Rough Guide to Psychedelic Africa|
Reviewed by Sadie O., 4/5/12
Interesting Highlife/Afrobeat collection. I wouldn’t call this psychedelic, personally, although it does have occasional tinges thereof.. Maybe it’s African incorporation of some Western elements, without the same access to pharmaceuticals. All tracks on CD 1 are great, all for different reasons. CD 2 is mostly Afro-Cuban jams with all the best intentions... No FCCs detected.
1. 2:10 ***downtempo swingy funky soul with grunts and screams. Backwoods James Brown.
2. 6:18 ***slithery twangy slide guitar, pretty and downbeat Highlife horn section. Pretty and rather exotic. Soulful vocals in second half. Apparently a call for social justice and peace.
3. 3:43 ***uptempo and upbeat with great percussion and horns. Venerable Afro-beat group. Tiny bits of psychedelic organ.
4. 5:01 ***very slow, subdued, rootsy blues, trumpet has a Swing sound – sounds like a particularly scary version of St. James Infirmary... guitar solo is highly psychedelic. Gnarly!
5. 3:35 ***Ethiopian jazz with arpeggio bassline, elaborately decorative male vocals (most Ethiopian singers we have in the collection are female; it’s interesting to hear the style in a lower register.)
6. 5:45 ***cool, swingy Highlife with horn section and complex percussion, vocal harmonies, but psychedelic guitars in the background. Handdrum solo.
7. 6:25 ***downtempo mashup of sweet vocal harmonies, mariachi horn section, wah wah electric guitar, swingy groove, maybe a kora? Anyway, it works.
8. 7:14 ***almost a flamenco solo guitar intro, then very chill downtempo groove, great vocals, very cool sound. Sax solo, wah wah guitar. Actually recognizably psychedelic in bits.
9. 5:25 ***funky downtempo Afro-beat. Clean horns, rhythm section, wah-wah on most everything else. Goes into lazy psych jam.
10. 5:43 ***sprightly sweet Highlife with lots of high guitar tones, goobly background bits, vocals in English about Mami Wata (water spirit). Fun, and definitely very wet.
11. 13:26 ***electric guitar trills intro hovering on the edge of feedback, then sweet midtempo rumba sashay. Great vocals. I guess it’s the mashup of styles that makes it psychedelic. LONG, but stays interesting. Amazing guitar solo in second half of song. Wowzers!
1. 5:21 ***exuberant percussion, a bit 60’s pop and a bit Afro-Cuban. Gnarly guitar solo.
2. 6:43 **bippity boppity farfisa dance, wiggly with Latin tinge. Flute solo. Gets kinda trance-y in a voodoo kinda way. Falls apart at end.
3. 4:00 **gnarly farfisa intro leads into a relaxed rumba. Would be pleasant and nondescript, but that farfisa is damned perplexing.
4. 3:23 ***60’s pop vibe, happy bouncy, lots of flute and shakers.
5. 2:31 **upbeat pop groove. Less flute, more guitar.
6. 5:08 ***sweet pop with chimes, rumba groove. Desi Arnaz on ‘ludes. Odd vocal slides and soap opera organ. Different, fer sher!
7. 4:01 **midtempo Afro-Cuban feel (I’m visualizing everyone in the band having outfits with ruffled sleeves and maracas...) Nice wah-wah guitar solo.
8. 5:45 **minimalist groove with percussion strummed guitar and chimes. Very Caribbean feel. More gnarly organ...
9. 3:47 **more Afro-Cuban jollity with flute.
10. 3:07 ***bouncy yet trance-y, wah-wah guitar solo. This one actually qualifies as Psych, I think!