From Rotterdam, Holland comes a very unusual album from Michel Banabila, with the assistance of an 8-person musical collective. What Banabila has done here is take samples of street sounds from Rotterdam and Sana'a, Yemen, and make sonic collages of them, Art of Noise style. This is one of the most stylistically eclectic albums this reviewer has seen recently, with strong jazz and trip hop elements. Here's a look at the tracks:
Mono/metro - Starts out very low key, cool jazz with a slow beat. Banabila uses vocal samples as his instruments. This track reminds me of the Art of Noise and, to a lesser degree, Yello. Interspersed with the voices are a piano, organ, and some random electronic sounds.
Do something about it! - This one is definitely more like Yello, with a funkier beat and lots of toms.
Sorokin blues - This is, as it says, a blues track, albeit a rather odd and disjointed one. Elements here resonate of Tom Waits and Primus.
Voiz IV - Here's a more upbeat, chunky track with something of an open road vibe. The later part of the track has an amusingly sprung rhythm that is tough to follow for a bit, but it resolves back into the original theme. Some guitars here.
Parade Bizarre - This one's a clunking, odd-keyed march, with elements reminding this reviewer of zydeco.
Milos came by - It's a trip hop track with sitar and a funky breakbeat, complete with scratching and electro elements. There's even a bit of Waali singing here.
Chickensoap - This oddly angular track trudges along with chicken and bubble popping noises.
Voiz III - More angular weirdness again, with a syncopated beat. This one's a bit smoother than the other Voiz. String sounds are interspersed here and there.
Where? - This is a very slow, minimalist track, rather soothing in a quietly plunking way. It's reminiscent of some traditional Japanese music.
Urban scapes - This one has a very measured beat, the voices being more prominent here than in most of the other tracks. Urban scapes rather reminds me of some of the German expressionist film soundtracks I've heard.
Streets of SAM City - An extremely fast, nonstandard beat drives this one; there are overtones here of anime soundtracks or the sort of music one finds in conjunction with time lapse films of city streets. There's also a definite film noir vibe here.
Adventures of Bob Badoubah - Another jazzy one, the sort of thing one would expect to be played in a tiki lounge. There's also a tinge of spy-movie soundtrack here as well.
Hosanna - This track is a waltz with definite Middle East vibes. The vox in here are rather quiet, and almost, but not quite, overshadowed by the instruments.
Da boubelli - This one resonates with urban cool jazz. The track is rather slow and languid, almost liquid in places.
Suma mix - Starting out with a hollow, warm, and almost subterranean vibe, it winds up with a bit of virtual Eurodisco.
Ba-bylon - This one's a humming babble of voices, rising and falling.
Azmignie - Here's a track that sounds in turns like religious chanting, gargling, and vocoded gurgles. The backing music is a syncopated march tempo.
Traffic - This is a sonic montage arranged to simulate the sounds of street traffic.
New circles - Tribal drumming, orchestral jazz passages, fuzz electronics and resonant voice samples make this measured-pace track hum with activity.
Wonderful mistakes - Here's a pulsing, fluttering, mostly electronic track that has the feel of slowly turning stations on a radio dial.
This is definitely one of the most interesting albums I've heard in quite a while, and has a lot of crossover potential as the tracks here are not just jumbles of random sound, but are quite listenable as standalone tracks rather than just curiosities. Heck, most of them are danceable as well. In all senses, this is a good showing from Tone Casualties. If you're looking for something a little different, this is an excellent piece of work and worth a listen.
Post: Tone Casualties, 6353 Sunset Blvd., Hollywood, CA, 90028
Phone: (323) 468-2931
Fax: (323) 463-0924