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Baker's Dozen

A Babylonian Tower: Marc Hollander's Favourite Music
David McKenna , June 17th, 2020 08:34

Marc Hollander's Aksak Maboul have released one of the albums of the year and his Crammed Discs label have consistently provided a wide-ranging soundtrack to the globe. He guides David McKenna through favourite albums in this week's Baker's Dozen

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Anestos Athounasiou – Music For Belly Dancing: Instrumentals From The Near East
Again, it’s one record out of many but I really listened to it a lot. I was listening to a lot of more ethnomusicological recordings on [French label] Ocora, folk music from Africa, Asia and Bali. This one’s different – it’s closer of course, Turkish, on the Monitor label which had a lot of Russian music but also this thing. It’s an example of how Middle-Eastern music attracted me and also these rhythms which are called aksak, these uneven rhythms. But this thing of listening to non-European music and dreaming about that, you know, reveries about the world… today it’s a lot more under control in a way, you can’t pretend that you play Turkish music. Because it came from a naïve point of view. Today of course you quickly get accused of cultural appropriation if you do that, and there are good reasons for that. But it shouldn’t be extreme to the point of not being able to listen to music that isn’t your own.

But at the time it was something that struck the imagination. People started to make imaginary world music. Can for instance had tracks that would pop up sometimes, the Ethnological Forgery Series. I liked that idea, on the first Aksak Maboul album there’s a bit of that. When you try to do something and you fail it becomes something else, and maybe it’s interesting.


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