August 21, 2014

Zongo Junction | No Discount

ARTIST: Zongo Junction
TITLE: No Discount
LABEL: Electric Cowbell
The second album from this Brooklyn-based ensemble, which ranges from 8 to 11 players, is a superb example of progressive Afrobeat. The band describes themselves as sounding as “if Talking Heads produced a Fela Kuti record of Sun Ra’s music,” and that’s a pretty apt summary right there. Each of the six full-length tracks here is built on Afrobeat’s pulsing, propulsive rhythms, and each one takes off in a different direction. Track 2 is the most straight-forward of the set, taken at a classic Fela tempo and featuring an impressive assortment of keyboard squiggles. 7 is the most far-out, with a short free jazz-like intro and some seriously spacey stuff in the middle. The title track (4) is a Formula One ride at high speeds (155 bpm or so) through tricky turns. Track 1 sets the rhythm sideways in a herky-jerky manner and is loaded with electronic effects. And 8 is the most soulful of the batch, with extended room for solos and excellent ensemble work by the horn section. This is the kind of jazzy, improvisational Afrobeat that young American players are gravitating toward, and it’s a great sound.
TOP TRACKS:    1    2    4    7    8

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