Boomkat Product Review:
The incredible 'Psychedelic Sanza 1982-1984' is a beautifully dreamy follow-up to Born Bad's much-loved Francis Bebey showcase, 'African Electronic Music 1975-1982'.
Celebrating the uniquely affective timbre of the sanza, or African thumb piano, this compilation shifts focus from pop-wise anthems such as 'New Track' or 'Coffee Cola', onto the Cameroonian polymath's more stripped, rhythm-driven, and atmospheric workouts. And it's every bit as hypnotic, transcendent as that last sentence implies. Bebey's vocals are still key, but this time they're mostly used as rhythmelodic texture in chant and spectral vibings, moving further from Western styles and scales to a looser, more spacious mixture of African tradition and Western musical conventions resonating with John Hassell and Brian Eno's 4th world explorations.
That clash and exchange of ideas is exemplified in the chiming, twilit dialogue of opening cut, 'Sanza Nocturne', and the strange fusion of Baroque pipes and kicking groove to 'Africa Sanza', or to strangest degrees in the freakishly noisy, yet utterly compelling 'Tumu Pakara', while we find the more mellifluous Bebey crooning away in the Pygmy Polyphonics of 'Bissau' or the deeply spiritual 'Forest Nativity'. To be fair, it's uneccesary to draw any lines betweent he material - it's all the work of a singular genius - but for those more familiar with the last compilation, this set really steps it up and out a notch or three to spellbinding new zones.
A total must-have.