25th March 2020
R.I.P. Manu Dibango, our fav recording of him: Electric Africa
released 1985, produced by Bill Laswell
By 1985, Dibango was back in Paris, one of the most successful African artists in the world, to start on the recordings for the Electric Africa album. This album hooked Manu and the Soul Makossa Gang up with New York avant garde producer Bill Laswell, jazz pianist Herbie Hancock, Parliament-Funkadelic keyboard player Bernie Worrell, Pan African synthesist Wally Badarou, New York guitarist Nicky Scopelitis, African drummer Aiyb Dieng and Malian kora virtuoso Mory Kante. This means of working gave Manu and Laswell license to fuse synthesizers and kora, talking drums and samples, ngoni and electric guitar. What it all boils down to is world beat in its truest sense.
Electric Africa remains one of Manu’s strongest albums. His deep growl of a honey and sandpaper voice and the energetic honk of his saxophone merge with the seamless samples and the myriad hand percussion and overt funkiness of his band. Herbie Hancock plays on three tracks, contributing an amazing electric piano solo on the title track and interacting with Manu’s sax while weaving to the warp of Mory Kante’s kora during “L’arbre a Palabres.” Similarly but more subtly, Laswell, Badarou and Worrell play dueling synthesizers in and around the band throughout ”Pata Piya.” All of this makes the album an hypnotic & upbeat Afro-Funk classic that will rock every part your body (and mind).
Notorische Reflexe – selftitled
released 1985 on Rebel Rec, reissued on 2019 on Bureau B
Notorische Reflexe was an experimental band, art form and a film performance group from West Berlin. Existing from 1982 to 1986, they were part of the early 80s Berlin art scene along with groups like P.D., Die Tödliche Doris, Einstürzende Neubauten or Malaria. Their only LP – originally released in 1985 – is an impressive outburst ranging from minimal electronics to more experimental takes with some jazzy/ethnic touches.