ALBERT KUVEZIN and YAT-KHA [TUVA]
love will tear us apart
over recent months, i seem to have drifted into playing at least one cover version each week on the radio show – from germany’s beige gt rendering dj rolando‘s ‘jaguar’ as a symphony for guitar, to belgium’s ranco saint de baker covering qotsa‘s ‘no one knows’ whilst seemingly gurgling a glass of water. the reason why i find international cover versions appealing is that it creates a bridge between the familiar (i.e. the song we already know) and the unfamiliar (a new artist from somewhere other than the anglo-american axis). it makes the transition into the unknown that little bit easier, and naturally it can be a great thrill to hear a well-known track reflected back at you from cultures other than your own. it’s gone through a double-translation – from english to the native language and back again. check out japan’s towa tei & buffalo daughter‘s recent ‘my sharona’ cover (originally by the knack) where, of course, ‘sharona’ becomes ‘shalona’. comedy pronunciations aside, nowhere is this cultural ping-pong better exemplified that with albert kuvezin and yat-kha, hailing from the tuva republic in southern siberia. their latest collection ‘re-covers’ takes us through a familiar songbook, performed in the ‘throat singing’ vocal style that tuva is renowned for – covers of joy division, kraftwerk, motorhead, hank williams, led zepplin and captain beefheart performed as we’ve literally never heard them before. on his take on ‘love will tear us apart’, albert says: “this band wasn’t well known in russia but some band made big name and good career during USSR time copying and imitating the likes of joy division. i like the mood and guess our manager jim likes them very much.” many of these songs are particularly precious to albert and the band – for a long time, rock’n’roll was essentially outlawed under the former soviet regime, it could be neither performed nor listened to. ‘re-covers’ therefore is albert’s life journey – the songs that he grew up with, but with was rarely allowed to sing. for more info on this self-proclaimed ‘throat singing punk band’, head to yat-kha.com.
JACKSON AND HIS COMPUTER BAND [FRANCE]
when someone describes you as ‘the future of electronic music’, you’re in trouble. jackson naturally doesn’t pull off that particular coup (who could?), but the album is a treat for anyone who likes dance music for the mind. at times reminiscent of the ideology that daft punk once attempted to convey, with the album ‘smash’ jackson calls to the table every contemporary production trick at his disposal, and appropriates them all for himself. an unholy mix of punk, funk, glitch, techno, electronica, even r’n’b, jackson‘s ‘computer band’ might be in danger of seemingly like a flashy parlour trick were it not for the fact that it is so much fun – a hugely enjoyable romp from start to finish. more at warprecords.com