TRACK: El Michels Affair – ‘Dhuaan’/’Sha Na Na’: 60s’ exotica brilliance from Big Crown

BROOKLYN’S Big Crown – well, in short, they’ve only gone and done it again.

The label of love which just keeps producing cracking little 7″s for lovers of exotic and retro soul, funk and grooves – in short, the kinda 7″ you only usually find when you’re digging in the crates in your dreams, records that can’t possibly really exist – have knocked out another set of sides that should have fumbling for your PayPal password.

Noo Yoik retro-instrumental funk outfit El Michels Affair – responsible for one of the more brilliantly niche (and also, just plain brilliant) albums of 2020 in the sleaze soundtrack sketches of Adult Themes – have teamed up with Piya Malik and The Shacks’ Shannon Wise (you mean you haven’t heard The Shacks? I too laboured lost in this condition. I fully recommend you sort this forthwith – they’re just bloody gorgeous) for a single of Bollywood and Turkish psych-funk excellence.

The A, “Dhuaan”, is a superb overdriven Bosphorus groove, all fuzz breaks and loose snares and crisp, lost-soundtrack genius, with vocals from Piya Malik. Intense riffs weave and maze. It breaks to whispers, shouts, mirthful spoken word interlude full of laughter – if you know “Erotica”, by Rita, think that. Pushed to the far end of the Med. That’s right. It couldn’t possibly exist outside the record collections of say, Andy Votel and David Holmes.

On the flip, Shannon descends from late-60s’ nirvana to grace us with a sha-na-na hook and a pretty, lazy melody shuffling over retro-recorded, clicky bass and mournful organ. It’s got Gallic cool. It smokes a lot but you adore it anyway. In another universe it’s the theme from whichever film placed top at Cannes in 1969. Wow.

You can still, just about, buy this on 7″ over at Bandcamp and Big Crown; it’s otherwise available digitally. You can also click on the Bandcamp embed below and stream them to your delight.

It’s the second single in the Bollywood-psych vein for El Michels Affair, following last year’s equally excellent “Unathi”/”Zaharlia” vinyl drop. And happily both serve as early notice of a full album in this style from the outfit to follow in 2021, entitled Yeti Season. Like our hairy Himalayan chum, music this retro and excellent just might exist, you know.

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