If The Incredible Bongo Band were British and had formed in the late sixties instead of the early seventies…they still wouldn’t have sounded like this. You’d be closer if you tried to imagine the love child of Roy Budd’s Get Carter theme and the tripped-out psychedelia of sixties French nutter Pierre Henri. That’s not to say that The Bongolian himself, Nasser Bouzida, is any the less funky as a result for (as with previous releases) this fourth studio album, Bongos For Beatniks is as rich in crisply syncopated percussion as its predecessors. Hang on a minute – Nasser Bouzida? Isn’t he in UK mod-funk legends Big Boss Man? That’ll be a ‘yes’ then and unsurprisingly there are elements of crossover in the sound – the trademark sixties organs, the bongos (obviously) and the breaks. Ah yes, the breaks – fresh meat for those who keep the faith and are still eager to mine funk for it’s beats. Such individuals might well appreciate the potential in almost all of the tracks here although Lauren’s The Clock Maker particularly leaps out. Were further proof required of the essential Roy Budd-ness of Bongos For Beatniks listeners barely need to get more than about five bars into opener and previous single The Riviera Affair or Pretty Bertie. If you’re looking for the essential Pierre Henri-ness of the album, head straight for Strange Lovers or VCO.
Sixties-referencing enough to appeal to the more discerning mod (with psychedelic tendencies) and beat-heavy enough to satisfy the b-boys – The Bongolian has pretty much got it down with twenty-first century freak beat sound. Makes you want to pop down to that club at the start of The Sorcerers, swing by Turner’s for some crazy drugs on the way home and give Mrs Peel a damn good seeing to…though possibly not in that order.
(Out now on Blow Up Records)
BONGOS FOR BEATNIKS sees the welcome return of The Bongolian, AKA multi-instrumentalist and Big Boss Man front man Nasser Bouzida. His fourth album under The Bongolian moniker continues the musical journey where 2007’s Outer Bongolia left off, bringing us back down to Earth via France circa 1967 in a wild rare groove fusion of all that’s rhythmic, and melodic, about Funk, Soul, Hammond and Boogaloo, all wrapped up in The Bongolian’s own inimitable style.
The first single from the album ‘The Riviera Affair’ (Feburary 2011) was featured on BBC 6music Nemone’s Lunchtime Loves (who interviewed Nass before his sell-out Blow Up / HMV Next Big Thing) alongside support plays by Gideon Coe and Craig Charles. The track was also Sky Sports Soccer AM’s track of the week. The second single ‘Give It To Me (On The Left Side)’ will be released on the same day as the album, and is already receiving support from BBC 6music.
A decade ago, in 2001 Nasser Bouzida disappeared into his studio to create a brand new sound, and the alter ego The Bongolian was born. Drawing on all his past influences, Nasser produced an inspired recording blending elements of Funk, Soul and Jazz with grinding percussion and heavy Bongo rhythms. Instruments recording blending elements of Funk, Soul and Jazz with grinding percussion and heavy Bongo rhythms. Instruments featured include the Hammond, Bongos, Synthesisers, Vibes, all of course played by Nasser himself. The eponymous debut ‘The Bongolian’ was released early in 2002 to much critical acclaim, and followed up by the 2006 ‘Blueprint’ and in 2008 by ‘Outer Bongolia’. The albums have become record box essentials for DJs, finding a wide appeal from Dance and Hip-Hop to rare groove and funky 45s fans, and to date The Bongolian and his live band have toured USA, UK and Europe with the last album ‘Outer Bongolia’ scoring a licensing deal in Japan.
The Bongolian – Bongos For Beatniks – Tracklist
A1 The Riviera Affair 03:05
2 Moscow Queen 03:21
3 Strange Lovers 03:08
4 V.C.O. 03:11
5 Hamlet’s Playground 04:09
6 Give It To Me (On The Left Side) 02:45
B1 Jackies Half Nelson 02:16
2 Lauren’s The Clock Maker 03:05
3 The Ballad Of Lily Kensington 03:45
4 Pretty Bertie 02:51
5 Doktor Of Eastern Promise 02:32
6 Tortoise Walk 03:17