April 16, 2012

Rocket Juice & The Moon (Damon Albarn, Tony Allen, Flea, Erykah Badu, Fatoumata Diawara and Guests) - Rocket Juice & The Moon (Honest Jon's Records)

Musically speaking Damon Albarn definitely is a Jack of all trades and a master of all.

Never resting, the former Blur leader keeps on testing new artistic frontiers, successfully multiplying the audacious projects with a wide range of musicians. Confirming his love story with african sounds that saw him work on several high-quality productions these last few years with artists like Fela drummer Tony Allen, legendary Kora player Toumani Diabaté or Kenya-based Owiny Sigoma Band (whose first LP was one of 2011 best afro/world record), he is now back with a new musical UFO titled Rocket Juice & The Moon.

Set-up around his friend Tony Allen, Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea and himself, this new project also welcomed a top-notch list of guests like Erykah Badu, french/malian singer Fatoumatou Diawara (whose 2011 LP Fatou was part of our records of the year selection), the furious horns from the HypnoticBrass Ensemble or Ghanaian rapper M.anifest.

With this epic journey of 20 songs, Albarn once again proves he has become an amazing director able to make the most of a dream-team of artists that obviously took an immense pleasure to take part in his open-minded musical laboratory. The roads opened by each and every of these musicians are diverse, we travel from afrobeat, to highlife, funk, soul, hip-hop and even dub without ending up getting lost as the phenomenal rythmic roadbook designed by the Allen/Flea duo acts as a powerful lighthouse.

It's hard to extract one specific cut from a delighfully loose ensemble that sounds best when enjoyed as a whole but here are three picks that form a valid snapshot of the diversity of a record that to me is the second afro/world schock of 2012 alongside Ebo Taylor's new LP.
First Manuela where Erykah Badu enters the futuristic afro-groove space, then Chop-Up and its sunny and joyful guitar line, finally Poison where we remember that Damon Albarn is first and foremost a great singer.

Retrouvez cette chronique en français sur le site WegoFunk !

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