Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide by Review Date: 2011-09-30

2011-09-30

BLNRB: Welcome to the Madhouse (Out Here, 2011) In which minor German electronic music duo Gebrüder Teichmann, major Berlin techno-populists Modeselektor, and sexy Euro-multiculturalists Jahcoozi take up residence in Kenya via Goethe-Institut Nairobi and spend a month working out a fusion with local rappers. Miraculously, they avoid paternalism and other mismatches until an emotive singer-guitarist initiates a downshift. Until then it's an excited Afro-minimalist blast, with "first lady of Kenyan rap" Nazizi and aspiring electropoppers Just a Band bringing extra spritz and tune to a delighted mesh that's at its best when a sinuous synth buzz snakes like a digital didgeridoo through four tracks that begin with one called "Ma Bhoom Bhoom Bhoom." Even the dubby stuff at the end gathers contemplative charm. It's like a crew album where the crew has real mojo. A-

Radioclit Presents: The Sound of Club Secousse Vol. 1 (Crammed Discs, 2010) Dancefloor-tested by a London DJ partnership comprising one Frenchman and one Swede, these 17 tracks from contemporary Africa are high and speedy instrumentally, with male voices to bring them down to pavement. West Africa with its muscle and beseeching gravity is absent, and not enough of the songs stick as songs. But there are so many major exceptions in the second half--the shouted "Zuata Zuata" by Angola's Puta Prata, the nutty "African Air Horn Dance" by Zimbabwe's Jusa Dementor, the airy "On Est Ensemble" by Congo's Kaysha, the very high and speedy old "Xipereta" by South African falsetto Dr. Thomas Chauke--that the hyper beats and nonstop electrosounds of the first half start sorting out into minor exceptions themselves. B+

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