Diger Rokwell is one of those characters Australian music should have more of, a relaxed and humble character doing his own thing, not sticking with current trends, finding his influences from far reaching places. He creates future beat music, with a world music edge, but weaves these worldly elements into modern productions, his closest peer being the output of Monkeymarc.
While Monkeymarc may be east coast, Diger Rokwell reflects the west coast lifestyle, sunny and laidback, there’s no sense of urgency here, its music to massage the senses. With samples and inspiration originating from the music of Pakistan, Iran, Africa, Mongolia and China, and philosophical spoken word snatches from Carl Sagan speeches, creating a theme of humanity; past, present and future. The production shines, enlisting Siblance to mix, and Dave Cooley (Stones Throw and Elefant Traks) to master the album, creating music that is most definitely of the present, from sounds of many continents. “Let Go” reminds me so much of the early Orb days, just a blissful ambience awashes the senses, underpinned by a steady beat and analogue bass. “Aperthy” lays down a solid beat with synth pad loops, and an addictive chant loop, while “No More Kings” takes jazz keys to a new plain with skittering drums and bass pulse. “Free Ticket” shows a modern funk brashness, rolling drums, ghostly Jamaican toasting, and healthy injections of dub into the mix, crossing continents of sound with ease. Mongolian throat singing underpins the social message of “Cousins”, bringing the mood back to a mellow pace, before the ambience of “We Are All Related” featuring Mathas brings the album to a subdued end.
I thoroughly enjoyed this album. It’s refreshing for me to hear folk still making music of this quality, avoiding the trappings of being categorised loosely as world music. It’s far more than this, with a social message so subtle, you’ll subconsciously know every spoken word by the third listen. Support local, especially when the quality is this high.