Various - New German Ethnic Music

Stick in there, when you finally get a handle on the whole it can be an ever giving listen.

I have a feeling that this marvellous record may have slipped under the radar for many, but please, grab the chance to listen in to New German Ethnic Music as it's really worth your time. The brief is fairly straightforward but ingenious when you think about it. New German Ethnic Music is an LP comprised of songs collected from the imigrant communities in Germany, and remixed by some of the best German electro artists (Guido Moebius, Gudrun Gut and Ulrich Schnauss to name a few). The resulting LP showcases some of the most intriguing and daring - if not always totally successful - reworkings I've heard in quite a while. But take note! Just like the project itself, listening in can be a time consuming and incremental expeience. Frankly this is not an LP to take on in one sitting. You'll be whacked out as there's so much to digest.

But once you give this record time (especially using a set of headphones) you'll realise what a charming, seductive thing it is. For one, it's packed solid with brilliantly diverse sounds. Compare the beautifully open rhythmicality and rich, effervescent percussion that drives Mark Ernestus' Groove 26 (a reworking of the  Marrabanta of Mozambique) with Matias Aguato's take on Ay Linda, Amiga (a track which is supposed to be Spanish Renaissance choral piece, not that you'd ever guess) with the brilliantly saucy, sticky Gothic disco that Gudrun Gut's take on the Dalmatian Klapa has created. Or try Niobe's fractive, irrepressible, bonkers take on Vietnamese Quan-ho in Ba Quan Moi Trau; akin,in some parts, to a ceremonial march past of Pinky & Perky clones. And Ulrich Schnauss's piece - a reworking of the Italian Chorus of Donni So is one of his most interesting, least soppy works to date; a cheeky, insistent and pulsating track, never getting broadbrush or overly sentimental in that way his work can, whilst still retaining his twinkly vibe. It's truly fabulous.

Sometimes the results of all this cultural interchange reflect "real life" constructs and parallels; Symbiz Sound are a deejay collective of Korean origin, and their remix, Go Hyang Yui Bom - with the Korean Choir of Berlin - somehow reconfigures and re-establishes a traditional Korean folk song in an urban and very German setting. And with this in mind it's intriguing, and refreshing, to hear this "aural dichotomy" being worked out in front of you.  And sometimes things are just too much fun, as with the Son/disco mash up courtesy of Eric D. Clark.

What's really good (and maybe in these impatient times counterproductive) is that the LP picks up pace and direction round the midway mark. For sure the opening tracks, especially Guido Moebius's Milho Verde  are really great, intelligent works, but things like Thomas Mahmoud's beautiful Saadi Belouali Jani or Margaret Dygas' Czemuzes Mnie, Matulenko rely on being subtle and quietly persuasive than attention grabbing, and this means you could let a lot of the LP pass you by.  So stick in there, as when you finally get a handle on the whole it can be an ever giving listen.

A fabulous record. Take your time and you'll be rewarded.