“Between Autumn 2012 and Spring 2013 the TEN CITIES project brought electronic music producers and musicians from five cities in Europe (Berlin, Bristol, Kiev, Lisbon and Naples) to five cities in Africa (Cairo, Johannesburg, Lagos, Luanda and Nairobi). They were invited to collaborate and create, spending an intense time together making music in sticky studios and blacked-out rooms across the African continent.”
TEN CITIES Final Event and Album Launch. © Ben de Biel 2014
A collaborative project between the Goethe-Institute and adaptr brought together fifty electronic music producers and instrumentalists who worked together over a six-month period. The resulting yield is a monster release showcasing just some of the fruit bared from a project that was more than a just music-making exercise. The TEN CITIES programme also set out to research the subject of public spheres from the perspective of club cultures, and the role of club music in its development in the last fifty years. These findings are set to be published in a separate publication, which promises to be an interesting read.
The album is certainly a feat to be appreciated, and impressively exhibits the fusion of music from many different origins. Soulful South African house from Johannesburg, bass music from Bristol, kuduro from Luanda Angola, Berlin techno and afro-jazz from Lagos are just a few of the styles in a collection everyone needs to wrap their ears around. We picked out a few highlights among the album’s seventeen tracks.
‘Choborops’ sees the bass-heavy electronic flavours of South-African duo Dirty Paraffin, mix with Hannes Teichmann one half of the Berlin genre rebelling brothers Gebrüder Teichmann. This jaunty venture has the feel of UK funky with a straight Berlin edge; add playful rapping and sampled drums on the perpetual offbeat and hey, presto! A formula to get people on their feet.
In the soulful ‘Temedo’, Lunabe (also known as Marco Messina and Lucio Aquilina) from Naples, and Djeff from Lisbon bring a combination of tech and afro-house to meet Angolan rappers MC Sacerdote & MC Yola Noivada. The contrast of a half-time rap and chord stabs, over a fast paced, percussive deep-house production make this an interesting boogie starter.
‘Work!’ excels in its infectious chemistry between the timeless dub of Rob Smith and driving African rhythms. Nigerian Reggae group Jah Device and Sasha Perera (one third of Berlin trio Jahcoozi) keep up the successful theme of vocals and percussion, whilst adding that vital dimension to make this a real album highlight.
‘Omode Mewa’ (Ten Little Children) sports Lagos afrobeat-inspired house from Afrologic with Yoruba vocalists Aremu and Temi Oyedele, and Wura Samba also on percussion. This slightly more minimal number is still orientated for the dance floor, striking a nice balance which gives the listener room to appreciate the mantra-like, traditionally sung vocal line.
TEN CITIES SNDWLP069 is out now, and available to buy from Soundway Records and all other good record stores.