Eclectic Vibes - July 2012

by Andrew Frey



Pretty Lights Music
Several months had slipped by since I visited the Pretty Lights Music site last, and much to my surprise and pleasure, there were a number of new releases, which after downloading (for free or with donation) I proceeded to geek out on and repeat them randomly throughout the day for about a week straight. Top of the list is Gramatik’s #digitalfreedom, which although an EP, from my perspective has the coolest samples, tastiest beats and most raucous breakdowns. Break Science’s Monolith Code brandishes a spacey theme and cascades of dreamy sparkle to complement their very compulsive rhythms. Elliot Lipp’s Shark, Wolf, Rabbit harbors over on the mellower side of composite electronica, while Michael Menert’s Even if it isn’t Right boasts 27 tracks that are shorter, and more laid back in general, but still quirky and entertaining.
Plus, if you are in Canada mid-July you can catch the 6 date Pretty Lights train tour called the Full Flex Express, which also features Skrillex, Diplo and others. Then again, Pretty Lights and Pretty Lights Music artists have a showcase August 17 & 18 at Red Rocks. It will certainly sell out, so get your tickets early if you sincerely want to go.
Although iTunes still reigns supreme, a new #2 digital music money maker has been identified. Spotify is now the No. 2 revenue source for major music labels. Spotify is an on-demand music service offering free and subscription options. 23 million people used the service last month and the numbers continue to climb. Estimates show that iTunes paid approximately $3.2 billion to record labels in 2011 which means that the gap between Apple and Spotify remains extremely large, but at least there is another option on the horizon.
Drag Nation
In the world of reality TV, Ru Paul’s Drag Race series is a highly entertaining view of niche entertainers struggling to compete, stand out and strut their stuff. So when the Absolut Drag Race Tour stopped by the EXDO Event Center in Denver on June 15 I simply HAD to be there. The evening was hosted by Miss Nina Flowers and featured performances from Season 4’s winner Sharon Needles, along with, Chad Michaels, Phi Phi O’Hera and some great local performers. Sharon Needles ushering a whole new era for drag by winning season 4, so it was no surprise when she performed Marylin Manson’s Beautiful People and stole the evening. Drag done goth. Brilliant!
Amadou & Mariam
The amazing husband-and-wife duo Amadou & Mariam, referred to throughout Africa as the Blind Couple of Mali, will be sweeping through the Midwest showing off their experimentations into West African Blues and appearing at only a handful of US dates before continuing to hop around the planet. Find them 8/5 in Chicago at Lollapalooza;  8/6 at Overture Center For The Arts in Madison, WI ; 8/7 at Cedar Cultural Center in Minneapolis.

This Month's Rating Scale is from 1 is Constipated - 10 is Liberated

Samite Mulondo - Trust

Samite Mulondo - Trust

Samite Mulondo

Album title: Trust
Record Label: Musicians for World Harmony
Rating: 9

A world-famous humanitarian and musician who plays flute and kalimba, Samite presents us with a charming platitude of bright and flowing instrumental melodies born from East African roots.  Beyond this, Samite has dedicated his life to helping others through music. In 2002 he founded Musicians for World Harmony, a non-profit organization that sends musicians and instruments to poverty stricken parts of Africa. Bravo!

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Samite Mulondo online:

Download Trust from Amazon

Nickodemus - Moon People

Nickodemus - Moon People


Album title: Moon People
Record Label: ESL Music
Rating: 10

From hip hop to Afropop to jazzy funk to flamenco among a multitude of other influences, the Brooklyn based Nickodemus connects an endearing amalgamation of world beats, electronica and worthwhile innovation by utilizing and orchestrating his network of collaborators ranging from Puerto Rico to Beirut and beyond. A surprising complexity of approaches and fresh musical infusions.

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Nickodemus online:

Download Moon People from Amazon
Purchase Moon People on Amazon

Niyaz - Sumud

Niyaz - Sumud


Album title: Sumud
Record Label: Six Degrees
Rating: 10

The album title, pronounced “soomood,” translated from Arabic means steadfastness, which also represents the thematic lyrical philosophy of this release. Continuing to evolve the contemporary sound of Middle Eastern music, this superstar trio composed of Azam Ali, Loga Ramin Torkian and Carmen Rizzo splashes us with electronically-infused Arabic melodies and entrancing vocals that every global citizen will find mesmerizing.

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Niyaz online:

Download Sumud from Amazon
Purchase Sumud on Amazon

Putumayo Presents - Arabic Beat

Putumayo Presents - Arabic Beat

Putumayo Presents

Album title: Arabic Beat
Record Label: Putumayo
Rating: 9

Once again, Putumayo has put together a well-picked eclectic selection of lesser-known world class artists, this time with a focus on Arabic musicians of today. By incorporating certain Western influences, today’s Arabic music’s upbeat, danceable grooves have an undeniable universal appeal. Get to know Morrocco’s Jalal El Hamdaoui or Algerian performer Cheb Amar along with 8 others.

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Putumayo Presents online:

Download Arabic Beat from Amazon