Volume Two -- Echos Hypnotiques
Subtitled: From The Vaults Of Albarika Store 1969-1979. Four years in the making, Analog Africa finally presents the highly-anticipated second volume of music from Africa's funkiest band, the mythical Orchestre Poly-Rythmo de Cotonou. Volume One (The Vodoun Effect: Funk & Sato from Benin's Obscure Labels, 1973-1975), released by Analog Africa at the end of 2008, was a collection of amazing lo-fi recordings produced for various labels around Benin. Volume Two showcases superbly recorded tracks, courtesy of the EMI studios in Lagos, Nigeria, one of the best studios in the region. All tracks here were recorded for the mighty Albarika Store label and its enigmatic producer, Adissa Seidou. The idea for this compilation was born five years ago when Samy Ben Redjeb, Analog Africa's founder and compiler, first heard the addictive funk track "Malin Kpon O" (included here), which was originally released in 1975 on Albarika Store. That discovery triggered the compiler's curiosity and what followed was a long journey through the musical history of Benin and the history of its most important ambassador, Orchestre Poly-Rythmo de Cotonou. The result: approximately 100 pictures, 120 master tapes, 20 hours of interviews and a few hundred Orchestre Poly-Rythmo vinyl records -- 500 songs in total -- some of which previously unreleased. Almost half of those tracks were recorded for Benin's number one label -- Albarika Store. Fourteen out of 200 tracks were carefully selected for this compilation which comes with a massive 44-page booklet filled with amazing pictures of the band, a complete discography and a biography tracing the band from its foundation as Groupe Meloclem in 1964 via Sunny Black's band (1965), Orchestre Poly-Disco (1966), El Ritmo (1967) and finally, Orchestre Poly-Rythmo de Cotonou in 1968. During the period presented here -- 1969 to 1979 -- the mighty Orchestre was without any doubt one of Africa's most innovative groups. Capable of playing any style of music, the band moved from traditional Vodoun rhythms to funk, sato, Latin, sakpata, psychedelia and Afro-Beat seamlessly and quickly became the powerhouse of Benin's music scene. Some of the planet's most exciting rhythms are related to the complex Vodoun religion born in Benin. Those rhythms, supported by chants and dances, have been transmitted from generation to generation and are still being performed to this day, a few hundred years after they were created. The composers and arrangers of Orchestre Poly-Rythmo understood that they were surrounded by a gold mine of inspirational sounds which, if modernized and mixed in with whatever was in fashion at that particular moment, could have a strong impact on the urban population. Those astonishing combinations can be heard here, all mixed into a heavy hypnotic sound -- Les Echos Hypnotiques.