Saâda Bonaire - 1992 2xLP
Saâda Bonaire - 1992 2xLP
Captured Tracks (CT-346), 2022, USA
Captured Tracks' 13-track Saâda Bonaire collection was one of the landmark releases of the last decade. Released in 2013, the compilation staked the claim for the group as one of the most surprising and unconventional of the 1980s, blazing a trail from post-punk through what would later be called worldbeat and doing so with off-kilter arrangements, Middle Eastern instruments, disco beats and husky dual female vocals. Building upon their only released 12", the compilation was remarkably solid throughout its 60+ minutes.
Almost a decade later, we are now gifted with what was once thought completely lost, the follow-up recordings that Saâda Bonaire made in the early 1990s when the idea of an album was dangled and then taken away. 1992 showcases the changes in the group, including the departure of vocalist Claudia Hossfeld and in her place Angela Ebert (vocalist Stephanie Lange is heard on both sets). Lots still remains: the galloping congas and percussion, the slinky basslines, the dusky vocals. But the musical palette has shifted slightly towards house beats, trip-hop rhythms or even moments of Quiet Storm slickness, all wrapped in the signature Saâda Bonaire brilliance. The ample liner notes detail the recording process and the process of recovering this material that was assumed lost, only to now be found and offered up as another very welcome helping of a unique and groundbreaking group.
"Until recently, it was thought that we had heard all there was to hear from Saâda Bonaire. The German studio project’s 1980s recordings had been compiled on the now cult-classic double LP Saâda Bonaire, released by Captured Tracks in 2013. Though the group had continued working until 1994, founder Ralph “von” Richthoven had firmly stated that all of their post-1986 work was lost: “I threw away most of my work; I didn’t see any reason to hold onto it anymore.” A visit to a relative’s house, however, turned up a pleasant surprise: Richthoven stumbled across a battered cassette tape labeled Saâda Bonaire ‘91. Released now for the first time ever, 1992 compiles the band’s long-lost early nineties material. Produced between Bremen and New York City, the 12 songs presented here capture the group's attempts at steering their trademark fusion sound (reggae, afro-funk, Eastern music, and sultry German female vocals) into uncharted nu jazz, trip-hop, and house territories.
" It’s no surprise, given both the time lapse and the fluid nature of the project, that these recordings differ sonically from the 1980s material. 1992 finds Saâda Bonaire folding new influences from the time (house, hip-hop, rap) into their eclectic sonic universe. Ebert’s soulful voice –the result of a church choir background and an early love of American soul and jazz music– offset Lange’s laid-back, more German-sounding vocals. “Some magic came out in the air when we were there, singing together,” Lange recalls.
"Unfortunately, it seems this more empathic way of being was at odds with 1990s record label standards: the demo recordings were considered too bizarre and as a result were never published. As the band members moved on to other projects, the cassettes were stowed away, laying dormant for nearly two decades until Richthoven’s basement discovery. Though the tape he found was degraded past listenability, it sparked his memory enough to prompt him to phone up Ebert in Berlin. After a major cellar excavation, she found the tapes, perfectly preserved in a suitcase that hadn’t been opened since 1999. As with all things Saâda Bonaire, the discovery of these new recordings feels like a sort of magical impossibility. It’s been nearly ten years since the release of the last compilation, and thirty since the recordings were originally captured. That they still manage to sound fresh and avant garde is a testament to Saâda Bonaire's flair for creating pop music for past, present, and future outsiders." – Captured Tracks