Maga Bo – Ransom

Following Senseless Records’ 5th birthday, their release of Maga Bo’s Ransom EP is a welcome respite from the other generic sounds that are floating through our radio waves – featuring the collaboration of five different artists. Ransom mixes a heavy bass track with disjointed and distorted traditional Ethiopian instrumentation, a sporadic melody line that wields itself across a relentless bass. There is an undiluted authenticity that this track provides, which cannot be replicated by any other artist. However, moving onto the remixes we have the Filestine remix, which gives the track up to a drum ‘n’ bass vibe with a nicely sampled melody line that has the awkward feeling in places of sounding like a stuck record. This mix definitely takes the track into more ‘popular’ realms following the more European vein of club and dance music. In South Africa we find Fletcher, who definitely keeps the ‘AFRICAN’ alive in the music by enhancing the deep drumming that harks back to instruments like the djembe. By ‘dubbing’ up the track, there is more of a focus on airy effects and background noises so the instrumental line doesn’t seem as ‘insane’ as in the original.

Pacheko of Venezuela’s take on the track makes is the most ‘epic’ on the EP, the slight reverb in the instrumental line slows it down and  gives the track a lot more room to breathe for their simple and trace-like beat that supports the haunting quality of the music. Moving on up to our cousins in New York we meet Teleseen who complete tears everything up. So much is going on here, there is a brilliant vibe to move to, which the others were lacking, there’s the radio static in the opening, the subtle sonar bleeps, and electronic sound effects…the list goes on. It fully harnesses the ‘crazy’ that the original track holds and exploits it by infinity; it’s a remix that definitely lives up to New York’s current reputation being the city of new sounds.

Our final journey is only a metro stop away as we find ourselves still in the city of New York but with Timeblind as our host. This is a truly inspired remix, completely different from the others in the fact that it starts up like a sound clip from a movie. The entrance of the sound of bees is then masked by the sound of something that resembles the crack of a tranquilizer gun, a drill and then the beat finally kicks in. ‘The Wild’ seems to be the idea here, with the sounds of bees, crickets and bird calls filling every available space in the track. The dubstep influences are also present which gives it a solid grounding but the ‘AFRICAN’ is still lost, no amount of jungle sounds are going to recapture that  and that beautiful, rustic instrumental line has just become noise. On the whole, the quality of the remixes are superb, with Teleseen’s being the standout track. Ransom delivers the sort of sound that is quite accessible to most, whether it be a love of African polyrhythmic patterns, dubstep’s elevating bass or simply the sound of something unique – Maga Bo and his international cohort of remixers deliver something new and distinct in every track. Pick it up. Listen. Enjoy.

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