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Karl Hector + The Malcouns Sahara Swing

  • Words: Dave Segal
  • Label: Now Again
  • XLR8R Rating: 8/10

It would be glib–yet not inaccurate–to dub Sahara Swing an exercise in Fela-Can synthesis, and be done with it. The 19-track disc abounds with Afro-Germanic funk from this Munich-based ensemble led by Karl Hector (Funk Pilots) and Poets of Rhythm/Whitefield Brothers guitarist Jay Whitefield. All of the 10 players assembled here are steeped in the mystical ways of the One, and they invest these sweet Tony Allen-meets-Jaki Liebezeit rhythms with urgency. The vibrant horn section’s studied Africa ’70’s heroic gestures while Whitefield has honed his chattering, wah-ed guitar licks to machete sharpness. Bo Baral’s drums–embellished by Hector and Thomas Myland’s picante percussion–are simultaneously loose-limbed and rigorous, generating a joy tempered by humid paranoia. It’s party music that sets you on edge–and it’s crucial.

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