Back in print! Echos Hypnotiques is the second volume of rarities from Orchestre Poly-Rythmo de Cotonou, lovingly compiled by the good folks at Analog Africa. We get a good number of afro-beat comps through here, but trust that this one is truly a stand out. First of all, the amount of work that was put into unearthing and compiling these tracks is remarkable, but in the end the music really speaks for itself. Anyone with a taste for funky and eclectic strains of Afro Beat, infused here with touches of latin rock and psychedelia, would do well to cop this before it goes out of print again! From Analog Africa: Four years in the making, Analog Africa finally presents the second volume of Africa's funkiest band, the mythical Orchestre Poly-Rythmo de Cotonou. What had started as a children entertainment group became one of the greatest bands of their era. The idea for this compilation was born when Samy Ben Redjeb, founder and compiler of Analog Africa, received the addictive funk track "Malin Kpon O" released in 1975 on the Albarika Store Label. That discovery triggered the compilers 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 were previously unreleased. 15 out of 200 tracks were carefully selected for this compilation which comes with extensive liner notes with full discography and a biography tracing the history of the bands from its foundation as Groupe Meloclem in 1964 via Sunny Blacks 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 Orchestra was without any doubt one of Africa's most innovative group. Capable of playing any style of music, the band moved from Traditional Vodoun Rhythms to Funk, Salsa or Afro-beat seamlessly and quickly became the powerhouse of Benin's music scene. Some of the planets 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 date - 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 modernised 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: Afro-Beat, Sato, Funk, Sakpata, Psychedelia and Latin sounds all mixed into a heavy hypnotic Sound - Les Echos Hypnotiques. Recommended.
- music label: Analog Africa 2009 / 2013
reviewed by Von Bee 04/2013