It’s not every day you get the chance to re-work the legend that is Tony Allen, so for a duo who’ve only released two solo EPs, that feat is even more impressive. Having taken their signature stamp to Tartelet, Nu Guinea return to Early Sounds Recordings, in conjunction with Comet Records, to release this nine track mini LP of jazz-funk goodness.
From the off you’re immersed in Nu Guinea’s trademark cosmic sound, where the energy of Allen’s rhythms are pulled in a new direction. What Nu Guinea have done so well is capture the essence of Allen’s drumming but re-imagine it for their own purpose, keeping elements of it’s afrobeat nature whilst leading it down a funk laden path. Standout tracks, ‘The Birds Rejoice’ and ‘Phunkhysteria’ perfectly embody this marriage. The drums are punchy and animated, interspersed with squelching synths and pitch bent top lines. The products of organic jams, refined into polished tracks but still retaining that loose and lively nature. Combine this with the expert fills of Allen’s drumming and you capture a vibrancy that’s often missing in today’s dance music.
The artwork also alludes to the detail put into this release, again reiterating the harmony between organic and synthetic. Clearly this wasn’t just about re-working Allen’s drums, it was about doing them justice, hence why they brought in a percussionist, adding conga rhythms which build on the live dynamic and afro tinge of Allen’s work.
From the snare rolls and futuristic arps of ‘Open Path’, to the tripped out jazzy heights of ‘TA Storm’ you’re taken on a journey of interplanetary jungle grooves that tips its hat to Tony whilst making fresh tracks of it’s own. This is one of those rare records that can just as well be enjoyed at home, as it will do tearing up clubs. Long live this jazz funk cosmic afro booginess!
‘The Tony Allen Experiments: Afrobeat Makers Series Vol 3’ is out now – buy from Juno and all the other usual spots.