There is definitely something “afro” inspired about this latest EP from Puma & The Dolphin, certainly in comparison to pretty much everything else I’ve ever heard from him, which includes a great EP on Canadian imprint Chambre Noir and some stellar inclusions on every one of Dj soFa’s highly respected “Elsewhere” compilations.

I’m told that while immersed in domestic life during lockdown in Sofia, Bulgaria, the music evolved to take in what was happening at home and saw the inclusion of toy instruments, his own drum playing, the voices of his children playing and even the family parrots whistling and squawking in the background. These random ambient insertions when seen in the context of the hypnotic and percussive rhythms and timbres throughout are oddly reminiscent of the late, great Francis Bebey who, although culturally and physically a million miles removed, was also known for recording much of his work at home and who also featured the voices of his children playing.

In fact, it is as much the music’s playfulness and simplicity that give the pieces their distinctive character, at times echoing the repetition and mesmerism of Raymond Scott’s “Soothing Sounds For Baby” series. Yet, childrens’ music this is not. There is a mysticism and depth on one hand and a willingness to experiment on the other that reminds me of pioneering experimentalist K. Leimer’s early Eno-inspired tape outings as well (see “Supermarket” for example).

I asked Puma & The Dolphin’s Nikko Names if he could share the story behind how these six tracks came together. He had this to say:

“This collection of pieces were created during a monotone period of my life which I have overlaid with colour: a time in which I surrender to the beauty of home life – watching my kids play, feeding the birds – entwining these sounds of my surroundings amongst the rhythmic layers of these pieces. Playing the drums to remind us of the next circle dance for four. There is something mystic to travel only in your head; a shamanic trip inside the body with no concepts and answers.”