Mr. Raoul K, The African Government

[Mule Musiq]

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One of the things you’ll hear hip hop producers bang on about is that musically, the genre can draw influence from anywhere, be it classical, world music or indie rock. I think it’s fair to say that electronic music does the same these days, with more and more producers discovering dance music and incorporating the native music and instruments from their country into their productions. Onur Özer’s Turkish background bleeds through his intricate, minimal tracks, as does Villalobos’ South American heritage in many of his productions. For Raoul Konan, his introduction to electronic music came in 1992 when he moved from his native town of Agboville on the Ivory Coast to Hamburg. While soaking up the culture and the sounds of the city he began DJing and producing, later incorporating the sounds of West Africa into the tracks he commited to vinyl on his own Baobob label, which he started in 2007 as Mr. Raoul K. His latest release on Mule Musiq, The African Government, shows two different sides to the producer: the one who emigrated to Germany with a head full of African sounds and was indoctrinated by the prevalent sounds of his new home town, and the one who is now producing his own versions of those clubs tracks with which he became enraptured.

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The original mix of “The African Government” is full of the smile inducing, feel good rhythms of acoustic African guitars, organic hand drumming and light, sonorous percussion. For all its light airiness it is underpinned by an occasional, deeply rooted bass that keeps the groove together, grounding the otherwise flighty track. Yet with so many layers of infectious melody all tugging at your feet it’s hard not to get carried away. On the flip the “Piano Influence Mix” doesn’t bear too much comparison to the original, save for the same hypnotic feeling imbued in both tracks. Searching, transcendent analog synths finger their way towards celestial bodies, sounding very much like DJ Skull’s 1998 analogue gem, “When Will I Be Free.” The slight flourishes are what make the track; the backwards, detuned drum that creeps in at the end of each bar, the particular fuzz that grows on the bass sound like plaque on unbrushed teeth, the almost inaudible, filtered hats that slide through certain parts of the track. These are the things that sink in to your subconscious when you listen to music and keep you coming back for more, something that is very easy to do with this release.

Blaktony  on August 22, 2010 at 11:13 AM

First time i heard on a sunday morning; perfect soundtrack 2 my day.

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