Benis Cletin - Jungle Magic

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  • By last count, there's a disco revival, a Latin music revival, a Caribbean Islands funk revival, innumerable Afrobeat/ highlife/ Nigerian-psych revivals and two competing cumbia revivals: one more digitized and crunchy (trumped by the likes of DJ/rupture, JD Twitch, Uproot Andy and the like) as well as the more rustic kind unearthed by Soundways and put out by heads like Names You Can Trust in NYC. And yet for the DJs behind East London warehouse fete Sofritos, Hugo Mendez and Frankie Francis (along with The Mighty Crime Minister and designer Lewis Heriz), they all come together as one party. On their exuberant compilation on Strut earlier this year, Frente Cumbiero's dubbed-out new-school cumbia sat neatly alongside the manic African disco of electric guitarist Sir Victor Uwaifo as well as the vintage yet bright soca of Mighty Shadow. The third release on their Sofrito Super Singles is just as fascinating. "Money Make Man Mad" could be commenting on any time from late '70s Nigerian corruption to European crises to America's pending debt default, as is always the case with money matters, it's best to just keep dancing. Besides, this organ-fueled, hi-hat disco cut is stronger than most countries' economies at the moment. It's the A-side, however, that is truly otherworldly. Consider it the Afro cousin to Charanjit Singh's jawdropping and ahistorical Ten Ragas to a Disco Beat. This 1979 Nigerian cut somehow contains dark proto-acid squiggles that would captivate Derrick May, a weirdo chant about "jungle magic" that could hypnotize Lee "Scratch" Perry, and a wonky clavioline (?) honk that could mate with geese. We then have Cletin singing a type of "superstition" that outstrips Stevie Wonder's own black magic funk as man, woman and child all change into beasts within the song. Uh…what? (Exactly.)
  • Tracklist
      A Jungle Magic (Sofrito Edit) B Money Make Man Mad (Sofrito Disco Dub)