title: Mala in Cuba
label: Brownswood Recordings
release date: 10/09/12
In May 2011 Mala (Digital Mystikz) travelled to Havana, Cuba with Gilles Peterson to record and collaborate with local musicians as part of the ongoing Havana Cultura project. The results are documented on his album ‘Mala in Cuba’ – scheduled for release on Brownswood Recordings on 10th September 2012. The album will be preceded by a 12” featuring ‘Cuba Electronic’ and ‘Calle F’ released on 6th August 2012.
A devotee of Jamaican sound system culture, Mala led from the front as the first waves of so-called “dubstep” filtered out from Croydon’s Big Apple Records, battering bassbins across South London in 2002/03 alongside the likes of Skream, Benga, Coki and Loefah. Fiercely independent, he co-founded the label and legendary club night DMZ (with Coki and Loefah) and has produced some of the scene’s most vital and acclaimed tracks as Digital Mystikz. He also established his own imprint – Deep Medi Musik – in 2006 as an outlet for his own sonic experimentations alongside those of his favourite producers. Mala is universally respected as an innovator and leader not only within the global dubstep movement but also within the broader electronic realm.
The results of a true culture clash, ‘Mala in Cuba’ marries the intricate rhythms and deep, spiritual roots of Cuba with Mala’s own roots in South London and his dedication to bass culture. Travelling to Havana with DJ / broadcaster / record collector Gilles Peterson and fellow producer Simbad in 2011 – where they were recording sessions for Gilles’s ‘Havana Cultura: The Search Continues’ album at Abdala Studios – Mala installed himself in a small studio across the corridor from the main hub. With a constant stream of gifted local musicians and vocalists passing through, from diva Danay Suarez to the legendary percussionist Changuito and acclaimed pianist Roberto Fonseca, this was a true journey of discovery for everyone concerned.
Returning home with a laptop crammed with inspiration, Mala began to stitch the story of his Cuban adventure together. The space, depth and weight of the sound is vintage Mala, but the melodies, licks, chord progressions, rhythms and chattering percussion are uniquely Cuban. For Brownswood Recordings boss Gilles Peterson, who famously curated excursions in the spaces between jazz and electronic music whilst at Talkin’ Loud (namely Kenny “Dope” Gonzalez’s and “Little” Louie Vega’s Nuyorican Soul project in 1996 and Roni Size Reprazent’s ‘New Forms’ the following year) this is a record that he has dreamed of making: “This is the record that reevaluates and realigns the dubstep movement within sound system culture.”
06. Como Como feat. Dreiser & Sexto Sentido
07. Cuba Electronic
08. The Tunnel
11. The Tourist
13. Calle F
14. Noches Sueños feat. Danay Suarez