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Afro Riddim Sessions Vol. 1

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Album Review

Not since Bassnectar has a band combined so many different musical sources into such a compellingly coherent dance music whole. Ex-Centric Sound System bassist and bandleader Yossi Fine starts out with a fusion of Jamaican and African sounds, but brings in a variety of other elements, including musical influences from Latin America, New Orleans, London and New York. Like the group's 2004 release Electric Voodooland, Afro Riddim Sessions, Vol. 1 takes those disparate elements and combines them into something simultaneously fresh and familiar. Guest vocalists on this album include such modern roots legends as Prezident Brown and Anthony B as well as an assortment of lesser-known names, including Jah Maison, Doniki, and Kulcha Knox. Not everything works out perfectly: "1-2 Nayabingy Order" starts out brilliantly, but when the bass kicks in you realize that the singer and the rhythm are in different keys; both the vocal and the rhythm are excellent, but sadly, they don't actually fit together at all. Much better are "Hardcore Reggae Ambassador," which features exquisite toasting by Lisa Denja, the old-school jungle groove of "Put on the Dancing Shoe" (featuring Kulcha Knox) and the album's spectacular centerpiece, "Babylon by Bus," on which Prezident Brown earns his title. It's followed by a very fine dub version. Overall, this album can be confidently recommended to any fan of modern, adventurous reggae.


Genre: World

Years Active: '00s

Begun by Yossi Fine (an Israeli bassist who has been a session player since he was 16 and who has collaborated with David Bowie and Me'Shell NdegéOcello, among others) and Nana Dadzie (a prince of the Fante tribe in Ghana who founded Susuma, a well-known African drumming and dance troupe), Ex-Centric Sound System expanded to envelop a whole world of musical sounds. The contributions of fellow bandmembers Benjamin "Sai" Kouelho, a Ghanian percussionist, dancer, and flute player; Michael Avgil, a Moroccan-Israeli...
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Afro Riddim Sessions Vol. 1, Ex-Centric Sound System
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