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Dawn of Awarness

MonoMono & Joni Haastrup

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Album Review

The second album in a series of three reissues from Nigerian bandleader Joni Haastrup, Dawn of Awareness was the sophomore effort by his band MonoMono, following their very impressive debut, Give the Beggar a Chance. It's tempting to read more into the two albums' titles than one probably should: while the first album focused on relatively concrete social issues (best song title: "The World Might Fall Over"), the mood on Dawn of Awareness is a bit more introspective. Sonically, this is real Age of Aquarius stuff: the grooves are at times downright spacy (note in particular the acid-drenched "Awareness Is Wot You Need" and the only slightly less discursive "Plain Fighting"), and even by Afro-pop standards they sometimes focus a bit too much on the extended elaboration of a single two-chord idea (note in particular the jazzily pretty but eventually rather tedious "Get Yourself Together"). But those ideas and their elaborations are consistently attractive, and there are moments of genius here; "Tire Loma da Nigbehin" is very lovely, and "Ipade Aladun" surprises with its spoken word intro (a defense of the band's energetic stage presence: they may jump around on-stage as if drunk, Haastrup explains, but it's only because they love the music and want to share its energy) followed by a startlingly slow, almost deliberate groove counterposed by vigorous and heartfelt vocals. This album is more uneven than its predecessor, but very much worth hearing.

Dawn of Awarness, MonoMono
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  • $5.94
  • Genres: World, Music, Rock
  • Released: 1974

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