Okayafrica takes a look at Midnight Ravers, the Malian multimedia electro-dub project from Dominque Peters of High Tone
French dub musician Dominique Peter first traveled to Mali in 2010 after being captivated by the ambient Mandinka blues of the West African nation. Two years later, Peter returned with cartoonist Emmanuel Prost in tow to launch Midnight Ravers, an audiovisual project that married Peter's love of art with his burgeoning interest in the soundscapes of veteran Malian musicians such as Boubacar Traoré, Toumani Diabaté and Ali Farka Touré (whose son is Okayafrica favorite Vieux Farka Touré).
The project's debut album, Le Triomphe du Chaos (which arrived last October via Irfan(le label)), brought together some of Mali's finest contemporary vocalists and multi-instrumentalists for a full multimedia exploration of popular Malian music. The 8-track LP featured appearances from Samba Diabaté on guitar, Assaba Dramé on ngoni and tama, Mamadou Diabaté (son of legendary kora king Sidiki Diabaté and brother of Grammy Award-nominated kora player Toumani Diabaté) on kora, and Cheik Diallo on flute. As the first solo effort from the High Tone drummer and his Malian collaborators, the album showcased Peter's departure from the less atmospheric sample-based tracks that he was accustomed to producing as part of his pioneering French dub band in favor of a more "authentic" sound. Prost's illustrations of the entire recording process in Bamako culminated in a unique visual diary of the creation of Le Triomphe du Chaos featuring over fifty large-framed paintings and original drawings, some of which can be seen in the gallery above.
Peter's latest endeavors since the release of Le Triomphe du Chaos continue to revolve around Mali's rich musical tradition with a stellar set of mixes dubbed African Night Life Ravers. Featuring hits from pivotal figures in the development of Malian orchestral music such as Ama Maiga, Super Biton de Ségou, Salif Keita and his Rail Band de Bamako, Kanté Manfila and Super Djata, the two sets are extensive meditations on the polyrhythmic compositions and hypnotic vocals from the golden age of Malian music. Stream and download both African Night Life Ravers mixes plus an animated music video by Benoit Boucher and Arnaud Lhomme below. Le Triomphe du Chaos is out now on iTunes .