Billy Bao – “Lagos Sessions” – [Munster Records]
Recorded in Lagos, the capital of Nigeria, this album attempts to capture the sights, sounds, and smells of the most populous city in Africa. From the writhing mass of humans and metal and concrete and heat comes a unique experience, known as “Lagos Wall of Sound”. Through four different “chapters”, each 15 minutes long, visitors are exposed to different aspects of this complex city.
Crunchy blasts of broken beats and fuzzed out bass mix with field recordings of malls, tribal chants, and traffic jams. Industrial soundscapes, spoken word poems, reverb-drenched head-slamming punk, a socio-political history of the city, and soulful Afro-Jazz, all processed and tweaked with varying levels of electronic fuckery.
Side A is the most varied and the most noisy, like a sightseeing bus tour crashing through the center of the city.
Side B starts with heavy punk rock featuring vocals by Nigerian artist Mendo. This is followed by a spoken word history of Lagos, and finally by a jazzy electronic piece with English lyrics from Russo-Nigerian singer Diana Bada.
Side C has the beautiful bass-heavy Afro-Jazz which trails off into peaceful electronics and a local news broadcast.
Side D contains glitchy hip-hop beats alongside the freestyle rap of Nigerian artist Ambido before sliding back into some more garage sludge punk.
The album includes some great visual imagery of the city, as well as extensive liner notes. The notes include descriptions of the sounds and artists heard in each chapter, a detailed history of the city, and a review of the album from Sola Olorunyomi, a musician and professor University of Ibadan, which puts this review to shame.
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