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STERNS EDITS

Balla Et Ses Balladins

The Syliphone Years - Ben Gomori Edits

Sterns Edits returns after their well received and recently repressed Amadou Balaké excursions, this time with Ben Gomori turning his hand to Guinea for a third instalment in the series of re-works from the Sterns Music catalogue of African gems. Balla et ses Balladins were one of Guinea's national 'orchestras' formed as a result of the newly elected President, Sékou Touré's 'authenticité' policy of the early 1960s, which sought to promote Guinea's cultural identity following independence from France in 1958.
Gomori takes the scalpel to two cuts recorded during their years on the state-run Syliphone label, making good use of bandleader Balla's lively trumpet playing. The gently haunting 'Nyo' is taken on an undulating dancefloor trip, rolling along at a club friendly 120bpm (ish) as a head-nodding bassline and stuttering FX creating a shimmering effect around the tropical guitars and pitched up trumpet. Over on the flip, the rousing horns of 'Wilikabo' are underpinned with a rasping synth bass for a punchy juxtaposition.


STAFF COMMENTS

Patrick says: I've kept my ear on these Sterns Edits and can happily say that this third instalment is my favourite so far. While the bassy throb of the B-side will undoubtedly do much mainroom damage, it's the trippy, tumbling soundscape and psychedelic shimmer of "Nyo" that's gonna slot straight into my setlists. The minimal revival is on.

After blowing our coiffeued lids with a pair of primo edits to kick off Sterns' new club-oriented concern, Ben Gomori takes another blast at the catalogue, turning his attention to Burkina Faso's much-loved taxi-driver-turned-singer, Amadou Balaké. Balaké ('porcupine' in Mandinka) is Burkina Faso's proudest musical export, and in 2013 he recorded his final album before passing away: 'In Conclusion'. The record saw him revisit some of his most popular tracks from his remarkable 50-year career, backed by an eight-piece Burkinabé band who took the country's traditional sounds and brought them into a contemporary light. Gomori retains the essence of the original recordings - which were mostly captured in one take - and marries them to vigorous afro-house stylings. 'Bar Konon Mousso (Musicien C'est Pas Quelqu'un)', in which Balaké tells of a bar lady being unimpressed by his profession, gets a gentle push towards the modern dancefloor, its wonderful sax lines resplendent in this fresh arrangement. "Massa Kamba" is taken for a drive down the more traditional route, with commanding drums bolstering the original grooves and a marvelous triple harmony brass section at its core. Balaké's freewheeling style suits the hypnotic feel of the edits to a tee. 

STAFF COMMENTS

Patrick says: There's always a risk of facepalm and failure when a producer tries to house up and African OG, but Ben Gomori goes 2 for 2 with his second instalment of Sterns Edits, keeping it classy on a pair of seriously groovy sunkissed winners.


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