7 EP's of Global Significance

In these attention span-strapped times, the EP is the new album. We still love the long form as much as anybody, but the EP gives artists the flex to put the music out as it’s ready, in a format easily absorbed by our songjammed ears.

Here are some EP’s that were in our heavy rotation in 2017 (in no particular order):

Eli & Alex Wondergem / Buying Our Freedom (Akwaaba Music) Globetrotting brothers, on the leading edge of alt-Africa art, touch on their native Ghana, “self-love, cannabis, not giving a f*ck and what it means to be a ‘hueman’.” This is a quick trip through many styles; all of them swing. https://eliafreee.bandcamp.com/album/buying-our-freedom

Sudan Archives (Stones Throw) This LA-based 23-year-old is self-taught on the violin, inspired by Sudanese fiddlers, R&B, West African rhythms, and experimental electronic music. Kinda Georgia Anne Muldrow meets Alsarah. https://sudanarchives.bandcamp.com/album/sudan-archives

Skinny Pelembe / Seven-Year Curse (self-released) Found this one on the latest Gilles Peterson-curated Brownswood Bubblers compilation. Born in Johannesburg, growing up in England, “he produces, plays guitar, sings and MCs…tapping into strains of Afro-tipped soul.” “Should You Go” has been a welcome earworm from the first time I heard it. Funky and ambient. https://skinnypelembe.bandcamp.com/releases

AkizzBeatzz / Ramal (and Ramal Remixes) (Shango) AkizzBeatzz is one of several producers (along with Sibu, DJ Inko, cranking out incredibly dope global grooves in the urban jungle of Athens. Maybe it’s the city’s ancient vibe, or its location at the intersection of Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Maybe it’s just the internet. Whatever — just get these. https://shangorecords.bandcamp.com/album/shng025-akizzbeatzz-ramal-ep https://shangorecords.bandcamp.com/album/shng026-akizzbeatzz-ramal-the-remixes-ep

Tony Allen / A Tribute to Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers (Blue Note) The father of afrobeat percussion (Nigeria’s Allen was bandleader for Fela’s Africa 70 from the late-60’s to late 70’s) pays tribute to one of the fathers of modern jazz drumming and one of his biggest influences. As it turns out, Blakey visited West Africa in the 1940’s, a trip that inspired his foundational work. Quality straight ahead playing here — with that special Allen twist. [sorry, no link]

Jun Kamoda / Blind Disco (Black Acre) Longtime Japanese electronic music composer Jun Kamoda’s debut for Black Acre is a percussioncentric, jazzy, tribal groove in three acts. Need to get through a late afternoon work session? A late night club session? A road trip? Fuel up with this. https://junkamoda.bandcamp.com/album/blind-disco

Bandish Projekt / Katal Kalaa (Bheja Fry) This is a 2016 release that we only heard about in '17. We’ve been following the path of UK/India’s Bandish Projekt for several years now, and always find ourselves impressed by whatever new thing they come out with. This record was put together over the course of a year and covers elements of Mumbai street life. Bassy, glitchy, future India. http://bhejafryrecords.com/album/katal-kalaa