Prentiss Riddle: Music

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Antibalas with a bullet

Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra brings the 70's horn-driven sound of Nigerian musician and political rebel Fela Kuti home to Brooklyn, USA. Their CD Liberation Afro Beat Vol. 1 features driving horns, heavy on the bottom with baritone sax out front over a big multilayered rhythm section. This is wake-up-and-shake-it music.

Antibalas is also a self-described political "movement". I'm not sure how that's supposed to work -- if I subscribe to their politics will they let me sit in on their next gig? Be that as it may, like Ozomatli at the opposite corner of the country, they haven't let the egalitarianism of their politics stand in the way of making some excellent music. Essentially an all-instrumental album, LABV1's few spoken-word elements don't really express Antibalas' message all that well -- the intro to "World War IV" is an abbreviated laundry list of oppression by "war criminal Bill Clinton" and others, which means we must be up to World War VI or so by now. But the message isn't in the words, it's in the music.

When was the last time you heard a political trombone solo? You'll hear it from these guys.

music 2002.08.02 link