23 November 2009

Monday's mp3: The Curious World of Soznak

Soznak: Dear Dad Tango (Home Made Rekords)

Somewhere in London there's a jungle growing in a library, and a bear consulting the card catalog as a soft mambo plays. That's one snippet from the DVD portion of a most curious CD from a group called Soznak. Actually named after a Middle-Eastern mode which brightens and elevates the sound of a piece of music, the group could easily find themselves wedged in next to African-rock outfits such as the Occidental Brothers Dance Band International and Justin Adams & Juldeh Camara. But with members from many corners of the world, including  Spain, Angola, Congo, Kwa Zulu–Natal, Cameroon, Iran, Iraq, and Ireland, the group's sound is not so easy to pigeonhole.

The CD's catchy opening track "Tata Y Mama" might best be described as Congolese calypso. The vocals, jazzy horn lines, and mbira in "Sugar Stick" show influences from southern Africa. Then there's the Latin funk feel of "Traffic Jambo," and no small amount of jazz and experimental stuff throughout.  It's a mixed-up world, this land of Soznak, and the acid-trip artwork of the CD and the odd short films on the accompanying DVD do little help the listener's equilibrium. Yet the more I listen I'm drawn into this strange sound collision, this multicultural masala. I can't explain Soznak, but I can enjoy them. You might, too.

[mp3] Soznak: Tata Y Mama
from the album Dear Dad Tango

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