Album: Âme Live
Release Date: 03/05/2012
Last year in Manchester, northern England, the biennial International Festival hosted two blind Malian musicians- Amadou and Mariam- famed for invoking their African homeland with a meld of traditional music, rock, pop, and folk. The show was autobiographical, and performed in the dark, so audiences experienced first hand their lives, from childhood memories to appearances in front of tens of thousands.
So what does this have to do with the first CD we’ve been offered by German legends AME, on the rightly revered Innervisions imprint? Well, not much, except for the fact that if you close your eyes tightly enough whilst listening to the first tracks on Live it’s possible to imagine Saharan landscapes as seen through a house music lens; similarly innovative sonic melds using comparatively inspired flavours, with equally impressive results.
Opening with their remix of Roy Ayers’ suitably titled Tarzan AME state the intention of this release clearly from the outset; to showcase a host of archive work, here re-interpreted exclusively for this package, in an attempt to represent their live club sets. One might presume there’s little need for a review, given the fact the ingredients are so appetising on description alone, but the final tasting is perhaps better than we had hoped, so the dish warrants some detail.
The aforementioned exotic theme continues through AME & Amampondo’s Ku Kanjani- wherein sounds seemingly from somewhere south of Europe merge with building, prog-edged techno, making for a surprisingly tough second number. It doesn’t take long before we’re back much closer to home though, what with Osunlade’s Envision, or rather AME’s Remix, dropping into subtle, shuffling, vocally decipherable, soul-filled four four goodness, revealing its deep organ groove and hand claps to raise the pace again, setting us up for an intelligently placed, rolling edit of Hold My Hand from UNKLE.
From hereon in we could name-check just about everything on the tracklist as a highlight. D.P.O.M.B (produced by the pair with cohorts Henrik Schwarz and Dixon) is presented as a hypnotic, strained-melody filled, techy soul shuffler, exploding into its acid workout after lulling you into a false sense of downtempo. Underworld’s Crocodile is atmospheric and well timed, as is the wonderfully spine-tingling This Is Not The End. Unfortunately at that point things do finish, but there’s no stopping us playing it over again. That said, this is one of those rarities that should be saved from overkill, so do bear that in mind too.
20 tracks for the rainy days, and the much-needed down times.
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