Tag Archives: Talking Heads

“Ja Funmi”

King Sunny Ade
Juju Music, 1982

I must confess I don’t know too much about King Sunny Ade, the jùjú genre or Nigerian culture in general. My understanding is that Juju Music, KSA’s major-label debut, made quite a splash in America when it was released in the early ‘80s, paving the way for the minor Afro-Pop wave that followed. It’s not too much of a stretch to listen to “Ja Funmi” and understand how this music, or music like it, would’ve captivated Paul Simon, David Byrne and other white artists of the time. (I’m probably getting the influences all wrong — in theory, Graceland was built more on South African sounds, and Talking Heads were Fela Kuti devotees. Still, for an uninformed WASP, the similarities are clear.) What’s fascinating about this record, and even more so follow-up Syncro System, is the way KSA successfully integrates his singular guitar sound with modern-for-the-time production: drum programming, deep bass and a pristine mix that sounds phenomenal through a good set of speakers. Since Ade’s playing is inimitable, the music has aged remarkably well and continues to be popular among “world music” fans and crate diggers alike.

[audio https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/14312140/01%20Ja%20Funmi.m4a]


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“Temecula Sunrise”

bitte orca
Dirty Projectors
Bitte Orca, 2009

For those unfamiliar with Dirty Projectors, “Temecula Sunrise” may take a few spins to coalesce. At first, the elements don’t add up: double-time acoustic guitar that sounds like it’s being played by King Sunny Ade; hazy, half-time drumming that threatens to fall through at any moment; Dave Longstreth’s soothing vocal offset by searing female harmonies that attack from out of nowhere. But after several listens a picture emerges, and you realize you’re hearing some of the most adventurous pop music since Talking Heads. The songwriting is as clear and colorful as the cover.

[audio https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/14312140/02%20Temecula%20Sunrise.m4a]


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