Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide by Review Date: 2012-08-07


Linkoban: Super Into On It (Super Billion, 2012) "Your time on earth is precious/Let's go fast and not go slow/Your time on earth is precious/Let's go high and not go low." Pretty sensible as excited statements of musical purpose go, and we can't get too many of them these days. Because this Vietnamese-Chinese Copenhagener has plenty of spritz rhythmically and personally, she and her band's EP goes fast, four songs in 16 minutes, and aims high. Displaying more flow in English than many American-born Anglophones, she's always on top of the jingly M.I.A. style now designated grime by young people who believe pop electrohop stands in perpetual need of reclassification so they can own it. She's always beaty, always catchy, always cheeky. Not as deep as M.I.A., granted. But not as foolish, either. A-

Owiny Sigoma Band: Owiny Sigoma Band (Brownwood, 2011) The attraction is a Luo elder named Joseph Nyamungu, who plays a droning, mbira-sounding eight-stringed lyre called the nyatiti and sings with built-in momentum and gruff command. His five tracks are all exciting in different ways, solo showcase included. The other five falter in direct correlation to how prominently they feature the white Londoners who brought Nyamungu and the rest of their Kenyan bandmates into the great world, with the all-Londoner instrumental "Nabed Nade El Piny Ka--Rework (How Will I Love in This World)" the nadir (and the Kenyan version of the same song on the somewhat ramshackle Sofrito: International Soundclash comp vastly superior). Kenyan beats carry two English-language songs in which one Londoner reflects on some aspect of modernity I can't make out and another expresses his all-too-patient love. Guest patron Damon Albarn's Farfisa wilds out on the Kenyan-dominated "Odera Lwar" before his Omnichord further dulls "Margaret Okudo--Dub." I know, this is all too schematic. Unfortunately, it's true. Also true: you'll love that nyatiti. B+

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