6 Songs, 35 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

“Timeless” may be the best description of this evocative collaboration, which melds field recordings of traditional Indigenous Yolngu songmen from Arnhem Land in Australia’s Northern Territory with contemporary electronic soundscapes and spare beats. An abridged 2018 reworking of the little-known 1997 album which birthed the concept, Waak Waak ga Min Min (the translation is “Black Crow, White Cockatoo”) is mostly seamless in linking the deep musical history represented by Bobby Bunnungurr, Jimmy Djamunba, and the late Peter Milaynga with the contemporary textures of Victorian musician Peter Mumme. The six tracks are spacious by design, allowing the disparate elements to naturally inform each other. On “White Cockatoo,” the vocals—which on all six tracks are sung in the Djinang and Ganalbingu languages—are uplifted by warm percussion and ambient swaths, while “Mother, I’m Going” has an acidic synth groove providing impetus. The mood progresses from the contemplative to the invigorating, with an itchy pan-African momentum to the closing “Black Crow.” The album is a fascinating counterpoint to groundbreaking Indigenous band Yothu Yindi’s 1990s engagement with dance music, but ultimately it works on its own terms, bridging thousands of years with ease.

EDITORS’ NOTES

“Timeless” may be the best description of this evocative collaboration, which melds field recordings of traditional Indigenous Yolngu songmen from Arnhem Land in Australia’s Northern Territory with contemporary electronic soundscapes and spare beats. An abridged 2018 reworking of the little-known 1997 album which birthed the concept, Waak Waak ga Min Min (the translation is “Black Crow, White Cockatoo”) is mostly seamless in linking the deep musical history represented by Bobby Bunnungurr, Jimmy Djamunba, and the late Peter Milaynga with the contemporary textures of Victorian musician Peter Mumme. The six tracks are spacious by design, allowing the disparate elements to naturally inform each other. On “White Cockatoo,” the vocals—which on all six tracks are sung in the Djinang and Ganalbingu languages—are uplifted by warm percussion and ambient swaths, while “Mother, I’m Going” has an acidic synth groove providing impetus. The mood progresses from the contemplative to the invigorating, with an itchy pan-African momentum to the closing “Black Crow.” The album is a fascinating counterpoint to groundbreaking Indigenous band Yothu Yindi’s 1990s engagement with dance music, but ultimately it works on its own terms, bridging thousands of years with ease.

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