Tag: Bongo Joe Records

Rising Geneva-based act Cyril Cyril features two of the city’s most acclaimed experimental musicians collaborating together:

  • Cyril Yeterian: In Geneva, Yeterian may be best known for being the frontman and accordion player for acclaimed Cajun blues trio Mama Rosin, an act that released four albums of material that evoked the ghosts of the Mississippi Delta and Mardi Gras before splitting in 2015. Yeterian also co-founded the forward-thinking, global, taste-making record store and label Bongo Joe Records.
  • Cyril Bondi: Bondi is a stalwart figure in the Swiss experimental scene, best known for being the founding member of Plaistow and for leading the Insub Meta Orchestra, an experimental ensemble featuring 60 musicians. Bondi has also collaborated a number of acts including diatribes, La Téne and Komatsu.

Interestingly, Cyril Cyril can trace its origins back to 2017. With the duo both seeking new creative challenges, Yeterian took on the banjo, adding a shit ton of effect pedals to it, so that it began to sound more like a bouzouki (a Greek, long-necked lute) or a krar (a five or six sting lyre, played mostly in Ethiopia and Eritrea) — and simultaneously, Bondi cobbled together a cannibal drum kit with massive jingle bells and tropical nut shells embedded into his marching bass drum.

2018’s full-length debut, Certaine Ruins quickly established their unique sound, a sound that generally meshes the tough plucking and rhythmical patterns of Lebanon, The Levant and North Africa. The duo supported the album with rapturously received, relentless touring across the European Union which helped the band develop an electric live show which was equally at home on a big festival stage as it was in a small, sweaty club.

Building upon a rapidly growing profile across the European Union, the duo’s highly-anticipated sophomore album Yallah Mickey Mouse is slated for an October 16, 2020 release through the aforementioned Bongo Joe Records and Born Bad Records. The album’s title is derived from a true incident: Yeterian and Bondi were touring with Swiss experimental transppop duo Hyperculte through the Middle East. While on a trip visiting the pyramids, Hyperculte’s Vincent Bertholet (double bass) rode a camel hilariously named Mickey Mouse. “He [Betholet] was so uncomfortable riding a camel, it was such a scene,” Cyril Cyril’s Cyril Yeterian recalls in press notes. “Watching him tell with a very French accent  ‘yallah’  to the camel to have him step forward on the sand.  So  ‘yallah mickey mouse’  was born. We immediately thought about the power this sentence had politically speaking. No words to add. Arabic world vs. American imperialism? Is there anything to say people don’t know already?”  

To celebrate the album announcement, the Geneva-based duo released three singles from the album:

  • “Les Gens,” Yallah Mickey Mouse‘s first single is a hypnotic and hallucinogenic fever dream centered around galloping African polyrhythm, shimmering banjo arpeggios played through tons of effects, dub-like reverb, punchily delivered call and response vocals — and of course MORE COWBELL! Sonically, “Les Gans” is a slick synthesis of Evil Heat-era Primal Scream, Levitation-era Flamingods and traditional Middle Eastern and African music. Yes, it’s the genre-defying sounds that I’ve long championed — but it’s only possible in a borderless, genre-less world. “The idea of the song was paradoxically born at a moment where we were completely fed up with how extreme tourism had become in both the most popular spots close to us and all around the world.” Cyril Yeterian explains in press notes. “What turned out really odd is that a few months later, everything was stopped by the Covid. And suddenly there was no one in the streets, and we realized our song could be understood as the nostalgia we have about the time we were gathering altogether. So we invite anyone to get this song the way they prefer!”  
  • “Al Boustan,” the album’s second single is centered around a hypnotic, dance floor friendly groove, shimmering banjo and organ and a forcefully insistent thump. While clearly drawing from the Middle East, the song seems to also hint at Bollywood as a result of the song possessing a cinematic expansiveness. It’s mind-bending — and if you put yourself in the right situation, the song can help you head to a higher plane of existence. “’Al Boustan’ looks at how our narcissism and the narrow fascination of ourselves deserve to come up against the unalterable force of the elements that decorate our daily lives,” the duo explain. “The trees will always grow and the moon will rise and set as long as a human eye looks up to the sky. Nevertheless. Against everything. We are many and we are nothing.”
  • “X-Crise,” the album’s third single is centered around driving polyrhythm, percussive banjo arpeggios, punchy melodies and an infectious hook. This song sounds as though it comes from a much-older place, something far older than time, when our earliest ancestors sat in front of the fire telling stories about the origins of everything. And in some fashion, it’s the most Tinariwen-like track of the three — but while brimming with a mischievous sense of adventure.

All three tracks reveal two things to me:

  • Bongo Joe Records is releasing some of the wildest, most forward-thinking music out there today.
  • Cyril Cyril may arguably be one of Geneva’s most forward-thinking and uncompromisingly challenging acts.

I’m looking very forward to the album and more of the labels’ releases — and to this album.

New Video: Meridian Brothers Release a Dystopian Yet Hopeful New Single

Over the past couple of months, I’ve written quite a bit about Bogota, Colombia-based singer/songwriter, guitarist, Eblis Alvarez, who’s perhaps better known as the creative mastermind behind the acclaimed, forward-thinking cumbia act Meridian Brothers. Now, as you may recall, Meridian Brothers newest album Cumbia Siglo XXI is salted for an August 21, 2020 release through Bongo Joe Records — and the album, which is the highly-anticipated follow-up to the act’s critically applauded (and largely acoustic) ¿Dónde estás María? continues the Colombian artist’s long-held reputation for restlessly pushing his sound and approach in new and radical directions whenever possible. 

Largely inspired by Cumbia Siglo XX’s experimentation with traditional cumbia in the late ’70s and early ’80s, which led to a completely new form of the genre, Cumbia Siglo XXI sees Alvarez using a multitude of guitars, synths, algorithmic software, vintage drum machines and whatever tech that the acclaimed Colombian artist could get his hands on. The end result is material that seemingly draws from Kraftwerk, while blending EDM “sidechain” techniques and traditional cumbia.

I’ve written about two album singles so far: “Puya del Empressario,” an infectious yet let field take on cumbia that sounded a bit like like The Man Machine-era Kraftwerk meets JOVM mainstay El Dusty with a mischievous sense of adventurousness — and “Los Golpeadores de la cumbia,” a mischievous synthesis of chip tune, electro pop and cumbia that came from the Island of Misfit Toys. The album’s latest single  “Cumbia de la fuente,” is a yearning and plaintive track centered around strummed acoustic guitar, glitchy synths and glitchier drum machines and Alvarez’s aching vocal delivery.  And while sounding as though it came from some incredibly dystopian future — one just as hellish as our own — the song conveys a sense of hope for something beyond this. 

“‘Cumbia de la fuente’ is a stopping point of the whole theme of the record, both in lyrics and in sound concept,” Meridian Brothers’ Alvarez says in press notes. “rThe song is a prayer and an amulet, a search for something that modern human beings are not used to do, due to mechanisation and modern industrial societies. A scream to the nowhere, looking for some answer, which is not given by scientific fetichism nor the political argument, nor the philosophic reason.”

The recently released video for “Cumbia de la fuente” features some trippy and brightly colored drawings that seem inspired by an intense hallucinogenic trip. 

New Audio: Meridian Brothers Release a Chiptune Inspired Take on Cumbia

Eblis Alvarez is a Bogota, Colombia-based singer/songwriter, guitarist and the creative mastermind behind the acclaimed and forward-thinking recording project Meridian Brothers.  Alvarez’s forthcoming Meridian Brothers album  Cumbia Siglo XXI is slated for an August 21, 2020 release through Bongo Joe Records — and the album, which is the highly-anticipated follow-up to the act’s critically applauded (largely  acoustic) ¿Dónde estás María? continues the Colombian artist’s long-held reputation for relentlessly pushing his sound and approach in new and radical directions. 

Inspired by Cumbia Siglo XX’s experimentation with traditional cumbia in the late ’70s and early ’80s, which led to a completely new form of the genre, Cumbia Siglo XXI sees Alvarez using a multitude of guitars, synths, algorithmic software, vintage drum machines and whatever tech that the acclaimed Colombian artist could get his hands on. And while the album’s material sonically seemingly to draw a bit from Kraftwerk, the album reportedly is a sonic blend of EDM “sidechain” techniques and traditional cumbia.

Earlier this year, I wrote about Cumbia Siglo XXI‘s first single “Puya del Empressario,” an infectious yet let field take on cumbia that sounded a bit like like eThe Man Machine-era Kraftwerk meets JOVM mainstay El Dusty — with a mischievous sense of adventurousness.  “Los Golpeadores de la cumbia,” Cumbia Siglo XXI’s latest single is a mischievous synthesis of chip-tune, electro pop and cumbia that sounds like came straight from the Island of Misfit Toys. 

The recently released Bibiana Rojas-edited video for “Los Golpeadores de la cumbia” features a split screen — the left-hand side of the screen we see a man, text people, receive a phone call and take selfies. On the right-hand side, we see some surreal drawings by Mateo Rivano. 

New Audio: Meridian Brothers’ Forward-Thinking and Adventurous Take on Cumbia

Eblis Alvarez is a Bogota, Colombia-based singer/songwriter, guitarist and creative mastermind behind the acclaimed and forward-thinking solo project Meridian Brothers. The act’s forthcoming album Cumbia Siglo XXI is slated for an August 21, 2020 release through Bongo Joe Records — and the album, which is the highly-anticipated follow-up to the act’s critically applauded (largely  acoustic) ¿Dónde estás María? furthers the act’s long-held reputation for relentlessly pushing their sound and approach in new and radical directions.

Inspired by Cumbia Siglo XX’s experimentation with traditional cumbia in the late ’70s and early ’80s, which led to a completely new form of the genre, Cumbia Siglo XXI sees the act employing a use of amultitude of guitars, synths, algorithmic software, vintage drum machines and other tech that Alvarez could get his hands on. Drawing a bit from Kraftwerk, the album reportedly is a sonic blend of EDM “sidechain” techniques and traditional cumbia.

“Puya del Empreasirio,” Cumbia Siglo XXI’s first single is centered around layers of fuzzy analog synths, off-kilter and propulsive rhythms, snatches of vocals is an hypnotic, infectious and completely left field take on cumbia that kind of sounds like The Man Machine-era Kraftwerk meets JOVM mainstay El Dusty — but with a mischievous sense of adventurousness. “Cumbia disintegrated into drum machines. AIs are fucking idiots, Puya rides the machine,” Alvarez says of the track. 

New Video: Swiss Instrumental Act L’Eclair Release a Hallucinogenic Visual for Shimmering and Funky New Single “Carousel”

Through the course of their first three albums, 2017’s Cruise Control, 2018’s Polymood and last year’s Sauropoda, the Geneva, Switzerland-based instrumental act L’Eclair have perfected and established a difficult to pigeonhole sound, centered around their unique groove-driven vision of instrumental music, which fearlessly blends genres and styles. It shouldn’t be surprising that at one point, the Swiss instrumental act managed to describe their sound in a number of different ways on their Facebook page, including referring to their sound as being “as if Booker T and the MGs came from Eastern Europe,” an obscure 70s movie soundtrack and as “kraut-exo-soul, brutal funk and Turkish groove.” Interestingly, the act closed out last year with a collaborative 7 inch with The Mauskovic Dance Band.

Building upon a growing profile, the Swiss sextet has toured to support those albums across Europe, bringing the funky grooves to audiences in Germany, France, The Netherlands, Belgium, Italy, Spain, Denmark, Luxembourg and the UK, including thee European Festival circuit, playing sets at Montreux Jazz Festival, Bad Bonn Kilbi, Les Transmusicales, Eurosonic Nooderslag, Copenhagen Jazz Festival and others. 

Continuing the momentum of the past couple of years, the Swiss sextet’s latest effort, Noshtta EP is slated for a May 22, 2020 leas through Bongo Joe Records, and the EP reportedly continues a run of material that’s specifically crafted to make you dance and cry at the same time. “Carousel,” Noshtta EP’s latest single is centered around an expansive and free- flowing arrangement of shifting tempos, shimmering and reverb drenched guitars, propulsive four-on-the floor, twinkling keys and a sinuous and funky bass lines. The track finds the act seamlessly meshing funk, jazz fusion, disco and kraurtock with a mischievously anachronistic retro-futurism — and it may arguably be the most dance floor friendly track they’ve released to date. The recently released video is a trippy mix of old-school CGI graphics, videotape hiss, and geometric shapes undulating in syncopation to the song.