Nomad Soundsystem: Oriental Electronics

7 08 2008

By Derek Beres

Attempting to cover a host of genres under a single umbrella can be a daunting task-one often inclined towards disaster in the global fusion realm. Yet the very name of this Berlin-based outfit hints at globetrotting, and the nomadic reference is refreshingly fitting. While, from what I’ve been told, this is a band to be experienced live, they prove themselves to be excellent producers as well, honing and crafting an impressive variety of, as the album title suggests, “oriental” sounds within the context of electronica-inflected backdrops.

Their story, paraphrased: Moroccan-inspired guitarist connects his rock roots with Japanese loop wizard, who offers his laptop and precision; two Tunisians, one on lead vocals and another throwing in occasional percussion, join an Algerian percussionist (and accordionist to boot), along with a bass-heavy beat master who refers to himself-in accordance with all this worldly alchemy-as Shazam, who, if I remember correctly, gave Billy the ability to transform into Captain Marvel.

While they throw around big and rather ambiguous terms (the latest: Advanced Ethnotronica) in reference to their sound, the most prominent features are North African. These soundbytes do not dominate, though. What the band most relies on, and what serves as the epoxy granting the project linearity, is their excellent selection of beats. David Beck is diverse enough on guitar to ensure a wide range of atmospheres are created, and Tomoki Ikeda is brave enough to offer a fine variety of rhythms which to choose from. Sparse percussion fills the play between deep and airy.

Read the full review on EthnoTechno.