Following the meeting between Masomenos, Vadim Svoboda and M'hamed el Menjira, Abdessamad Boussahfa and Sanhaji, Cosmo Records is once more exploring the crossover between Western electronic music producers and traditional African instrumentalists. This time around the Casablanca-based label is welcoming a new artist to the fold. Cesar Merveille has been active in the European house and techno scene for many years, releasing on labels such as Cadenza and Visionquest while always pursuing his own unique creative agenda inside and outside the conJines of club music.
Cesar's recent adventures have found him launching Roche Madame, a label for his most personal and expressive work. In the spirit of this exciting new phase in his career, this release for Cosmo Jinds him working with the captivating tones of Senegalese vocalist Malik Diop across a range of tracks that capture the crosscultural spirit of Cosmo.
'Kosmos' is a thoroughly delicate production, using intricate threads of percussion that fall in intriguing, fractured patterns behind the layers of Malik's voice. The melodic content follows this hypnotic format, drifting in and out of earshot in a playful key that speaks to West African traditions even as it transmits through contemporary synthesis.
Given the subtle quality of Merveille's original track, Burnt Friedman is the perfect choice to deliver a remix. As an artist fully immersed in traditional rhythms from distant cultures, his understanding of the project translates into a staggering new version rich with complex instrumentation. The diverse sound palette he deploys breathes with an organic quality rarely found in sequenced music, naturally reaching the same spiritual plain as the source material while saying something very different indeed. On the B-side, Merveille adopts his C.S.R alias for two varying versions of 'Tales Of Africa'. The Jirst version is stripped-down to the bare essentials, using a snaking set of drums and Jine ripples of bass to power the track while Malik's monologue rings out clear in the mix above the groove. While it builds up in energy with a techno-like intensity, this is still predominantly meditative music for inward introspection.
The 'Breaky Take' of 'Tales Of Africa' plays with a more Jlamboyant set of sounds, using funky drum licks and errant sonic effects in the mix while Malik's vocals are sliced up and processed into parts of a more detailed whole. The beat may be heavier and the sounds more overtly electronic, but Merveille once again exercises great control in managing many different elements to make a smooth, immersive whole. As the latest stage in Cosmo's ever-evolving experiment, this record demonstrates just how naturally Western artists are absorbing the rhythms, melodies and structures of African music into their own practices. It's because of this that Malik's voice sounds so natural alongside both Merveille and Friedman's captivating productions.