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JDub is the selector: Festival of Strikes Edition

Sway Machinery in Mali

While this column is primarily about the non-JDub music I’m listening to, I would be remise this week if I didn’t share a few new tracks with you from the label I co-founded 8 years ago this week.

First up: Two songs from Soulico, the Israeli DJ collective I discovered through a mashup mixtape in a Tel Aviv record store in 2005, remixing and re-imagining material from their 2009 JDub release, Exotic on the Speaker.

“1000 Nights Remix” begins as a dark, brooding, synth-driven beat.  Your first hint of the Middle Eastern flavor to come is the flute.  Then Ravid Kahalani‘s voice hits you.  Ravid’s been getting a lot of attention for his own band, Yemen Blues, and as a singer with Israeli superstar Idan Raichel. And while he tries – admirably – to take lead here, Soulico’s beat is no second fiddle.  Check it two and a half minutes in – it picks up, mutates, and I suddenly imagine a midnight desert rave in the Negev, fist-pumping desert-dwellers who’ve never bothered with clubs and strobe lights alongside Pauly D, all of them caught up in this cross-cultural musical ecstasy.  Yes, its that good.

“Bitter Crunk” – Soulico introduces an appropriately exotic sample, throw in the synth they can’t seem to put down these days, and then bring in Rye Rye, who’s turn on Exotic on the Speaker’s title track was a banger in its own right.  Here, though, she gets the “chopped & screwed” treatment.

Today’s final selection is the first single from The Sway Machinery‘s forthcoming album, The House of Friendly Ghosts, Volume 1.  The band is led by Jeremiah Lockwood, a former Six Points Fellow and regular Balkan Beat Box guitarist, who explores new contexts for his family’s Cantorial musical tradition and his own 15 years as a blues musician in New York City’s subway stations.

“Gawad Teriamou (45 Edit)” – The song, like much of the album, features Malian superstar Khaira Arby and was recorded in Mali during the band’s journey there to perform at the Festival of the Desert.   On an album where you might expect to hear a jarring meshing of cultures or traditions, you instead hear joyous, funky harmony.

Soulico and The Sway Machinery are both playing The Festival of Strikes on Tuesday 11/30 in Brooklyn, a pre-Hanukkah party and fundraiser for JDub, to help us continue our work with new Jewish music, media, and culture.  They’ll be joined by label-mates Deleon and comedian Eugene Mirman.  We’re buying a free drink for the first 150 people in the door.  We’d love to see you there.

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