Review: Now a high chief and Kenyan diplomat, Onyeabor was once one of Africa's most forward-thinking popular music contributors. Released in 1983, toward the end of his eight album discography, the two extended cuts on Good Name reflect the emergence of electronic music and how it influenced African pop culture. With conscious lyrics about value and soul, both tracks capture one of the most exciting times in recent musical history. Truly unique.
Review: Mysterious to the point of genuine legend, ever since Luaka Bop rekindled William's legacy flame in 2013 growing interest has developed in his work... To the point he's granted an interview and, rather amazingly, hinted at new material in the future. For this particular rerelease we head back to one of his finest albums; his second LP that would spawn the name of his live band who are still active to this day. Shining with strong Caribbean influences on "Beautiful Baby" and "Shame", stomping with strident Afrofunk twists and heavy studio techniques on "Atomic Bomb", slinking and skanking with the feel good "I Need You All Life", Atomic Bomb really is a work of beauty.
Review: After the success of their Who Is William Onyeabor compilation last year, Luaka Bop have curated two ultimate collections that explore every nook and cranny of the near-mythical Nigerian dynamo who self-released eight albums between 78-85 before quitting music never to discuss his work publically again. Cherry picking the best elements of every genre (even ones of the future) Onyeabor's songwriting, coupled with some deliciously creative production techniques, still sound timeless now... The cosmic harmonies of "Heaven & Hell", the twitchy ESG-style punk-funk fusion of "Good Name", the calypso croons of "Crashes In Love", the list goes on. A true celebration of a unique man in African music, both this and Box Set 1 are fascinating documents.
Review: Following 2012's fourth volume that celebrated the existential work of Tim Maia, here we find Luaka Bop exploring the legacy of William Onyeabor. A high chief and Kenyan diplomat who allegedly refuses to discuss his music, he self-released eight albums in the 70s and 80s and these are some of the many highlights. Stretching from the New York-influenced post-punk synth funk of "Good Name" to the most authentic Afro fusion of "Why Go To War", Onyeabor's range not only reflects his clear creative skill, but also the ever-developing international language of music during the fruitful period he was active. Who is William Onyeabor? Press play and find out yourselves...
Orchestre Poly-Rythmo De Cotonou Dahomey - "Minsato Le, Mi Dayihome"
Super Eagles - "Love's A Real Thing"
Moussa Doumbia - "Keleya"
Manu Dibango - "Ceddo End Title"
Sorry Bamba - "Porry"
Orchestra Number One De Dakar - "Guajira Ven"
William Onyeabor - "Better Change Your Mind"
Ofo & The Black Company - "Allah Wakbarr"
Gasper Lawal - "Awon-Oise-Oluwa"
Bunzu Sounds - "Zinabu"
Tunji Oyelana & The Benders - "Ifa"
Orchestre Regional De Kayes - "Sanjina"
Review: Back in 2005, the Luaka Bop and Stones Throw labels jointly issued World Psychedelic Classics 3: Love's A Real Thing - The Funky Fuzzy Sounds Of West Africa with the former releasing the CD edition and the latter a double LP version. As the elongated title suggests, the third edition of Luaka Bop's World Psychedelic Classic series swung the focus to West African music from the seventies and really opened people up to the psychedelic sounds of Manu Dibango, William Onyeabor, Gasper Lawal and a whole other host of artists from West Africa. Luaka Bop have evidently secured the rights for a vinyl reissue of the compilation, and anyone who indulged in their popular fifth volume focused on William Onyeabor will relish the opportunity to pick this up again.