Episode 6

From genre-defying music out of Senegal to black convict work songs from Texas prisons


Matthias Hacksteiner - This Sound I Ride Jingle


Hi everybody, and welcome to the sixth episode of "This sound I ride" – an adventurous and inspiring global journey for music lovers. My name is Martin Bleicher, I am an Austrian music lover, DJ and concert promoter, and for the next two hours, it is my absolute pleasure to share some of my favourite new music with you.

This monthly show celebrates diverse, passionate and contrary musical styles in their unforeseeable and enthusiastic ways of expression.

You will hear music that will stimulate your imagination and curiosity in a way like on a surreal train ride to foreign countries or a trip to unknown cultures.

This adventurous approach excites me, and I melt together different influences and musical languages and create an extraordinary and unsettling mix.

I have been digging deep to find fantastic music and sounds and combine them for you, the podcast's listeners. I hope you enjoy the show, which starts this time in Georgia, America, where we meet the talented 23-year-old US-American Rapper and producer Chester Watson. Chester has released his first full debut album, "A Japanese Horror Film" recently. I thought it is good to start the show with this lovely cinematic type of Hip Hop. I usually begin and end the shows with Movie Soundtracks that I find outstanding, but this time it's my absolute pleasure to invite you into Chester's "Japanese Horror Film". Enjoy the track "Porcelain Geisha".


Chester Watson - Porcelain Geisha (A Japanese Horror Film - POW Recordings)


Abdallah Ag Oumbadougou - Akokass. (Anou Malane – Sahel Sounds)


Yazz Ahmed - Ruby Bridges - DJ Plead Remix. (Polyhymnia Remixed - self-released)


"Porcelain Geisha“ by Chester Watson was the first track in this sound triple. Watson combines lo-fi sounds with his distinct rapping, spooky, mysterious atmospheres and Chinese singer Fifi Rong's background vocals. What struck my mind when I discovered Chester earlier this year is his extraordinary voice and rapping merged into his great soundworld, which has this mysterious and eerie mood to it. I feel like in a Horror Film where lots of strange and unsettling noises, sounds and words can be found. The music sounds a bit awkward and maybe odd to many, but for me, this record is one of the best Experimental Hip Hop releases in recent time. Chester, who produced mixtapes since the age of 13, took himself three full years to create exactly the album he was finally happy with., He used no prerecorded samples on his debut album but produced all the sounds himself together with his various producers that were involved on the album.


From Experimental Hip Hop for Japanese horror films, we took a trip to Niger to meet up with legendary guitarist Abdallah Ag Oumbadougou and his driving and passionate song "Akokass" which was initially released on tape in 1994/95 in Benin and just got re-released by the wonderful label Sahel Sounds recently. For those who haven't heard about Sahel, Sounds is a record label based in Portland, Oregon, and they focus on culture in the West African Sahel. They work directly with the artists they represent and share all profits on a 50/50 basis. They are committed to using culture as a means of communication, helping their artists build careers and exploring good unknown music from the area. Abdallah's album "Anou Malane" is one of the first studio recordings of Tuareg guitar. The genre known for minimal folk ballads performed on acoustic guitar is here transformed with a full-on 90s swinging groove. Abdallah's lo-fi recordings were politically charged, addressing the fighters scattered in the desert during the Tuareg rebellion in the early '90s. To me, his track "Akokass" has just this wonderful feeling of a departure, this very optimistic and convincing mood and so much positive energy in it - I just love it.


After the whirlwind of inspirational Tuareg music from Niger, you had the pleasure to listen to the track "Ruby Bridges" by UK-Bahraini composer, trumpet and flügelhorn player Yazz Ahmed, who is also called the high priestess of psychedelic Arabic Jazz. Whilst the original track from her 2019 album "Polyhymnia" is a beautiful spiritual jazz epic with middle eastern influences, the remix version you just heard is a killer track that takes the original to new heights in melting the jazzy vibe of the track with DJ Plead's exotic and gorgeous groove worlds. DJ Plead aka Jarred Beeler, is an Australian DJ and producer raised by a Swiss father and a Lebanese mother in the suburban parts of Sydney. Here he shows that he is one of the greatest when it comes to middle eastern-influenced percussions and sound aesthetics. While the track eases you into the smooth jazz world it comes from, Plead's rhythmic rearrangement that transforms the original into this delightful listening pleasure where i can't get enough from. Just awesome


Next up, we meet Lyra Pramuk, a US-American vocalist and electronic music producer in Berlin, where she lives since 2013. I want to play you the transcendental track "Witness" from her outstanding album "Fountain" that was released last year on the Icelandic label "Bedroom Community", which is led by the great composer Ben Frost. Enjoy.


Lyra Pramuk - Witness (Fountain - Bedroom Communities)


Di Laif - El Viento (Savia Sampler - Mazukamba)


Varg2TM & Exploited Body - Bass2TM (Cease & Desist). (Etsin Turvaa - Northern Electronics)


The first track you heard is called "Witness" by the sublime Lyra Pramuk. She fuses classical vocalism, pop sensibilities, performance practices and contemporary club culture, and she describes her sound often as futuristic folk music. Her whole album is based entirely on her own voice sounds, although it is often shaped, arranged, and structured by electronics. The tracks are mostly wordless, and they develop a new way of immersing into her sound. To me, her music often gives me the feeling as if I sit in a bathtub drowned into Lary's wonderfully floating, aerial, weightless sounds worlds. These dreamy, lengthy sound excursions play a lot with repetition and hypnotic elements, and they are so gentle and smooth - absolutely brilliant. This music played on a decent Surround Audio PA would be an absolute dream of a live music experience in the hopefully not too distant future.


From Berlin, we travelled to Guatemala to meet the Mazukamba collective and their debut album "Savia", where they collect and present music from all around Central America and Guatemalan producers. During the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, the founder of the collective - an Argentinian musician mostly known as Julio "Che" collected ten tracks from different artists to show his gratefulness and empathy for the community that has developed from La Antigua, Guatemala, which is a small cosmopolitan village with an extraordinary nightlife and cultural syncretism, like nowhere else in Central America. I chose the track "El Viento" by the Guatemalan born - Paris based electronic music producer Diego Pappa aka Di Laif. I like the track of the mix of traditional Flute sounds rooted in the Mayan culture, together with the somehow creepy vocals and the mellow downbeat electronic sounds as the backbone of the track.


From the smooth, hot atmospheres out of Guatemala, Middle America, it was time to introduce some crunchy harsh power electronics - experimental techno - by Varg2TM aka Swedish techno producer Jonas Rönnberg and Exploited Body aka Noah Kin, a Finnish-Nigerian producer. He was born in Oslo, Norway. The track "Bass2TM (Cease & Desist)" was released at the end of 2020 on the forward-thinking label "Northern Electronics" from Stockholm, Sweden. Assaulting beats, combined with immersive sound design and brutal noise attacks, build this track's foundation. Cold club atmospheres at its perfection could be a good description for the powerful track.


It is my absolute pleasure to introduce you to the featured artists of this episode, a big group of musicians called Wau Wau Collectif from Senegal, West Africa. The link to the previous harsh techno from Stockholm is that in 2018, a guy from Sweden named Karl Jonas Windqvist travelled to Toubab Dialaw in Senegal and started the whole project there. Their just-released first album, "Yaral Sa Doom", brings together a genre-defying mix of different musical styles, which are, on the one hand, inspired by West African traditions, Spiritual Jazz and Dub Rhythms. Still, within this mix of various types, they definitely shape their own genre. Please enjoy the title track "Yaral Sa Doom".


Wau Wau Collectif - Yaral Sa Doom (Yaral Sa Doom – Sing A Song Fighter)


Kamyar Arsani - Gham e-yar (Sunken Cages Remix) (Single – FPE Records)


Teto Preto - Ita (Tantao e os Fita Remix) (Pedra Preta Remixes - Mamba Rec)


"Yaral Sa Doom" was the name of the first track that you heard in this exotic sound triple. The track is taken from their first album released under the same title on the Sahel Sounds label recently. The title means "educate the young" and is the central theme of the whole album. This entire collective of musicians spans the direction of this beautiful album in so many diverse directions. From smooth dub inspired rhythms to new interpretations of traditional West African songs, you can find a wide selection of inspiring music. The album has such a positive and optimistic vibe that I just can't stop playing it during recent times. It sounds like one big boundlessly free jam inspired by the positive energy that life can bring us. Highly infectious. Karl Jonas Windqvist - the founder and artistic director of the whole project, was very kind in answering some exciting questions about the played song, the entire project, the vision and other things. Please check this feature on our website


From the exciting sounds out of Senegal, we moved over to Washington, D.C. in the USA to meet Kamyar Arsani, an Iranian multi-instrumentalist, singer and songwriter. His track "Gham e-yar" was created around the poem of the 13th-Century Persian Dervish Baba Tahir. Arsani is also a master on the Iranian frame drum called daf. You can also hear on this mystical, evocative track, which is actually a remix by Sunken Cages, aka Ravish Momin, an Indian-born, now New York-based drummer and electronic music producer. Momin is responsible for the songs' complex rhythmic structure, whilst the simple sound elements, in the beginning, the singing and the smooth daf drumming, are the core of the original track by Arsani. The interplay between the modern electronic sounds and rhythms paired with the traditional singing and percussion elements attracted me to this song. I also have to admit that I love Momin's fabulous sound project "Turning Jewels Into Water". I already featured them in Episode 3 of the track. In case you are interested in wonderfully innovative rhythmic, percussive sound extravaganzas, check them out in Episode 3.


The last track in this triple took us to Brazil, where we met Teto Preto in Sao Paolo. Teto Preto is a multi-disciplinary electronic art collective rooted in the rebellious electronic underground in Sao Paolo. They evolved out of the record label Mamba Records, and the notorious nomadic techno parties Mamba Negra took place in an abandoned industrial building in and around the city. Their track "Ita" was initially released on their album "Peda Preta" in 2018. I chose to play you the bombshell like a remix by the electronic trio Tantao e Os Fita from Rio De Janeiro. They break up the original track and pimp it up with half-screamed, half-spoken vocals by vocalist Carlos Antonio Mattos aka Tantao and fractured, noisy, lo-fi beats and percussion the two producers Abel Duarte and China Bomilcar. The song's frantic structure, paired with the original vocals and the bizarre screams by Tantao, make this track peculiar. The awkward spoken word performance in the middle moves, along with strange noises. Altogether, this track has a strange punk feel to me—great music coming out of the Brazilian electronic music underground.


After this tribal sound explosion out of Brazil, I want to invite you to meet up with Emeka Ogboh, a Nigerian sound and installation artist who evolves a lot of his music around soundscapes and field recordings taken in the city of Lagos and blends them together with immersive electronic music with an excellent feel for touching mellow and atmospheric tracks. Enjoy the track "Danfo Mellow" from his debut album "Beyond The Yellow Haze" released on the German A-Ton label.


Emeka Ogboh - Danfo Mellow (Beyond The Yellow Haze - A-Ton)


Karkhana - Rock Farock (Bitter Balls - Annihaya Records)


Smooth beats, hypnotic electronic sounds, warm atmospheres build on a foundation of hectic street sounds out of Lagos, Nigeria. These are the main ingredients to the soothing sounds of Emeka Ogboh from Nigeria. His lengthy compositions' strength lies in the mesmerising sound arrangements that also get the necessary time on his debut album, which consist of four long tracks between eight to twelve minutes. I enjoy the development of this track and also the peacefulness this sound transports for me. The album contains a veritable atonal orchestra of motors, sound systems, sidewalk sales pitches and various field recordings of Lagos's city life combined with Emeka's bass and polyrhythmic elements. It represents Emeka as a distinct artist in the wide world of forward-thinking electronic music.


From Nigeria, Africa, we took the short flight over to Lebanon in the Middle East. We visited the contemporary free-jazz rock septet Karkhana and their mind-blowing track "Rock Farock". Featuring some of the most innovative international musicians from Beirut, Cairo, Istanbul and Chicago like Sam Shalabi, Michael Zerang or Maurice Louca, they delivered an astonishing album called "Bitter Pills" in 2020. The seven multi-instrumentalists build a transcendental atmosphere throughout the four tracks, which sounds unreal at times. Over the years, they have expanded and developed their intensive sound world a lot, and if you are searching for a term or description of this monster sound, it could be called "Free Middle Eastern music". The music is heavy and challenging at times, but I have the feeling that these well-experienced musicians just love the passionate confrontation between themselves and their instrumental worlds. Hard-hitting and marvellous.


Next up, we fly back to the USA to join Devi Mambouka, aka Masma Dream World, and her haunting and gloomy track "Rest In Peace".


Masma Dream World - Rest In Peace (Play At Night - Northern Spy)


Nihiloxica - Black Kaveera (Kaloli - Cramned Discs)


Alabaster DePlume - What´s Missing (To Cy & Lee: Instrumentals Vol. 1 - International Anthem)


The first track was called "RIP" by Masma Dream World, aka Devi Mambouka. Devi is based in NY but was born in Gabon from a father of the black panther people - the Bahoumbou tribe and a Singaporean mother of Chinese, British and Indian Brahmin origins, which makes her a child of the world and one who learned to tap into her inner magic to overcome trauma, abuse and addiction. She is also a trained vocalist, performance artist, DJ, sound therapist and trained in other multiple healing modalities. Her album "Play At Night" challenges our preconceived relationship with darkness, guiding us to step into it. It features elements of butoh (a Japanese spirit-led performance art), the theta frequency and the need to hold sacred space. This space is a prime opportunity to awaken one's power source from within. I love Devi's profound approach to this topic, and her ethereal sound compositions paired with her haunting voice are the ultimate standout criteria for me. Love to dive more into her healing sound worlds.


After the ride into Masma Dream World's healing dark worlds, we joined the polyrhythmic percussion supergroup Nihiloxica from Uganda, Africa. Nihiloxica is a live project that harnesses the full force of the ancient Bugandan drumming tradition of Uganda and focuses on the contemporary dancefloor through a sinister, broading lens of techno affinity. Nihiloxica demonstrates a continuous, evolving conversation between two cultures, the Nilotika Cultural Ensemble and its spiritual, passionate and forceful drummers on one side. The two electronic producers Spooky-J and pq on the other side. Their fierce, four-to-the-floor percussion battle mixed with quirky electronic sounds makes them one of the most extraordinary live acts around the globe and also the most successful Nyege Nyege Tapes act so far. I love the power, the raw energy of the sound and the hypnotic, meditative end result of Nihiloxica's sound. This obviously would be one of the most incredible live acts to watch after Covid restrictions are eased up again. What a drum inferno this would be? Amazing.


From Kampala, Uganda, we continued our trip to the Jazz Underground in London, UK. We met Alabaster DePlume and his gorgeous and smooth track "What's missing", which was released last year on International Anthem, the renowned US-American Jazz label. DePlume is a young virtuos saxophone player and composer, and I read once that he plays Jazz for people who thought that Jazz is something for old people. On his latest album, you can find lots of lovely, mellow, experimental jazz miniatures that support your daydreaming in the best possible way. I love to listen to this music on my terrace with the sun shining and a relaxing, quiet mood around. The song's continuous easy listening structure that is just interrupted by some eerie vocals in the final part is an excellent example of the power of this album. Wonderful listening experience, and it's no coincidence that Alabaster has one universal message, which is "Be nice to people" - he and his music are for sure very, very nice to us listeners.


Next up, I want to take you on a short trip back in time to the 1960s to Texas, USA and play you the track called "Long Hot Summer Days" by Joseph Johnson and interpreted by black prisoners during their work. Enjoy the raw power of these hard-working men.


Choir of Black Convicts in Texas Prison in 1960's - Long Hot Summer Day (Wake Up Dead Man: Black Convict Worksongs From Texas Prisons - Rounder )


Selm - Irr (TiiiER / Post-Adrenaline - Opal Tapes)


Madrid 79 - Aciday (Aciday - Fuego en Casa)


The first song in this music section was called "Long Hot Summer Days" sung by black prisoners during their work in Texas prisons from the 1960s. I just love the purity of the voices, which shows me the essence of blues music - stripped down to the bone. But these African-American work songs were more than a functional tool or a root of the blues. They were a monument to the human spirit's indomitability and a major African survival into the 20th century. They're long gone now but not forgotten by anybody who's heard these superb examples from the 1960s. The album "Wake Up Dead Man: Black Convict Worksongs From Texas Prisons is full of powerful work songs and offers a look at a tradition now nearly extinct, though one that served real needs and functions for black prisoners until recent times. Worksongs helped give comfort to prisoners and literally allowed them to survive the gruelling work demanded of them. I highly recommend this record for its sheer power.


After this powerful essence of the American Blues sang in the 1960's I played you an excellent example of how brand new alienating, intensely textured industrial sound design by the duo Selm from Belgium sounds like. The track "Irr" was taken from the brand new album "TiiiER / Post-Adrenaline, " released on Opal Tapes. Whilst the first five tracks on the album go more in the direction of techno minimalism, you can hear their ultra-dense explorations into eerie sound-design on the second part. And the track "Irr" is just one example of this terrifying undulance of seismic tones, its harsh noise interferences. It's a track as reverential to death industrial as it is to guitar music, the riff laid bare. If you liked these sounds, I highly recommend you to check out these futuristic flickering noise creations. To me, this is hyper-modern music for scary and unfamiliar sci-fi movies that are not existing yet. Great stuff.


The last track you heard was called "Aciday" by Miguel Gil Tertre, aka Madrid 79 from Spain. A mellow, sublime electro-pop track that meets all the criteria of great electro music. Cool synth sounds, a very upbeat sound atmosphere that develops fluidly. Miguel has created a lovely start for his debut ep by the same name. The EP is a soundtrack about a day in an imaginary city called Madrid in 1979 where kids took Opel Kaddetts to drive by in neighbourhoods like Ciudad Lineal/Ventas/San Blas. A science-fiction version of the town where people listened to acid electro and music by flamenco rock artists of the Cano Roto sound. And where the city and its inhabitants resembled the comics in Metal Hurlant magazine. "Aciday" starts. The parents have to go to work, and the kids wander around the city searching for adventures. There are promises of a more modern city, but opportunities are not always honest. Listening to electro music makes a lot of difference and gets you out. The day is a melancholic one as dreams didn't materialise. Funny story I think.


From Madrid, Spain, we take the long oversea flight to Down Under Australia to join an Orchestral Post Metal Inferno by the hart hitting Aussie band Bolt Gun. Ambient and noise are the foundations of Bolt Gun's music: repetition and the building of heavy guitar structures on top. Enjoy nine minutes of atmospheric, eerie, sinister deliciousness.


Bolt Gun - The Altar Of Lies Will Not be Destroyed (Begotten - Art As Catharsis)


Dark, scary atmospheres, mystical guitar riffs tuning in and out of the track, the build-up already promises something epic, and Bolt Gun don't disappoint with the masterpiece "The Altar Of Lies Will Not Be Destroyed" from the album "Begotten" which was released last year. The cinematic ambience, doomy riffs and a climax with black metal like vocals from the middle of the track. Almost orchestral dimensions, driven by ascending strings and distant, growling guitars. This song would be the perfect fit as a film score in a yet to be written sinister and grim road movie. Convincing, apocalyptic and dark lyrics throughout and falling into an ambient abyss in the final part. Just extraordinary work by this young band from Australia. If you liked the track, please dive into their latest album, "Begotten".


Well, so we have already reached the end of the show again. I hope you liked it and found some exciting new music that you haven't heard of before. I loved it very much to put together an adventurous and inspiring global journey for you. If you did like it, it is, of course, a great help if you can recommend the show to a friend or visit our website or our Facebook, Instagram or Twitter sites for more information, the full tracklist or other details.

You can also find an extended feature including many beautiful images and an interview with the great Senegalese / Swedish music group Wau Wau Collectif on our website.

I want to thank Marta Witkowska for the great images for our cover artwork and Matthias Hacksteiner for all his generous help and professional advice, the podcast jingle and everything on how to set up a podcast.

Thanks again for listening, and I wish you all the best and hope you also join next month. The new episode will be released on the third Sunday in March, but if you subscribe to your usual podcast platform, you can make sure that you don't miss a show.
Finally, Chester Watson closes this episode for us with the great track "Atlantis" from his fabulous album "A Japanese Horror Film. Cheers, and stay healthy.


Chester Watson - Atlantis (A Japanese Horror Film - POW Recordings)