Wednesday, January 07, 2009

RHODIUM 2

Nostalgia in middle age is a disease peculiar to musical taste - when you come across it in conversation or in the media, to me, it's like the shadow of the Grim Reaper's death scythe wavering above ready to drop. It's game over. That's not to say that I don't also suffer from the affliction, but will, as if at the hands of a crazed bloodthirsty medieval barber-surgeon, unhesitatingly undergo ruthless procedures to excise the unholy canker when it rears its ugly visage. So, for the second in this series, before any delving into the annals, here's a fucking amazing recent release.

Antibalas : Security (2007)

it should be more than enough to have world class
musicians get together to make a contemporary album with strong elements of Fela Kuti's distinctive classic afrobeat style alongside other West African and Latin influences - in fact, Antibalas have already made several leading up to this release which are all real treats for fans of these genres - however, Security takes things to an altogether even higher level

as soon as you hear the opening slightly discordant horns and odd syncopation of
Beaten Metal, you know you're in for a sumptuously royal treat, one of those attention-grabbing opening tracks where you already know the rest of this fantastic album will never let go of you, each of the seven songs
(I love that number for a record!) perfectly balanced in time and space by the amazingly hot musicians and razor-sharp production; I.C.E. is a particular stand-out, when the power of understatement can move you to tears, featuring extremely emotive brass motifs alongside the deep, darkly inventive, traditional percussion

RHODIUM 1

14 comments:

SYpHA_69 said...

Yeah, I've noticed a fair number of Whitehouse albums (esp. the last few) have had 7 tracks. Any special reason for why you like 7 tracks on an album, or is it just a personal preference thing?

William Bennett said...

on a one-sided record (like a CD), it has a perfect balance and symmetry! (perhaps explaining its mystical qualities?) - one track is in the centre with three on either side, each of which have central tracks flanked on either side; curiously, I remember my parents' LPs (like The Beatles etc) would commonly have 7 tracks on each side which I suppose also follows the same aesthetic preference (on two sides) - but yes, you're right, it's personal preference

SYpHA_69 said...

Ah, I was wondering if you were aware of the fact that 7 is a very highly regarded mystical number (ditto for 5 and 11, among others).

n-rich said...

Great tip - thanks William. Have you heard Seun Kuti & Egypt 80s "Many Things" album (also 7 tracks)? Superb musicianship in my view. His myspace site has an excellent biog (which kicks off with an alchemical Baudelaire quote!).

William Bennett said...

thanks - not heard that album, will def check it out - the few other recordings I've heard seem powerful and faithful descendants of Fela's amazing tradition

Grandpa Scorpion said...

Hi William,

I had the pleasure of seeing Antibalas open up for Tony Allen in 2002. They scorched live.

Here's a write-up of the show: http://www.villagevoice.com/2002-01-22/music/music/1

Richo said...

Well, looks like you've gone and added another album to my ever-expanding Wants List. On top of all the remaining Fela Kuti albums I feel almost duty-bound to investigate following your prodding. I distinctly recall asking you where might be the best place to start with Fela Kuti, and you replied, "Anywhere! It's all fantastic!"

Considering I still try to buy vinyl or CDs, you're not helping the fact I've been, uh, credit crunched, William!

William Bennett said...

wow, I'm very jealous, Grandpa Scorpion

John McAndrew said...

Richo, try Shuffering and Shmiling - this was the first Fela Kuti track I ever heard whilst radio channel hopping a few years ago and it blew me away. I promptly bought the album the next day.

I usually try to pick up his albums in sales but most of the reissues on CD collect two albums together, so the value is fantastic either way. You really cannot go wrong with Kuti!

Richo said...

Well, John, I've got a few CD reissues so far, collecting two albums each, or in one case some singles and the incredible 'Roforofo Fight'.

This music never fails to energise me, so I crave more...

Thanks for the tip!

Grandpa Scorpion said...

Richo, I really recommend (further digging a hole in your pocket :) by buying) the Original Sufferhead / I.T.T reissue of Fela's stuff.

Sufferhead is a juggernaut of a piece.

Richo said...

Thanks, Grandpa Scorpion. Once I'm over the post-xmas/New Year meltdown, it looks like I'll be kicking my buying habit in this year with all of these recommendations! Welcome respite from much of the drivel I get sent to cast my weary opinions over...

Jeff said...

You might like some of these

http://awesometapesfromafrica.blogspot.com/

KAI STAVRE said...

I agree, 7 tracks has an unparelled symmetry and feel to it. But a hidden track along with the other ones does no harm either ;-)