Red Light Radio Staff Picks

Of the countless tracks that make it to the airwaves each week at Red Light Radio, some leave a more lasting impression than others. From month to month, enjoy a sampling of favorite tracks heard on air, courtesy of the team at RLR. December’s picks include music by Ennanga Vision, Muslimgauze and Joe Mubare.

Dominik: Joe Mubare “Junglelife” (YAYA, 1990)

This pick goes out to German-American producer and YAYA label owner Joe Mubare. Next to his own album Private Scream, there’s just two other albums released by this label – and all produced by Mr. Mubare himself. All three sound unbelievably good, and the most interesting part might be that Mubare was mainly focused on film score music. He produced more than 50 songs for 20th Century Fox and, later on, around 80 tracks for German movies. Another contender for an all-time classic is the soundtrack to Sunday evening’s German crime series Tatort!

Besides music, Mubare worked as a family therapist after his studies in psychology and politics in Munich and Los Angeles. Taking this into account helps comprehend the feeling of each track better: it’s made by an ex-therapist who creates film scores and runs his own record label on the side. This particular track was played by Hendrik Vogel in a two-hour Fettschmelze special on the 12th of February – listening back now, it’s highly recommended!

Alyssa: Leonardo Martelli “Sofia” (Antinote, 2013)

A thing I love more than… well, most things actually, is a well-executed Notorious B.I.G. sample. So when I heard Leonardo Martelli’s “Sofia” on the Greetings in Borneo show I was instantly sold. And it’s more than your party-starting 4/4 house edit with a chorus from an overused rap song… Biggie’s vocals are handled in a way where they become a mishmash of sounds, together with wonky percussion and ethereal synths. At first it doesn’t seem to make sense, but eventually you find yourself bopping along to its sporadic rhythms. Very enjoyable/odd.

Boris: Muslimgauze – “Khan Younis” (Shaheed Mix)

In the early 00s I started working at a record store in Den Haag. Most of my colleagues were older than me, and everybody had a specific taste. From day one they all just started to throw names at me and they all gave me “homework”. One of the guys was a massive Coil fan and everything related, and another guy was obsessed with Byrne and Eno’s My Life In The Bush Of Ghosts.

These guys would order Staalplaat stuff all the time and constantly played it in the shop, and that was also when I heard Muslimgauze for the first time. I appreciate the artist, but never dived in hard. When Olf (Interstellar Funk) played this track during his Artificial Dance show at Red Light in January, this song really stood out for me. It’s cool to see how many contemporary acts (Vatican Shadow et al.) pay homage to Muslimgauze nowadays. And it also reminded me that perhaps now is the time for me to “dive in hard”.

Camille: Mallard – “Untitled” (Breaks) (Rhythm Section International, 2017)

When I saw that Leonardo Martelli planned to play on the radio for an hour, I knew it could get interesting. I thought he would play a show orientated towards the same electro and experimental found in his productions, but it was a nice surprise when I started hearing breaks coming from the stream. One tune in particular got my attention, and when I asked Leonardo the name of it I wasn’t surprised to find it was a Rhythm Section International release.

Mallard’s Verte is the 19th release on the London-based label, and the tune played by Martelli was the B1 side called “Untitled” (Breaks). What I like about the track is the overall atmospheric vibe mixed with nostalgia and dubby jungle breaks. A tune that fits perfectly into an opening set, but that in my opinion could work just as well in an afterparty setting welcoming the sun rising behind the hills.

Lorenzo: Naturally –Sunny Gets Blue” (Ottey’s Promotion, 1988)

I have to admit I’m somewhat one-track minded, and usually end up picking a Reggae-related song – this time again!

My track of the month is “Sunny Gets Blue” by obscure, late-80s artist Naturally. Slightly off-key and with an almost digital balearic vibe, the heavily quoted melody and lyrics are from the 50s orchestral jazz classic “Sunny Gets Blue”, a song made famous by the likes of Nat King Cole and Sarah Vaughan among others.

Naturally turn it into a crucial soundboy killer: basically a diss track aimed at discrediting weak (or just other) sound systems. I really love how reggae and dancehall unapologetically borrow melodies and lyrics from international hits and put them into different contexts. Discos Horizontes played this one during their show of February 24th.

Hugo: Ennanga Vision – “Abbanna Kange” (Children of my Father) (Soundway, 2017)

This month we had Ikävä Pii, from Italy, and his homie Tai Rona, from Israel, in the studio. They both played strictly excellent tracks. I was vibing the full 2 hours and loved all of it. Because of that, I knew this month’s pick should be from their set. I picked Ennanga Vision’s “Abbanna Kange”, a track released last summer on Soundway. It’s apparently a project from Uganda led by London producer Jesse Hackett and multi-instrumentalist Albert Ssempeke, with Otim Alpha on vocals. I checked out the whole album and it’s all vibes, get it.