Global Control / Invisible Invasion

GB 100LP GB 100LP

LP version. 180 gram vinyl; includes download code. AMMAR 808's previous album Maghreb United (GB 060CD/LP, 2018) -- a powerful mixture of deep TR-808 bass and Pan-Maghreb beats and voices -- received widespread critical acclaim and shook dancefloors throughout Europe, North Africa, and beyond. This time Brussels-based Tunisian electronic producer Sofyann Ben Youssef (aka AMMAR 808) has traveled to the Tamil Nadu region of southern India for a breath-taking new adventure. With a suitcase full of recording equipment, he set up base in the pulsing city of Chennai and undertook a collaborative reimagining of the area's rich and resonant music. Ranging from trance temple sounds to rap-like street theater performance and ending with the mathematical richness of Carnatic music, Ben Youssef's in situ recordings form the foundation of his potent new album: Global Control / Invisible Invasion. He's crafted them from Hindu mythology and created a philosophical jolt of a disc that sweeps him far from his native Maghreb and deep into the ancient Carnatic tradition of South India. While the ideas are timeless, the music leans modern, with AMMAR 808 and his arsenal of analogue electronics and subsonic beats, morphing traditional legends and soundscapes into the future tense. The recording itself only lasted ten days, while even the post-production barely took a month. All those years of thought had laid very firm groundwork. The "invisible invasion" in the album title isn't a contemporary reference to the coronavirus pandemic. The virus flung us all into a dystopian universe. The track "Ey Paavi" comes from the Mahabharata, one of the great Sanskrit epic tales of India, composed over 2000 years ago. The song relates episode where the threats of death and destruction between Bhima and Duryodhana ratchet up and up. Mythology and tradition run all through the record. "Mahaganapatim" is another name for the god Ganesha, for example, while the songs "Marivere Gati" and "Pahi Jagajjanani" both have long roots in the South Indian history. Global Control / Invisible Invasion is an album of songs -- some in the Tamil language which is widely spoken across the region. That's perfectly natural, given the vocal tradition which is the chief thread of Carnatic music (as opposed to North Indian music, which is largely instrumental). It's also quite deliberately very percussive album, another reflection of India itself. Every track resonates with tightly wound passion. Global Control / Invisible Invasion offers a perfect soundtrack for these times.