Otherworldly: Vula Viel, Time Grove & Maurice Louca

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Vula Viel: Do Not Be Afraid

It’s winter break for a lot of school kids, which means time to go on a little trip. Actually, we don’t need any excuses to pack our bags and go around here. Enjoy these around-the-globe, otherworldly sounds for your mid-winter doldrums. The name of the first rec this week is Do Not Be Afraid, which is good advice in general around here (try something new!) and also a pretty great record from London trio Vula Viel. These guys play a fascinating, incredibly unique music centered on a Ghanian xylophone called a Gyil. The sound is rhythmic and tribal and a many-splendored thing, addictive and joyous. I know you have no fear and will check this one out, some cool shit!

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Time Grove: More Than One Thing

Our next stop is in Tel Aviv where we find Time Grove and their debut LP More Than One Thing. On first glance, this ensemble is a jazz band, but as you let their music grab a hold of you, there’s a lot more to it. Brainfeeder exotica and a deceptive understated groove will have you doing that “who is this again?” thing track after track. It’s beautiful and funky and seeps deep. Highly recommended.

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Maurice Louca: Elephantine

For all our world travels, we don’t get to the Middle East too often around here, so while we’re in the area, it’s a relatively quick hop over to Cairo, Egypt. And we just have to go to Cairo to check out the new one from Maurice Louca. Elephantine is a bit of a masterpiece: six tracks of hypnotic, funky, otherworldly music. Louca has assembled a 12-piece band ranging from his own piano and guitar to typical horns to vibes, oud and violin. It all just works and Louca proves himself to be a master bandleader, guiding the group between composed sections and thrilling improvisation. The whole thing just kicks … A good place to stop this week, I think, more to come, of course! Enjoy!

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