This week, the Top Ten celebrates music from around the world, mostly even outside of, like, California! Also, I manage to restrict myself to only one track that could qualify as French techno (More about Daft Punk’s live show later). So come take a round-the-world trip on Riff Airlines, no carbon offset credits necessary.
10. Manu Chao – “Rainin in Paradize” (from La Radiolina, out 9/4 on Virgin)
A perfect track to kick off an internationally-themed top ten, the uptempo beat of “Paradize” contrasts with its darker lyrical themes. Polyglot Chao here gives voice to various “calamities” and “atrocities” from Baghdad to Zaire, with repetitive lyrics that take on the aura of a kind of chant, or a prayer.
9. Mumiy Troll – “Ru.Da” (from Amba on Real) (mp3 via their site)
Vladivostok combo Mumiy Troll (Мумий Тролль) are saddled with greatness: ten years ago, they made Morskaya, a near-masterpiece of an album that perfectly captured the excitement of post-Communist Russia. While their latest effort isn’t quite as inspired, single “Ru.Da” leaps from Pixies-reminiscent verses to an epic chorus.
8. Various Artists – Optimo – Pitchfork Mix 01
This set from the Glasgow DJs redefines “eclectic,” effortlessly mixing from Brazil to Germany to Norway to, er, Sonic Youth. While the duo are known for favoring “psych-rock,” the hour-long set is, at its core, utterly groovy, in the best possible sense.
7. Mexican Institute of Sound – “El Microfono” (from Piñata on Nacional) (listen on his MySpace page)
MIS is basically a one-man band (Mexico City’s Camilo Lara); he brings together hip-hop and electronic sounds as well as more traditional Mexican influences on his new album. “Microfono” has a quirky, loping sample and mellow feel, over which Lara delivers a laid-back freestyle rap.
6. Various Artists – Typsy Gypsy Mixes
(mp3s via ‘T Nieuwe Werck, more info at Boing Boing)
Belgian DJ Typsy Gypsy (of the Balkan Hot Step Soundsystem) has put together two mixes featuring a fusion of Klezmer and Balkan sounds with electronic beats (which, the blog brags, all come in over 150bpm). Hopa!
5. Culture – Two Sevens Clash (reissue on Shanachie) (iTunes link)
The New Yorker’s Sasha Frere-Jones celebrates the re-release of this 1977 album, apocalyptic in theme but wildly eclectic in sound. The title track, with its delicate electric piano and major chords, is anything but dour, and on “Get Ready to Ride the Lion to Zion,” buzzy effects (plus an actual lion roar) give the track an almost cartoonish joy.
4. Chromeo – “Fancy Footwork” (from Fancy Footwork on Vice) (listen on their MySpace here)
Canada counts as international, right? This duo trades in the kind of 80s-referencing electro-funk that easily slips into parody; but like Les Rhythms Digitales before them, solid songwriting and an unflinching adoration of the decade’s stylistic idiosyncrasies saves them from novelty status.
3. Victor Menegaux – “Feel Good Roboto” (Styx vs. Gorillaz) (mp3 via the Bootie Blog)
Okay, America gets one entry this week. Why Styx’s inescapable 80s cheesy-prog-rock mega-hit hasn’t already been in 1000 mashups, I’ll never know. Seattleite Menegaux seamlessly marries it to Gorillaz’ also-inescapable genre-crossing hit; their lilting vocal is strangely appropriate to the bombastic backing track.
2. Various Artists – Made in Israel (Mad Decent 16) (iTunes link or get it at Mad Decent here)
This installment in eclectic DJ and producer Diplo’s podcast series features improbably fantastic Hebrew baile funk and Israeli booty bass. Turns out it was compiled by Sabbo and the Israeli Soulico crew, check them out here.
1. Rage Against the Machine – “Killing In the Name” (Mr. Oizo remix) (mp3 via Say Anything Syndrome here)
I first heard this in Digitalism’s BBC Radio 1 Essential Mix a few weeks ago and immediately tried to track it down, thinking it would be a nice secret weapon. Then Sebastian played it in his DJ set opening for Daft Punk in front of a sold-out Greek Theater, and now everybody knows about it. Damn. Anyway, French producer Mr. Oizo’s remix shifts between the original and a hilariously computerized electro “cover” version; it’s guaranteed to murder any dance floor.