ILM's 2005 collaborative mix project hoonja-doonja!

August 18, 2005

T.P. Orchestre Poly-Rythmo De Contonou Dahomet - "Minsato Le, Mi Dayihome"

Go very slightly east, then south, then back in time. West Africa in the '70s: a musical polyglot, where the cultures of one country sashayed with another, resulting in some propitious musical strains. Fela's the prime example. The embodiment of flexible continental borders, French and English colonialism, intercontinental pollination from North America, Cuba, Jamaica, Europe; rock, funk, jazz, bossa nova, PSYCHEDELIC MUSIC, etc; places to play, people to make dance, the proliferation of cheapish recording studios and record pressing. Revolution!

The Republic of Benin's most outstanding '70s band (actually, the only band from Benin I've ever heard, but no mind), T.P. Orchestre Poly-Rythmo de Cotonou Dahomey, kicks off this year's fantastic Luaka Bop comp, World Psychedelic Classics 3: Love's a Real Thing, with the track "Minsato Le, Mi Dayihome". The tune is all fading sun, mosquitoes and after school fights, buoyed by the inherently supple rhythms of coastal living (does Benin even have a coast?). Fela Kuti and James brown are criterions of this kind of merciless A-to-B funk, yet neither possesses the well-ventilated touch or polyrhthymic variations of Poly-Rythmo. Alert but never manic (authentic JB screams aside), the song builds its psych cache atop a raw "Psychotic Reactions" intro. Aside from fundamentals, a singular sound, though for reference, it seems to have developed in parallel and half a world away from Os Mutantes, and is one of my personal favorite musical unearthings of the year. More where this came from on Soundway's immaculate T.P. Orchestre Poly-Rythmo compilation The Kings of Benin Urban Groove, 1972-1980.

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