Donso - Donso
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So whilst I’m thinking about that one, there’s no doubt Peterson was quick to pick up on the track ‘Diya’ - unusually for him playing it twice on his show and including it on his Heartbeat Presents One Time! compilation (that’s now out in Japan).
The Donso project is the French and Malian vision of electronic instrumentalist Pierre-Antoine Grison (aka Krazy Baldhead) who with the guitar and Djele N’goni of Guimba Kouyaté, Thomas Guillaume (drums and Donso N’goni) and the sweet vocals of Gédéon Diarra have produced an electronic/folk/world/jazz hybrid of abstract, ambient, downtempo house cool afro-beat.
Talk about fusion! Comet Records that is known for its releases by drumming legend Tony Allen so it’s well versed in tradition Afrobeat so I suspect they were originally taken aback when they first heard this.
This is somewhat different to the debut 12” on Infiné that was electronically closer to another French sensation, dOP (who have recent released their debut album Greatest Hits). Released in 2007, ‘Somono Foly’ and ‘Waati’ still sound good today (just retrieved from the back of my shelves just to make sure) but for the debut album, the electronics have been toned down and guitar used in a laid back Tinariwen fashion especially where the quartet are joined by Ballaké Sissoko on kora (who has previously worked with Ludovico Einaudi) and Cheick Tidiane Seck (keyboards).
The opening track ‘Konya’ sets the scene and then ‘Mogoya’ gets a touch of bit 70s funky synth whilst ‘Djama’ is a happy mix of call and response vocal and Tangerine Dream synths. And so it goes with each track seemingly out doing the next, like the rockin’ guitar on ‘Musow’ and there’s not much better on the dancefloor than ‘Hunters’. ‘Tile Ban’ is almost minimal tech and ‘Baara’ as 8-bit-Spanish classical - futuristic African beat music indeed.
For all the ‘innovation’ on these 11 tracks, the overriding sensation you get is of tradition - and then again, it’s modern (but not sitting in any one particular genre). I think this uniqueness will prove to be Donso’s ultimate strength.
So, why’s it taken so long to review this? Well, if you put the CD in itunes player, the genre comes up as ‘unclassifable’ which might be the answer. And if it is, I’m suitable ashamed of myself as I’m now definitely a convert into the Peterson ‘Album Of The Year’ group; whatever genre it is.
They’ve got a show in London next week at Max Reinhardt and Rita Ray’s famous long running club night, The Shrine and expect to see and hear them all over after that.
Reviewed: Donso - Donso (Comet) Cat. No: COMETCD051 Release date: June 2010
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