-it-or-not, rapid infiltration of almost every type of music in just about every part of the world since their beginnings at the end of the 19th century.

electronic music

A Shallow History of Infiltration

The history of electronic music is long and involved.  It’s not a story I’m qualified to properly tell, nor do I want to try. The over-simplified, short, sketchy version is this…

The Beatles - Moog SynthesizerFirst came the creation of electronic musical instruments like synthesizers. The Beatles weaved them into their music in the late 1960’s, as did artists before them. Pink Floyd did too, even Herbie Hancock, and countless artists since them.

The development of electronic music technologies continued, including digital audio to rapidly thereafter replace analog.

The creation of music using only electronic means became increasingly common.

Computer software advanced. Access to computers and other technologies became easier for most of the world.

electronic music

Certainly electronic music got its grips on ‘less-developed’ (ie. poorer) parts of the world sooner than the richer ones, but it eventually infiltrated just about everywhere. Seven years ago in Havana you can imagine my dismay when a young man in the technologically un-advanced, insulated Cuban bubble, proudly played me the reggaeton (an electronic-music-Evil) track he’d just finished making on his archaic equipment.

Some consequences of the world’s electronic music infiltration I’m into, some I am most definitely not.

Post-Infiltration

Nowadays it’s rare to find music made in the warm, living analog world. That’s a tragedy of epic proportions. Thankfully some artists still deliver it – most recently D’Angelo with Black Messiah, and regularly by Will Holland (aka Quantic).

Digital music consumption now dominates – another tragedy of epic proportions.

Nowadays and for a long time it’s been open to any man, woman or their dog with a computer to make music on it. It’s great that so much creativity is flowing from people around the world, but the truth is that I have little tolerance for listening to music produced wholly and solely in the electronic domain.

It’s not all doom and gloom though – the infiltration of electronic music has had its benefits too. Today some of my favorite music from around the world is by artists/groups who innovatively utilise and blend the sounds of electronic instruments into their musical mix whilst valuing and maintaining the living, human, conventional sounds.

It is the sounds of those instruments, and the people playing them, that is the living chi of music. They make the music sound and feel alive to me. They physically and emotionally connect me to the music. Without that living element, with purely electronic sounds, the music is a lost cause for my ears.

Infiltration Samples

Check out these sample tracks by a handful of contemporary artists from different countries who mix up the sounds of electronica and the living to produce killer musical results. Remember these are just super-compressed mp3 versions of the songs. Buy the music on vinyl where you can, or at least cd, to hear it in its full, living sound glory.

1. NGAIIRE (Papua New Guinea/Australia)

Lamentations (2013) - Ngaiire

NGAIIRE – Lamentations (2013)

‘Fireflies’ – NGAIIRE – Lamentations

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Check out more NGAIIRE music + footage from live shows here.

2. Flying Lotus (USA)

Flying Lotus - You're Dead! (2014)

Flying Lotus – You’re Dead! (2014)

‘Never Catch Me’ – Flying Lotus feat. Kendrick Lamar – You’re Dead! 

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Flying Lotus - Until The Quiet Comes (2012)

Flying Lotus – Until The Quiet Comes (2012)

‘See Thru To U’ – Flying Lotus  feat. Erykah Badu – Until The Quiet Comes

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Flying Lotus - Cosmogramma (2010)

Flying Lotus – Cosmogramma (2010)

‘German Haircut’ – Flying Lotus – Cosmogramma

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Check out more Flying Lotus music here and stay tuned for a rundown of his upcoming live performances in Australia.

3. Will Holland – aka Quantic (UK)

Tropidelico - The Quantic Soul Orchestra - Tropidelico

The Quantic Soul Orchestra – Tropidélico (2007)

‘I Just Fell In Love Again’ – The Quantic Soul Orchestra – Tropidélico

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Check out more Quantic tracks + footage of his DJ set at WOMADelaide 2014  here.

4. Myele Manzana (Aotearoa/New Zealand)

Myele Manzanza - One (2012)

Myele Manzanza – One (2013)

‘Elvin’s Brew’ – Myele Manzanza  – One

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5. Hiatus Kaiyote (Australia)

Hiatus Kaiyote - Tawk Tomahawk

Hiatus Kaiyote – Tawk Tomahawk (2013)

‘Sphinx Gate’ – Hiatus Kaiyote – Tawk Tomahawk

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Hear more Hiatus Kaiyote tracks + videos of live shows here.

6. Sidestepper (UK + Colombia)

(pioneers in live/electro Colombian fusion)

Sidestepper live at WOMADelaide 2011

Sidestepper live at WOMADelaide 2011

Sidestepper - 3AM: In Beats We Trust (2003)

Sidestepper – 3AM: In Beats We Trust (2003)

‘In The Beats We Trust’ – Sidestepper – 3AM: In Beats We Trust

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7. Bajofondo (Argentina + Uruguay) 

(pioneers in Latin American live/electro fusion)

Bajofondo - Mar Dulce (2007)

Bajofondo – Mar Dulce (2007)

‘Pa’ Bailar’ – Bajofondo Tango Club – Mar Dulce

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Hear more Bajofondo tracks + videos from a live show in Bogota here.

8. Roberto Fonseca (Cuba)

Roberto Fonseca - Yo (2012)

Roberto Fonseca – Yo (2013)

‘Rachel’ – Roberto Fonseca – Yo

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Hear more Roberta Fonseca tracks + videos from his live performance at WOMADelaide 2014 here.

9. Electric Wire Hustle (Aotearoa/New Zealand)

Electric Wire Hustle (2010)

Electric Wire Hustle (2010)

‘Burn’ – Electric Wire Hustle

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10. Little Dragon (Sweden)

Little Dragon - Ritual Union

Little Dragon – Ritual Union (2012)

‘Please Turn’ – Little Dragon – Ritual Union 

 

Hear more Little Dragon songs + videos from live shows here.

Little Dragon live at Oxford Art Factory, Sydney

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So musical people, what say you about the infilitration of electronic music…like it, or not?

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CONECTADOS – Connected in Innovative Electronic Music

Every Friday night during 3 seasons per year, you can find a peaceful musical space in a charming colonial building in Bogota’s oldest and most gorgeous neighbourhood La Candelaria. There you’ll find people wanting to listen to, and appreciate music. And all of you will probably experience cool, innovative electronic music by (mostly) Colombian and (some) international artists. That space is called CONECTADOS (CONNECTED).

Mercury

Mercury

Diana Yanive Torres, Director of Fundacion Cultural Arca in Bogota, explains here what the Fundacion’s CONECTADOS project is all about:

CONECTADOS (‘CONNECTED’) is an electronic music program that facilitates through live concerts, artistic exchanges and creative workshops, an opening for Colombian artists to develop and share their distinct and diverse electronic music projects drawn from synthesizers, sequencers, computers and other digital tools.

The program was created by Daniel Casas C (Colombian journalist and music critic) and Fundacion Cultural Arca (Cultural Ark Foundation) in August 2010, in association with Bogota’s Fundación Gilberto Alzate Avendaño (‘FUGA’).

The CONECTADOS concert series are open to the public and free.  They are presented 3 seasons per year at the Escenario Muelle de la Alzate (FUGA) (Calle 10 # 3-16).  During the season the concerts run every Friday from 6.00 to 7.00 pm.

CONECTADOS orientates the public to the electronic music genre and its various sub-genres.  The program provides an exchange space for the many diverse participating Colombian and international electronic music artists

So far CONECTADOS has run 9 seasons running for 2 months each, showcasing a total of more than 70 artists. 

Between 2012 and 2013 CONECTADOS formalised an exchange between Canadian and Colombian artists through Quebec’s International Youth Offices (www.lojiq.org).  This  initiative allowed Fundacion Cultural Arca to establish cooperative procedures with other foreign cultural organisations – helping CONECTADOS to continue growing as a cooperative cultural exchange project for empirical artists and electronic music professionals – and continue facilitating the creation and expansion of their activities.

CIRCUITO CONECTADOS - Flyer

CONECTADOS - logoFor more CONECTADOS information:

http://conectadosmusicaelectronica.blogspot.com/

direccion@fundacionculturalarca.org / casascd@gmail.com

 For a few words from Diana about electronic fusion music check out the Fusion Music page.

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Mitú – An Entrancing Electronic Music Experience

Last night in Bogota I had an absolutely unforgettable and entrancing musical experience. A most surprising and unexpected one: Mitú.

I had no idea what the gig was. I only went to see some friends before I leave Bogota.

What I found even before the main act was awesome – one of the coolest venues I’ve been to in terms of character, style and set-up (Latora 4 Brazos), and two female DJs (an all too rare find no?).

When the main act did start, Mitú, I discovered it was fast and intense electronic music – ‘jungle techno’. One percussionist, Franklin Tejedor. One guy in charge of the electronics, with lots of cords and machines –  Julian Salazar– also the guitarist with successful Colombian fusion band Bomba Estereo.

Mitu @ Latora 4 Brazos - Beaver on the Beats

While my friends joined the dancing crowd, I completely switched off, as I usually do when it comes to techno music. At best, I generally find it tedious, and my body just doesn’t want to move to it.

Fascinated by the beautiful venue I wandered away from the music and through the different venue spaces, playing with my camera, and hoping my friends would surface from the crowd soon so I could say goodbye and go home.

When I went back to the crowd, some people had left and I was able to find a space to engage with the Mitú music, and see and hear what was actually happening.

Dios miya! What was happening was really incredible. Two guys having an awesome time on the stage, so much into the music they were playing it was inspiring.

The high quality electronic sounds coming out of those machines were so varied and interesting, with flavours of cumbia and meringue and I don’t know what else!

Mitu @ Latora 4 Brazos - Beaver on the Beats

Mitu @ Latora 4 Brazos - Beaver on the Beats

Mitú’s percussionist, and at times vocalist (in Palenque language), playing Colombian tribal rhythms, was incredible. The quality of musicianship was beyond words. 

Within minutes of engagement, I found myself smiling from ear to ear, jaw to the ground in awe of the music and musicianship, and totally and utterly entranced. Right until the end.

Mitú is the first techno experience of my life that has moved me. A stellar performance, incredible stamina (judging by the time I got home, they must have played for 2 hours), ridiculously talented musicians and really interesting, awesome and yes, entrancing music.

Absolutely spectacular.

Given my general aversion to techno, I’m not sure if I would go as far as to buy the Mitú CD (‘Potro’), but if you’re into electronic music I would definitely find it.  If you ever get the chance to experience Mitú live, go!  I will in a heart beat  if I get another chance.

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Electronic Fusion Music in Bogota is….

Diana Torres, Director of Fundación Cultural Arca, based in Bogota, says this about electronic fusion music in Bogota:

What we have found about fusion in electronic music in Bogota since we started ´Conectados´ (Connected) – a program of live electronic music concerts – is that it take us to the cultural heritage of local sounds of our culture and other cultures of the world, in a space and time where the artist and the audience connect with a universal language: THE SOUND.

Diana Torres - Director, Fundacion Cultural Arca

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