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The Weekend Australian - Review - - Music Reviews - Tim McNa­mara Tony Hil­lier

Ger­man pro­ducer Tim Bern­hardt and part­ner Den Ishu have been push­ing a lush brand of elec­tron­ica for a few years, pre­fer­ring vo­cal-led emo­tion and melody to up-tempo dance­floor fare. It’s a for­mula that has seen their sun­drenched orig­i­nal pro­duc­tions and ex­otic remixes find favour world­wide. It’s hardly sur­pris­ing, then, that they’ve en­listed a clutch of names from the US, Bri­tain, Bel­gium and Aus­tralia to con­trib­ute to de­but al­bum Panorama Paci­fico. This is a beau­ti­fully mel­low and largely laid-back jour­ney travers­ing nu-disco, elec­tro-pop and house, as Bern­hardt’s smooth, lay­ered pro­duc­tion en­ables the eclec­tic guest ros­ter — which in­cludes Mar­ble Sounds and IsaacO — to work its magic. Say You is, ac­cord­ing to Mel­bourne’s Jane El­iz­a­beth Han­ley, aka Kids at Mid­night, “about be­ing afraid of be­ing happy”, and her sen­sual vo­cal paired with Bern­hardt’s squelchy synths and pro­duc­tion flour­ishes make for a con­tem­pla­tive groove. Fel­low Aussie KLP con­trib­utes a sim­i­larly sul­try vo­cal on the moody For Days.

Re­cent sin­gle We Can Talk is a stand­out, an up­beat and melodic key-led af­fair that lets Emma Bram­mer’s vo­cal come to the fore, while last year’s much checked Shine On You raises the tempo with its four-to-the-floor kick un­der­pin­ning Lon­doner Esser’s vo­cal hook. Bern­hardt has said songs are ul­ti­mately about mak­ing peo­ple “feel some­thing”. Sum­mery and emo­tive, Panorama Paci­fico de­liv­ers those feels. Azel Bom­bino Par­ti­san Having aligned with the Black Keys’ Dan Auer­bach in Nashville for his beefed-up 2013 block­buster No­mad, mav­er­ick Tuareg gui­tarslinger/singer Omara “Bom­bino” Moc­tar has opted for a dif­fer­ent US pro­ducer, Dave Longstreth (of the Dirty Pro­jec­tors band) in up­state New York, and a less rau­cous ap­proach for his third stu­dio al­bum.

Sev­eral tracks on Azel take up where the pre­vi­ous record left off, with Bom­bino hit­ting the ul­tra-repet­i­tive grungy and modal elec­tric gui­tar groove and tone that has be­come his trade­mark — a cross-cul­tural sound seem­ingly po­si­tioned mid­way be­tween North Amer­ica and the North African Sa­hara desert of his na­tive Niger. There are salient points of dif­fer­ence be­tween the two releases.

The new al­bum in­tro­duces a fresh rhyth­mic in­flec­tion that Bom­bino has termed Tuareg­gae, de­not­ing that it’s a blend of reg­gae bounce and back­beat and cir­cu­lar desert blues, but one in which his raspy, sand-sprayed tra­di­tional Ta­mashek vo­cals are lay­ered over stri­dent topend gui­tar riffs. This fu­sion oc­curs in the mes­meris­ing Tim­tar, but also in the slower burn­ing Iwaranagh. Even more in­trigu­ing is Bom­bino’s move to­wards an in­tri­cate acous­tic fin­ger­pick­ing gui­tar tech­nique and what ap­pears to be a Celtic cum Mark Knopfler in­flu­ence in Ig­mayagh Dum and Ashuhada. His play­ing in Iyat Nin­hay is closer to in­cen­di­ary Jimi Hen­drix or Jimmy Page licks.

Bom­bino is evolv­ing stylis­ti­cally with in­creas­ing ex­po­sure to in­ter­na­tional fes­ti­vals and bands. It’ll be in­ter­est­ing to see where he goes from here.

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