Exposé Online banner

Chouk Bwa and The Ångströmers — Vodou Alé
(Bandcamp no#, 2020, CD / LP / DL)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2020-09-22

Vodou Alé Cover art

The Ångströmers are the Belgian production duo of Nicolas Esterle and Frédéric Alstadt, who also contribute dub electronics, minimalist sound design, and represent the Ångstrom records label, which specialize in world music collaborations. Chouk Bwa is a Haitian roots music ensemble in the mizik rasin style, intensely percussive with call-and-response vocals, a sound and style with deep African roots. The group consists of lead singer Jean Claude “Sambaton” Dorvil, backing singers Maloune Prévaly and Edèle “Sasufi” Joseph, plus traditional drums from Gomez “Djopipi” Henris, Sadrack “Mazaka Lakwa” Merzier, and Jean Rigaud Aimable, who also join in the chorus. The group also features two dancers, Edèle and Maloune, their dance movements relying on a deep knowledge of vodou rhythms in a dialog with the drummers, thus they are an integral part of the ensemble. The nine tracks on Vodoo Alé were recorded and produced by the Ångströmers in Brussels and in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, the unusual collaboration resulting in a beautiful collision of ancient traditional Afro-Caribbean sounds and modern electronics, producing a powerful and swirling hypnotic percussive trance. The opening title tracks sets the stage with pounding rhythms and deep pulsing electronics, followed by the voices of the singers with additional electronic enhancements. Further into the set, “Rårå” opens with a whirlwind of multi-layered percussion and keeps driving it forward throughout its four-plus minute duration, one of the only cuts here that remains purely instrumental. A deep synthetic bass pulse introduces “Odjay – Nati Kongo” and underlies the powerful rhythms and call-and-response singing that powers the piece over the next four minutes. “Peleren” moves forward as a solo vocal piece with curious rumbling electronic sounds backing, like distant thunder. This set is very much traditional world music at its core, driven by the six-piece Chouk Bwa, The Angstromers adding textures and low-end power to the proceedings. Definitely something different for the intrepid music explorer.

Filed under: New releases, 2020 releases

Related artist(s): Chouk Bwa and The Ångströmers

More info

Latest news

Audion Is Back in Business – Our esteemed colleague Alan Freeman has restarted Audion Magazine after a seven year hiatus. The new incarnation is available online on their Bandcamp site. Audion's history goes back to 1984, and included 58 issues up to 2013. Issue #59 is available now, and #60 is in the works. » Read more

Romantic Warriors IV – Krautrock (Part 2) Is in the Works – Zeitgeist Media, the people who have brought us the great series of documentary films chronicling the history of progressive rock, are working on the second installment of their examination of German music. Krautrock 2 will focus on artists from Münich such as Guru Guru, Amon Düül II, Xhol Caravan, Kraan, Witthüser & Westrupp, and Popol Vuh. » Read more

Simeon Coxe RIP – Simeon Coxe, best known for his experimental electronics in the band Silver Apples, has died at the age of 82. The band's 1968 debut album set the stage for both German electronic music and experimental punk music a decade later. Coxe died on September 8 from pulmonary fibrosis. » Read more

Gary Peacock RIP – Legendary bassist Gary Peacock, veteran of many recordings and performances with Paul Bley, George Russell, Roland Kirk, Bill Evans, Tony Williams, and many more. » Read more

Tim Smith RIP – Tim Smith, leader of the eccentric band Cardiacs, has died at the age of 59 after many years of health problems. Cardiacs was known for intense and complicated music that combined punk energy with the rhythmic and harmonic sophistication of progressive rock. » Read more

Previously in Exposé...

Black Stage - Black Stage – This is a project featuring Keiji Haino (electric guitar, flute, harp, voice), Natsuki Kido (acoustic guitar), and Yuji Katsui (violin) that – despite its release date – was recorded live...  (1999) » Read more

Listen & discover

Print issues