Friday, November 9, 2007


Since 1998, Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra has been spreading their singular blend of Afrobeat around the world. Their live performances are legendary -- lasting up to 3 hours, they play a heady blend of booty-shaking grooves coupled with inflammatory political messages. Songs routinely stretch out past the 15 minute mark. While they may be the torchbearers of the sound pioneered by Fela Kuti, they're no tribute band -- they pull in elements of rock, dub, and Latin music to make a sound all their own.

This EP, available only through their website and at shows, may be the perfect introduction to this complex band. At only 30 minutes long, it manages to concisely show off all of their strengths -- the excellent playing, the awe-inspiring grooves, and the leftist politics -- all in about the span of time it generally takes them to finish up one song.

The instrumental "Dub Je Je" features an unaccompanied trombone before a hypnotic groove kicks in, complete with the signature guitar rhythm and gigantic horn section. With a hypnotic, echo-drenched sound groove and narcotic dub atmosphere, this track is one of Antibalas' shining moments. Admittedly, Afrobeat can be an acquired taste--those with a fondness for conciseness should stay clear. But anyone looking for truly intelligent dance music -- music to dance to until you're ready to storm the barricades -- is advised to start here. And what a bass line!

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