Review: Joe Claussell's Sacred Rhythm Music is back to present new music under his alias The Bayara Citizens. Elektrik Afrika is his second full length of the project, where he pursues yet more of his idiosyncratic style of 'spiritual life music'. By fusing acoustic and electronic together as one, the project represents evolution - producing its own genetics and speaking an individual dialect of rhythm and sound. Traces can be heard in "Zainabu" (Spirit Dancer) which fuses electronic harmonizing on the skins of traditional folkloric rhythms, or the soul power of "Mofo Congoietric" (Joaquin's Sacred Rhythm version), through to the tunnelling and hypnotic power of "Bambara" (The Tribes Of Distortion dub) and the truly life-affirming "Diamonds" (It's Time To Let Our People Go).
Review: Bolla's Afrikan Basement debuted with a warm welcome in 2008 as a limited 7" and is one of the many essential projects Joe Clasusell has been involved with over the years. Now it gets revisited on this tasty 7". The a-side is a special edit of "Makkusa", a steamy, spiritual, deeply layered and emotional house track that is lead by a standout sax line. Joaquin's Sacred Rhythm dub is just that on the flip-side, a punchy rework with groaning vocals and a tribal feel, marching drums and plenty of the steam and sweat that makes his music so unique and powerful.
It All Began In The East (The Sacred Rhythm version) (11:48)
It All Began In The East (The Cosmic Arts Koto version) (3:39)
A Dance For Gratitude (Joaquin's Congo Arts Drum version) (7:15)
It All Began In The East (The Cosmic Arts Meditational mix) (3:18)
Review: Two years ago, Joaquin "Joe" Clausell donned his occasional Mental Remedy alias and offered up "A Journey To Noi", a decidedly spiritual album that mixed Japanese instrumentation with his usual ambient and deep house sounds. On this 12", Clausell offers up some heady new interpretations that - like much of his work over the last decade - are built around the percussive power of African rhythms. The opening "Sacred Rhythm Version" of "It All Began In The East" is particularly potent, with Clausell cloaking a warm, organic and percussive Afro-house beat in distinctive Japanese Koto melodies and jazzy piano flourishes. We'd also recommend the formidably heavy, drum-laden rework of "Dance For Gratitude", whose Latin American bassline and simmering synth-strings are almost as addictive as the weighty groove they sit upon.
Review: Joaquin "Joe" Clausell launched the "Xperiments" series back in 2016 with a box set containing two single-sided flexi-discs and a seven-inch single, all of which contained some pretty spaced-out sounds. Four years on he's decided to offer-up a new instalment in the avant-garde project: a single-sided seven-inch presented in a special hand-made sleeve by artist Akemi Shimada. Interestingly, the featured track, "Discombobulated Wing", is far more club-ready than its predecessors, with Clausell layering krautrock-esque treated guitars and Tangerine Dream style analogue synthesizer parts atop a low-slung, restless bass guitar line and sparse house drums.
Review: The third part of Joe Claussell's Joaquin Unofficial Edits & Overdubs series is as strong as the first two with four Special Extended Versions making for some joyous listening. "Tears Of Joy" is rapturous house music with gospel overtones that canto fail to bring the soul. "Al's Razerblade" is a lo-fi funk mash up with a strident rhythm section and "Morning" is golden soul with soaring strings that brings some 60s magic to the dance floor. "Life On Earth" is the steamiest of the lot, with tropical sounds and mad jazzy chords all laced with wild percussion that bristles with energy.
Review: Whereas the first volume in Joaquin "Joe" Claussell's "Cosmicdelic Africa" series focused on sneaky re-edits by the Sacred Rhythm founder, this second instalment focuses on original productions "for the dancefloor and the head". In other words, Clausell has offered up DJ-friendly extended versions of some of his most cosmic, Afro-centric creations. There's much to enjoy throughout, from the psychedelic rock guitar solos, restless bass, layered Latin house rhythms and rainforest sounds of Cosmic Ritual's "Abraxas (Demo Sketch Mix)", to the piano sporting cosmic house positivity of Mampo's "Emarofo Tech (Extended Sketch Mix)", via the spaced-out electronics, hallucinatory synth lines and sparse drums of intoxicating downtempo workout "Mundo De Agua (Psyxchdelic Transfusion Mix)".
African Drug (Joaquin Joe Claussell Hallucination version) (8:19)
Review: Long before the rise in interest in African music, British electronica producer Bob Holyroyd was making tracks rich in traditional instrumentation. "African Drug" is, undoubtedly, the most famous of these. Originally released as a single in 1994, the intensely melodious, Steve Reich-esque work has been remixed numerous times over the years. This latest edition arrives on Joaquin "Joe" Clausell's Sacred Rhythm label, with profits going to charities that work to save Africa's endangered Rhino. The A-side contains a freshly mixed and re-mastered version of Holroyd's brilliant original - which brilliantly increases in intensity with the addition of tribal drums two thirds of the way through - with a more percussive, pleasingly hallucinogenic Clausell remix on the flip. In a word: essential.
Review: In 2009, two years after the original version appeared on Somi's debut album "Red Soil In My Eyes", Joaquin "Joe" Claussell and Brian Bacchus joined forces as Soul Feast to remix Fela Kuti cover "African Lady". A decade on, Claussell has decided to reissue the package's most potent and percussive moment, the layered "Drum Dub" on a tasty seven-inch single. While there are key elements of Somi's original version present - the killer bassline, some delay-laden horns and fleeting glimpses of guitar - the mix is dominated by layered Afro-house percussion. This time round, the mix comes backed with an "Acapella EFXS" version, which contains all of Somi's superb vocal and is closer in tone to the duo's 2009 club mix. Like the A-side, it's superb.
Review: Joe Claussell's Sacred Rhythm label is a vessel for him to explore the deep rooted culture behind his most prominent output in the house world. Travelling far and wide into African musical tradition, Claussell and select like-minded souls often present their most profound work through this outlet, and so it goes on this enchanting collection of rhythm studies, folk spirituals and works in progress. It's a compelling insight into the working practices of a musical master, a meaningful journey into the origins of so much modern music, and an inventive new expression all in one, scattered out like a sketchbook we're privileged to take a peep at.