- An immigrant from the Central African Republic who grew up in Paris, Bibi Tanga leads a funk-based outfit whose debut album Dunya on National Geographic's label reflects a polyglot stew of various musical influences, the sort that so often gives Afrobeat and its offshoots their appeal. One of the standouts from Dunya was "Be Africa," a rousing number in the Fela vein, whose tight, infectious groove and expressive, overlapping vocals make it sound instantly ripe for remix fodder.
This was apparently not lost on National Geographic, who wisely put it in the hands of two quality underground New York Labels, Wurst and Throne of Blood. The two mixes available here on Throne of Blood make great use of the song's dance floor potential. In the hands of Populette it gets shined-up into a very natural-feeling Balearic-y number, joyfully serene, which expands upon the original verse/chorus structure of the original. It's a case when a remix seems enough of a no-brainer that it ends up supplanting the original.
Thus you should be well prepared for Tim Goldsworthy's entry, which is another beast entirely, and which justifies his reputation as a remix heavy-hitter under his Loving Hand guise. Goldsworthy's mix displays his knack for deconstructing a tune and rebuilding it using original instrumentation, often in expansive outings that can stretch into double-digit time. Here Goldsworthy manages to keep things at a comparatively trim eight minutes without sacrificing a cosmic-beardo sense of drama. Radiating with synths both glistening and fuzzy throughout, the mix opens with big Tony Allen-style funky drums cranked upfront which undergird a round of punchy call-and-response singing. Then, around the five minute mark, the groove falls away, like a booster rocket plummeting earthwards, and the tune launches into outer space, rising through the heavens on a rocket of churning analog drone and chanted chorus. It's a masterful turn, a spirited Afro-futurist concoction of electrical energy and tribal heart. One imagines Sun Ra would approve.
A Be Africa (Populette Mix)
B Be Africa (Tim Goldsworthy Mix)