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Demanding a full embrace, both visually and aurally, Golden Dawn Arkestra is not an EP for the faintly funky. Yes, Sun Ra is a clear influence, but this is its own cosmic trip. Opener “Afropocalpyse” allows cascading keys, half dirge and half call to prayer, to set the tone before the well-delivered groove arrives. Layered, with an appropriate focus placed on the brass, until the vintage vocal, tinged gracefully yet slick, takes the lead. Showcasing Golden Dawn Arkestra’s engaging ability to mix eras, sounds, and influences, the track only concludes once a soaring guitar lead is given its due.
 
“Oasis (The Legend of Nathaniel Horne)” eases into its theme slowly: spaghetti-Western bass and whistle alternating with horns and guitar for an entrancing desert odyssey, doors of perception open wide. “Dimensions” goes further into the psychic groove-lands, requesting the listener to ‘sing and dance’ and ‘come and join us now,’ as though psych-funk had fueled Random Access Memories rather than disco.
 
The vocal chant, heavy groove, and prominent horn melodies of afrobeat make “Masakayli” a standout, which nicely sets up the ambling future/past caravan music of “Saharan Knights.” Instruments pop, creating an appropriately massive atmosphere, before striding surf-rock takes the tune into sonic dervishes not often whirled. Dancing off with “Selemat,” equally influenced by snake and Moog charmers, this too-short blast of timeless creativity is delightfully dusty despite its polished elements.
 
“Afropocalypse” is available as a free download, while the whole album is stream-only until the August 19th release date:
 


 
As a bonus, in case you’re at all questioning how wild and funky things would get live, here’s a rendition of Mulatu Astatke’s “Kasalèfkut Hulu:”
 

 
Demanding a full embrace, both visually and aurally, Golden Dawn Arkestra is not an EP for the faintly funky. Yes, Sun Ra is a clear influence, but this is its own cosmic trip. Opener “Afropocalpyse” allows cascading keys, half dirge and half call to prayer, to set the tone before the well-delivered groove arrives. Layered, with an appropriate focus placed on the brass, until the vintage vocal, tinged gracefully yet slick, takes the lead. Showcasing Golden Dawn Arkestra’s engaging ability to mix eras, sounds, and influences, the track only concludes once a soaring guitar lead is given its due.

 

“Oasis (The Legend of Nathaniel Horne)” eases into its theme slowly: spaghetti-Western bass and whistle alternating with horns and guitar for an entrancing desert odyssey, doors of perception open wide. “Dimensions” goes further into the psychic groove-lands, requesting the listener to ‘sing and dance’ and ‘come and join us now,’ as though psych-funk had fueled Random Access Memories rather than disco.

 

The vocal chant, heavy groove, and prominent horn melodies of afrobeat make “Masakayli” a standout, which nicely sets up the ambling future/past caravan music of “Saharan Knights.” Instruments pop, creating an appropriately massive atmosphere, before striding surf-rock takes the tune into sonic dervishes not often whirled. Dancing off with “Selemat,” equally influenced by snake and Moog charmers, this too-short blast of timeless creativity is delightfully dusty despite its polished elements.

 

“Afropocalypse” is available as a free download, while the whole album is stream-only until the August 19th release date:

 

 

As a bonus, in case you’re at all questioning how wild and funky things would get live, here’s a rendition of Mulatu Astatke’s “Kasalèfkut Hulu:”

 

 

Perhaps the artwork for Stone By Stone, the new album from tight eclectic instrumental funksters Ikebe Shakedown, sums things up appropriately: between the vintage overlay and the barren-yet-inspiring desert-scape, these stones clearly have soul. Opener “The Offering” sets the tone, as horns - led by the sax - ride a groove controlled by the strong rhythm section and slightly skanking guitar. A live video has just been released as well:
 

 
The title track takes thing into deeper and more melancholic territory, with the blasting brass reigned in before hitting free jazz territory. “The Beast” takes a steady afrobeat groove, led by the drums but empowered by the bass, and inspires dancing feet courtesy of an entrancing melody. Often called cinematic soul, ultimately this is beyond genre, a subtle display of impressive musicianship that is aware of the pillars of the past and the potential of the future.
 
“By Hook Or By Crook” may soar, but “Rio Grande” seems to have most directly inspired the album art, recalling Herb Alpert’s Tijuana Brass in all the best ways. “Last Stand” pushes the tempo back up, then rides off into the sunset; “Cover Your Tracks” then, is perhaps the most poignant track of all, as the seven-piece slip into a smoky late-night vibe before disappearing whence they came. “Chosen Path” follows a similar formula - not in a derivative way, just in the sense of an evolving band digging deeper into their own sound. The closing pair of tracks, “The Illusion,” and “Dram,” begin hauntingly and invitingly, respectively, as the former is driven by a powerful walking bass-line and the latter, while slightly more reserved, is opened up to allow the reverberating guitar to end things in psychedelic style. Ten strong tracks, definitely intended to be listened to in succession:
 
Stone By Stone by Ikebe Shakedown
 
A timely remix comes from Beat Gates, who takes on “No Name Bar” from Ikebe Shakedown’s self-titled album. Emphasizing the low-end via a slightly thunderous clap, the original’s spirit shines through as it confidently enters beat-tape territory. Free download: 
 

 
In need of more Ikebe Shakedown? Fair enough. Their stellar debut EP Hard Steppin’ is available here:
 
Ikebe Shakedown - Hard Steppin’ EP (Debut) by Ikebe Shakedown
 
And “Dead Wrong” is a cool mashup with the Notorious BIG:
 

 
Perhaps the artwork for Stone By Stone, the new album from tight eclectic instrumental funksters Ikebe Shakedown, sums things up appropriately: between the vintage overlay and the barren-yet-inspiring desert-scape, these stones clearly have soul. Opener “The Offering” sets the tone, as horns - led by the sax - ride a groove controlled by the strong rhythm section and slightly skanking guitar. A live video has just been released as well:

 

 

The title track takes thing into deeper and more melancholic territory, with the blasting brass reigned in before hitting free jazz territory. “The Beast” takes a steady afrobeat groove, led by the drums but empowered by the bass, and inspires dancing feet courtesy of an entrancing melody. Often called cinematic soul, ultimately this is beyond genre, a subtle display of impressive musicianship that is aware of the pillars of the past and the potential of the future.

 

“By Hook Or By Crook” may soar, but “Rio Grande” seems to have most directly inspired the album art, recalling Herb Alpert’s Tijuana Brass in all the best ways. “Last Stand” pushes the tempo back up, then rides off into the sunset; “Cover Your Tracks” then, is perhaps the most poignant track of all, as the seven-piece slip into a smoky late-night vibe before disappearing whence they came. “Chosen Path” follows a similar formula - not in a derivative way, just in the sense of an evolving band digging deeper into their own sound. The closing pair of tracks, “The Illusion,” and “Dram,” begin hauntingly and invitingly, respectively, as the former is driven by a powerful walking bass-line and the latter, while slightly more reserved, is opened up to allow the reverberating guitar to end things in psychedelic style. Ten strong tracks, definitely intended to be listened to in succession:

 

 

A timely remix comes from Beat Gates, who takes on “No Name Bar” from Ikebe Shakedown’s self-titled album. Emphasizing the low-end via a slightly thunderous clap, the original’s spirit shines through as it confidently enters beat-tape territory. Free download:

 

 

In need of more Ikebe Shakedown? Fair enough. Their stellar debut EP Hard Steppin’ is available here:

 

Ikebe Shakedown - Hard Steppin’ EP (Debut) by Ikebe Shakedown

 

And “Dead Wrong” is a cool mashup with the Notorious BIG:

 

 

As the sounds filter in on opener “Salta Corazon” (Jumping Hearts Mix), it becomes readily apparent that Los Chicos Altos are not simply expanding on the enjoyable “well-layered funky Afro-Latin dance-party” of their Se Va Mamba EP [reviewed April 2012] - their beats are more widely influenced than ever, yet blissfully playful. Featuring Palo Q’Sea, El Diablo Alegre - really a four-track remix EP - may be steeped in funk, but it is the mixture of Latin grooves and modern bass that creates such a rich sound. The Novalima remix of the title track is funky house gone tropical and polyrhythmic; “Chande“‘s chants are instantly captivating - which is fortunate given the four versions: K. Sabroso & Axel Cloud chop and mutate the vocals; the Club and Radio Edits stay funky and dancefloor-friendly; the album-closing Superpendejos Remix feat. Julio Carbonell “Mandinga Sax” brings in some classic synths and 80s vocoder vibes before the expected saxophone takes control at the break. Horns are also brought to the forefront on “La Conoa,” which summons the spirit of Miami Sound Machine while not getting unnecessarily nostalgic. However, “Chande” is definitely the single here, with a video properly introducing Los Chicos Altos and Palo Q’Sea’s blend of Afro/Latin beats, goofy humor, and acceptable styles of dance:
 
 

 
As the sounds filter in on opener “Salta Corazon” (Jumping Hearts Mix), it becomes readily apparent that Los Chicos Altos are not simply expanding on the enjoyable “well-layered funky Afro-Latin dance-party” of their Se Va Mamba EP [reviewed April 2012] - their beats are more widely influenced than ever, yet blissfully playful. Featuring Palo Q’Sea, El Diablo Alegre - really a four-track remix EP - may be steeped in funk, but it is the mixture of Latin grooves and modern bass that creates such a rich sound. The Novalima remix of the title track is funky house gone tropical and polyrhythmic; “Chande“‘s chants are instantly captivating - which is fortunate given the four versions: K. Sabroso & Axel Cloud chop and mutate the vocals; the Club and Radio Edits stay funky and dancefloor-friendly; the album-closing Superpendejos Remix feat. Julio Carbonell “Mandinga Sax” brings in some classic synths and 80s vocoder vibes before the expected saxophone takes control at the break. Horns are also brought to the forefront on “La Conoa,” which summons the spirit of Miami Sound Machine while not getting unnecessarily nostalgic. However, “Chande” is definitely the single here, with a video properly introducing Los Chicos Altos and Palo Q’Sea’s blend of Afro/Latin beats, goofy humor, and acceptable styles of dance: