jason (FMA Admin)
I'm a Free Music Archivist based out of WFMU.
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jason on 07/01/2014 at 03:00AM
Bonne Fête du Canada! The latest album by Alaclair Ensemble is finally available as a free CC download. Toute Est Impossible was leaked earlier this year via Alaclair’s own version of the deep web. That deep web is just one extension of the ensemble’s parallel universe.
"Postrigodon" is what they call their musical style—a playful freeform mashup through the lens of hiphop. Alaclair’s members KenLo Craqnuques, Maybe Watson, Ogden, VLooper Eman and Claude Bégin are at the forefront of a very exciting hiphop scene in Quebec, but "Bas-Canada" is their true home. The album cover portrays Stephen Harper, Canada’s Prime Minister, who apparently becomes a superhero when he dons the group’s signature upside down maple leaf.
Alaclair’s last album was shortlisted for the Polaris prize. With Toute Est Impossible, they continue flipping that maple leaf upside down. They want you to "Logoff" the computer, referencing Facebook, Google on songs like "Logoff." "Woof! mami / It's a bloggy blog world." A couple tracks delve into R&B territories, like "Calinour" (Care Bears forever?) while "Licornes" paints a g-funk vibe, referencing Sadé. Elsewhere, they shout out Kool Keith. I’d say Alaclair is somewhere on that spectrum, but really they are in their own world.
jason on 06/03/2013 at 02:55PM
Tashi Dorji conjures incredible sounds from a prepared acoustic guitar. His spirited improvisations—recorded live without any loops or effects—evoke a composite of influences from Derek Bailey to Mauritanian pulaar to the traditional music of his native Bhutan.
"Growing up in Bhutan with little access to music except random bootlegged cassettes and shortwave radio, I listened to anything i could find," Tashi Dorji writes in an email interview. He learned guitar by ear because "we didn't have music school, TV or internet back then in Bhutan, so we had to use a lot of imagination and improvise what we thought we heard off of a tape player."
Tashi Dorji arrived in Asheville, North Carolina as an international student in 2000. He quickly fell in with the vibrant punk rock community, which flowed into free jazz, noise, experimental and other avant garde music. The Appalachian mountain town has become a real hub for experimental music thanks to longstanding acts like Ahleuchatistas, resources like Asheville FM, the shop Harvest Records, tape distributor Tomentosa, and labels like Bathetic and Headway Recordings.
Guitar Improvisations, released on cassette by Headway last year, sold out quickly but is available to download from the FMA along with his release sêp. This week, the label unveiled Tashi Dorji's self-titled follow-up, and it's streaming after the jump. Tashi Dorji also has a forthcoming release on Turned Word Records out of Belfast ME, and much more on his bandcamp.
Bhutanese traditional music is an oral tradition consisting of many marginal, isolated communities across the country, and much has yet to be documented. But for those interested in hearing some examples, Tashi Dorji points us towards a nascent archive hosted by the Bhutan Broadcasting Service.