Music

Here Lies Man Combine Afrobeat and Psych Rock on "Long Legs (Look Away)" (premiere)

Photo: Lyle Bell

Here Lies Man continue to blaze a trail in modern Afrobeat with psych rock riffs and driving drums on new single "Long Legs (Look Away)"

There's nothing contrived about the Black Sabbath-meets-Afrobeat concept behind band Here Lies Man. Founded by Antibalas members Marcos Garcia (who also produces electronic dance music under the name Chico Mann) and Geoff Mann (son of heavily world music-influenced jazz musician Herbie Mann), the group seamlessly draws together two genres that may seem mutually exclusive, but whose textures together make for a phenomenal sonic palette. Between guitarist Garcia's heavy riffs and Mann's complex drumlines, Here Lies Man seems to have endless fuel - and no qualms about using it.

Accordingly, new single "Long Legs (Look Away)" runs hot, driven largely by Garcia's fuzzy, funky guitarwork. "We're very conscious of how the rhythms service the riffs," says Garcia. "Tony Iommi's innovation was to make the riff the organizing principle of a song. We are taking that same approach but employing a different organizing principle: For Iommi, it was the blues; for us it comes directly from Africa."

That much is clear in the ever-moving percussion of "Long Legs (Look Away)", which Mann imbues with raw rock energy and a density emblematic of Afrobeat drumming. On upcoming album No Ground to Walk Upon, however, Here Lies Man takes the intercontinental influences beyond any single, isolated track. "There are interludes between each song that are two-thirds to three-fourths of the tempo of the previous song," Garcia continues. "The reason it breaks down to two over three or three over four is that everything in the music rhythmically corresponds to a set of mathematical algorithms known as the clave... an ancient organizing rhythmic principle developed in Africa."

A less formal, but no less fascinating equation is the one at the heart of Here Lies Man as the creative minds behind it add hard rock to modern Afrobeat for a whole greater than the sum of its parts. "Long Legs (Look Away)" is musical innovation in action, a psychedelic burst from a band unlike any other.

No Ground to Walk Upon will be available on LP, CD and download on 16 August via RidingEasy Records. First single "Clad in Silver" is out now on YouTube and Bandcamp. Album pre-orders available here.

Here Lies Man will perform on 9 November at Levitation Festival in Austin, TX.

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