Deadbear | World Music Market
Combining electronics with world music is not exactly a new thing. In most cases the quality of the resulting music depends on two things – the knowledge the involved artist has about the world music and his ability to add elements like beats that actually gel with the chosen samples and don’t sound like, what some could call ‘a chicken in knickers’.
Unfortunately, in many cases, the involved musicians take the easy way out – they take any world music sample that sounds remotely interesting and slap on it some, what they would call, ‘tried and true’ beats. And that is it, just to make it at least a bit different then something they already pushed on the dance floors already.
Luckily, that is not the case here in terms of what Berlin-based producer and electronic artist Nick Donovan (aka Deadbear) has done on World Music Market. As he puts it, the album is conceptually tied to “Berlin, vinyl and the migration of people and music.” He also notes that all the profits will be going directly to charity, specifically projects that help integrate refugees into Western communities and develop new skills.
Quite a lofty concept and goals, but Donovan comes through with a project that makes it on all levels. First of all, he has obviously devoted some serious time to choosing the world music samples he uses here to the regions mostly tied to current migration trends, weaving them seamlessly together, without any jarring jumps or inconsistencies, concentrating on musical similarities rather than differences. I guess, in many ways, that proves the social point of human similarities he is trying to make.
Secondly, his electronic side of the project is not dance, but ambient based, trying to create an interwoven musical tapestry that gives the eight tracks on the album both a head and a tail. It all sounds like Donovan seems to have intended, like moving through Berlin streets and encountering all those different people and their cultures combining with the modern beat and sounds of one of the world’s major cities.
It all possibly has something to do with the method Donovan used to collect his samples, “I would go to this one same stall every Sunday and pick up something incredible – discontinued runs of Middle East compilations, Nubian region samplers, one hit wonders from Yemen. After a while it became clear this collection needed to become more than just a Sunday listening experience. I knew I had to make a record out of it.”