Sinkane (real name Ahmed Gallab) has a colourful background. Growing up in Sudan, his family fled political violence during the 70s when he was just five years old. After a fair amount of travelling around the United States, he ended up in Ohio where the punk and rock influences washed over him during his late teens. Post music exploration, Ahmed became a successful session musician working with the likes of Yeasayer and Caribou (two artists who clearly left their mark on the young funk experimenter). These African roots merged with the punk scene of Columbus, Ohio and a dash of funk from his years working with other influential musicians makes for one alternative and free musically-minded soul.
Mars is the second album from this talented individual hell bent on breaking the mould of funk and soul. The opener “Runnin” is upbeat, soulful and kind of psychedelic, followed up by latest release “Jeeper Creeper” which sets these themes into concrete. There’s something fun about the synthy jazz and easy-listening guitar riffs. Relaxed and uncompromisingly experimental, this is the kind of album that would fit in perfectly with your spacious loft converted apartment in Soho when entertaining all of your grown-up friends.
As the album develops, the tracks become even sexier. Whilst “Jeeper Creeper” is currently a resounding hit for Sinkane, it’s “Love Sick” that’s the real gem of the album. Easy, breezy vibes with a moody border-line antsy vocals blend together like a creamy cocktail. This is exactly what you expect from dreamy world music with an edge.
Whilst Mars is enjoyable, different and avant-garde, there seems to be a lack of meshing. Ahmed describes his influences as “everything” and this could be the explanation and his main downfall. Funky yet upbeat, it’s the sort of music you will find on late shows on BBC 6 music and whilst the album is undoubtedly catchy, there are almost too many influences. An easy listen no doubt, the sheer amount of styles and instruments of each of the eight tracks means the album doesn’t blend together as well as it should. A beautifully produced album, Mars is definitely one to try on and see how it fits. Taken lightly, it can be hypnotizing, but delving too much into it you could find yourself frustrated.
Release: 3rd December 2012, City Slang