Mala: Mala in Cuba (Brownswood/Southbound)

Mala: Revolution
Mala: Mala in Cuba (Brownswood/Southbound)

When UK DJ and Cuban music aficionado Gilles Peterson went back to Havana in May last year to record local musicians (who have appeared on his excellent on-going Havana Cultura series), he took with him South London dubstep pioneer and producer Mala (aka Mark Lawrence of Digital Mystikz) who set himself up in another room beside Peterson's studio and recorded various passing-traffic musicians.

Taking the recordings home, Mala reprocessed them and -- while keeping the integrity of music by such wonderful artists as pianist Roberto Fonseca, singers/world music hotties Sexto Sentido and trip-hop vocalist Danay Suarez -- pulled out this album which bridges contemporary Havana, dub-conscious Jamaica and urban London clubland.

It's a heady if sometimes highly restrained tonic of retro-Seventies keyboards, classy but constrained electro-beats and everywhere a very subtle insinuation of Cuban sounds . . . but fractured through a prism if your knowledge begins and ends with Buena Vista and its offshoots.

It isn't world music as some might know or prefer it, but the world expands and contracts with technology, access and cheap airfares.

This is the Cuban shakedown of the 21st century, inna dubbed-up electronica style.

Maybe a bit safe in places for some, but a different view of Havana for sure. And one which just grabs and holds on.

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Music articles index

Strike: Sketches (Strike)

Strike: Sketches (Strike)

Don't know about you, but just out of curiosity I'd listen to a piece of music which featured "water nipple gong". That particular instrument -- and I'm not going to ask further -- is... > Read more

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2008: The Mountain Goats, Heretic Pride (4AD)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2008: The Mountain Goats, Heretic Pride (4AD)

Co-produced by John Vanderslice, the typically opaque lyrics by John Darnielle are given space and clarity so as to bewilder and bemuse you by turns. Not many people write songs with titles like... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

James' "no worries" Curried Alaskan King Crab

James' "no worries" Curried Alaskan King Crab

My friend James has appeared at Recipes from Elsewhere with two excellent dishes, his authentically Thai chicken and his chilli lime Thai fish with coriander. But this one is especially special.... > Read more

DUKE ROBILLARD INTERVIEWED (2004): Still in that room full of blues

DUKE ROBILLARD INTERVIEWED (2004): Still in that room full of blues

When you think of Rhode Island, you don't immediately think of it as a crucible of the blues. It's the state north of New York so small you could carpet it, the home of the red chicken - Rhode... > Read more