Posts Tagged ‘afro-funk’
For the last ten years or so, the collective Fanga has been on the up, blending Afrobeat, Jazz and Funk. An alliance of complementary personalities and cosmopolitan energies, Fanga first took form in 1998. Returning from Africa, Serge Amiano brings back a few vinyls of the likes of Fela, CS Crew and CK Mann that he plays to the Burkinabese rapper Korbo. Amiano being a hip-hop producer naturally takes on the role of the group’s artistic director right from the start.
The discovery of this urban African music of the 1970s quickly forms the basis of a shared passion. Fanga brings out its first six tracks in 2001, the group records “Afrokalyptik” in 2003, its first album. The following album “Natural Juice” comes out in 2007, warmly received and with much acclaim. Fanga is not only highly praised by Gilles Peterson but also the New York magazine Wax Poetics.
Despite being firmly rooted in certain Nigerian and Ghanean musical traditions (those of the 1970s’ afro-beat and high-life) Fanga is equally at home to musical concoction, as demonstrated by the samples and other hip-hop and electronic ingredients, not to mention the vocals in Dioula, English and French. The gritty horns and earthy analogue keyboards shape the group’s sound whilst Korbo has no hesitation in embracing his Mandingue roots.
Brought up on the raw energy of hip-hop, the group reposes equally on certain values that even today can only be found in Africa, a sort of candour and instinctive sense of rhythm which lends such freshness to Fanga. This urge to respond when faced with a base emotion, however fleeting, has governed their musical progression since the beginning of the 2000s.
These guys have a bit more grit in their grooves than most, still very much in the best 70s-inspired Afro Funk styles you’d expect, but with a nice edge in some of the rhythmic undercurrents, almost as if their new recordings were actually some lost indie label sets from years back!
Butch Cassidy Sound System was one of the most succesfull postings in the last months, regarding the incoming clicks. And here we have a very similar constellation. Lack of Afro is Adam Gibbons, a 26 year-old funk aficionado based in London who has been learning and playing music since he was just a kid. He creates a slightly assembled brand of funk music, as modern as it is retro, one that features live instrumentation mixed in with samples and programmed beats in a big bowl of funky, jazzy feel-goodness. His debut LP is everything it should be, packed full of super strong dancefloor funk with that modern touch that makes it so alluring and instant. Conceptually this is isn’t that new, referencing old funk and jazz and adding breaks and beats, overplaying live parts and assembling it all into music for the floor, it’s been done many times over the last decades. But what makes this record stand out is it’s feel. And here we come back to the Butch Cassidy Sound System – what BCSS made with reggae, Lack of Afro does with funk.
Taking its cues from the heavy funk and soul of the 70s, and giving them something of an updated twist, “Press On” is without a doubt one of the finest albums of the modern funk era. From the opening track you can hear a sincere and honest love of funk and an understanding of what works both on the dance floor and at home. And the record has a whole bunch of top hits to offer. Judge for yourself if it is as good as Butch Cassidy Sound System, in my opinion it is, a fucking must-have. This is an thoroughly enjoyable album that is sure to spice up even the most wintry of days. So grab a blanket, curl up next to that stereo, and pump it loud.