One of the legendary pioneers of Afrobeat, Orlando Julius was among the first Nigerian musicians to mix-up highlife with American R&B in the mid '60s. Here he teams up with encyclopaedic experimental funk adventurers, The Heliocentrics. Going straight to the roots of Julius' earlist experiences and drawing from the rawness of some of his earliest compositions, the group gives the songs a progressive reworking with inventive new arrangements and a liberal sprinkling of psychedelia.
Double LP £21.49 STRUT112LP
Repress 2LP on Strut.
CD £11.49 STRUT112CD
CD on Strut.
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Fun times ahead! We've got two seriously funky serial collaborators going head to head here. Afrobeat pioneer Orlando Julius has worked with everyone from Louis Armstrong to Hugh Masekela since his days playing in the Modern Aces in the mid '60s, while London's unpredictable psych-funksters Heliocentrics aren't afraid of sharing their talents either, having worked with the likes of Mulatu Astatke and Lloyd Miller in recent years.
On this magnificent double LP, Julius visited the band's fully analogue north London studio to record early compositions which were previously unrecorded, as well as a couple of reworks of tracks from 1973's 'Orlando Julius and the Afro Sounders' album. Unsurprisingly since they're playing his songs, Julius is at the fore with his bold repetitive sax melodies and lively vocals.
The songs tend to be lengthy and bubblingly percussive rather than the shorter and sometimes more awkwardly experimental pieces the Heliocentrics tend to come up with on their own, but their presence is still very much felt in the subtly shuddering synth touches on 'Aseni' and the alien wah guitar shuffle of 'Sangodele', framing Julius's infectious bounce in understated futuristic precision-weirdness but always maintaining the pulsating polyrhythmic momentum which forms the backbone of this set. Superb stuff.
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