TRACK: El Michels Affair to release new album of funk exotica; hear ‘Murkit Gem’, feat. Piya Malik



EL MICHELS AFFAIR are going all out with the most transporting global groove these days; witness the brilliance of “Dhuaan”, the Hindu funk exotica single drop from last summer, which seems to wizard into being the kind of 7″ you can only crate-dig in some 4am dream. Such a tune can’t really exist, right; can it?

Jeez; it can? This is terrifically exciting news for jaded ears and vinyl junkies, and to prove it was no miraculous one-off, they’ve released another single with Piya, entitled “Murkit Gem”: you can hear that below and no need to pinch yourself, you are awake: this is actually out there, for real.

It’s Bollywood fuzz-riffin’ groove, production values entirely on point for a lost 7″ side; Piya chants and then lofts in reverb, that hook embedding itself with its yearning. And if that wasn’t enough, there’s a soundtracky coda of Sixties’ sound effects. What’s happening in this film? You find yourself asking.

Piya sings for Big Crown act 79.5, who are excellent in their own right, but as Leon Michels says: “When Piya started singing in Hindi, she had a different voice, a different tone. I knew we had to do something together.”

Right, time for even better news: “Murkit Gem” serves as prelude for the new El Michels Affair album in entirely this funk exotica vein; it’s entitled Yeti Season and it’s out at the end of March.

It goes oh! so deep into the worlds of Turkish, Persian and Hindi funk, the sort of thing Finders Keepers pounce upon and reissues with gusto – except this ain’t no reissue, this is the here and now.

Piya appears on three songs on Yeti Season: besides “Murkit Gem”, she leads “Zaharila” and the gorgeous “Dhuaan”. There’s also an appearance from Shannon Wise of Big Crown’s girl-group-meets-psych-pop revivalists The Shacks on “Sha Na Na”.

You may wonder, rightfully: what is a yeti season? It is, we’re informed, more of a feeling than an actual place or time of year. It encapsulates the feel of the album, which is deep, heavy, dramatic and hopeful, Big Crown say.

To that I’d add, on the evidence so far: it’s delicious.

El Michels Affair’s Yeti Season will be released by Big Crown on March 26th in an entirely sexy limited box set, containing the album on opaque green vinyl and containing a 50-page children’s book inspired by the album and a bonus blue vinyl 7″; there’s also standard vinyl, CD and digital, and it’s a necessary pre-order to get placed right here, right now.

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