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Dream Matrix Telemetry
|JuJu Midget Zuvuya||didjeridu|
CD, Playing time 53:50 minutes
(1993) Delerium Records - DELEC CD 2012 , Delerium Records, PO Box 1288, Gerrards Cross, Bucks, SL9 0AN, UK
A Goatee-weirdo bloke blows on his didge, and Zuvuya's placid journey begins. "Crow Road" is riddled with wibbly tabla and trickly bits. Another geezer, with a Davy lamp on, kicks in the computer-driven bass, and the ironically named JuJu Midget (ironic because he's called Mike really and he's about seven foot three) whispers "Keep away from the edge." More irony: he's squatting at the edge of the stage. Jungle beats and jungle noises like elephants and kookaburras abound. This off-shoot of deep trancers Tribal Drift have been working with Sixties psychedelic-prophet / acid casualty Terence McKenna. And it shows on "Dream Matrix Telemetry". JuJu recites banal Paul Daniels philosophy like "seeing is believing". flashback-twaddle is upon us. Two Day-Glo dancers flounce on, doing lots of ace mirror ritualising. The hot didge bubbles, "Doctor Who" music phases in, tablas tabble, and we're "Grabbing Nandi By The Horn". Too right. The Day-Glo women kneel down and roll their heads around for about five minutes. Yip, it's 3am Megadog time, except it's about half-nine and it's Nation Records festive bash.
Reviewer: Carl Loben
The Megadog crew may have little to do with the travellers anymore, but listen to the bands playing tonight and you'll notice how much of the ethos has survived. Dance's leading edge is mutating into a profusion of inter-relating, yet dispalced, travelogues. The essence of nomadism has been shorn of its reactionary inclinations, and the impulse now isn't to turn the clock back, but to do away with it for good, to transgress all mental and geographical boundaries. Zuvuya are the latest (and best) incarnation of Nation Records' cultural cross-breeding policy, another case where "World music" becomes just that, a unity embodied, not an isolated fragment. On stage, there's a half-naked hairy bouncing around, behaving like a caveman who discovered mushrooms. Sub-bass and high frequency signals pulsate throughout the hall, reminiscent of veteran arcane-ologists Clock DVA, and there's the same attraction to the ancient, and bringing the background to the fore.
Another track starts off as weightless, spine-tingling ambience, carrying a chorus of female (east European? Far Eastern? African?) voices almost as an afterthought, before it finally formulates a beat that goes through several stages of evolution, while fingers of light flicker across the stage. "Grabbing Nandi By The Horn" is their finest moment, Indian polyrhythms, a HUGE didgeridoo that plunges you into the bowels of the earth, and fluorescent Aboriginal-style dancers, all flashing past in a peyote-like rush, as though they'd wired Carlos Castaneda's mind to the amps. Zuvuya make connections that send you reeling off the map, their discourse of fleeting worldwide refernces initiating a very personal heaven. A passing Ben Turner thinks I'm off my head, but it's not drug taking, it's a part of me I've just rediscovered. Tonight was the perfect opportunity.
Reviewer: Jonathan Selzer
Tonight's Christmas party for Nation Records seems like an odd idea because Christianity is probably the least represented religion here. There are pagans at the bar, sons of Sikhs backstage, daughters of Islam on the dancefloor and rasta rhythms in the bass bin, but carol singers are thin on the ground. On a night where you start off watching a pair of day-glo voodoo dancers and end up listening to a demonstration of the Arabic chromatic scale (apparently) the real celebration is, of course, multiculturalism. Santa would only get in if he was wearing a bindi-dot. Nation's determination to place the golden mongrel of pan-ethnic pop in the mainstream has made it one of the most exciting labels this year, partly because label stars Fun-Da-Mental and Transglobal Underground have made such poerful records. But it's also based on the evidence of the three lesser known bands on show tonight and an audience that embraces everyone from hippy travellers to Japanese business men. Nation will have no trouble staying in credit next year. ZUVUYA are the label's digita cavemen. Their regular body-painted frontman Ju Ju Midget has gone native without leave tonight, so his place is taken by a skeletal figure who murmurs in tongues over the stormy brew of tribal beats and birthing groans emitting from two banks of synths and a didgeridoo. It isn't the most immidiate pop thrill. Almighty jungle pounders like the climatic "Grabbing Nandi By The Horn" should, ideally, be experienced in an Apocalypse Now - type scenario, preferably just before you meet Colonel Kurtz. Their dayglo cave-girl dancers may make their tribal point a little too forcibly, but Zuvuya are exploring a form of extreme dreamtime hypno-pop that might in time yield treasure.
Reviewer: Roger Morton
Fair warning here - when the Zuvuya crew teams up with Terence McKenna, the world's foremost proponent of DMT, they don't hold McKenna back. The single cut on the album contains the talk McKenna gives on the effects of DMT as a narrative over the music.
Reviewer: John Morfit