What happens when one remixes traditional African music as electronica? It depends on the skill of the remixer. It could simply be more boom-boom-boom beats with cultural appropriation. In this case, though, it's anything but that, because the “traditional” band and the DJ are musical geniuses. The band has been adapting the traditional music to hip-hop and Afropop for years; and the DJ is one of a dynasty of great musicians: he’s the son of the composer Gyrogy Ligeti, and has obviously inherited his father’s talent in composing. Much of the music is (besides being great grooves) as subtle, interesting, and unexpected as either its African originals or an avant-garde classical composition. In some tracks, the “electronica” is front and center; in others, it hums along unobtrusively in the background of what appears at first to be an entirely traditional piece. Besides the up-tempo dance numbers, there are quieter moments with expressive vocals or when a lone kora scatters scintillating notes over a pretty synthesizer drone. The “program notes” with the CD are as in-depth as documentation of folk-music field recordings or those for a symphony (they often tell what type of traditional music a particular number is based on) and add another layer of interest. Of course, in addition to all that, this music is perfect for a party. Enjoy it.
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