Mohammed Alidu "Aikaso (Murlo Remix)"**
The original tunes by Mohammed Alidu (pictured above) have a delicate power to them, with sounds rooted in the artist's native Ghana. Alidu was born into an exhalted family lineage of "talking drum" chiefs, and has built his career upon the Playing for Change project, as well as an exhausting pedigree of gigs, teaching positions, and communal forms of expression. Now based in Los Angeles (where he'll be performing next week), his upcoming Talking Drum EP (out in June via Akwaaba) takes on a heavier Western slant: Soulful horns, playful drums, and elements of pop and dancehall are peppered throughout. The latter of those influences helps make the backbone (along with soca) that fuels UK producer and recent Bubblin' Up subject Murlo, who reworks the tune into a territory which is decidedly more tropical than one might expect from a Londoner. The UK remixer keeps the focal points of Alidu's music intact: Impressive polyrhythms, hopping drums, and infectious vocal hooks rub up against the darker side of Murlo's sound. His playfulness is undercut by a subtle and melancholy low end, but rather than making the tune gloomy, the undertones manage to enhance the joyous sounds they share space with.