Klaas Von Karlos – The Mansa Musa Affair


Artist : Klaas Von Karlos
Album : The Mansa Musa Affair
Label : ReVerse Bullets
Release Date : Sept 2016
Keywords: african electronic idm pscyhadelic experimentalexperimental electronic free freejazz gltch industrial jazznewyork psychedelic trip-hop Berlin
Link : https://reversebullets.bandcamp.com/album/the-mansa-musa-affair
Reviewer: Wayne Rex

What do we have here then?

A tribute album to the richest man of all time? Or a collection of 9 eclectic tracks that circumscribe more genres than you can shake pancake shaker mix at? Or both? Who cares right? Let’s just crack on..

Klaas (from the ReVerse Bullets collective) has brought you (with the help of some rather first-rate musicians) a tremendous record, for you lucky peoples listening pleasure and sonic digestion. There are many, many influences and styles on this record, from jazz to African music. Electronic to traditional and everything in between. This could be an absolutely disastrous mess that doesn’t know whether it’s Arthur or Martha, like in so many other records gone before, but not in the case of this fine recording. In fact I think the huge mix of styles actually enhances the vibe and improves the record as a whole and makes it a more complete piece of art.

Apis is the first track and sounds like a semi-improvised piece, with a rhythmic melody guiding the song with an acoustic drum accompaniment. At times chaotic and at time like a trippy fantasy, it really gives you a good feeling as to what to expect from this record.

Re(M)cycle Deux is the second track and would not be out of place in a dark atmosphere nightclub, down an alley that no one would go down apart from the connoisseurs that know there music and don’t just want to go to a club to drink overpriced, over-fizzy lager, pull someone and have a fight. It’s has a futuristic, urban vibe to this track. Electronic dance music but more cinematic than just straight down the line dance. Also, like the first track and the album, come to that, it shares equally high production values and musicianship.

Konferenz in at number three. This (thus far) is my favourite track of the record. Some wonderful African mood vocals and glorious sax, spiraling like a snake possessed by the chanting and the dancing around the fire. Has a very much like John Coltrane sense of felling to this track and I absolutely love it.

Next we have Grandmaster. How can I describe this track? It’s like someone has digitally remastered and boosted an old 8bit video game soundtrack. This is no bad thing, either. It’s Alice in Wonderland strange and I dig that kinda vibe.

Alkebu-Lan, the fifth track on the record is a bass line driven, drum and bass (but not quite d&b) electronic, psychedelic, spaced out dance track. You can feel your heart rate rise and rise as the track progresses and also there’s lots going on with this track and I for one enjoyed hearing all the different instruments and sounds, blend together in a melting pot of organic electronic goodness.

I can take (You can give) is the sixth track and the most traditional sounding track. Stunning flute is played throughout and some mesmerising tabla along with lots of different noises and atmospheric sounds makes you want this track to go on for a lot longer than it does. I am the snake and this track on my charmer.

Next up is a track called Fallen. This has a dystopian undercurrent and slight, short sharp electronic percussion makes this a good candidate for a cinematic accompaniment. It’s eerie and unsettling but also. in my mind is a musical translation of the movement of certain animals, like a squirrel, perhaps?

Lion Moon is the perfect mix of traditional and modern. To my ears there is an Indian or perhaps a North African vibe running through the track. Poetry through music. Inner feelings and anguish through music. The sax solo in this track absolutely kicks arse by the way. Now I’m unsure whether this is my new favourite track or not. We shouldn’t have favourites, but we all do. For this review I’ll just say that in their own way they’re all bloody great and what I dig more is just subjective so I shall not go on….but for arguments sake, this is a close runner.

Last but by no means least, we have Giacomo Dub. Running at 13.06mins it’s the longest track of the album. Let me tell you good people reading this, that this is a bit of a masterpiece. A free form freak out but also well thought out, well played and live at a festival this would be the highlight of the weekend. There’s some exquisite playing on this track. Each individual musician shines and blends perfectly. No egos trying to outdo each other on here and it makes for a far better listening experience. African jazz and electronic wizardry makes this one of the best tracks I have heard in ages and one I will definitely listen to many more times and I recommend that you all do too.

You can’t really sum up this record but for my ears, I’d say it’s a definitive turning point where old meets new and live in perfect harmony. Just with the current world could do the same as this excellent piece of music.
https://reversebullets.bandcamp.com/album/the-mansa-musa-affair

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2 Responses to Klaas Von Karlos – The Mansa Musa Affair

  1. Linda says:

    Love it! Less African than expected, more experimental than expected.

  2. Jitters says:

    Man this sounds cool from your description. Will have to listen.

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