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Old 07-13-2013, 03:14 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Sounds From the Outernational Hi-Fi

Sounds From the Outernational Hi-Fi

Around the turn of the Millennium, a handful of deejays and electronica artists began experimenting in remixing more exotic forms of music. The music was such a confluence of subgenres that many electronic music & techno fans didn't find what they're looking for in it.

The music was electronic in that nearly everything was tweaked on a studio soundboard. However, the musical genres were wildly varied from jazz samba, to dub reggae, to Brazilian bossa nova, to Italian b-movie soundtracks from the Sixties, to West Indian socca, to Bollywood film soundtracks to French pop classics. For lack of a better category, these new electronica artists were usually shoe-horned into the trip hop subgenre of electronic music.

An example of this new eclectic approach to remixing international music was Thievery Corporation's enticing remix of Sergio Mendes & Brazil '66's Chove Chuva, an old bossa nova tune. It appears on Sounds from the Verve Hi-Fi a collection of Thievery Corporation remixes that was issued in 2001.



I was stunned at how much better Chove Chuva sounded with Thievery Corporation's addition of an exotic sitar, enhanced percussion, and a jazzy piano solo. The remastering of the song added a crystalline sound quality that was absent from the original 1966 version of the song.

Most amazingly, Thievery Corporation's remix of Chove Chuva didn't intrude upon the artistic quality of the original song. Sergio Mendes loved the Thievery Corporation remix of Chove Chuva and he designated the Thievery Corporation version as the official Brazil '66 version to be used in any future SM & Brazil '66 anthologies.


Sounds From the Verve Hi-Fi - The album that started it all.

Sounds from the Verve Hi-Fi began my own awareness of this new fusion of electronica with international music. Thievery Corporation coined the term Outernational music to describe these musical encounters between electronica artists and the wildly diverse subgenres of the world music.

My purpose in this thread titled Sounds From the Outernational Hi-Fi is to provide the MB reader with an informal history of the outernational music movement and to provide some musical samples for those interested in this relatively new form of electronic music.
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Old 07-13-2013, 09:29 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Before Thievery

The flirtation between electronic music artists and world beat music goes further back than Thievery Corporation's trademark outernational sound. In the early 80's dub electronica artist Adrian Sherwood began recording a series of albums by African Head Charge, a shifting lineup of musicians led by percussionist Bongo I.


Bongo I of African Head Charge

On the 1994 album In Pursuit of Shashamane Land producer Sherwood combined just the right elements of world music with a Western sensibility to earn a great deal of critical acclaim for African Head Charge. The opening cut on the album, Heading To Glory Sherwood's mastery of organic dub techniques made the song a tour de force performance of world beat music.



________________________________


Public Image Ltd.

The groundbreaking post-punk band Public Image Ltd. began experimenting with atonal Arabic music and combining it with dub music as early as the late 70's. The title song to PIL's 1981 album The Flowers of Romance is an intriguing fusion of Arabic music and dub.



____________________________________

After leaving Public Image Ltd., bassist Jah Wobble continued to play Middle Eastern music infused with dub music studio techniques. Betrayal is from Jah Wobble's first studio album, The Legend Lives On, issued late in 1981.



___________________________________

In reality, electronic music artists were experimenting with world music long before Thievery Corporation got into the game. The fusion of world music with electronica didn't begin with Thievery nor will it end with Theivery.
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Old 07-14-2013, 09:17 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Meanwhile Down In Mexico...

Mexican singer Julieta Venegas' breakout as electronic dance music/world music star in 2003 is one of the wonderous stories on the outernational music scene a decade ago.


Julieta Venegas

Julieta embarked on her musical journey at a young age, studying piano from the age of eight. In addition to piano, she also studied musical theory, singing, cello, and violoncello at La Escuela de Música del Noroeste, while she also crossed the U.S. border to study at South Western College in San Diego -- all of this before she even graduated from high school. She plays several instruments in her onstage appearances including accordion, piano, and guitar.

She spent most of the Nineties touring with various bands in her native Mexico and the Southwestern region of the United States.

Her 2003 album Si was such a sunny and dance oriented affair that it alienated of many of her fans who liked her earlier complex and moody ethnic Latin music. Si won several Latin music awards and was one of the earliest recordings that combined Latin music and electronic dance music.



Julieta performing her dancehall hit Donde Quiero Estar at the 2005 Festival de Viña. Miss Venegas really knows how to work a crowd.... she takes my breath away.

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Old 07-14-2013, 09:56 AM   #4 (permalink)
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A lot of interesting material here, Gavin B, and now I quite understand why you weren´t too sure where to put this thread!

I really like African Head Charge, so it´s interesting to see them put into the context of a movement or style. You chose a great track - do you know their Drums of Defiance album by any chance ?

I also enjoyed the Public Image and Jah Wobble material - first time I´ve heard anything by either artist, so I need to do a little investigating...

I look forward to seeing some more examples, to get clearer in my head what would make a song Outernational. I wonder, for instance, if these guys called Vox would count:
Despite appearances to the contrary, they are a more-or-less German group who only use light electronic touches, with no dub or sampling going on at all. This track is particularly gentle and serves as a lead-in to an album of mediaeval Spanish material called From Spain To Spain :-

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Old 07-14-2013, 05:23 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lisnaholic View Post
A lot of interesting material here, Gavin B, and now I quite understand why you weren´t too sure where to put this thread!

I really like African Head Charge, so it´s interesting to see them put into the context of a movement or style. You chose a great track - do you know their Drums of Defiance album by any chance ?

I also enjoyed the Public Image and Jah Wobble material - first time I´ve heard anything by either artist, so I need to do a little investigating...

I look forward to seeing some more examples, to get clearer in my head what would make a song Outernational. I wonder, for instance, if these guys called Vox would count:
Despite appearances to the contrary, they are a more-or-less German group who only use light electronic touches, with no dub or sampling going on at all. This track is particularly gentle and serves as a lead-in to an album of mediaeval Spanish material called From Spain To Spain :-

Outernational is not a genre, per se, but a broad definitional term that describes a wildly diverse selection of music. It's meant to be an inclusive term that encompasses jazz artists, pop music bands, deejays and electronic groups who experiment with world music forms. Ry Cooder's experiments with Afro Cuban music, border wave, Afrobeat music and mambo comes to mind.

There's no reason why an electronic group like Vox shouldn't be within the outernational realm since they play a wide range of world music forms. Jazz musicians like Stan Getz, Miles Davis, Pharaoh Sanders and Herbie Mann also experimented with world music and it's really jazz musicians who first promoted an awareness of world music in the United States.

I'm familiar with most of African Head Charge's studio albums. I know that Drums of Defiance appears on a 2006 collection of world music that Adrian Sherwood produced called Spirits of Africa. I've never heard the album but it has an awesome roster of outernational style artists like Nitin Sawhney, Terracotta, Lemongrass and Wax Poetic. A lot of these albums fall out of issue and I can't find it anywhere.
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Old 07-15-2013, 07:04 AM   #6 (permalink)
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New Wave Bossa Nova from Paris France


The most current edition of Nouvelle Vague

Marc Collin and Olivier Libaux were producers and musicians on the Parisian trip-hop scene before founding Novelle Vague in 2003. Their concept was to resurrect classics from the punk & New Wave music era, and reinterpret them in the samba and bossa nova styles of Brazil. Collin and Libaux deliberately recruited both Brazilian and French singers who were completely unfamiliar with punk and new wave music to assure their vocal renditions had their own identity, uninfluenced by the original music. The lineup of singers varied from album to album but nearly every singer was a notable, well established vocalist who either sang Brazilian music or French pop.

On the name Nouvelle Vague: Nouvelle Vague means "new wave" in English but in the Porteguese native tongue of Brazil, Nouvelle Vague means "bossa nova." In France, Nouvelle Vague is the name for the '60s new wave of cult French cinema.

Here's Nouvelle Vague's cover version of the new wave classic I'll Melt With You, originally done by Modern English.



Nouvelle Vague gained a reputation for their hilarious stage antics at live shows. In finale of their live shows, one or both of the sexy female singers ends up writhing on the floor in an over-the-top display of feigned ecstasy.


Writing in ecstasy in concert

Theatrics aside, there's still a lot to like about these clever rearrangements of new wave classics by Collin and Libaux. Their understated samba interpretation the XTC classic, Making Plans For Nigel induces more fear and loathing of a future Big Brother dystopian society than the original version. This live performance of Nigel is at the Bluebird Cafe in Denver Colorado. Please pardon the crowd noise.

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Old 07-15-2013, 04:21 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Europop from Barcelona


Mister Furia and Professor Manso of the Pinker Tones

The Pinker Tones were founded in 2002 by a strange pair of musicians from Barcelona Spain who call themselves Mister Furia and Professor Manso. Apparently, they never appear in public without their sunglasses.

The Pinker Tones play a wildly diverse selection of Europop, break beat, bossa nova, psychedelic, swing and lounge music. They have a sort of Devoesque sense of humor about the music they play.

In “Pinkerland,” a tiny rooftop studio in the center of Barcelona, the Pinker Tones put together their first album, 'The Pink Connection', which was released in 2003. They've released eight albums in the past decade and remixed albums of several of their favorites artists including Astrud Gilberto and Italian soundtrack composer Alessandro Alessandroni.


Pinker Tones in concert

The embedded song Happy Everywhere from their 2008 album, Wild Animals really caught my ear and raised my curiosity about the Pinker Tones. The video for Happy Everywhere is one of my favorites.

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There are two types of music: the first type is the blues and the second type is all the other stuff.
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Old 07-17-2013, 08:13 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Electronica from Argentina


Juana Molina

Juana Molina was the daughter of internationally famous tango dancing parents who fled to Paris during one of the fascist military coups in her native Argentina. Juana returned to Argentina as an adult and became a prominent comedic actress. She didn't pursue a music career until she was well in her thirties and became instantly successful in South America.

Ms. Molina uses traditional Argentine folk music as a framework but expands it with by using numerous electronic and psychedelic effects. She's particularly skillful at using a delay pedal which allows her to add vocal background singing and various electronic effects when she performs.



She is often compared by critics to Björk, Beth Orton, and Lisa Germano. She usually writes, mixes tracks and performs on her own. Her second album, Segundo, was named Best World Music Album 2003 in Entertainment Weekly and was shortlisted for a Grammy Award nomination. Tres Cosas was placed in the Top Ten Records of 2004 by the New York Times.

Since I understand very little Spanish I'm not sure about the meaning of her songs but I'm told that many of her lyrics reflect her pro-socialist political worldview.

One of my favorite songs by Juana Molina is Rio Seco from her 2006 album Son. The song is awash with psychedelic production effects.

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Old 07-17-2013, 01:57 PM   #9 (permalink)
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British Downtempo Music with an International Flavor


Zero 7 in concert with Australian trip hop vocalist Sia Furler

Fans of electronic music are probably well acquainted with the downtempo trip hop orientated sound of Zero 7. Since 2001 Zero 7 has had 4 best selling studio albums and have won several electronic and world music awards.

The founders Henry Binns and Sam Hardarker were a pair of sound engineers at Mickey Most's RAK studios in London in the early 90s and they began recording their own music between sessions in the mid 1990s. The vocal duties are handled by a revolving cast of singers who already have successful careers as vocalists including Sia, Tina Dico, Mozez, José González, Sophie Barker & Martha Tilston.

Pageant of the Bizarre is a song that has both acid jazz and Eastern European folk music influences.



The song Swing is jazz in form but still has ethnic folk music influences.



According to Wiki:
Quote:
The duo's songs have appeared in many films and television shows such as Blue Crush, Raising Helen, Smallville, Roswell, Obsessed, and I'm with Lucy. Songs include "Give It Away" (Top Gear, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, I Give It a Year), "Polaris" (Sex and the City), "Pop Art Blue" "Waterloo Road", and "In The Waiting Line" (Garden State, Sex and the City, House and Numb3rs). Their song "Destiny" has appeared on the Lacoste website, SkyTV's broadcast of the Star Wars Saga and commercial. The song "In The Waiting Line" has also appeared in a 2006 HBO ad, NBC's profile of Olympic Swimmer Laure Manaudou, and is sampled in the hip hop song song "Nothing Iz Real" by Termanology.
Songs by Zero 7 have also appeared on the lounge music compilations, The Chillout Project by Filipino DJ Anton Ramos, and the Hôtel Costes.
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Old 07-17-2013, 09:46 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Elizabeth Butterfly: The Parisian Club Scene Meets the Outernational Sound


French Deejay Elizabeth Butterfly

In the summer 2002 I had my first encounter with the outernational club scene in Paris. I went to a rave style event that featured two deejays: Dimitri from Paris and Elizabeth Butterfly. Dimitri was pretty much a straight-up house deejay but Madame Butterfly was playing a wide range of music that included samba, bossa nova, 60's French pop, cool jazz and even some punk thrown in for good measure.

I purchased her album of remixes titled Easy Paris and grew to love her eclectic musical taste. Saravah Samba was a frenzied remix of a bossa nova by Pierre Barouh with zany tape loops and pulsating drumbeats:



Another remix, Aux Cyclades Electonique was a jazzy electronic song by French soundtrack artist Bertrand Bergalat.



Easy Paris is far and away my favorite outernational album. The sad thing is I've never seen Easy Paris for sale anywhere in the United States and I have no idea of what happened to Elizabeth Butterfly following my 2002 trip to Paris. She obviously did not go onto international fame as a deejay or producer, and I know of no other albums by her...But we still have Paris in the summer of 2002.
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