M.I.A. a.k.a. Mathangi ‘Maya’ Arulpragasam is one of those born wanderers, travellers I think (clearly, not knowing her, I couldn’t say for sure but it sort of fits my point, therefore I’ll shoehorn it in anyway). Growing up between London and Sri Lanka (her father was a Sri Lankan political activist) she made her first album, Arular, this mish mash of beats, dance music and other assorted sounds over which she waxed (extremely) lyrical about growing up in such polar opposite places was stunning.
Since then she’s made the much more world music enthused Kala, which happened when she was refused entry to the US, and instead travelled around the world, making field recordings using local musicians in India and things. While third album ‘Maya’ was mainly recorded at her base in Los Angeles, new album Matangi was recorded all around the world with different guests involved in each track.
New out is Bring the Noize, named last week as Zane Lowes hottest record in the world. Produced by Switch and Surkin, it’s a ‘banger’ (I sort of hate using that word) using these thumping tribal beats, and a percussive bassline to give it this primal feeling. Other sounds, including asian sounding beats come and go during the song, and of course it’s M.I.A. streetwise and clever rhyming that makes the track. Its out now at your usual retailers of such things.
You’d have to go a long way to hear a better track right now. Which M.I.A. probably knows better than anyone.