This is the second release for Danny Ward’s (dubble d/ moodymanc) Well Cut Records. Balaphonic are, according to the promotional material, a project fusing organic instrumentation with their eyes firmly set on the dancefloor.
The title and opening track ‘Adventures in Lagos’ is certainly the most accomplished track on the EP. The engaging percussion as it opens is interspersed with cut up vocals and street sounds. The fact that the samples are street sounds from 1970s Lagos and spoken word samples of Fela Kuti is a rather nice touch which lends an authenticity to the piece. When the track finally kicks into gear the listener is enveloped in lush, organic cushion of sound. This is also underlayed with a house beat which may not make you want to jump around but certainly bob your head a little and smile.
The second track, ‘Three Strikes and Out’ follows a similar trend. It reminded me oddly of playing Donkey Kong Country on the Snes many years ago for some reason. It is, as the promotional material claims a ‘lush sounding deep, 119 bpm organic groove which builds into a percussion workout’. The percussion however can become rather irritating at points much like a small child hitting a metal dustbin repeatedly with a stick. My main point of criticism with the track however is that it really fails to go anywhere; it simply plods along to a rather abrupt conclusion. Also six minutes is rather a long time for something to go absolutely nowhere.
‘Disorganics’ gets things back on form with some buzzy samba inspired loveliness. It is intended to be a nod to the Brazilian scene of the 60s and 70s and is most definitely intended for the dancefloor. The strings lend it an almost Eastern vibe at points and will certainly slap a smile on your face and a shake in your tail. This is one to throw on when the party is beginning to lag or you have just gotten drenched on the way home from the shops.
Which leaves ‘Silver Lining’ the low point of the EP, in my estimation. It is a by numbers dancefloor tune that is repetitive and rather boring, particularly in light of the tracks that precede it. To be honest I usually switched it off before it reached the climax of its predictable crescendo. It is a shame really to end an otherwise promising EP with such a lacklustre track.
As a whole Adventures in Lagos is a decent EP. It won’t drive Afrobeat fans wild but is certainly worth a listen, except for that last track, I wouldn’t even bother. Do however listen to it on a set of head phones or proper sound system (mine broke recently much to my neighbour’s joy). While trying to listen to the EP over rubbish laptop speakers I found myself losing interest rather quickly, headphones or a good sound system are essential to experience the lush Afrobeat sound Balaphonic manage to create.