Africa Plays On
WEA/Because Records
August 22, 2006

Track list
  1. Please Don't Stop - Richard Bona feat. John Legend
  2. Kelle Magni - Cheikh Lo
  3. Coulibaly (Akon Remix) - Amadou & Mariam feat. Akon
  4. Cocody Rock (2005 Remix) - Alpha Blondy feat5. Neg' Marrons
  5. Wahala (12' Mix) - Wahala Project
  6. Number One - Daara J
  7. Kettode - Baaba Maal
  8. Defaal Lu Wor - Wasis Diop
  9. Silani - Ba Sissoko feat. K'naan
  10. Watusi - Osibisa
  11. Yaa Densoa - Tic Tac
  12. Ngando - ONDA feat. Manu Dibango
  13. Pitanga Madurinha II - Waldemar Bastos feat. Chaka Demus
  14. Amen - King Mensah
  15. 2000 Blacks Got To Be Free (Louie Vega EOL Mix) - Roy Ayers and Fela Kuti
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : 3 Backing : 3 Production : 3 Sound quality : 3 Sleeve : 3
Another fusion album to whet the appetite -- this is an interesting mix of deep and layered King Sunny Ade style early 80's Ju Ju textures, fused with Eno's cerebral approach, adding some drawn out JB's grooves, all mixed up with a dash of 80's roots , completed with a touch of 21st century bashment.

Amongst the African funk and jazz artists here, we also find contributions from Chaka Demus and Pliers, Alpha Blondy, Brian Eno, Roy Ayers and the under rated reggae producer, Paul Groucho Smykle who worked on the astonishing mixes on Sly and Robbie's "Dub Experience", Human Cargo dub plates, and Uhuru's "Dub Factor" album. He also supplied the psychedelic cover art for Aswad's "A New Chapter Of Dub." Smykle is a seriously talented artist with an individual touch at the controls, little referenced perhaps, due to his willingness to work on more "mainstream" projects, and not for ghettoising himself in obscurity.

Wasis Diop's contribution, "Defaal Lur Wor", is produced by Brian Eno, and has some of the ambience of Eno's early 80's work with Jon Hassel and David Byrne, as featured on albums like "Remain In Light" and "Bush Of Ghosts", replete with textured, layered sound treatments -- It is ultimately a more joyful affair than those works which were essential cerebral, atmospheric works.

Paul "Groucho" Smykle teams up with Chaka Demus to produce a mix with an African ambience and a bashment edge on "Pitanga".

Probably the best tune is the "Wahala" 12" discomix, which showcases a JB's meets Alice Coltrane groove, with a dash of influence from early 80's Miles Davis productions.

Also interesting here is the Manu Dibango tune "Ngando", which mixes jazz edged funk with a heady King Tubby's/Glen Brown approach to mixing -- swirling, psychedelic high tones clash with a sinewy dub bass line.

None of this album reaches the heights of Eno's afro funk influenced productions like "Seen And Not Seen" and "Listening Wind"-- Neither do any of the tunes even approach the dub funk ambience and gut instinct of Miles Davis' "Man With A Horn" period, which dealt in a similar vocabulary, tonal semantics and semiotics. The album also doesn't come close to Paul Groucho Smykle's best work (tunes like "Demolition City" or "Assault on Station Five"). -- but there are some deep, deep mixes here, which will be bound to please the fusion heads and bass line addicts.

Watch out particularly, for the drawn out sax and horns solo on the meditative, focussed discomix from the Wahala project, which has to be a tune for the Tommy Mcook, Deadley Hedley Bennet and Dean Fraser heads.

For the classically minded amongst you, there are also some Kora instrumentals included here.