Skip to main content
Loading...

Featured Post

Amazon's Black Friday Sale Begins: See What's On Offer

Amazon's Black Friday Sale is finally here. Here are some of the best deals on now.
We've had our fingers poised over our keyboards long enough in anticipation of Amazon's Black Friday Sale, which went live at midnight and will last until 25 November.

Angélique Kidjo - Remain in Light Hour Music Album Reviews

Angélique Kidjo - Remain in Light Hour Music Album Reviews

Inspired by its Afrobeat underpinnings, the Beninese singer tackles an album-length cover of the Talking Heads’ 1980 landmark, in the process unearthing hidden rhythmic and emotional nuances.

Nearly 40 years on, Talking Heads’ Remain in Light remains a pinnacle of New York City rock, in part because it drew from anything but the strictures of rock‘n’roll. Instead it preferred cycling polyrhythms, mesmeric vamps, and dizzying layers and loops. But depending on which half of the band you asked, you might get a different answer as to its sources. For the rhythm section of Tina Weymouth and Chris Frantz, the band’s newfound groove came courtesy of funk, R&B, and hip-hop (Frantz played drums on Kurtis Blow’s “The Breaks”). But frontman David Byrne and producer Brian Eno traced the album’s inspirations to Afrobeat. It’s the latter that perked up the ears of Beninese icon Angélique Kidjo, who first encountered “Once in a Lifetime” in the early 1980s but never heard the entire album until 2016. “It might be rock‘n’roll, but there’s something African to it,” she recently told Rolling Stone about her first brush with the classic.

In taking these coastal art rockers’ nervy sound back to Africa, Kidjo also picked a pregnant moment to cover the album in its entirety: The nuclear pall of the early ’80s compares all too easily to our current predicament. Kidjo’s own track record makes her a natural for such a task, given her expansive vision of the continent’s music (to the point that she has often faced the asinine accusation that her music isn’t authentically “African”). And she has plenty of help here, from Vampire Weekend’s Ezra Koenig, Blood Orange’s Devonté Hynes, Kanye/Rihanna producer Jeff Bhasker, and the man whose cephalopod-like drumming originally inspired the album, Afrobeat legend Tony Allen. While she foregrounds the 1980 record’s latent paranoia, social disquiet, and political loathing, Kidjo also imparts a tactile sense of resilience to offset the original’s despair.

The ecstatic gush and worming electronics of “Born Under Punches” remain intact, right down to a glitch recreation of guest guitarist Adrian Belew’s arcade-on-the-fritz guitar solo from the Talking Heads recording. But it’s when Kidjo and her cohorts diverge from the source that the album’s headier moments arise. The band’s twitchy approximations of Nigerian pop polyrhythms on “Crosseyed and Painless” and “Houses in Motion” become more muscular and graceful with Allen himself behind the kit.

But the star of the set remains Kidjo. Her poised and powerful presence fleshes out nuances in Byrne’s lyrics that the precocious singer often seemed to approach cerebrally rather than feel viscerally. While he may have gleaned certain ideas about African iconography from Robert Farris Thompson’s 1979 study African Art in Motion, Kidjo has that tradition fully ingrained in her extensive body of work. As Byrne once put it to Thompson about “The Great Curve”: “You think that’s very down and earthy, but I was talking about something metaphysical.” Kidjo, on the other hand, transmogrifies the song’s refrain (“The world moves on a woman’s hips”) back to flesh and blood.

Kidjo also transforms the queasy ambience of the album’s last tracks into something resembling optimism. That dirge for a terrorist bomber, “Listening Wind,” might be the recast album’s defining moment. Against steadfast hand percussion, Kidjo assumes the role of the song’s protagonist, Mojique, while Vampire Weekend’s Ezra Koenig sings backup in Kidjo’s native Fon. Their voices converge in the chorus into something that feels at once desperate yet emboldened, giving voice to that otherwise powerless protagonist.

Whether it’s a coincidence or a more concerted reckoning with patriarchy, this year in music is revealing a number of black (both African and African-American) female artists tackling canonical works by male musicians, many of them white men, and reframing and recasting those classic songs and albums in a manner that feels refreshing and revitalizing. Bettye LaVette breathed life into neglected numbers as well as well-worn standards from the Dylan songbook; Meshell Ndegeocello reimagined both Jam-Lewis and Prince classics so that they might be heard and felt anew. Kidjo finds her own way into these songs, infusing them with a tactile sense of empathy. Rather than echo the emptiness of a line like, “The center is missing/They question how the future lies,” her voice imparts a sense of hope, allowing in a brief glint of light.

View the original article here

Comments

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Loading...

Popular posts from this blog

Amazon Echo Plus (Second-Gen) Review

The second-gen Amazon Echo Plus is shorter, louder and better-looking than ever. What's not to like? Here's our review.
Should I Buy The Amazon Echo Plus (2nd-gen)?
The new Echo Plus offers a radical redesign compared to the original, ditching the plastic body for a fabric mesh housing that helps the speaker blend into the home environment. It’s not only better-looking either, as a larger speaker and tweeter provide improved audio quality and Dolby Play 360 audio support helps fills the room with music. What’s not to like?

Xiaomi Mi Band 2 Review: The Best Cheap Fitness Tracker Money Can Buy

The Xiaomi Mi Band 2 is the best cheap fitness tracker we’ve seen. Read our Mi Band 2 review to find out what’s new in this excellent-value budget activity tracker.
Should I Buy The Xiaomi Mi Band 2?
With a new OLED screen the Xiaomi Mi Band 2 offers better value than ever. We’d like to see better integration with third-party apps, but at this price the Mi Band 2 is impossible to fault.

Xiaomi Mi Band 1S Pulse Best-Value Activity Tracker Review

You will not find an activity tracker that offers better value than Xiaomi's Mi Band Pulse. We put the upgraded Mi Band to the test in our Xiaomi Mi Band 1S review.
Should I Buy The Xiaomi Mi Band 1S Pulse?
With a tougher band addressing our issues with the original, and a new heart-rate sensor bringing it into line with rival activity trackers, you quite simply won't find a better-value fitness band than the Xiaomi Mi Band 1S Pulse. It still falls down on social interaction, apps and its use of a proprietary charging cable, but given the price we can accept these shortcomings.

Does Amazon's New FireTV Stick 4K Do It All

HDR, HDR10+, Dolby Vision, Dolby Atmos... Yup!
It seems like every year a new format comes along to make all our "old" gear obsolete. For audio video afficionados, those latest formats include Dolby Atmos immersive sound, and three different flavors of High Dynamic Range for enhanced picture quality. The three HDR flavors currently on the market include HDR 10 (the most common), HDR10+ and Dolby Vision. Dolby Vision and HDR10+ promise better picture quality than standard HDR 10 by using something called "dynamic meta data." Basically they're able to shift around the required storage bits on a scene-by-scene basis to get the best dynamic range out of movies and TV shows that are encoded in the format.

Apple MacBook Air 2018 vs Microsoft Surface Laptop 2 Review

The MacBook Air has seen a major redesign, but how does it compare to the excellent Surface Laptop 2? We find out and help you choose which one to buy.
Should I Buy The MacBook Air (2018) Or Microsoft Surface Laptop 2?
These two laptops offer plenty of features and aesthetics that make them desirable. If you’re a Windows fan then buy the Surface, otherwise the new MacBook Air is a solid workhorse.

Like Fan Page