Africaine 808 Basar Golf Channel
When Chilean producer Matias Aguayo released Minimal in 2008, he didn’t mince his words in denouncing the genre he’d previously championed as part of Berlin duo Closer Musik. “Got no groove, got no balls,” he half whispered in a crooning vocal. Aguayo’s aim, it seemed, was to replace the joyless, cynical sparsity that he perceived minimal to be, with a brighter, fuller and less parochial approach.
Minimal was released eight years ago, but the sentiment seems to have stuck. The other half of Closer Musik – Dirk Leyers – can now be found working with DJ Nomad, and their new release has a globe-spinning approach that hops, skips and jumps from genre to genre with playful abandon.
The only danger with the album’s boundary-defying aesthetic is that it can teeter on novelty. With such an ambitious remit, the production at points resembles a sort of plate spinning act that draws attention to the variety itself, rather than the quality of the individual soundscapes carved out within it. The minimal, murkier territory of tracks like Nation and Ready for Something New have a steely, atmospheric air that works adequately in and of themselves, but they don’t sit well beside the ebullient trumpets and kitsch electric organs of cosmic disco jams like Crawfish Got Soul or Yes We Can’t. The album works well when the two worlds collide, especially when underscored by the percussive talents of collaborators like Eric Owusu as on the central tracks Balla Balla and Ngoni, but these moments don’t come often enough to bind the album together coherently.
While a number of tracks work excellently in isolation, it’s still too easy to discern the separately delineated voices of Leyers and Nomad on individual tracks to consider Basar a successful work of synthesis.