Sunday, 28 August 2011

BLNRB - Welcome To The Madhouse (OutHere)

'Ma Bhoom Bhoom Bhoom' is on repeat for the 4th time in a row as we bounce along to this house tune with the sounds of raw African percussion swinging in the background and the insanely catchy track title repeated over and over locking us into it's deep dubbed hypnotic groove. Welcome to the sounds of BLNRB - Welcome To The Madhouse the latest journey into the sounds of urban Africa from one of the genre's most reliable chroniclers and disseminators - Out Here Records.

Out Here kick started life and were brought to our attention when they started releasing some well selected compilations of the better produced and more African music flavoured slices of the continents urban music, as opposed to the raw slices of often hash, music light, urban tunes that more often than not drive the scene. The sounds of Africa for western ears well detached from the realities of young urban Africa or discerning selections, depending on your point of view. All we knew was most of the tunes became staples in our dj sets and we were grateful to be able to get our hands on some of the then more elusive tunes rocking the continent.

Well with this project Out Here are championing a more pro-active approach to Urban African music by releasing the fruits of a Goethe-Institut & Debruder Teichmann project that took some well known faces on the Berlin music scene down to Nairobi, Kenya to collaborate, meet and mingle with the local talent and the results are electric. As mentioned a lot of African music suffers from poor production values, which is perfectly understandable due to lack of facilities not to mention often intermittent power supplies and more pressing funding issues than the wealthy north, so to hear the immensely talented Nairobi crew: Mister Abbas, Kimya, Lon'Jon, Naziai, blind singer Michel Ongaru, Just A Band and Ukoo Flani to mention just a few riding some sick bang up to date, tightly produced, well mastered riddims is a wonderful thing.

The collaborations came to fruition in two studios established in a Nairobi townhouse where everyone in the project worked, performed and lived together. The previously named bands were invited but word spread like swine flu around Nairobi and there was soon a frenzy of artists coming and going and the now famous Madhouse was born.

After a first concert in Nairobi in 2009 the Berliners went back to Kenya in 2010 for a few weeks and it was during this period, that the first recordings of the presented tracks were made. In December 2010, the musicians from Nairobi went to Berlin for a concert night to celebrate the collaboration, the project being hailed a great success.

Now after the live show the CD has dropped and you really have to check it. From the catchy electro hip house vibes of 'Madhouse', Jahcoozi, Little King & Robo riding the ominous bass heavy dubstep of 'Take It Higher', Just A Band indie rocking out in 'Room For Me', the deep dubbed house vibes of 'Ma Bhoom Bhoom Bhoom' and 'Everyday Without You' to a whole host of more traditional hip hop tempo riddims all laced with the sounds of cutting edge production gear and a catchy, infectious African musical sensibility which lights up every track it touches. This is the sounds of joy, cultural curiosity, musical exploration and new friendships and a real winner of an album start to finish.

Check out the Dala Dala (Out Here's killer sound system crew) album mix for a healthy taster of the projects musical delights:


Here's a little video about the making of the project: