Atlas Unfolded follows Buraka Som Sistema’s Branko as he sets out to record his debut solo album of the same name in five cities across the world. Drawing inspiration from the collaborators he meets in each metropolis, it’s a truly global album. The Red Bull Music Academy alumnus, lecturer and studio team member embodies some of the values we hold most dearly, namely an open ear for new sounds and a desire to celebrate them. Check out the five episodes below.
EPISODE 1: AMSTERDAM
As a city with a long history of migration, Amsterdam’s music scene has brought together artists from all over the world. In Episode 1, Branko immerses himself in the many influences of the city and the people who influence him in turn: from Bubbling figurehead DJ Moortje to Dutch South African band Skip & Die.
EPISODE 2: SÃO PAULO
São Paulo is not just one of the most populated cities in the world – it’s also one of the most alive. As true melting pot of South American culture, the sound of São Paulo is as sprawling and huge as the landscape. Drawn in by the intensity of the people and parties, Branko pulls a variety of artists into the studio with him to make equally intense music. From hyped-up MC’s with scattering flows, to dreamy jazz musicians who love to go record digging, these sessions hold a mirror up to this fascinating city.
EPISODE 3: CAPE TOWN
Being at the very tip of a vast, diverse continent, the city of Cape Town lives in a special place for African music. On every block, there’s a party going on. It’s house music, sure, but in a very South African style: the kwaito beat is like a pulse through the townships. The energy is undeniable, and Branko sets out to capture that energy in his sessions. Collaborating with a selection of producers, rappers, singers, the sound of this historic city feels not just new, but ever-evolving.
EPISODE 4: NEW YORK CITY
After experiencing the inviting heat and strong musical community of Cape Town, Branko touches down in wintery New York to bring together some very different but equally inspiring artists. And it suits Branko, too: there is no one sound of this city, so collaboration is a vital exercise. Locked away from the snow inside the studios, Branko brings together the hit-writing of Major Lazer’s Jillionaire, the Jersey club sass of DJ Sliink, the ultra-modern vision of Princess Nokia, the lyrical sass of Mr MFN Exquire and more, to explore some unexpected musical pathways.
EPISODE 5: LISBON
It’s true what they say: there really is no place quite like home. In the final episode of Atlas Unfolded, Branko returns to his native Lisbon to reflect on his globetrotting studio sessions, and finish the project that brought together some of the global music scene’s most inspiring talent. The variety of people in Lisbon is reflected in the sounds of the streets: a heady blend of beats that are the soundtrack to a new generation of artists that Branko feels a strong connection to. Reflecting the diaspora of his hometown, the sessions bring Creole, Portuguese and African music together to write a love letter to Lisbon.