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Nacho Patrol – The Africa Jet Band Album review

Danny ‘Legowelt’ Wolfers has always been something of a musical chameleon. Over the years, he’s used a dizzying array of pseudonyms and monikers to promote his take on everything from twisted Italo disco and vintage Chicagoan jack to mutant techno, oddball electronica and everything in between. To these ears, one of his most interesting – if little used – monikers has always been Nacho Patrol. In recent years, he’s used it as an outlet for a style probably best dubbed “afro-cosmic” – a sweaty, Malaria-ridden fusion of Afro-disco, Italo and cosmic disco. The “Africa Jet Band” 12”, released in 2009, is still one of Wolfers’ finest releases.

Given the success of that 12”, it’s perhaps no surprise that he’s chosen to revisit the “Africa Jet Band” concept on this first Nacho Patrol full-length. As with the 2009 single release, The Africa Jet Band Album sees Wolfers fusing his love of raw electronic disco and vintage synthesizers with the warm, sun-baked sounds of Africa – most notably Afrobeat and Afro-disco. Those who enjoyed that first 12” will immediately feel at home; it’s not so much a re-imagining as a re-telling, with new tracks and reworked versions of old favourites in that familiar Africa Jet Band style.

This isn’t a bad thing, by any means. It is such a terrific sound that it bears repeat listens. Gone is Wolfers’ hard, raw, icy Legowelt style, replaced instead by a sweaty, light-headed mixture cascading synths, urgent clavinet lines, heavy organs, prominent melodies and Afro-influenced percussion. It’s a melting pot of sounds that frequently hits the mark, delivering delicious, dancefloor-centric grooves (see “Mystic Strings”,  “Endelmante America” and the epic “Stratus Chant”) and slo-mo voodoo jams (“El Fuego Es Nosotros Todo”).

Along the way, there are some superb variations on the now-familiar theme. “Space Moogs”, for example, is unflinchingly optimistic – all smile-inducing organ loops, tweaked moog riffs and restless percussion. “Nachoman” sounds like it was beamed down from the outer raches of the solar system, whilst “Jojobo Street” pairs lively Afro-disco groovery with head-cracking acid tweakery to superb effect.

Matt Anniss