CD review: William Onyeabor, Who Is William Onyeabor? (Luaka Bop)


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The Independent Culture

Minimalist Afrobeat psych-funk from an enigmatic Nigerian producer who retired from music in the mid-1980s. As the latest unearthing from the label that brought us Shuggie Otis and Tim Maia, it’s initially rather underwhelming, but you can’t deny the digital-primitive power of opener “Body and Soul”, with spacey synths adding electro-pop flavours to a killer groove. There are also lovely melodies and bizarre lyrical conceits, as in “Atomic Bomb” (a love song).

The very home-made, amateur-sounding production, coupled with what was obviously a fully formed musical vision, carries great charm and will appeal to fans of Scottish indie jazz weirdo Bill Wells as much as funkers, although only the first two of eight tracks excel.