Various Artists: Angola Soundtrack No.2 (Analog Africa)
The holy grail of Angolan popular urban music finds a release on Angola Soundtrack No.2 – Louder Than War’s Paul Scott-Bates reviews.
You may not have come across the Angolan recording industry before – hardly surprising as it lasted just ten short years between 1969 and 1978. It’s a joy, then, that the music (around 800 tracks) has started to appear on compilations albums such as this and Volume 1 which won the Black Music section in the German Record Critic Prize of 2010 ahead of favourite Aloe Blacc.
Angola Soundtrack No.2 brings together twenty of the more obscure dance tracks from the period with influences from Congo and the Dominican Republic to create a mini tour through the sounds hitherto hidden from the rest of the world.
Much of today’s African music seems to stem from Mali so it’s interesting to see how Angola differed in style, with its more dance-orientated carnival music that is a delight to hear and feel. There was real co-operation between the artists too, who would visit gigs together and take inspiration from each others’ songs in the highly competititive and short-lived Angolan music industry.
Highlights include Agarrem by Africa Ritmos – wth its superb guitar and swaying rhythm it’s an instrumental of the highest order and Basooka (Carlos Lamartine) which steams along with horns, guitars and percussion combining funk, soul and jazz in an Afro-beat style.
This compilation offers a great insight into an obscure music industry that came and went in the space of a decade but – by the indications of this album – left something very worthy behind.
As ever with Analog Africa the release comes with a stunning forty-four page booklet with great photos, interviews and newspaper clips from the era.
All words by Paul Scott-Bates. More of Paul’s writing on Louder Than War can be found here. Paul’s website is hiapop Blog. Paul is working hard to save Radio Lancashire’s On The Wire, the BBC’s longest running alternative music programme. Follow him on Twitter as @saveonthewire for all On The Wire news or follow hiapop Blog on Twitter @hiapop.