As announced back in December when the Barabara seven inch came out, here at last is LP Liberated Thoughts which sees producer David Hanke provide a full-length debut in his current afro-funk incarnation Dem Juju Poets. Anyone familiar with any of Hanke’s other incarnations – especially Renegades Of Jazz will know that this man doesn’t mess around when it comes to production and Liberated Thoughts is no exception. Nor indeed does he mess around when it comes to the dancefloor, so while this release is not Hanke’s first album length afro-set (that would be last Renegades Of Jazz album Moyu Wangu), it is if anything more consistently aimed at the dancefloor.
Highlights include Stonetown Shakedown, a fat uptempo bump all about the hypnotic bass which vies with chanking guitar and brass riffage, Bagamoyo, a looser horns-heavy groove horns completed by the occasional bit of piccolo, the title cut which provides swifter material again for the township b-boys and Fubica which imagines what The Meters might have sounded like had they hailed from northern Tanzanian city Arusha (where Hanke spent a portion of his childhood) instead of New Orleans. The DJ production origins of the project are also represented in the Afrocop-sampling Juju Chant #1 – a sweet little fifty second interlude that you wish had formed the basis of a track all on its own. If you were going to buy an afro-funk album this year – it should probably be this one.
(Out now on Matasuna Records)