With little in the way of fanfare, Maurice Fulton's masterful Bubbletease Communications releases Umbeya, a second Fulton produced album from Sheffield dwelling Tanzanian singer Mim Suleiman. The singer was introduced to the world via a couple of Fulton produced 12?s and the full lengthTungi - all released on Gerd Janson's esteemed Running Back imprint in 2010. If the combination of Mim and Maurice sounded strange on paper, it sounded glorious in full flow, with her distinctive singing voice ducking between English and Swahili over some of Fulton's most effortlessly effervescent productions which veered in typically diverse directions. Umbeya follows in this manner, with the deep basement vibes of "Chuki" and the flatulent disco of "Msimamo" standouts among the ten track set, while the title track evokes the rhythmic spirit of some of Fulton's work as Ladyvipb for Nuphonic. Highly recommended.
With its festival, International Series, DJ Directory and Soundsystem: Dimensions has become a leading name in the underground. In only a mere six years of existence thus far, that's quite impressive we must say! Now, they extend their influence with the start of a new label: Dimensions Recordings. It launches with a 12 track compilation across three separate discs. As the label best describe themselves "An Introduction Part 1 calls upon artists from different corners of the globe who share the similarity of undeniable soul and expression in their music." From the Swahili sung harmonies on Mim Suleiman's lo-slung boogie down groove "Pole Pole", to the afro influences of Swiss collective Alma Negra's "Onga" whose spiritual life music reaches near tribal moments. Then, there's Istanbul's Kerem Akdag with "Getdownsoclose" a soulful jazzy and downright dusty deep house groove. Maryland's James Tillman's soulful vocals on "Wander" rounds off Part 1 with a dose of the soul.
Even if you followed the media for a few seconds over the past few months, you will have seen that the concept of two worlds colliding often causes problems. On this new album by Mim Suleiman, they live in sweet harmony. Dera revolves around the concept of mixing Maurice Fulton's studio prowess with the Tanzanian singer's startling vocal range. From the DJ QU-style dense percussive house of "Tutapona" and "Uvivu", where Suleiman warbles seductively over wailing violins, into the high-paced electro funk and nattering vocal samples of "Wazanzibari" and "Furahi" and the appropriation of Chicago house on "Yako Nde", Adera Dera is a heady serving of social and sonic engineering.
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