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WILLIAM ONYEABOR

William Onyeabor

Tomorrow

William Onyeabor was born outside Enugu, a small, rural town in Eastern Nigeria, he created his own genre of African electronic funk in the late 70s and early 80s, making music completely unique for his time. Today, he is reaching cult status among a growing list of admirers, including everyone from Damon Albarn and Hot Chip to Carl Craig and Madlib, with some likening him to the Kraftwerk of West Africa, or a precursor to LCD Soundsystem.

Among the crate-digging few that knew of him, he is considered a complete myth. While he has never performed live and almost never given interviews, his fantastical biography is scattered and has to this day not been verified. And, though he is still alive, he refuses to speak about anything regarding the past.

According to various rumors, he left home following the Biafran War and went to study cinematography in the Soviet Union, returning in the mid-70s to start his own film company and record label, Wilfilms. He then self-released eight remarkable records from 1978-1985. He wrote and produced everything on his own, and possibly played every instrument himself. Then, at some point of his life, he became born again and denounced his earlier music, deciding it is something he would never speak about.


TRACK LISTING

A1. Tomorrow
A2. Why Go To War
B1. Love Me Now
B2. Fantastic Man
B3. Try And Try

William Onyeabor

World Psychedelic Classics 5: Who Is William Onyeabor?

THE PICCADILLY RECORDS REISSUE/COLLECTION OF THE YEAR 2013.

Through its World Psychedelic Classics series, Luaka Bop has succeeded at introducing long-forgotten artists including Os Mutantes, Shuggie Otis and Tim Maia to the world at large. William Onyeabor is as obscure as these other artists were before their Luaka Bop releases, although his recordings from the 70s and 80s are beloved by die-hard record collectors and artists such as Damon Albarn, Devendra Banhart, Four Tet and Caribou, to name a few. The music ranges from synth-heavy electronic dance music to Afrosoul with saxophones and female backup singers, to psychedelic funk with wah-wah guitar and fuzzy keyboards - and often combines all of these elements.

'Who Is William Onyeabor?' may be the most complicated, if also one of the richest, undertakings in Luaka Bop's (rarely straightforward) 25-year history. Following the eight albums Onyeabor self-released between 1978 and 1985, he became a Born-Again Christian, refusing ever to speak about himself or his music again. Various biographies can be found online. Some say he studied cinematography in the Soviet Union and returned to Nigeria in the mid-70s to start his own film company, Wilfilms. Some say he was a lawyer with a degree from a university in Great Britain. Others portray him as a businessman who for years worked on government contracts in Enugu, Nigeria.

By attempting to speak with Onyeabor himself, and by talking to people who seem to have firsthand knowledge, Luaka Bop has been trying to construct an accurate biography of him for the past 18 months...without success.

One thing that's undisputable is that Onyeabor's music is utterly unique and ahead of its time.

The vinyl release comprises 13 tracks spanning Onyeabor's body of work and will include artwork by John Akomfrah, Njideka Akunyili, Harrison Haynes, Dave Muller, Odili Donald Odita and Xaviera Simmons. 

"The world might just be better off not hearing [Onyeabor's "Atomic Bomb"], which will burrow and propagate its seed exponentially by the second, into the hearts and souls of all humanity. It's the catchiest song I've ever heard; when it gets in my brain, I can't sleep...He's a mythical character from Nigeria." - Devendra Banhart in Uncut

"Anyone out there who is making music at the moment...will be quite excited by this..." - Damon Albarn on BBC Radio One

"LCD Soundsystem sounds like an American William Onyeabor." - Peaking Lights

"Talked to Luaka Bop about details of the William Onyeabor comp they are working on... Gonna blow minds!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" - Four Tet

"People are really going to freak out!" - Caribou

TRACK LISTING

1. Body And Soul
2. Atomic Bomb
3. Good Name
4. Something You Will Never Forget
5. Why Go To Ware
6. Love Is Blind
7. Heaven And Hell
8. Let’s Fall In Love
9. Fantastic Man

LP EXCLUSIVES – NOT AVAILABLE ON CD OR DIGITALLY:
10. When The Going Is Smooth & Good
11. The Way To Win Your Love
12. Jungle Gods
13. Love Me Now


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