Superior sounds

Pub date July 15, 2009
SectionMusicSectionMusic Features

In the dead of last winter, the enigmatic and bombastically-titled "The Very Best" Mixtape (Ghettopop) cracked the frozen-over music blogosphere, thanks to its barrage of blasts straight from the center of an African sun. Self-baptized as The Very Best, European production/DJ duo Radioclit (another unfortunate name) teamed up with the Malawian born, London-based singer Esau Mwamwaya. The resulting left-field effort virtually burned through rigid or frigid genre horizons, blending multilingual African vocals, synth-heavy indie pop, thunderous polyrhythms, and an outer-national pastiche of celebratory dance thumpers.

Riding high on an internet buzz that is still multiplying, The Very Best has been hard at work on its upcoming official debut, The Warm Heart of Africa (Green Owl), scheduled for release this fall. If Internet leaks can predict anything, the recording expands on Radioclit’s worldly sensibility. Brace yourself for hazardous dance floor anthems well-fed on the homegrown African sounds of high-life and marabi, as well as bass-laden pop grooves from, well, all over the globe. Mwamwaya’s pipes wander and work wonders over Radioclit’s multitextured, voracious production. Versatile melodies and subtly intricate lyricism uplift the percussive hymns to create a remarkable sonic balance between earthly thrust and airy lightness. In addition to The Very Best’s core dynamism, the debut also promises guest collaborations with MIA (on the enchanting "Rain Dance") and Vampire Weekend’s Ezra Koenig (the hypnotically incandescent "Warm Heart of Africa"). Ah, the revival of spasmodic, sun-drenched Afro-pean music. My year looks brighter already.


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