CD: Deep Forest - Deep Africa | New music reviews, news & interviews
CD: Deep Forest - Deep Africa
Afro-new age fluff from the successful mainstream chill out unit
Deep Forest have sold in the region of 10 million albums. That’s a shocker, isn’t it? Then again we’ve probably all heard them at some point, burbling away in an incense-saturated shop selling mass-imported batiks, carvings, hammocks and knickknacks from Thailand. And anyone who’s undergone massage at their local tie-dye emporium will undoubtedly have been subjected to them. Deep Forest are anonymous but inescapable.
There used to be two of them until 2005 but, nowadays, Deep Forest consists solely of French recording studio hippy Eric Mouquet. Twenty years ago they broke into the then new chill-out market by combining world music with wibbly-wobbly, post-club stoner electronica. Alongside Enigma and Enya, they became masters of patchouli-niffing cod-ethereal noodle and actually had a top 10 hit with “Sweet Lullaby”. Unlike contemporaneous acts such as Banco de Gaia and Transglobal Underground, however, who dabbled in similar waters, they’d never actually been to the rave from which they appeared to be floating down. And that was unfortunately obvious from their music. It still is.
Following 2008’s Deep Brasil, Mouquet has gathered a respectable cast of musicians and singers from South Africa, Senegal, Cameroon, Mali, Ivory Coast and the Congo. They inject pizzazz and sunshine but the sub-“Shine On You Crazy Diamond” keys, jazz-lite saxophone, pan pipes and flutes are never far away. One song, “Dub Africa”, momentarily pulls a tacky dubstep pastiche but it doesn’t last long. The whole thing is calculatedly inoffensive, with syrupy synthesiser smoothness and the occasional lyric such as “How long it takes, how many years, how long to save the world?”
Those especially interested in global roots music will likely take issue with the album’s bastardisation of African sounds. I have no such issues with authenticity but the overall tone of nutrition-free soothing is far from the balm for the senses it thinks it is.
Watch a teaser video for Deep Africa
Share this article
Subscribe to theartsdesk.com
Thank you for continuing to read our work on theartsdesk.com. For unlimited access to every article in its entirety, including our archive of more than 7,000 pieces, we're asking for £2.95 per month or £25 per year. We feel it's a very good deal, and hope you do too.
To take an annual subscription now simply click here.
And if you're looking for that extra gift for a friend or family member, why not treat them to a theartsdesk.com gift subscription?
more New music
EDM maestros make a welcome but underwhelming return with their latest album
Drum & bass don returns with an album whose quality improves as it progresses
Muscular blues-rock debut from Brighton duo
A still-challenging artefact from art-punk provocateurs
A soft delivery and deceptively conversational tone hide a powerful writer
Manic Street Preachers, Janelle Monáe and a past that’s always present at Finland’s memorable urban festival
One of the year’s prettiest albums from the quirky German-American
Long-lost indie prophets pop up to reward the faithful
Sparse compositions from Finnish songwriter's haunted pen
A multi-sensory experience, celebrating wild behaviour outdoors as much as the arts
A banquet of exquisitely related misery from undersung London outfit
Songs from the new album hold their own against the back catalogue