- In the early ‘00s people asked who Rex The Dog was. Then they wondered about Redshape. Now the question that's bound to keep being asked long after it's answered is this: Is Arto Mwambé really from Burkino Faso? And the answer? Who knows. Although since "Burkino Faso" literally translates as "land of the incorruptible people", we can be sure that if Arto is from there, he's not lying to us!
Regardless of this mystery (or this joke), Arto Mwambé's music is interesting enough in itself. Last year's Mudhutma EP was one of 2007's most distinctive releases, with an unorthodox disco energy and deep grooving chords. Now for the follow up, Mr. Mwambé has made one of the goofiest house records you're likely to hear. 'Hum Along' begins with woozy Chicago chords and crisp percussion, then a mystery vocal drawls "Hum along with your friends, do that super extra boo boo with your hands, hum along, with your friends, do that super freaky thang with your hands". It's the kind of hook that guarantees a record will be hated just as much as it's loved, and suggests ‘Hum Along’ could be one of this year's poppiest anthems. Luckily then, it's actually a fine example of how deep house can be both pop and fun. If Moodymann had a sense of humour, maybe this is the kind of record he'd make.
The rest of the tracks have a difficult act to follow after that. Move D is drafted in for a remix which buries the vocal a little and seems a bit confused stylewise. He turns ‘Hum Along’ into a Justus Kohncke-style disco track, but it's pretty forgettable next to the childish charm of the original.
For the B side, Arto drops ‘Greatest Love’, and almost seems to fuse the wet of Italian disco with the sweat of US house. It's an unlikely mix but he just about pulls it off. His deep mournful synths are hooky as hell, and sound a bit like something Lindstrom would do. That said, long haired Scandinavians never made their drums and hats scream "house" so forcefully. The two flavours combined mean this almost ends up more of a song than a track, but that's no reason to dismiss it.
All in all, this is another very good EP from Arto Mwambé. It may not quite scale the heights of Mudhutma, but it's still different and shows a producer who does his own thing. Welcome to Ougadougou: Techno city.
A1 Hum Along
A2 Hum Along (Move D's Move Along Remix)
B Greatest Love