Banabila

Voiznoiz: Urban Soundscapes, Vol. 1

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AllMusic Review by

Michel Banabila may seem to have come out of thin air with this album, but he apparently does have a past -- according to the press materials, his last solo album came out in 1985. For further details, you're on your own. But the strength of this fascinating found-sound pastiche will be enough to send fans of musique concrète, advanced turntablism, and trip-hop scouring the import bins. Most of the material that comprises these 20 tracks comes from field recordings of human voices speaking, singing, declaiming, and arguing, all of them reportedly made in the streets, buildings, and train stations of Holland and Yemen. The recordings are cut up and pasted together in sometimes eerie and frequently downright funky ways: the result sometimes sounds like a collaboration between Jon Hassell and African Head Charge (as on the danceable "Do Something About It" and the even more Hassell-ish "Sorokin Blues") and sometimes like a cross between Tricky and the Residents (as on the darkly funky and melodically quirky "Chickensoap"). On "Where?" the snippets of speaking and singing are arranged by pitch, and the result is a sort of techno version of hocketing; it's an example of medieval technique meeting 21st century technology, and the result is wonderful. This is an exquisite album by an artist who deserves much wider recognition.

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