Monday, December 27, 2010

Album Review: Music Frees All-Emefe

Music Frees All, the debut album from NY based afro-funk ensemble Emefe, is a seriously funky collection of eight songs packed with energy and attitude. The album was recorded in the basement of drummer/band-leader Miles Arntzen, and you can hear that raw, untapped energy of young musicians pouring their hearts out onto all eight tracks on the album. Emefe is a highly talented group of musicians dedicated to paying homage to the tradition of Fela Anikulapo Kuti and the musicians who have followed in his lineage. This album is a great initial offering and a sign of even greater things to come if the group can continue to work together.

Music Frees All features several tracks that range in tempo and dynamic. Uptempo tracks such as Free Yourself, 221 Groove and Oh, That's What It Is are highly danceable, energizing tracks that will make any dancefloor jump. Slower tracks like The War and Consequence and Sumo are more sneaky, relaxed grooves that showcase Emefe's horn-section and its ability to accentuate winding, languishing lines. There are also tracks that display a range of tempos and dynamics within a single composition such as the opener Jump and Stomp and The Night.

As afrobeat continues to grow and flourish as a growing movement in multiple cities across the globe, bands continue to sprout from every direction. Emefe represents that growing trend of musicians riding the cresting afrobeat wave. While certain bands will label themselves afrobeat without delving into the history of the music or putting in the time to learn the form, Emefe clearly understands and respects those who have came before them in the afro-tradition. Judging from the quality of the horn and percussion arrangements on this album, they know what afrobeat is really about and how to build on its tradition.

Dig the album for whatever price you like here.

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