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Afrolicious

A Dub for Mali (EP)

(ESL; US: 16 Aug 2011; UK: Import)

Afrolicious represents former DJ Joe McGuire’s attempt at creating, rather than simply broadcasting, African music. After spending time curating a weekly party called Afrolicious at San Francisco’s Elbo Room, McGuire enlisted collaborators from Burkina Faso to Trinidad for his debut EP, produced by Thievery Corporation’s Rob Garza. A Dub for Mali has a loose, improvisational feel, and its rambling, late-night charm goes a long way to make up for its lack of innovation. Though spacey sound effects and samples pepper the EP, notably on tunes like “Thursday Night Kinda Swing” and the title track, McGuire hasn’t really transformed or improved on any of the forms he’s working with; the additions feel like decorations rather than buttresses. Still, there’s plenty to like. What these tracks lack in imagination they make up for in down-home, earthy feel. Anyone that doesn’t find their hips loosened by “Vampires”—which features Femi Kuti and might be charitably described as a club culture tribute to Afro-Beat—might be lacking a pulse.

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Alex Heigl is a writer and musician living in Brooklyn. His writing can be found at Nerve.com, and he plays bass in the Brother Reverend (http://www.brotherreverend.com). Follow him on Twitter @AlexHeigl.


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