Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Senegambia Rebel [Voodoo Rebel, 2016]
So a founder of Voodoo Rebel, an Italian label whose Afro-diasporic romance is summed up by its handle, spent a month in West Africa field-recording what he indicates were mostly rural and I infer were mostly human sounds, many not what is usually called musical. Then he sent the files to a bunch of non-African beatmaker-DJ-whatchamacallems unknown to me, although on handle alone I'm loving DJ Reaganomics, the only American identified as such, and Populous, whose eventful and not what I'd call danceable opener orchestrates crowd talk, sanza or balafon, hand drumming, and bass thrums of undetermined origin into a seductive environmental dub that sets a mood that welcomes all beats, including more conventional ones. Try Capibara's "15," where bass thrums give way to treated chanting. Or Ckrono and Slesh's "Serere," electrobeats to birdy sounds to xyly sounds and yes that is a melodic hook. Fact is, I enjoy every one of the nine, which taken together don't last 40 minutes including Umeme Afrorave's danceable 7:27 closer. Schlock and good taste have a way of creeping into Afro-Euro fusion. That never happens here. A-