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The Rough Guide to Psychedelic Africa


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  • Vintage African psychedelia has been quite a fashionable subgenre since early 2011, after the release of several beautifully collected and researched compilations grouped by nation. This is much more of a general overview, including some artists who have been lionized, such as Orchestre Poly-Rythmo and Victor Olaiya, but also some, such as Mali's Rail Band and the great Orchestra Baobab, who have never been associated with anything psychedelic -- the term is quite elastic here. There are some interesting discoveries, like Orchestra de la Paillote, who find the conjuction between trippy and cool jazz. It's worth the price of admission for the sweet wonkiness of the Mlimani Park Orchestra and the relentless groove of Ebo Taylor. The long Rail Band workout is an absolute joy, and the bonus album from Sir Victor Uwaifo is really an excellent add-on. It might not do exactly what it says on the tin, but this does offer a primer on that old African psychedelia. ~ Chris Nickson
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