KEXP : Where the Music Matters
jason on 03/01/2010 at 03:15PM
Lukas Ligeti really caught my ear in 2008 with Afrikan Machinery, his second release for John Zorn's Tzadik label. The avant-composer's brilliant solo percussion album was performed on the Marimba Lumina -- a MIDI percussion synthesizer built by Don Buchla. The Marimba Lumina is also featured in Ligeti's newest project, Burkina Electric, whose debut album Paspanga is out now on Canteloupe Music.
The label calls Burkina Electric "the first electronica band from Burkina Faso," which is slightly misleading since Ligeti was born in Austria and resides in New York along with the majority of the six-piece. But in this era of 140 character bite-sized thoughts and music that defies categorization, it gets the point across about this unique collaboration.
The idea for Burkina Electric started in the mid-90s, when Ligeti met guitar Wende K. Blass, and vocalist Maï Lingani in Burkina Faso. The new album also credits backup vocalists Vicky and Zoko Zoko as "dancers", alluding to a fluidity of music and movement that is charactaristic of West African musical traditions.
Expanding the electrified elements of Burkina Electric is legendary German new wave pioneer Kurt "Pyrolator" Dahlke. Pyrolator was a founding member of the D.A.F, and co-founded the seminal Ata Tak label. In April 2009, Pyrolator stopped by WFMU for a DJ set and live performance on Daniel Blumin's show, which can be heard here. Pyrolator's live performance incorporated the Lightning II, another MIDI controller built by Don Buchla. This one's sort of like a lightsaber, check it out.
Hear all these elements at play live on KEXP from New York's Cutting Room Studios. "La Voix du Boulgou" was engineered by Anthony Gallo, and originally broadcast on Jon Kertzer's The Best Ambiance program at KEXP.