The World Ends...

Ever since my Now 34 cassette I’ve been a sucker for compilation records. Whether it’s a definitive guide, an introduction to, or a ‘...presents’ there is something about discovering multiple new acts which is always exciting. However, now I’ve grown out of my Gina G/Mark Morrison stage I’m not always spoilt for choice. Of course there is the excellent Rough Trade Counter Culture series, Kitsune Maison and various Nuggets compilations; and next on the wish list is a host of compilation records made up of long lost Afrobeat recordings released on Soundway Records.

One of the most recent and accessible is
‘The World Ends: Afro Rock & Psychedelia in 1970s Nigeria’. Back in the late 60s, as the ‘Summer of Love’ took hold here, Nigeria was facing an altogether different scenario. Civil War may have staggered the Country’s artistic community but, once the hostilities ended in 1970, many exciting new forms of music took root, with the conflict providing a political theme for new artists.

The World Ends is a sort of West-African Nuggets, a collection of psychedelic, garage, funk inspired musicians who sought to combine these new Western influences with Afrobeat, high-life, traditional West African sounds. From the first listen there is a raw energy to these tracks, especially apparent in those featuring The Hygrades and The Funkees. What’s more, alongside these Psychedelic characteristics, James Brown provides a prominent influence throughout. This funk edge, stronger here than in the Nuggets compilations, provides the perfect soundtrack for a confident walk to the shops or the bus stop, ahem.

Whilst some of these tracks were hits which would had made the Now compilations of their day most of us are unlikely to stumble upon copies in the U.K which has led to a marked increase in the unearthing and repackaging of old African Records, especially successful with Soundway Records. However the merging of styles, most of which are currently witnessing a resurgence (Afrobeat, Garage, Psychedelia) results in an album which sounds as vital today as it did when it was first released. It also provides another example of the musical trade between Africa and the West which successfully continues in many guises today. All in all a really enjoyable compilation which may well dissuade you from purchasing Scott Mills forthcoming ‘Big Ones’.



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