What's here accounts for the finest Antibalas moment yet. The grooves on every track burn -- check the cuts written by Stuart Bogie like "Beaten Metal," which opens the set. There are literally bits and pieces of metal being played in counterpoint rhythms to the jacked trap kit and other drums. They are layered right onto the top of the dense mix, playing around and through the horn charts.
Seven years on from their first album, Antibalas have developed into an unexpectedly varied, sophisticated band. They come from Brooklyn, but they take their inspiration from the jazz and funk-influenced Afrobeat of that wild and highly political Nigerian, the late Fela Kuti. To his songs they have now added a whole batch of other styles, from Latin and dub to what sound like folk-influenced classical themes - but all still relying on massed brass work and percussion.
It's possible this dozen-member, Brooklyn-born collective dropped the latter two-thirds of its name – Afrobeat Orchestra – because it wanted to move out from beneath Fela Kuti's Afrobeat umbrella. Assuming so, asking John McEntire (Tom Ze, Stereolab, Tortoise) to produce their fourth was thoughtful. The sonic alchemist captures the band's unrelenting live energy while assisting exploration.