Alma Afrobeat Ensemble: It's Time (Slow Walk)

 |   |  <1 min read

DWB Breakdown (DJ Quiet Cool Down emix)
Alma Afrobeat Ensemble: It's Time (Slow Walk)

As the rugby people like to say, this was a game a two halves . . . and all the action happened in the second.

Usually albums play their aces up first but this band -- mining the oh-so familiar tropes of Fela-styled Afrobeat -- doesn't offer anything you haven't already heard in the genre during the first half.

But, persistence is a small reward.

Formed in Chicago by guitarist Aaron Felder – who concedes things only started to happen for the band-name when he relocated to Barcelona a decade ago, ironically closer to Nigeria than the Windy City — AAE just get the grooves going for four typically lengthy tracks and . . . so-far so-familiar.

But the five remixes in the second half -- by  DJs Farmo, Quiet Cool Down, Phader Decale, Los Kalakos and Terrificos -- haul their stuff into far more rewarding and enjoyable territory.

With strident percussion and big bass mixed forward, there are assertive raps and canyons echoing with dubbery.

As with reggae, Afrobeat is irresistable when experienced live. But, as with the one drop, it's often only successful becase it offers the easily digestible and danceable familar, here the roiling sound created by its unimpeachable pioneer 40 years ago.

Not a lot to get excited about, but the interesting case of an album salvaged by its remixers.

Play in reverse.

(The clip below does them few favours . . . not the way to see or hear Afrobeat) 

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   World Music articles index

Hassan Erraji: Awal Mara (World Village)

Hassan Erraji: Awal Mara (World Village)

One of the delights of "world music" is that it is a constant journey of discovery and so you have no qualms picking up an album by an unknown name (Hassan Erraji? Never heard of him... > Read more

Ali Farka Toure: Savane (World Circuit/Elite)

Ali Farka Toure: Savane (World Circuit/Elite)

The late Toure was one of the greatest singer-songwriters to emerge out of the musically fertile region around Mali in the last century. The area -- from which numerous slaves were taken to the... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

U2: My unforgettable fire

U2: My unforgettable fire

It was quite a few years ago now but I'll never forget it. U2 damn near killed me. Them, the Arizona sun, a famous architect and tequila actually. It was during their Pop-Mart tour -- the one... > Read more

Ko Samet, Thailand: Lonely days

Ko Samet, Thailand: Lonely days

Greg would have been hard to miss in most places, but on the small beach at the southern end of Ko Samet -- a tiny teardrop-shaped island off to the east of Bangkok -- he was impossible to... > Read more