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Review: 'Bababila, Michel'
'Wah-Wah Whispers'   

-  Label: 'Bureau B'
-  Genre: 'Ambient' -  Release Date: '19.3.21.'

Our Rating:
Wha-Wah Whispers is a compilation of some of Michel Banabila's output during the second half of his career between the years 2013-2020 with one older track from 2001 and nothing from his early years, he's been a productive Dutch practitioner of Fourth World music and Avant Garde and New Age music since 1983. I must confess I am new to his music and so can't contextualize this compilation with his broader body of work. The music has been re-mastered by Detlef Funder and has artwork by Anh Thu Vu.

The album opens with Take Me There a rather out there piece of tonal feedbacking tones, with almost gamelan percussion overlaid, some birdsong with odd vocal interjections, making for some intriguing ambient textures, as the almost operatic vocals come and go.

Tic Tac would work better as the music to a Tic Tac Toe tournament than a Tic Tac advert being a repeating loop of synth and percussion that is built on to sound like it should be played at a very weird clubs chill out room.

Branches sounds like it was recorded in a forest, in a similar way to Gagarins field recordings in the Great North Wood, then built around with a simple keyboard piece accentuating the sounds of the forest, this gradually builds with all sorts of sounds added with the bells working like raindrops etc.

Hidden Story has vocals that have been recorded backwards and it sounds like a lot of the tune has been too, with a simple African drum pattern overlaid with guitar and keyboards and the very textural sounding vocals.

Out Of Sync is quite floaty and dream like with some pulses and shimmering synth's that really don't sound at all Out Of Sync till the middle breakdown where things get odder and it seems to be repurposing itself till we got to a part that sounds like he's breathing into pipes and gulls are circling overhead.

Secunde Reprise is the closest thing to a dancefloor techno tune on the album, this is sort of techno prog to sway along too.

Wah-Wah Whispers is a flute funk tune with backwards sounding vocals and swelling strings that feels quite spacey.

The album closes with Narita (ft. Machinefabriek) that's a slow and sure wander along a keyboard strewn lane with the gentlest bass line and the odd vocal interjection this is very laid back indeed.

Find out more at https://shop.tapeterecords.com/records/bureaub/michel-banabila-wah-wah-whispers.html


  author: simonovitch

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