The singular musical spirit Joseph Deenmamode aka Mo Kolours presents an exciting new body of work. Entitled ‘Original Flow’, the eight track Chapter One is set for release in November 2023 on We Release Jazz.
A catalog of critically acclaimed records, including his self-titled debut (2014), ‘Texture Like Like Sun’ (2015), 2018 album ‘Inner Symbols’ and three companion EPs, established Deenmamode as a prodigious musician and vocalist. Pitchfork extolled his “hypnotic, tribal-infused dance grooves”, DJ Mag appreciated the “colourful celebration of soundsystem culture”, and Resident Advisor advocated that “no one sounds quite like Mo Kolours”. Musical analogies were drawn by The Guardian as “The best album Curtis Mayfield never made with A Tribe Called Quest and Lee Perry” and Mojo as “like Marvin Gaye produced by J Dilla”.
Five years ago, Deenmamode moved to the Japanese countryside. Far away from familiarity, he contemplated his place and further questioned his identity. “I had none of my ‘own’ people around. I had time to really find what makes me tick musically. Japan has helped me go back to those subconscious leanings, really go deep, and reflect the aspects that make up my story”.
The tracks on ‘Original Flow’ have been constructed from sessions, improvisations and soundbites captured around the world during this time; collecting contributions from musicians including Deenamode’s brothers Reginald Omas Mamode and Jeen Bassa plus Andrew Ashong, Charles Bullen, Dwaye Kilvington, Eddie Hick, Stefan Asanovic, Myele Manzanza, Ross Hughes, and Tom Dreissler. Deenamode says “I’m proud of this album’s creative process. Coming from a tradition of scouring through hours of records, I wanted to create my own samples, to find that perfect loop that no other producer could put their hands on. I decided to invite a group of friends and acquaintances, who also happen to be incredible musicians, to a studio in Crystal Palace to improvise based on some loose ideas I had. We spent all day, and recorded everything”.
‘Original Flow’ is an album of UK street-soul nouveau, future indigenous jazz fusion, Rasta Segga, Nyahbinghi jazz, Malagasy Hebrew hip hop. While retaining a spirit of exploration and improvisation, it sees Deenmamode grow and flex beyond beat tape brevity, expanding composition and stretching his musical muscle to play live with other musicians. Themes of empowerment, overcoming adversity, and mental liberation coexist with notes from ancient history, futurism, and science, as well as musings on family and togetherness.
‘Magik Momentum’ springs from a discussion that features at the start of the song, an inspiring mentor answering a question from Deenmamode about improvisation and what role it plays in life when planning and manifesting the future. ‘Rockets to Mars’ questions the lack of care for the billions of people with nothing, while governments plan to explore space. “This sparked a comparison in my mind to a Sonny Okuson song that I would reference when performing. Okuson’s song talked of the lack of resources in many communities in the world, while governments go to the moon”.
He says the music behind ‘The News These Days’ is “possibly my favourite on the album”. Looped like he would a late sixty jazz-fusion sample, there was nothing added and the track was complete within a matter of minutes. “It was the first and best moment from the entire Crystal Palace session”, he adds. The album’s contrasting title track with minimal instrumentation played solo by Deenamode. While frustratingly searching for gems in past recordings, he thought in a burst of ego, “I don’t need no-one else to make a dope beat!” picked up his ravanne, (the traditional frame drum of his fathers home-land of Mauritius), pressed record, and started to play. He says, “In my thoughts were the rhythms of the Nubians in Upper-Egypt and Sudan, the swing of the huge drums played by Mauritanian women, of-course the Sega beat of Mauritius, and the ever inspiring beat of James Yancey”.
Driven by UK broken beat, Cuban congas, Nigerian and Mauritian inflections, ‘Love Vibration’ follows the concept that all emotions carry a vibratory frequency and pays homage to the frequency of creation and the power of love. The two part ‘Tatamaka’ tells of the history of Deenmamode’s ancestors, the maroons of Mauritius. “We are people who managed to run from our oppressors and find refuge in a corner of the island called ‘Le Morne’ where they could not reach us. One bloody day they came in numbers to re-capture, to revenge. Many of us chose to jump to our deaths, rather than be taken back into subjugation. The poem by Creole Richard Sedley Assonne says; “there were hundreds of them, but my people, the maroons chose the kiss of death over the chains of slavery”. Tatamaka was the name of a famed maroon leader who was murdered for claiming his, and our people’s freedom. The song is the imagined journey of escape and freedom by an ancestor of the maroons of Le Morne”.
Born in the west midlands and raised on the traditional sega music of his father’s Indian Ocean homeland of Mauritius alongside records by the likes of Jimi Hendrix, Santana and Michael Jackson; his influences expanded with late 90s jungle and drum and bass nights in Bristol, experiments at art college in Camberwell, and the rich culture of Peckham, “at the time we called it the Afro Quarters of London” says Deenmamode, adding hip hop, dub, soul and soundsystem styles to his individual sound.
He explains, “I love drum music, from hand-drums to 808s. I love music from the ancient past, heritage music, indigenous music, traditional music passed down from the beginning of time. Music from the body, hand claps, grunts and foot stomps. Music with audible depth, busy, bustling, highly charged. Music from the soul, the music from beyond. I love music from the islands and the mountains. The music of the streets, hustle music, alleyway beats. Club music”.
He describes the creative process as thinking in images. “The visual world and the world of sound seem to intermingle in my thought process. When I play the drum with my eyes closed, a world of imagery dances and moves with beat. Improvised drumming feels like I am listening to what I want to hear, rather than trying to play what I want to hear. Following the rhythm and finding new pathways to walk within the patterns is what I experience. In this way I often feel I am just a listener, instead of the player”.
‘Original Flow: Chapter One’ is set for release on 17th November 2023. ‘Original Flow: Chapter Two’, with a vinyl and CD combined double album release, is scheduled in 2024 on We Release Jazz.
1. Magic Momentum (3:51)
2. Rockets To Mars (3:38)
3. The News These Days (3:41)
4. Love Vibration (3:54)
5. Original Flow (3:34)
6. Hold On (3:35)
7. Tatamaka pt 1 (3:42)
8. Tatamaka pt 2 (3:43)
supported by 17 fans who also own “Original Flow: Chapter One”
Like so many others, this came like a bolt out of the blue and, even though it's well before payday, I had to have this astonishing album on vinyl to prove it exists. The feel of the tunes makes me feel like the Impressions do, Curtis Mayfield, the big spaces and instinctive horns and stuff drifting in and out. Great grooves and I can see lots of ghosts nodding along to this with big smiles on their faces. At last! Anthony Cottrell