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TONY ALLEN

Joan As Police Woman & Tony Allen & Dave Okumu

The Solution Is Restless

    Of the album Joan Wasser says :
    Damon Albarn introduced me to Afrobeat legend, Tony Allen, at the March 2019 Africa Express event “The Circus” and we hit it off. Tony and I played a version of Nina Simone's "I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free" and decided to record together. I asked my old friend and fierce musician, Dave Okumu, to join from London and that November, in a Parisian studio, we improvised all night. When the world shut down, I used those recordings to write a record entitled “The Solution Is Restless”. This first single, “Take Me To Your Leader”, is the most incendiary on the new record. I wrote it watching Jacinda Ardern, PM of New Zealand, navigate 2020. In my dreamworld, the US asks to meet her in order to learn how to better run the country. “Take me to your leader/ ‘cause I’m ready to play/ can’t hold my breath any longer/ word on the street is she’s a healer/ I’m know I’m down to obey/ and don’t we need a break in the chaos”

    Tony Allen was the drummer and musical director of Fela Kuti’s band Africa '70 from 1968 to 1979, and was one of the primary co-founders of the genre of Afrobeat. Fela once stated that, "without Tony Allen, there would be no Afrobeat” and he was described by Brian Eno as "perhaps the greatest drummer who has ever lived". Besides many other musical milestones and collaborations, in recent years Tony teamed up with Damon Albarn, Paul Simonon and Simon Tong to form The Good, the Bad & the Queen.

    Dave Okumu is best known for fronting the Mercury Music Prize band The Invisible and more recently announcing the release of a solo album ‘Knopperz’ due for release in September.

    TRACK LISTING

    1. The Barbarian
    2. Get My Bearings (feat. Damon Albarn)
    3. Take Me To Your Leader
    4. Masquerader
    5. Dinner Date
    6. Enter The Dragon
    7. Geometry Of You
    8. The Love Has Got Me
    9. Perfect Shade Of Blue
    10. Reaction 

    ‘Rejoice’ is the classic collaboration between Tony Allen, the legendary drummer and co-founder of Afrobeat, and Hugh Masekela, the master trumpet player of South African jazz. The record, released to great acclaim in March 2020, became the first posthumous release from Masekela, and the last release from Allen, who sadly passed away a month later.

    For this Special Edition, World Circuit have gone back to the original 2010 mixes and added previously unheard parts from the 2019 sessions to create 8 reimagined bonus mixes. The CD and LP releases also feature a booklet with sleeve notes and photos.

    Having first met in the 70s thanks to their respective close associations with Fela Kuti, the two world-renowned musicians talked for decades about making an album together. When, in 2010, their touring schedules coincided in the UK, the moment presented itself and producer Nick Gold took the opportunity to record their encounter. The unfinished sessions, consisting of all original compositions by the pair, lay in archive until after Masekela passed away in 2018. With renewed resolution, Tony Allen and Nick Gold, with the blessing and participation of Hugh Masekela’s estate, unearthed the original tapes and finished recording the album in summer 2019 at the same London studio where the original sessions had taken place.

    ‘Rejoice’ can be seen as the long overdue confluence of two mighty African musical rivers – a union of two free-flowing souls for whom borders, whether physical or stylistic, are things to pass through or ignore completely. According to Allen, the album deals in “a kind of South African-Nigerian swing-jazz stew”, with its roots firmly in Afrobeat. Allen and Masekela are accompanied on the record by a new generation of well-respected jazz musicians including Tom Herbert (Acoustic Ladyland / The Invisible), Joe Armon-Jones (Ezra Collective), Mutale Chashi (Kokoroko) and Steve Williamson.


    TRACK LISTING

    Disc 1:
    1. Robbers, Thugs And Muggers (O’Galajani)
    2. Agbada Bougou
    3. Coconut Jam
    4. Never (Lagos Never Gonna Be The Same)
    5. Slow Bones
    6. Jabulani (Rejoice, Here Comes Tony)
    7. Obama Shuffle Strut Blues
    8. We’ve Landed

    Disc 2
    1. Robbers, Thugs And Muggers (O’Galajani) (Cool Cats Mix)
    2. Agbada Bougou (Cool Cats Mix)
    3. Coconut Jam (Cool Cats Mix)
    4. Never (Lagos Never Gonna Be The Same) (Cool Cats Mix)
    5. Slow Bones (Cool Cats Mix)
    6. Jabulani (Rejoice, Here Comes Tony) (Cool Cats Mix)
    7. Obama Shuffle Strut Blues (Cool Cats Mix)
    8. We’ve Landed (Cool Cats Mix)

    The man who put the beat into afro-beat is back! Comet deliver a reissue of "Black Voices", featuring remastered versions and a new bonus track “Ariya (Psyche Juju Mix)”.
    Tony Allen completely rewrote the books on what was possible within the AfroBeat genre with his stunning 1999 album, Black Voices. When one considers exactly "what" is going on throughout Black Voices, it is quite mind boggling, as it is almost impossible to associate a minimalist, electronic feel with the massive walls of sound which Allen was known to create. But those walls of sound are still very present, just delivered with an entirely new feel due to the presence of the producer, Doctor L. He takes the mesmerizing rhythms that Allen creates and he spins them into a stunningly modern sound. While Doctor L's production work throughout Black Voices is truly fantastic, it is clear that the genius behind the album lies within the mind of Tony Allen. With the absolutely mesmerizing, funky grooves that Allen creates, it comes as little surprise that the vocal collaborations are handled by members of one of the funkiest bands in history: Parliament-Funkadelic.
    For almost two decades, "Black Voices" has remained a stunning example of the fantastic results that can occur when seemingly unrelated genres clash. 

    TRACK LISTING

    A1. Asiko
    A2. Get Together
    B1. Black Voices
    B2. The Same Blood
    C1. Asiko (In A Silent Mix)
    D1. Black Voices (We Are We Play Mix)
    D2. ARIYA (Psychedelic Juju Mix)

    Tony Allen & The Afro Messengers

    No Discrimination

    Comet Records presents the Tony Allen & Afrika 70 reissue series with the classic late seventies first four solo albums of Tony Allen remastered and restored: Jealousy, Progress, No Accomodation for Lagos & No Discrimination, all coming in an heavy Deluxe Tip-On Jacket.
    Tony's solo album, No Discrimination, marks an important turning point in Tony Allen's musical life. Tony had recently left Fela's band, which was clearly an emotional yet necessary change as Allen sings of love and brotherhood throughout his fourth solo album. No Discrimination, both in composition and sound, is a blueprint for the future of Afrobeat, decades ahead of its time. The songs are a mixture of old and new - fusing the classic Afrobeat compositional style with modern production and ideas. Classic tunes like "No Discrimination" and "Ariya" pushed boundaries for what Afrobeat could be, which a wave of Afrobeat bands would pick up on decades later.
    With No Discrimination, Tony begins to move Afrobeat into the future, which he would continue doing for the rest of his career.
    Tony Allen was a musical and compositional visionary, and this album finds him beginning to explore that vision outside of Fela's immense gravitational pull. They are the start of a new era in Tony's fruitful career as a solo artist, opening the floodgates for his distinctive Afro-Funk sound and laying the foundation for the next generation of Afrobeat musicians to come.

    TRACK LISTING

    A1. No Discrimination
    A2. Road Safety
    B1. Ariya
    B2. Love Is A Natural Thing

    Tony Allen Plays With Afrika 70

    No Accommodation For Lagos

    1978 was without a doubt one of the most disturbing years in the history of Fela and the Afrika 70. Just a year before the army had raided Fela's compound destroying his house, his club, his brother's free medical clinic and fatally injuring his mother. With their houses destroyed the band had to squat the former Decca offices. Somewhere in between the madness they managed to record Fela's "Suffering And Schmiling" album and Tony Allen's third solo-project: "No Accomodation For Lagos". Without a doubt his most political orientated record of all. After the record came out Tony Allen dropped from the Afrika 70 band as he felt that too many people were sapping Fela of his creative energies.

    TRACK LISTING

    A1. No Accomodation
    B1. African Message

    Tony Allen

    N.E.P.A. (Never Expect Power Always)

      Comet Records presents from Afrobeat pioneer Tony Allen, N.E.P.A Reissue LP Vinyl remastered and coming in an heavy Deluxe Tip-On Jacket.

      In 1979, Tony Allen decided to leave Fela Kuti & Africa 70 and moved to London in 1982. Originally Released in 1984 on Earthworks Records, this reissue holds an extra track previously unreleased on vinyl called “Olokun”. N.E.P.A (Never Expect Power Always) is a searing critique of the Nigerian Electric Power Authority, an organisation that governed the use of electricity in Nigeria.

      It starts out with the title track, with a definite Afro-beat punch. Electro-claps stand as part of the percussion line, adding to a more modern look at what Afro-beat was becoming. This is followed by an even further modernized piece of Afro-beat, as the title track is given a dub mix. “When One Road Close” has a similar pace, and is similarly followed by a dub remix, complete with the necessary space-effects reverb. And to make this reissue extra special the track “Olokun” was never released on vinyl before.

      Blending the nascent rise of electronica into Afrobeat production, it’s tighter than any Fela album and became a definitive project in shaping Allen’s future sound. Whether it’s the electro beats or the punchier, multilayered arrangement, it instantly stands out in Allen’s vast and expansive discography.

      TRACK LISTING

      A1. N.E.P.A. (Never Expect Power Always)
      A2. N.E.P.A. Dance Dub
      B1. When One Road Close (Another One Go Open)
      B2. Road Close Dance Dub
      B3. Olokun

      Nu Guinea

      The Tony Allen Experiments

      Nu Genea née Nu Guinea joined the ranks of Comet's Afrobeat Makers series back in 2016 following a pair of top 12"s on Early Sounds and Tartelet. Now this was a couple of years before the Neapolitans became underground megastars with their "Nuova Napoli" LP, so got sadly slept on by some. Luckily, there's now a second bite at the cherry, so don't laze away this time. By re-working the original drum patterns from Afrobeat master Tony Allen, the duo created a compilation of super groovy tracks in their typically voluminous
      electronic jazz-funk style. Hints of Mediterranean house meet spacey gurgles, soaring synth lines top shuffling rhythms and the whole thing is cool as fuck. Essential tackle for fans of either Afrobeat or that Naples sound.

      TRACK LISTING

      A1. Prelude
      A2. Howls
      A3. Open Paths
      A4. NG Theme
      A5. Stasis (Calm Before The Storm)
      B1. TA-Storm
      B2. The Birds Rejoice
      B3. Phunkhysteria
      B4. The Sun Returns

      Tony Allen

      There Is No End

        The wisdom of Tony Allen's words was as deep as his grooves, and these two sentences, which announce the dozen songs that follow, truly capture the spirit of There is No End. Tony’s motivating concept and desire was to work with younger artists, and especially the new generation of rappers, and give them voice in a time of global turmoil when music has never been more important – not necessarily as a "weapon" for the future in the manner of Fela's violently political songs, but also as medicine to heal a fractured world today.

        For all those who knew him, he was a deeply spiritual man whose life's mission was not just to create a new musical language, but to pass it on to subsequent generations. In thinking back on the incredible process of creating this album without Tony physically present to guide him, producer Vincent Taeger remarked that his friend and mentor "was a teacher without speaking... a drummer and a guardian, with a great artistic vision and that vision filled the songs even after he had left us." Ben Okri, like everyone else involved in this valedictory album, had a very similar experience, declaring in awe that "this man could have lived another 150 years and kept creating new worlds. He had become the master shaman of his art. He knew himself and his mind. He wanted the album to be open to the energies of a new generation... but like a great mathematician or scientist who found a code of for a new world, with just a few beats, he created this extraordinary canvas."

        Featured artists include Skepta, Sampa The Great, Lava La Rue, Danny Brown, Damon Albarn and many others.

        STAFF COMMENTS

        Barry says: There are very few drummers (no shade on drummers here) that would be well known of their own accord like Tony Allen is. Having been consistently inventive and undeniably brilliant throughout his life all the way up to his 2020 masterpiece with Hugh Massakela, 'Rejoice', it's really no surprise that this Posthumous release is chock-full of wonderful rhythmic surprises, and has a lineup of perfectly chosen guests. A fittingly wonderful album from one of the greatest (and original) Afrobeat drummers of all time.

        TRACK LISTING

        CD (14 Tracks)
        Tony’s Praeludium
        Tony Allen

        Stumbling Down
        Tony Allen Featuring Sampa The Great

        Crushed Grapes
        Tony Allen Featuring Lord Jah-Monte Ogbon

        Très Magnifique
        Tony Allen Featuring Tsunami

        Mau Mau
        Tony Allen Featuring Nah Eeto

        Coonta Kinte
        Tony Allen Featuring Zelooperz

        Rich Black
        Tony Allen Featuring Koreatown Oddity

        One Inna Million
        Tony Allen Featuring Lava La Rue

        Gang On Holiday (Em I Go We?)
        Tony Allen Featuring Jeremiah Jae

        Deer In Headlights
        Tony Allen Featuring Danny Brown

        Hurt Your Soul
        Tony Allen Featuring Nate Bone

        My Own
        Tony Allen Featuring Marlowe

        Cosmosis
        Tony Allen Featuring Ben Okri + Skepta

        There’s No End
        Tony Allen

        2LP (12 Tracks)
        There Is No End
        Tony Allen

        Rich Black
        Tony Allen Featuring Koreatown Oddity

        Coonta Kinte
        Tony Allen Featuring Zelooperz

        One Inna Million
        Tony Allen Featuring Lava La Rue

        Stumbling Down
        Tony Allen Featuring Sampa The Great

        Crushed Grapes
        Tony Allen Featuring Lord Jah-Monte Ogbon

        Gang On Holiday (Em I Go We?)
        Tony Allen Featuring Jeremiah Jae

        Mau Mau
        Tony Allen Featuring Nah Eeto

        Très Magnifique
        Tony Allen Featuring Tsunami

        Hurt Your Soul
        Tony Allen Featuring Nate Bone

        Cosmosis
        Tony Allen Featuring Ben Okri + Skepta

        My Own
        Tony Allen Featuring Marlowe

        Jimi Tenor & Tony Allen

        Inspiration Information - Reissue

          Recorded at Lovelite Studios in Berlin during November 2008 with further sessions in Finland and Paris, the Tenor / Allen collaboration whipped up a raw, heavy analogue sound mixing the full range of Allen’s Afrobeat repertoire with Tenor’s off-kilter brew of dark humour, tongue-in-cheek lyrics and tight, firing musicianship. The sessions involved key members of Tenor’s Kabu Kabu band and Berlin-based guest MC Allonymous with tracks evolving naturally from jamming ideas together over five intense days of recording, fuelled by plenty of African food and whisky. Tenor’s trademark range of home-made instruments rubbed shoulders with vintage keyboards and traditional African percussion. The resulting set became one of the best recordings that both artists produced during this period. Tracks range from Jimi’s S&M tableau, ‘Darker Side of Night’ to the apocalyptic commentary on our times, ‘Path To Wisdom’ and the hilarious lampooning of the UK immigration system, ‘Mama England’, composed on the Tenor tour bus. The album also featured fusions based around more traditional low-slung Afrobeat structures (‘Sinuhe’, ‘Got My Egusi’) and ended with the epic freestyle juggernaut, ‘Three Continents’, a life affirming, mesmeric groove built around another rough-as-nails Allenko rhythm base. 'Inspiration Information: Jimi Tenor / Tony Allen' is re-released on 22nd February 2021 and is dedicated to the memory of the great, incomparable Tony Allen.

          TRACK LISTING

          A1. Against The Wall (Feat. Allonymous)
          A2. Sinuhe
          A3. Selfish Gene
          B1. Darker Side Of Light
          B2. Got My Egusi
          C1. Path To Wisdom (Feat. Allonymous)
          C2. Cella’S Walk
          C3. Mama England
          D1. Three Continents

          Tony Allen & Hugh Masekela

          Rejoice

            ‘Rejoice’ is a very special collaboration between Tony Allen, the legendary drummer and co-founder of Afrobeat, and Hugh Masekela, the master trumpet player of South African jazz. Having first met in the 70s thanks to their respective close associations with FelaKuti, the two world-renowned musicians talked for decades about making an album together. When, in 2010, their touring schedules coincided in the UK, the moment presented itself and producer Nick Gold took the opportunity to record their encounter. The unfinished sessions, consisting of all original compositions by the pair, lay in archive until after Masekela passed away in 2018. With renewed resolution, Tony Allen and Nick Gold, with the blessing and participation of Hugh Masekela’s estate, unearthed the original tapes and finished recording the album in summer 2019 at the same London studio where the original sessions had taken place.

            ‘Rejoice’ can be seen as the long overdue confluence of two mighty African musical rivers – a union of two free-flowing souls for whom borders, whether physical or stylistic, are things to pass through or ignore completely. According to Allen, the album deals in “a kind of South African-Nigerian swing-jazz stew”, with its roots firmly in Afrobeat. Allen and Masekela are accompanied on the record by a new generation of well-respected jazz musicians including Tom Herbert (Acoustic Ladyland / The Invisible), Joe Armon-Jones (Ezra Collective), Mutale Chashi (Kokoroko) and Steve Williamson.


            STAFF COMMENTS

            Matt says: Relishing in the top ring of the pyramid we find emperors Tony Allen & Hugh Masekela in primo form; whipping up a dazzling eight tracks of afro-beat mayhem that few can rival. Especially poignant and arresting following Masekela's death a couple of years ago; it's a delight to see the musician on top of his game till his dying breadth. They don't make em like they used to!

            TRACK LISTING

            1. Robbers, Thugs And Muggers (O’Galajani)
            2. Agbada Bougou
            3. Coconut Jam
            4. Never (Lagos Never Gonna Be The Same)
            5 Slow Bones
            6 Jabulani (Rejoice, Here Comes Tony)
            7 Obama Shuffle Strut Blues
            8 We’ve Landed

            Tony Allen & Jeff Mills

            Tomorrow Comes The Harvest EP

            Lock yourself into the beat, but don’t become prisoner to it. The techno pioneer Jeff Mills understands that only too well. In his quest to liberate himself from the tyranny of the sequencer, Mills couldn’t wish for a better partner than the father of Afrobeat.

            Many consider Tony Allen to be one of the greatest drummers alive. In the last thirty years, his signature mix of Nigerian roots, polyglot jazz and no-fuss funkiness has spread like a virus, infecting the work of artists as diverse as Damon Albarn, Charlotte Gainsbourg and Moritz Oswald. Jeff Mills is a titan of the electronic dance scene and a tireless innovator, who helped to give birth to the 1980s Detroit techno scene before going on to compose electro symphonies, soundtracks and sonic odysseys inspired by futurism and space travel, working with visual artists, choreographers, classical orchestras, even astronauts.

            His collaboration with Tony Allen is another rhythmic conversation in a long and well-established discourse, but a special one too: “It really is a pure collaboration, not just through music, but in our minds and spirit as well.” The same goes for Tony Allen. He has already collaborated with quite a few electro artists during his long career but this is something else. “The difference is that Jeff can play with me, whereas the others cannot play with me. I can only play with them, but they cannot play with me…yunastan?”

            The pair first shared a stage in December 2016, at the New Morning in Paris. Their live shows have become a rhythm summit without equal, a chance to witness two of the world’s most innovative beat-makers, supplemented by the Moogs and synths of Jean-Philippe Dary, fusing past and future into an intense, seamless present where digital and analogue, jazz and electro, Africa and America, the source and the delta, become one.

            In some ways Allen and Mills have already fashioned their own sovereign self-designed state, one where improvisation, creativity and instinct reign. It’s rooted in Africa, yes, but like the music of Art Blakey, it goes beyond Africa, beyond America, beyond the force-fields of history and the structures of technology. That’s all the excitement - to get on board with two of the world greatest living masters of rhythm, set the controls for the heart of their spinning world, and boldly go into the unknown.

            TRACK LISTING

            A1. Locked & Loaded
            A2. Altitudes
            B1. On The Run
            B2. The Seed


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