- A two-track EP that takes listeners on a quest from the upbeat familiarity of home to the melancholy introspection sometimes required to find it.
- When he works as one-third of Black Rave Culture, James Bangura and company comb through a winding library of Black dance music. On his own, the DC producer makes equally diasporic music, albeit sparser than his collaborative projects, borrowing from the vaporous recesses of bass music, New York deep house and East Coast club. For another artist, this broadness in style could be construed as a lack of focus. But there’s ambition in the way Bangura draws from these genres. His music is consciously untethered, and carries the worldly charm of a producer who writes often on the road.
His latest EP, Harrar/Witness Dub, makes an attempt to geolocate Bangura’s roaming pads and latticed percussion. So naturally, it’s a tale about his hometown. Before Bangura dedicated his life to production, he was deployed to Afghanistan from 2010 to 2018, and “Witness Dub” is a subdued reflection of his experience adjusting from military life to civilian life in DC. Bangura’s depiction of this transition is strikingly pleasant, carried by an introspective twittering sound and melancholic deep house pads that descend, tenderly and slowly, like a sheet of mulberry paper dozing through the wind.
The hiccupy A-side, “Harrar,” is somewhat more upbeat, taking its name from DC’s Harrar Coffee & Roastery, a beloved communal hub serving bright and fruit-forward Ethiopian Harrar coffee. The track teems with energetic spirit, including wet hi-hats that could’ve been derived from a beatboxing sample. But even this track, which sits at 150 BPM, is restrained by Bangura’s own languorous pace. Trembling dubstep wubs and a pitched down vocal, bellowing something indecipherable, step in on occasion to slow down time.
- 01. Harrar
02. Witness Dub
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