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Africa by Lutan Fyah

Africa by Lutan Fyah

Africa by Lutan Fyah

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A decent overview of what Lutan Fyah has been up to.


Africa by Lutan Fyah

Lutan Fyah’s first album was a 2003 combination with Anthony B, World Crisis, a basic digi production that didn’t give us a great deal of his measure. He then released the superior Dem No Know Demself in 2004 for German producer Andreas “Brotherman” Christopherson and some incredible singles for UK dubbists Jah Warrior and Bush Chemists, proving he was one of the most promising up-and-coming singer-deejays around. An ambitious and very slick album for Lustre Kings, Time And Place, followed, before he gave us his 2006 Greensleeves LP masterpiece, Phantom War, which despite using a variety of rhythm sources played like it was all conceived in one go. Some collections for Fatis Burrell and Byron Mitchell consolidated his position, but since then he has perhaps spread himself a tad too thin with too many different producers, while putting out a so-so live recording that contained homophobic remarks.

Africa, for 2b1 Records, is a grab bag double disc including lots of the last few years’ 45s, rather than the conceptual sequel to Phantom War one would hope for. The lack of continuity between the selections notwithstanding, it represents a decent overview of what he has been up to. Particularly strong are the collaborations: the hard dropping Rasta Set The Trend featuring Morgan Heritage, the Hammond organ led No Matter What The Crisis with Midnite (where, surprisingly, the latter’s singer Vaughn Benjamin‘s voice compliments Lutan’s to a tee), the dancehall Rising featuring Chezidek, and the title track with Sly & Robbie on a revamp of their Baltimore rhythm. There are also such intriguing and eclectic choices as the full-on flamenco De La Vega, and some nice cuts on IrieVibrations rhythms, What A Woe and End Of Days.

The “a bit of everything” approach means a couple of incongruous synth string dominated efforts spoil the flow, and the upbeat major key Slowly But Surely has had the intro from the 45 version unceremoniously chopped, losing the more interesting part of the song. Also some tunes sound barren, like they were mixed using compressed mp3s, a sad indictment of the cash strapped state of the music industry today.

But while there are a few sore points, this is only in relation to the quality Lutan Fyah has produced in the past, and Africa is still a solid compilation with enough good tracks to justify a purchase. Let’s hope, however, that a proper album in the spirit of Phantom War comes to us soon.

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