Clearlight 1998 / Gonzo 2014
Preserving sounds of innocence, original trance from CLEARLIGHT visionary and an ethnographer unlinks “homo sapiens” and “homogeny” notions.
For all the positive aspects of globalization, its downside is the elimination of cultural differences which make our world so varied and interesting. The rootsiness of it lay at the core of “Ethnicolor” that marked the first collaboration between Verdeaux with his mastery of many musical instruments, and Menetrey whose expeditions resulted in the recordings of human and animal voices from many reaches of the Earth before his death in 2006. Picking up from its predecessor, this album focuses on nations and species on the brink of extinction and gives them a sonic edge reminiscent of old 12-inch mixes destined to dance the blues away.
Going for the groove from the off, the Papuan and African chants of “Terre Australe” set the soft, scintillating synthetic, yet organic, tone for things to come. Some of these – such as the delicately thunderous “Zeph Here” with Didier Malherbe’s sampled flute – reveal humor in their titles’ puns, even though there’s drama in “Raoni’s Song” featuring spoken word, in his native tongue, from the Great Chief of Amazonia, an area where rainforest is destroyed and nature-endangering development takes place. Far from there, but also losing its uniqueness, is Tuva, the home of throat-singers heard in the piano-plaited “Tuva Bene” alongside the Pygmies, but while this and other trance tracks veer away from the natural mystic of their pulse, “Rain Dance” goes for a sultry buzz, melding Burundi drums to Sioux percussion that also help “Shawnee Froid” glide into an elegantly glacial new-age. And then the great wail from Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan renders “Soufi Dance” mesmeric, and Verdeaux’s bass provides “Trance Connexion” with orchestral depth.
Energetic and exotic, “Tribal Hybrid Concept” offers a once-in-a-lifetime trip that brings strangers close to the listener’s heart. That’s right: our unity holds the key to our future.