Posts Tagged ‘full attack band’

Introducing… Full Attack Band

Posted on April 26th, 2016 in Features, Recent posts by .

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Alex de Lacey catches up with Full Attack Band’s bandleader, Alejandro Toledo, who is not afraid to push the boundaries

Bandleader and saxophonist Alejandro Toledo is a certified globetrotter. Born in Argentina and now residing in London, his musical journey has so far taken him to the ornate climes of McGill University in Montréal – for a degree in classical saxophone – via the inner villages of east Moldova where he learned the ins and outs of its unique Balkan tradition for a subsequent PhD thesis. Each experience is of equal value, with every venture informing and guiding the work of his latest group Full Attack Band: a riotous six-piece whose resultant mix of Latin American folk, hip-hop, electronic wizardry and Balkan sensibilities is enthralling.

This mix of styles isn’t taken for granted, however, as attested to by Full Attack’s singer and rapper Fedzilla. “It’s a big stew, but we’re not mindlessly putting these ingredients in. We understand where the music came from, the meaning it has, and the power it possesses.” There is an awareness of heritage, and these influences can be seen as a homage to their predecessors: much like the practice of hip-hop producers who sample their favourite jazz records to express a shared lineage that carries cultural significance. For Toledo, too, it’s about learning through discovery, with every new pursuit imbuing a fresh sense of purpose. “I adopted new ways of thinking,” he explains. “I was experiencing these worlds of music, but changing myself through these experiences in the process.”

Indeed, this notion of a continually evolving creative endeavour underpins Full Attack Band’s album 1001, inspired by the functionality and aesthetics of the binary system, its connections to computer technologies, outer space and thinking outside oneself. Fedzilla and Toledo come from very different worlds – Fedzilla is half-German, half-Chilean and grew up in the US – but what they share is an enthusiasm for pooling together different aspects of their make-up to form something fundamentally hybrid, yet true to their understanding of the world as ‘third culture kids.’ It’s in a way much more reflective than a music that is archaically bound by the rules.

“There’s a sense of anarchy in what we do,” continues Toledo. “It’s kind of do what you enjoy, be what you are. We don’t play Latin music where you have to do two steps to the side and one step forward. It’s also dance music.” It’s this riveting and forward-thinking approach that has cemented Full Attack Band as one of the most exhilarating acts on the scene. Voraciously feeding off the atmosphere in the room, and then some, the band time and again escalate in intensity to a point of elation, that Toledo likens to an orgasm. Performing live is what they live for, breaking down norms and building the house anew with each frenetic exposition. “There’s no restriction, aside from the stage,” claims Fedzilla, “and even then we can jump off of it.”

This article originally appeared in Songlines #117. To find out more about subscribing to Songlines, visit: www.songlines.co.uk/subs

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Full Attack Band – 1001 | Album Review | Top of the World

Posted on April 17th, 2016 in Recent posts, Reviews by .

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Words by Howard Male

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Toledo’s back, this time with new friends
★★★★

The pace is frenetic from the off, but there’s something more in the mix than just the usual racing rhythm track and ferocious brass one associates with the Balkan brass sound. Rising from the ashes of great live favourite Alejandro Toledo and the Magic Tombolinos, the sound of Argentinian saxophonist Toledo’s new band has muscularity, a contemporary swagger and a sophistication to the arrangements that so many who go down the fusion route lack.

It certainly helps that young London-based South American poet and rapper Fedzella is on board for a couple of tracks adding sass and zest. Then there’s ‘La Vida’, which brings to mind the playful off-kilter dance numbers of one of my favourite fusion bands of the past decade, Mexican Institute of Sound. The songwriting is of a higher standard now too. ‘Beautiful Patterns’ strongly evokes memories of the sublime American outfit DeVotchKa. But I digress. All in all, Toledo’s unselfconscious expansion of his aesthetic – and, in places, a more stripped-back hip-hop vibe – have made this album one of the best fusion releases that I have heard in a while.

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Top of the World May 2016: The best new releases

Posted on April 1st, 2016 in Recent posts, Reviews by .

Our selection of the top ten new releases reviewed in the May (#117) issue.

Konono No 1 & Batida
Konono No 1 Meets Batida (Crammed Discs)

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Five years since their last album, the innovative Grammy-winning group Konono No 1 are back and are joined by Portuguese-Angolan DJ Batida on this hypnotising collaborative effort.

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Snowboy & The Latin Section
New York Afternoon (Snowboy Records)

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With an illustrious discography going back to the late 80s, conguero Mark ‘Snowboy’ Cotgrove and his group release their first album on his eponymous label.

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Breabach
Astar (Breabach Records)

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Scottish group Breabach return with a new album packed full of global musical influences from their travels. A mix of original compositions and covers, Astar exhibits a new, exciting direction.

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La Yegros
Magnetismo (Soundway Records)

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Argentinian nu cumbia singer La Yegros is accompanied by some noteworthy guests on her commanding and rhythmical sophomore album.

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Michael Messer’s Mitra
Call of the Blues (Knife Edge Records)

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Michael Messer’s Mitra transform Mississippi blues songs with Hindustani sensitivities for a delightful project that was mostly recorded live.

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Kris Drever
If Wishes Were Horses (Reveal Records)

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A solo album from Lau’s Kris Drever, this showcases what may be Drever’s best work yet, with insightful lyrics penned against a backdrop of warm instrumentation.

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Veretski Pass with Joel Rubin
Poyln: A Gilgul (Golden Horn Records)

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Traditional Polish and Jewish music are brought together and masterfully executed on a memorable album by Veretski Pass and Joel Rubin.

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Group Ekanzam
Every Song Has its End: Sonic Dispatches from Traditional Mali (Glitterbeat)

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The diverse nature of Malian traditional music is showcased across 12 tracks gathered by Bamako-based producer Paul Richard Chandler.

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Lakou Mizik
Wa Di Yo (Cumbancha)

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Lakou Mizik’s debut is a passionate tribute to the people and culture of Haiti. Formed in the aftermath of the country’s 2010 earthquake, the collective deliver a project of celebration and hope.

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Full Attack Band
1001 (Full Attack Band)

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Argentinian saxophonist Alejandro Toledo leads a new life in a new band, one that showcases a firm strength, fervour and clear experience in their musical arrangements.

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Now listen to this… Yo-Yo Ma & The Silk Road Ensemble, Tom Robinson and Full Attack Band

Posted on March 17th, 2016 in Features, Recent posts by .

Songlines Playlist

Here at Songlines Towers we’re always on the lookout for the most exciting music from around the world.

Check out our playlist of tracks that we’ve been listening to.

Yo-Yo Ma & The Silk Road Ensemble feat Rhiannon Giddens, Michael Ward-Bergeman & Reylon Yount – ‘St James Infirmary Blues’
This is an advance preview of the forthcoming album Sing Me Home, by the Silk Road Ensemble, which features artists from all around the world including Toumani Diabaté, Martin Hayes and Shujaat Khan. This is what they describe as a Taraf de Haidouks-inspired version of ‘St James Infirmary’ with singer Rhiannon Giddens.

 

Tom Robinson – ‘Mighty Sword of Justice’
Featuring guests including Billy Bragg, Lisa Knapp and Gerry Diver who also produced his latest album Only the Now. Check out Tom Robinson’s Songlines’ playlist and interview in the June issue (#118, out May 6).

 

Full Attack Band – ‘Four Letter Short’
The kooky, groovy band fronted by saxophonist and composer Alejandro Toledo. This track, featuring the excellent Fedzilla, is from their debut album, 1001, which will be reviewed in our next issue (#117, out April 1).

 

Family Atlantica – ‘Enjera’
The Songlines Music Award 2014 Newcomer winners return with their sophomore release, Cosmic Unity, on May 13 (Soundway Records). This is the first taster from the album; an intoxicating instrumental number packed full of Ethiojazz groove.

 

Exuma – ‘Damn Fool’
Bahaman musician Exuma was a one of a kind artist, mixing junkanoo, ballad and calypso to create music that was almost unclassifiable. This track is the first on his second album, Exuma II, released in 1970.

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