2015 Top 10s & 20s
Roomful Of Teeth

David Arend
Artificial Intelligence
Nimrod Borenstein
Randal Collier-Ford
Julien Demoulin
Denki Udon
R. Nathaniel Dett
Dwiki Dharmawan
Yair Etziony
Marina Fages
Francesco Di Fiore
Flowers for Bodysnatchers
From the Mouth of the Sun
Markus Guentner
Momenta Quartet
Music Komite
North Atlantic Explorers
Prequel Tapes
Alessandro Stella
Swarm Intelligence
Robert Scott Thompson
Trigg & Gusset
Aino Tytti
Andy Vaz
We Mythical Kings
Sebastian Zangar

Compilations / Mixes / Remixes / Reissues
Dub Phizix
Stacey Pullen
A Simple Procedure
Tour De Traum X

EPs / Cassettes / DVDs / Mini-Albums / Singles
Big Phone
Great Panoptique Winter
Mute Forest
Thee Koukouvaya
Joshua Van Tassel

Music Komite: Congo Square

If there's a freewheeling, hard-to-pin-down quality to Congo Square, Music Komite's follow-up to 2013's Sweet Bombs, there's a good reason for it: the album pays tribute to an actual square in New Orleans where during slave times members of the African community would gather to dance and make music, assemblies that in turn influenced the development of American jazz. Like the goings-on in that square, the album's music draws upon different musics and styles, with everything from glitchy electronica and hip-hop to jazz and dub woven into its vibrant tapestry. Music Komite itself is the brainchild of founding member Francisco Calderón, who's credited with electronics, guitar, keyboards, and xylophone and is joined by guitarist Jaime Fernández, trumpeter Rafa Esquivel, upright bassist Alex Ahumada, and drummer Esteban Perles on the thirty-six-minute outing.

It takes a little while for the project to come into focus, but as the album advances it begins to suggest a strong Project Mooncircle-like vibe, the kind of material where it's not unusual to find a crisp funk groove smothered in piano sprinkles and vinyl crackle and speckled with fractured vocal edits. Acoustic instruments and electronic treatments regularly collide, making for a detail-rich brew of dusty beats, samples, and stitched-together melodies. Some cuts emphasize a live feel and acoustic instrumentation, though even in these cases some degree of digital sleight-of-hand is more than likely in play. In the case of “Black Ark,” for instance, the addition of synthesizers to a percussion-heavy arrangement points in the direction of someone like Sun Ra more than any contemporary electronic producer, whereas “Diplomatic Phantom” sees Calderón and company digging into a Spaghetti Western take on dub. More representative of the release is something like “Wrong Virtuoso,” an infectiously swinging dazzle of cooing vocal accents, glitch-funk, and pulsating bass science, or perhaps “Herriko Girls,” which receives a strong boost from its vibes-trumpet combination. There's a quietly celebratory spirit to such material that enhances the album's appeal and strengthens its impact.

December 2015