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Seun Kuti & Egypt 80, From Africa with Fury: Rise
Knitting Factory Records, June 21

12/29/11
By Eric Saeger news@hippopress.com



Seun Kuti had some big guns in his corner upon the seminal occasion of piloting his father Fela’s band in a semi-major U.S. release. The busy rhythms and upbeat attitude (tempered, of course, with Gandhi-esque expressions of hatred for the same corporate Man that’s always exploited Africa) haven’t changed under Seun, and despite the mix being commanded by Brian Eno and U2 producer John Reynolds, neither has the overall sound. Attribute this to the fact that much of this incarnation of Egypt 80 is the same crew that was on board when Fela invented Afrobeat (around the time of, and partially inspired by, the Black Panthers); the vibe isn’t horribly different from the alien highlife organism to which America was first introduced when Dr. No came out, if you want the handiest of comparisons. Once in a while, through all this throwbackness, something pops out that drags the listener into the here and now, for instance the clear-as-a-bell, meticulously engineered trumpet (not to mention the diss against ever-reliably-evil Monsanto) that bursts into the title track. — Eric W. Saeger






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