Album Reviews

Album Review: Orchestre Poly-Rythmo De Cotonou – Echos Hypnotiques (Analog Africa)

By | Published on Thursday 22 October 2009

Orchestre Polyrythmo

One of the funkiest things to ever come from Benin, Orchestre Poly-Rhthmo De Contonou were one of Africa’s most innovative and interesting rhythmic bands in the 1970s. Combining traditional African sounds, rich in the Vodoun religion of their home country, with more jazzy Latin elements and even some western prog-pop, they spent a decade dedicated to making people dance.

Seemingly lost to the track of time, it’s taken a treasure hunt through West Africa for this collection’s compiler, Samy Ben Redjeb, to find the tapes and reels to once again share this music – so vibrant, ecstatic and persistent. Redjeb’s time was well-spent, even if just for ‘Malin Kpon O’, seven minutes of laid back, sunshine jazz – which is ridiculously cool. ‘Mi Ve Wa Se’, too, stands out from the rest of a brassbround pack, showing off the band’s Western influences, with smooth, rock guitar and something of a 60s swing in its step.

An undoubtedly painstaking process to collate, edit and publish, but worth its reward. An album to remind the world of the joy diversity can bring to music. It’s like Vampire Weekend, but, you know, for real. TM

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