tue 21/11/2017

CD: King Ayisoba - 1000 Can Die | reviews, news & interviews

CD: King Ayisoba - 1000 Can Die

CD: King Ayisoba - 1000 Can Die

A punchy, confrontational and insistent wake up call from the Ghanaian musician

Some acidic African expressionism

Because so many African albums that get an international release feature tastefully neutered acoustic guitar, pretty scatterings of kora notes, and lyrics centred on some imagined ideal Africa, it is a blessed relief to hear something as punchy, confrontational and insistent as this explosion of beats and hollering from Ghana’s King Ayisoba. What’s also incredibly canny about this record is how the producer Arnold de Boer (of the excellent Dutch post punk outfit the EX) manages to throw in electronica atmospherics and hip hop bottom-end without it for one moment sounding forced or anachronistic.

There are some familiar and welcome guest contributions too. Lee "Scratch" Perry does his mumbling old Rasta witchdoctor routine on the title track, incanting something about Queen Elizabeth and Prince Charles amongst others, and getting rid of “the wicked leaders”. Then there’s some sax from Afro-pop legend Orlando Julius on "Dapagara" that creates a pleasing tension by being jazzily mellow while the rest of the song races on regardless. In fact every track – even the relatively quiet "Grandfather Song" on which he just accompanies himself on the rasping two-stringed kologo lute – comes over as a fierce call to arms, making it easy to picture King Ayisoba himself on horseback, sword raised, ready for battle. His vocal style could be described as a cross between Tom Waits at his most Bone-Machine unhinged and Busta Rymes at his must pseudo-tribal.

But what is most exciting about this thunderstorm of a record is that all these influences and accidental echoes don’t sound forced in the slightest. There are no rigid hip-hop breakbeats holding back forward momentum, just relentless rolling grooves centred on tightly wound cyclical riffs with challenging time signatures. 1000 Can Die almost feels like the birth of a new sub-genre, we are in the presence of so potent a musical force.

This is an album that almost feels like the birth of a new sub-genre

rating

Editor Rating: 
4
Average: 4 (1 vote)

Share this article

Add comment

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 10,000 pieces, we're asking for £3.95 per month or £30 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?

newsletter

Get a weekly digest of our critical highlights in your inbox each Thursday!

Simply enter your email address in the box below

View previous newsletters