Probably the greatest ever global fusion effort to feature a portrait of Mickey Rooney on its cover, Koalas Desperados reach great heights and extend considerable horizontal lengths previously unimagined, branching into an amalgam of heretofore unheard beauty and wet and fang, a carnivero-eat-me-now-herbimix (minus a misstep here and there), to create the world anew via a gorgeous, dripping mash of musical mix-up that’s simultaneously tough, coquettish and gorgeous; and all the while maintaining poignancy without falling into the trap of risible, industry pop. Mostly…
At heart, a project of Teka (Cologne) and Manar (France), the duo took in 17 musicians and the same number of vocalists from 15 countries and mixed this record—really a [reluctant] testament to the economic pipe dreams of that nitwit Thomas Friedman, this self-titled doc is a breathtaking focus on how multiculturalism in art can and will work, outside of and eschewing economic concerns—and those horrid strip mall visions that Friedman will say are a picture of global economic health and vitality. Goober.
Anyway, let’s let the music speak…
I love this record—for a lot of reasons, though there are some rather poppy letdowns here and there that are sadly reminiscent of a Lou Perlman design in their production—the bulk of the music is real, and the feel is real, and beautiful, heartrending…and manage to preserve their innate rawness.
Something new the record turned me onto is fado
, which is a style of Portuguese
“sentimental” music. Among the African beats, careful production techniques and engineering, the music [here] translates into a sensual mélange of American hip-hop plus other influences to form a language, a musical tongue, of which fado is the center, for all humanity. It’s here for us all to rally around, and while it maintains its own identity, it does so in a gracious way ushered in by the brilliance of the two stars who integrated the entire thing, two humans who obviously exhibit respect and love for multiculturalism and music.
You can probably follow from this that so-called “world” genres begin to fade along their outlines, and this is true. But here we hear from voices, feminine and masculine, rough and lambent, sexy and brutal, all brewing, bashing and kissing in a wunnerful, wunnerful collision of contemporary beats, randy horns, dancehall vox, thrusting rhythms, time-honored and recognizable vibes and new electronic styles--all coalescing into the melting dawn of our orange future. Which just passed us.
Time is a bitch. 7/10 -- P. Somniferum (8 July, 2009)