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
Compelling arrangements breath new life into classic material
A jazz festival finale of rare brilliance
An exciting new chapter in award-winning artist's development
Mind Fair take us for a wild, psychedelic ride on their debut album
Hypnotic acoustic Malian grooves for the closing day of the EFG London Jazz Festival
All-star Blue Note sextet brings the audience to its feet
Boyle's in fine vocal form, but sticks too closely to the path well trodden
How Eno’s co-opting of Jon Hassell’s avant-garde style changed the course of music
French producer Guetta boasts another star-studded line-up, but can he do mature without the cheese?
The Polish jazz train goes off the rails at the EFG London Jazz Festival
Beautiful collaboration and beastly guitar-playing in a stunning jazz fusion gig
Ten years of riotous big band folk in one night