Ready for an album that speaks to all of mankind while taking inspiration from the place of mankind’s birth? Then you need to sit down and listen to ALKEBULAN from astounding singer, composer, and creator of immersive aural jungles, Matt B. ALKEBULAN , translating to “Garden of Eden” or “Mother of Mankind,” is an album written for the very source of mankind – Africa. It’s about Matt B visiting this place, connecting with ancestral roots, and telling, through music, its wondrous and foundational stories. In essence, listening to ALKEBULAN is an act of transportation, instantly dropping one into the lush countries of man’s beginnings. How did Matt B pull off such a magnificent act of spontaneous physical displacement? Let’s hit the highlights:
ALKEBULAN kicks off with “BUYA EKHAYA (Opening Interlude) (feat. The Unveiled).” This is a tribal chorus, deep voices, brief sounds of the jungle, and ancestral drums rumbling. Each sound is so pristinely recorded, mixed, and separated, I wouldn’t be surprised if, upon opening my eyes, I was suddenly surrounded by a welcoming tribe and vibrant, mostly untouched lands.
Track #3, “FREEDOM (feat. Motswana mo Erongo)” is a beautiful song, and again with those large-as-the-land choruses accompanying and answering to Matt B’s weightless and affecting vocals.
Wait. Who plays what?
Matt B composed this ancestral epic and tackled lead vocals. As far as all the accompaniment? By the incredibly expansive sound of this recording, I would tell you he’s accompanied by an entire continent – by every drum, singer, and closely walking, swinging, swimming, and flying indigenous creature. Not sure how he did it, but Africa itself is singing along to Matt’s incredible compositions.
Back to track #4, “SALETEMA”: Matt’s voice rides those tribal drums, and supported by darting voices that bend and angle like an aural weave. Matt’s voice takes a whispery characteristic here – it reminds me of Imogen Heap’s output with a constant cracking beat and briefly present and compassionate falsettos.
“Jolene” starts off with sliding strings; it’s nearly a standard R&B opening until those African drums enter the mix. With Matt B’s smooth voice, that light piano, and subtle instrumentation filling so much space – with space still maintained, as again, everything is mixed perfectly – this mellow number hides a clever R&B single within its genuine ancestral wrapping.
“Shayo” begins with muted guitar notes joined by African drums and Matt B doused in a big, natural reverb. This is a proud outcry; the telling of a great struggle; a grand song sung to the sky.
The album closes with the more mellow “Ogala.” This is a jazzy, again very percussive track incorporating more well-sung chanting and perhaps a bit of melancholy – the song lands on darker notes, and quietly, respectfully, ends after a final volley of drums and shakers.
But is it good?
ALKEBULAN was released with FYC by MoPromo, who specifically helps artists who submit their music to The Recording Academy™ (y’know, for the upcoming Grammy Awards©). And this album absolutely deserves that level of recognition. Just close your eyes, place your headphones comfortably upon each ear, and prepare yourself for a journey – a journey that inexplicably places your feet upon ancient living grass. HIGHLY recommended.
BELOW: Listen to Alkebulan and check out Matt B on Spotify, Apple Music, iTunes, YouTube, Deezer, Tidal, and Amazon Music. Support Matt B by visiting these online platforms and playing, downloading, and/or purchasing his music. And, as always, thank you for supporting real music.