January 25 2011
Axel Krygier "Cucaracha" Pesbre
Apparently, "Pesebre" means "manger", but AXEL KRYGIER's Nativity has a distinct Latin twist despite his decidedly Germanic surname. As in the track you heard today, "Cucaracha," you can tell he's well versed in the modern Latin idiom, Axel's new album slips from Peruvian surf music ("Esclavo de Olor") to high-altitude Andean bluegrass ("Serpentea El Tren") and sparks up on electronic cumbia ("Cumbieton Rutero"). Perhaps a challenge for some ears, but not mine. The album was recorded and produced in Buenos Aires where Axel produced, sang, played keyboards, clarinet, sax, accordion, bass and electronics, and his friend Manuel Schaller engineered and co-produced. Axel created the artwork, as well as the animation video for "Pesebre".
Axel Krygier has already performed around Europe, especially in Spain and in France, where he performed both with his band and in a more minimal, sound-system-like setting, and also wrote and recorded music for a successful production by renowned Argentinian author Alfredo Arias ("Trois Tangos"). In 2008 he had also toured the US, joining forces with the spearheads of the Argentinian digital cumbia scene, the Zizek (ZZK) collective, to set clubs and festivals on ﬁre.
Empresarios "Sabor Tropical" Sabor Tropical
The debut album from D.C.'s Empresarios, Sabor Tropical sounds a lot like its name, putting what sounds like all of the Caribbean into one tasty pot. Much like Axel Krygier, these cats are "a casa" with the Latin vibe and bring with that a bit of reggaeton, dub and funk in a way that grooves, not all that dissimilar to their neighbors over at ESL, Theivery Corporation. This five piece unit is a mix of DJ's and musicians and their album reflects it; with songs that sound live organic and fresh that have a good dancefloor sensibility.
Gentleman "Tempolution" Diversity
2010 might as well have been "The Year of The Amazing White Reggae Artist." With a ton of really amazing material from unlikely sources; Alborosie, Soom-T, The Black Seeds, Irie Souls and The Beautiful Girls, not to mention productions from Prince Fatty, Bost & Bim and my personal favorites from Scotland, Mungo's HiFi-- we've really seen some serious diversity in this "black" music from Jamaica. Powerful stuff this, and I'm feeling the globalisation.
German reggae singer Gentleman (born Tillman Otto), fell in love with Jamaican music when he first visited the island at 17. He had already heard the classics; Dennis Brown, Bob marley, etc... , but when he heard more contemporary artists like Sizzla and Anthony B, it made him realize that roots-flavored reggae was still alive and well, and all he had to do was bring the good word back to Germany. In 1997 he got his chance when the German hip-hop group Freundeskreis asked him to lend his singjay skills to their track "Tabula Rasa." A series of solo singles led to his 1999 debut, Troddin On. The album was a mix of dancehall and hip-hop with Gentleman singing in English and Jamaican patois. It was an important release and laid the foundation for what would eventually be dubbed the "Germaican" movement, but it failed to make an international impression. Since then, other "Germaican" releases from Bo Marley, Jahtari and others have helped confirm a fact; that if the reggae is crucial, albums like Diversity will stay in the mix. Of course it can't hurt to spit fire over classic riddims as he does on this version of "Tempo."
Sergio Perere "Labidumba" Labidumba