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The 10 best global albums of 2023

10. Ale Hop and Laura Robles – Agua Dulce

Peru’s Laura Robles and Ale Hop explore the radical history of the cajón on their fiercely unusual debut album. Processing the box-shaped percussion instrument through fuzzing distortion and heavy reverb, while adding elements of synth bass and squeaking electronics, they lend Afro-Peruvian folk rhythms established during slavery a modern, industrial twist. Often unpredictable and on the verge of sudden collapse, the nine tracks on Agua Dulce push the cajón into unchartered and exciting territory, proving its power and versatility far beyond the gentle acoustic jam sessions where it’s often found.

Read the full list in the Guardian.

[This piece was published on 24/12/23]

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