Review: Joe Claussell's Sacred Rhythm Music is back to present new music under his alias The Bayara Citizens. Elektrik Afrika is his second full length of the project, where he pursues yet more of his idiosyncratic style of 'spiritual life music'. By fusing acoustic and electronic together as one, the project represents evolution - producing its own genetics and speaking an individual dialect of rhythm and sound. Traces can be heard in "Zainabu" (Spirit Dancer) which fuses electronic harmonizing on the skins of traditional folkloric rhythms, or the soul power of "Mofo Congoietric" (Joaquin's Sacred Rhythm version), through to the tunnelling and hypnotic power of "Bambara" (The Tribes Of Distortion dub) and the truly life-affirming "Diamonds" (It's Time To Let Our People Go).
Review: The third part of Joe Claussell's Joaquin Unofficial Edits & Overdubs series is as strong as the first two with four Special Extended Versions making for some joyous listening. "Tears Of Joy" is rapturous house music with gospel overtones that canto fail to bring the soul. "Al's Razerblade" is a lo-fi funk mash up with a strident rhythm section and "Morning" is golden soul with soaring strings that brings some 60s magic to the dance floor. "Life On Earth" is the steamiest of the lot, with tropical sounds and mad jazzy chords all laced with wild percussion that bristles with energy.
Review: Joaquin "Joe" Clausell launched the "Xperiments" series back in 2016 with a box set containing two single-sided flexi-discs and a seven-inch single, all of which contained some pretty spaced-out sounds. Four years on he's decided to offer-up a new instalment in the avant-garde project: a single-sided seven-inch presented in a special hand-made sleeve by artist Akemi Shimada. Interestingly, the featured track, "Discombobulated Wing", is far more club-ready than its predecessors, with Clausell layering krautrock-esque treated guitars and Tangerine Dream style analogue synthesizer parts atop a low-slung, restless bass guitar line and sparse house drums.
Review: Much to the surprise of many house enthusiasts, Joe Claussel's Sacred Rhythm imprint delves into plenty of different genres and styles, all of them bound together by a recurring thread of percussive delight. Paul David Gillman debuts here, coming through with three gloriously loose slices of kinetic ambient fuzz, with the terms 'new age' and 'balearic' coming through vividly. The opening "Red Earth" is a supremely jazzy whirlpool of sonics and harmonic delight, which evaporates neatly into the much vaster planes of "Installation III". "Winter's Moon (excerpt)" washes away all the fury and energy of the previous two tracks to end up somewhere desolate and calming, offering a beautiful piece of soundscaping for the ambient fans. Recommended.
African Drug (Joaquin Joe Claussell Hallucination version) (8:19)
Review: Long before the rise in interest in African music, British electronica producer Bob Holyroyd was making tracks rich in traditional instrumentation. "African Drug" is, undoubtedly, the most famous of these. Originally released as a single in 1994, the intensely melodious, Steve Reich-esque work has been remixed numerous times over the years. This latest edition arrives on Joaquin "Joe" Clausell's Sacred Rhythm label, with profits going to charities that work to save Africa's endangered Rhino. The A-side contains a freshly mixed and re-mastered version of Holroyd's brilliant original - which brilliantly increases in intensity with the addition of tribal drums two thirds of the way through - with a more percussive, pleasingly hallucinogenic Clausell remix on the flip. In a word: essential.
It All Began In The East, Then Two Worlds Became One
A New Horizon
Joy's A Blessing
Miracles In Rishikesh
A Dance To Gratitude
Review: Jephte Guillaume and Joaquin "Joe" Clausell have been releasing collaborative singles and EPs as Mental Remedy for the best part of 17 years. Even so, A Journey To Noi is the New York duo's first full-length excursion. In their own words, the album is a soundtrack that "tells the story of an artist who travels to a foreign land and finds her true calling" with guidance from "melody, rhythm, dance and friendships". The soundtrack aspect is arguably key, as there's certainly something cinematic about the duo's fusion of global instrumentation, sweeping orchestration, deep space electronic ambient and, as you'd expect from a Clausell project, musically expansive spiritual house and jazz-dance workouts. Perhaps what's most impressive, though, is the sheer magnitude of the pair's collective musical vision.
Review: Joe Claussell's Sacred Rhythm label is a vessel for him to explore the deep rooted culture behind his most prominent output in the house world. Travelling far and wide into African musical tradition, Claussell and select like-minded souls often present their most profound work through this outlet, and so it goes on this enchanting collection of rhythm studies, folk spirituals and works in progress. It's a compelling insight into the working practices of a musical master, a meaningful journey into the origins of so much modern music, and an inventive new expression all in one, scattered out like a sketchbook we're privileged to take a peep at.