Flying Lotus: Coronus, The Terminator

The new Flying Lotus album drops on October 7th. After hearing the latest teaser track from it, ‘Coronus, The Terminator’, You’re Dead! has for me become the most anticipated new album music release in a very, very long time. I am absolutely bursting to get a hard copy of this album into my hands and playing through my speakers.

Flying Lotus - You're Dead! (2014)

Flying Lotus – You’re Dead! (2014)

Why?  Because when I hear this ethereal piece of brilliant music artistry by Flying Lotus and his collaborators, I feel everything moving inside of me.  It affects me deeply – and that’s the very best music in the world.

Why else? Because You’re Dead! not only features FlyLo’s fellow Californian artists Kendrick Lamar, Thundercat and Niki Randa singing vocals on Coronus, The Terminator; but also one of the most special artists in the whole of our music history –  jazz fusion pioneer Herbie Hancock. I’d say Flying Lotus and Herbie Hancock making fusion music together is a collaboration of epic proportions.

Herbie Hancock

Herbie Hancock
photo ℅ minglecity.com

Flying Lotus

Flying Lotus
photo ℅ heartymagazine.com

Reactions to Coronus, The Terminator by Soundcloud listeners sum up this music  ever-so-perfectly really…

what the fuckkkkkkk          holy shit    

dammnnnn          JEEEEESUS CHRIST!!!          lawd have mercy

Getting chills, damn          Goosebumps, Goosebumps all around!

crazy shit. next level shit          fuckin phenomenal          absolute perfection

out of this world          sweet salvation          enlightenment through sound

you are a damn genius          one of the cleanest fucking mixes ive ever heard

you cannot be human

if this is what dying sounds like then i look forward to it

Hear Coronus, The Terminator yourself and you’ll probably be nodding in agreement with all of the above reactions. Check it out on Soundcloud here…

So no doubt after hearing it, you’ll agree with these other Soundcloud comments too…

so fucking excited for october

SO happy about this… very glad I pre-ordered 😉

I’m hella pumped to get this on vinyl.

Yes appreciators of good sound quality and hold-in-your-hands-albums, Flying Lotus is of course giving us You’re Dead! on sweet vinyl and cd.  You can pre-order it and collect the mail excitedly each day because that could be the day the postman or woman delivers your copy of this incredible piece of music artistry.

When you get it, remember these Flying Lotus words about You’re Dead!

“the first time you listen to You’re Dead! try to clear 30+ min of your super busy and important schedule and listen to the whole ride”

Until then, remind yourself of the great goodness of Herbie Hancock’s music with this sample track (shitty mp3 only – this is a must-have-album on sweet vinyl or cd) from his 1973 groundbreaking album Head Hunters

Herbie Hancock - Head Hunters (1973)

Herbie Hancock – Head Hunters (1973)

‘Chameleon’ – Herbie Hancock – Head Hunters (1973)

 x

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Mama Julia y Los Sonidos Ambulantes

If you follow Rule No. 1 of moving house  – ‘Thou shall take and set up thou sound system in the new house first‘ – the best (and just about the only good) part of the process is having lots and lots of time to drown yourself in music. In this house-move my beloved, but much-neglected-of-late Colombian music collection was my main unpacking companion. The Mama Julia y Los Sonidos Ambulantes album Pa’ Que Se Lo Goce was with me mucho.

Mama Julia y Los Sonidos Ambulantes - Pa' Que Se Lo Goce

Pa’ Que Se Lo Goce (2011) – Mama Julia y Los Sonidos Ambulantes

Mama Julia are yet another great contemporary Colombian fusion group mixing up traditional and modern urban sounds to create music like none other in the world – or at least none other than in Colombia 🙂 . My discovery of Mama Julia y Los Sonidos Ambulantes was courtesy again of Cesar at one of Bogota’s best independent music stores Musiteca.

Musiteca - Bogota

This group’s music is a blend of traditional Afro-Colombian rhythms, instruments and music styles from both the Pacific and Atlantic Colombian coasts with currulao, cumbia, champeta, porro & more blended with elements of son, jazz, afro-beat, reggae, hip-hop and rock.

Check out 2 sample tracks here from Mama Julia y Los Sonidos Ambulantes’ one and only album so far Pa’ Que Se Lo Goce…

Mama Julia y Los Sonidos Ambulantes - Pa' Que Se Lo Goce

Pa’ Que Se Lo Goce (2011) – Mama Julia y Los Sonidos Ambulantes

This one is for the bass lines and sax solo…

‘Chontaduro Maduro’ – Pa’ Que Se Lo Goce (2011) – Mama Julia y Los Sonidos Ambulantes

.

This one’s also for the bass lines towards the end of the song…

‘Chucubit (Canto Negro)’ – Pa’ Que Se Lo Goce (2011) – Mama Julia y Los Sonidos Ambulantes

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As well as the vocals and instrumentation of the 10 members of Mama Julia y Los Sonidos Ambulantes, Pa’ Que Se Lo Goce has a whole lot of guest artists on the album including a bonus track with Colombia’s renowned Pacific Coastal singer Zully Murillo on vocals.

There was talk of a 2nd Mama Julia y Los Sonidos Ambulantes album release by the end of 2013 but so far only the single ‘Distrito’ has come. The next album can’t be far away? Until then you can check out this Mama Julia y Los Sonidos Ambulantes video of ‘Distrito’ for glimpses of 1 of so, so, so many diverse and colourful districts of Colombia  – this one in Cali, called Aguablanca…

Here’s hoping for a live Mama Julia y Los Sonidos Ambulantes show when I’m next in Colombia. Here’s also hoping that’s not too long away.

Mamajulia y Los Sonidos Ambulantes

Photo courtesy of http://www.planb.com.co

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Leo Salvo on Fusion Music

An incredibly talented multi-instrumentalist and vocalist.  Has probably played in or led more Latin music gigs and groups (including institutional big band Rumberos) than most other living musicians in Melbourne.

Leo Salvo could just be the Papa Bear of Latin music in Melbourne. Leo Salvo - www.beaveronthebeats.com This is his take on fusion music

Nothing exists without fusion. From the moment a note came out of a voice and someone hit 2 rocks together, it was a form of fusion music.

Just like the first time and til the present day, we still find ourselves with only 2 types of music, no matter what we add or fuse with this or that…

The 2 types are Good and Shit!

Leo also told me he thinks the world’s best Latin fusion music is from Uruguay. I’m waiting for him to share some with me.

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Sergent Garcia – Beaver’s #1 Male World Fusion Music Artist

Like me, Sergent Garcia has a long standing love affair with Caribbean and Latin music styles. He has combined many of those styles to create some of the world’s coolest fusion music.

Not surprisingly then, Sergent Garcia is my Numero Uno contemporary male fusion music artist.

Sergent Garcia

This is ‘Fusion Music’

From the time of Beaver’s birth I should have just used Sergent Garcia’s music to demonstrate how Beaver on the Beats would define fusion music:

…Music with a distinct blend of different musical flavors from different musical styles/genres, creating a delicious, interesting and unique musical meal.

The Musical Meal 

Deliciously diverse!

Listen to all his albums and you will be amazed at how many different genres of music you’ll find mixed together. More than any other artist I can think of right now.

Styles I love – salsa, cumbia, hip-hop, raggamuffin, reggae, scratching, flamenco, jazz, dub, Afro-Cuban. Some styles I like a bit of (meringue & dancehall).

Sergent Garcia

The Cooking 

Good fusion music is so much about the blend I recently decided. Sergent Garcia has mastered the quality and innovative blending together of many different musical styles …

…to create really great, really unique songs.

…played with fantastic musicianship.

…with delicious horn lines throughout!

Enjoy the Feast

Listen yourself. But remember MP3 versions are crap sound quality. You’ll find all the musical sounds on the original Sergent Garcia albums. They are easy to buy from just about anywhere you are in the world.

Una y Otra Vez

Una y Otra Vez (2011)

Yo Soy Salsamuffin

Memi Si

Mascaras (2006)

Mascaras (2006)

Toi Tu Es La Bas

Non Words

Sin Fronteras (2001)

Sin Fronteras (2001)

Gigante

Je Sais

Un Poquito Quema'o (1999)

Un Poquito Quema’o (1999)

Amor Pa’ Mi

Acabar Mal

Mamaye

 

I’m sure you can hear the many musical reasons why this artist is my numero uno contemporary male fusion artist? Oui? Si? Yes.

Bienvenue France

Born in France, Sergent Garcia starts the Beaver on the Beats ‘France’ category. Bienvenue France!

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Is Bogota “The World Capital of Music”?

“Bogota is the world capital of music.”

That’s a big claim yeah? An even bigger one than being “the greatest reggae show on earth”.

This is what a non-native Colombian – living in Colombia (not in Bogota) – and playing music in a Colombian fusion band – recently told me in Bogota.

Is Bogota really “The World Capital”?

I’m not sure I agree with him that Bogota is the world capital. I’m not sure New Yorkers would agree. Or Berliners.  After recent experiences in Jamaica I think some Jamaicans might say that Jamaica is the world capital of music. Colombian musicians living in other Colombian cities might also disagree that Bogota is the world capital of music.

José Enrique Plata Manjarrés

I put the proposition to a Colombian, un Bogotona, José Enrique Plata Manjarrés. I consider José to be a living, walking encyclopedia of Bogota’s recent musical history, as well as Latin America more generally. Just 2 of his many musical projects, spanning a decade, included: 1.  collecting Bogota concert posters; 2. reviewing and/or collecting all music of all genres recorded in Bogota by Colombian and visiting international artists (some of them unreleased):  http://www.fotolog.com/owaihttp://www.last.fm/user/owai.

José responded “I don’t know that Bogota is the world capital of music. But it is certainly a reference point”.

Bogota is “a reference point”

A reference point it is.

The more I ask questions about Colombian fusion music, the more I find out just how many people outside of Colombia have been looking closely at what’s happening musically in Bogota (and the rest of Colombia) in recent years. I just found out about an awesome 2013 documentary called ‘Que Pasa Colombia’ (‘What happened Colombia’).  It’s whole focus is on contemporary Colombian fusion bands and how all the fusion music came to be: exactly what I’ve been going on about lately, and thinking about for years.

Que Mas?

“World capital of music” or not – the point is that in Bogota there is an incredibly rich, interesting & diverse tapestry of amazing contemporary music being created – including lots of fusion music mixing traditional and modern sounds.

And it’s not just in Bogota.  Maybe there’s more fusion bands based in Bogota because it’s the capital, but music artists are creating great fusion music all throughout Colombia.

Systema Solar - Caribbean Coast

Systema Solar – Caribbean Coast

Puerto Candelaria - Medellin

Puerto Candelaria – Medellin

Zalama Crew live @ Negra Noche - Parque Cultural Nocturno 2013 - Medellin - Beaver on the Beats

Zalama Crew – Cali

What Now for Beaver?

Six years after first discovering Colombian fusion music, I have only just started to scratch the surface of how much incredible music is actually in Colombia to be found (fusion and traditional kinds).

Sadly I have to say goodbye to Colombia for now. For the other side of the Pacific (el otro lado del Pacifico) – to put my feet in the sand there for a bit.Byron Bay Australia - Beaver on the Beats

But I will be back to Colombia again, and again, to keep scratching away and finding great musical experiences.

Until then I have lots of things to keep me entertained and dreaming of musical Colombia:

  • a heap of great Colombian fusion bands whose music I’ve been enjoying for a long time but haven’t had time to write about yet.
  • a bag of new Colombian fusion music CD’s to digest – and share what I find.

Music Stores for Independent Colombian Music CDs - Beaver on the Beats

  • a list of other Colombian fusion bands recommended to me by Colombians – whose CD’s I haven’t been able to get hold of.
  • a list of Colombian music festivals I will get back to Colombia for.

I love and already miss the friendly, warm, happy, passionate and incredibly diverse looking, speaking & acting Colombian peoples.

And Dios Miya I will miss the rich, unique & diverse Colombian fusion music (and traditional too) being created, and played live all throughout Colombia.

 I love Colombian fusion music. Don’t you? Claro que siiiii you do

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Dr Baz on Fusion Music

Dr Baz (Australian Musician & Musicologist) adds this to the collection of thoughts on fusion music.

Take it away Baz…

Dr Baz

Dr Baz

When I was asked about what Fusion Music is my musical brain immediately thought of Jazz Fusion…a genre of Jazz that was coined in the late sixties and seventies that described the way Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock, Joe Zawinul and other jazz heavyweights incorporated Funk and electronic musical instruments into improvised Jazz music. Think back to Miles Davis’s ‘Bitches Brew’ and Joe Zawinul’s Weather Report Muzak and you are in the ballpark about what Jazz Fusion sounds like.

It’s not the only fusion though.

In reality all music is fusion….every single style we know today as different types of Music is a coming together of different types of Music due to specific historical circumstances.

For example German classical composers combined European folk music to create their Symphonic master pieces.; Ancient Australian Indigenous Yidaki/Dijeridu Music is really derived from Indonesia; Indian Classical music has its roots in Persia and the Middle East.

The contemporary music of North and South America is a clear example of different fusions and the histories of Salsa Samba Rhumba Reggae Calypso Jazz Blues and more recently Hip Hop and Reggaeton can be clearly traced thanks to the well documented records we have of the historical development of these musical styles.

As human beings we like to put culture under glass….we like to freeze a musical recording in time and call it something…we relate our identity strongly to the music we like and then set up rules about the musics we don’t like according to our own tastes. We develop stereotypes: the black jazz man, the sexy Latino salsa band, the wild gypsy violinist – and start to make up rules about what is an authentic expression of these favored styles. We crave authentic musical experiences that relate to these self imposed definitions. And therein lay the dilemma….

One persons fusion is another person’s jazz…one person’s hip hop is another person’s pop music sellout.

For me as a musician and a musicologist who sees a direct relationship between the development of music and cultural histories, fusion music is where it’s at… it’s musicians from different cultures and backgrounds sharing their creative differences and jamming together to create something new. Whenever and wherever musicians can get together and jam new musical fusions are born.

Photo by Beaver on the Beats - Dr Baz, Musician & Musicologist - www.beaveronthebeats.com

So what is fusion music?

It is the hybrid musical styles that we can’t fit in our glass cased museum definitions. At various times in history its has been a gypsy guitarist performing with a African Drummer – or a rapper dropping rhymes in Korean and topping a billion views on YouTube – or a Slave providing a beat to a Spanish brass band on the docks of Havana in the 1600s.

Fusion music reflects the shifts in our collective musical consciousness and these shifts are in turn triggered by the wars, famines, slave trades and digital technology revolutions that shape history.

A fusion music used to serve an apprenticeship to an established style before being recognised as a style in its own right. The internet has changed all that. Today musical fusions are appearing so fast that the very concept of an identifiable musical style complete with similar rhythm harmony and instrumentation is under threat.

Dr Baz - Beaver on the Beats

So all music is fusion… it’s what I love about music as I will always encounter something new in this world.          

[me too Baz..Beaver]

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DJs With Bands = Musical Diversity +++

Many of the fusion bands I have heard live in Colombia (and/or have on CD), have a DJ in the musical mix.   Those DJ’s play a fundamental part in the diversity of sounds created by the band as a whole.

Live music is the ultimate musical experience for me.

A great DJ to dance or listen to is also an awesome musical experience.

The 2 combined: DJ + a band = musical diversity +++, live.

A DJ can create any and as many different sounds as he/she wants yesMusicians can’t do the same thing with instruments, can they?

Combine the musicians and the DJ’s (+ of course emcees & vocalists), and you have complete musical freedom to be as diverse as you want yes? The sound possibilities are endless.

Or no? 

Add a VJ into the mix and you have visual diversity with the auditory yes?

Official sites of these groupsBajo Fondo – Bambarabanda – ChocQuibTown – Dubioza Kolektiv – Mitu – Papaya Republik – Pulenta – Sidestepper – Systema Solar – Troker – Zalama Crew

 

Reviews of gigs, sample music & other info about these groups by Beaver on the Beats @Bajo Fondo –  Bambarabanda –  ChocQuibTown – Dubioza Kolektiv –  Mitu –  Papaya Republik –  Pulenta –  Sidestepper –  Systema Solar –  Troker –  Zalama Crew

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Fusion Music in Jamaica? “Nooooo way Mon”

A fusion music question at the Music Mart in Kingston, Jamaica

Beaver: Do you have any Jamaican music that’s a mix of reggae and other music genres?  Like jazz, or funk or hip hop?

Store Woman: Nooooooooooo.  You can’t mix reggae with other things.  Reggae is reggae.

Beaver: They do it in other countries, a lot.

Store Woman: Nooooooo way mon. Not here we don’t. Reggae is Reggae.

Beaver: Well lucky I love Reggae that’s Reggae.  Give me some of that.

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Colombian Fusion Music – A Different Perspective

Is Colombian fusion music being created for the purpose of making Colombian music edible for foreigners?

A couple of people in Bogota have recently expressed those sentiments to me.

One of them is Julian Mosquera Muñoz, Operations Manager at Fundacion Gilberto Alzate Avendano in Bogota.

He says that for him, fusion music is:

  • Like a cheap handicraft to sell on the street rather than a unique, one of a kind piece of art. 
  • Ignorance of, and a form of shame about one’s own traditional music, instruments, beats and rhythms. Maybe the use of non-original instruments in fusion music is because artists lack the ability to create those sounds with traditional instruments.
  • A desperate way of getting new audiences for one’s music – of making one’s music ‘listenable’ for those who don’t know it – especially for foreigners.

Is there truth in that cynicism?  I like to think not, but who am I to say?  I am just a foreigner who loves Colombian fusion music!

I will leave you to ponder this perspective on Colombian fusion music, while I leave Colombia for a bit to explore what’s happening in Jamaican music.  Kingston first, then on to Montego Bay for Reggae Sumfest 2013. 🙂

Caribbean Waters - Beaver on the Beats

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Fusion Music – It’s All in the Mixing

Last night a Latin fusion band’s gig in Bogota taught me something about fusion music.  They shall remain nameless, but they were not Colombian.

The Lesson

My lesson was that maybe, the ultimate difference between fusion music I like and don’t like, is the way that the different musical styles are blended, rather than the particular styles themselves that are combined.  It’s all about the quality of the blend.  Is it done tastefully?  Is it subtle?  Is it done skilfully?  Does the blending of styles sound seamless?

The band I saw last night did not do it subtly, or tastefully.   It was a bit like being hit with a hammer when the change of genre came within each song.  A verse of rock, a chorus of ska, a verse of rock, etc etc. It confused my body, and my ears, and it just bored me really.

Was it just that I didn’t like the sound of that particular band?  I don’t think so.

Manu Chao Too?

Because when I thought about going home after only two songs, it made me think about Manu Chao, and two concerts of his I went to in Australia in 2012 and 2013.  I didn’t enjoy those concerts after having loved his music for a long time. One of those concerts I actually left the gig before it finished – almost unheard of for me. What happened with Manu?

Well what happened was that his band, an awesome band, played a verse of Latin/reggae styles , then a chorus of intense rock, punk or ska, then went back to a verse of Latin/ reggae styles (and all without the horns and keys).   My body and my ears hated it. The dramatic change of styles between verse and chorus felt harsh and confusing.  I might love the sound of the verse on its own – and I did with Manu.  I might also enjoy the sound of the chorus on its own – and I did with Manu.  But that chorus and those verses next to each other, supposedly connecting one another (abruptly I think), I don’t enjoy.

The creation of that type of fusion music doesn’t seem to me to be very challenging. It seems lazy.  And either way, the point for me is that my ears and body simply just don’t like it.

Decided

So, for now I’ve decided that it’s all about the quality, the subtleties and the overall sweetness of HOW the different styles are blended together within the music – one effect of which would be that I probably wouldn’t notice the changes in styles in a song.

Disagree with me?  Think I am speaking crap? Think I am unfairly denigrating Manu’s holy name?  Bring it on – leave a comment to let me know.  Just remember I am still a big fan of Manu too.Manu Chao liveP.SI have been called to task about my decision NOT to name the band in this post:

¨Name and shame them! If you’re going to mention them, you may as well MENTION them.¨

          So then, the band’s name is Hormigas Negras.

Hormigas Negras on La Septima, Bogota - Beaver on the Beats

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