'Who is William Onyeabor' indeed? This vast collection from Luaka Bop should clear the question up. Rising from obscurity to fame, Onyeabor's deliriously danceable Afro-funk marries hot grooves with lo-fi electronics, awarding him the status of one of the continent's visionary producers. Need convincing? Listen to 'Good Name' and don't look back.
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Here’s the long-awaited collection on Luaka Bop from the mysterious William Onyeabor, a Nigerian who studied film in Russia, returned to set up a film and music studio in the ‘70s, produced a series of hits and has since retired from music to become a successful businessman and run his own flour mill, maintaining a silence on his past life as performer and impresario.
Thankfully Luaka Bop have been thorough, getting this mammoth 3LP collection of vintage Onyeabor mastered seven times for maximum freshness, so you at home can enjoy his idiosyncratic and infectious Afro-funk style for yourselves. It’s very quirky in places, with a gleeful smattering of vintage synths over the bulk of the tracks along with clicky ‘80s electronic drumbeats and most importantly an unstoppable collection of tunes which’ll stick in your head for weeks at a time. It’s colourful, danceable and totally unique, no wonder everyone’s talking about him.
8/10 Andrew Customer review, 5th September 2014
Well, they say the music industry is all about hype and this proves the argument. However, thats not necessarily a bad thing in this case as the hunt to find just who William Onyeabor has created a buzz that means this music has gained a wider audience than it perhaps may otherwise have achieved. So what of the music? Well early synths, afro grooves, funk and touches of almost boogie inflect this record, but it really is quite unique.
Repeated vocals, strange arrangements, amateurish musicianship that in turn becomes inspired make tye music almost as much of a mystery as the man himself. This seems to have been created in something of a vacuum as it seems nothing else like this was produced at the time in thus part of the world.
So who is he? Buy the record and make your own mind up. You should also check out the Fantastic Man doc while you are pondering.
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